A broad based demand is feeding the growth of world cruise market, said managing directors of Cunard Line and P&O Cruises in London yesterday. Both companies are adding one ship to their 2013 world cruise programmes, so that P&O Cruises will have four and Cunard Line three ships on these long haul voyages that take between 85 and 110 nights.
“Some people save up for 30 years to make a world cruise and to them it is a once in a lifetime experience. Some others come back year after year,” said Carol Marlow, Managing Director of P&OCruises. “Adult Gap Year,” whereby a person e.g. in his or her fifties decides to have time off in an otherwise busy career is also contributing towards growing demand of these long haul cruises, while some people that have been made redundant decide to use part of their redundancy package to book a world cruise, she said. Contrary to what might seem likely, Marlow pointed out that some of the passengers on world cruises have never been onboard a ship before, a fact that again adds to the diversity of the people that book these voyages.
The 2013 world cruise programme of Cunard Line, which is sending all three ships in its fleet on these long cruises forthe first time then, includes several overnight stays, which means that passengers have two full days and a night to explore the port in question. Peter Shanks, President and Managing Director of the company said that it is just the fact that people will have more time to explore the sights and places of interest in these ports that makes overnight stays popular, not so much thepossibility to explore local nightlife.
Both companies sell also segments of these cruises and in case of Cunard, lots of bookings will come from continental Europe, North America and Australia in addition to the UK. To ensure that potential passengers from all these parts of the world will have an equal opportunity to book, the company will start taking bookings in the afternoon UKtime on 14 July, when the programme goes on sale, Shanks said.
P&O Cruises mainly sources its passengers from the British market, but like those of Cunard, segments of its programme can be bought e.g. as liner voyages and the company expects to sell quite a lot of these on the Australian market. Marlow pointed out that although bookings will open for the programme on 14 July, those for segments will start on the following day. This is to make sure that passengers that want to book the whole voyage can do so and that the company’s reservation department has enough staff at hand to handle the expected surge in activity once the programme goes onsale.