If there was any debate in your mind as to whether to jump on board with selling cruise, you might want to take into consideration that the popularity of this type of holiday shows no sign of slowing.
In fact, recent booking data, released by leading independent cruise agency Planet Cruise, demonstrates that tailor-made cruise trips are up 29% on last year as more holiday-makers than ever seek to put together their own personalised package and create the perfect cruise experience.
So, what does this significant growth tell us? Travellers are getting more adventurous with their choices and they want an operator that can offer them a selection of bells and whistles, such as hotel stays, tours and excursions, that they can book along with their cruise to make their trip unique. Common requests include booking a stay in a hotel, either prior to or after the cruise, as well as tours of various destinations to balance out the days at sea.
Planet Cruise believes this rising interest can be attributed to the fact that adventurous travellers are looking to explore further afield. There has been a noticeable growth in bookings for long-haul destinations such as New York, Dubai and Singapore, and travellers want to spend some time discovering these areas with stopover packages and add-on services. The data reveals that the destinations experiencing the highest growth at the moment are the most exotic and far-flung with China, Japan and South America being particularly popular amongst British travellers booking tailor-made trips.
However, although there is evidently a lot of love for the long-haul as the popularity of these destinations experience a significant boost, we can't ignore the fact that it is the European cruise which has truly come into its own amongst the Brits. Cruising the continent has proved to be the most popular choice amongst holidaymakers this year taking the slots for four out of the top five most popular tailor-made cruises for 2016.
An Eastern European cruise with a stay in the historical city of Rome took the number one most popular spot whilst a cruise of Scandinavia and Russia from Copenhagen came in second. Third place was another European win with Italy and the Greek Islands from Barcelona; fourth was Hong Kong, China and Vietnam, flying the flag for the far-flung destinations. And last but not least, we returned to Europe with a holiday that took in the ancient city of Athens, the Greek Islands and Italy.
The top five most popular cities for booking hotel stays in order to extend a cruise holiday are New York at number one, Singapore in second place, Dubai in third, Barcelona in fourth and Venice in fifth.
Additionally, Planet Cruises's data also pinpointed the most popular sightseeing tours that holidaymakers chose to add on to their cruise creation. The top choice was a sightseeing tour of St. Petersburg, followed by a complete tour of Rome. Then came a Pompeii and Naples tour, a tour of Pisa and Florence, and finally a tour that took in the spectacular sights of Athens.
There's no doubt about it, 2016 is shaping up to be the Year of the Cruise. So, how better to offer this option to your customers than with our market-leading cruise platform. Give your customers a seamless booking experience that keeps them within your site for the whole booking journey. With our advanced features, designed to boost cruise bookings, you don't need to be a cruise specialist to leave the competition in your wake.