Bill Gibbons, director of the UK’s Passenger Shipping Association, must have liked what he saw on board Oasis of the Seas in Florida last week, because he is now predicting that a record number of Brits will take cruise holidays in 2010.
He expects the number – which has outpaced growth in all other holiday sectors – to rise another 6.5 per cent, to 1.65 million next year.
Helping to fuel that increase are some of the special offers listed here.
Cunard are offering savings of up to £300 per person on crossings between Southampton and New York aboard the Queen Mary 2 and European cruises on Queen Victoria, if booked before February 28.
Transatlantic fares now start at £899 including a flight at either the beginning or end of the voyage. A 10-night round-Britain voyage on Victoria is available from £1,269. Go to www.cunard.co.uk
Want to check if Dubai is still around next year? The cost of an eight-night cruise from the Emirate to Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, on board Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas departing March 15 has been reduced by £140 since last week to £819. Balcony cabins are from £999 and the fare includes flights from London. Two nights in Dubai can be added for £269. Go to www.iglucruise.com or call 0208 544 6620, quoting cruise ref 36500.
SailfromUK.com is offering a 13-night Canary Islands cruise on board Fred Olsen’s Boudicca from £999. Departing from Southampton on January 6, the ship calls at Funchal (Madeira), Santa Cruz de la Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Arrecife (Lanzarote) and Lisbon before returning to Southampton. Go to www.sailfromuk.com or call 0808 202 6104.
Sail from the UK to San Francisco on P&O’s child-free Arcadia. The 22-day voyage leaves Southampton on January 10 and calls at Madeira, Barbados, Aruba, transits the Panama Canal before visiting Acapulco and Zihuatanejo and San Francisco for the flight home. Inside cabins are available from £1,499 per person. Go to www.gillscruise.com or call 08456 58 23 23
Or head south from Southampton to Rio de Janeiro on Fred Olsen’s Black Watch. Departing on January 13, ports of call include Lisbon, Santa Cruz, Praia, Recife, Salvador and Rio de Janerio for an overnight stay and flight back to the UK, arriving at Gatwick on February 1. Latesaver price from £1,399 per person, based on an inside twin bedded cabin, Cabin numbers will be allocated on boarding. Go to www.fredolsencruises.co.uk or call 01473 742424
For more information on cruises, visit www.discovercruises.co.uk