Wigan borough travel agent reveals huge spike in cruise bookings following record breaking start to the year

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A Wigan borough travel agency has revealed a significant increase in demand for cruising this year.

Barrhead Travel Leigh says cruise bookings are already up around 25 per cent in 2024, as it continues to enjoy record-breaking sales this year.

Dozens of new ships have entered the market over the past few years and more than 10 new arrivals are on the horizon this year.

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Cruise holidays are no longer seen as unaffordable and only for the over-50sCruise holidays are no longer seen as unaffordable and only for the over-50s
Cruise holidays are no longer seen as unaffordable and only for the over-50s

The increased capacity means the cruise industry is set to enjoy significant growth after an estimated two million Brits enjoyed cruising last year.

According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), younger generations are set to embrace cruising more than ever as they report that 77 per cent of millennials are considering a cruise for their next holiday.

The findings chime with Barrhead Travel’s own booking data which indicates that the number of holidaymakers under 40 choosing to cruise has grown by over 30 per cent since 2019.

In particular, cruising from longhaul destinations such as Barbados, Canada and Dubai are all on the rise – up 81 per cent, 150 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

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Nicki Tempest-Mitchell, sales and marketing director at Barrhead TravelNicki Tempest-Mitchell, sales and marketing director at Barrhead Travel
Nicki Tempest-Mitchell, sales and marketing director at Barrhead Travel

Closer to home, Barrhead says the Fjords are in high demand with cruise bookings up by 58 per cent while Med favourites such as Athens and Mallorca have grown by 24 and 115 per cent.

The travel agency group says that people are leaning towards holidays at sea mainly because of the value for money on offer and the innovative onboard experiences that can be found on new and refurbished ships. More cruise lines than ever are also choosing to homeport flagship vessels in the UK, offering holidaymakers options to cruise from closer to home.

Nicki Tempest-Mitchell, sales and marketing director of Barrhead Travel, said that cruising has been growing in popularity for several years: “Cruise holidays are now firmly one of the most popular choices for all different types of holidaymakers. Little more than a decade ago, cruising was often perceived as more expensive and preferred by the over-50s.

“Now, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The cruise industry has evolved at incredible pace and has appeal to every single age group, every demographic and budget, as well as catering to all tastes.

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"It’s one of the reasons that it’s also proving very popular for multi-generational groups as the onboard offering can accommodate everyone.

In addition to ocean cruising, Barrhead Travel says that river cruising is also on the rise, up by 171 per cent year on year.

“The appeal of river cruise is all about getting to the heart of multiple destinations and the accessibility that offers,” added Ms Tempest-Mitchell.

“For European itineraries in particular, it’s akin to enjoying four or more city breaks in one go – and docking in the centre of cities means you can enjoy even longer at port as many itineraries offer overnights.

“With river cruise companies adapting their product to entice younger travellers, I think river cruise is one to watch for the coming year as a key travel trend.”

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