Hello and welcome to my April 2024 update!

We’ve experienced a mixed period of weather over the past month, with the arrival of spring bringing the usual combination of sunshine and showers. It’s a similar picture here at Bolsover Cruise Club, with no major events to report since my last update, and demand virtually mirroring the same time last year.

However, anticipation is high as my teams eagerly await the launch of the new 2026 P&O Cruises summer programme! Hot off the press, I can share with you that we will be open for advance registrations from 8.30am on Tuesday, 16 April 2024 until we close on Monday, 22 April 2024, with actual on-sale dates as follows:

·         Exclusively on sale for Caribbean, Baltic and Ligurian tier members of the P&O Cruises Peninsular Club from 8:30am on Tuesday 23 April 2024

·         On general sale for holidays departing March – June 2026 from 8:30am on Wednesday 24 April 2024

·         On general sale for holidays departing July – October 2026 from 8:30am on Thursday 25 April 2024

This is a very important time for us, especially with P&O Cruises being such a popular choice among our Cruise Club Members, and many thousands of you booking in a short timeframe. You can rest assured our tried and tested pre-registration systems enable us to secure virtually all our clients’ first choices; if you have a particular itinerary and cabin in mind, please ensure you inform us of your preferences and we will make every effort to secure them when the cruises go on sale. Further details of the new collection, together with advance registration options, will be available to you on Tuesday, 16 April when they are released by P&O Cruises.

This isn’t the only cruise line to be launching its next season of sailings, as Saga recently unveiled its 2025 ocean cruises collection, which is on sale now. For those of you who haven’t sailed with Saga before, the cruise line offers a complimentary chauffeur service to and from your home to the departure port, which has now been extended to operate nationwide next year. The 2025 season also includes various new itineraries and ports of call, such as the Croatian island of Korcula in the Adriatic, and the historic town of Helsingør in Denmark’s North Zealand. If you would like more information on Saga cruises, be sure to give our Cruise Experts a call on 01246 819 819.

Just a quick update on the system side of our business; we are close to being handed the test version of our new cloud-based telephone system, which we hope we will be able to implement fully in the coming weeks. Not only will we benefit from a cutting-edge phone setup, but all the resilience that it provides; in the unfortunate event that one of our sites goes down, the other will replace it automatically, so you should never experience any difficulties in being able to contact us. 

One milestone I thought I would mention was our biggest Cruise & Stay holiday of all time has just travelled, a group of 19 on a Disney cruise coupled with a Florida stay. I must say we monitored this very closely given our responsibility as the tour operator. Everything went to plan and, as I write, they are happily on board Disney Wish ‘living the dream’, and soon making their way to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida itself. It was a massive journey attaining our ATOL licence in the year before Covid and starting our tour operating business, then going through two years of cancellations and rebooking, but it’s a great boost to the team seeing our biggest Cruise & Stay holiday having been completed successfully. Well done to the Cruise & Stay team!

This seems like an ideal opportunity to remind you that we can create bespoke Cruise & Stay holidays anywhere in the world, so if you have your sights set on a particular trip, we would be more than happy to assist. If you’re looking for some inspiration, our team have crafted a selection of Cruise & Stay holidays which are available for you to browse on our website, each of which can also be tailored to your specific preferences. Do give our Cruise Experts a call on 01246 819 819 to discuss your options and let us help you put together your dream holiday.

I mentioned in my last update that one of our Cruise Experts, Fran, was on board the expedition ship MS Fridtjof Nansen, travelling around Antarctica. She sailed with HX, which was previously known as Hurtigruten Expeditions, and the images she has returned with are absolutely spectacular. It really is incredible that this remote part of the world can be travelled by cruise, and her feedback from the trip is that it should feature on everybody’s bucket list! Fran was fortunate enough to encounter penguins, whales and much of the other wildlife that is unique to this part of the world – if you haven’t seen the highlights of her journey on our social media channels, I would highly recommend that you take a look.

If these pictures don’t encourage you to book an expedition cruise to Antarctica with HX, then maybe a recent announcement will help sway your decision. HX revealed it would be making all its expedition sailings all-inclusive, starting with Antarctica and the Galapagos, in October 2024. Guests can expect a number of amenities to be included as standard on their cruise, such as Wi-Fi, gratuities and drinks, regardless of their cabin grade. All-inclusive cruising is certainly a growing trend, so it is interesting to see another one of the cruise lines we work with moving in this direction.

Later this month, we will bring you a first look at the new Cunard ship Queen Anne. Several members of our team are heading down to Southampton, including myself, for an exclusive glimpse before the fourth Cunard Queen welcomes her first passengers later in May. This is the first time in 11 years Cunard has introduced a new ship to its fleet, and I cannot wait to see what she has in store. As always, make sure you are following us on Facebook and Instagram to see what everyone is up to on board. I would also encourage you to update your email preferences to ensure you are receiving all the latest deals, especially if you are hoping to sample Queen Anne for yourself. You can also browse the sailings that are currently available here.

Lastly, I am delighted to announce we have been nominated for another prestigious industry accolade, this time in the form of the Best Travel Agency for Cruise Holidays at the British Travel Awards. Once again, this makes us extremely proud as it recognises the exemplary customer service on which our business is built. Voting for these particular awards begins on 24 June, and I will, of course, let you know when it opens. 

In the meantime, I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to leave us a Trustpilot review; this is a platform we joined a little over a year ago, and I am delighted to see we have achieved a score of 4.9 out of 5! We are fast approaching 5,000 reviews, so if you haven’t already left us feedback on your experience of booking with us, we would love to hear from you. I am extremely proud of this rating and hope we can continue to learn from the valuable feedback we receive.

Once again thank you for following my updates and I wish everyone travelling over the next month Bon Voyage and have a great holiday.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wilson