Hello and welcome to my September update!
The last week or so has seen some of the hottest days for weeks, with temperatures reaching 30 degrees, and I was lucky to have a day off to enjoy not only the superb weather but also the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside. This made me once again reflect on the numerous Staycation cruises wandering around the UK shores, with everyone able to relax on deck in the glorious sunshine. What stunning days at sea they must have been!
I have mentioned Staycations before in my previous updates, as they do represent a significant proportion of current cruises. Most recently, we had a number of staff travelling on Regent’s fabulous Seven Seas Splendor and hope you had a chance to follow their adventures on social media. Covid has certainly brought a diverse range of different ships to our shores for you to enjoy and Splendor is yet another fantastic product that would not normally be so close to home waters. Our sales manager Helen Moore has also travelled further afield, sailing on Silversea’s Silver Moon around Greece in her maiden season. Again, we have some fantastic onboard photos and will be sharing these with you on social media soon; make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram to see them first.
Looking ahead, our new Social Media expert Will Walker is sailing on Iona later in September and this will be his first-ever cruise. I mention this as he will be posting frequently during his time away and it will be interesting to see his reaction to this amazing ship and to cruising in general. Who would have imagined that social media would play such a big part in the marketing of cruise holidays!
August continued to be a very busy month for our phone lines, with huge demand for 2022 and 2023 cruises in particular. Whilst waiting times improved through August, we still had significant queries from clients concerning their imminent sailings due to the additional Covid requirements.
On the point of Covid requirements, don’t forget that you will need to download your vaccination certificates to your mobile device before departure and you must not leave this to the last minute, particularly if you are travelling outside of UK waters. You will need to install the NHS app and this can take a few days to complete the identification process before you can go on to download your vaccination certificate. If you don’t have a mobile device, you can speak to the NHS to obtain a copy, but again the tip is to allow plenty of time as this is going to be a much longer process.
Normality continues to feel a tentative prospect, but as we move into September there are now significant numbers of our favourite ships at sea, plus a few new ones such as the Silver Moon I mentioned earlier. Most recent deployments include Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, which completed a test cruise from New Jersey at the end of August after an absence of 18 months. Royal Caribbean aims to have 21 of its ships sailing by the end of this year. Luxury cruise lines have also resumed sailings, with Regent Seven Seas Splendor™ set to reposition to Barcelona once her current introductory cruise is completed, operating a series of Mediterranean cruises before sailing to Miami in November. I read recently in the Cruise Industry News that September will see around 200 ships carrying passengers. That’s almost half of the ocean-going cruise ships in service, which is a clear indication that we are making good progress.
As a business, we are delighted to see that the P&O Cruises Caribbean season remains on track to start in November which is tremendous news with so many of our clients booked to travel on them over the coming winter. Britannia will begin operating fly-cruises from Barbados on 5 November, followed by Azura on 10 December. These both offer a series of 14-night round-trip cruises from Barbados with dedicated charter flights from Manchester and Gatwick. There is still space on several sailings, and I think this is a great option for winter sunshine with these flights and bonded luggage arrangements. That means that once you have checked in your luggage here in the UK, the next time you see it will be outside your cabin in the Caribbean.
With another final eye on the news, we have just added two new ships to our systems in preparation for them going on sale, Oceania Vista and Regent Seven Seas Grandeur, two new luxury vessels joining this ever-growing sector. Take a look at our new ships page for details on both of these, along with many other new products coming your way over the next year or so.
Thanks for continuing to follow my updates and I wish everyone travelling over the next month ‘Bon Voyage’. Have a great holiday.