In Focus

Seacations: domestic cruises a ‘real success story’ for the UK travel industry

Sailings around Britain have proved popular according to a report by Cruise.co.uk

Domestic cruises around the UK have been riding on the crest of a wave after international voyages were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Cruises to international destinations restarted earlier in August after restrictions were relaxed, but according to a survey by Cruise.co.uk “seacations” have proved to be a “winning formula” and are here to stay. 

Sailings around Britain have “previously mainly appealed to passengers based overseas rather than from the UK”, said Travel Weekly. And more than “a dozen cruise lines have offered round-Britain sailings as they returned to service” in May. 

In a poll of 1,400 customers, Cruise.co.uk found that almost half (48%) who have taken a UK domestic cruise this year plan to book another in the next 12 months. Onboard service was the highlight for most guests with 74% citing it as one of the standout features, TTG reports. Quality of food and drink (57%) and onboard facilities (52%) also ranked highly. 

“Seacations have been a real success story this year and it’s a pleasure to hear so much positive feedback from impressed guests,” said Tony Andrews, deputy managing director of Cruise.co.uk. “The outstanding onboard service, facilities and dining, combined with the health and wellbeing measures, have proved a winning formula. With staycations now well established in the UK, we’re hopeful that the advantages of a seacation will similarly make it a popular holiday option for many years to come.”

Domestic itineraries will depart up to October this year, before starting again next spring, TTG said.  

A Carnival at sea

Carnival Corporation, which has a fleet of 88 vessels, has announced that it is speeding up restart plans across its brands, Cruise Industry News reports. A number of Carnival brands offer UK voyages, including Princess Cruises with its Regal Princess ship running 14 UK summer seacations through to 23 September, and Sky Princess running eight UK cruises through to 28 September. 

Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises vice president for UK and Europe, said in March: “While international travel remains uncertain, these new cruises mean that UK residents can take a well-deserved holiday around the UK. We are also delighted that our new cruises will offer the choice between scenic voyages and port-of-call itineraries where guests can visit the historic UK cities of Liverpool, Belfast and Glasgow.”

Other Carnival Corporation brands offering UK seacations include P&O Cruises UK and Cunard Line. 

Ambassador Cruise Line’s first ship is the Ambience

Ambassador Cruise Line’s first ship is the Ambience

New British cruise line for 2022 

It’s not just domestic cruises that have flourished this year. It was also announced in May that Ambassador Cruise Line will begin operations in spring 2022 and become the first new British cruise line to be launched since 2010. 

Offering no-fly itineraries aimed primarily at the over-50s market, Ambassador will sail from its home port of London Tilbury. The company’s first ship, the Ambience, will carry up to 1,400 guests in 798 cabins and its maiden season starts on 6 April 2022 with an inaugural short-break cruise to Hamburg. 

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