Bookings for once-in-a-lifetime cruises soar as Brits plan post-Covid holidays

Brits are opting for longer cruise holidays compared to pre-pandemic levels, as bookings for once-in-a-lifetime trips continue to rise.

In fact, brands are seeing more demand for longer itineraries, some of which can include at least 21 nights at sea.

Cruise.co.uk says it’s seen a 10% increase in bookings for these ‘extended sailings’ compared to 2019, with Brits opting for itineraries to far-flung destinations such as Sydney, Bora Bora, Tahiti and Hawaii, which it says have seen the biggest spike in popularity.

Other destinations proving a hit with British holidaymakers include Singapore, Tokyo, and itineraries to Australia and New Zealand, with bookings predominantly for late 2022 and 2023.

Tony Andrews, deputy managing director of cruise.co.uk, said: “Guests are increasingly booking for longer periods of time away to really make the most of their holiday after so much time indoors. It’s clear there is a real appetite for extended cruises, in part because our opportunities to travel have been so limited for nearly 18 months now.

“Extended cruises are a fantastic holiday option; not only will you enjoy a wonderful time onboard and at the various stops your ship calls at, but there’s also the opportunity to explore your destination on land both before and after sailing.”

Unrecognizable woman with hat on a cruise ship.
People are booking once-in-a-lifetime holidays

Since the pandemic began, a number of cruise lines have noted a rise in interest for longer cruises and once-in-a-lifetime itineraries.

For example, NCL’s Eamonn Ferrin, Vice President and Managing Director UK/Ireland/Middle East/Africa, told the Mirror that the cruise line anticipates “holidaymakers to be investing in ‘bucket list’ trips in the coming years”. In fact, its new ship Norwegian Prima will be offering the likes of an 11-day transatlantic sailing from the US to Iceland, with options for Brits to sail on to Southampton and include stops in Norway.

People swim in an infinity pool on the top deck of Norwegian Prima (rendering)
A rendering of Norwegian Prima

Meanwhile earlier this year, over-50s travel firm Saga reported a 40% increase in the average number of nights spent away, going from an average of 13 nights to 18, with ‘bucket list’ style destinations such as Uganda and Uzbekistan proving particularly popular.

There is clearly an appetite for luxury getaways too. For example, one cruise costing £54,000 sold out in just one day.

Of course cruises abroad aren’t on the cards for Brits right now, as the Foreign Office continues to advise against cruise travel.

However, domestic cruises from England have been allowed to resume for the summer, with a number of cruise lines offering UK sailings including Disney, Royal Caribbean and P&O Cruises. (Itineraries have already been selling out in some cases).

The government’s Global Travel Taskforce previously said that the success of domestic cruises would be a key factor in determining when international sailings will be allowed to resume.

Are you planning a big trip once the pandemic is over, or will you be sticking to shorter getaways? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.




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