Agent Diary: Why cruise looks set for a bumper year

The launch of a host of ships gives plenty of cause for excitement, says Spear Travels Wolverhampton’s Kim Kent

As we head further into peaks, the cruise market is still as buoyant as ever. I have to say that I am more of a river cruiser than an ocean cruiser, but looking at value for money you can’t beat some of the ocean cruise deals.

Recently, we have managed to substantially increase our cruise business, thanks to a lot of hard work and two very enthusiastic new staff members.

Looking at value for money you can’t beat some of the ocean cruise deals

As you would expect at this time of year, we have received a huge amount of information from our suppliers with details of their offers and peaks campaigns. It can be a little overwhelming, and trying to remember all their content is almost impossible. There are so many different companies and cruise ships in service now, and we are always looking at ways to store this information for quick reference.

We have also been training hard to increase our cruise knowledge and between us have visited a number of ships while they are in a UK port.

Cause for excitement

There are plenty of ships launching in 2024, giving cause for much excitement. Royal Caribbean is adding two of its largest ships: Icon of the Seas, which is said to be the largest cruise ship in the world, and Utopia of the Seas.

Princess is also due to launch the largest ship in its fleet, Sun Princess. Her maiden voyage is from Barcelona to Rome in February. Cunard has the Queen Anne marketed as “elegant fun”, with space for 3,000 passengers. Her maiden voyage in May will be from Southampton to Lisbon.

There are plenty of ships launching in 2024, giving cause for much excitement

Disney has the Treasure, with space for 4,000 passengers. Her maiden voyage from Port Canaveral in December boasts a “haunted mansion parlour” – sounds interesting! Other new ships include Explora Journeys’ Explora II, Viking’s Vela, Silversea’s Silver Ray – a sister ship to Silver Nova – and Ritz-Carlton’s Ilma. It’s all very exciting with their new features and quirky innovations.

Recently, I had a client who had no flexibility with his dates, I thought it would be impossible to find a 10-night cruise leaving on the exact date he wanted. He seemed to think that he could give me a random date and I could find the exact cruise and destination he wanted. As it happened, I managed to do exactly that! I found a trip that matched his criteria perfectly. I was pleased when he booked it and he was over the moon.


More: What’s new in cruise for 2024?

New cruise ships coming in 2024


Value for money

We also had clients who wanted a 14-night winter cruise-and-stay option in the Caribbean. It was a late booking and the budget was tight. But an all-inclusive week in Barbados at the end of the cruise worked out to be double the cost of staying on board the ship for the straight 14-night cruise. Needless to say, they booked the latter.

An all-inclusive week in Barbados at the end of the cruise worked out to be double the cost of staying on board the ship

Of course, there are additional costs involved with some cruises, such as drinks packages, excursions and gratuities, which can bump up the cost considerably, so it’s worth checking the all-inclusive cruises too as they may be better value.

In general, cruising clearly offers excellent value for money, so I am expecting another bumper year ahead in 2024.


What a carry on

I had a smile on my face when I read about a guy travelling with British Airways from Iceland to London who appeared at check-in wearing all the contents of his carry-on luggage. He was refused boarding and arrested for causing a disturbance at the gate. He just didn’t want to pay the baggage fees.

The following day he tried to board an easyJet flight but, again, was refused boarding by the pilot, who had heard of his antics the previous day. Eventually, he did get home, but neither airline would offer a refund. It was an expensive exercise but one we can perhaps sympathise with.

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