Plus Other Cruise Trends Consumers Need To Know Before Booking a Cruise for 2013
If you have your eyes set on a Caribbean cruise in 2013, you’re not alone. The turquoise-blue waters have already beckoned more than half of all cruises arranged by Cruise Holidays for 2013. Trailing a distant, albeit powerful second place: Europe.
In its highly-anticipated annual Cruise Trends Survey*, Cruise Holidays studied all cruise bookings made for 2013 as of mid-December 2012. Here are the top 10 cruise destinations being booked for 2013 by Cruise Holidays cruise experts:
|2013 Top Cruise Destinations||% of Bookings||’12 Rank||‘11 Rank|
|1. Caribbean (includes Bahamas)||54.98%||1||1|
|2. Europe (includes Med, Baltic, Scandinavia & Greek Isles)||13.19%||2||2|
|6. (tie) Panama Canal||2.26%||6||8|
|6. (tie) Trans-Atlantic||2.26%||8||9|
|8. South Pacific (Including Australia)||1.82%||10||N/A|
|9. South America||1.61%||N/A||N/A|
|10. Maritime Canada & New England||1.52%||9||N/A|
*The Bahamas ranked #6 in 2011, but were grouped with the Caribbean for this survey starting in 2011.
Let’s take a closer look at which destinations are burning up the charts for 2013:
The top five cruise destinations remain unchanged from 2012 to 2013. However, the Caribbean’s overall dominance fell slightly, from nearly 60% in 2012 to under 55% of total bookings for 2013 so far. The difference is made up by Europe taking a larger piece of the pie, climbing from 11% to 13% of the total, and Alaska climbing from 6.7% to 8.5%. Hawaii also inched up.
Trans-Atlantic sailings continue to gain favor – they are tied for sixth place this year. These cruises made their debut in the Cruise Trends top 10 in 2011 at ninth place, and climbed to eighth place in 2012. South America joins the top 10 for the first time in at least four years. European river cruising is also the hottest ticket in the industry, and contributes to Europe’s strong showing this year.
The Mexican Riviera fell out of the top 10, continuing a downward trend that Cruise Holidays highlighted in the 2012 Cruise Trends survey.
2013 Cruise Pricing for Europe, Caribbean and Alaska
Cruise Holidays consistently studies pricing for three of the most popular cruise destinations and shares it via the Cruise Trends survey. Compared to bookings made in 2011 for 2012, sample pricing for a 12-day Mediterranean cruise is currently down about $35 per person, per day. However, keep in mind that this pricing includes bookings made in early 2012 when demand may not have been as strong. Caribbean pricing for a 7-day cruise is virtually the same as last year, and 7-day Alaska cruises are up about $20 per person, per day, compared to cruises booked in 2011 for 2012. These figures include all cruises booked by Cruise Holidays as of December 17, 2012, sailing in 2013, aboard all cruise lines – from luxury to casual or “contemporary.”
Don’t Wait to Book a 2013 Cruise
Despite the lower pricing for Europe so far, it may not be wise to rest on your laurels if you are considering a 2013 European cruise. In 2012, 47% of all of Cruise Holidays’ cruise reservations were made less than six months out, with 53% of bookings taking place more than six months out. In other words, if you wait until six months before the cruise to book your stateroom, more than half the ships are likely to be full. Cruise Holidays even has some passengers booked for 2015.
Combating the European Air Dilemma
There continue to be concerns about high air prices to Europe. But when you look at the cost of the cruise, which is nearly all-inclusive, and couple that with your airfare, cruising remains a fantastic value and a great way to see Europe.
Cruise Holidays cruise experts offered up several tips via the Cruise Trends survey that they routinely offer to their clients, such as:
1. Advising clients to add more time on land pre or post-cruise to get more “bang for their buck” on the flight.
2. Watching for cruise line offers such as 2-for-1 pricing in Europe, cruise line air deals, etc.
3. Advising clients to be flexible on travel dates to take advantage of better airline prices.
4. Leveraging Cruise Holidays’ clout to obtain airline prices that might not be available online to consumers.
5. Emphasizing the all-inclusiveness of a cruise.
*Cruise Holidays is a cruise-specialty franchise with locations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. The information in this survey applies only to the bookings that originated in North America.