Buoyant cruise demand expected to be maintained

Panache Cruises expects demand to continue as more destinations open up following the specialist agency claiming its busiest month since being established in July 2020.

More than a quarter of bookings made in August were for 2021, 42% for 2022 sailings, 25% for 2023 and 5% for 2024.

Almost two-thirds of bookings were for ocean sailings with the top itineraries being the Mediterranean 29%, ex-UK 23%, Australasia 17% and the Caribbean 11%.

The average value of booking was claimed to be £4,774 per passenger.

River cruising has also sold well with the top itineraries being the Douro 33% and the Rhine 22% with an average booking value of £4,516pp.

Founder James Cole said that while customers were dubious of the testing process prior to travelling, they are now becoming more relaxed about it.

He added: “With many of the cruise lines insisting now that passengers are double-jabbed and their crew, personally I believe it’s the safest way to holiday.

“Those that have travelled over the summer months have told us that the process has been far easier than they anticipated, with the airport experience much more pleasant than usual and the process of testing not as expensive or arduous as they thought.

“In fact, I have recently travelled to Barbados with my family and found it all very straight-forward.”

Cole forecast bookings to be strong for the rest of this year, with great deals to be had.

He said: “Since we launched Panache Cruises we have achieved sales of over £3 million, demonstrating the huge pent-up demand there continues to be for cruising.

“Some of our customers have now booked several sailings as they are keen to benefit from the exceptional deals available right now.

“Brits are desperate to get away. The combination of not being able to travel for some considerable time now, and a disappointing summer for many parts of the country means that taking a holiday, and especially a cruise, is at the top of the wish list for many.”

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