The second annual Cruise Report by Carnival UK has found the image of cruising that television viewers will recall depicted in hit 1970s show The Love Boat appears to be alive and well.
Research on the trends and changes in the UK market has found couples feel more amorous on a cruise than any other holiday and a holiday on a ship was voted more romantic than any other including a safari, beach holiday and skiing.
Wedding, engagement and vow renewing ceremonies are becoming ever more popular on the operator’s ships but also, unlike the television portrayal, the numbers of families cruising also saw an upsurge in 2006.
With P&O Cruises, one of Carnival UK’s four brands, preparing for the arrival of the most family friendly and largest ship ever built for the UK market, the Ventura, in 2008, a number of innovations are being included onboard.
Family funpacks, toys and games for younger children will be in Ventura cabins as well as MP3 players for teenagers and the cruise line has struck a deal to have Noddy and his friends entertain children in their own section of the ship in partnership with the Early Learning Centre.
One of the other major trends identified in the report was a much greater focus on health and keeping fit. To cater for this P&O cruises has introduced a Cruise Tone personal tailored fitness programme to its fleet and cabins will have work out mats with training programmes on the ship’s television schedule.
Carnival UK managing director David Dingle said: “We have seen a 14% increase in the number of families booking cruises with us last year.
“Attracting first-timers is as important to us as maintaining the high level of repeat business in the growing market and cruise lines have responded to this by listening to the customer and enhancing the onboard experience to cater for this younger, more savvy traveller.”
The enhancement of the P&O Cruises fleet will take place over the next three years as part of a £14 million Elevation programme.
Carnival UK also incorporates Cunard Line, Ocean Village and Princess Cruises.