‘Hurricanes prevented UK cruise numbers reaching two million mark’

Image result for caribbean hurricanes

The above Satellite shows three Hurricanes.

The number of cruises sold to British holidaymakers in 2017 may have exceeded two million if hurricanes had not hit the Caribbean, it has been claimed.

Clia last week reported a record year for the British cruise industry, with 1,959,000 Britons taking a cruise holiday in 2017 – an increase of 0.5% against 2016.

Stuart Leven, Clia’s UK and Ireland chairman, said it was a “major factor” that “five or six weeks” after hurricanes Irma and Maria struck ships were sent to help with the humanitarian effort.

He told Travel Weekly: “I would not lay it firmly at the door of hurricanes but several ships were taken out of service in order to help, which means there were fewer holidays to sell and flights were cancelled. It is a major factor.”

He added that the hurricanes had “not had any impact” on future bookings, adding that it could have been “the difference” between hitting the two million mark and not.

When asked about the figures at Abta’s First Time Cruisers Conference in central London, Leven said the UK market has “massive scope for growth”.

He said cruise lines would be encouraged to deploy more ships in the UK due to people cruising for the first time giving higher satisfaction scores after the sailing.

“If you can get more people on ships there is a massive scope for growth,” he said.

Leven cited how the UK cruise industry holds a 4.5% share of the holiday market, but if that figure increased by one percent that would add 500,000 passengers to the annual number of Britons taking cruises.

He also said: “Most of the agents are better at selling a cruise than the cruise lines are. They are the experts. Eight out of 10 bookings come through the trade.”

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MSC Cruises Donates School in Rebuilding Caribbean

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin IslandsPHOTO: The semi-permanent school will serve the island of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. (photo via Flickr/kansas photo)
MSC Cruises continues to assist in the rebuild of the Caribbean following September’s devastating hurricanes.

The Swiss-based cruise line announced Thursday that it has joined forces with government officials in the British Virgin Islands to donate a new 4,000 square-foot, the pre-fabricated building that will function as a semi-permanent school on the island of Virgin Gorda.

All 15 of the territory’s schools were destroyed in the recent hurricanes.

“It is our responsibility as a family-owned company in the seafaring business for more than 300 years, to come to the aid of our family, friends and neighbours in dire times,” said MSC Cruises USA chairman, Richard Sasso in a statement. “This donation is one of many ways we are working to set the industry standard to help those who need it most and we’re proud to utilize our global resources to assist as the Caribbean works to recover and rebuild.”

The donation represents just one example of MSC Cruises’ ongoing effort to restore the British Virgin Islands and the surrounding Caribbean as a whole.

“With most cruise ports in the Caribbean region now open for business, MSC Cruises, along with other players in the cruise industry, are working to support local governments in their efforts to restore normality and rebuild the damaged infrastructures on the islands impacted,” the cruise line stated on its website.

With the help of its global network of partners, MSC Cruises has already helped ship food, water, medical supplies and building materials to the British Virgin Islands as well as hard-hit places in Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and Dominica.

The cruise line recently provided shipping services to bring emergency lighting to Puerto Rico.

Another aspect of the global cruise’s effort to assist the islands is by ultimately returning to the coveted destinations.

Travelers seeking a holiday sailing to the Caribbean with MSC Cruises this December can have their pick of the MSC Divina or the brand new MSC Seaside.

Click here to learn more about some of the ways MSC Cruises is aiding in the Caribbean’s recovery.