When is the Best Time of Year for a Cruise?

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Norwegian Fjords

The world is a wonderful patchwork of variety, with something totally different to explore in every corner of the globe. So if you’re sick of wintry weather – or just fancy a complete change of place – there is an exciting destination out there to be discovered, and, thanks to the schedule that the tourism industry operates by, there are lots of good low-season deals to be had. Here are a few suggestions of top cruise destinations – only not at the times of year you might expect.

November to January

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Caribbean Cruise

The winter months are a funny time for the cruise calendar. Although the weeks of Christmas and New Year are peak times for trips to the Caribbean and the Mexican Riviera, early November and late January are very quiet periods that nevertheless offer all of the benefits that you’d expect from busier times. The weather is still beautiful and perfect for beach days and general lounging, but crowds are few and, with less demand for tourist attractions and excursions, ticket prices are lower. Meanwhile, the South Pacific, and particularly the exquisite island of Tahiti, is the perfect place to escape the bitter cold of European winters. Wade in the crystal waters and relax on the beaches of French Polynesia, while enjoying the peace of the low season in the cafes and bars.

February to May

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Galapagos islands

Springtime is a great chance to pick up some travel bargains before the real holiday season gets into full swing, and there are some amazing destinations that are cheaper and much less hassle to visit at this time of year. South America is a particularly good hotspot to try. Temperatures are not yet up to their summer highs but they are still very pleasant – and, helpfully, less humid – and in a part of the world that sees a lot of tourist traffic, the presence of fewer crowds really pays off when it comes to convenience and the prices you pay. The Amazon rainforest can be explored via river vessel and makes for a really unique and adventurous trip – and the milder weather will certainly be welcome when you’re navigating the humid confines of the jungle. Alternatively, there are the awe-inspiring and vibrant Galapagos Islands, whose unrivalled flora and fauna helped Darwin to develop his theory of evolution. Although they are popular most of the year round, they enjoy a slight lull in trade around this time of year.

June to August

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New England

It may be the peak holiday season during which many Westerners set off around the globe for a hard-earned break somewhere completely different, but there are still parts of the world offering real bargains worth having during their months of hibernation from the tourist trail. Tourists flock to Canada and New England every autumn for their world-famous foliage and breath-taking landscapes, making the summer months the perfect time to visit. Many locals are away for their own holidays, the weather is warm and there is still plenty to do and see, at a much cheaper rate. Australia is another great place to visit during low season; don’t forget that this is Australia’s winter, but extreme weather is unlikely, and there are plenty of attractions to see and bars and restaurants to enjoy while avoiding the high-season-price tickets.

September to October

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Autumn brings about many opportunities for exciting and affordable cruises. Now that all of the summer tourist footfall has ceased and normal working days have been resumed, there are many places where you can enjoy the peace and quiet – and cheaper prices. Hawaii is still soaking up the tropical sunshine between September and October, with its colourful beaches bare and ready to be relaxed upon. Although the heat can bring about tropical storms, it will certainly not dampen your Hawaii experience, and there are any number of characterful bars and restaurants to take temporary refuge in. Alternatively, the autumn months are low season for the cruise routes of Northern Europe, which include the famously beautiful fjords of Norway. The crisp winter weather makes for wondrous landscapes, so don’t forget to bring your camera. The affordability of Northern Europe during low season is a definite perk too, with Scandinavia being a lovely but quite expensive destination, so take advantage of low prices and fewer people on board cruise ships.

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Royal’s Jewel of the Seas leaving Stockholm

About the author: Debbie Stevens oversees The Cruise Line’s sales team and assists with coordinating the company’s marketing strategy. She has had over 20 years’ travel experience with various responsibilities and sailed with Windstar Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, amongst others.

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NCL to consult trade on TV advertising ahead of ex-UK return

 

Norwegian Cruise Line plans to consult with the trade before making a decision on whether it introduces TV advertising in the UK.

Speaking as the line revealed plans to have a ship sailing from the UK for the first time in seven years, Harry Sommer, executive vice president of international business development, said the line would discuss marketing with key agent partners before making a decision.

“I’ve been asked to speak to our trade partners about doing TV ads in the UK, Germany and Spain – our three top European markets.

“I can’t rule it in or out but because so much of our marketing in Europe is with our travel agency partners it is a decision we’d like to make jointly with them.”

The line will base Norwegian Jade in Southampton in 2017 and will offer a series of 11 Western Europe and three Norwegian Fjords sailings between May 12 and June 20 and August 7 and October 16, 2017.

Sommer said the decision to return to Southampton was partly due to “market demand”, but also that it was “reflective of the growth of the company”.

The ship will arrive in Europe after a two-and-a-half week dry-dock. Ports of call featured on its itineraries include Hamburg, Amsterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre, Alesund, Geiranger, and Bergen.

Asked why the line wasn’t offering Mediterranean sailings out of Southampton, Sommer said they’d found it difficult to put together a “good itinerary” and instead believed the fly-cruise market was better suited to that part of Europe.

Senior vice president international sales and operations, Francis Riley, said basing Norwegian Jade in Southampton, and Hamburg, where the ship will also offer sailings from, would be a way of “testing it” for the future.

“When we started looking at deployments we said as a team we were ready to have a ship back (in the UK), and we’ve been ready for some time,” he said.

The line’s 2017 programme includes a total of five ships sailing in Europe, NCL’s biggest-ever European deployment.

Norwegian Getaway, which launched in 2014, will return to Europe to sail eight or nine-night Baltic Capitals cruises to and from Copenhagen.

Norwegian Epic will sail in the Western Mediterranean; Norwegian Spirit will offer 10 and 11-night voyages between Barcelona and Venice and Norwegian Star will sail between Venice and the Greek Isles.

Norwegian’s managing director for EMEA, Christian Boell, said: “Not only are we offering the possibility to embark in Southampton but we are also bringing one of our newest and most innovative ships back to Europe.

“We’re convinced that this will encourage continued growth in the UK market, where we have just seen record breaking guest numbers in 2015.”

Northern Europe general manager, Nick Wilkinson, added: “I’m sure these exciting Southampton sailings will be music to our travel partners’ ears.”

“We are back, we’re in Southampton and we are in it to win,” Wilkinson added.

Norwegian Cruise Line to offer ex-UK cruises for first time in seven years


Photo by Dave Jones

by Hollie-Rae Merrick 

Norwegian Cruise Line will have a UK-dedicated ship sailing from Southampton for the first time in seven years from 2017.

The cruise line will offer a series of 11 Western Europe and three Norwegian Fjords sailings between May 12 and June 20 and August 7 and October 16, 2017. Also available will be two shorter taster cruises.

Norwegian Jade (pictured) will arrive in Europe after a two-and-a-half-week dry-dock. Ports of call featured on its itineraries include Hamburg, Amsterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre, Alesund, Geiranger, and Bergen.

The line’s 2017 programme includes a total of five ships sailing in Europe, the line’s biggest ever European deployment.

Norwegian Getaway, which launched in 2014, will return to Europe to sail on eight or nine-night Baltic Capitals cruises to and from Copenhagen.

Norwegian Epic will sail in the Western Mediterranean; Norwegian Spirit will offer 10 and 11-night voyages between Barcelona and Venice and Norwegian Star will sail between Venice and the Greek Isles.

Norwegian’s managing director for EMEA, Christian Boell, said: “We’re clearly demonstrating our commitment to our European customers, especially cruisers in the UK, with these exciting summer itineraries.

“Not only are we offering the possibility to embark in Southampton but we are also bringing one of our newest and most innovative ships back to Europe.

“We’re convinced that this will encourage continued growth in the UK market, where we have just seen record breaking guest numbers in 2015.”

Northern Europe general manager, Nick Wilkinson, added: “I’m sure these exciting Southampton sailings will be music to our travel partners’ ears.”

New ship Norwegian Escape, which launched in October 2015, will spend summer 2017 sailing alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami on May 6.