By Dave Jones
The world’s largest cruise ship will spend a full season in Europe for the first time in 2015, with strong UK demand to thank.
Following a year in which many cruise companies reduced their European activities, the news that Royal Caribbean will sail Allure of the Seas from Port Everglades in Florida – where it sails alongside its sister ship Oasis of the Seas on primarily Caribbean focused voyages – to Europe is welcome indeed.
Having carried more than two million passengers on Caribbean cruises since its introduction in 2010, the vessel will return for the first time to the continent where it was constructed and will sail from the Spanish port of Barcelona between May and October 2015.
This will follow on the rudder of Oasis of the Seas’ mini-Mediterranean season, which is scheduled for autumn of this year.
Once it has arrived in Barcelona, Allure of the Seas will offer UK and European passengers a chance to enjoy seven-night cruises calling at Palma de Mallorca, Marseilles, La Spezia (for Florence and Pisa), Civitavecchia (for Rome) and Naples.
According to Dominic Paul, head of Royal Caribbean International sales outside of North America, bringing Allure of the Seas to Europe is a “bold move”, but the cruise line is confident of success.
Speaking to Seatrade Insider, he explained that this confidence comes not only from the merit of its Oasis-class ships, but also in the strength of the UK cruise market and prospects for growth here.
Next year is looking exciting indeed, with Royal Caribbean also planning to home port its new vessel Anthem of the Seas in Southampton once construction has been completed.
Stuart Leven, the Royal Caribbean’s managing director for UK and Ireland, added: “The company is showing a big commitment to the UK market in 2015.
He added: “I believe the combination of an Oasis-class ship with all its on-board options and the great cruise destination of the Mediterranean will be a very compelling argument for both those who haven’t cruised before and also cruisers who have never experienced Oasis.”