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Cruise travellers are most interested in Eastern Mediterranean destinations

Because of the increased interest in European cruising, Cruise Critic, the online resource for consumer-oriented cruise reviews and news, conducted a survey about cruising in Europe. More than 1,400 travellers from around the world completed the survey. Forty-two percent of survey respondents are planning to take a European cruise within the next three years.

“According to our survey, Europe is a draw because cruisers can experience a variety of different cultures and attractions in one trip,” said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief, Cruise Critic.

Europe = Variety

Nearly one third of survey respondents indicated that what they find most appealing about a European cruise is the opportunity to experience a variety of different cultures and attractions. Another 27 percent said it is the opportunity to visit many different European cities/locations during one holiday.

Mediterranean Tops Cruise Itineraries

The Mediterranean is the top choice for cruise itineraries in Europe, with 32 percent of the respondents choosing the Eastern Mediterranean (Athens, Istanbul, Greek Islands) and 20 percent opting for the Western Mediterranean (Rome, Naples, Barcelona) as the European cruise holiday itinerary that interests them most.

When it comes to the ports travellers are most interested in visiting, the Greek Islands (Santorini, Mykonos, Ios) were the favourite for 25 percent of respondents. Moving into northern waters, St. Petersburg, Russia is second with nine percent.

Rome (15 percent) and Venice (13 percent) are the most popular destinations for travellers that want to add an on-land vacation to their cruise trips.

Big Ship Style

When it comes to style of cruise holiday in Europe just over half (51 percent) of the respondents said their preference was for a big ship with lots of activities and entertainment. The next most appealing European cruise experience is on a small ship/yacht (31 percent) followed by a river cruise (19 percent.)

Cost Concerns

The main deterrent to taking a cruise in Europe is cost, with the high exchange rate especially worrying American travellers (33 percent), as is the cost of the airfare (14 percent.)

Sailing Saves

The most common cost-cutting tip given by cruisers is to either book early or last-minute. Other popular suggestions include booking your own air and transfer arrangements, staying in a cheaper category of cabin, using a travel agent or cruise broker, and researching online.

When asked how to save money during a cruise holiday, the most frequent recommendations concern shore excursions, drinks and gambling. The top tip is to arrange your own excursions and not take those organized by the ship. Suggestions for avoiding the bar bill blues (alcohol and sodas) include smuggling a private supply on board, checking the bar tab daily, ordering the drink-of-the-day or purchasing an all-inclusive package. The recommendation for gambling is – “don’t.”

Top 10 European Cruise Ports, (in alphabetical order)

Compiled by Cruise Critic editors, this list provides travellers with the names of ports that are almost certain to be the highlight of any cruise vacation in Europe.

  • Barcelona
  • Copenhagen
  • Dubrovnik
  • Florence (Livorno)
  • Istanbul
  • London (Dover, Harwich, Southampton, Tilbury)
  • Rome (Civitavecchia)
  • Santorini
  • St. Petersburg
  • Venice

“London, on the top 10 European ports list because it is one of the regions most dynamic and interesting cities, is also one of the most popular ports of embarkation in Europe. Travelling here to board a ship makes London a natural spot for a pre or post-cruise stay,” said Spencer Brown.

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