Friday, November 13, 2009

Cruise Lines Make Big Europe Push

13 November 2009

This morning I attended the 2010 Europe webinar for Holland America Line. That venerable cruise line is betting heavily that Europe will be a hot destination for next year. In fact, they are dedicating their two newest ships the Eurodam (debuting this year) and the Nieuw Amsterdam (coming in July 2010) to full seasons in Europe.

The Mediterranean seems to be the big winner. The major cruise lines have extended their Med seasons into October of November in some cases (even year-round for a few). The Northern Europe season which usually involves the Baltic is much shorter because by October the weather starts to be chilly and less inviting for cruise guests. St. Petersburg, Russia is a major port with every visiting ship overnighting and some spending two nights in that port. In fact, a major trend is for many ships to overnight in places like Venice, Barcelona, Istanbul and elsewhere.

With the Euro heading higher against the dollar, the value of a European cruise has grown. Equivalent European hotels and resorts are usually far more expensive than most ship costs. Cruise Holidays is looking forward to having a new arsenal of tools for 2010 including better air choices, concierge services and hotel packages to top off a great cruise vacation.

Lots of choices for Europe in 2010, but it looks like the cruise lines are offering their best deals for those who book earlier. It’s a destination which most Americans find to be a magnetic draw. Plus, new river cruise ships and itineraries now add extra pizzazz for those who want to experience Europe.

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