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Survey rates top cruise destinations

According to a survey by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the top five cruise destinations for 2008 are merely a remix of 2007’s top destinations. The most interesting results show how Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises rate against other top international destinations.

Alaska gains the top spot in cruise destinations for the first time in four years, after ranking second in last year’s survey. It’s followed by the western Caribbean, eastern Caribbean, Mediterranean, and southern Caribbean. In the 2007 survey, the western Caribbean topped the charts, but the other three top destinations kept the same placements. The fall of the western Caribbean from first to second seems in line with the soft Caribbean market we’ve been seeing for a while. Considering the popularity of Mediterranean cruising, I’m surprised it didn’t pass any of the Caribbean entries.

More interesting is the rating of top international destinations, which include cruise and non-cruise destinations. Caribbean cruising tops the list as it did last year, but Mediterranean cruising jumped from 10th place to fifth. It surpassed London, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and several spots in Mexico. I’d wager the weak dollar is responsible for this rapid rise up the charts. Travelers who want to go to Europe in 2008 may be able to stay on budget by paying in dollars for a cruise rather than in pounds or euros for a land vacation.

So what’s the prognosis for 2008 cruise travel? Based on this survey, I’d say the ever-popular Mediterranean cruises will continue to increase in price and sell out quickly. And despite rumors of tired ports and lack of interest, you can still expect crowds in the Caribbean. If you want to cruise Alaska this summer, book your trip soon—apparently, everyone else wants to go there, too.

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