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What’s the most popular cruise?

SmarterTravel

Ever wondered if your cruising tastes match that of the general public? Or perhaps you’ve never cruised before and want to know the most popular itineraries so you can pick the perfect first sailing (or avoid the crowds). If so, the 2007 Cruise Holidays Travel Trends Survey, published by cruise retailer Cruise Holidays, may answer many of your questions.

The data was taken from bookings made in Cruise Holidays agencies in the U.S. and Canada between January 1 and March 31. The industry refers to this period as “Wave Season” because it’s when a majority of cruisers book their trips.

Here’s a sampling of Cruise Holidays’ findings:

  • Top cruise destinations for 2007: Caribbean (46.7 percent of bookings), Alaska (19.4 percent), the Mexican Riviera (6.4 percent), and the Mediterranean (6.2 percent)
  • Top Caribbean itinerary: seven-night western Caribbean (29.4 percent)
  • Top European itinerary: 12-night Mediterranean (27.9 percent)
  • Average length of cruise: six to seven days (51.2 percent)
  • Top long itinerary: 12-night Mediterranean (9.35 percent)
  • Top mid-length itinerary: seven-night Alaska (25.98 percent)
  • Top short itinerary: five-night western Caribbean (26.43 percent)

The survey also found that destinations to watch include South America, the Baltic, Australia/New Zealand, Croatia, and the Greek Isles. In the Caribbean, St. Thomas, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel are the most popular ports-of-call. In Europe, cruisers preferred Rome, Venice, and Barcelona.

The most interesting finding to me is the dominance of the Caribbean and Alaska. Industry experts tell us that the Caribbean and Alaska markets are softer this year, but they made up over 65 percent of Cruise Holidays’ bookings. The Mediterranean, this year’s hottest destination, only accounted for 6.2 percent of bookings.

There could be many reasons for these results, including travelers booking their Europe cruises much earlier in the fall and the sheer volume of Caribbean cruises on the market inflating its numbers. Discounted prices have also worked to keep Caribbean bookings up to speed. But it’s interesting to note that despite all the dire warnings, the quintessential Caribbean cruise still reigns supreme.

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