BY A CORRESPONDENT
March 12, 2007: Of the several travel options,
cruises are fast gaining popularity. Cruises range from
special group travel, family reunions, class reunions,
graduation parties, weddings and social club outings to
Cruising has become one of the fastest growing sectors
in the travel industry. And, according to the Cruise
Lines International Association (CLIA), the year 2007
will be a year of immense growth, with 12.6 million
cruise passengers expected to set sail. This figure
represents an increase of roughly half a million
passengers over 2006.
Cruising is one of the easiest and most cost-effective
way to travel with a large number of people. Having to
unpack only once even while visiting a number of
vacation destinations is an attractive proposition for
Groups especially benefit from the wide selection of
leisure and business amenities offered aboard modern
luxury liners. The cruise package usually includes all
meals, snacks, basic beverages and a variety of
activities and live entertainment.
It seems travel and reunions go together well – one in
five US adults took a trip to attend a reunion in 2006,
according to the Travel Industry Association. Figures
show that 34% of American adults travelled to reunions
or social gatherings in the past three years, the total
number coming to about 72 million US adults.
“Cruises are the ideal setting for all types of
reunions, social gatherings and corporate events,”
according to Leslie Downey, director of Travelers
Advantage. “If you are planning the perfect wedding or
graduation celebration, a cruise offers the greatest
romantic escape or well-deserved reward.”
Most cruise ships offer a wide variety of dining and
recreation options, inspiring more and more groups to
set sail and prefer cruise to hotels and resorts.
On board cruise ships are specialty restaurants serving
a vast choice of food ranging from ethnic to
international cuisine. Opportunities for fun include
casinos, full-service spas, Broadway-style shows,
supervised kids’ clubs, nightclubs, pool solariums,
rock-climbing walls, art galleries, ice-skating rinks,
teen coffeehouses, fitness centres, two-story shopping
promenades – and much more.
The accommodation capacity of most cruise ships is
larger than in many hotels. The floating resorts sport a
variety of staterooms, many with spectacular ocean views
and private balconies.
The big names offering cruise include Carnival Cruise
Lines and Royal Caribbean International, and these can
boast of having some of the world’s biggest vessels.
Holland America Line, a premium alternative, sails a
seven-night Mexican Riviera journey aboard the Oosterdam
that offers groups everything from stateroom gifts like
champagne with chocolate-covered strawberries to dining
upgrades and complimentary spa massages.