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Cruises fast getting popular with travelers


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 corporate events.

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 any traveller.

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.




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