Smooth sailing for Cruise companies

Cruising is booming for the Port of Dover, in spite of tales of economic uncertainty.

This year, Dover will handle 152 cruise ships’ visits to the port, with more than 200,000 passengers.“The demographic spread of cruise travellers - many of whom are not affected by mortgage interest rates or job insecurity - is a major growth factor,” says Kate O’Hara, head of marketing, Port of Dover. “The cruise industry has broadened dramatically over recent years, and has become increasingly popular among families.

“The inclusive nature of on-board holidays means that accommodation, food, travel and entertainment are all embraced in the price - a major plus for anyone wanting to stick to a fixed budget.”

The Port of Dover is steadily growing its cruise business, and is hosting the 2009 Cruise convention from 17 to 19 June. Highlights include an exciting line up of guest speakers, an extended Cruise Trade Fair with the new addition of a “Discovery Zone” plus an opportunity visit up to four ships.
With its ready access to world class tourist sites, Dover continues to be the major UK port for shore excursions with 27 port of call visits planned.  The port is a partner in a tourism initiative “Visit Kent” to promote shore excursions and pre- and post-cruise passenger stays in the county. This has been enthusiastically received by cruise line itinerary planners.

Cruise passengers leaving from Dover are offered quayside parking, porters on hand to help with luggage, and a fast and efficient check-in service.

“These factors give cruising its luxury feel, and in our view, are a common courtesy to anyone setting off on a holiday,” says Kate O’Hara. “Sadly, they have long since been dropped as standard services to passengers at airports.

“Little wonder that cruising is booming.”