Cruising continues to be one of the major growth industries within travel despite the tough economic climate and it’s the Ultra-Luxury market that has seen the largest rise in UK sales - up by more than 50% in 2009.
The figures are revealed in The Cruise Review, commissioned by the Passenger Shipping Association, and reflect bookings made with Crystal Cruises, Compagnie du Ponant, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea and Yachts of Seabourn. The growth is attributed to the exceptional value for money offered at the very top end of the market, combined with the fact that this year saw the introduction of a number of new luxury ships for the first time in several years.
There has also been growth in bookings for top suites across the full range of cruise lines during 2009, meaning that more than 31,000 cruise customers spent over £5,000 per person and with more than 200,000 paying between £2,500 and £5,000 last year.
As the spa phenomenon continues to grow apace on land, so it does at sea. Pampering and aesthetic services are increasingly part of the affluent consumer’s lifestyle and the expectation is that they should feature within a cruise holiday. Cruise lines continue to expand the range and diversity of their wellness services, with the inclusion of Medi-Spa services too. For example:
Botox®Cosmetic, Dysport™, Restylane® and Perlane®, as well as facial rejuvenation and tooth-whitening, micro-dermabrasion and anti-cellulite treatments are now offered across a very broad range of cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club, NCL and Princess Cruises.
Many cruise operators have developed their own bespoke spa concepts featuring high profile or innovative spa ranges such as Fred Olsen who offer organic spa brand O SPA London, while Princess Cruises feature Lotus Spa & Fitness with Asian influenced treatments. NCL is launching the Norwegian Epic in June 2010 which will host the largest spa at sea at over 31,000 square feet, with the Epic 24 Karat Gold Facial involving a pure 24 carat gold leaf mask.