North Americans focus more on itinerary, less on price – cruise survey

North Americans focus more on itinerary, less on price – cruise surveyMINNEAPOLIS — Excitement over river cruising is adding to Europe’s overall allure for those taking cruise vacations in 2014, according to Cruise Holidays.

Combined with European deep water cruises, the continent’s cruise destinations rank second only to the Caribbean among Cruise Holidays clientele. Furthermore, Amsterdam and Budapest are emerging as river cruising’s top destinations.

Additionally, cruisers will eagerly wait 11 more months until the most anticipated ship of 2014 begins welcoming cruise passengers. These are just some of the highlights of Cruise Holidays International’s 2014 Cruise Trends survey.

Cruise Holidays is a network of cruise-specialty travel agencies based in North America, and its cruise experts across the United States and Canada participated in the survey.

With its diverse itineraries, the Caribbean continues to hold the top spot in cruise bookings for the year ahead, by a wide margin. Thanks to its nearly year-round sunny weather and convenient access from the southern and eastern United States, the Caribbean drives the majority of all cruise bookings.

While river cruising proliferates, interest in large, new ocean-going (i.e. deep water) ships is also strong. In fact, when Cruise Holidays experts were asked which new ship they are anticipating the most in 2014, the overwhelming response was Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas.

This ship will not debut until November 2014, but it opened for booking in May 2013; bookings have been very impressive, according to Cruise Holidays. In fact, the ship accounts for nearly 20% of all Cruise Holidays cruise bookings looking into 2015, the ship’s first full year in service. Quantum of the Seas, the first in Royal Caribbean International’s ‘Quantum Class’, will carry 4,100 passengers, which is actually fewer guests than Royal Caribbean’s two most recently launched ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Quantum of the Seas will homeport in Cape Liberty (Bayonne), New Jersey, and will begin a rotation of cruises to the Bahamas, the Eastern Caribbean and the Southern Caribbean beginning in late 2014, with lengths varying between seven and 12 nights.