Monday, September 13, 2010

Port Calls on Cruises Getting Longer

One of the most common questions we get on the Travel Show is: "I'm interested in visiting destination "X"--should I do it on a cruise or on a land vacation?" It doesn't really matter what the destination is, we almost always reply that if you're traveling to really explore a certain area of the world, you'll get more time in that destination if you do it by land. That cruises are more about the time spent aboard the ship, because the time in port is limited.

Istanbul cruise photo by Jackson Gibbs
We may have to change that stock answer. Yesterday, we had as a guest on our radio show Sherry Laskin, owner of the VacationShoppe and the author of the CruiseMaven blog, and Sherry reported to us that, according to her research, most cruises of 8-days or longer now include at least one overnight port stay. This is true for the mass market ships as well as the more upscale lines.

Some of those 8-nighters (and longer sailings) will also include one or two nights on which the ship leaves the port at midnight. Like overnights, these late-night push-offs allow passengers ample time make long day trips outside of the immediate port area (say Cairo for Alexandria stops or Florence for Civitaveccia).

The one exception to the 8-day rule seems to be Caribbean cruises; no matter how long you sail on those, you're going to push off when the sun sets. Why? I'm guessing that the revenue in the casino on these "fun in the sun" journeys is just too important to the cruise lines' bottom lines to allow the passengers off the ship at night.

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