Brits Exchange Pound-Euro Travel Woes for Cruise Holidays

May 15, 2009
Pounds The weak pound has many Brits considering non-euro destinations for their summer holidays -- travelling further afield and away from unfavourable currency exchange rates. But there is a way to visit the Mediterranean and other regions in the "eurozone" without breaking the bank: take a cruise.

Earlier this week, Skyscanner revealed its lists of cities that are up and down among British travellers who are searching for summer flights. The likes of Bangkok, Los Angeles and Egypt's Sharm el Sheikh all saw big rises, while European cities like Cork, Palma and Pisa were among those that took the biggest falls.

Cruising, meanwhile, continues to offer great value for money, due to its all-inclusive nature. Plus, if you choose to cruise with a British- or North America-based cruise line, you will benefit from spending onboard in pounds sterling or U.S. dollars -- not euros.

Penny Guy, spokeswoman for the Passenger Shipping Association -- the trade association for the cruise and ferry industry in the U.K. -- says there's no decline of interest in Europe among cruisers. Fred. Olsen's Wendy Hooper-Greenhill agrees, noting that cruises are a top choice because holidaymakers are becoming more savvy when spending their money on trips.

"As Fred. Olsen cruises are sold in sterling, [holidaymakers] know that everything onboard is taken care of, and with onboard prices also in sterling, there are no nasty surprises -- paying for any extras, such as shore tours, drinks, etc," Hooper-Greenhill says. "It is possible to take a Fred. Olsen cruise in Europe, go ashore at every port of call and never have to worry about the rate of exchange."

Royal Caribbean, which has just signed up Independence of the Seas to sail year-round from Southampton in 2010, also has confidence in Europe. Jo Rzymowska, general manager and associate vice president for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in the U.K. and Ireland, says, "U.K. cruisers who face the unfriendly rate of the pound against the euro are finding that the onboard dollar currency makes for an easier-to-swallow exchange rate, and so their holiday pound goes further.

"The impact of the strong euro also means that holiday essentials, such as eating out and heading to the theatre, have become a very expensive option. With these items -- that would be extras on a land-based holiday -- included in the cruise fare, then the value for money that cruising offers is more apparent than ever."

Brits: Are you more likely to visit Europe by cruise this summer because of the strong euro/weak pound? Vote in our poll!

--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor