Palma.—A sluggish cruise market is being blamed on over-capacity in the sector - a similar problem that tour operators suffered five years ago - and the discounting culture.

This comes after lines and third parties moved to introduce more campaigns into the market in the past week as the first week of February had been “very quiet” for bookings.

Cruise started the year 28% down for summer 2013 bookings, according to GfK Ascent.
Colin Wilson, group sales director for the All Leisure Group - which owns cruise lines including Voyages of Discovery - said he believed the cruise sector was facing the same issues operators faced five years ago.

He said: “There is over-capacity. It is pretty clear when you look at some of the pricing and the creative ways that people are discounting that it is an issue at the moment.” Julia Lo Bue-Said, leisure director at Advantage Travel Centres, blamed late discounting and last year's commission cuts for the dip in the cruise market.

She added: “Mainstream cruise is a challenging market. “Now travel agents in a lot of cases may convert potential cruise passengers to land-based holidays because they can earn more.”