This summer, two of Britain’s finest and largest cruise liners are going to be visiting Palma for the first time. The British cruise market is forecast to enjoy further growth this year with the Western Mediterranean proving to be the most popular destination. Cruises were once again a popular choice in 2015, and 2016 should continue this positive trend, with 13% of people planning a cruise in the next 12 months.
Cruise holidays were particularly popular with holidaymakers aged 65+, with 13% of those who took a holiday in 2015 taking a cruise. They were followed by people aged 25 -34, with 12% of holidaymakers in this age group taking a cruise in the last year
Part of the growth of cruise holidays can be attributed to returning passengers: 80% of people who have been on a cruise stated that they would like to go again and research for CLIA UK & Ireland shows that 53% of passengers booked two or more cruises in the last year.
For this reason both Cunard and P&O are going to be operating their flagship cruise liners in the Western Mediterranean this summer and Palma is going to be featuring on their itineries.
P&O’s MV Britannia is the newest and largest of the two: in fact she is the largest British cruise ship afloat, with capacity for 4,324 passengers on her 15 passenger decks plus 1398 officers and crew. At 143,000 GT, Britannia is the largest of eight ships currently in service with P&O Cruises and she is also the flagship of the fleet, taking the honour from Oriana. She officially entered service on 14 March 2015 and was named by Queen Elizabeth II. Her first captain is Paul Brown. Britannia features a 94 metres (308 ft) Union Flag on her bow, the largest of its kind in the world. And, needless to say, on board she boasts every facility one could dream of and will also be the setting for the new series of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Takeaway this year.
The Queen Elizabeth is slightly older. She came into service in October 2010 but is the second largest ship constructed for Cunard, exceeded only by Queen Mary 2, and is capable of carrying up to a maximum of 2,547 passengers. Although having an almost identical interior arrangement to Queen Victoria, the decor is very different. The ship is a tribute to the two previous Queen Elizabeths: the original Queen Elizabeth and the QE2. She also evokes the era of the 1930s, during which Cunard’s first Queen Elizabeth was launched, with many art deco interior touches.