Canadians are taking to the high seas to get away from it all, making up more than a quarter of all non-U.S. passengers on major cruise lines.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), a marketing organization representing cruise lines, said more than 770,000 Canadians were expected to take a cruise in 2009, triple the number from 10 years earlier.
Canadians are also an important part of the industry, as they make up 25.5 per cent of non-U.S. cruise vacationers, CLIA said.
“Canada is playing a bigger and bigger role, offering multiple appealing cruise destinations on both coasts, and Canadians from all parts of the country are taking more and more cruises,” organization president and CEO Terry Dale said recently.
Ottawa resident Kathy Tomko, a frequent cruiser, said much of the work is done for you.
“We . . . strongly feel that you cannot beat the quality of a cruise, coupled with the variety of activities offered, with any other style of vacation. The options for dining, entertainment, touring, relaxing, etc., with cruising are amazing, and most of the legwork of figuring stuff out is done for you by the cruise line. Prices are set in advance so you can plan/budget accordingly,” she said.
That’s the kind of comment Lanie Fagan, CLIA’s director of communications, likes to hear from Canadians.
“Perhaps Canadians are the smartest of consumers; they recognize the intrinsic value cruises represent,” Fagan said. “It doesn’t hut that Canadians are avid travellers to begin with, and the Canadian latitude contributes to the November-to-March warm-weather getaway.”
The association is holding the industry’s annual conference in Vancouver from June 2 to 6, the first time the event has been staged outside of Florida.
According to a recent survey of its Canadian travel agents, Canadian consumers have the strongest interest, and perceive the highest value, in cruise vacations, followed closely by all-inclusive resorts. Agents also said cruise vacations were the easiest sale to make.
Canadian cruisers are planning and booking their cruise vacations further in advance. CLIA member travel agents in Canada report 2010 bookings are occurring, on average, 5.6 months in advance, versus the average 4.4 months in 2009.