It’s a question that many people begin to ask themselves around this time of year; the plan being that they’ll book their next holiday once they get the expense of Christmas out of the way. The question of where often comes down to a few critical issues such as price, availability and accessibility. Next year, people will be adding at least one more criterion to that list: security! Following the recent spate of terrorist attacks in countries like Egypt and Tunisia — and to a lesser extent Turkey — many westerners are rightly concerned as to their personal safety in Muslim countries and whilst the vast majority of Muslims are peace loving and in no way condone the acts of Jihadists like ISIS, the fact remains that most people are likely to err on the side of caution. The question remains then: If not there then where?
Countries like Egypt and Tunisia are justly popular for their almost guaranteed year-round sunshine, friendly people, beautiful beaches, ancient cultures and great shopping. They are also within relatively easy reach of Ireland with direct flights and of course there’s also the question of cost!Complicating the matter further of course will be the fact that Irish consumers will not be alone in 2016 in considering alternative destinations to replace the ones now considered off limits and which can also tick many of the above boxes in terms of accessibility, value for money etc.
Next year is therefore probably a great time for many travelers to perhaps consider cruising as a viable holiday alternative for the first time. The prices are extremely competitive — particularly if you check out some of the deals that MSC Cruises have on offer with cruise-only options starting from as little as €399. The real beauty of cruising though is that the optimum value for money still applies, no matter how far up the food chain you go. The fact of the matter is that cruising offers the best value for money around, no matter what cruise line, cruise itinerary or date that you choose although admittedly, some time of the year represent better value for money than others. The principle of supply and demand still applies, no matter what. With cruises departing from key gateway cities across Europe such as Barcelona, Copenhagen, Palma, Genoa, Venice, Rome, Athens and Istanbul (and even Southampton), travellers are spoilt for choice and of course the best thing about cruising is that you get to experience all these amazing other destinations too without having to pack and unpack every time. Oh, and did I mention the fact that all your entertainment for the week is included in the price of your ticket and that you can have all of your kids (from toddlers to teenagers) looked after during the day while you and your better half get to enjoy some ‘couple’ time.
The only reason that cruising has still not become a mainstream travel experience is that most people still harbour misconceived ideas as to what it’s all about; who it suits and whether or not they can afford it (you can!). So why not let 2016 be the year in which you break with tradition and get yourself into cruise mode!