One of the world’s leading luxury cruise operators is about to announce the launch of a new credit crunch cruise liner, 40 per cent of which will be owned by its passengers on a time-share basis.
The ship concerned is an old classic which has been quietly renovated in one of Europe’s biggest shipyards and expected to be relaunched from Southampton in June 2009.
According to a leaked report, the
To encourage these hesitant travellers and demonstrate to potential, new cruise passengers the fun and benefits of a luxury cruise – the first of a series of 7-day cruises will depart from Southampton this summer and continue through autumn and winter
Stopover ports currently being considered include Calais, Dieppe, Felixstowe, Ostend and, for the first time, Cowes – where passengers will be shipped to shore for a tour of the Isle of Wight, including lunch at one of the island’s most renowned fish ‘n’ chip restaurants.
Initially, time shares will be available through the national press and by applying on-line on the cruise operator’s website. Time share holders can take up to six brief luxury cruises a year.
Tickets will also be available to non-time share holding customers on a strictly first-come-first-served basis for specially reduced rates that match or are well below prices for similar cruises by other operators.
All of the ship’s usual facilities will be available to time-share passengers including the bargain liner’s leisure suite, theatre/cinema, crèche and library; although the swimming pool will only be heated for a few hours in the morning to encourage passengers to take a swim rather than have a shower.
Other measures to keep costs down and ensure that time share holders get value for money will include passengers making up their own cabins. The cruise ship’s laundry will, as usual, be self service but energy-inefficient tumble dryers will be replaced by environmentally-friendly washing lines hung from the ship’s mast and funnel.
All passengers will be encouraged to make their own entertainment by participating in karaoke, amateur dramatics, and stand-up comedy.
There will also be nostalgic 1940s and 1950s themed events held every day of the cruise, including ration-book luncheons, Gramophone evenings, and make-do-and-mend afternoon tea.
Midnight buffets will be replaced by vending machines selling drinks and snacks at reasonable prices. Passengers will also be encouraged to bring on board their own alcoholic drinks – to keep their extras down. All meals will be served on re-usable plastic plates which, at the end of each cruise, will be burnt in the ship’s furnaces with other waste to reduce fuel costs.
One cruise industry insider remarked last night that, “…there is general agreement in the industry that we must do everything we can to encourage more people to take a cruise for there has been significant investment in recent years and we must look to the future.
“No doubt many potential passengers would like to to own shares in a cruise ship for it would guarantee holidays afloat for themselves and their families and friends for many years to come, at an affordable price.”
Update: April Fool!
My apologies for anybody who got caught up in this April Fool blog.
In this case fiction wasn’t far off the truth!
While there is, as far as I know, no such thing as a ‘Time-Share Credit Crunch Cruise’ as I have suggested, however, there are many 2-3-4 days taster cruises being offered by Virgin Holidays Cruises which are well worth sampling, including those by P&O, one of the first operators to sell such cruises in 1995, NCL, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and Cunard.
If you have already booked for one of these cruises or are about to do so, I’d love to hear how you got on and if it was enough to make you consider a longer cruise sometime.