1. Cruising keeps booming: There’s a four-year gap between planning a new ship and sending it to sea, so at least nine new ships take a bow in 2013 and 2014. The biggest launch is likely to be Royal Princess, from Princess Cruises: she’ll include a TV studio at sea for hosting live concerts and luxurious private cabanas that seem to float on the water.
Royal Princess’s maiden voyage, departing Southampton on June 16, is sold out, but 12 nights in the Mediterranean from June 23 starts at £1,387 (cruise only).
2. Sri Lanka delivered a stunning 60 per cent rise in bookings for Cox & Kings in 2012, and key factors behind an expected 2013 surge are the country’s new-found political stability, and the launch of a three-times-a-week British Airways service out of Gatwick in March. Cox & Kings spokesman Greg Thurston says: “Sri Lanka has been growing in popularity and was named best-value long-haul destination by the Post Office this year.”
3. Maldives: Marking 40 year since the opening of its first hotel, the new Kooddoo airport has made it much easier to reach the largely untouched southern atolls and trade journal Travel Trade Gazette predicts a boom in high-end bookings.
4. Greece is set for a bounce back, as people rediscover its trendy boutique hotels. Specialist operator Sunvil Holidays and sister company GIC The Villa Collection have lined up a new airline – Germania – for summer 2013, with old-style creature comforts such as onboard meals included in the price.
The flights will cover the islands of Corfu, Kefalonia, Skiathos and Crete Samos and Lemnos and for more information, call 020 8758 4722 or visit www.sunvil.co.uk
5. Eurozone is back in favour, thanks to the rising strength of sterling. A year ago, the pound bought a measly 1.13 euro, but today the exchange rate has risen to 1.24, which Noel Josephides, managing director at Sunvil Holidays, believes is a key factor in the 26 per cent year-on-year surge in bookings for Greece 2013.
Bob Atkinson, travel expert at TravelSupermarket.com, says: “The beach remains king for our holidays with Britons seeking out value-led all-inclusive package deals in destinations that we know and trust.”