HomeTravelUnderrated city that's 32C in June named top cruise destination in 2024

Underrated city that’s 32C in June named top cruise destination in 2024


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With cruise popularity soaring in 2024, people are rushing to find new destinations, with this city welcoming few tourists compared with its famous neighbour. 

Over 35 million passengers are expected to cruise in 2024, with bookings 25 percent higher than they were in 2019, the previous highest year of bookings. Google Trends data also revealed that searches for the term “cruise destinations” also soared by 105 percent in the UK between January and February of this year.

“The demographic for cruises is definitely changing as we are seeing more [disruptors] entering the market such as the Ritz Carlton who’ve launched their first cruise ships, with more coming in 2024,” said Sara Young, Revenue Manager at Carnival Cruises UK

“We are also seeing more cruises aimed at the younger generations, with Virgin offering hen-dos and Disney cruises growing in popularity for families. There are also more cruise ships now going to more unusual places.”

As a result, avid travellers are rushing to find new destinations with fewer tourists. 

Findings collated by Avanti Travel Insurance revealed that Tampa, in Florida, ranked as the top cruise destination, with an overall cruise index score of 74 out of 100, while very high on the list as the family-friendly and senior-friendly destination. It rated 20 out of 20 for the family-friendly category, the top destination for those with small children, while also scoring 17.5 for seniors and 11.6 for budget. 

Tampa is a bigger city than Orlando, with a better public transport system and more robust downtown area. Most importantly for holidaymakers, it is far less dependent on tourism, so is not as clogged as Orlando is known to be. It is also argued that Tampa has better weather, with Orlando being warmer and more humid due to its inland location. 

Tampa is home to some fantastic family-orientated day trips, including ZooTampa and The Florida Aquarium, as well as speed boat adventures and indoor skydiving. One can also take the Official Downtown Tampa Ghost Tour, or simply take a 2.6-mile scenic riverwalk along the Hillsborough River to discover some of Tampa’s must see architecture. It is also home to some of the world’s top-rated beaches, with an average of 361 days of sunshine each year. 

The Mexican island of Cozumel earned second place, with Barcelona in third with respective index scores of 71.9 and 71.8. Both destinations also featured in the most romantic holiday destinations, with Barcelona scoring 20 out of 20 and Cozumel 17.2. Barcelona was also deemed the most popular destination for food and wine lovers, as well as being the best value destination, with another full marks score for well-priced accommodation, dining and activities. 

It is hardly surprising that, therefore, Barcelona has begun to push for the limiting of cruise ships as the city becomes “saturated” with tourists, joining the concerns of many Spanish cities about overcrowding and overtourism. 

Cozumel was voted as the best cruise destination for older travellers, for reasons including leisurely travel, being culturally enriching and offering the best all-inclusive deals.

This came as no surprise to Avanti Travel Insurance, “given its warm weather, welcoming culture and beautiful beaches”, including Playa Palancar and Chen Rio. The world famous Mayan ruins are one of the many things to explore on the island. 

The study, from January 2024, which involved collecting cruise port data, analysed Tripadvisor reviews to find the best holiday locations based on food and budget as well as their suitability for seniors, couples and families. 

“Cruises are set to be all the rage this year and there’s a reason why they’ve grown in popularity,” said Kelly Johnstone from Avanti Travel Insurance. 

“There’s nothing quite like a cruise. That’s part of what makes them special, but for the uninitiated, it can be quite overwhelming when it’s time to book. 

“Before picking a shortlist of cruise lines and ships, begin by looking at the destinations, and thinking about the sort of cruise you’re after. All ships have ‘personalities’ and cruise lines cater to different audiences.”

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