Cruising Full Steam Ahead as Holiday Extras Offers New Car Parking for Port of Southampton

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Cruising is the fastest growing sector of the UK travel industry and now Holiday Extras is introducing a new parking option for the UK's busiest port, Southampton.

Cruising is the fastest growing sector of the UK travel industry and now Holiday Extras is introducing a new parking option for the UK's busiest port, Southampton.

Figures from the Passenger Shipping Association show that 2006 was the busiest year ever for cruises in the UK with 1.25 million people taking a cruise, a massive 17% increase on the previous year. An extra 100,000 people are expected to book a UK cruise this year.

Cruises have shaken off their stuffy, formal image as a new generation discover the delights of a holiday at sea. One of the fastest growing sectors of this buoyant market is family cruises. P&O Cruises, which operates in the UK from Southampton, is launching a new family-friendly ship, the Ventura, in 2008 which will have toys and games for younger children and MP3 players and speakers for teenagers. The Ventura is set to become Britain's largest cruise ship when it enters service from Southampton in April next year.

Another new trend in the cruise market is weddings at sea. P&O Cruises started offering couples the chance to get hitched on the ocean waves in 2006 and it has proved so popular that the service has been extended to four of the five ships in the current fleet, and will also be offered on the new Ventura when it comes into service.

Southampton will become even busier when other new ships begin their maiden voyages from the port in 2008. Cunard, which currently operates the world's largest ocean liner from Southampton, Queen Mary 2, will be launching a new ship Queen Victoria and a new programme of cruises to the Baltic, the Black Sea and Mediterranean 'fly-voyages'. This year has seen the Queen Mary 2 make an historic 75 night Maiden World Voyage.

Proving that cruise ships just keep getting bigger, Royal Caribbean International's Independence of the Seas will become the largest cruise ship with a home port in Europe when it sets sail on its inaugural voyage from Southampton in May 2008. The ship will be capable of carrying 3,600 guests and 1,400 crew and feature an interactive family water park, a huge rock climbing wall and fabulous shopping, dining and entertainment.

With a host of other cruise lines operating out of Southampton -- including Fred Olsen, Princess Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Costa Cruises, Saga Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Swan Hellenic and Thomson Cruises -- holidaymakers are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a cruise from the port. From short breaks to Mediterranean cruises, transatlantic crossings and even round the world trips there is something to suit everyone, whether it's your first time at sea or you're a seasoned voyager.

If you're looking for a safe place to park your car during your cruise from Southampton Holiday Extras has the perfect choice. Cruise Parking at Marchwood near the port is operated by Maple Manor, a well-known and trusted car park operator at Gatwick Airport. The car park at Southampton offers free transfers to the port, a high level of security with a 24 hour manned gatehouse and CCTV cameras, and the option of having your car washed while you're away. As always Holiday Extras will be offering the lowest price available so you can be sure you won't find a better deal.


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Helen Gillilan
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