The cruise industry is readying itself for another round of discounts and price offers as companies vie for elusive late bookings in the latest battle to beat the recession.
Silversea, which specialises in high-end, long-term cruises to exotic destinations around the globe, is set to offer passengers free economy air travel from the UK in a bid to boost bookings.
The incentive includes return transfers from the airport to the ship, and on some cruises passengers can take advantage of a free $1,000 on-board credit per suite, which can be used for spa treatments, excursions or dinners.
The offer is available on 28 European and Mediterranean cruises.
Trudy Redfern, Silversea’s managing director said: ‘We’ve created new programmes to make it as attractive as possible for guests, who may have been holding back, to move ahead with their travel plans for 2009.
‘These incentives represent incredible value when you consider Silversea’s ultra-luxury all-inclusive offering.’
The firm is also offering reduced fares to Alaska, South America and the Pacific Coast, starting from £599.
The cruise line has also cut business class air fares to European and long haul destinations. Business fares start at £199 for selected European voyages and £1,999 for more exotic destinations.
To date, the cruise industry has managed to weather the credit crunch as passenger numbers continue to rise.
The latest Annual Cruise Review for 2008 showed that last year almost 10 per cent of foreign package holidays booked in the UK were a cruise, up from under four per cent in 1999.
But despite the numbers, many in the cruise industry feel that the severe price cutting is unsustainable.