Should I Book a Cruise Holiday in 2023?
In short, yes. And here's why…
As travel continues to open up, cruise holidays for 2022/23 have boomed. There's an incredible demand from cruisers who had their trips cancelled or delayed due to the pandemic, as well as new customers with renewed confidence, plus, thanks to the host of new ships and exciting itineraries, more and more people are being inspired to take a long-overdue getaway.
For those dreaming of soaking up the white-sand beaches and shimmering turquoise waters of the Caribbean or the dramatic landscapes and natural wonders of Iceland, you might be asking yourself: should I book a cruise holiday in 2023? At Holiday Extras, we understand that some travellers might have some reservations before heading out on the open seas, so, to help put your mind at ease, we've put together our top reasons why we think 2023 cruises are a fantastic choice.
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6 reasons to book a cruise for 2023
1. Take advantage of money-saving deals
After the disruption to the cruise industry over the last couple of years, many providers are keen to get people back on board, running a whole host of money-saving incentives, from discounts on bookings, additional bonuses, and promotions on onboard experiences, making 2023 an excellent time to book. To maximise your savings even more, take advantage of Wave Season! Between January and March cruise liners offer some of the biggest and best promotions - think of it like a 3-month long Black Friday. During this time, enjoy perks like reduced fares and deposits, two-for-one fares, discounts for third and fourth guests (ideal for families), cabin upgrades, onboard credit, food and drink packages, free Wi-Fi and lots more.
Here are some of the best deals on world cruises in 2023 from some of the biggest liners:
- P&O Cruises deals
- Marella Cruises deals
- Princess Cruises deals
- Royal Caribbean deals
- Fred Olsen deals
- Celebrity Cruise deals
- SAGA Cruise deals
2. Cruise prices are likely to increase
As cruise holidays continue to get back to normal, it's likely that prices will gradually increase due to pent-up demand coupled with lower ship capacity (to accommodate COVID health and safety protocols). Make your money stretch further by booking sooner rather than later to really benefit from the deals and incentives currently on sale.
3. Ships will be less crowded
In line with public health measures, cruise ships are sailing at reduced capacity, most commonly at around 75%, which means a cruise holiday in 2023 is the ideal time if you like the sound of fewer crowds. Not only is this great for safety and social distancing purposes, but it also has the added bonus of creating a much more relaxed and quieter environment and increased availability for onboard activities.
4. There are lots of safety protocols in place
Safety for guests and crew are priority for cruise liners which is why you can expect the most stringent health and safety measures in place, including:
- Vaccine requirements for most or all passengers
- Pre-cruise testing for all passengers
- Face masks to be worn indoors
- Elevated standards of sanitation and cleanliness
- Highly trained medical staff and facilities
- Enhanced air filtration
Please note: Measures can vary by cruise ship. For the most up-to-date information and exact measures in place, please check the individual cruise line's website.
5. Cruise liners are offering more flexible cancellation policies
Prior to COVID-19, cruise line cancellation policies were notoriously strict, especially once you made final payment. In response to the pandemic, however, many cruise liners adjusted their cancellation policies to allow much greater flexibility. To ensure passengers can cruise with confidence, many liners now permit cancellations up to 48 hours before the sail date with refunds being issued in Future Cruise Credits. In addition, many cruise liners offer a Best Price Guarantee, where fares can be updated if prices change or new promotions become available, so you'll never be out of pocket. Please note: Cancellation policies and best price guarantees will vary from line to line. It's best to check individual websites for exact terms and conditions.
6. Cruise holidays in 2023 will give you something to look forward to
After the last couple of years we've had, it's safe to say we could all use something to look forward to and are well overdue a holiday. Why not make 2023 the year you book a tropical trip to the Caribbean, an icy escape to Alaska or a culturally-rich getaway to the cities of Europe?
What to expect on your cruise holiday in 2022
Do I need to do any tests before embarkation? Will there still be entertainment onboard? Will I still be able to book excursions? If these are the kind of questions running through your mind, we're here to help. Take a look at some of the changes you can expect to see pre-boarding, on the ship and offshore.
Preparing to travel
Before setting off you'll need to ensure you have evidence of your COVID-19 vaccination status, completed the mandatory UK Government's Passenger Locator Form (PLF), booked a COVID-19 test ready to take when you return home, and many cruise liners will ask you to complete an online Health Declaration between 1 and 3 days before your holiday. Remember to organise travel insurance (having comprehensive cover is a requirement for many liners) and to pack plenty of face masks.
UK Government travel requirements can change and procedures will differ slightly from line to line, so we recommend checking the individual cruise line's website. They will be able to provide you with an up-to-date pre-cruise checklist that's compliant with government regulations and their specific requirements. If you're sailing from an overseas port, this is also where you'll find everything you need to know about entry requirements for the country your cruise sets sail in, and for your return to the UK.
Your experience onboard
Just before boarding you should expect a health screening which will likely include temperature checks, exposure assessment questions and, in some circumstances, even a rapid flow COVID-19 test. You'll also need to show proof of your vaccination status.
Onboard there will be plenty of safety and hygiene measures in place, from increased cleaning to required mask-wearing inside, one-way systems to cashless payments. When it comes to dining, prepare for reservations to be encouraged to help avoid queues and for restaurants and bars to operate using table service only. Entertainment, activities, pools, spas etc. are a huge part of the cruise experience and are continuing with some adjustments, such as taking reservations, reduced capacity and extended schedules, to ensure social distancing.
For exact boarding requirements and onboard measures in place, please check the individual cruise line's website.
Can I make a beeline for the beach? Or enjoy my morning coffee in some charming cafe in Rome? Yes, many destinations permit guests to go ashore and explore independently, while adhering to local COVID protocols. For example, you might be asked to show proof of vaccination when visiting places like museums or wear a mask in indoor spaces. Some destinations, however, may only allow cruise line organised shore excursions - these trips and tours will have been vetted by experts to make sure they meet local COVID safety measures.
Cruise lines will be monitoring the latest travel advice and requirements for the stop-off destinations and will keep guests informed. You can also keep up to date by using the UK Government's Foreign travel advice website.
Once you're back in the UK, you'll need to complete a Passenger Locator Form and follow the COVID-19 testing and quarantine rules in place. At the time of writing, people who are vaccinated and arriving back in England don't need to quarantine but will need to take a rapid flow or PCR test within 2 days of arrival. If your test is positive, you'll need to self-isolate.
How To Pack For A Cruise Holiday?
Heading to the Caribbean or the Nordics and wondering how to pack for a cruise holiday? Don't panic follow our handy guide to making the most of your trip!