Which? publishes annual cruise line report

UK-based consumer group, Which?, has published its annual cruise line report.

The report, which is based on cruise passengers’ experiences on board, assessed 13 different cruise companies and rated them out of five stars across eight different categories. These included customer service, cabin space, on-board facilities, entertainment and value for money. Oceania achieved five stars in several categories and came out as the overall leader in customer satisfaction with a score of 89 percent. At the other end of the scale, Norwegian came bottom with an overall satisfaction score of 60 percent.

The figures revealed a trend towards customers favouring smaller ships with fewer passengers. Cabin space also proved a major issue with consumers and Oceania scored well in both of these categories, including five out of five stars for passenger to space ratio. Although the company’s food quality and on-board facilities also scored highly, it only managed three stars for its entertainment.

Saga, a cruise line exclusively for the over 50’s, came second on the list. 85 percent of its passengers were Very Satisfied with their cruise experience. P&O was named best of the large cruise line companies. It scored well for on-board facilities, cabin quality and passenger to space ratio, and at an average per night cost of £152, it figured well against Saga’s £252 per night and Oceania’s £294 per night. Its main complaint was the hard sell of add-ons and excursions.

Norwegian’s less impressive rating came despite a competitive £175 average cost per night. Not surprisingly for a company that has three ships that are capable of accommodating 4,000 passengers, it fared badly on the passenger to space ratio, with frequent queues for restaurants, bars and entertainment. However, Which? stated that Norwegian’s overall 60 percent score was by no means a disaster.

Expedia names world’s 25 top shopping destinations

Expedia, a US-based on-line travel company, has compiled a list of the world’s top 25 travel destinations for shopping.

With this festive period being the busiest time of the year for the world’s retailers, the company has based its league table on data that includes blogger recommendations, visitor numbers, value for money and friendliness.

London achieved fourth place for the UK, trailing behind New York in first place, Berlin that took second and Los Angeles in third. None of these will come as a great surprise, but other shopping destinations on the list were less predictable.

Examples of these include Sao Paulo in Brazil, Seoul in South Korea, Melbourne in Australia and Romania’s capital Bucharest that just made the list at number 25. Scotland also had a showing, with Edinburgh taking twentieth spot. Dubai with its glitzy, top end shops for the well-off came fourteenth, while Marrakech’s more affordable markets and souks earned it nineteenth place. Africa’s other representative on the list was Cape Town, achieving twenty-third place. The USA had one other representative in addition to its two in the top four, with San Francisco in thirteenth place.

The complete list reads, 1, New York, 2, Berlin, 3, Los Angeles, 4, London, 5, Kuala Lumpur, 6, Tokyo, 7, Singapore, 8, Istanbul, 9, Paris, 10, Madrid, 11, Sao Paulo, 12, Bangkok, 13, San Francisco, 14, Dubai, 15, Milan, 16, Rome, 17, Hong Kong, 18, Seoul, 19, Marrakech, 20, Edinburgh, 21, Melbourne, 22, Vienna, 23, Cape Town, 24, Amsterdam and 25, Bucharest.