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Europe to Draw More Cruisers This Summer

If you’re planning a European cruise for the summer of 2011, you’ll be in good company. Actual booking data from Cruise Holidays offices throughout North America show that more vacationers are planning to cruise Europe this summer than Alaska, which has traditionally topped Europe for passenger count.

While the appeal of Europe is certainly based on its fabulous ports, fascinating history and modern attractions, it’s helped by the fact that European cruises represent good value. A recent survey shows that Cruise Holidays’ experts agree three to one that, for now, European cruises deliver greater value than Alaskan cruises. Cruise Holidays’ data also show that the average cost of a 12-day Mediterranean cruise has steadily dropped since 2009. The average cost per day across all stateroom categories is down to $222 per person, compared to $262 in 2010 and $290 in 2009.

European cruises are also popular among experienced cruise passengers. While first-time cruisers often choose the Caribbean or another destination close to home, many of those who have experienced the comfort and convenience of a cruise vacation are ready to head to Europe.

In addition to value and convenience, one of the best things about cruising Europe is that so many popular cities and sights are accessible via cruise. Many of Europe’s major cities were built on the water, and approaching from the sea offers fantastic views.

Two of the most popular European cities to visit via cruise ship are Barcelona, Spain, and Rome, Italy. Barcelona is a vibrant city where you can spend a wonderful day simply walking through the distinctive neighborhoods, admiring the mix of Gothic and modern architecture. You can also browse the flower and produce stands of Las Ramblas and pause to enjoy some tapas (small plates of delicious food) with a glass of sangria.

Rome’s ancient ruins, precious artworks and religious sites give it the feel of a giant living museum. You can sightsee, shop, indulge in gelato and pasta, and experience a bit of la dolce vita (the good life) that abounds in Rome.

Because both Barcelona and Rome are located in the Western Mediterranean, you can easily visit both on the same cruise. There are several other regions of Europe to explore by cruise, including the Eastern Mediterranean, the Western Coast, the British Isles, the Baltics and Scandinavia. To consider all of your options for a European cruise, talk with your personal cruise expert.