The Telegraph Newspaper in the UK is the headline sponsor of the Cruise Show that takes place in a few centres each each. The big show is in London, and it is taking place on weekend of 24 – 25 March. I attended the first day on the Saturday.
The show is held at the London Olympia Exhibition centre in West London, which is between Kensington High Street and Hammersmith. The main hall is a stunning building with huge ceiling and large glass features at each end. It is very impressive, and a great venue as it feels open, bright and very grand. The show started in one of the smaller halls, but has grown and now takes place in the big grand hall.
As the space is also huge, the exhibition is able to be laid out over a good sized space. It does not feel cramped, which is important as the show attracts a large crowd. The pictures I took and are on the posting show this. The show, in theory, costs about £10 a person to attend. However, many of the Cruise Lines send free entry out to their mailing lists (I got mine from Cunard), and the various Cruise and Travel magazines also offer deals. So you should try and ensure you look out for those. The venue can be reached by the tube from Earl’s Court, is on many bus routes, or there is a multi storey car park behind London Olympia. It is fairly costly, at £5 for 2 hours and then the charges ramp up (£15 for 2 to 4 hours for example) .
Here are the main pluses of the show:
Perfect for First Time Cruisers as you get to see pretty much the whole industry, compare lines and speak to more experts that you could ever wish for
For more established cruisers who know what they like can also gain, as there are lines and things you may not have known about or considered. For example, this year I discovered an amazing new Africa Queen small ship that goes down the river in Botswana, and another small line travelling around Scotland that I did not know about
The talks throughout the day. There are 4 areas with theatres that have talks all throughout the day. They each have a different focus, with great and knowledgeable speakers. The 4 different theatres focus on: (1) Ask the experts; (2) Meet the Cruise Lines; (3) Small Ship Cruising and (4) World of Travel. Each have programs that run all day.
Most of the cruise Lines have competitions with a free cruise as the prize. This is to get you to fill out a form to enable them to build their database.
You can cover all the cruise lines you want to in a concentrated time. An hour or two, assuming you don’t of to the talks, will get you all the research and brochures you need without the hassle of contacting different lines to get them sent.
There are a number of areas selling great coffee, treats and spaces to sit and discuss and chat.
A fun and informative day out. You come away with a free copy of the Saturday Telegraph, loads of brochures to inspire – and if you are lucky win one of those cruises!