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Cruises International marks 100 years of luxury cruising with a Titanic-style dinner

Johannesburg, April 18, 2012 – Cruising has come a long way in the 100 years since the Titanic sunk, but the world will never forget the splendour and magnitude of this famous ship. This year, Cruises International, South Africa’s largest cruise operator and Le Canard Restaurant in Sandton, will be joining forces to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the last dinner aboard Titanic. Accordingly, the commemoration dinner, held last night, will be reminiscent of that last dinner.
Guests enjoyed a sumptuous 10-course menu like that which was served in the first class dining salon on the Titanic. The resemblance to the dinner will be made complete with harp, piano and violin music, as played on that fateful night.  Guests arrived donning period costume, so Edwardian frocks and suits will complement the occasion perfectly.
Commenting on the unlikely synergy between the Titanic’s last dinner and a luxury cruise operator, that offers among the world’s best in terms of distinction and destination, Cruises International’s managing director George Argyropolous said: “We chose this theme because at the time of its sailing, Titanic symbolized the ultimate in comfort and luxury.”
“The ship set the highest standards in the trans Atlantic crossing industry,” he said. “Today the luxury cruise lines we represent: Seabourn, Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises do the same, setting new and high standards of service, style, entertainment, dining and ways to acquire new knowledge about the world, its history and culture.”
“With this dinner we want to introduce key members of the media to the magical world of luxury cruising; a world, which offers great value to public and great benefits to both the countries our ships visit, as well as bringing people and cultures closer.”
Currently, an estimated 40 000 South Africans go on international cruises every year and another thousand opt for luxury cruises. The average cost of a luxury cruise is R44 125 per person sharing and South Africans spend on average a further R1 160 per day on additional purchases not already included in the price of the cruise, such as onboard purchases in the boutiques and shore excursions
In fact, it’s the luxury cruises, they are discovering, that offer not only everything that a luxury land-based resort would, but also every facility, activity and experience one could wish for while on holiday. This, of course, is in addition to the chance to sail effortlessly to some of the world’s most historical and beautiful destinations.
According to Argyropoulos, the demand for cruise holidays is becoming so great that the cruises on offer are almost always booked to capacity months in advance.
Argyropoulos has also seen firsthand the steady growth in luxury cruise sales over the past few years. “As more and more consumers discover the benefits of cruising, and after they take a few cruises on the ‘big ships’, they start looking for more luxurious, refined and personalised experiences,” he said.
“Last year we experienced a 15 percent increase in the sales of our luxury brands.  While, a 40 percent year-on-year growth figure for the local cruising industry attests to the growing realisation by South Africans of the value of cruising as a vacation option,” he added.
Some history
The cruising industry was only about 20 years old when the Titanic embarked on its trans-Atlantic journey. The ships used were naval ocean liners that had been made useful for recreational sailing when peacetime meant that their source of income was diminished.
Just before and after the First World War, passenger ships were lavishly decorated, reflecting more and more the interiors of land based hotels or country estates. Extremely luxurious interiors – these ships weren`t called "the floating palaces" for nothing – were meant to draw the attention of the traveller away from the angry seas they had to cross. This style of passenger ship interiors lasted until the beginning of the 1930s when more modernistic interiors emerged.
Over the years the scale and splendour of cruise ships has continued to increase and now it is possible to take a cruise to just about anywhere in the world. Also, safety measures have improved drastically and safety standards are strictly enforced, in large part due to the tragedy that ended the lives of so many aboard the Titanic. Cruises can now be assured that there are adequate plans in place in the unlikely event of trouble at sea.
A record 16-million passengers worldwide travelled on cruise liners last year, adding buoyancy to an industry that is navigating turbulent economic seas.

Created: 18 April 2012  [Tourism | Entertainment Variety | General Lifestyle]