More than 700 delegates, including 400 travel agents, will be gathering in Southampton this week for the fourth ACE UK Cruise Convention where the theme of choice will cover issues ranging from the role of the independent agent to whether bigger is always better, and where industry leaders will focus on the challenges and opportunities cruising faces in the next few years.

A record number of delegates will gather on Thursday at the QEII Cruise Terminal for the three-day UK Cruise Convention (24-26 June) hosted by the Association of Cruise Experts.


Its director Flo Powell said: “As the UK cruise market continues to grow it’s important that we can bring together specialist cruise agents to advance their knowledge and expertise. Eighty per cent of holidaymakers book their cruise through a travel agent, and with more choice than ever before in ships, itineraries and destinations, it’s essential agents have the opportunity to enhance their experience and skills, and catch up with the latest trends and developments in cruising.

"The ACE UK Cruise Convention provides business seminars, ship visits, workshops, a trade fair and networking opportunities to ensure agents are kept fully informed and updated in everything cruise. We are also unveiling new ACE training programmes including modules on cruising and accessibility, emerging cruise destinations, selling ultra luxury and river cruising."

2010 is on course to be another record year with 1.65 million UK passengers taking a cruise holiday, and with a further 14 new ship launches this year and more ships dedicated to the UK market, passenger numbers are set to reach 2 million by 2014. Key highlights for the 2010 ACE UK Cruise Convention include:

· A record six cruise ships for travel agents to visit

· Delegates to hear from key industry leaders including David Dingle, Carnival UK CEO, Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises and Kevin Sheehan, CEO of NCL

· 64 trade fair stands

· Business sessions and networking opportunities

· And TV personality Judith Chalmers to moderate the sessions The ACE UK Cruise Convention runs from Thursday 24 June through until Saturday 26 June at the QEII Cruise Terminal in Southampton.

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