Q Is it possible to do cheap holidays abroad with six kids?
A Having more than three children is regarded as a notifiable offence by the travel industry – their pricing structure is based on 2+2 and very occasionally 2+3.
Camping is a great way to have a lot of fun on a small budget and both Normandy and Brittany are ideal locations to pitch your tent.
For guaranteed sun, the Vendee is only five hours from Cherbourg with a very good road system. Both are easily accessible from Ireland by car or camper van from Rosslare, Cork and now Dublin (Irish Ferries have a new weekly no frills service from Dublin to France) so you reduce transportation costs and avoid the stress of travelling with six children (and their luggage) on public transport.
There are hundreds of campsites available and because camping is so popular they are well-maintained, good value and there's usually a great family atmosphere.
cheap, local produce and handy barbeCues mean catering costs are low, yet stomachs are easily filled. For more information try the French Tourist Board (www.franceguide.com).
Q My husband and I were hoping to go on a cruise somewhere warm in Europe in September.
We were spoiled rotten last September with a 12-night cruise to the Greek Islands/Turkey on Celebrity Silhouette (first time with Celebrity). The fantastic standard of service, entertainment, and food has now become the cruise bench mark for us. We were hoping to do something similar but the prices appear to be higher. Can you think of any way one could reduce the cost? I feel there used to be a big discrepancy between the cost of "fly/cruise" and just "cruise only". But I don't think that sharp difference is there now.
A You are right about prices. Celebrity is a great product, a step above its big ship rivals, but one of the interesting changes in the cruise market in the past 12 months is that Celebrity and sister company Royal Caribbean, among others, tried to improve their yield (by increasing prices).
The result was that the overall market declined and cruise lines notably MSC, but also Cunard, increased their market share.
A good premium cruise product is MSC's yacht club, with private dining, pool and butler service has a ship within a ship luxury option, upgrades off peak are cheaper than a premium cruise line. I can speak from experience, it is a terrific addition and if you catch it at a sales price it is €1,500.
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