Brits to make record holiday bookings on 'Sunshine Sunday'

Brits to make record holiday bookings this weekend on 'Sunshine Sunday'PA

Tour operators are preparing for the biggest online day of the year for holiday bookings, with two million website searches expected on Sunday 6 January.

According to Thomson, 'Sunshine Sunday' will see 8:45pm as the busiest time for Brits booking their 2013 holidays online.

The tour operator based its findings on search and booking patterns over the last three years.

The most searched for short-haul destinations are anticipated to be the Canary Islands, Greece and Majorca, while Brits looking for long-haul sunshine are expected to look at Mexico, Jamaica and Thailand.

Thomson's marketing Director Jeremy Ellis, said: 'With Christmas firmly out of the way many people want a holiday in the sunshine to look forward to.

'Over the last few years we've seen a trend towards booking holidays earlier and with record bookings over Christmas we're expecting the rush to continue with our busiest online day of year this Sunday.'

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reports that British Airways has predicted the most popular destinations among Brits will be Barbados, Dubai, Las Vegas, Orlando and St Lucia. The most favoured city break spots will be Berlin, Barcelona, Venice, Rome and New York.

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Brits to make record holiday bookings on 'Sunshine Sunday'

Mysterious Myanmar (Burma), as President Obama has just discovered, offers incredible temples and pagodas and (so far) unspoiled landscapes, and cruise holidays offer a no-fuss way to visit. Voyages to Antiquity has a 16-day cruise to Asia including three days in Burma from £2995 per person, and the trip also calls at Singapore and Malaysia.

Carnival Cruise Lines is known for its family-friendly 'fun ships' and next year Carnival Legend sails from Dover. A 12-night sailing calling at Copenhagen, Berlin, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallin and Amsterdam starts from £1,029pp, sailing in April 2013.

Craig Revel Horwood and professional dancers from Strictly Come Dancing will be joining P&O Cruises for seven cruises around the Med during 2013. Fab-u-lous, darling. First one departs in May 2013.

There's no better way to help kids discover a love of history and culture than by taking them to visit ancient monuments and galleries... while in the company of Mickey Mouse and friends. Disney Magic returns to Europe next summer - with four-night cruises to Villefranche, Palma and Barcelona from £699 per person. See virginholidayscruises for more info.

The next Olympics may be four years away but already lots of holidaymakers are heading to Brazil - and if you can time it right, you can combine a cruise down the Amazon with a few nights at the Rio Carnival. Azamara Club Cruises  offers 12 nights on Azamara Quest from £2,309 per person, departing 31 January 2013.

Voodoo museums, trade forts and stunning beaches and bird life - cruises that take in Senegal, Ghana, Sierre Leone and Gambia are hot in 2013. Fred. Olsen offers an 11-night African Beaches and Tropical Islands cruise, departing on 24 February 2013, from £1,099 pp. 

Our love of Norway, its myths and legends shows no signs of abating any time soon. P&O Cruises offers an eight-day return trip on Southampton on board Ventura calling at Stavanger, Skjolden, Gerainger and Bergen from £649pp, departing 27 April 2013.

A big trend in cruise holidays for 2013 is the 'destination immersion' concept, which enables holiday makers to spend a few nights in each port, so they can make the most of their time there. For example, Silversea offers a nine day cruise from Lisbon, Portugal which includes an overnight stay in Monte Carlo, for £1,1950 per person, departing 11 March 2013.

There are lots of new ship launches next year, but probably the most highly anticipated launch of 2013 is Princess Cruises' Royal Princess, which will set sail next June. Highlights include the largest-ever Movies Under the Stars open-air cinema, an adults-only pool with private cabanas and the SeaWalk, an enclosed walkway with glass floor cantilevered over the water. A 12-night Maiden Mediterranean Voyage from Barcelona to Venice, departing 23 June 2013, costs from £1,499pp.

River cruising continues to grow in popularity, offering a laidback way to get to the heart of a destination. Among the most popular cruises is the Yangtze, which takes you on a fascinating cruise through old and new China, with highlights including Beijing, Shanghai and the Great Wall. Uniworld in partnership with Titan Travel offers an 11-day Impressions of China & The Yangtze cruise from £2,949 per person in April 2013.

Advantage Travel has introduced a new ship, Anakonda Amazon River Cruise, complete with 18 luxury suites, wall-to-wall panoramic windows and an observation deck with outdoor jacuzzi. Various itineraries take in the Uasuni National Park, one of the most biodiverse places on earth. Prices start at £751 per person. Visit

Compagnie du Ponant, a boutique French cruise line, is launching a sleek new ship to its fleet in July 2013. Le Soleal boasts five-star acommodation and 132 staterooms and suites, aims to offer the same level of comfort as a private yacht. An eight-night cruise in the Beiring Sea starts at £4,412 per person including flights from Paris, departing in September 2013. Visit

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