Lately, we’ve been getting reacquainted with fundamental and crucial components of the travel industry. We’re going to close our examination with this week’s topic: nontraditional cruises.
We’re intentionally not addressing traditional cruise destinations or itineraries. For that, you should invest time in our comprehensive travel introductory program, the TRIPKIT, which focuses on real-world agent experiences, industry terminology, and a comprehensive overview of cruising and other travel products. You also should mark your calendars for two fun and informative webinars:
- Insider Insight: Exploring the World: Where in the World – Part 1, presented TOMORROW at 2 pm (EST) by Travel Educator Kim Specht, CTIE. This first of three webinars focuses on North America, Central America, South America, Bermuda, and the Caribbean—hotspots for cruising and all types of vacations.
- Insider Insight: Navigating the Waters of Cruising, presented on December 9 at 12 pm (EST) by Kim Specht, CTIE and her special guest, Alex Pinelo, CTC, Senior VP of Sales, AmaWaterways. Kim and Alex will explore many options to help your clients choose the right cruise vacation.
If you have any interest in wading into the cruise market, you don’t want to miss any of these educational opportunities!
Travel professionals all over the world know that, wherever there is a body of water, somebody is likely to be sailing across it. Experienced cruisers in particular may be interested in the many options beyond the traditional cruising areas. Here are some to consider:
- The Grand Tour/World Cruise. Some upscale ships offer a return to the golden era of the Grand Tour. One cruise from January through April takes passengers through the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, crossing the equator twice and stopping at 38 ports, from Zanzibar and Ushuaia to Acapulco and Hong Kong. Clients may opt for segments of a world cruise, rather than an entire trip.
- Theme Cruises. Theme Cruises have gained much interest among travelers. Cruise lines offer many theme cruises—such as preholiday shopping sprees, Improv at Sea Comedy, fall foliage tours, celebrity guest sailings, Murder Mystery, LGBTQ-focused cruises, and wellness programs. Due to their popularity, it’s important to plan for these with your clients in advance.
- Repositioning Cruises. Cruises in Europe, Alaska, and Bermuda are not as popular during cold months. As the cruising season ends in one area, ships can be seen sailing away. For example, in fall, ships sail from Mediterranean and European ports to the Caribbean and South America. And although cruises operate year-round in the Caribbean and western Mexico, many ships relocate from there during summer.
The same phenomenon takes place along the U.S. West Coast. In fall, ships relocate from Alaska down the coast through the Panama Canal. In spring, the ships return from their winter season in the Caribbean, through the canal and back up the coast to Alaskan or Western Canadian waters. These trips combine ports of call that are not part of a ship’s usual itinerary. Often cruise lines substantially discount repositioning cruises, especially on luxury ships.
- Transatlantic Crossings. Several lines offer crossings between Europe and the United States. Travelers can choose a crossing as short as six days, taking a Cunard cruise from New York to Southampton, England, or as long as 23 days from Fort Lauderdale to Lisbon.
- River Cruises. A phenomenon that has developed in recent years is the popularity of river cruising. As megaships have become larger, many cruise passengers have embraced the opposite trend—small ships plying the world’s great rivers in style.
Unlike traditional cruises, basic shore excursions are not an additional cost. Passengers are close to the shore, and stops are frequent. For those wishing to see a great deal of an area, these offer an alternative to motor coach tours. In the past, most of these cruises began on European rivers but have now expanded through all of Europe and Asia. For more tips and advice on European River Cruise itineraries and ports, attend the upcoming three-part series with AmaWaterways during the month of December. You will not be disappointed.
- Expedition Cruises. This rapidly growing category of the cruising industry provides your clients with the opportunity to experience some of the most amazing remote regions of the planet while enjoying the benefits of luxury. These types of immersive vacations are designed with the curious traveler in mind, offering unique lifetime experiences.
Cruises provide a great value for your clients and great earning potential for you. Being knowledgeable about the options is critical, especially in today’s world where learning as much detail as possible about health and safety protocols is mandatory.