Nontraditional Cruises

As your primary partner in education, we frequently highlight the foundational and crucial elements of the travel industry. Today, we want to address cruises—in particular, the nontraditional cruise.

We’re intentionally not discussing traditional cruise destinations or itineraries. For that, you should invest time in our comprehensive travel introductory program, the the TRIPKITSM, which focuses on real-world agent experiences, industry terminology, and a comprehensive overview of cruising and other travel products.

The truth is, wherever there is a body of water, somebody is likely to be sailing across it! The last decade, in particular, we have seen an explosion of new cruising experiences enter the market, catering to all sorts of niche interests and experiences. As a travel professional, it is important that you be familiar with all the different types of cruising options available to your clients.

Here are some alternative cruising opportunities 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 amongst travelers. Cruise lines offer many theme cruises—such as pre-holiday 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 in advance with your clients.
  • 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.
  • 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.

As you can see, your knowledge of the industry will help you match your clients’ needs to the right experience, solidifying your value proposition.

If you are new to the travel industry, we highly encourage you to investigate the gold standard in education: the TRIPKIT. This program provides a comprehensive overview of booking air, ground, accommodations, cruises, tours, and packages. It addresses industry dynamics—like technology, marketing, economics, and geography—and emphasizes customer service, sales, marketing, and business skills. Check out the TRIPKIT today!

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The Travel Institute, Inc. (TTI) is an educational organization that was incorporated on November 12, 1964 as a Washington, D.C. nonprofit corporation.  TTI is organized and operated exclusively for educational purposes, developing, and providing educational programs and materials relating to domestic and international travel for the general public, educational institutions and travel professionals.