Cruise lines are embracing the trend towards destination immersion with more cruise and stay options to target first-time cruisers. By Angela Cronin
Whether it is adding two or three days on to the beginning or end of a cruise, or opting to have a 14-day combination with seven days’ sailing and seven days on land, cruise and stay packages are growing in popularity year on year.
Lynn Narraway, UK managing director of Seabourn and Holland America Line, said cruise and stay holidays are a great way for agents to introduce clients to cruising.
“At Seabourn, we work with tour operators, such as Abercrombie and Kent and ITC Classics, to put together luxury sea and land-based itineraries and these types of experiences have a 50% repeat rate for Seabourn,” said Narraway.
Narraway said that a journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express added on to the beginning or end of a voyage has proved to be particularly appealing to new-to-cruise clients, as well as voyages that include pre or post-cruise safari experiences in Africa.
Reader Offers Limited has a 13-night itinerary that includes a nine-day Seabourn cruise from Athens to the Greek destinations of Katakolon and Syvota, Brindisi in Italy, and Dubrovnik and Primosten in Croatia, with a four-night stay in Venice and a return overnight journey to London on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express for £7,399 per person based on a May 19 2017 departure.
Abercrombie and Kent product manager Charlotte Webb said the tour operator has seen rising demand for more cruises that focus on destination immersion, which had prompted the tailor-made specialist to strike up new partnerships with cruise lines.
Webb said A&K decided to team up with Azamara Club Cruises because its smaller ships and overnight stays in ports appeal to A&K’s demographic of clients. The operator features a five-night Monaco Grand Prix Voyage with Azamara that leads in at £1,980 per person including flights, all meals, drinks and gratuities, with stops at Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Florence, Pisa and Monte Carlo for the Grand Prix.
With the eyes of the industry focused on the launch of Regent Seven Seas’s newest ship, the 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer, A&K has joined forces with the luxury line to put together a small selection of cruise and stay options. These include the 16-night Beijing to Bangkok experience, which features overnights in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok, with prices leading in at £6,250pp based on a March 23, 2017 departure.
Another luxury line to get in on the cruise and stay act is Silversea, which has its own Land Adventures, in long- haul destinations that the cruise line said always enjoy high demand from its UK customers. Passengers on Silver Galapagos often book the line’s four- night Machu Picchu Grande Explore programme, which costs £3,229pp and includes an overnight stay in Lima, a journey on the luxurious Hiram Bingham train to the Lost City of the Incas and an overnight stay in Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, before departing to Cusco for an overnight stay and a flight to board Silversea Galapagos.
Cosmos has just launched its Cruise brochure for 2017, combining ocean, coastal and river cruise for the first time as well as the widest choice of cruise and stay options to meet demand from this growing market.
Product and commercial manager Daniel Harris said that cruise and stay can really add to the holiday experience. “Being able to spend more time in a city or enjoy a rail journey through incredible scenery can only enhance a holiday. In particular, for river cruise, we have grown the range of land or city extensions available next year to include Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Moscow, St Petersburg, Porto, Seville, Venice, Dubrovnik, Venice and Vienna.”
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has cruise and stay programmes that are available on selected Grand Voyages. On its 21-night South American Expedition on Boudicca that departs on February 5, the cruise line offers a four-night pre-cruise stay in Buenos Aires and Iguacu for a visit to the falls that includes two nights in each destination. Prices start at £1,499pp for the pre-cruise stay.
Riviera Travel offers cruise and stay options on three of its river cruise itineraries. These include: the Blue Danube; Rhine Cruise to Switzerland; and the Douro, Oporto and Salamanca. Head of agency sales Joseph Grimley said: “Over the years clients have expressed an interest in extending their river cruise itinerary with a short land tour. Agents selling our river cruise extensions benefit from everything being organised for them and the extensions are also fully commissionable.” The seven-night Blue Danube cruise starts and finishes in Budapest, with prices from £1,199pp with the option to add a three-night post cruise in a five-star hotel in Budapest with breakfast and two lunches from £399pp.
Insider Journeys is looking to add more cruise and stay tours to its portfolio following an increase in demand for the option to linger a bit longer in destinations, said marketing executive Ellena Johnston. “In September 2015 we launched our first tour combining an eight-night river cruise with land-based touring before and afterwards. And more recently we have added the 16-day Mekong and Beyond tour, which has been incredibly popular with first-time cruisers.”
Cruise and stay options are being increased and improved on each year, so agents looking to sell cruise to first-timers are likely to have a wider pool of options to pick from.
- Do your research on your clients and make sure you know if they prefer beach to land-based touring as this will help you match their needs to the right cruise.
- Look out for companies that offer both land and sea options as you can provide your client with a good deal with some great combination offers. Also, you can be sure these operators will look after clients during the transition from land to cruise.
- Always ask cruise companies if they offer add- ons for clients; they often do.
- Establish your customer’s budget so that you can suggest different cruise options and even include a city stay or
- Make sure you tell your clients that they will be able to save money if they pre- book their extensions.
Cosmos Tours and Cruises offers the 20-day Spirit of the Canadian Rockies and Alaska Cruise which includes a tour of the Canadian Rockies and city stays in Vancouver and Victoria on Vancouver Island, a two- day Rocky Mountaineer rail journey and a seven-night Holland America Alaska cruise. Prices start at £4,799pp, including flights from Gatwick, accommodation, most meals, the services of a tour director and transfers.
cosmostoursandcruises.co.uk | 0800 668 1365
Fred. Olsen has a 21-night Caribbean, Canal and Peru cruise that departs from Southampton on January 3 2017. Prices for the fly-cruise start at £3,149pp. The optional cruise and stay package is a five-night post- cruise stay in Cusco and Lima that costs from £2,299pp and includes five nights’ accommodation, return flights between Cusco and Lima, train service to and from Machu Picchu, most meals and transfers.
fredolsencruises.com | 0845 314 3950
Insider Journeys offers a 16-day Mekong and Beyond cruise and stay package that combines an eight-night cruise on the boutique Jayavarman vessel with seven days’ land-based touring. Prices lead in at £2,900pp and include 15 nights accommodation, two internal flights, transfers, most meals and the services of a guide.
insiderjourneys.co.uk | 01865 268 941
G Adventures’ 15-day Cuba Libre and Sailing trip includes sailing around the coast of Cuba on a catamaran and overnights in local villas, homestays and hotels in Havana, Vinales, Marfa La Gorda and San Diego. Prices start at £1,829pp and include accommodation, most meals, transfers and some tours.
gadventures.com | 0344 272 2060