By Bernard Carter, managing director, EMEA, Oceania Cruises.
The true greatness of the cruise industry, and everyone that works within it is our collective ability to adapt.
I can still remember, 20 years ago (just!) when the electric typewriter and the Telex machine were the height of technology…
That was when I met a charismatic gentlemen by the name of Bob Duffet who introduced me to the wonders of the cruise industry during a PSARA training session.
OK, so those who know Bob will all say he can be very persuasive, but what caught my attention even then was the choice that was already available for anyone contemplating moving away from a land-based holiday.
Fast forward 20 years and there is now a cruise product for everybody, but still many people do not realise it … and that is where the cruise industry really comes into its own.
Cruise lines and travel agents work together to educate the uneducated, to show the couple who love boutique country hotels that there is a cruise for them, or the family with children that they can go to water parks, complete with water slides, they can surf, ice-skate and even sky-dive, all in the comfort and safety of an enclosed resort that just happens to be based at sea.
CLIA has also just announced its first New to Cruise Summit. Taking place on September 15 in London aimed at help travel agents to break into the market sector.
The human appetite for new experiences is insatiable, and ever more immediate which is why we now see well over 400 hundred ships travelling to the four corners of the globe, and working tirelessly to open up new destinations to both satisfy the demands of long-standing cruisers and create interest for a whole new market.
Life is about facing and overcoming challenges.
The challenge for the cruise lines?
To continue introducing ever-improving choices.
The challenge for you the travel agent?
To identify potential new-to-cruise guests and then to book them onto their first – but almost certainly not their last – cruise.
Oh yes, I almost forgot, you can rest assured that we, the cruise lines will support your efforts more than any other sector of the industry because we understand that we as a single collective are stronger than the sum of the individual parts.