There are many reasons to take a cruise – and it should be an easy sell when you know cruising from A-Z!
From whale-watching to zip-lining over the rainforest and exploring the Galapagos Islands, cruises offer amazing adventures.
A piano bar for pre-dinner cocktails, a pub-style bar for a pint and chat, a lounge bar to meet friends. Cruise ships are perfect for socialising.
Speciality restaurants featuring menus by Michelin-starred chefs make eating out on a ship even more of an occasion. From healthy eating to late-night snacks, there will always be a fabulous selection of menus, including children’s meals. Some ships have up to 20 restaurants, so it’s a good idea to check whether pre-booking is required.
Learn about everything from the Ancient Greeks in the Hellenic Mediterranean to turtle rescue in the Caribbean – or simply step off the ship into vibrant cities to explore the local culture and history. Enrichment is a big part of cruise line itineraries and there are often experts on board – from marine biologists to historians and conservationists – to offer an in-depth learning experience.
Shore days offer many exciting options for an experience of a lifetime. Suggest a helicopter ride over Dubai, jumping into a 4×4 vehicle to tour remote islands, snorkelling over a coral reef, or viewing some of the world’s great art treasures in any number of cities – from Rome to New York. A highlight is ‘Caviar in the Surf’ during Caribbean or Asia cruises on Seabourn, where ships tender off a secluded cove. While guests are ashore enjoying perfect white sand and turquoise seas, uniformed staff plunge into the water and invite guests to wade in to enjoy the champagne and caviar at a surfboard bar. The event also includes a lavish barbecue lunch, water sports and music (seabourn. co.uk).
Cruise lines are responding to multi-generational families booking a cruise. Customised children’s clubs, for tots to teens, offer everything from treasure hunts to pyjama parties. Onboard dodgems, wave machines and giant pool complexes make ships such great resorts that the children will not want to go ashore! However, cruise lines such as Hapag-Lloyd are devising special family-focused excursions, too, so there’s fun, fun, fun every minute of the day.
Some cruise lines include tips while others add a daily rate plus tax. Be sure to highlight the details so there are no hidden surprises once passengers are on board.
A cruise is a holiday – new-to-cruise passengers may be overwhelmed by the terminology and see cruise as something they may find ‘boring’ or ‘restrictive’ – which as anyone who has cruised will know is not the case.
Inclusive holidays can sometimes be considered as more downmarket but on cruise ships it is just the opposite. More inclusive usually means upmarket and it could include tips, drinks, tours and even a chauffeur service!
There is not always a need to book a tour. Many ships dock within minutes of great cities – for example, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo and Stavanger.
Help passengers spend wisely on tours so they can treat themselves to a ‘wow factor’ excursion.
Don’t forget there’s a romance to cruising. Sailing on a silver sea, with a glass of champagne, dressed for dinner and the gentle whisper of romance will enchant guests. It’s the perfect holiday for anniversary celebrations – or simply to tell someone they love them. Aaah. Guests can also get married or renew their vows on board, so be up-to-date on what cruise lines have to offer.
Most ships have a library so guests do not have to pack books. Extol the virtue of choosing a novel while relaxing on a lounger by the pool. Daily news and quiz sheets will also be found in classic cruise ships’ libraries, as well as board games and DVDs for those times when guests just want to chill out.
Always keep an eye open for maiden ports. Well-travelled passengers love to visit new destinations. For instance, in February 2017 Silver Discoverer will sail into Bangladesh, in the Bay of Bengal (silversea.com), which promises to be a memorable call.
With new ships being launched every year there is ever more choice for passengers, so keep up with the latest offerings – from culinary schools to speciality dining – and fabulous shows – from Cirque du Soleil (msccruises. com) to Strictly (pocruises.com).
A cabin with an ocean view or balcony adds to a cruise experience; waking up with the sun on the horizon and watching other ships go by is worth flagging up to passengers. Some guests may prefer to opt for budget inside cabins and spend their money elsewhere, but it is worth discussing the advantages.
The best cruise experiences start with great planning. Ensure your client is going on a ship that suits their holiday style; the size of the ship and dining arrangements are important to get right from the start – then everything will fall into place. A resort ship with all-singing, all-dancing activities, from climbing walls to skydiving? Or a classic, relaxed cruise? These are questions to ask early on.
Many cruise lines pride themselves on great pub-style quizzes. Regular afternoon or early evening quizzes are a social occasion and solo travellers will find they can quickly meet other guests by joining a team.
A lazy afternoon, eating out on a balcony can make a nice change during a cruise. Guests can call the 24-hour room service, which is usually included in the cruise price.
A well-earned holiday means some serious pampering. Aromatherapy, manicures and pedicures are popular treats.
Remind guests to book in early on sea days to ensure they are first in the queue. Almost all spa treatments are extra – except in the Regent Suite on the new Regent Seven Seas Explorer, but guests already pay $10,000 dollars a night for the accommodation!
Fabulous West End and Broadway-style shows feature on many of the larger cruise ships. It’s a great selling point when you think tickets for such shows are on land are costly. Even the smaller ships have their own bands, singers and dancers, but often comedians or musicians are flown in to add variety to the evening entertainment.
One of the great cruise selling points is travelling to many destinations and yet only having to unpack once. Brilliant!
A cross-Atlantic journey from Southampton to New York is more a voyage than a cruise, so guests can relive the golden days of travel. The journey can take around seven days.
Passengers now expect access to the internet 24/7, although it is not always easy in the middle of the ocean. Some cruise lines offer free wifi while others offer packages that can be pricey.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, of X-Men fame, christened the new Royal Caribbean ship, Ovation of the Seas. Find out the Godmother of your clients’ chosen ship. Who knows? It could be Her Majesty the Queen, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, ballet dancer Darcy Bussell or Shirley Bassey! They are all Godmothers to cruise ships.
Joining a yoga class on board is all the better when the early morning sessions are out on the deck. A great way for passengers to start the day.
Zumba! Dancing is always on a ship’s daily programme and guests can keep fit at Zumba classes, with great music and a lively vibe. Of course, there’s not only Zumba; try ballroom, salsa, jive and more!