Promoting Days at Sea
Do you have clients that get caught up in analyzing cruise itineraries, and are concerned about “too many” days at sea? Days at sea get a bad rap. I find this happens mostly with new cruisers who aren’t familiar with days at sea. Many neophytes think days at sea will be boring. This is where we hear the worry about being “stuck” on a ship with no escape. The majority of my seasoned cruisers appreciate days at sea as a form of relaxation between their activity-packed port days. It’s a matter of educating the unexperienced cruisers so they will also appreciate their days at sea.
When dealing with leery clients, my biggest recommendation is to share as much information as possible. A great source of information are the ship’s daily newsletters. Every cruise line has a different name for them, like the Personal Navigator, Cruise Compass, Daily Passages, etc. Regardless of what they call them, they are pretty much the same. They provide you with the day’s schedule in great detail. I have gathered quite the library of cruise schedules from a variety of ships over the years.
I never give away any of my schedules, as they are part of my resource library. But I gladly provide copies to clients who ask for them. I make a point of providing clients with port day schedules as well as the day at sea schedules. The reason I do this is to show the clients the vast difference in activities provided. Your typical port day has dramatically fewer scheduled activities on the ship while the ship is in port. The cruise lines do this for one simple reason; they know most passengers will get off in port, and they don’t want to discourage them from doing so. Most of my clients find it reassuring that there are so many activities onboard the ship when they are at seas. It alleviates most fears that their days at sea will be boring. I joke with many clients that they have to work exceptionally hard to be board on a cruise ship, even on a day at sea.
It is rare, but it happens, that you will have a client that will look at the schedule of activities and claim there is nothing of interest to them. At this point I go back to my qualification stage, and try to determine what I missed. I will ask more questions of the client about what they like to do, and what types of activities they’re looking for while they’re on vacation. I had a client that had been asking me about a particular cruise line, and he was not impressed with the onboard activities. After doing some more qualifying he mentioned that he was looking for activities like hiking, zip lining, surfing, and cave spelunking. His family was pushing for a cruise, so we couldn’t change to a land based vacation. However, I did point out that there was a cruise line that had zip lining (short as it is) on a couple of their ships, as well as surf riders and even rock climbing. I couldn’t hit the hiking and spelunking activities on the ship, but pointed out that those were things he could do in port, based on what itinerary that they chose. It didn’t take much to make him a convert after that.
Have you had resistance from clients about days at sea? If so, how have you tackled the issue?
Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel located in Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations, she focuses on travel for 18 to 23-year-olds. Susan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (888) 221-1209.