Holidays on the High Seas | TravelResearchOnline


Holidays on the High Seas

Susan Schaefer

Do your clients shy away from holiday sailings?  Have you ever suggested the idea of cruising over the holidays?  One of the more important tenants of selling is to avoid selling to your wallet.  Don’t assume that your clients will avoid holiday sailings because of the price.  If you don’t have the conversation with them, you will never know or worse, you may lose the sale to someone who does discuss it with them.

Holiday sailings have the standard trappings of cruising: ample dining opportunities in the main dining room, buffet and specialty restaurants, a plethora of entertainment options, gambling, shore excursions, etc.  But holiday cruises come with more, offering holiday-focused activities for passengers of all ages.

My first cruise experience was in mid-November 2003 on the Disney Wonder.  We booked the cruise because of a special event being hosted onboard which had nothing to do with the holidays.  We didn’t expect Christmas decorations, so imagine our surprise (and delight) as we boarded a ship completed decked out for the Christmas holidays.  It was truly mesmerizing.  Even my husband succumbed to the holiday magic, with his steadfast attitude of no Christmas songs before Black Friday.  We followed up with another mid-November cruise in 2004, again with all of the Christmas trimmings from stem to stern.  We have also sailed on Halloween (with Royal Caribbean) and Thanksgiving Day (with Disney).

There is something special about being on a cruise ship during the holidays.  For Halloween many cruise lines go all out with costume parades or parties, trick or treating for the kids, and a variety of Halloween-themed activities.  Shortly thereafter the focus shifts: cruise lines have their own schedules of when they start adorning their ships with Christmas decorations, but it’s safe to say that it is some time in November (Thanksgiving weekend usually being the latest that the decorations come out).  On Thanksgiving Day, many cruise lines offer a traditional Thanksgiving menu in the main dining room.  And don’t be surprised if Santa Claus takes the time to visit the ship on Christmas Eve.

Holiday sailings also offer a stress-free way to spend time with family, without the work involved.  Someone else cooks and cleans while you kick back and relax with your family.  It often takes only one Thanksgiving or Christmas sailing to convince a family to make it an annual tradition.  The value of family time and special activities, combined with someone else doing the cooking, often outweighs the higher cruise fare for many families.

So don’t assume that your clients aren’t interested in a holiday sailing.  If you don’t ask for the sale, you’ll never get it.

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 or by phone at (888) 221-1209.

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