Off Hawaii’s Naapali Coast, onboard Pride of America—Concerns over having to quarantine abroad are pushing travelers to domestic destinations and first among them is Hawaii, with the highest prices in the nation. But price is no object this year, and bucket list trips are all the rage. So you’d think Norwegian Cruise Lines wouldn’t need much help from travel advisors to sell its Pride of America itineraries in Hawaii.
Indeed, since returning to service last month at 40% capacity, the newly refurbished POA is sold out through October. Still, though, I’d argue that Norwegian needs travel advisors to help sell it more than most ships—and that it offers a great opportunity in return.
Pride of America is a unique and expensive product, commanding the highest daily rates in the NCL fleet but sailing under the most unusual conditions. The key to success, as she returns to service Read the rest of this entry »
“There’s nothing better than launching a new cruise line into a market that has been closed with Covid,” says Francis Riley.
And indeed, adds the chief commercial officer of Margaritaville at Sea, the market is perfect for a three-day cruise out of West Palm Beach that sails year-round —and can be extended to six days, with a stay on Grand Bahama Island, for about $1,000.
The whole idea of getting out on the water is very much in line with Margaritaville’s laid-back luxury charm. While the 658-room Paradise, which set sail this month, is hardly a new ship; it is completely refurbished since its days as Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Classica.
“Every single cabin has been ripped out and completely overhauled, every single area of the ship is refurbished,” Riley says. And the cruise includes all the things you’d get in a Margaritaville resort—”the elevated room, pillow, mattresses, the food, the 5 O’clock Somewhere Bar, the elevated dining with JWB Prime Steak House, plus of course what you’d expect in terms of entertainment, with a new show written by Jimmy Buffet.” Read the rest of this entry »
The best evidence that the cruise market is in flux and subject to wild changes is that Douglas Ward’s Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships hasn’t been updated since 2020. The Berlitz Guide used to sit on most travel agents’ desks. For 35 years, it could be counted on to give clients a two-page summary of every vessel promoted to clients by American travel advisors. It was more than a mere directory. The 754-pages of the 2020 edition rated the accommodations, cuisine, and service on each ship. It was the final word on ship statistics, so that passenger space ratios, passenger crew ratios, and tonnage could be reliably compared.
In my 2019 Amazon book, How to Plan Your Next & BEST Cruise: Secrets of Selecting Cruises, Ships & Destinations, I used Douglas Ward’s data in every chapter to show readers how to move beyond the ads and hype, and to make viable comparisons among cruise ships they were considering. Read the rest of this entry »
Looking for extra income or just something to do while business was slow, travel advisors have expanded beyond their usual routines into new avenues—both inside the business and out.
At My Path Unwinding Travel in Waxhaw, NC, for example, Karen Shelton noticed that 11 of the 12 customers in her Disney Wonder group had booked suites—and decided to promote an all-suite group on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas for the first time, so customers can compare the two.
“I’m super excited about this,” says Shelton, whose specialty has traditionally been Disney concierge-level suites. “I booked the Royal Suite for myself and got the ball rolling.”
The numbers are still coming in, she says Read the rest of this entry »
As a veteran of more than 40 international cruises, I used to turn up my nose whenever someone suggested that I sail from domestic ports. The only exceptions I ever made were a cruise to Iceland from New York City; a repositioning cruise to Japan that left from Seattle; one to South America that departed from Los Angeles; and two from Miami that sailed to Europe.
I reasoned that, if I was going to kill a night flying from LAX to a departure port and have an after-dinner drink and a Zolpidem tablet after dessert, I could just as easily wake up in Europe, Asia, or Australia as on the east coast of the US. Honestly, you don’t notice the difference—especially if you fly Business or Premium Economy.
After having two international jaunts canceled last year, and considering the possibility of the military crises in Europe broadening before I could sail again, I rethought these views. I booked a Fall Foliage Cruise from NYC to New England, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Montreal for a client and us. It’s only 12 nights, but with overnight stays in NYC and Montreal, the trip will be nearly the Read the rest of this entry »
What’s a travel advisor to do when a preferred supplier like Crystal cruises stops sailing? Communicate with your customers and be transparent. In the case of Crystal, you have to look at your booked customers in three buckets and reach out to each with targeted communications, says Alex Sharpe.
The CEO of Signature Travel Network, himself a former SVP of Regent Seven Seas, immediately reached out to legal counsel, who told him “you should cancel and dispute charges right away,” he told TRO. “With the ‘reserve accounts’ in place with the credit card colmpanies, I don’t know that disputing charges is critical, but at this point, it couldn’t hurt.”
Here’s an edited version of what Sharpe had to say in our 45-minute conversation last week: Read the rest of this entry »
Just hang in there for two or three more weeks, travel advisors, and things will be better.
That’s the biggest take-away from a press conference yesterday featuring Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO Frank del Rio and the head of its Health and Safety Committee, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who sits on the board of Pfizer.
Here’s my transcript of what they said, slightly edited for brevity. I took notes in shorthand, which I am pretty good at but a word or two may be off, and I apologize for that. Read the rest of this entry »
I LOVE Backroads. What’s to love? The company layers its active adventures, primarily cycling, on top of cruises, both ocean and river. That layering provides the perfect adventure: You spend your days being active, exploring Europe the way many Europeans do, straddling a saddle. Your floating hotel is your oasis for rest and replenishment.
In 2016, I had what turned out to be one of the best trips I’ve had on the rivers, cycling with my son while cruising on AmaWaterways. Check out Backroads Bike Trips & River Boating: A Winning Combination For Active Travelers. Rinse and repeat. In 2019, we cruised Ponant and pedaled Croatia, a wonderful trip that I summed up Read the rest of this entry »
At the end of August, I was invited to sail on AmaSiena on its christening cruise. This invitation was a big deal, not only because it was a christening cruise but also because this was my first cruise back since COVID.
Over the past few weeks I have shared how I prepared for cruising during COVID as well as my first impressions of the sailing and what it was like to be back on board. I also interviewed my cruise manager Martina, and held a webinar about my experience on board.
Though I feel like I have covered a lot about my sailing, I spent a lot more time covering COVID than I did the ship itself. So today, we will do just that. Read the rest of this entry »
Half the cruise ships are sailing, carrying half the passengers they once did. At each port, they are beset by differing and ever-changing protocols, negotiating life-and-death decisions with new players with whom they do not have the usual long-term relationships.
And yet, guest satisfaction is off the charts. The new-to-cruise customers that many expected to be frightened off are instead showing up. New ships and new partnerships, new terminals and new ports are on the horizon—and they promise to share the wealth with local communities and to promote a healthier environment for all.
“We built this industry over more than five decades; we deliver a phenomenal experience that our customers love, and the Caribbean is an unbelievably popular destination for our core markets,” said Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley at the Caribbean Spotlight: A Focus on the Future breakout session. “We need to just stay focused and trust each other and, in another year or so, we’ll be looking back trying not to remember any of this.”
In short, this week’s Seatrade Global conference was unlike any other Read the rest of this entry »
The writer was a guest of Silversea Cruises for the purposes of this review.
Delayed for months by the never-ending pandemic, Silversea’s magnificent new vessel, Silver Moon finally welcomed her first passengers this Spring. Silver Moon began a series of cruises beginning and ending in Athens. And each and every one of them showcased what’s on board this wonderful ship.
Greece rescues the Cruise Industry
If some of your clients love cruises, they may have promised themselves that – if they got through the COVID crisis unscathed – they’ll find some new places to visit. Here’s how you can help them fulfill these promises. Suggest some new places to explore and provide them with enough information to turn their dreams into reality. Read the rest of this entry »