A cruise experience offers the opportunity to explore several destinations in one exhilarating voyage.
Every cruise line and each ship has its own unique features and benefits. Selecting the right ship and itinerary is critical to the success of your program.
Do you want to visit the bustling shopping ports and sun-splashed beaches of the Caribbean, take a sailing ship to the mystical greek islands, discover the underwater secrets of Tahiti or journey through four countries in seven days on the majestic Rhine River?
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Large and Mega ships which cater to those desiring a wide range of activities and onboard experiences. These include: Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, MSC and Disney. Ship accommodations range from 2,000 to 5,400 guests. These Contemporary brands offer the widest variety of food (some vessels have up to 24 dining options), fun and entertainment for groups and charters. Because of their size, these vessels call on the largest ports of call in the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe. Contemporary ships are perfect for first time incentives and experienced cruisers alike.
Large (but not Mega) ships offering a slightly more refined experience. This category includes the Cruise Lines of Celebrity, Holland America, Princess, and Oceania. With ships ranging in size from 1,250 to 3,000 guests, these ships deliver the best overall value in the industry. They mix the multiple onboard dining and entertainment options of the larger Contemporary products with the elegance of the luxury brands, crafting an affordable, fun and well-rounded cruise experience. These ships are perfect for group and charter programs. They offer a wide variety of venues for parties and events, as well as providing multiple entertainment and enrichment options.
This category offers the most expensive and upscale of all cruise products. Ships are intimate. Itineraries are unique, and elegance is the status quo. Cruise Lines in this elite category include Sea Dream, Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, and Crystal. You can expect gourmet dining, personalized service, spacious and well-appointed accommodations, luxurious surroundings, exotic destinations in Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Alaska and beyond. These ships provide the highest quality experience available on the water at a fraction of what you would spend for a similar program shore side.
Regent Seven Seas
SeaDream Yacht Club
Ships in this category are unique due to their physical characteristics (river ships, sailing ships), their relatively small sizes and specialized itineraries. These Cruise Lines include: Azamara, Ama Waterways, Avalon Waterways, Ponant, Sea Cloud, Oceania and Paul Gauguin. On these voyages you will discover mysterious and off-the-beaten-path destinations such as Tahiti, Japan, Iceland, the Black Sea, the Pacific Rim, the Amazon and the inland waterways of Europe. These ships are perfect for full ship charters where you are only limited by your imagination and sense of adventure.
CURRENT CRUISE TRENDS
There is certainly a shift toward health and wellness – with most ships offering alternative menus and often specific dining outlets geared towards low fat, low carb and gluten free choices. Oceania, Regent and Holland America are now offering cooking schools, in addition to excursions that allow passengers to source their own ingredients and gain an education in regional cuisine. Along with this goes an extensive selection of fitness classes and training opportunities with cruise lines seeking to provide their guests with yoga, spinning, Pilates and weight management classes. Some cruise lines have gone the route of offering acupuncture, teeth whitening and unique face and body treatments (outside of the typical facial and massage services) to set themselves apart.
One of the most popular cruise choices is the European river ship, which allows passengers to get to know a variety of intimate destinations in depth. A far cry from their Peter Dielmann “origins” companies like Avalon, AMA and Crystal’s new collection of products are providing much more upscale choices which feature alternative dining options, more active and adventurous shore excursions and upgraded onboard amenities. River cruising has changed dramatically over the past ten years.
In terms of destinations – incentive clients are looking for safe yet exotic destinations. High on the list are Tahiti, Alaska and the Baltic. There is a definite hesitation in booking the Eastern Med and anything relatively close to Turkey. Similarly – itineraries which were once most favorable such as the western Med are looking less attractive following the recent terrorist events in Nice, Paris, Brussels, etc. Clients are looking for smaller, lesser-known destinations that seem to be safer. Croatia has gained in popularity because it still has the cache of the Med, but with seemingly less exposure.
Due to the Zika virus, the Caribbean and Mexico have been requested less than usual. If we look at the effects of swine flu, bird flu and some criminal events in Mexico on tourism in these areas we can see that these destinations don’t stay out of favor long. However with Zika moving into Florida – there are clients who have been hesitant to book sailings that originate from this destination.