This week we are continuing with our look at the different cruise categories. To view the previous column, click here.
With this category, we start getting into smaller ships with more inclusions. Premium Deluxe ships typically carry less than 1,000 guests, resulting in higher service levels. Onboard activities center on personal enrichment, food and wine appreciation, as well as history and culture of the ports of call. Fares can include some or all beverages, specialty dining and more. Itineraries span the globe, with longer port stays and overnights, often docking right in the heart of the city where larger ships cannot reach. Premium Deluxe cruise lines include Azamara Club Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises, Windstar Cruises.
At the luxury level, guests enjoy an all-inclusive experience with open bar, specialty dining, and prepaid gratuities. With few exceptions, ships typically carry 300-600 guests. While some ships have entry-level oceanview staterooms, most are all suites, some are all balconies, offering butlers and near-parity crew-to-guest ratios to elevate service to the next level. Primary focus is on destination, cuisine, personal enrichment and being utterly spoiled. Luxury lines are globetrotting, with ships always moving from region to region, allowing for extended voyages. Many also offer world cruises lasting more than 100 days. Luxury cruise lines include Crystal Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn Cruises, Silversea Cruises.
Knowing the basics of these different cruise categories will help you determine which cruise line is most suitable for your clients based on their interests, lifestyle and budget. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
- There are slight variations on cruise lines’ ship size and onboard inclusions within each category. Take the time to learn the specifics of each cruise line.
- Generally, new cruisers will be attracted to mass market brands due to the activity level. As they become more experienced, some may move over to smaller ships with more inclusions.
- Age is not always a deciding factor on which cruise category to recommend. Be careful not to pigeon-hole - there may be 20-somethings wanting an quiet, upscale experience, and young-at-heart seniors who enjoy a busy mass market cruise.
Get to know your clients, know your cruise lines, and it will be an easy sell.