by Mark Albert
It’s full speed ahead for the cruise industry.
Travel agents say they’re seeing strong growth in cruise sales and excursion bookings as the economy continues to rebound.
“It’s a great time to sell cruises,” declares Cruise Lines International Association’s first Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook of 2017.
The report surveyed 700 travel agents throughout North America.
More than three-quarters of travel agents—77%—said their cruises sales are better so far in 2017 than in last year.
And 73% said their cruise customers are spending more on mid-trip excursions.
“People are looking to travel with a group to more exotic locations in particular—like Vietnam, Cuba, and even Europe,” Karen Quinn-Panzer, owner of Dream Vacations Quinn Panzer Travel in Milford, Conn., was quoted in the report as saying.
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Cruise Sales: A Family Affair
And the increase in cruise sales is coming mostly from families.
The largest category of growth comes in multigenerational travel, with several generations of the same family taking a cruise together.
“My group business is building significantly,” Quinn-Panzer said.
“Clients are looking for more all-inclusive experiences, so I find myself selling more river cruises and more deluxe-luxury lines,” she added.
In fact, the report found the allure of an all-inclusive cruise is the top selling point for first-time cruisers, along with the variety of destinations available.
“They don’t want to be surprised by a bill at the end,” Lina DiCola of Cruise Planners in Goldvein, Virginia, explained in the findings.
“Now that cruise lines are offering drink packages—that has really made an impact on my first-time cruisers.”
Foodies, however, might be disappointed.
The quality of the food was the least effective feature, travel agents found, when it came time to sell a cruise.
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