Busted: How To Debunk Myths Associated With Cruising

with Ming Tappin

Food like this is the norm on a cruise ship.

Service on a cruise is top notch and ever so attentive.

On a cruise, your bath towels are not only fresh daily, they are also amusing.

Most cruise lines now have beverage packages where you can have your drinks included.

Non-medicated remedy such as Sea-Band is effective at combating motion sickness.

Despite millions spent on marketing campaigns by cruise lines and travel agents preaching the benefits and joy of cruising, many people still think cruising isn't for them. Here is a look at the most common misconceptions the public has about cruising and what you can do to bust those myths.

"It's too expensive"

This week I saw a tour operator advertising a week at a 2 star resort in the Caribbean for $395. No wonder people think cruises are expensive. As agents, we all know that there is absolutely no comparison between even the most entry level cruise line and a 2 star resort. Unfortunately, the travelling public isn't always as educated and the price tag is what they see, so it is up to agents to relay the differences to the clients. Hard beds, repetitive menus, bland cuisine and poor service are typical complaints about resorts. Plush bedding, gourmet multiple-course meals served by attentive staff, lavish entertainment and island hopping are  the norm on ships. Yes it costs more, but the experience is also that much better. Cruising continues to receive consistent 96-98% customer satisfaction ratings; land vacations never come close to touching that number. Steer your clients away from being price-focused, to being value-conscious.

"Drinks aren't included"

This was probably one of the biggest hurdles cruising faced, but the introduction of the beverage package is now saving the day. In fact, at any given time, there is a cruise line out there with a promotion that includes a complimentary beverage package. Or, clients can opt to sail on an all-inclusive cruise line that includes unlimited drinks. If it's not possible to get in on a promo, then work the cost of the beverage package into your quote and present an all-inclusive price. Present the cost of the cruise at $X including all drinks, instead of a lower rate of $Y, plus drinks. Clients are much more receptive to seeing the total cost upfront, instead of worrying about their bar bill at the end of the cruise. 

"I'll get seasick"

This is the most difficult objection to overcome, as everyone has different reactions to motion and we can't always rely on mother nature to provide a smooth sailing. But, a lot of people who think they will be seasick base it on their past experience on a ferry or a sailboat, which isn't the same thing. Agents need to take the time to uncover the true cause of this objection and properly address the issue. Talk about the various aids available to combat motion sickness. There are many over-the-counter medicated and non-medicated precautions, and most are available in non-drowsy form. Mention the ship's stabilizers, desirable cabin location as well as the ship's ability to alter course for smoother waters. Larger ships also reduce the sensation of motion. But be realistic and honest, if someone is extremely sensitive to motion, they will feel it on a ship, no matter what size, or where their cabin is located. Don't lie or guarantee a pleasant ride, or you may risk losing the client for good.

In the next instalment I will discuss more myths about cruising: 

"I'll get bored"

"I'll feel trapped on the ship"

"I'll get norovirus" 

Ming Tappin is a cruise veteran with over 20 years’ experience in the industry and has sailed on 37 cruises and counting. Based in Vancouver, Ming is Owner of www.yourcruisecoach.com

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