Have you ever had clients say : “I would never take a cruise
- I get seasick “ or “ I would never take a cruise - I need to be more active"
or "It takes forever to get off and on a ship."
Never fear! There are now responsible truthful answers to
these annoying comments enabling you to convert these nay-sayers to cruisers.
For the SEAsick clients, you can offer river cruises. Due to the width of the
rivers, there is never a worry about rocky days or nights. Often you have to
look out the window to see that the boat is actually moving. They are becoming
more and more popular in Europe with some of the big players being Uniworld,
AMA Waterways , Avalon and Viking.
Because you can now offer cruises to people who get SEA
sick, do not limit your suggestions to Europe. There are now a wide range of
ships plying the Irawaddy River in Myanmar and the Mekong River in South East
Asia incorporating Laos, Cambodia and/or Vietnam. South East Asia is
celebrated for the different traditional communities and the ease with which
you can submerge yourself into these cultures.
Avalon cruise through Europe's Moselle River
The Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon tributaries offer a wide
range of boats that allow clients to explore and experience the “real jungle"
closeness. Some companies offer options of stopovers at lodges in the jungle
for a few days before getting back on the boat again. A great alternative.
Africa is a viable choice now as well. The main rivers are
in the south – the Zambezi River is the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and
the Okavango River runs along the border between Angola and Namibia as well as
forming a delta in the deserts of the Kalahari in Botswana. The fantastic
selling feature for these areas is the wildlife of course. Seeing the animals
roaming free in their own environment is an experience like no other.
As for inactivity, I am sure you have all seen the TV ads
with people wall-climbing and zip lining… well, river cruises are not yet at
that stage. Clients can always just disembark and be as active as they wish –
with a little research ahead of time.
Even the USA is getting into the river cruise option with
trips operating on the Columbia and Mississippi rivers.
Uniworld's River Orchid travelling through Vietnam, Cambodia & The Mekong
On the other hand, one of the super selling propositions for
river cruises is that guided excursions are free. Many companies carry bicycles
that can be borrowed at any port. Clients can cycle along the river's edge or
make their way inland pursuing their own interests. Some companies will offer
onboard exercise rooms and even dance classes … Guests are encouraged to
participate in trying the local rumba or cha-cha for some good-natured fun.
Another appealing aspect of the free excursions is the
hiking options at many ports of call. These are guided by locals who know the
area and the terrain better than most. Cruise companies are quite aware that
this new need for “regular" activity is quite important to people of all ages
and are constantly looking to offer new active choices.
AMA Waterways African Safari
Like many ocean cruises, ships travel at night and dock in
port during the day. Because size matters, on river ships the number of guests
is small. So any hesitation your clients have about wasting time waiting to
disembark or the paperwork hassles of trying to embark can be dismissed. Most
ships will dock right in town and clients can get off and on as they wish.
Often the important sites are within walking distance – again addressing both
the need for activity as well as time management. Departure times are posted
for gangway-up and people can manage their time accordingly.
Another bonus of the included walking tours in port is the
more relaxed atmosphere of a walking tour rather than the more formal 40 people
on a bus tour. A walking tour is much more conducive to asking questions - keen
clients can walk with the guide and ask questions enriching their experience
and knowledge of the location.
Do not shy away from the cruise option. Hopefully these
notes will aid you in creating some new cruisers