Busted Again: How To Debunk Myths Associated With Cruising - Part II

by Ming Tappin

Bump away boredom on Quantum or Anthem of the Seas! Just one of the ways today's ships keep guests entertained and occupied.

Land Ho! When in port, clients need to know that they can come and go as they wish.

Still want to laze around and do nothing? Can do!

With proper hand hygiene and sanitation, norovirus outbreaks on ships are rare.

Let's continue our look at debunking some of the popular myths about cruising.

"I'll feel trapped on the ship"

Did you know there are still people out there who think they have to spend the entire cruise on the ship and can't get off? We might laugh, but many non-cruisers still associate ship travel with transportation from point A to B, and not a destination-hopping experience. So it is up to us to clarify this misconception. Yes they can't get off when the ship is at sea, but there are endless dining options, entertainment and activities that will keep guests occupied. In fact most people won't even realize how quickly time spent at sea is passed. Once in port, the freedom to come and go as they wish should alleviate any concerns of being constrained. Next time you hear this objection, be sure to understand where they are coming from and offer the clarification.

"I'll get bored"

So many people say this, then book themselves to an all-inclusive resort and lay at the pool for the entire week. Go figure! But I think people who have this objection are the same ones who say they will feel trapped, again due to lack of knowledge. One look at today's ships will solidify the notion that cruisers will be anything but bored! Between myriad daily activities, nightly entertainment, waterparks, sports complexes and amusement park rides, it should keep even the most demanding action seeker engaged. Have photos and videos of shipboard life on hand to show clients when this subject comes up and assure them that they will check boredom at the gangway. And, if they still want to lay at the pool for the entire week, a ship is also perfect for them!

"I'll get Norovirus"

Truth is, norovirus can strike anywhere - at a resort, on a plane, in a restaurant, at a tourist attraction. But cruise ships are the only travel provider required to report to the CDC if more than 2% of pax and crew are affected by gastro-intestinal(GI) illness, with outbreak results posted if it exceeds 3%. And this information becomes fodder for the media, which terrifies non-cruisers. But did you know that, according to the CDC, out of 74 million people who cruised between 2008-2014, there were less than 129,000 GI cases, and only 10% of those were confirmed Norovirus? That is minuscule compared to 19-21 million cases of GI illnesses the U.S. reports in a year. Should cruisers be vigilant and practise proper hand hygiene onboard? Absolutely. But should it stop them from cruising? As agents, we need to separate the myths from the facts, and declare a resounding No.

At every training session and trade presentation I attend, I am constantly hearing the message that travel agents need to become trusted advisors to guide clients towards a rewarding vacation experience. Our role is to promote travel, not hinder it.

Acknowledge the clients' concerns, then alleviate the fears. Busting these myths leads to a better understanding, which in turn leads to informed decisions and satisfied customers. And the world can always do with more happy cruisers.

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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