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Chapter 8 Profiling the lines.

After reading this chapter, you'll be able to

* Identify the major sources of insight into a cruise product's personality

* Access the most important industry and consumer research resources

* Recognize general patterns among cruise products

* Profile each cruise line specifically

Think of your best friend. What words come to mind? What is it about him or her that makes you two get along? Almost surely you've thought of some very specific adjectives. Now think of a cruise line that you've heard about or experienced. What words do you think of? What is it about that cruise line that appeals to people? As with your best friend, some very precise adjectives will come to mind.

Like people, cruise lines and even individual ships have specific "personalities." They're even sometimes part of "families" of cruise lines, with several different lines under one corporate umbrella. Later in this chapter you'll read how the cruise lines describe themselves. But first, here are some general guidelines so you can discover more about each cruise line.

The Cruise Lines Themselves

One of the best sources of information about any cruise line is the cruise line itself. Here's how you can find out more about each:

* Cruise line promotional pieces, such as brochures, ads, commercials, videos, and Internet Web sites, are rich sources of information and insight. Some of the most important information, however, requires a little "digging."

Look at the people portrayed in a cruise line's promotional pieces. Are they mostly families? Older people? Younger couples? In each case the photo reveals a clue to the cruise line's specialty. Suppose all these kinds of consumers and more are represented? Then this company is communicating mass-market appeal. It's one that attracts every kind of passenger.

What the people in these photos are doing is also important. If they're mostly observing wildlife, then this cruise line probably takes an eco-approach to its product and targets a more narrow type of client than does a more mass-market cruise product. Even what the people wear is an important clue to their income and lifestyle. Images aren't the only way to understand whom cruise lines target to buy their product. Words, music in a TV commercial, slogans, colors, and even brochure paper texture are all indicators to a cruise line's personality. What might a brochure for a company that targets very upscale consumers, for example, look like? The paper would be thick, connoting high quality; photos would show people who are mature, well-dressed, and wearing expensive jewelry. The prose would be very literate--the more educated people are, the more money they usually make. The food depicted would be beautifully presented and of gourmet quality; studies show that fine food is the most important cruise factor to upscale consumers.

* Seminars are another source of critical information. Cruise lines regularly offer seminars where travel agents can learn more about the cruise line's product. A few cruise companies actually give workshops that, in an unbiased manner, analyze each cruise product, including those of their competitors. In essence, the cruise line is saying, "We're so confident in our product that we can tell you what's good about our competitors, too." Travel agency chains and consortia also sometimes offer seminars that profile their preferred cruise lines.

* Ship inspections (while a ship is in port) and familiarization cruises (offered at greatly reduced prices) are powerfully effective ways to experience firsthand the personality of a ship and its parent company.

* Passengers who have just returned from a cruise and veteran cruisers are also prime sources of insights into each line's product. One caveat: Their comments may be highly personal and reflect only that individual's opinion.

* District sales representatives are an important link between the cruise lines and travel agencies. They also represent their companies at consumer trade shows. Deeply informed about the demographics and psychographics of their company, they're often quite happy to provide insights on their cruise products. They may even be willing to share passenger research reports with preferred travel agencies who consistently sell their product.

Trade Publications

Four resource publications regularly offer in-depth information on cruise lines and ships. Travel agents are their primary customers:

* Throughout this book we've cited the CLIA Cruise Manual, which is CLIA's yearly compendium of important data. This publication doesn't really analyze product--it is, after all, a resource vehicle created by the cruise lines. Nonetheless, it provides such valuable content as ship data, deck plans, key telephone numbers, sales policies, itineraries, port descriptions, sample forms, and grids detailing offerings to client types such as honeymooners, wheelchair travelers, children, and singles.

* The Official Cruise Guide offers interpretive information on virtually every cruise line in the world. Among its features are ship profiles (including what kinds of clients are likely to be aboard) and information on theme cruises, specialized programs, booking policies, and sailing schedules. Its full-color format is easy to use, its content global.

* The Official Steamship Guide International contains sailing itineraries, port maps, ship facts, and specialty cruise products (including freighters, ferries, and barges).

* Most travel agents forget that The Star Service, a massive compendium of hotel reviews, also profiles cruise ships. Thoroughly opinionated, The Star Service's analyses are solid and often entertaining. Each ship is rated according to a 1-to-5 star system.

About a half-dozen cruise-specific trade magazines and newsletters regularly analyze lines, ships, destinations, and itineraries. So, too, do the industry's more generic publications. For a list of these periodicals, see Appendix C.

Trade Shows

Many travel industry trade shows feature at least a few seminars on cruising. Several magazines and organizations also sponsor conferences devoted entirely to cruising. Among the best known are

* CRUISE-A-THON, sponsored by Travel Trade magazine

* CruiseFest and ASTA School At Sea, offered by ASTA

Consumer Publications

The public's growing enthusiasm for the cruise vacation experience has led to a plethora of consumer publications, many of which profile cruise lines and rate their vessels. Here are the most popular books:

* Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising

* Cruise Vacations for Dummies

* Fodor's Ports of Call series

* Frommer's Cruises series

* Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation

* The Unofficial Guide to Cruises

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These consumer magazines regularly offer cruise-related articles: Travel and Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveler, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, and Cruise Travel Magazine and Porthole devote most of their content to cruising.

These and other travel-related consumer publications are also listed in Appendix C.

Video and the Internet

Virtually every cruise line offers at least one video that showcases its product. Some have many more. Aone-stop source of cruise line videos is Vacations On Video. Their address is 7741 E. Gray Road, Suite 2, Scottsdale, AZ 85260.

As for the Internet, there seem to be as many Web sites devoted to cruise analyses as there are passengers. The problem: How can you be sure the person giving an opinion is truly knowledgeable and reliable? Two of the most popular sites are Cruise Critic <http://www.cruisecritic.com> and Cruisemates <http://www.cruisemates.com>. Most cruise lines also have Web sites. Each site is usually divided into two sections: one for consumers, the other for travel agents. For a complete list of CLIA member Web site addresses, see Appendix A.

CLIA has its own extremely useful Web site at <http://www.cruising.org>. It enables consumers to find CLIA-affiliated agencies and Certified Cruise Counsellors in their geographic area. It also offers answers to typical questions on cruising, information on specific lifestyle needs, data on over 100 worldwide cruise destinations, and current news and features on cruising. Its agent-specific center lists valuable marketing and training resources that are available.

CLIA's Education and Certification Programs

Through CLIA's Cruise Counsellor Certification Program, travel professionals receive comprehensive training in how to maximize cruise sales. Though the program doesn't profile individual cruise lines, the extensive experiential learning it requires inevitably leads to a deeper understanding of products, along with greater client recognition, confidence, and sales success.

This highly rated certification program offers three achievement levels: Accredited Cruise Counsellor (ACC), Master Cruise Counsellor (MCC), and Elite Cruise Counsellor (ECC). Elite Cruise Counsellors can also earn an Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar (ECCS), a special annual recognition achievement level for ECC graduates. Enrollees profit from a rich mixture of learning components: live seminars, videos, Internet-based courses, ship inspections, cruises, and, yes, this book. Nearly 10,000 cruise professionals have achieved certification, and thousands more are completing their requirements.

For more information on the program, contact CLIA at 212-921-0066.

General Patterns

Each cruise line has its own personality. But distinct patterns also mark certain categories of cruise lines. For example, mass-market, lower-cost cruise products tend to

* Appeal to many different types of consumers, with an informal atmosphere prevailing.

* Operate large or very large ships, offering a wide array of options and activities.

* Concentrate on popular, mass-market destinations, like the Caribbean, Mexico, and Alaska, mostly on round-trip itineraries. Large, lower-cost cruise lines may also have one or two vessels in their fleet that visit more exotic destinations (e.g., Asia, South America, and the South Pacific).

* Offer plentiful food and many dining choices.

* Feature major entertainment shows.

* Include a little less in the cruise price than more expensive cruise lines do--there are more small extras to pay for.

* Provide more three- to seven-day cruises, which tend to attract people new to cruising (they want to sample it) and those on a budget, like young people, families, and some seniors.

It's important to realize that these are generalizations. Exceptions do exist. Some upscale cruise lines offer very casual experiences, for example. Some budget lines call on exotic ports. And young passengers and families are sometimes found on more expensive cruises.

Midlevel, somewhat more expensive cruise lines (often called "premium" lines) tend to have

* More upscale and older travelers, with a more formal atmosphere prevailing

* Midsized to large vessels

* Mass-market and a few more exotic destinations and itineraries, with a mix of both round-trip and one-way itineraries

* More refined cuisine, with a main dining room and a few alternative restaurants

* More modestly scaled entertainment (though larger vessels in this sector may have entertainment just as grand as that on mass-market ships)

* More things included in the cruise price than mass-market ships include (e.g., free espresso, flowers, and fruit in each stateroom, bathrobes in the closet)

* More seven-day cruises and longer, the kind affordable to their less budget-minded passengers

Very upscale cruise lines refine the experience even more. These tend to

* Attract wealthy, experienced, and usually older travelers, with a more formal atmosphere prevailing

* Operate smaller ships, with larger staterooms/suites, mostly or all outside

* Visit many unusual ports, along with a few standard ones (especially at the beginning and end of the voyage); mostly one-way itineraries

* Serve gourmet food, usually in an open-seating dining format, with one or two alternate dining venues

* Provide low-key entertainment; lecturers provide learning and cultural enrichment

* Almost everything included in the cruise price, with all sorts of special upscale amenities * Offer longer cruises, which tend to attract very successful professionals (e.g., attorneys and physicians) and older, wealthier, typically retired people

* Feature an astonishing level of service, very often with no tipping required

There can be variations of product level even aboard an individual ship, too. Nothing like the old "class" system--where first-class passengers never interacted with those in third class--exists today. But guests in suites and on a "concierge" deck often get a higher level of amenities and services than do those in standard staterooms. There may be a bathrobe for their use while onboard, premium soap and shampoos, free laundry services, and even a separate dining room.

Generalized Versus Niche Cruise Lines

Most of us think of cruising as a product so broad that it can satisfy almost every type of traveler. In most cases, this is true. For example, the majority of cruise lines offer special packages for honeymooners. Families with children also find plenty to do on most cruises, as do very active adults. (The CLIA Cruise Manual contains grids that display what each member line offers to such specialized clients. For an example, see Figure 8-1.)

On the other hand, some lines target narrow segments of consumers who have something in common. In marketing, these categories of customer types are called niches. A niche is defined as a group of people who have a very specialized set of needs and wants. A niche company provides products and services that suit the ways their niche clients buy.

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For example, some cruise lines don't simply provide options for the active adult--as generalized cruise lines do--but stress them. Adventure is what they're all about. Comfort, pampering, and elegant cuisine may be low on their clients' priority list. (There are, however, some niche cruise lines that provide both adventure and pampering.)

Another specialized market is education. For some lines, learning is at the core of the cruise experience. These companies may offer only limited entertainment and no casino. The people who take their cruises care very little about anything but learning. Still other companies appeal to clients who are highly independent and want as unstructured a cruise experience as possible. A plethora of activities onboard ship is precisely what they don't want.

The CLIA Member Cruise Lines

No one understands its product better than the cruise line itself. What follows is a description of each CLIA-member cruise line in "its own words." It should help you understand what makes each cruise company special in its appeal to consumers and why those cruise lines that are members of CLIA are especially favored by travel agents.

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Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Cruise Lines has earned its position as the world's largest (in number of ships and passengers) by offering what consumers desire in a vacation--a wide variety of onboard dining, entertainment, and activity choices; a fun, relaxed atmosphere; outstanding value; and beautiful and exciting destinations. Carnival dining features everything from multicourse meals to 24-hour pizzerias, dazzling Las Vegas-style entertainment, casinos, duty-free shops, "Nautica Spa" health and fitness facilities, and "Camp Carnival," a complimentary children's program. And Carnival is confident enough in its product that it offers cruising's only vacation guarantee program.

Hallmark Features

* Carnival's "Fun Ships" offer a cruise vacation experience that appeals to a broad cross section of people of a variety of ages and backgrounds

* Wide choice of itineraries from 3 to 16 days

* Total Choice Dining, which includes casual dining and a 24-hour pizzeria

* Innovative cruise vacation offerings on four-, five-, and eight-day cruises

* Supervised year-round Camp Carnival Program for young cruisers 2 to 5 years of age

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Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises offers a premium cruise experience that appeals to couples and families. Its target audience is adults 35 to 60, with household income of $60,000 plus. Celebrity Cruises tends to attract experienced travelers who appreciate quality and desire a premium vacation experience that is superior, inviting, and engaging.

Hallmark Features

* Exotic and inviting itineraries

* Gorgeous, luxurious ships

* High-tech features onboard its contemporary-looking vessels

* Gourmet cuisine

* Aqua Spa facilities

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Costa Cruises

Costa, Europe's number-one cruise line, offers 199 sailings, with 51 different itineraries ranging in length from 5 to 17 nights. Guests enjoy a YES European experience throughout the Mediterranean, North Cape/Fjords, Baltic & Russia, and Transatlantic. Costa features the youngest fleet in Europe aboard eight Italian-inspired ships, the CostaAllegra, CostaAtlantica, CostaEuropa, CostaClassica, CostaMediterranea, CostaRomantica, CostaTropicale, and CostaVictoria. Costa also cruises the Caribbean, "Italian Style," with plenty of sun, fun, and an Italian week of unforgettable enjoyment.

Hallmark Features

* Italian Style Cruising

* Europe's number-one cruise line

* Italian-inspired ships

* YES European Experience

* Andiamo Advance Purchase Discount Rates

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Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises is the recipient of many of the travel industry's highest awards, including "World's Best" Cruise Line ('96,'97,'98,'99,'00,'01) and "Best Large Ship Line" ('96,'97,'98,'99,'00) in Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler surveys, respectively. Its vessels, Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony, feature elegantly appointed staterooms (most with private verandas), an array of dining options (Italian and Asian alternative restaurants, as well as casual dining in the Trident Bar on designated nights), award winning entertainment, a lavish Crystal Spa and Salon adhering to Feng Shui principles, extensive exercise and sports facilities and instruction, and the only Caesars Palace at Sea casino.

Hallmark Features

* Crystal ships have consistently earned top awards.

* Year after year guests return because the service is incomparable.

* More than half the ships' accommodations feature a private veranda.

* Crystal's European hotel and dining staff are schooled in the fine art of genteel service.

* Crystal offers excellent value, competitive rates, and group booking discounts.

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Cunard Line

Cunard Line proudly continues its tradition of luxury cruising that began in 1840. Today its flagship, Queen Elizabeth 2, is the world's most famous ship and the greatest liner of her time. She maintains the legacy of her Cunard and White Star predecessors in providing a definitive annual World Cruise and the only scheduled transatlantic line service. QE2 is known for its traditional British elegance, superb White Star Service, gourmet cuisine, and accommodations that have secured Cunard's reputation. QE2 is joined by another classic liner, Caronia, which also delivers an elegant Old World cruising experience in the UK market. Queen Mary 2, the world's biggest, longest, widest, and most expensive cruise ship ever built, joined the fleet in January 2004.

Cunard caters to sophisticated, well-seasoned travelers who enjoy the finer things in life. The classic liners attract guests who want to reclaim the legacy of luxury travel without sacrificing modern luxuries.

Hallmark Features

* Queen Mary 2 is the biggest, longest, widest, and most expensive ship ever built.

* Transatlantic Crossing: Queen Elizabeth 2 is the only ship currently offering regular transatlantic crossings. Each crossing is highlighted with a theme.

* Cunard chefs combine seasonal and regional ingredients from worldwide itineraries.

* Illuminations Enrichment Program: Guest experts from the field of journalism, literature, academia, and the diplomatic corps are aboard every sailing.

* Around the World in 107 Days: Cunard's annual World Cruise typically visits more than 30 ports of call in 23 countries.

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Disney Cruise Line

As the first owned and operated cruise line by the dream makers at Disney, Disney Cruise Line specifically designed its ships with areas and activities that appeal to the unique vacation needs of every member of the family. As a result, Disney Cruise Line vacations offer guests a distinctive cruise experience not found anywhere else.

The Disney Magic cruise ship alternates each week between a Western Caribbean itinerary and an Eastern Caribbean route. The Disney Wonder offers one-of-a-kind land and sea vacations that combine the fun and excitement of the Walt Disney World Resort with a three- or four-night Disney Cruise Line voyage to the Bahamas.

Hallmark Features

* Castaway Cay--Disney's private Bahamian island

* Entertainment--original Disney musicals and family activities

* Age-specific programming--children, teens, and adults

* Rotation dining

* Seamless land and sea vacations, as well as the new seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary

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First European Cruises

Highly regarded in Europe for its spotless ships, superior food, and interesting and unusual destinations, First European Cruises is successfully attracting American passengers, who now average about 15% of its overall passenger mix, just five years after the line's introduction to the U.S. market. The company specializes in creative itineraries (mostly from 7 to 14 nights) that cover much of Europe and its neighboring countries around the Mediterranean and winter cruises in the deep Caribbean. The ambiance aboard its ships is casual, with a sophisticated European flair, drawing passengers from throughout the European Union. Three new ships signal a significant commitment to European-style cruising, and the young company continues to expand rapidly, with two new ships planned for introduction soon.

Hallmark Features

* Beautiful new ships

* European atmosphere

* Outstanding food and service

* Excellent itineraries

* Great value

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Holland America Line

Holland America Line--a company that has been in business for over 130 years--features 11 five-star ships offering premium cruises to more than 250 destinations around the world. Holland America delivers gracious and attentive service in stylish, spacious comfort while providing delightful discoveries worldwide. Holland America delivers experiences that create extraordinary vacations for its guests.

As a leader in long cruises (10 days or longer), Holland America offers an unusually broad selection of destination choices, on all 7 continents, with cruises from 7 to 108 days in length. Holland America has been given the "Best Cruise Value" award from the World Ocean and Cruise Liner Society and is consistently rated among the world's best cruise lines in Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice survey and Travel and Leisure magazine's World's Best awards.

Hallmark Features

* A leader in worldwide premium cruise vacations

* Renowned for long cruises (10+ days) around the world and attention to onboard details

* Gracious and attentive service in stylish comfort

* Perfect for multigenerational customers: family reunions, Club HAL for kids, and spa and fitness programs and a range of dining options

* Great value for the price paid

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MSC Italian Cruises

MSC Italian Cruises brings gracious Italian service, hospitality, and cuisine, with Old World refinements, to worldwide cruising. Its unique itineraries--featuring both popular as well as unusual cultural destinations--are targeted to the mature, experienced traveler, along with families and honeymooners. A fleet of three classic cruise ships will be expanded with two medium-sized (1,600 pax), new-build ships to be soon delivered.

Hallmark Features

* Italian staff and service

* Unique itineraries

* Value pricing

* Classic style and larger cabins

* Personalized service

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Norwegian Coastal Voyage Inc.

Norwegian Coastal Voyage has traveled the spectacular west coast of Norway for more than 100 years, carrying passengers as well as freight and cargo on what is called "The World's Most Beautiful Voyage." Guests enjoy 1,250 miles of captivating, fjord-filled landscape. Majestic fjords, snow-capped mountains, sea eagles, and reindeer are all part of the cruise as the ships call on 34 amazing ports each way, from Bergen in the south, across the Arctic Circle in the north, to Kirkenes near the Russian border, or vice versa. Shore excursions, sightseeing opportunities, and land packages are available in conjunction with the voyage.

NCV also offers once-in-a-lifetime Expedition Voyages to Spitsbergen, Greenland, Antarctica, and the Chilean Fjords. These areas of the world offer magnificent mountains, fjords, and an abundance of wildlife, Zodiac landing, expedition guides, and lectures, which create an intimate learning experience. All programs are perfect for the well-educated, mature, and seasoned traveler who is looking for multicultural experiences.

Hallmark Features

* Senior Savings on most Norwegian Coastal Voyage sailings

* AARP member discounts

* Three brand-new Millennium ships, with swimming pools, Internet Cafes, and suites with balconies, and Jacuzzis

* Mother Nature is the entertainer--no casinos or showgirls; casual ambiance

* Multinational passengers--opportunities for cultural exchanges and experiences

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Norwegian Cruise Line

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is an international cruise company and industry innovator operating nine ships sailing to 140 ports around the world. Designed to meet the changing needs of today's passengers, NCL's "Freestyle Cruising" challenges the traditional cruise model by offering guests a more relaxed resort-style experience with complete flexibility and nonintrusive service. It offers unprecedented dining freedom: There are no assigned meal times or tables. Restaurants feature open seating and extended hours of operation. Guests are free to dine when they want, whenever they want, with whom they want. The shipboard dress code is "resort casual" and formal nights have been eliminated. NCL's Homeland Cruising program offers cruises to Alaska, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the Caribbean, departing round-trip from close-to-home U.S. ports.

Hallmark Features

* Freestyle Cruising: All NCL ships (except for the classic S/S Norway) offer Freestyle Cruising in dining, attire, service, and even gratuities.

* Homeland Cruising: Each NCL ship (with the exception of Norwegian Dream) cruises to the most popular ports in Alaska, the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Hawaii from close-to-home ports.

* Its newest vessels feature up to 10 restaurants, two-level spa and fitness facilities, dedicated facilities for kids, an Internet cafe, and even a chapel.

* New York cruises: Norwegian Dawn offers seven-day cruises from New York to the Bahamas and Florida.

* Garden Villas: Featured on several new vessels, each of these exclusive suites features a large dining room, three bedrooms, an entertainment center, and a luxurious bath with a whirlpool tub and a separate shower.

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Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises was formed in 2002 by cruise industry veterans Frank Del Rio and Joe Watters. Fine cuisine, inventive itineraries, and excellent value define Oceania Cruises' five-star product and position the company to appeal to traditional premium- and luxury-category cruisers.

The onboard atmosphere is relaxed and reminiscent of the casual elegance of a country club. Tuxedos and gowns are never a requirement for dining, so guests can dress and enjoy the evening comfortably. The overall feeling is one that is never stuffy and is void of any pretension.

Guests enjoy the flexibility of four open-seating restaurants; they dine when, where, and with whom they choose. Oceania Cruises' 5-Star menus are crafted under the meticulously watchful eye of renowned master chef Jacques Pepin, its Executive Culinary Director. Host of numerous public television series, he is one of America's best-known chefs, food columnists, and cookbook authors. He has also served as the personal chef to no less than three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.

Oceania Cruises' two intimate and luxurious 684-passenger ships, Regatta and Insignia, feature private verandas in 70% of their staterooms. All-suite accommodations feature private butler service. Itineraries have been tailored to include many overnight port stays, allowing passengers to immerse themselves in the history, culture, and local flavor of the region.

Hallmark Features

* One of the highest staff-to-guest ratios in the industry

* Smaller-sized, luxury ships carrying just 684 guests

* Destination-focused itineraries, many with overnight stays in the "star" ports

* A very comprehensive lecture and enrichment program at sea

* Excellent value in luxury cruising

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Orient Lines

Miami-based Orient Lines is the cruise industry's destination specialist, offering passengers an in-depth experience through extended land and sea journeys to sought-after destinations around the globe. It offers CruiseTours of 7 to 40 days to over 140 different ports on all seven continents. CruiseTour itineraries include first-class hotel stays and sightseeing in embarkation/disembarkation cities, detailed briefings

on upcoming ports, imaginative shore excursions, and, wherever possible, presentations of native culture, dance, and music by local performers. Orient Lines' cruise schedules are carefully designed to allow for longer daytime stays and frequent overnight visits in ports of call.

Hallmark Features

* Destination-intensive: CruiseTours offer extended journeys to ports of call across the world, from small, intimate venues to world-famous cities.

* CruiseTour itineraries: CruiseTours combine ocean voyages with first-class hotel stays and sightseeing in embarkation/disembarkation cities.

* In-depth European schedule: Extensive itineraries in the summer to the Greek isles, the Mediterranean, and Scandinavia.

* Grand Voyages: Grand Voyages sail through legendary waterways and also offer two-day stays in exotic cities across the globe.

* Guest Lecturers: Exotic itineraries feature distinguished experts from politics, science, diplomacy, and journalism.

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Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises operates a fleet of 11 ships on nearly 150 different itineraries calling at nearly 260 ports around the globe. Princess is known for its Personal Choice Cruising program, a fleetwide dedication to providing passengers with a wide variety of options with which to customize their vacations. The line's ships are designed to offer an array of choices in dining, entertainment, and amenities.

Princess itineraries span the globe, with cruises range from 7 to 72 days in length. Destinations include the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Panama Canal, Mexico, South Pacific, South America, Hawaii/Tahiti, Asia, India, Africa, Holy Land, Canada/New England, Bermuda, Antarctica, and world voyages. Princess owns five Alaskan riverside wilderness lodges, plus a fleet of UltraDome railcars and luxury motorcoaches, which take passengers through the heart of the 49th state. Princess additionally operates cruisetours in China, Australia, Africa, India, Europe, the Canadian Rockies, and the eastern United States.

Hallmark Features

* Personal Choice Dining--choice of anytime or traditional dining

* Worldwide itineraries on the largest and newest ships

* New and amenity-filled ships on the West Coast--Alaska and Mexico

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Radisson Seven Seas Cruises

Radisson Seven Seas Cruises delivers consistent quality, service, and value over a diverse range of unique luxury cruise experiences. Its fleet of six award-winning ships provides a unique blend of product and experiences, with cruise destinations around the world. Its ships visit over 300 ports on six continents. Cruises vary from 4 to 108 nights in length.

By offering a higher percentage of private balconies than any other cruise line (including the only two all-suite/all-balcony ships in the world), it offers guests the ultimate luxury in cruising: personal space. With vessels carrying only 180 to 700 guests, guests never feel crowded. Open-seating dining with superb cuisine is offered throughout, always with a choice of dining venue. Radisson Seven Seas Cruises offers excellent value in luxury cruising, not only in pricing. Gratuities, wine with dinner, soft drinks, and juices are always included in the fare.

Hallmark Features

* Higher percentage of balconies than any other cruise line

* Among the highest space-to-guest ratios in the industry

* Among the highest crew-to-guest ratios in the industry

* Smaller-sized ships (180 to 700 guests)

* Great value in luxury cruising: great pricing, gratuities included, wine with dinner, in-stateroom bar setup, and soft drinks

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Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International typically appeals to couples and singles in their 30s to 50s, as well as family vacationers. The median age is low 40s, slightly lower on three and four-night cruises and slightly higher on longer cruises of ten or more nights. RCI guests are active travelers looking for an affordable, cost-effective vacation that's fun, relaxing, and refined.

Hallmark Features

* State-of-the-art ships and amenities

* Exciting itineraries

* Great youth programs

* Active amenities (e.g., rock climbing wall, in-line skating, etc.)

* Great customer service

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Seabourn Cruise Line

The Yachts of Seabourn provide the ultimate in small-ship, ultraluxury cruise vacations to the most desirable destinations on earth. The intimate, all-suite Seabourn Pride, Spirit, and Legend each carry a maximum of 208 guests and nearly the same number of skilled and dedicated staff, providing a remarkable level of personalized service. Many suites have balconies. Superb cuisine, created by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, is served in an open-seating restaurant, in suites, and at the casual indoor/outdoor Veranda Cafe. Signature Delights add value for all guests: complimentary wines and spirits; free Massage Moments on deck; Dress Circle enrichment speakers; Movies Under the Stars; watersports from a unique, foldout marina; and free Exclusively Seabourn shoreside experiences on each cruise. Because its intimate ships carry fewer guests and go where many larger ships cannot, Seabourn delivers privileged, in-depth destination experiences. Optional Signature Series and Adventure Collection shore excursions provide a virtual backstage pass to the world.

Hallmark Features

* Intimate, yachtlike ships, just 200 guests, friendly, uncrowded, and sociable

* Uncompromising luxury--from French Champagne to Caviar in the Surf, Sea-bourn is loaded with extras

* Sumptuous suites and only suites, 277 square feet or larger, many with balconies

* Superb cuisine that Gourmet magazine called "consistently excellent"

* Worldwide destinations, exotic ports, and cruises of 7 to 72 days

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Silversea Cruises

Silversea's fleet is purpose-built for the ultraluxury market, permitting its smaller, intimate vessels to slip into more exotic ports off the beaten path. The company's elite vessels are specifically designed for fewer guests, more space, and the highest levels of personalized service, delivered by Italian officers and European staff. All ocean-view suites, most with private veranda, and open-seating dining options so guests dine when, where, and with whom they desire, add to the very special ambiance created onboard. Silversea vessels also incorporate the favorite amenities found on larger ships, such as an elaborate show lounge featuring nightly entertainment, casino, spa, and state-of-the-art fitness facility.

Silversea is a favorite among modern, affluent travelers, with its all-inclusive pricing and enhanced by partnerships with the world's most respected luxury brands.

Hallmark Features

* All-suite fleet and exotic worldwide destinations

* An extremely inclusive product

* A rewarding loyalty program

* Caters to discerning guests (well traveled, affluent, and well educated)

* Rated world's top cruise line and innovative pioneer in luxury cruising

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Swan Hellenic

Fifty years' experience has made Swan Hellenic a leader in discovery travel. Swan Hellenic is best known for its effortless style of exploration, which delights its passengers and encourages a high rate of repeat customers.

The concept of discovery is a powerful ingredient in Swan Hellenic's recipe for success. Its itineraries encompass some of the most charismatic places on earth, visiting a variety of famous and lesser-known destinations and allowing ample time to experience the full flavor of different cultures, people, and places encountered along the way. Guest speakers present a captivating range of introductory topics, and the inclusive shore excursions are led by local guides. For these reasons, Swan Hellenic appeals to mature culture-seekers who are drawn to unusual or exotic port destinations.

Inclusive prices mean no hidden costs along the way. Swan Hellenic's inclusive fares cover flights from London or Manchester, as specified, transfers to and from the ship, accommodation, and all meals onboard, including coffee and afternoon tea. The price also includes a choice of tailor-made excursions, with entrance fees to places of interest and the service of guides. All tips onboard and ashore are also included, as are airport and local taxes.

Hallmark Features

* Focus on learning, enrichment, and discovery, with many exotic ports

* Classically designed, intimately sized vessel, The Minerva

* Highly inclusive product

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Windstar Cruises

"180[degrees] from Ordinary" describes Windstar's small luxury sail cruises. The elegantly casual and relaxed atmosphere features no assigned-seat dining, no ties or jackets required, and five-star cuisine. Visiting some of the world's small, exotic, and most fascinating ports in ships accommodating 148 to 308 pampered guests, Windstar's target clientele are around 51, professional, well educated, and most have cruised on large ships previously.

Hallmark Features

* Beautiful sailing ships

* Interesting destinations, attractively priced

* Casually elegant atmosphere and attire

* Fully stabilized sailing experience

* 5-star-plus luxury without pretense

Questions for Discussion

1. Give four ways cruise lines enable you to understand their profile and whom they typically target to buy their cruises.

2. Cite four publications of in-depth information on cruise lines and their product.

3. What product patterns generally characterize a lower-cost, mass-market cruise product? a midlevel premium one? an upscale one?

4. Is it possible for a person to have a "deluxe" experience on a mass-market cruise ship? Explain why.

Activity

Select one cruise brochure. Explain how each of the elements listed below is used and what this may say about the clients that the cruise line targets:

Name of cruise line:

Name of brochure:

Colors used on the cover:

Colors used inside the brochure:

Quality of paper:

Quality of the prose inside:

Photo selection:

Overall design:

Marc Mancini, Ph.D.

Professor of Travel

West Los Angeles College
COPYRIGHT 2004 Delmar Learning
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Mancini, Marc
Publication:Cruising, A Guide to the Cruise Line Industry, 2nd ed.
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:5793
Previous Article:Chapter 7 The geography of cruising.
Next Article:Chapter 9 Selling cruises.
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