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Send Your Clients CruisingNovember 13, 2009 By: Michael Browne
When the books closed on the World’s Largest Cruise Night in October, the industry stood at about $45 million in sales from the massive marketing promotion—translating into agent commissions of approximately $6 million. Nearly 50,000 consumers attended physical WLCN cruise events held by a record 1,309 agencies this year.
That’s big—and agents have every reason to believe their cruise sales will get even bigger. It’s the most reliable segment of the travel industry right now, and the cruise lines continue to enhance their offerings to attract travelers. Even your most reluctant clients may find themselves swayed by what’s out there these days.
This month alone, Royal Caribbean will be launching its much-hyped (and deservedly so) Oasis of the Seas, the industry’s largest cruise ship, while Carnival has just christened the Carnival Dream, the longest and largest ship in its fleet. Both of these ships offer a wide variety of amenities and attractions designed to awe and astonish passengers—and to make cruises an even easier sell for the travel agent community.
Even the luxury lines are getting into the spirrit of things. The Crystal Symphony has undergone a $25 million refurbishment and it looks fabulous. Clients who have cruised on her before will want to return to see the new Penthouse accommodations, as well as the pool area, which is now quite hip with great chaise lounges and posh seating areas. The Lido Deck has also been redone with more intimate seating arrangements.
Seabourn’s new Odyssey just arrived in Fort Lauderdale to commence some Caribbean itineraries, then will embark on her first world cruise. The ship, which debuted out of Venice this summer, has been declared a triumphant success, even though with a 450-passenger capacity it’s larger than previous Seabourn ships. There’s more to come; Seabourn will debut the Soujourn next June.
Silversea’s new Spirit is ready to roll this month, with a pre-inaugural sailing set to sail from Monte Carlo to Barcelona. The ship is all suites, including 26 of the popular Silver Suites and 222 Verandah Suites.
Oceania launches the Marina late next year with 147 suites out of an overall inventory of 629 staterooms. Its six restaurants will include a bistro by Jacques Pepin, the chef’s first foray at a dining establishment.
Now may be the best time to sell a cruise. The year is winding down, the holidays are approaching and people are starting to talk travel once again. And with the deals available now, a cruise lets your clients plan a vacation that is free of guilt and angst. The way it’s supposed to be.