New Ships, New Sailings and New Sales: How to Hook First-Time Cruisers

Questex’s annual Ocean-Going Cruise Focus gets back to the basics by providing sales advice for targeting first-time cruisers and upselling repeat cruise customers. The guide also reports on the latest wellness offerings on some of the industry’s most luxurious sailings, as well as other trends and ship enhancements driving the niche’s ongoing growth. 

Reluctant Clients

Adolfo Perez, vice president of sales and trade marketing for Carnival Cruise Line, discusses several misconceptions, such as high price, seasickness and being confined, as potential barriers for first-time cruisers. He suggests that travel agents provide “real-world advice and recommendations” to overcome unfounded hesitation among their clients. The planner also points to resources, like Cruise Line International Association’s (CLIA) public affairs website,, to combat a wide range of sales hurdles.

“Travel agents need never fear representing cruise travel with confidence. The facts are on our side,” said Charles Sylvia, vice president, for CLIA’s membership and trade relations.

The Focus also offers advice from industry experts on how to increase sales among existing cruise clients. Suggestions included focusing on specific segments, like family holiday cruises and U.S.-based cruises (Alaska and Hawaii), and using upsell tactics, like “painting a picture” of onboard life.

What’s on the Horizon

In addition to highlighting 25 new ships and ship lines, like Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages and boutique cruise line, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, the travel planner explores the latest trends that have experts buzzing. Wearable technology, like Carnival’s Ocean Medallion, which empowers passengers to customize their ship experiences onboard, and “Escape Rooms,” which allow adults and kids to “escape” a room using hidden clues, were among the noteworthy trends.

Wellness on the Waves

The special report on wellness looks at the newest spa programs and facility refurbishments from a dozen top-selling cruise lines. Regent Seven Seas Cruises has debuted its “Seven Seas Wellness” program, which features five newly recreated spa treatments, including the Tangle Me Up Wrap and World of Relief Body Buff, and more than 10 wellness-themed excursions, like Tai Chi in the garden courtyard of the Pharo Palace in Marseille, France, and visiting hydrothermal pools at Stufe di Nerone Baths in Sorrento, Italy.

Seabourn has teamed up with famed integrative medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil to create the holistic “mindful living” program, which is available on several ships, including the Seabourn Encore and the Seabourn Odyssey, and scheduled to debut on more sailings in 2019. Dr. Weil will sail on a different Seabourn ship each year to provide a 60-minute lecture. A separate team of wellness experts will lead complimentary classes and gatherings focused on “Mindful Meditation,” as well as “Mind and Body” seminars. 

Find the 2017 Ocean-Going Focus, along with the River Cruise Focus, at

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