Travel Agents & North American Cruises
Marketing North American Cruises
Cruises in North America are growing in popularity. Alaskan cruises have long been a favorite among travelers looking for a beautiful and exotic location that offers adventure, natural beauty, and luxury. There are also an increasing number of cruises available in the New England area, Nova Scotia, and even the Great Lakes. River cruises are also an interesting and unique option.
North American cruises offer a unique niche that, if marketed appropriately, can substantially boost a travel agent's business. Americans who are not looking to travel far from home for any number of reasons may see the appeal of taking a cruise in their home country. As a travel agent it is your job to sell these cruises. When many clients inquire about cruises it may not have occurred to them that more local options are available. These cruises offer visitors a way to see the American culture in a new light. Cruises to nowhere also offer a fun opportunity for clients who want to experience life on a cruise ship but are limited on time or money. They can be wined and dined without traveling far from home.
Cruises departing from ports that are close to a client's home city also provide the perfect opportunity for an impulse trip. Whether your client is looking to surprise their wife with a surprise anniversary trip, or simply escape the daily routine for a few days, cruises through New England or along the Mississippi could be the perfect option.
Types of Cruises
North American cruises are often different than those you'd fine elsewhere in the world. River cruises are an increasingly popular option. River cruises are often on smaller ships that are run by smaller, more local companies. As a travel agent it can be challenging to stay on top of the latest companies and cruise options. Other cruises in North America include New England cruises. These peak during the fall months when they are popular with visitors hoping to see the fall foliage. The most popular cruises in North America are those to Alaska. Many of the larger, more famous cruise companies run cruises throughout Alaska. There are also smaller, more expedition style ships available for the more adventurous. As a travel agent, it is important that you are familiar with all of these options so that your clients have the best information available to them.
River cruises are growing in popularity throughout the U.S. and Canada. Some of the more popular routes include the Hudson River stopping at New York City, Quebec City, Montreal and many small towns along the way. This trip is best made during the fall months when the foliage is the most beautiful. It's a popular way to see large areas throughout New England without the hassle of driving. It really offers a unique perspective on the area for any type of traveler. On the west coast you can take a cruise between Portland, Oregon and Clarkston, Washington. The landscape in this area is beautiful and passes through the desert, Mount St Helens and Mount Hood. It's a seven night trip that allows guests to sit back and relax while they look out on beautiful and dramatic west coast landscape.
River cruises are quite different from ocean cruises. The boats are much smaller and the experience is much more personalized. The meandering nature of rivers means that the stops are often at small towns that might otherwise be missed. Towns that sit along rivers are often historic in nature. They are fun to explore and often have unique and quaint old towns with excellent shopping and delicious dining opportunities. Some river cruises may be shorter in length, but many last up to a week or longer. They are often organized by smaller, more locally oriented cruise lines, so as a travel agent, it can be more challenging to be fully informed of every option available. Travel agents must often be proactive when it comes to educating themselves on smaller, river cruise opportunities for their customers.
Alaskan cruises are some of the most popular and impressive cruises in North America. They provide impressive views and experiences that you would otherwise miss from a land tour. Many people do choose to combine an Alaskan cruise with a train trip or land tour through some of the impressive landscape in the area. There are many different cruise lines that operate through Alaska, but one of the most popular and highly recommended is Princess Cruise Line.
Most visitors choose to cruise to Alaska on a larger, more traditional cruise ship. These often leave from Vancouver or Seattle. They offer many of the traditional cruise activities onboard and then sell excursions while the ship is in port. Smaller, expedition style ships may be an option for your more adventurous clients. Many of these ships are based out of Juneau. These boats are better able to maneuver around glaciers and can go closer to the shoreline. The views from these expedition ships can be absolutely breathtaking. The cabins on these ships are much smaller as well, and there is little in the way of nightlife. What they do offer is a unique and special view of Alaska.
If you choose to specialize in Alaskan cruises it is important to note that this is a highly seasonable market. The cruise season in Alaska runs between mid May and mid September, but the most popular trips take place between June and August. If you decide to specialize in Alaskan Cruises, it is recommended that you also specialize in a winter cruising destination such as South America, Australia and New Zealand, or Asia. This will help insure that you have a consistent flow of clients over the course of the year.