Comment: Make 2018 the year of cruise

Comment: Make 2018 the year of cruise

I saw a good friend over Christmas, who wanted my advice on booking her first-ever family cruise.

She had all the predictable reservations, which hopefully I allayed, but the key thing was here was someone who has never previously dreamed of taking a cruise now seriously considering it.

I asked her what had inspired her, and she said a mix of TV adverts, reality shows and promotions in her local travel agency window. In other words, all channels.

Engaging with these new-to-cruise customers is exactly what cruise lines are striving to do – and need to do – as the sector grows. Their efforts are clearly paying off.

Just as well, when you consider this year alone at least nine new ocean ships and a similar number of river vessels will enter service.

And if you think 2018 is going to be busy, 2019 has got even more slated for delivery.

The rate of growth in cruise is relentless but, with the total number of berths still equivalent to only 2% of hotel rooms globally, you can see why this sector feels there’s no reason to slow down.

And the great news for the UK is that many ships are being built or renovated for the UK market.

And even those operators with a more international clientele are targeting more British guests with additional ex-UK seasons, sailings and launches.

If you haven’t focused on cruise before, now is the time to be inspired by this cruise-themed issue of Travel Weekly, join trade body Clia, and get converting new customers like my friend and her family.

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