Hear what agents made of Clia’s luxury cruise showcase below

Clia UK & Ireland will hold its first expedition cruise event in London next year as it looks to further raise the profile of the growing sector.

Experts from inside and outside of the industry will be invited to speak at the the all-day Expedition Cruise Forum event on March 28.

Peter Shanks, Silversea’s UK managing director, on stage at the Clia Luxury Showcase event in Malaga, told delegates how Clia was going to make 2019 the year of the expedition cruise.

Next year, 10 new expedition and adventure ships are due for delivery with a further five on the way in 2020.

Andy Harmer, Clia UK’s senior vice president, membership, said: “This, along with our dedicated working group, will help agents capitalise on the growing popularity in the sector.

“As travel agents see more requests from their customers for adventure voyages, it is important they feel knowledgeable and confident in selling these types of cruises.”

Meanwhile, Clia said Chris Edgington, P&O Cruises’ vice president for marketing, and Ben Bouldin, Royal Caribbean International associate vice president and managing director UK & Ireland, are to join the association’s executive committee this month.

Tony Roberts, Clia UK & Ireland chairman, said: “As cruise lines, we are committed to working together to get more people to choose to cruise.

“We look forward to welcoming our new committee members, together working to lift cruising to new heights of sustainability, responsibility and opportunity.”

Stuart Perl, AmaWaterways’ managing director, is the new chair for the river cruise working group, and Jo Vaughton, Celebrity Cruises director of brand marketing and PR, is to chair the Clia PR working group.

And Clia has upgraded its cruise search tool in a bid to improve agents’ experience when searching for cruise itineraries and ship information.

The cruise search tool will be rolled out across Europe and will be available to all Clia travel agent members on cruiseexperts.org.

It will combine existing ‘meet the fleet’ technology and will give all cruise ship and itinerary information on a single search tool.