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p22-26 feature_ship_visits 23/3/09 10:43 Page 25
ship visits Cruise
are interested in trying a cruisers tend to book their
smaller ship, and of course, holidays way in advance so
seal the deal with the agent it can take a while for the
who has invited them.” bookings to filter through
after a visit, but the visits
THE YACHTS OF are invaluable. She chooses
SEABOURN the guest list carefully after
Seabourn introduced ship carrying out a sweep of the
visits last year and this year Connoisseur Club database
has set aside six dates. Its to ascertain which clients
ships are not in British would benefit from an
waters very often and places invitation.
are in demand. There is no “I wouldn’t take someone
charge for Seabourn visits. Sales support who has cruised with Hebridean five times
Ship visit dates
manager Toni Rowe says some dates still have before,” says Miller. “It would be a wasted place
for your diary:
availability this year but agents need to act fast as they would know the ship better than I do.”
if they are interested.
■ Crystal 2009 dates Rowe says: “I try to be fair and distribute the PETER DEILMANN RIVER
August 23 – Dover places I have evenly. I wouldn’t allocate more & OCEAN CRUISES
August 25-26 – Edinburgh than six places to any one agent. Agents tell us Peter Deilmann also limits its visits onboard
August 28 – Belfast these days are very worthwhile and it helps Deutschland to one agent and their clients per
August 29 – Liverpool enforce the quality message if customers can day but managing director Stuart Perl adds: “If
August 30 – Dublin come onboard and see the product.” the ship is in port overnight, we’ll then invite a
September 2 – Guernsey second agent to bring their clients onboard for
September 3 – Dover HEBRIDEAN INTERNATIONAL a silver service afternoon tea. There’s no cost to
September 5 – Invergordon CRUISES the agent, only an upside – as the idea is for
(dates subject to confirmation) Hebridean (pictured, above) is another line the customer to book as a result of their visit,
rarely in port, but it recognises the value of and earn the agent a great deal of commission.”
■ Peter Deilmann 2009 dates getting clients onboard during its turnaround Cruise lines are keen to use ship visits as
May 14 – Lerwick days. It limits the invitation to one agent per an opportunity to showcase the individual
May 15 – Leith day, to protect the agent’s client base and qualities of their product. Perl says:
May 26 – Aberdeen ensure their guests relax and enjoy the service. “Deutschland can’t be compared to anything
May 29 – Dublin Agents can invite a maximum of 40 guests to in the cruise industry. Seeing is believing.”
May 30 – Cobh be shown around the ship by a senior officer,
June 29-30 – London such as the captain or chief engineer, and a NCL
July 2 – Milford Haven senior member of the Hebridean sales team. NCL has an extensive programme of visits in
July 3 – Dublin David Smith, national sales manager, says: Dover and Southampton this summer, when
July 5 – Belfast “We charge the agent about £40 per person for agents can invite guests to experience the NCL
September 14 – London drinks and lunch, which is what you would Freestyle Cruising concept. Director of sales
September 16 – Fowey, Cornwall expect for a top-end dining experience. We’ll Nick Wilkinson says the questions consumer
September 17 – Milford Haven give guidance to agents about who they should visitors ask during visits are fascinating:
September 18 – Liverpool invite, as we don’t want freeloaders.” “Instead of talking about itineraries and price,
September 25 – London Dates are limited this year but Smith says: they ask about the ship’s facilities for dining
“If the partnership is right, we’ll happily discuss and entertainment. They want to know all
■ NCL 2009 dates options and accommodate the agent.” about the onboard experience.”
Dover dates for Norwegian Jewel Christine Miller, who runs Bath Travel’s This focus on the experience has led NCL to
May 22 Connoisseur’s Cruise Club, took 40 clients to partner with a number of agencies specialising
June 3 see Hebridean Princess last November. She says in accessible travel (pictured), to organise
July 9, July 21
September 7
Southampton dates for Norwegian Jade
May 29, May 31
June 13,
July 26
Note: There was availability on these dates
as TTG went to press
TTG Knowledge – March 2009
25
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