are always supportive, adding: “The idea for evening events might come from us or the suppliers.”

Find hooks for first-timers Special-interest cruises are a great way to engage new- to-cruise clients. They give customers the chance to enjoy a holiday while indulging their passion, be that dancing, wine tasting or classical music.

P&O Cruises senior vice-

president Paul Ludlow says: “During 2017, we have four Strictly Come Dancing- themed cruises giving agents an engaging point of interest to talk about, and making P&O Cruises stand out.”

For the second year running, Cruiseco has a music festival at sea. The Rock the Boat holiday is on Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Magellan round-trip from Newcastle and will feature performances from chart-topping artists including Suzi Quatro, Slade and From The Jam. Cruiseco national sales manager Joe Lavers says: “These are all about the music and definitely attract people who have never cruised. One-third of the passengers who booked last year’s on Celebrity Eclipse were new-to-cruise. All the entertainment and tips are included in the price, so it is excellent value.”

Fares start at £937 per person for one week, departing September 2.

Know the ports

Modern ships might be amazing, but polls show that the number-one reason why people cruise is for the places they visit. Depending on region and itinerary, they might tick off four or five countries in just a week. Knowing a port’s key

attractions is one weapon agents should have in their arsenal to help sell to first- timers. Nothing beats a visit, but agents can also dip into the destination information curated by Clia and port associations such as Med Cruise and Cruise Europe.

Cruise Norway has an in-depth sales manual that outlines the attraction of cruising to the fjords and the excursions available in each port. Cruise Baltic launched a trade training programme almost two years ago that covers 10 of the countries that surround the sea.

Cruise Baltic director Claus Bodker says more than 1,500 agents worldwide have completed the course. “The training creates more awareness of the Baltic Sea region so agents become confident promoting and selling cruises in our region, especially with respect to first-time cruisers,” he says.

Clockwise from left: Zolv’s Full Picture agent selling tool; Strictly Come Dancing-themed sailings on P&O Cruises; a Princess Cruises social media image by Instagram artist Paperboyo; and Suzi Quatro, who will sing on Cruiseco’s Rock the Boat voyage on board Magellan

34 | Travel Weekly Cruise | May 2017

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