Why are travel agencies important to cruise lines?

Simone Clark, senior vice president of Global Supply at Iglu.com, gives Rebecca Gibson insight into how travel agencies can help cruise lines design the perfect itinerary

Why are travel agencies important to cruise lines?
Venice is a popular cruise destination as guests can easily explore and enjoy the city’s culture, shopping, history and food

This article was first published in the Itinerary Planning Special Report. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

What are your top three cruise destinations and why? 
Number one is undoubtedly New York. I love seeing the iconic skyline as the cruise ship arrives into the city and, once onshore, I enjoy the shopping, theatre and the restaurants. Number two would be Barcelona in Spain. You get both a beach and city break in one cruise call! The beach bars have a great vibe, the tapas is amazing and there’s lots for families too – the beaches, zoo and parks. My third choice would be Venice, Italy. It’s a beautiful city, particularly in the evening when the crowds disperse – many ships stay in overnight so you get to enjoy this quieter time with a cruise. It is the home of the Aperol Spritz too! 

What do Iglu.com’s customers look for in a cruise in terms of destinations and shore excursions? 
Cruisers are increasingly travelling further afield and using the cruise as a stress-free way to explore different destinations. We have seen big increases in people travelling to Asia and Alaska, while the Mediterranean continues to be the most popular destination for us as there are so many diverse places to visit. A successful itinerary includes bigger cities, such as Barcelona, Venice and Stockholm, where it is easy for guests to explore themselves and there’s a combination of great culture, shopping, history and of course food.

Have you noticed any new trends emerging in 2018 in terms of the types of cruises guests want? 
Guests increasingly want to spend more time in ports, and we are seeing an increase in overnight stays and ships leaving port later in the evening. There is a huge increase in the number of luxury and small ships available as people demand higher quality. Others want bigger ships, with lots to do on board, and the cruise ships continue to innovate and add more exciting features for adults and children of all ages – more restaurants, multifunctional space, exciting new shows and greater use of the technology available.

How can cruise lines use insight from travel agencies like Iglu.com to create the perfect itineraries? 
We advise on deployment, looking specifically on where we can package up a cruise to create something truly unique. For example, in Barcelona we work with cruise lines and add various packages to the Barcelona Grand Prix, including luxury VIP experiences. We also look at packaging two cruises together back to back to create a longer cruise with even more ports of call. 

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
11 February 2019

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