By Anne Dimon
Oasis of the Sea cruise ship.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, the Florida-based cruise brokerage company Buy the Sea manages about 65 programs a year, with two-thirds of them cruise-based.
Company president and cruise expert Shari Wallack spoke with us about trends in the cruise industry.
1. There is less fear and trepidation about booking cruise programs and in many cases, the push is coming from company CEOs, who have taken personal cruises.
2. Despite the economic slowdown, the incentive sector of the cruise industry is stable or growing.
3. Cruise lines are bringing rates in line with what the economy can bear.
4. The top destinations are the Caribbean, Europe (The Baltic, Greek Islands, Mediterranean and Norwegian Fjords) and Alaska.
5. In response to the desire for exclusivity and increased security, there are more individual group charters, specially with insurance and financial companies.
6. More direct-selling companies are booking cruise incentives.
7. Clients are more willing to consider seven-night programs, if the cost fits into their five-night budgets.
8. The newest and most technologically advanced ships typically sail on seven-night voyages.
9. More ships are becoming all-inclusive and introducing new options such as butlers, to appeal to the upscale market.
10 . “Green” and “wellness” initiatives are becoming more common, with offerings such as spa cuisine and spa cabins, plus yoga and meditation workshops.
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