Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced the launch of a CLIA Specialty Cruise Collection initiative to support and promote small ship, river, coastal, luxury, adventure, and sailing ship member lines. The initiative seeks to enhance and extend the marketing and communications reach of 13 CLIA member lines.
|Christine Duffy, president and CEO, CLIA
Using the theme “Experience the World in a Different Way,” the initiative encompasses marketing and public relations strategies, travel agent training, trade show representation and other activities designed to heighten consumer and trade awareness of the exceptional and growing diversity of specialized cruise experiences offered throughout the world by CLIA member lines.
As a group, the CLIA Specialty Cruise Collection, created in collaboration with a task force of collection members, encompasses ships ranging in size from less than a hundred to more than a thousand passengers, most built for specific experiences, including adventure or river cruises, wind-powered or yacht-style luxury, longer voyages to the most exotic destinations in the world, coastal voyages in North America and Norway, even a newly built stern paddlewheeler. Collectively, the group offers virtually every type and length of cruise in destinations throughout the world and at almost every price level, including ultra-luxury.
Together the group also creates an authentic “world” of cruising defined by the unique opportunity they offer for guests to share the experience of interacting intimately with the world, its landscapes, cultures and people. Strongly destination focused, the itinerary choices of these ships typically play a strong motivating role in consumers’ selection of a specialty cruise.
A July 2012 survey of CLIA-member travel agents affirmed the importance and value of providing branding and marketing support for the specialty cruise segment of the industry. According to respondents, this category of cruising already represents five to 45 percent of agent business and almost 60 percent of respondents described it as a growing sales opportunity.
Among the factors that drive consumer interest in special cruising are, in order: social interaction and friendships made with fellow passengers; price; appeal to all age groups; specialized culinary experiences onboard and shoreside; value; interesting shore activities and sightseeing and erception of greater degree of specialized and personal services.
While older and more affluent consumers are prime customers for specialty cruising, agents responding to the survey also indicated growing appeal for all ages of travelers, first-time cruisers, family and multigenerational groups and younger and less affluent travelers. Looking ahead, agents predicted the specialty cruise segment would be characterized by increasing globalization of itineraries around the world, more shipboard amenities and activities, greater focus on cultural activities, more luxury and purpose-built ships for coastal, river and adventure travel, even larger “boutique” ships.
Christine Duffy, CLIA’s president and CEO, said the members of the Collection offer diverse vacation experiences yet share an immensely enjoyable quality and perspective on the world. Duffy also said CLIA is committed to help these companies, and others that may wish to join the Collection, to heighten their impact in the consumer marketplace and provide travel agent members with valuable tools to help them sell these exciting vacation opportunities.