Travel Mythbusters: 5 Misconceptions About World Cruises That You Need to Know

Travel Mythbusters: 5 Misconceptions About World Cruises That You Need to Know

Travel Mythbusters: 5 Misconceptions About World Cruises That You Need to Know

Sponsored by Silversea Cruises

Truth be told, most travel agents have been frightened off by the idea of selling world cruises. They think these long and expensive voyages are only for the super-rich, retired set - and they’re just too hard to book.

Well, think again Read on, as we bust the top five myths about world cruises.

Myth #1: Only the uber rich can afford world cruises.

Let’s be honest. When you think of a world cruise, it’s the very top 1 percent of the 1 percent that come to mind, right? Well, that’s sometimes true, but not always.

Either way, the goal is to get you on their first world cruise - and to do that, you’ll have to address the cost. “Because the dollar figure associated with world cruises is a large number, you have to help your clients understand the value of the world cruise,” Greenwood said. “You can point them in the direction of their monthly expenditures while they are at home for four or five months, and subtract that out of the cost of the cruise. If you have clients who have second or third homes, you can ask them to consider what it costs to maintain them each year. Many people who do a world cruise every year think of it as their second home or winter home base.

“You need to itemize for them the vast number of services they are receiving. It is not just an incredible travel itinerary; and three, multi-course meals a day and cocktails at their leisure. It is entertainment, gym memberships, maid service twice a day, laundry, enrichment lecturers, daily card games at their fingertips, and new sights and cultures almost daily. After you have subtracted what they would be spending at home to receive anything comparable, it is a much more palatable number. In fact, it becomes a bit of a bargain!”

It might surprise you to know that not all world cruisers are rich. One agent was contacted about a neighbor who wanted to go on a world cruise. She was taken aback because they lived in the same community, with houses in the $200,000 range. How could they possibly afford a world cruise? The couple had just sold their second home in Upstate New York, and they wanted to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Not only did they book that first world cruise, but they actually booked a second one, as well.

Myth #2: World cruises are for over-50, retired couples.

The world cruiser profile is changing, now including younger and single travelers, too. One cruise line that offers world cruises said about 7-8 percent of guests on their ships are now single.

A woman who was single told her travel agent she was interested in taking a world cruise, but she was worried, saying, “Aren’t they just for couples?” The agent explained that there is a great deal of camaraderie on world cruises, and it becomes a bit like a floating club. Spending a few months together exploring the globe, the travelers develop strong bonds, and some become friends for life. The socialization aspect is a big draw on these grand adventures. The client trusted her agent, took a chance, and booked a grand suite. She couldn’t have been happier with her experience, entertaining her friends and family, as they met up with her in different parts of the world, getting on and off the ship for a week or so at a time.

Myth #3: It’s hard to find clients who want to take a world cruise.

To find world cruise prospects, “take a look at your own clientele,” advised Ryan Hansen, president of Bon Voyage Travel, in Tucson, Arizona. “Look for anyone who cruises twice a year on a 21-night or longer voyage. They’ve already made a commitment to halfway of a world cruise. Put the two sailings together back-to-back, and it can be a much more enriching experience.”

He added: “Don’t always go hunting for the white whale. Look within your own book of business and talk to people about their bucket list - and one might be a world cruise.”

Everyone has a bucket list. Try asking them about the top five places they want to go in the world. Very often, those five places can be seen on a world cruise in one trip.

Joyce Kliger, president and owner of See More Travel, Inc., in Southfield, Michigan, agrees with Hansen’s approach: “You have to know your client base. That’s the most important thing. When you know a client has sailed a few times a year, then you can say, ‘Why don’t you do a world cruise?’ and suggest an itinerary.” She also pointed out that there are multiple cruise lines offering various levels of world cruises; you don’t always have to suggest the most luxurious trips.

The idea of re-evaluating your current client list came up repeatedly in conversations with travel advisors. Most likely, you have clients right now whom you might have never considered to be world cruisers. Maybe they just retired. Or a relative died and left them a lot of money. Maybe they played and won the lottery. Or maybe they’ve made a lifestyle choice that allows them to splurge on that over-the-top travel experience they’ve been dreaming about.

Myth #4: People only go on a world cruise once.

As it turns out, world cruisers tend to repeat the experience and book additional world cruises.

“Once people experience a world cruise, there is a large likelihood they will do another,” said Greenwood. “Most people get ‘hooked’ … because of the community that is created by this floating, luxury residence. Friendships and bonds are created that would take years to develop in a normal environment. You are exposed to so many interesting people who are willing to make new friends. They are from all over the world, all different walks of life, with incredible tales of how they arrived at this point. It is a very stimulating and rich experience, and it will be a gift your clients will cherish. And, the incredible thing is that each world cruise is unique ... each has its own personality, so your clients will eagerly anticipate the next world cruise and what they will take away from it.”

Even if your first-time world cruisers don’t book another, it could very well lead to other types of travel bookings. For instance, one agent described how a female client of hers was recently divorced and had never been on any cruise, let alone a world cruise. She boldly went ahead and booked that world cruise, loved it, and she connected so well with the people she met onboard that they later went on a land safari together.

Myth #5: I can’t be away long enough to take a world cruise.

World cruises typically last 3-4 months, and many people are apprehensive about being away for such a long time. But now, with technology like FaceTime and WhatsApp, no place in the world is all that far away any more.

Some world cruisers are no longer waiting until full retirement. Instead, they’re choosing to set out on a journey of their dreams at an earlier age, while still staying connected to their workplace and family.

And, for those who just can’t bear to be without their loved ones, Hansen suggests “encouraging world cruisers to invite friends and family to join them on part of the cruise. One client had her daughter and son-in-law join her in an adjoining cabin for 14 nights. It’s a great way to stay connected. And for the travel advisor, this is another client. You now have a connection to the entire family, and you’re a part of their trip even more.”

Parting advice

Greenwood, who is on a segment of a world cruise right now (approaching the Maldives just a few days ago), has some parting words of advice for her agent peers who are thinking about how they can book world cruises, too.

She said: “I think everyone has some trepidation about taking a world cruise. When you talk to people who are on a world cruise, they all remember the decision-making process that got them here. Everyone has fears or worries it will not be right for them. If you or someone in your agency has had the experience and is willing to talk to your clients, and can be able to accurately and honestly address their concerns, your clients will be well-prepared for the adventure. They will come away with memories, stories, and friends they can share for many years to come, and they will thank you for it!”

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