More and more cruise customers are opting to add a land-based holiday to their time at sea. Consequently cruise and stay packages are tapping up larger areas of the cruise market. The increasingly wide range of embarkation ports coupled with an even wider choice of hotels and flights have ensured that cruise and stay options are the most preferred option. This has in turn, prompted many cruise lines to offer cruise and stay packages in their brochures. They have taken the concept many steps further by featuring hotel stays and teaming up with airlines to offer pre and post tours too.
People are realising that there is more to a cruise than setting off to sail in the oceans. The cruise duration being long, they invariably get home sick and look for “a home away from home”. Music festivals, gambling, gym, celebrations are other alternatives which are attractive in a package offers. Agents would probably charge separate commissions for each option they fulfilled as part of their deals. As against this the cruise and stay packages would take care of all requirements for a one-time commission which would work out to be economical on an average. People other than cruisers are showing a market interest in package offers.
Cruise and Stay Packages wouldn’t be suitable for all countries or ports. Ideally the holiday destination has to a sought after cruise port with connected air links, a thriving hospitality industry and a home to many local attractions. Europe has many ports but Barcelona tops in popularity as a cruise and stay port. Other ports in the Mediterranean cruise are Civitavecchia, Venice, Athens, Monte Carlo, and Istanbul. In the Far East, it is Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok. In the US, New York for people crossing the Atlantic; Florida to reach Miami and Alaska are the sought- after destinations.
Cruise retailers are making a thriving business since they earn more commission on Cruise and Stay Packages either from the lines or directly from the hotels. Focussing mainly on compiling customised packages for their clients, line companies are tuned to the business prospects from these packages. Cruise lines offering these packages under the umbrella of the parent company are in a position to offer wider choice in the products at competitive rates owing to economies of scale. The outcome for most cruise agencies has been a 100% increase in business in the last five years. 2009 though has been a critical year leading to heavy discounts and cheap deals being offered.