Romance, they say, is where you find it. Words good to hear if you’re a travel consultant who sells cruises, considering that travelers find a blissful ambiance to be a sure thing when they set sail by river or sea. From fore to aft, romantic rewards are richly abundant on board an upscale vessel.
“So many areas of a ship hold opportunities for couples,” points out Denise Glenn, Dream Vacations franchise owner and vacation specialist. “They begin the day with breakfast on the balcony in cozy bathrobes, and head for an open-air cabana on an adults-only sundeck. Come evening, they stroll the promenade under the stars and steal a kiss under the smokestacks.”
Upping the ante for all things wedding, CruiseOne/Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. has partnered with David’s Bridal—a program that enables travel pros to expand their customer base with access to David’s Bridal customers via multiple channels.
More happy news: your database is already packed with possibilities. Weddings and honeymoons, vow renewals and babymoons, of course. But also getaways for twosomes, anniversary celebrations, birthday celebrations, and any sort of celebration. What’s not to love when it comes to sumptuous suites, tables for two, dancing the night away, a couples’ massage, and enchanting ports to explore?
Small Ship Cruising
“You can’t beat a small ship cruise for couples who want a romantic escape,” says Steve Simao, v.p. of sales for Windstar Cruises. “Our six ships visit quaint harbors with access to secluded beaches and quiet coves. Windstar’s uncrowded yachts provide plenty of opportunities for private togetherness: cozy spots for snuggling, intimate dining venues, and deck space for gazing at the sea by day and the stars by night—with no
one else around. Tell clients to plan a date night at Candles, our signature outdoor restaurant, and watch the sun set over a postcard harbor.”
Ask your clients this, Simao advises: “What could be dreamier than exotic Tahiti and the Tuamotu Islands in the South Pacific on one of our sailing yachts? Or the tropical Caribbean with its tantalizing isles, or the storied Greek Isles, or the sexy French and Italian Riviera with their chic cafes in cobblestoned towns?”
Luxury at Sea
Edie Rodriguez, Crystal’s CEO, chairman and president, similarly cites the lure of dreamy destinations. “We visit some of the most romantic places in the world, such as the Taj Mahal and the Palace of Versailles. Agents, it’s important to know a client’s budget—fortunately, there’s a cruise for any budget—and if they have sailed before and what they liked or didn’t like. It’s also helpful to know what matters to them in their itinerary and excursion selections and how far they want to fly to their cruise.”
With Oceania, cruisers can sail to jet-set-favored islands in the Caribbean, to storybook coastal villages the likes of Newport and Bar Harbor, and to the ever-popular honeymoon mecca of Bermuda. Not to mention the South Pacific—think snorkeling at a pearl farm and picnicking on a private motu.
Nikki Upshaw, Oceania’s senior v.p. of sales, notes that couples can choose among more than a dozen dining venues, “all with an abundance of tables for two. Travelers who want a romantic experience also want a quality experience,” she says, “and they are willing to pay a little more for it. You want a cruise line that tends to the details. We will make certain your clients have a sublime experience they will remember for a lifetime, and you will earn a very, very rich commission in the process.”
“Silversea’s intimate ships and destination-intensive itineraries have a tremendous appeal for couples who want to immerse themselves in unique, remote regions while still enjoying pampering services and luxurious accommodations at sea,” says Brad Ball, Silversea spokesperson. Which makes the line a perfect fit for adventurous couples. Case in point: the conversion to an ice-class ship of Silver Cloud, extensively refurbished and moving over to Silversea’s luxury expedition fleet by fall. Picture couples discovering the Arctic or Antarctica, Africa or the Russian Far East—with five dining options, complimentary wines and spirits, and a butler.
Adds Ball, “Voyages in the glamorous Mediterranean on our brand-new flagship, Silver Muse, are especially popular with twosomes vacationing this summer.” Along with eight dining venues, there’s the innovative Zagara Beauty Spa, where guests are urged to create their own spa program. (Don’t miss the sensory pleasures of the Mood Room.)
Relax & Unwind
Spa bliss similarly beckons at the Canyon Ranch Spa Club aboard Regent Seven Seas’ Seven Seas Explorer, unveiled last summer. Privacy-seekers should check out the spa’s private outdoor area, a teak-deck terrace filled with plush, partially covered lounge chairs surrounding an infinity-edge plunge pool. The pool contours to the ship’s stern, which means clients can soak and bond while taking in sweeping sea vistas.
Notes Randall Soy, executive v.p. of sales and marketing, “Regent Seven Seas offers couples an inclusive, luxurious experience in some of the world’s most compelling destinations. All dining and beverages are included, so they can focus on each other rather than being interrupted to sign bills.”
Culture vultures? Steer the pair to Ponant themed sailings, ranging from a focus on music in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe this year and next; to art, in partnership with Christie’s, in the Masterpieces in the Adriatic itinerary this summer, cruising from Venice to Athens. The line will double its portfolio with the launch of two new Explorer ships in 2018.
“With the ships’ intimate design, romance-seekers will feel as if they’re on a private yacht,” says Navin Sawhney, Ponant’s CEO of the Americas. “We lead in polar expeditions, so the fleet appeals to adventurous couples looking for an off-the-beaten-path escape. On board, they sip Champagne courtesy of our partner Veuve Clicquot.” At press time, Ponant had not yet revealed details of the promised exclusive concept of a multi-sensorial underwater lounge.
Experiential is Where It’s At
Uniworld made a mighty spring splash with the introduction of two newbies. First up, embarking on its Seine maiden voyage March 27, was the 128-passenger S.S. Joie de Vivre, a French beauty inspired by Parisian influences from the twenties to the sixties. Next is U by Uniworld, a brand that beckons cruisers aged 21 to 45 with the accent on experiential travel. Sales are now open for sailings beginning April 2018.
“Each ship in our fleet is a floating boutique hotel,” notes Ellen Bettridge, Uniworld’s president and CEO, “adorned with original works of art, handcrafted furniture, and sumptuous Savoir of England beds.” For an authentic French Supper Club experience, she directs pairs to Claude’s to spark a relationship via cocktails and live music. Also, upping the romance quotient, “Claude’s presents classic French cinema under the stars for several nights of
“For younger travelers looking for a magical experience, U ships—The A and The B—feature suites with French balconies; and with a maximum capacity of 120 passengers the ships offer intimate travel experiences with unique excursions like horse-drawn carriage rides in Vienna. The very first booking was a honeymoon couple.”
Her advice to travel pros: “Be as communicative as possible to qualify what is wanted out of a vacation. For the U brand, we predict the client will book later, so agents should be aware of the different booking patterns of this market segment.”
Romance on The Love Boat
Then there’s Princess, which pretty much inspired the whole idea of seagoing romance on a grand scale (as in, not just for the 1 percent), thanks to the popularity of seventies TV show, “The Love Boat.” Lovers can relive the fun on board Regal Princess at The Love Boat Disco Party, with music guaranteed to release their inner John Travolta. Not to mention cuddling on lounge chairs with pillows, blankets, and popcorn for Movies Under the Stars. And the more daring can stroll the SeaWalk—a glass-enclosed walkway with wraparound views from 16 decks high.
The latest addition to the line’s Royal Class is Majestic Princess, which embarked on a preview cruise March 31. Tailored for the China market, the ship kicks off its inaugural season in Europe this month. Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises’ president, says that Majestic Princess represents “the newest, most stylish, and most luxurious flagship in our fleet.”
Crystal Cruises: crystalcruises.com
Oceania Cruises: oceaniacruises.com
Princess Cruises: princess.com
Regent Seven Seas: rssc.com
Silversea Cruises: silversea.com
U by Uniworld: ubyuniworld.com/US
Windstar Cruises: windstarcruises.com