Combining a cruise with a land-based tour can be a reliable way to deliver on the increasing demand for destination immersion. Debbie Ward outlines some of the global options
With clients increasingly seeking more adventurous, immersive experiences, a marriage between the two booming areas of cruise and touring seems a natural move, whether packaged by operator, cruise line, or tailor-made by agents.
It is also a great way to boost commission and introduce customers to lucrative new sectors.
“Combining a land-based element of a holiday with a cruise, whether it’s ocean or river, is a fantastic way for agents to entice new people to choose a cruise,” says Clia UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer.
“We are seeing our agent members do this more and more, and with an ever-increasing number of ships and destinations on offer this trend is set to continue throughout 2018 and beyond.”
Hammer points out that it is also a chance for agents to prove their worth, with a “truly bespoke cruise holiday” likely to encourage repeat business. Here are some options across the globe to suggest to your clients:
“Cruise and tour packages are ideal for holidaymakers who are travelling further afield and want to maximise the time they spend exploring anew destination,” says Jamie Loizou sales, marketing and digital director at AmaWaterways, which enables guests to add on land tours in Africa and Asia.
He points out they are also seamless, with Asia land-based tours accompanied by the cruise manager from start to finish – a particularly popular aspect for solo travellers and first-timers to the continent.
“They might be nervous about exploring on their own but when they become aware that they can add on a land tour with their fellow cruisers, they are often keen to upgrade,” Loizou says.
AmaWaterways’ 16-day Charms of the Mekong itinerary through Cambodia and Vietnam (recently featured on Channel 5’s Cruising with Jane McDonald) includes a pre-tour of Ho Chi Minh City and a seven-night cruise through the two countries, then continues by land to Angkor Wat, Hanoi and Halong Bay. It costs from £3,093pp, including transfers.
Japan is Kuoni’s second best- selling destination for stay and cruise itineraries and is also offered for cruise and tour.
“By blending our vast experience designing land-based itineraries with some impressive experiences at sea, we attract both travellers who have never been on a cruise before right through to those who’ve grown to love cruise holidays,” says Kuoni’s senior product executive for cruise, Roxanne Howard.
The Japan in Springtime itinerary runs during the famous cherry blossom season. Sailing on Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Quest, it includes Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kobi and Mount Fuji. When guests disembark, they take a bullet train to stay in a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn), in Nagano. They then return to Tokyo the next day (making a 19-day trip from £8,367pp), or extend their tour and travel independently, using the five- day rail pass included and Kuoni’s tailor-made expertise.
Through a new partnership with Regent Seven Seas, Titan has created a cruise and tour combining Bangkok and the River Kwai with a luxury voyage to Hong Kong. Departing February 2019 for 23 days, it costs from £8,299pp and starts with sightseeing in Bangkok followed by two nights in a private villa at Kanchanaburi with a visit to the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre Museum.
The Regent Seven Seas Mariner 16-night all-inclusive cruise then sails the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea to Cambodia, Vietnam, Borneo and China.
Rob Stapley, Titan’s senior product manager for river and ocean cruise, says: “For agents, one of the key selling points is the opportunity for their clients to stay in smaller unique accommodation, such as the Float House River Kwai Resortas part of a four-night unique pre-cruise package specially designed for Titan guests.”
Arena Rail Holidays has a new tour and cruise itinerary for this year with Serenity, which is chartered year-round by its sister company, The River Cruise Line.
“Tours that combine a cruise element can be ideal for anyone who has previously taken an escorted tour but is considering dipping a toe in the world of cruising,” says Arena’s sales and business development manager Tim Fleming.
“From an agent’s perspective, these bookings can earn them good commission and they are dealt with efficiently as every element of the package is taken care of from the operator side.”
The 14-day Berlin, Prague, Budapest and Danube cruise itinerary links the three named capitals by rail with two days in each, before taking a five-night cruise to Bratislava and Vienna.
Departing on June 13, it costs from £1,849pp including return rail travel from the UK.
Shearings offers both tours with cruise included as well as tailor- made options.
Product and yield director Matthew Herbert believes this fits well with the trend for clients wanting to deepen their travel experience. “They want to see more, do more and experience more. A tour that includes a cruise element or a cruise with a tour added either pre or post is a great way to take in more of a destination or region and see it from two different angles.”
In Europe, Shearings’ new Delights of Turkey and Greek Island cruise from £1,209 starts with three nights’ sailing around the Aegean Islands onboard Celestyal Olympia calling at Patmos, Crete, Santorini, Athens and Mykonos. A three-day coach tour of Turkey then visits Ephesus, Pamukkale, Cappadocia and Istanbul.
The 18-day Wonders of China & The Yangtze River (from £3,559pp) is among its long-haul cruise and tour options.
“The Galapagos is, for many, a once- in-a-lifetime trip and we often have requests from travellers looking to explore more of South America before or after,” says G Adventures’ brand manager for marine products, Katie Shanks.
“We offer the opportunity to combine any of our small-group Galapagos cruises with any Peru tour and G Adventures will cover the cost of the internal flight from Quito to Lima, saving up to £320,” she says.
One such option is the Lares Trek combined with the South & Central Islands Aboard Estrella Del Mar. Avoiding the busier Inca Trail, the Lares Trek includes three days hiking the Sacred Valley, passing remote communities and farms, before ending at iconic Machu Picchu.
Travellers can then head to Ecuador for the Galapagos and a seven-day cruise that includes three species of booby (seabird) on Punta Pitt, white-sand beaches on Cerro Brujo, and coastal touring through Punta Suarez. The Ecuador element is from £1,709pp while the Lares Trek starts from £729pp, excluding UK flights.
Silversea’s Couture Collection bespoke land experiences allow clients to experience remote destinations before or after a cruise in many destinations.
“Our guests are seasoned luxury travellers looking to discover the least accessible corners of our planet, where nature can still astound with its untouched beauty,” says Connie Georgiou, sales director UK, Ireland, Middle East & Africa.
Among its other cruise and tour suggestions are Alaska combined with Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer, Machu Picchu and the Galapagos, and Brazil’s Iguazu Falls added to select cruises that start or end in Ushuaia, Argentina – for instance, the 14-day Valparaiso to Ushuaia (from £6,390pp for a November 5, 2018 departure), which takes in the Chilean Fjords.
Alaska is a popular cruise and tour destination. Princess Cruises has 50 such options of 10 to 15 days. Each includes the state’s top two attractions – Glacier Bay national park and Denali national park, home to North America’s tallest peak.
Princess Cruises’ director of sales, UK and Europe Rachel Poultney says: “Agents should highlight the enhanced experience a cruise-tour offers, from taking Princess’ very own direct-to-the-wilderness train to staying in the heart of Alaska at one of the line’s wilderness lodges.”
The Denali Explorer features seven nights at sea calling at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and cruising Glacier Bay national park and College Fjord, followed by four on land visiting Denali and finishing in Fairbanks.
Land stays are at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and Mt McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge where a treehouse activity space is new this year. The August 29, 2018 departure costs from £1,515pp for 11 nights excluding flights.
A natural destination for cruise and tour, Egypt is suggested by Scenic, which for 2018/2019 has hybrid options on both its Egypt and Jordan product.
It’s the “best of both worlds” says head of sales UK, Angela Sloan: “Guests can view the incredible sights from the comfort of the sun deck onboard the Sanctuary Sun Boat III, with a tour director and resident expert Egyptologist... then explore even further with included flights to Giza and Luxor, so they won’t miss a thing.”
On the 11-day Treasures of Egypt tour (from £4,595pp including flights) clients begin in Cairo with sunset canapes at the Pyramids, visit the bazaars of Luxor and take an optional hot air balloon ride over the city’s ancient sites then cruise the Nile with stops including Aswan for the Osiris temple.
Back in Cairo, they visit the Egyptian Museum, which includes Tutankhamun’s tomb. A longer alternative is the 20-day essence of Egypt and Jordan (from £7,795pp).
Down Under, Travel 2 offers the 14-night Tasmania Explorer journey, which touches the west and east coasts of Australia. The trip starts in Perth for two nights and incorporates the famous Indian Pacific train with a four-day journey across the Outback via Adelaide and on to Sydney for a three-night stay.
Guests will then take a six-night cruise around island state Tasmania onboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas. The itinerary costs from £3,309pp, including flights and accommodation in Sydney and Perth as well as onboard the train and ship.