Travelers choose cruise vacations for different reasons. Some agree with industry talking points: Unpack once, visit multiple destinations; A safe and secure mode of travel; No cooking or cleaning like at home; An outstanding travel value and more. The health-oriented like nicely-equipped fitness centers and a wide variety of dining options. Adventure travelers like the exotic places ships take them. But what inspires them to sail in the first place? What keeps them coming back, choosing one cruise line over another. We don’t have to look too far to find sources of cruise inspiration.
Turn a television and increasingly popular cruise vacations paint a vivid picture of what we might experience with commercials.
Viking River Cruises provides inspiration for one of their river cruise sailings producing a vivid picture of what they do that accurately reflects the actual experience, often noted in this space. This new one is typical of good sources of cruise inspiration.
Both of the above are very nice, professionally produced snapshots of what we will experience on these particular cruise lines. Reality very closely matches the experience too. Other good sources of cruise inspiration include the efforts of people like you and me who document travel with their own video productions. They may not have the resources to produce stunning video depictions of a travel experience, but their version accurately depicts what they experienced. See Popular Cruising or the Avid Cruiser as good places to start.
Take your pick: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Google+ and more; sources of cruise inspiration are all over the Internet, waiting to be tapped. From the device you are using right now, it is possible to engage with a cruise line executive; follow along as people just like you explore the planet; preview a potential cruise line, ship or itinerary; ask questions of experts and often get instant answers. Cruise ships provide access to nearly every part of our world and engaging social sources take us along for the ride.
Pick Up A Book- Old School Comes Full Circle
There is still a great amount of value in stopping by your public library or bookstore to find a travel guide. Buy an inexpensive, pocket-sized world atlas and mark places you have been or want to go. Many years ago I took a class on World Geography from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and was given an atlas that sits on my desktop today, my real desktop where coffee cups and pens sit. There is something about picking up that publication that makes it all seem more real. I know I can quickly find a destination online, sure. But flipping through the pages of my atlas is a more personal experience.
These days, news comes to us in a variety of ways and it seems there is no shortage when it comes to sources of cruise inspiration. I searched Google for “Cruise Information” and got 26 million options from which to choose. Still, there are some excellent sources that have valuable information, updated every day.
USAToday’s CruiseLog has the latest information, sourced first-hand news and in-depth stories of cruise travel on line as does Porthole Cruise Magazine, a bi-monthly publication available digitally or in a coffee table-quality print publication. CruiseCritic.com continues to provide interesting, useful information that serves as a favorite in the toolbox of many cruise travelers.
Cruise Line Brochures
While the most accurate information might be found on any given cruise line’s website, a printed brochure somehow makes it all more real. I remember the first time I connected with a travel agent on line, hoping to build a long term business relationship that would last a lifetime. He seemed like a nice guy, answered all my questions and provided a good price and the guidance I needed at the time. Still, I had nothing to hold in my hand, no tangible evidence that I was actually going on a cruise. That made me nervous to the point that I called the cruise line and asked if they ever heard of the agency.
Not long after that I started a travel agency and made sure one of the things we did was send information via postal mail the day a booking was made, just so our clients could have something to hold in their hands. Something real. Something to look at while they waited.
Your Fellow Travelers
Word-of-mouth advertising still ranks as one of the most solid recommendations a travel product can receive. Travel with others for a while and the shared experience brings us closer as ‘friends’ and a friends’ recommendation can make all the difference in the world. Some you trust, others not so much but both are good sources of cruise inspiration.
Another core process element of that travel agency mentioned earlier since day one was to contact clients after they traveled to see how it went for them. Much more than a polite and businesslike thing to do, I realized their experience, what actually happened to them on a ship, was golden information we needed to know. If there was any disparity between the promised and actual experiences, we needed to know that to accurately match people to cruise lines that would resonate with them.
As travelers, we can use that post-cruise review-like information from friends as good sources of cruise inspiration…or not. As with all of the above, we need to consider the source. Snarky Uncle Zeb probably does not provide the most accurate information or engaging inspiration. Easy-going Aunt Suzy who has a fun time at a funeral; she’s a good choice.