“We cruise internationally for different reasons. Some of us go to learn about new cultures, some for inspiration and enrichment and others for a stress-free getaway. We’ve put together all-inclusive experiences to fit luxury- and budget-focused cruisers, boomers, GenXers, families and first-time travelers to Europe,” says Clark.
Regardless of a traveler’s interest or time and budget constraints, he adds, the experience Avalon affords them is unparalleled, thanks to the best land programs and most modern ships and amenities in the industry. Averaging just two years, the ships are beautiful in design, homey and elegant, with “all of the personal touches American travelers look for in a boutique hotel.
“Cruising with us provides travelers big benefits including a more intimate, small-ship experience, close proximity of attractions and great value,” Clark states. Pricing includes accommodations, land excursions, regional entertainment, meals, and unlimited local wine, beer and soft drinks with all onboard dinners. “Not only do travelers appreciate knowing what their vacation will cost before they go, agents benefit with strong commissions from this all-inclusive style of travel.”
Speaking of agents, Avalon continues to provide education and support to them with free webinars, FAMs, CDs and virtual tours of the ships. Once agents feel comfortable sharing the small-ship cruise travel style, Clark suggests targeting the big-ship cruiser and experienced traveler, markets that will enjoy a more intimate experience, all-inclusive style and proximity to many attractions.
First-time cruisers would also love this type of travel and can be slowly introduced to the experience with the aforementioned shorter options (such as the 4-day Taste of the Danube). Other river cruises Clark suggests for first-timers include Romantic Rhine,Legendary Danube, Burgundy & Provence, and Paris to Normandy’s Landing Beaches. These are either seven or 10 nighters.
According to Clark, 2010 is already off to an excellent start, with significant growth in both the group and individual travel segments. “If travel agents haven’t sold river cruises before, there is no better time to start. River cruising is a travel style that will continue to grow for years to come. Customers are very satisfied with the experience and this travel style provides agents excellent commission-earning opportunities.”