Twenty-nineteen marked Cunard’s return to Alaska after 20 years, with sailings on its youngest ship, the elegant Queen Elizabeth. Your clients can start their own love affair with Cunard and Alaska in 2020, with the cruise line offering a full season of 9- to 12-day Alaska voyages May through September from the ship’s homeport, Vancouver, plus new Japan & Alaska itineraries ranging from 19 to 38 days.
Our 10-day experience this past June from Vancouver, visiting six ports and spending four days at sea in Alaska, included the comforts of our recently and smartly refreshed Britannia Balcony stateroom; White Star Service—attention to detail with one staff to every two passengers—throughout the cruise; the elegance of Queen Elizabeth’s Art Deco-inspired decor; and the “wow factor” of Alaska’s natural beauty.
Selling Cunard’s Alaska Experience
We loved the international passenger experience on board, with almost half of the 2,081 passengers on the ship hailing from Great Britain with a large percentage of the balance coming from the USA/Canada (30 percent) and then Australia, Europe and Asia. This is an important fact to note as you want your clients to be of the same mindset and be open to the diverse social network on board. Most passengers fall into the 55-85 age group, are well-traveled, and are interested in nature, art, culture and overall enrichment.
Cunard delivers the enrichment factor in a big way with its informative and engaging Cunard Insights lecture series that featured naturalist Dr. Rachel Cartwright, who enlightened passengers on various topics that ranged from marine life such as whales, sea otters, and salmon, to land wildlife such as bears and eagles, as well as glaciers and the native Tlingit culture. This helped passengers have a more rewarding experience during their shore excursions (clients will have over 100 to choose from!). Furthermore, Cartwright made herself accessible throughout the cruise at the “Alaska Outpost”, a designated area of the ship where passengers can chat with the experts for more in-depth discussions. One of the lectures touched on how and why nature is good for one’s health and how the air at sea is beneficial. Cartwright explained that there are five studies that document the benefit of being at sea. Good fact to know when selling cruises, particularly to a destination like Alaska.
There will also be youth programs available for 2020 Alaska sailings, which is perfect for advisors who want to book multi-generational family groups, providing the younger generation an appreciation of nature in a fun and engaging way.
“Cunard has a proactive approach working in tune with the environment and environmental education,” says Cartwright. “And what is special about Alaska,” she says “is that it is still a destination where people can be one with wild habitat and still witness and be part of the natural system that is still intact in Alaska.” Other Insight lectures included Patricia Alexander, a Tlingit native, who explained her culture and history in Alaska dating back 11,000 years, and Kari Herbert, talking about the North Pole and beyond, describing the journey of her father Sir Walter Henbert’s historic journey across the Arctic Ocean via the North Pole.
Cunard is famous for our renowned onboard enrichment program, offering guests exclusive access to someof the most revered and inspirational speakers.
— Josh Leibowitz, Senior Vice President, Cunard North America
For 2020, Cunard is bringing together two of the biggest names in exploration and mountaineering: Sir Ranulph Fiennes—acknowledged as the “World’s Greatest Living Explorer” by the Guinness Book of
Records—will be a featured guest speaker on the June 2-4, 2020 sailing between Vancouver and Juneau; and Kenton Cool, one of the finest alpine climbers of his generation, will board the ship on June 12 and sail on voyages through July 2, 2020.
Culinary Excellence & Diversity
Executive chef Mark Oldroyd has been an executive chef with Cunard for 20 years and delighted passengers with products from Alaska, which your clients who are “seafood forward” will delight in. We enjoyed the regional salmon, king crab, halibut and prawns, and for meat lovers, there’s venison, reindeer, elk, and, of course, high-grade beef from western Canada and USDA prime beef. Additionally, there are plenty of European and world cuisines considering the makeup of the passengers. There’s always a selection of three to four featured entrees on the main Britannia dining room menu for lunch and dinner, and in the Lido buffet, Cunard offers cuisines from around the globe. For the British experience, the Lions Pub serves lunch and dinner with a full array of beers, ale, and, of course, fish and chips. There are also specialty restaurants on board that clients can book, ranging from Mexican and Italian, to Asian and Indian, depending on the night, as well as the Verandah, which is an excellent steakhouse. Your clients can also enjoy the Britannia Club, Princess or Queens Grills private restaurants when they are booked in cabins in those categories. Here, the dining experience is even more intimate with even greater choice and as an example in the Queens Grill, there is an unlimited caviar service.
All guests experience the White Glove Service and elegant dining in the main dining room. According to chef Oldroyd, “Our main dining room serves the high-quality foods and ingredients like the Princess and Queens Grills, and on an Alaskan voyage, passengers can experience a selection of Alaskan cocktails that are inspired by the scenery, food and culture of Alaska.” The Commodore Club also has cocktails exclusive to Cunard, named after the different Commodores through the ages.
Another not-to-miss culinary delight is Cunard’s high tea service in the Queens Room every day from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., which features traditional tea sandwiches, scones and classical music. This is a must-do experience at least once during the cruise and it’s complimentary to all guests.
Wherever we sail, says Oldroyd, “we support local economies and we want to give our clients an experience of a lifetime on our ships, which, of course, the culinary aspect is integral.”
Aah, the Spa
The Mareel Spa, created exclusively for Cunard by Canyon Ranch, is a haven for your clients while on board. Not only is there a myriad of massages as well as body and facial offerings, but clients can benefit from alternative treatments such as acupuncture, reflexology, fitness classes, wellbeing seminars and an Aqua Therapy Centre, which offers relaxation areas. My personal favorite was the Thermal Suite with heated loungers facing the floor-to-ceiling windows that look out at Alaska’s magnificent scenery. The expansive Mareel Spa experience also includes a full beauty salon. “The Mareel staff, otherwise known as ‘wellness architects,’ work to educate guests that wellness is not a trend, but a lifestyle,” says Queen Elizabeth’s spa director Nenad Trama, “and we aim to inspire people to make a commitment to healthy living, turning hopes and intentions into the highest enjoyment of life.”
What’s In it For Travel Advisors
You can earn more commission when you encourage your clients to book their next voyage while they are on board. They also get more benefits like a higher grade of stateroom. Also take advantage of a free cruise when you become a Cunard Commodore by completing modules in the Cunard Academy, empowering you with tools to maximize your sales.
Expand your commissions by adding a pre or post Rocky Mountaineer rail journey to a 2020 Cunard Alaska sailing (for more information on the Rocky Mountaineer experience, read the onboard review on page 24 of the July issue.)
Visit onesourcecruises.com to take advantage of other selling tools such as online training videos and a monthly newsletter with special offers and details.