If your customers want to see the Caribbean, a cruise is the perfect way to take in several islands on one holiday.
 
But unless you know your cruiselines, it can be difficult matching clients to the right ship. For those just getting to know the cruise market, we look at some of the ships you could suggest to clients who can’t get enough of the Caribbean.


 


All-inclusive family hotel with lots of facilities


Cruise alternative: Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl.


Why? The NCL Freestyle concept is based on the idea of a floating resort. It offers adjoining family cabins, and numerous places to eat instead of the traditional fixed dining times.


New ship Norwegian Pearl has the world’s first bowling alley at sea and a rock-climbing wall. It also has 12 restaurants, offering everything from Asian cuisine to steak and chips. The catch is that it isn’t all-inclusive. Clients pay for drinks and to dine in three of the speciality restaurants. The kids’ club is free until 10pm.


Sample product: An 11-night southern Caribbean flycruise from Miami in October, with calls at the Dominican Republic, Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua, costs from £1,099 per person including flights and transfers.


 


Honeymoon hotel for couples-only


Cruise alternative:SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I.


Why? SeaDream yachts have Balinese beds on the top deck where newlyweds can sleep under the stars and there’s al fresco dining on deck too. Because the yachts are small, there will never be more than 54 other couples on board (this is not a good choice for children).


Sample product: A seven-night round-trip from San Juan in December, with calls at Esperanza in Puerto Rico, St Martin, St Barts and the British Virgin Islands, costs from £2,631 per person cruise-only.


 


Luxury retreat


Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas VoyagerCruise alternative: Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Voyager.


Why? With up to 698 other passengers on board, it’s not exactly a retreat but it’s hard to fault the luxury. The package includes all drinks, there is a sumptuous spa, and its speciality restaurants Le Cordon Bleu and Latitudes, which serves Indochinese cuisine, are renowned but so popular that those in the know book online before departure. Seven Seas Voyager is also one of only two all-balcony, all-suite ships in the world – Regent owns the other.


Sample product: An 11-night eastern Caribbean round-trip from Fort Lauderdale in November, with calls including St Thomas, St Martin, St Barts and Grand Turk, costs from £4,727 per person cruise-only.


 


Value-for-money family holiday


Ocean Village’s Ocean Village TwoCruise alternative: Ocean Village’s Ocean Village Two.


Why? This aims to appeal to people who like full-board land-based holidays with free child places and charter flights to keep the price down. The cruiseline is taking on a second ship next summer.


Ocean Village Two will have more balconies than any other ship of its class and a spa, but will continue to offer a lively kids’ club and buffet dining, with no dressing up – except if customers pay more to be served in James Martin’s bistro.


Sample product: A seven-night round-trip cruise from Barbados in November, with calls including Isla Margarita, Grenada, St Lucia, Martinique and St Vincent, costs from £849 per person with flights and transfers.


 


Island with lots of adventure activities


Cruise alternative: Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas.


Why? Launching in April, this is the sister ship to Freedom of the Seas, the world’s biggest cruise ship. Liberty of the Seas is packed with on-board activities such as rock climbing and ice skating and even boogie-boarding or surfing on the FlowRider. Kids can play in the water park’s waterfalls, fountains and lazy river.


There are also plenty of land excursions for adventure-lovers, such as mountain biking around the Mayan jungle in Cozumel or swimming with stingrays in the Cayman Islands. On Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private island, you can race across the sea on a waverunner.


Sample product: A nine-night western Caribbean flycruise in July 2007, calling at Labadee, Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, costs from £1,199 per person including flights and transfers.