Cruise1st is preparing to open an interactive concept store in Manchester dedicated to cruising – it’s first foray into bricks and mortar retail.

The new shop at The Lowry Shopping Centre, which Cruise1st says is the first of its kind in the country, will open its doors to the public seven days a week from January 9.

New to cruise customers are being targeted and the store will feature virtual reality headsets that will allow shoppers to explore different cruise liens and take 3D tours of ships, resorts and hotels.

interactive-screen-2

Experienced cruise experts will be working in store to help customers make decisions and to make bookings.

The company, which makes most of its sales online, says some high-ticket product is more suited to selling via the high street.

Dan Townsley, chief executive of cruise1st.co.uk said: “Cruise is a complex product. Our research shows that while cruise brands are changing the language and trying to make the cruise concept simpler and more logical to the consumer, consumers often find researching and choosing the right cruise confusing and complicated, especially new to cruise, which is a vital market for our industry. Getting new to cruise is a difficult challenge and we feel that personal, face-to-face service is the way to do it.

“Our aim of launching the UK’s first cruise concept store is to gain new to cruise to our database and cultivate these relationships, as well as to provide the expertise and support for our growing database of customers who are looking for a more intense cruise experience – land tours around India, water falls in Venezuela, The Terrocata Army and Great Wall China tours. These are difficult to sell via the internet as consumers feel more confident booking these high ticket, extended destination cruises with the peace of mind that they can sit in front of somebody and ask any questions they may have before committing.

“The travel industry has gone towards digital, however specialists have not and customers, especially new to cruise, value specialist knowledge and the reassurance of face to face advice and support.”

Plans for the store were first unveiled in November 2016.