Jo Rzymowska, UK managing director Celebrity Cruises and Clia UK chairwoman, explains why the annual awareness campaign is about nurturing a new long-term releationship with cruise

Working in the cruise sector is pretty special.

As cruise lines and river cruise lines we work together well, alongside being fiercely competitive, because we can see the benefits that our collective might brings.

This week is Cruise Week, an awareness initiative that is now in its sixth year.

For cruise lines Cruise Week means a huge focus in doing all the things we usually do, but bolder and stronger over the intensive week-long period.

Of course we want to sell more cruises, but mostly we take the opportunity to share with our agent partners more time, more resources and more incentives.

This dedicated week is as much about reminding ourselves of what works when it comes to trade engagement, as it is about promoting cruise.

It is probably fair to argue that the cruise sector invests more than any other area of the travel industry in trade marketing, training and incentives.

We do this because travel agents and specialist cruise retailers are an incredibly valuable resource to our customers.

Our sector recruits under three per cent of the population to try a cruise, so we know we have some considerable work to do and need plenty of help.

A huge proportion of people who buy our cruises do not walk into their travel agent planning to buy a holiday at sea or on a river.

They end up on a cruise because a travel agent recommends the experience, reassures them it is value for money and a rewarding experience, and guides them through the booking process.

Savvy agents sell cruise well because they know that once they have a client on the right cruise for them, they have a repeat customer for life.

This means that the most important element of Cruise Week is training and education.

And looking to 2015 the importance of understanding the differentiators between the cruise brands, and their individual ships, is greater than ever.

Not only are there several new ships being introduced in 2015 both from ocean and river lines, many ships well loved by agents – including Celebrity Cruises’ own Celebrity Eclipse – are being refreshed and refurbished.

This means more features, types of accommodation, itineraries and experiences to learn how to sell.

Clia UK and Ireland has a phenomenal range of resources, as do the individual cruise lines – it couldn’t be easier to get your head around what’s new and what’s exciting.

Agents who take the opportunity to learn more during the fun activities of Cruise Week will be best placed to take advantage of new opportunities as we enter 2015.

My focus for Cruise Week is to showcase to agents and our guests the importance achieving the perfect match between client, cruise line, destinations, accommodation and experiences.

Nurturing long term affection for cruise is key to all that we do.

This Cruise Week discover a new relationship with cruising, tell us about it, tell your customers about it and importantly make it start of something truly special, long term and rewarding.

Quite simply there’s never been a better time to #lovecruise.