Laura French gets some top tips on how to sell world voyages from three specialist agents
“Your job doesn’t end when clients embark the ship”
Alexander Loizou, director of sales and marketing, Mundy Cruising
Alexander has worked at Mundy Cruising for nearly 10 years after previously holding various tour operator roles. He oversees all aspects of marketing and reservations for the agency, which was the first cruise specialist in the UK and focuses on selling luxury small-ship cruises.
“Post-pandemic, a world cruise really meets the brief – firstly because people are making up for lost time, but also because they’re choosing to travel less frequently and for longer periods. Our world cruise sales have always been strong, but we’re finding an increased willingness to invest in big trips now to make extraordinary memories.
“If you’re selling a world cruise, look for ships that have ample space, a variety of dining options and as much as possible included in the fare – including shore excursions – so clients can get the payment out of the way upfront.
“In terms of specific cruise lines, Regent is an excellent option and its 2025 World Cruise recently went on sale. Silversea, Seabourn and Viking are also great options for those at the luxury end.
“My top tip is to encourage clients not to delay booking, because these voyages sell out fast. Also, remember your job doesn’t end when they embark the ship; after all, once they’re on board, they have more time to discuss their agent with other world cruisers.
“You want them to be boasting about you every minute of the way. Think up treats for them later in the voyage. Don’t imagine that because they’re away, you don’t need to worry about them; this is when you can really prove your worth.”
“There is a great deal of destination choice”
Stefan Shillito, owner and managing director, The Sovereign Cruise Club
Stefan has worked in luxury cruise sales for 29 years, including senior sales management roles at Seabourn and Cunard. Since 2005, he has been the owner and managing director of The Sovereign Cruise Club, now one of the largest luxury cruise agents globally.
“We’re noticing that world cruises are now appealing to a younger age group – those in their early 50s taking early retirement are one of our growth areas, and we’ve also seen more solo passengers booking world sailings.
“Availability for 2023 is tight, but there are still spaces for 2024 and several lines are already selling 2025 world cruises. Silversea, Seabourn, Cunard and Oceania have very attractive itineraries and competitive pricing, and they include perks for early booking, such as complimentary onboard spend. In terms of destinations, there is a lot of choice.
“Some undertake the traditional eastbound or westbound circumnavigation from the UK, typically taking around 110 nights, while others are round-trip from the US or start there and end in Europe. Perennial favourites are South America, the Pacific islands, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, India and the Middle East.
“This is a lucrative market. Good commissions on high-value bookings are always attractive and many clients now sail a world cruise every year or every other year.
“If you’re knowledgeable and providing a personalised service, it’s not difficult to cultivate a good database of regular world-cruise clients.”
“World cruises offer phenomenal value”
Dave Mills, vice-president of global supply, Iglu Cruise
Dave works with cruise line partners to explore new commercial opportunities. Having headed up the commercial team at Iglu Cruise for 14 years, he has been fundamental to the growth of the company, which is now the UK’s largest independent cruise agency.
“World cruises have been selling very well recently – particularly those without flights. Bookings for 2024 especially are looking very strong. There are some excellent deals, particularly on cruises from Southampton, where clients don’t have to pay for flights. Cunard’s new sailings for 2024 are a must – particularly the circumnavigation via San Francisco – and for 2023, P&O Cruises’ world voyage still has some availability.
“Don’t let clients be intimidated by some of the prices – these cruises still offer phenomenal value. To maximise that, look out for discounted drinks package deals or speciality dining deals that are prebookable before you depart.
“Also, don’t overlook booking a suite – these are about more than just extra space, and many include more‑inclusive drinks packages and speciality dining or spa access.
“When you’re selling, listen to the guest – their needs, concerns and wants will be very specific to them, so it’s about finding the right product to suit. It’s also important to highlight the fact that no two world cruises are the same – in terms of destinations visited, there’s literally a world of choice, and every year there are maiden calls at new ports.
“The main thing to be aware of is that this is still one of the few truly transcontinental types of holiday, and clients will make friendships that last a lifetime. There’s really nothing else like it.”
PICTURES: Shutterstock/Gordon Bell, Lebid Volodymyr; Steve Dunlop