What have we learned from nearly two years of unprecedented lockdowns, strict medical regulations, and unrelenting stress? For one thing, most of us have a deeper, all-the-way-to-the-core understanding of just how critical it is to take good care of ourselves and to schedule in mindful escapes from everyday life so we can rejuvenate the body, mind, and soul. And isn’t it travel that has traditionally and quite remarkably accomplished just this objective?
“A lot of people are realizing how important a good vacation is now, not only for entertainment but also for their health and well-being,” said Amy Negron, travel consultant at Florida-based Norgen Cruises. “In talking to our customers after the pandemic, we hear an anxious need of wanting to take a vacation where they’re able to take time for themselves. They want to relax or see nature and be outside.
“It’s incredible how many clients are asking to leave on a trip with just a month or two months’ notice. And they come back with good feedback, feeling more positive and enthusiastic.”
Denise L. Wiggins, global travel & health and wellness advisor, at Denise Wiggins Travel Services & Curran Travel, in Pennsylvania, had this to say about wellness travel and cruising, in particular: “Clients haven’t always associated wellness with cruises; however the market is changing and with newer brands entering with a focus on it, as well as existing brands recognizing the need to do so, options have opened up for anyone desiring a wellness cruise.”
This heightened attention on wellness can help you, as a trusted travel advisor, close more cruise sales while supporting your clients to revitalize their lives. Here are five health and wellness travel priorities to keep in mind as you suggest cruise offerings to your clients for their next trip.
1. High-nutrition eateries to fuel the body
“Client wellness priorities are always on quality nutrition and eateries that reflect healthy choices without the guilt,” said Wiggins. “Nutrition is a huge spotlight as many no longer wish for the traditional buffets, where they later feel bloated or have inflammation. Smaller plate portions are key. Clients are food conscious and are continuing to learn the value of what they eat and drink.”
Dining experiences aboard many cruise ships have transitioned away from the large buffets and multi-course meals. And some of the newer luxury vessels have replaced the big dining halls with specialty eateries dispersed throughout the ship; there, the culinary emphasis is on fresh, unique, and diverse offerings. Foodies couldn’t be happier. In truth, everyone benefits from this healthier approach.
2. Yoga and movement classes to de-stress
“Our clients wish to take their wellness routines on their travels versus sabotaging all the health wins gained at home,” noted Wiggins.
Cruise lines do not disappoint, as they have expanded the offerings for their guests to engage in a multitude of movement and exercise classes. Such options include: sunrise yoga, running on the sundeck track, outdoor boxing, kickboxing, cardio, spinning, Pilates, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), and more. And don’t forget all the water sports.
3. Tranquil places to nurture oneself and find peace
The first place to nurture oneself on a cruise ship is, of course, the spa. Talk about the immune-boosting offerings, which are not new, but have become all the rage since COVID-19 hit the planet. Travelers seek to strengthen their bodies’ natural defenses with Ayurvedic treatments, massage and other bodywork, wraps, nutritional counseling, detox programs, and the like.
The second place to find peace is the great outdoors. Some agents are seeing a move away from standard excursions to those where travelers are immersed in nature. Think hikes and cycling tours while in port. And at sea, travelers can simply sit tranquilly on the deck and gaze at the horizon as the ship lulls them into a peaceful state. Either way, call it nature therapy.
4. Luxurious bedding for deep sleep
Many people have battled with chronic insomnia for some time now. And they just want to feel rested, genuinely rested. “Bedding is a focus for travelers. Clients speak of desiring a good night’s rest while away, in which the cruise brand has taken into consideration mattresses and pillow selections. A positive, uplifting, and welcoming cabin is also paramount to a cruiser’s wellness checklist,” said Wiggins.
5. ‘Vitamin sea’ for the body, mind, and soul
One famously innovative cruise line that has been getting quite a bit of attention lately talks about how a luxury cruise ship “combines the premium elements from favorites on land with the freedom and simplicity of a life well lived on the open ocean.”
Paint the picture for your clients of the floating sanctuary that they will embark on, the expansive sky, the rolling waves, the meditative mornings, and the playful nights. Bottom line, it’s 100 percent organic “vitamin sea” for the body, mind, and soul.
Help your clients book that much-needed time off now. Who wouldn’t benefit from focusing some time and attention on a de-stressing, relaxing and self-healing getaway?
“This is a time with great opportunities for agents to sell cruise activities that meet the health and wellness needs of travelers,” said Negron. “Sell them in advance and earn extra commission.”
FROM THE SPONSOR:
Virgin Voyages is a new lifestyle travel brand focused on delivering irresistible cruise vacations. The brand’s first ship recently launched and Virgin Voyages currently has three more ships on order with master shipbuilder Fincantieri; the brand has operations in the U.S., UK and across Europe. Virgin Voyages’ first ship, Scarlet Lady, was designed to reflect a yacht’s sleek luxury, offering the intimate, elevated experience of a boutique hotel at sea. Featuring spaces designed by some of the top names in contemporary interiors, Scarlet Lady is adult-by-design and a sanctuary at sea for the 18-plus traveler. A dose of Vitamin Sea has been naturally intertwined across the entire ship, with well-being, relaxation, and rejuvenation at the forefront. Scarlet Lady also features alluring entertainment and 20-plus, world-class intimate eateries onboard. With a modern twist on luxury, coupled with discerning design, Virgin Voyages offers incredible value for its sailors, including unlimited access to all restaurants and eateries, group fitness classes, free WiFi, and tips covered in the voyage fare. Travel advisors can raise their sales with Virgin Voyages' Seacademy; and learn more about current promotions at firstmates.com.