All around the industry, there are reports that business is coming back, and none too soon for most of us. The news has been generally positive from most sectors but the cruise industry, in particular, seems to be a leader in the rebound, which is especially good news for travel agents as cruises are such an important segment of many agents’ businesses.
I was recently in Miami for the Cruise Shipping Miami Conference (aka Seatrade) where I spoke with some cruise line executives. While nobody is breaking out the bubbly and celebrating just yet, there was a sense of hope and optimism that we have seen the worst of the crisis. In this issue alone, we have good news from Carnival Corp. (page 37), as well as our feature on the success story of Costa Cruises (“Costa Changes Course,” page 12).
At Seatrade, I caught up with Maurice Zarmati, president and CEO of Costa Cruises, North America, and the face on this issue’s cover. We discussed the continued growth of Europe as a cruise destination — as well as a source market — which is directly in line with Costa’s new strategy. Sure enough, anecdotal evidence suggests that bookings to Europe for this summer are booming, and I think it’s safe to say that if you haven’t contacted your client list to let them know this may be their last chance to book a European cruise at such low rates, you are way overdue. Hopefully, this summer will be a win-win for your clients as well as your bottom line.
(Note: Our WAVE Awards balloting continues for the entire month of April. So, take a look at the ballot at www.travelagewest.com/2010WaveAwards to cast your vote for the best of the West!)