At Tuesday night’s marvelous Avoya celebration in Carlsbad, California, honoring the family-owned agency’s 50 years in travel, Cruise Critic’s Michael Maher (far left) and Carolyn Spencer Brown (center) got a chance to catch up with Brad Anderson, company co-president, and his son Michael, one of the company’s third-generation executives.
How’s “Wave Season” going from a travel agent’s perspective, we wanted to know, and Brad filled us on three specific trends he’s seeing during this period, which is one of the busiest times of the year for cruise bookings:
1. Looking for a river cruise, especially in Europe, this year? “There won’t be anything left in a matter of weeks,” Anderson tells us. “Make up your mind, now – or starting thinking about a 2015 river cruise.”
2. While cheap-cheap-cheap fares are garnering a lot of interest from cruise travelers, Anderson offers caution.
“You’re never going to get a five star vacation at a three star price. That deal doesn’t exist,” adding that there’s a huge difference between advertising the lowest fare – and what you end up paying. “Look at value,” he says. “In the end, you don’t remember how much you saved; you remember what you saw. Don’t (waste) your most precious resource — time.”
3. The slowly-but-growing cruise niche of soft adventure and expedition travel – to more offbeat places like the Galapagos, Antarctica, the Amazon and the Arctic, among others – has caught Anderson’s eye (as well as that of Cruise Critic – check out our reports from an Amazon cruise and an exotic voyage around Indonesia). His bold prediction: “In ten years, soft adventure will be as big as river.”
We’re betting he’s right.