Cruise360 in Copenhagen
Gary Buchanan reports from Clia’s new immersive conference for European travel agents which took place last month in the Danish capital.
In early September Clia held its inaugural European travel agent event Cruise360 in Copenhagen. This three-day immersive conference attracted 180 agents and offered them practical advice and support to grow their cruise sales. On top of from seminars held on board Regal Princess and Norwegian Getaway, there were ship tours, local excursions and evening events as well as a Trade Fair and Cruise360 Masterclass learning programmes.
The main aims of Cruise360 were to showcase the experiences Copenhagen has to offer, give agents the opportunity to see for themselves two ships that rarely visit British ports and to learn from the experts. The underlying theme was cruise destinations – with the message ‘Discover Together’ aimed at enhancing cruise business. The event was moderated by Andy Harmer, SVP membership & director, Clia UK & Ireland.
Destination experts included Robin West, expedition team leader for Seabourn; while Peter Kollar, head of international training & development at Clia discussed ‘Why cruise destination knowledge is key to your business’. Conference session speakers included Stuart Leven, vice president EMEA and managing director RCL Cruises Ltd and chair of Clia UK & Ireland; as well as Kyriakos Anastassiadis, CEO of Celestyal Cruises and chair of Clia Europe.
Tom Fecke, secretary general of Clia spoke to Cruise Adviser saying, “Cruise360 brought partners and stakeholders together,” while Andy Harmer added: “Our UK-based events are very successful, and a great opportunity to bring the UK and Ireland cruise community together. Cruise360 is already a very popular event for the industry in North America and Australasia, but the Copenhagen event allowed us to showcase one of the many ports featured on popular cruise itineraries, and allowed us to bring the wider-European community together too.”
Kathryn Beadle, managing director of Uniworld, commented, “This is the start of what could well be a key event. It’s been good to give agents a chance to experience what Copenhagen has to offer, while sharing best practice and networking has been an added benefit.”
These views were reflected by Mandy Wright of Your Perfect Escape – an independent travel consultant in Leicestershire. “Having not been to a Clia-organised event before, I was a little unsure of the benefits, but it exceeded my expectations. The masterclasses were well pitched with a good mix of cruise specific and self-development sessions,” she said.
However, Phil Evans, owner & managing director of Swansea-based tour operator Cruise Nation had a few reservations. “Accommodation in Copenhagen was very expensive for the delegates. I think hotel partners could have offered a better rate.” He was also disappointed that Princess Cruises and NCL didn’t take the opportunity to showcase speciality restaurants during the two lunches held on board saying, “With such a small group of delegates the cruise lines missed a trick by not giving agents fine-dining experiences at Sabatini’s or Cagney’s.”
However, he was full of praise for the event saying, “Seeing the product is the only way to resonate with agents.” He praised NCL for showcasing their ‘Burn the Floor’ production show to the assembled delegates. He also appreciated the value of ‘Discover Together’ during the working sessions.
Harmer echoed this sentiment: “We understand the need for destination knowledge, and with such a diverse range of destinations available, we aim to repeat Cruise360 in a new city, where again we will put education and professional development at the core.”