Cruise trend improves excursion experiences

Royal Caribbean focuses on smaller groups, better guides
Shore excursions are now part of Royal Caribbean’s corporate-level strategy. The focus on new tours coming in for all of Royal’s brands is on localised, unique experiences – such as the zip-line in Labadee, on the northern coast of Haiti.
“We need to have tours that are not only great for the new-to-cruise group but also for seasoned travellers,” said Roberta Jacoby, the line’s managing director of global tour operations, who has to keep an eye on some 270 different ports. She spoke to the summer edition of Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine.
“If you’re going to Rome for the very first time you want to see the Coliseum, Forum and Vatican, but if you’ve been to Rome a million times you are looking for something different. We look for the balance while evaluating tours.”
She continues: “The other thing we’ve noticed is that guests are looking at smaller groups with excellent content and guides. There are tour guides, and then there are tour guides. Some guides will make a tour come alive and that is a really important aspect.
“It is really all about the guest experience. If the guests aren’t enjoying themselves then it wasn’t a success. The guest experience trumps everything.”
But she cautions: “We have to be careful not to have too many tours. When we add tours we also take away. Some ports may have three tours, some 15, it really depends. There is an optimal number of offerings for guests to go through without getting overwhelmed.”
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