Specialist tour operator to trial on-board facilities
Agents will be able to find out more about meeting the needs of disabled cruise customers following Norwegian Getaway’s launch next year.
The specialist tour operator Accessible Travel, based in the UK, will be taking a party of 47 disabled customers, most of whom have never cruised before, on board the inaugural celebration one-night cruise from the port of Southampton on January 15.
As well as introducing potential new cruise customers to the market, feedback will be shared with agents to help them tap into the market.
“In order for cruise lines to work more closely with agents when selling cruise to disabled passengers, it is important for agents to have all the information up front,” said Accessible Travel’s general manager Ali Parker.
“Ship visits are a great way of demonstrating the product and providing first-hand experience. They can give confidence to the agent that the product is suited to each particular passenger’s needs. When we go on board we measure everything and take pictures of the elements which make a cruise ship accessible to all.
“Customers need to know the bed height and whether there are seats in the shower, and we can provide this knowledge through our own experience of the ship.”
Nick Wilkinson, Norwegian Cruise Line’s director for business development in the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, said the party of disabled travellers would form some of the 1,500 members of the public taking part in the celebration cruise.
Getaway will have 42 accessible staterooms, he said, adding: “Accessible travel is a major customer base for cruise, as ships are being perfected for all guests’ needs and abilities, and our latest initiative will allow guests with disabilities to gain a first look at what is on offer.”
[pictured: Norwegian Getaway; image courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line]