Summer cruising: a profitable option?

Cruising has been a more mature market pleasure than usually imagined. In the Middle East, more and more young affluent travellers are opting for cruise trips, making it one of the most lucrative businesses. TRAVTALK spoke to some experts in the field to know about the new trends in cruising, revenue generated by agents, and where the industry is headed for.

Mohamed Al Rais, Executive Director, Al Rais Travel and Shipping Agencies LLC

Among the preferred destinations for cruises by UAE travellers are Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Southeast Asian cruises. Popular destinations are Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Greece, Italy, and Singapore, with luxury liners and themed cruises in high demand. There is an increasing trend of younger travellers booking cruises.

Rochell Saleem, Sales Manager, Travco

Talking about travel agents, apart from commission, they can earn on ancillary services such as flights, pre and post cruise hotel stays, transfers, travel insurance and even visa support services. A cruise is also a great option for MICE groups and family reunions. It becomes a useful product for client retention and referrals too,

Rashida Ginwala, Director of Holidays, Bin Ham Travel Abu Dhabi

The most popular destination for travellers from the UAE are the Mediterranean cruises. However, in the recent years, the demand for cruises to Northern Europe, European river cruises and the Gulf sailings have seen growth. There has been a noticeable shift with younger travellers increasingly booking cruises.

Basel Atassi, Travel Counsellor, Travel Counsellors

Travellers from the UAE often prefer high-end luxury cruises, seeking to explore scenic destinations, such as the Norwegian fjords, the British Isles, and the Baltic region, all appreciated for their natural beauty and pleasant cool weather. Cruises that provide activities for children and families are attractive to this market.

Sushant Pilankar, Manager Leisure, Uranus Travel

Cruise industry is witnessing a wave of cruise ships designed to attract a younger demographic. These ships often feature contemporary designs and luxury amenities, with a focus on experiential travel. This evolution is crucial for the industry’s long-term resilience, as it aims to attract the next generation of tourists.

Varsha Pherwani, Travel Counsellor Associate, Travel Counsellors

For many new to cruising, the Arabian Gulf sailings have sparked a desire to explore more. The all-time most popular cruises from our region are the 9-night Mediterranean sailings with Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean sailing out of Barcelona and Rome during summer months.

Compiled by Dr. Shehara Rizly

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