From suites to Trash Can Nachos, cruise execs share sales pitch ideas

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The opulent Iconic Suite on the new Celebrity Edge.
The opulent Iconic Suite on the new Celebrity Edge.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- A panel of cruise sales executives addressed more than 600 Cruise Planners agents at the network's 2018 annual convention at the Diplomat Resort & Spa here.

Company CEO Michelle Fee and COO Vicky Garcia asked questions that often yielded practical advice for agents.

Eva Jenner, vice president of sales at Holland America Line, noted that upcoming ship Nieuw Statendam will have the brand's first solo cabins, including some with balconies.

"Make sure you book your clients soon, because they go fast," Jenner said. 

Michelle Homoky, East Coast sales director for Celebrity Cruises, advised agents to head for the Retreat area on the new Celebrity Edge, where most of the high-end suites are situated. "If you want to make a lot of money selling cruises, you need to sell the suite areas," she said.

Asked what she would tell customers about Symphony of the Seas, newly arrived in Miami, Royal Caribbean International senior vice president of sales Vicki Freed said, "I would tell them not to sleep too much because you want to experience everything the Symphony of the Seas has to offer."

Freed said the only complaint Royal Caribbean gets about Symphony, the world's largest cruise ship, is that there isn't enough time on a cruise to do everything offered.

Cruise Planners CEO Michelle Fee talking to franchisees at the agency network's 25th anniversary convention.
Cruise Planners CEO Michelle Fee talking to franchisees at the agency network's 25th anniversary convention. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

Adolfo Perez, senior vice president of sales and trade marketing at Carnival Cruise Line, boiled his advice down to three words: Trash Can Nachos. The nachos, made by Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives TV chef Guy Fieri and available on Carnival ships at his Guy's Burger Joint, are "out of this world," Perez said.

Several panelists singled out specific places to visit on their new ships. Camille Olivere, senior vice president of sales at Norwegian Cruise Line, recommended the Norwegian Bliss' Observation Lounge for its panoramic views in Alaska.

Lori Sheller-Ousley, senior vice president of strategic sales at MSC Cruises, suggested the Deck 7 pool on MSC Seaside for a sense of how the ship brings the sea to the guest.

John Chernesky, vice president North America sales for Princess Cruises, said agents should pitch the increase in internet speeds on ships, such as the MedallionNet on the Caribbean Princess, to clients who need connectivity at sea but couldn't rely on internet connectivity in the past. 

Cruise Planners is marking its 25th anniversary at this year's conference. The franchiser is moving to a new building in Coral Springs, Fla., with the old one scheduled for demolition.

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