In what appears to be an industry first, river cruise line Ama Waterways and ocean cruise line Crystal Cruises have formed a cross-marketing partnership.

Each cruise line developed an exclusive offer that was emailed to past passengers with an introduction from the other brand.

The email to Ama’s past guests stated that “Ama Waterways and Crystal Cruises have partnered in order to offer their valued guests even more luxurious choices and benefits. ... Experience the luxury of the ocean, the way you have experienced the river.”

The included offer from Crystal is for up to $400 per person in shore excursion credits when passengers book one of 11 European cruises, and it touted additional amenities such as included gratuities and complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

While sending a past passenger an offer from another cruise line could be seen as getting in bed with a competitor, neither Crystal nor Ama appear to see it that way.

“Our assumptions were that our guest demographics were similar and that we did not directly compete,” Jack Anderson, Crystal’s senior vice president of marketing and sales, wrote in an email.

Ama President Rudi Schreiner said that he wasn’t concerned “at all” about teaming up with Crystal and doesn’t see the line as a competitor.

“The majority of travelers do everything. So I don’t believe that we are competing. It’s a different experience,” said Schreiner, a river cruise veteran who noted that this was the first cross-marketing deal like this that he has heard of.

Anderson added that, on average, Crystal’s repeat passengers will take a cruise once every two years, but will take five vacations in the span of those two years.
Ama Executive Vice President Kristin Karst negotiated the co-op marketing partnership with Anderson.

“We concluded we had a win-win marketing opportunity to promote our products to each other’s past guests,” added Anderson. He said they are “pleased with the initial response and look forward to exploring additional marketing initiatives going forward.”

Schreiner concurred that there might be additional similar opportunities for Crystal and Ama to cross-market in the future. The current email offer expires on June 30.

Follow Michelle Baran on Twitter @mbtraveleekly.

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