RIDE THE WAVE OF 2010 TRAVEL TRENDS DURING WAVE SEASON
Just in time to help you sell more cruises during Wave Season, the convergence of specific travel industry trends can give a selling edge to agents who understand the fast-growing special needs market and know how to effectively service cruisers with special needs.
Already one in five families has a family member with a disability. These individuals spend an average of $13.6 billion a year on trips and cruises, representing a large and underserviced pool of potential clients to tap into. For 2010 Wave Season, the trend curves of aging populations in the U.S. and Europe and increasingly larger cruise ships are boosting the numbers of persons who require special needs equipment for cruising. Understanding this market can transform your cruise selling experience for Wave Season and beyond.
Aging Populations in U.S. and Europe
By 2015, the percentage of persons 65 or over is expected to jump to nearly 25 percent of the population in Europe and 20 percent in the U.S. This so called "Silver Segment" of the population has the time and resources to travel. They also trend to have special needs relating to hearing loss, diminished vision, limited mobility, breathing problems and other consequences of aging. Read More.
CRUISE LINE SPOTLIGHT: CRYSTAL CRUISES
Crystal Cruises aims to provide travelers with the finest experience in all of luxury travel. Best known for its signature features like onboard sushi bars, extensive wine cellars and complimentary language classes, Crystal Cruises is like no other line. In 2009, Crystal was voted the "Best Large-Ship Cruise Line" by Conde Nast Traveler magazine for the 16th straight year.
Crystal Cruises has two ships in her fleet, the Crystal Symphony and the Crystal Serenity. Both ships were designed to be accessible for the physically challenged, with ramp access to most decks and public areas. The Crystal Serenity is the larger of the two ships with 535 staterooms, eight of which are wheelchair accessible. Two of the accessible staterooms are Penthouses, two have verandahs and four have large picture windows. The Crystal Symphony is slightly smaller with 461 staterooms, four of which are wheelchair accessible. Two of the accessible staterooms are Penthouses and two have large picture windows. Accessible rooms have 32" entry doorways to both the room and bathroom. The bathrooms have a roll-in shower, grab bars, lowered sink and vanity, fold-down shower stool, hand-held showerheads and a ramped threshold; toilet seat risers are available upon request. The rooms also have accessible closet rods and shelves.
The ships themselves are quite accessible with features including accessible gaming and accessible showroom seating. Additionally, many of Crystal Cruises shore excursions are wheelchair accessible so guests with disabilities should check with the Land Program department to schedule an excursion. Guests must bring their own wheelchair or scooter or must rent one through a company such as Special Needs Group as wheelchairs are only provided onboard for emergencies and for embarkation/disembarkation. Read More.
CITY OF HIGHLIGHT: TAMPA, FLORIDA
The metropolitan city of Tampa offers several activities for the mature adult and adults with disabilities. Although the area may be best known for Busch Gardens theme park, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, its beaches and golf courses, Tampa has several other lesser known gems.
On February, 6, 2010, the Tampa Museum of Art held its public Grand Opening. The new $26.6 million, 66,000 square foot museum includes a three-story atrium, state-of-the-art gallery spaces, seven expansive interior galleries and an exterior sculpture gallery. The museum provides an expansive collection of contemporary and classic art and also has world-class traveling exhibitions. From February-April 2010, the museum will have a Henri Matisse exhibit where 170 works of art spanning 50 years of Matisse’s career will be on display.
Built in 1926, the Tampa Theatre is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a Tampa City Landmark. Inside the theatre, audiences are transported to an ornate, beautiful, romantic Mediterranean courtyard. The ceiling above is replete with twinkling stars and clouds. Antique furniture, wooden carvings and an organist who plays before movies and shows, completes the experience. The theatre presents and hosts over 600 events a year including a full schedule of first run and classic films, concerts, special events and tours. Leading up to the Oscars, during the month of February, the theatre is showing Oscar classics like Somewhere in Time, Titanic and Chicago. On March 7, 2010 the theatre will host an officially sanctioned Oscar Night where guests can walk the red carpet and watch the live telecast of the Academy Awards. About twice a month, the theatre also offers a balcony-to-backstage tour that lasts about 1.5 hours. Read More.
Interesting Fact: Ybor City was once known as the Cigar Capital of the World with nearly 12,000 tabaqueros (cigar-makers) employed in 200 factories. Ybor City produced an estimated 700 million cigars a year at the industry’s peak.
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About Special Needs at Sea and Special Needs Group…
Special Needs Group, Inc. is a one-stop resource for special needs travel around the world. We offer a broad range of special needs equipment for purchase and rental including wheelchairs, scooters, power chairs with capabilities to support 500 pound or more; oxygen (liquid, cylinder, and concentrator); hearing impaired equipment, Braille printing, baby cribs and more. Recommended by the world’s major cruise lines and hotels for superior service and value, we also provide consultation services regarding special needs policy and new-build design. Special Needs Group, a U.S. company, is not a travel agency; we do not compete in any way with travel agents.