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Cruise Planners Says Bon Voyage to 2016 and Hello to Travel in 2017

Cruise Planners Says Bon Voyage to 2016 and Hello to Travel in 2017

Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, shares new travel trends for 2017

Coral Springs, Fla. – December 14, 2016 – Cruise Planners has seen an increase in travelers booking their vacations further out and with many vacations for 2017 already booked, the company shares the top travel trends of 2017.

“For travel in 2017, Cruise Planners travel agents are making travel easier, more luxurious and more relaxing while taking travelers to new destinations,” said Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative.

Below are the top 10 travel trends the travel agent company is noticing for the coming year.

1. Accessible Travel

Travel is becoming even more accessible for guests of all abilities and ages. One example is Royal Caribbean International, which was the first cruise line to receive Autism Friendly Certification by Autism on the Seas for inclusive programming designed to accommodate children with autism, ensuring that every child has a memorable vacation. On shore, excursion offerings catering specifically to guests in wheelchairs or with other needs are increasing in availability and Cruise Planners has made the commitment to train travel agents on the best way to help service clients through its relationship with Special Needs at Sea. Now, Cruise Planners travel agents can offer mobility equipment rentals right at the departure facilities to simplify travelers’ needs and some worldwide cruise ports are being designed with inclusiveness in mind to ensure an easy boarding process for all guests.

2. Inclusive Pricing

Cruise lines are streamlining guests’ booking experience by offering more inclusive packages. In order to meet a travelers’ desire for a unique and customizable vacation, cruise lines generally offer a variety of add-ons such as shore excursions, specialty dining, Internet bundles and premium beverage packages. By including these amenities in initial booking costs, guests are able to avoid unexpected out-of-pocket costs.

3. Customized and Themed Travel

Travel is a very customizable experience, and themed cruise and travel itineraries are becoming more and more popular among travelers. For example, some ocean and river cruise lines make it so travelers are no longer bar hopping, but they’re brewery or vineyard hopping. River cruises are bringing travelers right to vineyards to sip wines while larger cruise lines such as Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line now have partnerships with popular venues such as RedFrog Pub and Pubbelly Restaurant Group to tie the travelers’ brewery journey all together. Overall, customized itineraries connect cruisers with like-minded travelers while ensuring each day compliments their interests. Other popular themes include retracing battles of the Civil War along the Mississippi, golfing through Europe and even some family-friendly themed sailings.

4. Top Destinations – the Three I’s

Iceland, Italy and Ireland are some of 2017’s most popular destinations. After decades of being off the travel grid, Iceland is the hot new adventure destination. Iceland’s isolation from travelers was solved with easier and cheaper flights from North America. And now, travelers can explore this exotic, untouched destination and have the adventure of a lifetime. Italy is another hot destination and popular for the holidays because the country conjures up warm images of freshly baked food, morning espressos and stylish vineyard tours. Italy covers the romantic aspects of travel, as well as the adventurous aspects. And finally Ireland is enticing for 2017 since it is an enchanting land where legend and reality mingle and travelers can visit a grand historic castle, tour a brewery or distillery and make a new discovery around every corner.

5. The Suite Life with New Private Islands and Ports

With exclusive suite experiences and new private islands and ports, cruise lines are giving cruisers a glimpse of a life in paradise. Royal Caribbean International’s new Royal Suite Class is luxury that’s anything but boring and even includes a butler. Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest port of call, Harvest Caye in Southern Belize, is the Caribbean’s premier island, featuring the world’s second largest barrier reef. Carnival Corporation is now sailing to a new port, Amber Cove, in the Dominican Republic and guests can sip cocktails poolside, shop for souvenirs and rent private cabanas as this private port. MSC Cruises will begin sailing to the new Ocean Cay in late 2017, an exclusive 95-acre island in the Bahamas with an emphasis on cultural authenticity and marine conservation. MSC ships will dock overnight at the island, giving guests a chance to enjoy evening entertainment and nightlife after a day of relaxing on white-sand beaches and snorkeling the clear-blue waters.

6. Electronic Communication and Check-In

Skip the lines and access rooms as soon as they become ready with mobile check-in. Walt Disney World Resort and Royal Caribbean International have combined guests’ room keys, activity passes and charging capabilities into a wristband, removing the need for guests to carry a room card. Royal Caribbean’s new SMART Check-In system makes it so travelers can take care of all necessary documentation online at home, even upload their photo and go from sidewalk to ship in 10 minutes. Look for even more travel brands to embrace technology to make it easier for guests to enjoy their vacation.

7. Buddymoons – Honeymooning with Friends

The wedding celebration that keeps rolling. Couples asking their guests to fly into town or to an exotic destination for weddings are now inviting couples to do a little more—stay for the honeymoon. “Buddymoons” allow for couples to spend more time with family and friends while enjoying a celebratory vacation. Couples are also planning buddymoons close to home, giving out-of-town guests the opportunity to extend the wedding weekend and spend more time with the bride and groom.

8. Land and Sea Packages

Travelers are looking for pre- and post-cruise packages, making the arrival and departure ports a more prominent part of their itineraries. Instead of going directly to and from the airport, travelers are booking overnights in hotels and shore excursions, giving them more time to immerse themselves in a destination and make memories even after the cruise is over.

9. Fitness and Wellness

For the health centric traveler, there are trips dedicated to fitness and wellness. Many travelers utilize wellness apps while traveling to track their progress so they can stay on track and have a healthy vacation. MSC Cruises offers the perfect cruise for wellness and fitness enthusiasts. The new Wellness Experience—powered by Technogym, gives travelers access to state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a comprehensive one-on-one health assessment, a personalized fitness program and a selection of healthy food and drink options to choose from. Travelers who want to vacation, but not pack on the pounds can enjoy a wellness themed vacation.

10. Social Networking on The Go

Checking in and snapping selfies isn’t new, but sharing travel experiences with Facebook Live and Instagram Live have become increasingly popular since travelers can share their vacation with the world every step of the way. Social sharing and boasting on social media will continue to dominate the way travelers use social media while on the go—pack that back-up battery.

Cruise Planners is seeing many new travel trends for 2017 as travel keeps getting more customized, engaging and accessible to all. Now, it’s even more important that travelers use an experienced travel agent to plan their ideal vacation.


About Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative

Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, is the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise network in the travel industry. Cruise Planners operates a network of more than 1,500 franchise owners who independently book amazing vacation and travel experiences for their clients. The Florida-based Home Office Team positions a nation-wide network of franchise owners for success by providing innovative marketing, booking and technology tools, as well as professional development and hands-on training with the industry’s top executives. The company continues to be lauded and has been named the No.1 travel franchise byEntrepreneur magazine for 13 consecutive years. Cruise Planners was recently featured in Entrepreneur as one of the top 30 franchise innovators in technology, has been consistently named as one of the Top Women-Owned Businesses by the South Florida Business Journal, is on the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America, has been ranked as the #1 travel franchise by Franchise Business Review for 5 years in a row, and was recognized as one of the Top Workplaces by the Sun Sentinel since it started ranking companies.

Headquartered in Coral Springs, Fla. with more than 22 years of experience, Cruise Planners has achieved top producer status with every major cruise line. Accolades include numerous Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly for the past seven years, American Express Travel Representative Excellence Award for 11 consecutive years (2004-2014), American Express Agency of the Year (2010), Royal Caribbean International Chairman’s Award (2015), Royal Caribbean International President’s Award for Overall Achievement (2012 and 2014), Royal Caribbean International Home-Based Partner of the Year (2007-2013), Norwegian Cruise Line Franchise Agency of the Year (2011-2015), Celebrity Cruises Field Sales Account of the Year (2015), Celebrity Cruises Home-Based Account of the Year (2013-2014) and Celebrity Cruises Southeast Region Travel Agent Partner of the Year (2010), American Express Vacations Best of the Best Globe Award (2008-2015), Globus Family of Brands Premier Agency Partner (2009-2014), Platinum Member of the 500 Club for Sales Excellence (2014), Platinum Circle Member with Viking River Cruises (2009-2012), Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection Top Producer (2008-2014) and Regent Seven Seas Cruises Top Producer. Cruise Planners is one of the Top 50 franchises for Veterans according to GI magazine, the Top Franchise Brand for Veterans according to Franchise Business Review, has been named one of the Top 25 franchises for African-Americans by Black Enterprise magazine and is a member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. For more information, visitwww.cruiseplanners.com.

Stay in Touch: Media can stay up-to-date with Cruise Planners by visiting our media room, following us on Twitter @Cruisitude or on Facebook. For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers should locate a travel advisor near them. For those interested in becoming a franchise owner, please visit our franchise website.