All Leisure Holidays introduces agents to new partnership, rolls out new small-ship cruises

All Leisure Holidays introduces travel agents to new partnership, rolls out new small-ship cruises

TORONTO — All Leisure Holidays Group served tea and scones to agents during an event to highlight the launch of its new brochure for 2016, along with a new partnership with Discover the World in North America.

While the cruise operator has always sold its products here, this is the first time it’s worked with one business across the whole of North America, said Colin Wilson, group sales director with All Leisure Holidays Group, based in Leicestershire, UK.

Joanne Lundy, Discover the World’s director in Canada, was also on hand to greet agents.

“It’s more about the destinations than the ship; this is very much small ship cruising,” Wilson told Travelweek. “We call it ‘discovery cruises’ because the customers are coming with us to enrich their minds, to learn – they’re not coming for a suntan.”

It’s about “getting under the skin of a destination” by spending more time in ports and having access to its flagship guest lecture program.

Wilson sees the cruise industry growing – and that’s a good thing for big and small cruise ships alike. “The big guys do a brilliant job of introducing people to cruising,” he said. “We tend to pick up people who’ve cruised and then decide they want a different style of cruising.”

With a smaller ship, clients have access to smaller ports. “If you take Stockholm, we moor right in the old town of Stockholm … whereas the big cruise ships have to use the new cruise terminal, which is 11 kilometres out of town,” said Wilson.

“Our model is very different. The big guys have fantastic amenities on board – if (clients) are at a port they’re not spending money on the ship. We don’t have a lot for people to spend their money on, so if customers want to have dinner on our ship and then go take coffee in a square in the old town, we’re absolutely fine with that.”

The typical demographic for its cruises is the 55-plus set. Agents can target clients who have done escorted tours in the past and are interested in the history and culture of a destination, said Wilson.

The company has three divisions: Voyages of Discovery, Swan Hellenic and Hebridean Island Cruises. With Swan Hellenic, the excursions are included in the price of the cruise. “With Voyages of Discovery we don’t include them because it’s a slightly younger demographic and they prefer the flexibility to do their own thing,” said Wilson.

Its third brand, Hebridean Island Cruises, based in Scotland, is possibly the smallest cruise ship in the world, he said, and “that’s very much a one-off special occasion style purchase.”

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