Things are understandably weird right now as we navigate through murky waters, but this has also revealed a lot of creativity. As many of us have stayed home for months, we needed entertainment, and since travel was at a standstill, virtual travel became a thing. The historians, explorers, educators, adventurers and curious minds all wanted to continue to learn and see the world, and the cruise industry delivered, they made it a virtual experience.
Travel & Leisure magazine also came up with lists of ways to stay entertained at home, and virtual travel and tours were one of the extensive lists created. With travel at a standstill, virtual travel enables us to visit so many places from the comfort of our couch. Explorers can see the depths of national parks, historians and art lovers can visit museums, animal lovers have tuned into live streamlining videos from zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, and aspiring chefs have been able to cook alongside with some of the most highly acclaimed chefs around the world. Cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Line have also shared their cocktail recipes for cruisers to create their favorite cocktails from their favorite cruises – what better way to reminisce and dream about your next cruise.
Virtual travel has also been a key topic for cruise consultants like Access Cruise Inc. The Vacation Blues series is spot on and gives you enough information on a specific destination to let the reader know if this is a destination for them to visit post Covid-19 or maybe even cruise there. Each episode focuses on one destination such as Lisbon or Belfast, and they have featured over 20 destinations thus far.
CyArk is a nonprofit organization that allows you to virtually travel to over 100 of the world’s most famous monuments. They digitally record and archive cultural heritage all over the world and create 3D virtual tours. Although this was not created during to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has probably brought much joy to many who have been stuck at home.
Like CyArk, Carnival Cruise Line came up with a virtual cruise in 2016 even before this current unprecedented pandemic. Carnival’s virtual cruise has been re-released as their “Instant Caribbean Vacation” and is much needed by many during this time. It features cruising activities from walks on the beach to exhilarating waterslides onboard. As we all know, cruising isn’t just about beaches and adventure, another key element is food! Holland America Line created YouTube videos to share Chef Ethan Stowell’s famous dishes for those who are inclined to experiment with cooking during their quarantine time.
To visit destinations that are cruise specific, Zielia came up with the Virtual Vacation series to highlight destinations in the platform. This platform is cruise specific and features in depth information on their participating ports. Zielia’s weekly blog highlights these ports to keep them relevant for when cruise ships begin to sail again. In the meantime, let’s virtually visit these amazing destinations.
Azamara has also decided to bring their onboard events to a virtual setting for their travel advisors. This started in early June and was such a success that they have created a series for these events. They have invited Virtuoso Agents to join the festivities and go behind the scenes with mixologists, chefs, entertainers, and of course a Captain, who will discuss his adventures and even favourite destinations they have visited. The sales team will discuss future itineraries and immerse the Virtuoso Agents into the Azamara culture.
Adventurous cruisers who prefer expedition cruises might need something more along the lines of what Lindblad Expeditions has to offer. Even though these virtual expeditions might not take your breath away physically, momentarily will have to do with these views and moments captured on camera; they call it bringing the ‘tonic of wilderness’.
Cruise lines, cruise consultants, and the cruise industry in general have always been resilient and adaptable, and we see this yet again with virtual experiences…until we can sail away again – in reality.
This post was written by cruise industry expert, Shannon Mckee, founder of Access Cruise Inc. Access Cruise Inc is a Miami based cruise marketing and sales consulting group, specializing in product and business development within the cruise industry.