Travel Elevated in 2018 with Luxury, Extras and “Wow” Moments

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Cruise Planners travel professionals are enhancing trips with high-value experiences and meaningful connections in the tech-driven travel world

Cruise Planners travel professionals are enhancing trips with high-value experiences and meaningful connections in the tech-driven travel world. 2018 travel trends include luxury, extras and "wow" moments.

Cruise Planners’ 2018 travel trend predictions include luxury, extras and “wow” moments

"The level of technology, luxury accommodations or custom travel experiences that travelers expect is high," said Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners. "Travel agents continue to be the essential part of delivering these experiences to travelers”

With the integration of faster, innovative technology in the travel landscapes, travelers’ expectations have elevated and travel agents are curating experiences exceeding their clients’ wants. In a tech-savvy world, travelers today want meaningful connections and high-value experiences when they take their vacations, no matter their budget.

“Change is an exciting part of the travel industry,” said Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Treavel Representative. “Things that were once considered innovations are now expectations. The level of technology, luxury accommodations or custom travel experiences that travelers expect is high. Travel agents continue to be the essential part of delivering these experiences to travelers.”

Knowing consumer demands are evolving, here are Cruise Planners’ 2018 travel trend predictions directly from the nation’s top home-based travel agency: Here are Cruise Planners’ trends for 2018:

1. Luxury Expeditions – Getting down and dirty doesn’t always appeal to explorers, but stately accommodations and champagne toasts in exotic locations just might. Expedition cruising is taking travelers to the far corners of the earth on small-ship cruises with modern amenities, delicious cuisine and authentic experiences in a style explorers from days of old could not even fathom.

  • The Scenic Eclipse, Scenic Cruises’ new 6-star luxury discovery yacht launches in 2018 and is equipped with a helicopter and submarine. Hurtigruten is expanding its fleet, starting with the MS Roald Amundsen, and making sailing Antarctica and the Arctic more immersive and environmentally sustainable.
  • Private yacht charters are gaining popularity with intimate experiences and stellar service as guests travel to hard-to-reach destinations. For guests not looking to charter a ship, small ships such as the Crystal Esprit offer the exclusivity of yachting with only 62 passengers.

2. BIG Little Extras – Travel agents are curating meaningful moments for their clients that surprise and delight. From booking a photographer to capture a proposal in front of the Eiffel Tower to arranging a scenic helicopter transfer to a five-star hotel, travel agents are making dreams come true that travelers didn’t even know they had.

  • Travel agents are upping the wow factor of the world’s most iconic museums and monuments by scheduling early admittances or private evenings for guests. Cruise lines and tour operators are partnering with cultural hot spots to provide the exclusive tours and experiences that money simply can’t buy, either before the crowds arrive or after the sun goes down.

3. Skip-Gens – “Skip-Gen” travel are vacations where grandparents take the grandkids on a special adventure, leaving the parents behind to enjoy their own time off. Vacations are the perfect time to make lasting memories while taking the time to learn from each other. Grandparents might figure out how to take the perfect selfie while grandkids hear about life *gasp!* before cell phones.

4. Experiences of a Lifetime – Whether it only happens once or only happens once a year, travel agents are sending their clients to events offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience that also give their clients serious bragging rights when they return back home. Travelers are already planning trips for 2020’s Tokyo Olympic Games and the Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany. Annual celebrations such as Germany’s beer festival, Oktoberfest, or India’s color festival, Holi, take cultural immersion to a new level for travelers looking to not only see a destination, but experience it at its height of celebration.

5. Room for One, Please. – Traveling solo doesn’t have to mean traveling alone as cruise lines and tour operators make it easier and more comforting for those looking to explore the world with like-minded travelers. For retirees, millennials and everyone in between, solo travel could be as complex as wanting to find oneself or as simple as being the only family member on the trip not sharing a room with a significant other.

  • Cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Holland America Line feature single cabins on select ships while other cruise lines, including AmaWaterways, offer waived single-supplement fees on select sailings so solo travelers only pay one cruise fare. Tour operators, including Contiki, offer roommate-matching programs where solo travelers are assigned a roommate of the same sex.

6. Intuitive Tech – Technology is elevating the entire travel process, starting with trip planning. Virtual reality is giving travelers a 360-degree peek at what their destination may be like while Cruise Planners’ exclusive Alexa Skills are keeping travelers connected to their travel agents hands-free. Smart technology on board continues to innovate, most notably with Princess Cruises’ Ocean Medallions which will be available on their entire fleet by the end of 2019.

7. River Cruising for All – Just as ocean cruising has seen major shifts over the past two decades, river cruising is coming out of its shell, diversifying its offerings and targeting more than just Baby Boomers.

  • U by Uniworld is designed exclusively for travelers aged 21-45, offering the allure of backpacking through Europe, but without the backpacking, hostel stays or uncertainty. Families are finding river cruising to be an appealing multi-generational trip with children’s programming including AmaWaterways’s Adventures by Disney sailings and Tauck Bridges itineraries.
  • The variety of on-shore experiences are expanding with more active excursions, such as the Avalon Active Discovery itineraries and more culturally immersive opportunities such as cooking in a local’s home.

Cruise Planners travel professionals are located in all 50 states and ready to make 2018 travelers’ most memorable year yet.

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 1,800 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 by Entrepreneur magazine for 14 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 6 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 23 years of experience, Cruise Planners has achieved top producer status with every major cruise line. Accolades include numerous Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly, American Express Travel Representative Excellence Award for 13 consecutive years (2004-2016), 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 Elite Agency of the Year (2016), Norwegian Cruise Line Franchise Agency of the Year (2011-2015), Celebrity Cruises Home-Based Partner of the Year (2016), 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), Travel Impressions Best of the Best Globe Award (2008-2016), Sandals Top Host – Worldwide, Globus Family of Brands Premier Agency Partner (2009-2016), Platinum Circle Member with Viking River Cruises (2009-2015), 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, visit http://www.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 the Cruise Planners franchise website.

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Media Contact:
Caitlin Gardner, Director of Public Relations
Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative
[email protected]
954-344-8060

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