TUI Cruises, for example, provides a variety of shore excursions catering to many demographics—active adventures, tours for families, culinary tours and more.
Panelists agreed that travelers' tastes have changed. 'They want experiences beyond the bus window,' said Marc Melville, director of Chukka Caribbean Adventures.
Claus Bodker, director of Cruise Baltic & Cruise Copenhagen Network, concurred: 'We try to make people part of the experience rather than looking at the experience.'
Melville noted people are willing to pay more for an authentic experience ashore.
'Passengers want to be immersed and educated,' said Justin Poulsen, senior manager of deployment and itinerary planning for Holland America Line. He added they are sophisticated buyers looking for authenticity.
Steve Hites, president of Skagway Street Car Company and president and director of St. Kitts Scenic Railway, stressed the need for shore experiences to be presented in multiple languages. 'The Asian market is going to roar like an express train,' he predicted.
Hites said tour operators must be ready and able to communicate their experience, so that their guests 'understand where they are.'
(Reporting courtesy of 'Cruise Shipping Miami Today')