The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings. Got questions? Email

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Niche cruises

Here’s a queston that was emailed from Beth in Portsmouth: “We’re experienced cruise vacationers and are looking for a different cruise experience. Some friends mentioned that we try niche cruising? What is niche cruising?”

I like to define the niche cruise product as a segment of the cruise industry that utilizes smaller and/or unconventional vessels with an emphasis on destinations that the larger cruise lines cannot venture to. With niche cruises you’ll discover a wide world of itinerary possibilities. A few of these are explorations of history, cultures and cuisine on inland rivers, adventures in the Arctic or the Galapagos, off the beaten Caribbean path and ecological itineraries. I’ve seen sailings that tie up to an iceberg and let you off to explore the ice mass on your own. The list of niche sailings and destinations is almost limitless.

Niche cruises can provide more an intimate experiences than the larger mass market cruise lines. Niche cruise lines also place personal enrichment and environmental preservation high on their agendas. For this reason, niche cruise lines are heavily destination focused with unique itineraries and shore excursions.

I believe that you receive different experiences on the various cruise companies. A cruise with 3000 people arriving at St Thomas along with 3 other 3000 passengers’ ships is entirely different than sailing on an 80 passenger ship plying the rivers of Europe or Asia.

I have enjoyed sailing on both mega liners and intimate river vessels. If you feel that you’ve had enough of the mega mass market experience and are looking for a more refinement then a niche cruise is the route to go. You can get more information from the Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance (NCMA) or contact a Certified Niche Cruise Specialist travel agent like myself.

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Happy travels!