I spent an hour at the Cruise Show at London’s ExCel exhibition centre yesterday, and sadly an hour was more than enough time to see all that was on offer.
Some, but by no means all, of the major cruise lines took stands, as did a few of the major cruise agents. There was wine to be sampled, a stall selling binoculars, and another claiming to offer arthritis relief.
Wanderlust magazine had a small area set out as a theatre – watching a television screen smaller than the one in my living room – and Sky Travel had a slightly larger theatre area with two screens.
There were plenty of customers, and I hope they got their cheque books and their credit cards out to take advantage of the discounts on offer.
But where was the pizzazz and where were the imaginative publicity stunts? Nowhere to be seen. I’ve had more exciting afternoons at a local Women’s Institute show.
Why couldn’t Royal Caribbean – who admittedly did have the largest stand – have set up a FlowRider or a climbing wall? How about NCL showing off mock-ups of their New Wave cabins?
Could none of the cruise lines have offered spa treatments or samples of their food and wine to be tasted?
Trouble is, the show was preaching to the converted. I saw little apart from financial incentives that would have tempted cruise virgins to take to the sea for the first time.
And why did the show organisers choose to use the ExCel centre, where it occupied a tiny corner of the vast exhibition halls, and where getting there would always be an issue, even if the Underground and the Docklands Light Railway had been operating, which they were not yesterday?