Authored by Kerri Fitzgerald
November 14, 2017
Kathy Trafford, Director of Sales
Answers Questions About Small Ship Cruising
Q: We know that 2018 is showing promise as a GREAT year in the Travel Industry, can you give us some exciting things that are new with your cruise line?
A: In 2017 we welcomed aboard a record number of new travelers. We are very grateful to our strong network of agent partners in helping spread the word about our different styles of cruising. During our 2017 season we test-launched a shorter cruise program geared towards a younger market of Millennials. The 4-day New England Island Escape cruise is more of a long weekend getaway and takes travelers to the very popular islands of Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island and Newport. While the magic of these destinations is their quaint charm, traveling there on your own can be costly and it can also be difficult to even secure accommodations. With Blount, travelers don’t need to worry about getting rooms or even transportation, which is also limited, over to the islands. Focusing more of social and active components like local food and drinks; and beach, hiking and water activities, the cruise starts at $699 pp.
In 2018 we are launching new itineraries, we have 5 completely new programs that have been developed as a collaborative effort with our product, sales, and marketing teams. This year we asked our trusted agents and former passengers where we should go next; we talked to our partners in the tourism industry and we commissioned research on the small ship cruising trends. We combined all of those insights and are proud to be releasing 5 newly crafted itineraries. They will cover in demand destinations and offer round-trip gateways from easy-to-get-to cities like Boston. And in keeping with Blount’s history, they will also continue our tradition of taking travelers to the out of the way places that other ships can’t get to. We have reworked a few favorites like Great American Waterways, which merges 4 Great Lakes and the Erie Canal together. In 2018 we will start and end that program in either New York City or Chicago depending on your departure date.
Q: What unique value proposition does your line bring to the consumer?
A: BSSA specializes in small ship cruising through the rivers, lakes, canals and coasts of North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. The company has been in business for 52 years and is still owned by the family of its founder, Luther Blount. Because our ships are built to be different, we go to places that are inaccessible to larger cruise ships. BSSA is the only overnight vessel that can travel to certain destinations, like through the Erie Canal; or into Bahamian docks where only private boats can go. We are a truly casual experience, where you feel like you’re cruising on a friend’s yacht in search of discovery. We have always been family run, and we think our passengers and our agent partners feel like part of that family.
Q: What do you expect to be your most popular itineraries in the next year?
A: We believe our Saguenay River Cruise that travels from New York City through the Erie Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway is spectacular. We showcase the scenic wonders of the 1000 islands and then the Saguenay River; combined with the great cities like Quebec City and Montreal. As more people discover this option, they will want to explore this amazing route. Plus, with Canada celebrating its 150th anniversary there will many extra benefits to traveling there in 2017. Speaking of celebrations, 2017 is also the start of the 200th anniversary of the building or the Erie Canal- our Great American Waterways cruise is a perennial favorite and we believe that interest will be amplified in 2018.
Q: Do you offer enrichment themed cruises on cultural or other topics? Can you explain what makes these options unique for potential clients?
A: Departing July 1st, celebrate Americas Independence during our Historic Massachusetts Sampler Cruise. Also on most Island of New England departures we offer a winery and brewery tours.