Each cruise line brand will endeavour to provide a guest experience that is aligned with current consumer trends and preferences of their customers. One of the primary methods cruise lines have used to achieve this objective is to build larger ships providing a platform for an extensive menu of onboard amenities and guest experiences.
In addition, smaller excursion type cruise brands often seek to provide a more intimate guest experience for their passengers, who are often on a cruise for an extended length. Regardless of the cruise brand type, potential opportunities for members of an Indigenous community would generally fall into established categories called naturalists, lecturers and entertainers. In this section, we will discuss the following topics:
- Homeports and port of call opportunities
- Onboard vessel opportunities
- Cruise port and cruise line needs and expectations
- Commercial considerations
Indigenous interpreters and lecturers for onboard and onshore opportunities
Depending on the cruise line and the cruise theatre there may be opportunities for Indigenous tourism providers to demonstrate local knowledge, or share culture.
The need for local entertainment somewhat depends on the region where the ships are located, the expertise in-house on these areas, and the availability in the ports and cruising regions. Cruise lines generally do have professional entertainers and extensive entertainment productions that they create in house.
For itineraries that have not many ports-of-call, cruise lines look to ‘locals’ to provide additional entertainment or certain perspective on a region.
For example, an excursion cruise in Canada’s north with relatively few port-of-call stops may have an Indigenous guide or naturalist onboard who can help educate and explain the local culture. In a similar manner, a cruise line with an itinerary where there are a significant number of consecutive days at sea may be interested in having various forms of onboard guest experiences available. Trans-Pacific, Trans-Atlantic or repositioning cruises are possible examples where an enriched onboard experience may be of potential interest.
Interpretive programs optimize a passenger’s experiences by covering Indigenous culture and history, natural sciences, wildlife and sealife topics and environmental issues. Interpreters and lecturers have ample personal knowledge and first-hand experience the places the cruise line travels, as well as a proven background in public speaking with an engaging and personable style.
For certain regions, Indigenous guides onboard can represent a wonderful opportunity for both the close-by communities and cruise passengers. Cruise passengers will learn more and appreciate the community thus spending more money within a community by purchasing Indigenous arts or taking part in the community’s tour offerings.