Cruises used to be associated with sea voyages on luxurious ocean liners. But, after a while, came the train cruises because there are so many scenic locations on land as well. Recently, another type of cruise is enjoying popularity among travel enthusiasts: bus cruises.
Bus cruises are the brainchild of travel and tourism authorities trying to revive interest in the beauty of small communities and other travel-worthy locations that people cannot access through the rail system.
It’s not an entirely new concept as bus tours have been around for a long time. However, with bus cruises, more attention is directed to making road trips as luxurious and pleasurable as possible. Plus, it includes a lot of thoughtful elements that regular bus tours do not provide.
Not sure about what we’re trying to say?
Below is a list of unique elements that differentiate bus cruises from typical bus tours.
1. Strict accommodation — only small travel groups
To ensure optimum comfort, a lot of bus cruise companies would only accommodate smaller travel groups per bus. Fewer people on the bus ensures not only better physical comfort for long-distance travel, but also more focused service. This is one of the most effective ways of providing passengers with true VIP experiences.
2. Customized or customizable buses
Bus cruise companies also take great care in choosing the right bus. Even if a lot of them still opt for traditionally-designed bus rentals, Dubai travel experts say, it’s crucial to find a rental company that will consider necessary customizations for the vehicle. These customizations are often removable installations such as interior decor to show off the theme of the cruise.
As for customized buses, they have been redesigned to make being on the road and sight-seeing optimally enjoyable. The seats have been changed to resemble train seats, and there are tables for eating as well. They also boast various transformable features, a lavatory, and even a small kitchen. Quite often, such buses are large repurposed sleeper or tour buses of music artists.
3. A trained, hospitable crew
With bus cruises, passengers get a crew that’s not only knowledgeable about the various locations to be visited like veteran tour guides but is also thoroughly trained in hospitality. Every crew member, including the driver, is courteous, ready to assist with anything, and provide impeccable service.
Plus, they have extra training in ensuring the luxury of the cruise experience. They usually can speak different languages and can effectively cater to various special needs passengers.
Just like train cruises, bus cruises also offer passengers with gifts. It’s not uncommon to be served welcome drinks the moment you board the bus.
Not only that, it’s customary in bus cruises that each passenger seat in the bus be provided with a welcome package, which includes everything from hygiene products to snacks, drinks, and even small souvenirs from the different stops of the journey. These freebies are exclusive to the tour, and they contribute to the memorability of the experience.
Entertainment is a must for all cruises. But for bus cruises, it needs to be on a smaller scale because of the limited space. However, bus cruise companies are known to come up with creative solutions.
This is evident in Asia where some bus cruises host theatrical performances that share folk stories or the unique heritage of the people in the tour destinations. Instead of having the entire cast onboard, only a few select actors get in and out of the bus as if the vehicle is a part of a big stage. The rest of the performance is carried out on the sidewalks.
It’s such a clever form of entertainment as ties with the theme of the tour, and it also fully engages the passengers.
6. Community participation
Getting local communities involved in the program of bus cruises never fails in making these tours more exciting. At the same time, it creates a highly beneficial partnership. Bus cruise companies bring in a special element to their services, such as a warm welcome and even cultural performances at every stop.
Meanwhile, communities get to boost their business by bringing vendors right where the tourists want them. Plus, a thriving tourist industry opens new doors for business opportunities and community reinvigoration.
7. Photo ops with props
This is another strategy adopted by bus cruises from train ones. As stops are made along the way, bus staff provide passengers with props associated with the location (and even the trip itself) and take commemorative photos.
Although most people these days have their smartphones to take countless photos with, the photo opportunities that the cruise provides create a completely different experience and memories.
8. Seasonal local meals onboard
Cruise passengers are also treated to expertly cooked meals onboard, which have been prepared by local dining establishments and feature seasonal ingredients. Opting to serve locally popular dishes is one of the best ways to introduce the culture of an area.
This is a solid provision, especially if it’s not possible for the cruise to include a stop at a particular area. With the food alone, passengers can still have an experience entirely unique to that location.
This is why bus cruise companies find the best local chefs or restaurants that can provide the meals included in the tour. This is one of the keys to ensuring the success of a bus cruise program.
More to Come
It’s only a matter of time before more travel businesses start offering such luxurious road trips to avid travelers. Another thing that many can look forward to is the improvement of tour vehicles. It’s projected that new bus designs will be used to create more pleasant experiences. Travel companies must then work closely with rental companies, which will provide them with the most suitable buses for cruises.
These new bus designs include new models from manufacturing companies, of course, as well as restored vintage buses. Studies reveal that bus cruise companies are also looking into repurposed buses, which are refashioned for absolute comfort and convenience.
Lastly, continuous research is expected to bring certain travel-worthy locations out of obscurity. And, with a thriving travel and tour industry which bus cruises are contributing to, travelers can look forward to better infrastructure in the new locations included in bus cruise programs.