Despite the continuing cruise pause, the price of a cruise holidays is expected to rise next month thanks to heavy demand and the demands of the cruise line bankers.
With some amazing results from sales campaigns being recorded – Oceania Cruises announced this week that the launch of its latest collection of exotic itineraries for winter 2022-2023 resulted in an all-time record, with the most bookings taken in a single day in the company’s 18-year history – lines are under pressure from the bankers who have lent them money during the pandemic to recoup their losses as fast as possible.
One American travel trade site reported this week: “Wall Street is not happy. If cruises are flying off the shelves, the message from big investors has been to raise prices if inventory is selling too quickly … the companies are leaving too much money on the table.”
Cruise Passenger asked Australian offices if they were predicting price increases in the coming months. One told us off the record that price rises of 10 per cent were being factored in as early as April, though with special deals and upgrades they would be hard to detect.
Others declined to answer.
The strong demand for cruise in 2022 – some lines have already sold as much as 40 per cent of their cabins – means many are reporting record bookings. Longer, lucrative voyages such as round-the-world itineraries are among the hottest tickets.
But according to the US trade site, the reports mean the investment community is become restive and keen to see the lines start repaying their loans.
As well as Oceania, other lines reporting strong bookings are:
Carnival: they described demand as “solid” – they made $10.2 billion losses in 2020.
Royal Caribbean maintains bookings are up 30 per cent. But the line reported it lost $5.8 billion last year. That contrasts with a reported profit of $1.9 billion the year before.
Norwegian also claims a marked increase in demand. Its losses amounted to $758 million last year.
In America, Cruise Specialists maintains voyages of up to 80 days are a strong seller,
“This is the first year in our history that we’ve had two years of world cruise departures to sell,” said the agency. “Two cruise lines sold out on their opening day for their 2023 programs and a third sold out last week. So, already one-third of the 2023 world cruise departures are sold out.”
The base level fares for such itineraries are $65,000.
And cruiser passengers are upgrading their travel to suites, staterooms and all-inclusive.
While small price rises seem reasonable given the enormity of the problem faced by some big-ship lines, many are also adding value. Luxury line Regent, for instance, has been upgrading guests who book early with inclusions that make their offering very attractive.
The line is offering guests the chance to enhance and extend their luxury holiday by up to 6 nights, in a range of destinations across Africa, Asia, Australia & New Zealand and South America. In total, there are 13 complimentary pre- and post-cruise land programmes that can bookend 22 voyages sailing between October 2021 and March 2022.
Oceania is holding a series of events around the country in April and May – a welcome return to face-to-face gatherings.
During each event, guests will get a deep dive into Oceania Cruises’ unique offering, including its curated travel experiences, cuisine, and small ship luxury. Attendees will also be among the first to learn about the cruise line’s new itineraries in its highly sought after 2022-2023 Tropics & Exotics Collection.
“Our guests are our greatest ambassadors, and we are very excited to be able to welcome them in person. These Exclusive Cruise Events provide an opportunity for loyal past guests to re-discover what makes us so unique, and for new-to-brand guests to explore our offering, and gain insights into our new 2022-2023 Tropics & Exotics Collection,” said Jason Worth, Vice President, Australia & New Zealand at Oceania Cruises.
There will be compelling incentives available to attendees, with 50% off deposits when booking a Tropics & Exotics sailing, and enticing rewards for booking early and being a loyal Oceania Cruises customer. In addition to this, at each event an exclusive onboard credit will be on offer with every stateroom booked.
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