Luxury cruise lines are seeing an amazing boom in bookings, the boss of Regent Seven Seas Steve Odell said this week. And they are not just booking out all-inclusive luxury suites, they are upgrading to the best cabins and booking three-day city stays to bookend their itineraries.

His remarks were underscored by news another luxury line, Silversea, which revealed its 2023 world cruise had sold out in just one day. The 139-day voyage leaves Sydney on January 10 2023 on the all-suite Silver Shadow. Oceania Cruises has experienced a similar surge in demand for world cruises.

Mr Odell revealed Regent’s 2022-23 voyage collection has surpassed previous bookings by 40 per cent, and 2022 was 45 per cent booked 0ut already. He added that 30 per cent were new to the Regent brand, indicating guests were moving from other large-ship brands to the smaller ships with more personal space.

Cruise Passenger’s own sentiment surveys show that shift to ships which offer less chance of queues and more space per passenger.

Fear of Missing Out or FOMO was fuelling demand, as more and more available cruise suites are booked in 2022.

Said Mr Odell, Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Asia Pacific: “It’s clear both from conversations with our guests and from our recent record booking days that the desire for luxury cruising is as strong as ever. As we sail towards our 30th anniversary in 2022, we have received exceptional feedback from Australian and New Zealand travellers for our newly released sailing collections and value-add offers.

Regent’s Sydney headquarters recently experienced its largest WAVE season ever, following record bookings for the line’s 2023 World Cruise and 2022-2023 Voyage Collection launches. In just two hours of going live, the Voyage Collection surpassed last year’s launch by nearly 40%.

Regent has now launched a value-add offer allowing guests to extend their holiday by up to 6-nights, at no extra cost, with pre- and post-land programs. Travellers can extend their 18-night Tokyo to Singapore voyage onboard Seven Seas Explorer by enjoying a free 3-night pre-cruise Vibrant Tokyo land programme, as well as a free 3-night post-cruise Discover Singapore land programme – creating a 24-night luxury travel experience.

With the cruise line’s five vessels carrying no more than 750 guests, the ships offer one of the highest space-to-guest ratios in the industry – an important plus in a post-pandemic world.

Meanwhile, there has been lots of excitement around the arrival at the end of the year of the “world’s most luxurious ship ever built”.

The Seven Seas Explorer is due here in December.

“Seven Seas Explorer will truly deliver a level of luxury never seen before in the region. What sets her apart is her expansive, all-balcony and all-suite accommodation, access to unrivalled personalised service provided by our dedicated staff, and her extremely lavish interiors,” says Mr Odell.

Her biggest Regent suite is 412 square-metres, one of the biggest at sea, and features two bedrooms, a living room and a dining room, two rare Picasso lithographs, an $320,000 custom Steinway piano designed by Dakota Jackson and an in-suite spa retreat.

Slated to arrive in Sydney on 19 December 2021, Seven Seas Explorer is set to complete voyages between Sydney and Auckland before heading towards Asia in late January.

Barry Downs of Bicton Travel agreed there was surge in demand for luxury cruises.

“We are certainly seeing huge increase in confidence and hence bookings for the premium, luxury and expedition cruise lines.

“Many premium and luxury brands are close to sold out for the first half of 2022, with some guests opting for 2023 similar itineraries to secure their desired ship or stateroom/suite. The low deposits, book with confidence policy and even pay in full to save are encouraging cruisers to lock in their travel plans.”

Kathy Pavlidis of Travel Associates added: “Luxury Cruising is definitely on the rise as consumers are seeing the benefits of an all inclusive product combined with affordable luxury that small ships offer. The value proposition is real and I have noticed a shift towards more mid – smaller ships like Regent, Oceania, Silversea and Viking.”

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