Cruisers are craving special destinations to make up for the lost pandemic years, with Scenic revealing that they’ve seen a 100 per cent increase for bookings to Antarctica for its Antarctic expeditions aboard Scenic Eclipse.
This leaves Scenic already with limited availability for their 2022/2023 Antarctica sailings.
Scenic returned to Antarctica in January and the return was completely successful, with guests giving a very positive reception on the January sailings.
Riding this momentum, Scenic has released its 2023/2024 Antarctica and South America Voyages & Land Journeys collection.
Within the new collection is details of Scenic Eclipse II, that will double Scenic’s presence in the polar regions, with the two discovery yachts set to meet in Antarctica in December 2023.
Part of the new offerings include new fly-cruise itineraries for, where guests can choose instead to fly from Punta Arenas to King George Island, before then boarding the luxury yacht, so they can avoid two days at sea if they choose.
There’s also a new 16-day Beyond the Antarctic Circle voyage that traverses past to the Antarctic circle to even less-explored waters, rich with wildlife, sea ice and krill.
Guests on the yachts have access to kayaks, zodiacs and paddleboards to get up close and personal with the surroundings and you expect to spot penguins, seals and whales around the way.
Sharon Sumemrhayes, owner of Deluxe Travel and Cruise says the bookings are rolling in for Antarctica.
“I’ve been getting quite a bit of enquiries for Antarctica. People are thinking about that, as a bucket list destination.”
People are wanting to tick off their bucket list and start from the top, not the bottom. They realise now, we’re not promised anything and we need to do things when we have the chance.”
Ms Summerhayes says this is part of a trend where people are ready to splash more cash on more exciting holiday opportunities.
“People want longer cruises, they are definitely staying away a bit longer than they used to and making the most of their holiday time. People are really upgrading their holidays. Going for longer and spending more on extra luxurious cabins on ships.”
As far as other hot destinations, Ms Summerhayes says plenty of people are looking to head to Alaska, as well as the timeless hot ticket of Europe.
“Alaska is a big destination right now, I’m actually doing Alaska this year myself. And Europe is huge for bookings. I haven’t been getting much for Asia, but Alaska and Europe have been the big ones for me.”
Carnival Spirit which was meant to homeport in the new Brisbane Cruise terminal has confirmed it will sail in Alaska for the 2023 season starting from May, offering a familiar cruise line to take you to the Arctic wonderland.
The cruise industry at large is anticipating an influx of visitors to Alaska with economic firm Rain Coast Data revealing there’s enough ships schedule to Alaska in 2022 to take on a capacity of 1.57 million passengers. This is well above the 1.3 million visitors who cruised to Alaska in 2019.
Royal Caribbean Vice President of Destination Development Joshua Carroll said that Alaska is a “standout in our bookings” for and that “as Royal Caribbean and as an industry, we have more ships deployed to Alaska than ever before.”