Australia’s Golden child of cruising comes ashore; travels to the Arctic for the first time to see the Midnight Sun.
Princess Cruises’ top execs were in Sydney this week to celebrate a bumper record year of Australian business on the back of a 60% increase in capacity over the past two years.
According to Sydney-based vice president ANZ, Stuart Allison, the cruise line receives the highest repeat business (75%) for long-haul journeys compared with other competing liners, and Aussies spend more nights on a Princess ship than any other in the region.
After announcing earlier this year the liner will set sail to South America, Princess trumped the news yesterday to announce Sea Princess will embark on its first ever cruise from Australia to the Arctic Circle in 2017.
Guests will travel to four ports in the Nordic region and Arctic Circle as part of a 104-night global circumnavigation taking in a total 39 ports departing Sydney May 20 2017. The itinerary goes on sale next month and roundtrip departures are available from Sydney, Fremantle and Auckland with fares from $20,999 for the full world cruise.
The cruise line also launched the itinerary for its second 2017 world cruise, a 75-night Circle Pacific itinerary which for the first time will be offered on Golden Princess, its biggest ship to be deployed year-round which arrives next month to coincide with the cruise line’s 50th anniversary.
“2017 will mark 10 years since our first world cruise from Australia. These voyages provide a wonderful way to travel the globe in comfort while experiencing different lands and cultures – and without the need to spend foreign currency, as shore excursions and onboard services are all in Australian dollars,” Allison said.
Having recently introduced optional beverage packages for sale, Allison told Travel Weekly the cruise line would not be looking to introduce an ‘all-inclusive’ model “as it takes away the flexibility to other guests”.
“It is most important for us to offer our guests choice.”
Despite New Zealand being its number one destination, Allison earmarked Asia as the “next big destination for growth” for the liner and its Australian customers.
As the cruise industry looks to increase its 1 million-passenger mark in 2016, Alison said upping capacity in the market and competition could only benefit the industry as a whole, remarking upon the entry of a Norwegian Cruise Lines dedicated sales office and ship deployment following a 15 year hiatus in Australian waters.
“It’s a positive thing for the industry rather than a threat. If you can offer the market something different and a unique programme, more capacity won’t have a direct impact”.