One of the region’s leading cruise personalities is reminding New Zealand travel agents to stay positive and keep pushing the luxury, small ship category.
The comments by Steve Odell, senior vice president and managing director Asia Pacific of Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, come at a time when the lines are announcing a progressive return to sailing and pent up demand is filling the ships fast.
Viking has launched a new feature within its Agent Marketing Centre aimed at helping New Zealand travel agents create more engaging and effective social media campaigns.
It also provides access to Viking’s content library that includes the most popular river and ocean itineraries, ship tours and destination highlights.
Viking’s marketing centre can be found within the existing travel agent portal and makes it easy to customise Viking marketing materials with an agency’s contact details and call to action, generating a personalised file, ready to go.
Holland America Line plans to restart cruising to Alaska in July, roundtrip from Seattle, Washington, aboard Nieuw Amsterdam
Bookings are open for the 10 Saturday departures that will operate from 24 July to 2 October. The seven-day Alaskan Explorer itinerary calls at Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Ketchikan. Scenic cruising in Alaska includes Glacier Bay and Stephens Passage.
Plans for these cruises to fulfill Holland America Line’s obligations under the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) are expected to be approved, as are final instructions from CDC, and the company is beginning the return-to-cruising preparation process immediately.
Princess Cruises has released a new interactive agent engagement series to better connect with their trade partners called MIMOSAS – Medallionised Interactive Modules OnDemand for Short Attention Spans.
Built to supplement Princess’ Academy Training Program, MIMOSAS presentations can be done in as little as eight minutes, with viewers able to navigate through the presentations to get the content that is relevant to them.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will continue to support the New Zealand trade from its Sydney office in the meantime, but will re-evaluate the need for a local office as business builds back up.
Ben Angell, vice president and managing director NCL Asia Pacific, says the company continues to evaluate the situation across the whole region. The NZ office was a recent Covid casualty.
‘However, we provide strong support out of Sydney and we have connections with the trade here. That’s right for us at the moment but we’ll look again as things develop.’
As it prepares for a return to service beginning 25 July 2021, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced the premiere of ‘EMBARK – The Series’, a docu-series chronicling the brand’s comeback.
The first of five episodes will premiere on 16 April, 12pm.
This is part of the Company’s ‘EMBARK with NCL’ editorial content platform.
Following on from the record sale of its 2021/22 and 2022/23 World Cruises, Viking is encouraging agents and their clients to consider other Grand Voyages, which range from 37 to 93 days.
‘The halt on global travel due to the Covid pandemic has created a greater desire to travel than ever before and on a much grander scale,’ says Michelle Black, MD Viking ANZ.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), has released a collection of port-intensive South Pacific itineraries for 2022. Sailing aboard the recently refurbished Norwegian Spirit, NCL’s new voyages will visit destinations such as New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, American Samoa, French Polynesia and Hawai’i.
As well as seven, 12 and 14-day South Pacific cruises, Norwegian Spirit is embarking on an exclusive ‘Fire and Ice’ voyage, with the contrasting destinations of Alaska and Hawai’i in one comprehensive itinerary.
Princess Cruises has released a full year-long programme of voyages including a new 2022-23 Australian summer season. Princess has also revealed its 2023 Round World Cruise – six months ahead of schedule.
The planned programme has 134 departures on 90 itineraries to 108 destinations in 33 countries and will feature an entire Medallion Class-enabled fleet of four ships including two Royal-Class sister ships, Royal Princess and Majestic Princess, based in Sydney for the first time.
The NZ Cruise Conference 2021 has been postponed until mid-year 2022.
Chairman Debbie Summers says this year has proven that the sector is still in a time of flux and change. ‘The board felt it is better to wait, get a semblance of a season under our belts in 2021-22 and organise something that is positive, value for money and with international speakers at this later time.
‘We are potentially looking at a series of regional updates with members as we travel the country over the remainder of 2021.’
Adventure World Travel is offering travellers a deal on an all-inclusive Hurtigruten expedition cruise to Antarctica.
When booking the 14-day Highlights of the Frozen Continent itinerary, guests will receive free return airfares from New Zealand to South America, EUR300 onboard credit, plus, exclusive to Adventure World Travel, a free Buenos Aires walking tour and free traditional tango show and dinner. Travellers will also have an additional two pre and one post voyage accommodation nights.
A leading proponent of expedition cruising says he is already hearing from cruise lines that the PONANT debacle this week may put them off visiting New Zealand in the future.
Aaron Russ, general manager Wild Earth Travel, says the PONANT cancellation had the feel of ‘pure politics’ and that contrary to some claims Immigration New Zealand was fully consulted while the cruise line went through the protracted and drawn out process of gaining health clearance and maritime exemption to operate here.
PONANT has 'regretfully advised' that its small expedition ship Le Lapérouse has been forced to cancel her season of seven fully booked expedition voyages in New Zealand for New Zealanders.
The full statement from PONANT reads:
'The New Zealand Department of Immigration has declined to approve visas for 61 of the ship’s 90 crew. Visas were issued for 29 technical crew however INZ was not prepared to issue visas to the 61 hotel staff.
Viking has released its 2022-2023 River Cruises brochure with over 230 pages of itineraries and experiences.
The brochure includes a preview of 2023 season departures, details on new ships, a dedicated section on Christmas and Christmas Market cruises, and a new cruise destination – the Mississippi River.
Travel trade and tourism operators were last night clinging to at least some hope that PONANT’s domestic cruising season around New Zealand will take shape in one form or another.
Yesterday the cruise line was continuing to talk to Immigration NZ after its shock last minute decision to prevent Le Laperouse from coming to New Zealand – despite having the green light from the Ministry of Health. At the time of going to press it was believed a final decision would be made today.
The need for flexibility in booking and reservation policies, plus reconfirmation of strong demand in the market place for future cruising, have been highllghted in recent research.
‘Viking’s annual industry survey conducted across New Zealand and Australian agents is designed to establish how agent partners are faring in the current climate and how best the company can service their needs,’ says Michelle Black, Viking ANZ managing director. ‘In 2020 due to the unprecedented impact of the pandemic on the entire travel industry, this tool has never been more important.
PONANT’s return to cruising in New Zealand is being launched with an expedition departing 8 February. Developed exclusively for Kiwis, it explores the Subantarctic Islands, Chatham Islands, and Ulva Island (Stewart Island).
Mick Fogg, PONANT’s expedition manager for Asia Pacific says, the number of visitors permitted each year to visit the Subantarctic islands is strictly controlled in order to maintain their environments.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has a Take 5 offer, providing up to US$2900 in value for a limited time. The promotion sees all stateroom categories across all ships and destinations receiving all five of its popular ‘Free at Sea’ offers, with 50% reduced deposits also available.
Clients can gain a free beverage package, shore excursion credit, specialty dining package, wifi package and access to NCL’s ‘3rd and 4th guest sail at a reduced rate’ (on select sailings). Australian and
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has a new agent incentive programme, Partners First Rewards, that recognises travel advisors for their ongoing partnership and rewards them for bookings made with NCL.
‘The pent-up demand we are seeing for our product and specially curated cruises makes us confident 2021 will present fresh opportunities for our partners,’ says Damian Borg, Norwegian Cruise Line director of sales Australia and New Zealand.
NCL will launch a new rewards programme, Partners First Rewards, next year.
Designed for travel agents in New Zealand and Australia, it will cover three key areas:
• Regular incentives, exclusive to Partners First Rewards members;
Viking Expeditions will begin sailing in January 2022 with Viking Octantis, embarking on voyages to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes.
Viking’s Great Lakes itineraries will visit the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as the Canadian province of Ontario.
Michelle Black, Viking ANZ managing director says the cruise line has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), whose scientists will join expeditions in the
Digital platform Creative Cruising New Zealand, offered exclusively by First Travel Group (FTG), is giving individual travel retailers the ability to grow more cruise revenue.
Creative Cruising New Zealand has been picking up users this year who have white-labelled the platform. FTG is working with group members to add Creative Cruising New Zealand’s platform to their websites so travel agents and customers can literally be on the same page.
As a strong indicator of the demand for cruising, Viking’s 136-day 2021-2022 World Cruise has sold out in record time.
‘Demand for cruising is still strong,’ says Michelle Black, Viking ANZ managing director. ‘We are now seeing a positive uplift in bookings for 2022 and 2023 across our river, ocean and expedition portfolios. Anecdotal feedback and qualitative past passenger research has identified a strong belief that once international travel is open there will be huge demand for available capacity
Heritage Expeditions is confident the 50-passenger ship Spirit of Enderby will be operating cruises for New Zealanders around New Zealand by late November.
The company's commercial director, Aaron Russ says all clearance and exemption requirements, including Ministry of Health clearance, have been received for the ship to be in New Zealand on the basis of the plan submitted by Heritage Expeditions.
Optimism is growing around the resumption of New Zealand based cruising, with PONANT releasing details of three cruises early next year.
The company says it is ‘working with authorities for a potential restart and looks forward to a positive result.’ PONANT adds that the objective is to ‘provide locals with a fabulous luxury expedition programme at the same time as giving economic benefits to
The 2020-21 New Zealand cruise season continues to look grim, with about 40% of port calls in the country cancelled so far, according to NZ Cruise Association figures.
At the same time the number of expected cruise guests in the country over summer has already reduced by nearly 150,000 from the expected 384,000 plus.
Viking has a sale on a number of voyages departing in 2021, 22 and 23, with savings of up to A$4600 per couple when booked before 30 November 2020.
The Explore The Viking Way sale features generous flight credits and savings on Viking’s most popular river, ocean and expedition cruises. With the extension of its Risk-Free Guarantee to 30 September 2020, clients have the freedom to change their plans up to
24 hours before departure, for any reason.
A leading cruise practitioner has welcomed what he describes as Azamara’s commitment to New Zealand in ‘grand style’ for summer 2021/22.
The comments from Jeff Leckey, general manager cruise at House of Travel, follow the news that a full circumnavigation of New Zealand is planned on Azamara Journey for 20 January 2022.
Princess Cruises has been largely exonerated in the report of the Australian Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess cruise ship coronavirus outbreak. he report was released last Friday 14 and the Commissioner heavily criticised Australian health officials.
Kevin O’Sullivan, chief executive of the New Zealand Cruise Association, says the organisation is pleased with the outcome. ‘It has been a very stressful time for Carnival and Princess because of mismanagement by Australian health agencies.’
The inquiry found ‘serious errors’ by New South Wales Health in its handling of suspected cases on board.
‘The Commission’s report confirms that none of our people — the Captain, the ship’s doctor, or members of our shore side port agency team — misled public authorities involved in Ruby Princess being permitted to disembark guests on March 19,’ says Jan Swartz, group president, Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia.
‘This finding is of great importance to us because it goes to the integrity of our people. In our more than 20 years in Australia, we have always sought to cooperate honestly and professionally with officials in accordance with the regulatory environment.
‘We acknowledge the Commission’s specific comments about Carnival Australia, and we will consider these comments to the fullest possible extent,’ Swartz adds.
Princess Cruises also welcomes the Commission’s attention to improving information sharing and coordination among government agencies in the future. In our submission to the inquiry, we agreed that this area deserved consideration. We look forward to collaborating with government agencies and industry peers to improve these systems.
Supply chain survival is one of the ‘New Zealand specific challenges’ highlighted by Debbie Summers in her NZ Cruise Association chairman’s report 2020.
‘Our members include retailers, wholesalers, tour operators, port agents, ground handlers, and hospitality – all part of a supply chain that is critical to the sector.
‘In a nutshell it is crucial we all do our best to hold tight, to survive, to ignore the naysayers, to harness our passion and the facts and go out there and fight for the return of our cruise industry,’ Summers told TRAVELinc Memo after the AGM.
In her report, Summers summarised the dire current situation for cruising and outlined a number of challenges to overcome. But she also touched on opportunities – including that cruise lines are looking keenly at our region for a safe and measured restart within our domestic arena. ‘We are talking about kiwi cruises for kiwis just as Air NZ has once again opened the skies for New Zealander’s to see their own country.
‘We can stimulate travel, starting with some really immersive itineraries.’
Summers points out that supply chain survival is largely reliant on borders. ‘We need safe corridors with countries with zero comunication (this is our Government’s indication on who we can do business with in the future) opening as soon as we are able.’
She says New Zealand is fortunate to have a close safe source market (‘heading that way at least’) in Australia. ‘One in 17 Australians like to cruise. They made up over 50% of our cruise market pre Covid 19.’
New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) says it is working closely with with Maritime New Zealand to re-start the New Zealand cruise market with domestic cruising.
It is too early to write off cruising in 2020-21 and the industry is still working towards making it happen, a Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) media conference reiterated this week.
‘Nothing is guaranteed. But we’ve got weeks and months to engage with authorities on this,’ says Gavin Smith, chair of CLIA Australasia.
With domestic cruising starting in other parts of the world the industry is increasingly asking why there are continued political barriers to doing the same in New Zealand.
Adam Goldstein, CLIA’s global chair, says ‘sequential resumption’ of cruising is about to start in Germany. ‘Home ports, working with the local and national authorities and taking guidance form the EU in the form of healthy getaways, are going to start cruises from Germany, returning to Germany – not visiting any ports in between – for citizens of Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Carnival Corporation will accelerate the removal of ships during its 2020 financial year and slow the delivery of ships on order. This will enable future capacity to be moderated, the company said in a statement on Friday.
Carnival sold one ship during June 2020 and has agreements for the scrapping of five ships and preliminary agreements for an additional three ships, all of which are expected to leave the fleet in the next 90 days.
The New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) is continuing to lobby against the government’s decision to indefinitely continue the cruise ship ban, despite flight travel and crowded public events already being back on the table.
Clients can choose to commence with the river or ocean portion; both new departures sail on 23 September 2022 and are priced from $9990 per person twin, including savings of up to $2500 per couple plus an additional saving of up to $800 per couple for new-to-Viking guests as part of Viking’s Journeys Worth Planning promotion.
The 15-day combination cruise fuses Viking’s eight-day Rhine Getaway river cruise between Basel and Amsterdam with the eight-day Viking Shores & Fjords ocean itinerary between Amsterdam and Bergen. The voyages calls in to Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland.
Viking’s risk-free guarantee provides the freedom to change or postpone their cruise up to 24 hours before departure.
The New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) says it is imperative not to ‘waste the next month or two’ and wants close collaboration with government on what its expectations are from cruise – in the short, medium and longer terms.
The statement comes after the Prime Minister announced the continuing suspension of cruising in New Zealand until at least the end of September.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is offering open access to its new online training course Cruise Champion, making it available to travel agents and other industry supporters from outside CLIA’s membership.
The course provides a deep insight into the workings of the global cruise industry, helping to combat misperceptions and raise awareness of the strict regulations that govern cruising operations worldwide.
Embarkation on cruise ships is likely to be much quicker as cruise lines adopt more self check in technology and paperless documeyation post the Covid crisis, says one leading cruise practitioner in New Zealand.
Jeff Leckey, general manager cruise with House of Travel Group, says the tendency of many people to turn up early for their cruise check in has meant long waits at the cruise terminal and winding queues to get to check in desks.
Jeff Leckey, general manager cruise at House of Travel Group, is unlikely to mourn the probable passing (at least for a while) of cruise buffets.
‘When local cruise line P&O did away with the buffet a few years ago and replaced it with The Pantry, there was a sudden intake of breath from traditionalists,’ Leckey says in a Hoot Cruises Blog. ‘Could they seriously
Wild Earth Travel has a limited, two cabins only offer for a Sub Antarctic Islands cruise on board PONANT’s Le Bellot.
Departing 29 December 2020 and 8 February 2021, the 15-day cruise is priced at $13,495pp (down from $18,205).
Departing Auckland, Le Bellot sails to the Bounty Islands, Antipodes Islands, Campbell Island, Auckland Islands, Macquarie Island and The Snares before passengers disembark in Dunedin.
A stepped approach to restarting cruising could begin with cruises to nowhere and then extend out to domestic and regional cruising, the wider industry and affiliates heard at a webinar this week.
Hosted by New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA), the webinar featured Joel Katz, managing director of the Cruise Lines Industry Association Australasia, and was moderated by NZCA chairperson Debbie Summers. It attracted port operators, hoteliers, ground operators, regional tourism representatives, South Pacific tourism operators and more.
Viking Cruises is launching a series of trade training emails to learn about the cruise line's purpose built expedition ships and voyages.
'By boosting their expertise in this popular category, agents can maximise opportunities to increase their commission too,' says Erin Kramer, trade marketing manager, Viking Cruises ANZ.
Genting Cruise Lines’ SuperStar Gemini and SuperStar Aquarius are providing temporary on-board accommodation for foreign workers in Singapore who have recovered from Covid-19.
‘We are pleased that our on board facilities, as well as preventive and safety standards, meet Singapore’s strict requirements for this initiative,’ says Michael Goh, president of Dream Cruises and head of international sales, Genting Cruise
Viking has a wide selection of ocean and river cruises departing up to December 2022 for sale.
New itineraries include the 13-day Amazon & Caribbean Adventure journey from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Manaus, Brazil or vv, sailing the Amazon River, visiting six countries with two overnight calls. Multiple departures are available from January to March 2022.
A-ROSA River Cruises typically operates 100 annual Danube sailings, and is planning to get back to that level when it is safe to do so. The company offers cruises from three to 16 nights on the river; the short deartures are ideal for cruise novices and as an addon to a European holiday, while the longer itineraries explore the Danube in detail.
The New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) has called for the cruise industry to share stories about why cruise is important.
‘Talk to anybody and everybody using whatever media, social media outlet you are comfortable with,’ says CEO Kevin O’Sullivan. ‘The cruise industry in New Zealand will recover, but it needs your help.’
Carnival Australia President Sture Myrmell has today come out in strong defence of the Australian cruise industry and its contribution to the Australian, state and regional economies in supporting jobs, suppliers of fresh produce, travel agents and tourism-related businesses.