Stuart Allison, Princess Cruises with Debbie Christian and Mark Smit, Let’s Cruise at the World's Leading Cruise Lines Summit Stuart Allison, Princess Cruises with Debbie Christian and Mark Smit, Let’s Cruise at the World's Leading Cruise Lines Summit

Agents give thumbs up

New Zealanders who attended the World Leading Cruse Lines 2016 Summit out of Sydney last week say they like what they heard and it gives them added confidence to sell the brands showcased at the event.

Mark Smith and Debbie Christian, of Let’s Cruise, says the announcement of the 2018 World Cruise by Sea Princess was particularly timely and having new destinations in Greenland and Eastern Canada provides something to sell for the big repeat market.

‘We’ve got people queuing up for the (2018) cruise already,’ says Smith, ‘and the repeat demand that Princess Cruises talks about is for real.’

He says 75% of what Let’s Cruse sell onto process is repeat business. ‘It’s our biggest seller in the cruise industry.’

He was pleased to hear the P&O was heading into the Kimberley in Western Australia, with calls to Kuri Bay out of Fremantle, and says the State of Origin and other National Rugby League event related cruises run by P&O will also resonate with Kiwis.

‘And it is good to hear that Carnival Spirit will be in Australia, not China , in 2018. We need to have it here.’

Tim Holden, of Flight Centre, says it is great to be reassured that the big brands in the cruise market are not taking things for grated. ‘They are launching new routes and they are upgrading, so there is no complacency.’

The summit started with a ‘beamed-in’ appearance by Arnold Donald, president and chief executive of Carnival Corporation; and Ann Sherry, executive chairman, Carnival Australia. They emphasised that cruising accounts for only 2% of the accommodation market.

Holden says that is a pleasing approach. ‘They are looking big picture, not just trying to divide u the cruise pie.’

Linda Halliday, general manager cruise, House of Travel, says having P&O in the Kimberley will be a boost for the New Zealand market. ‘The smaller expedition ships can be expensive and out of reach for a lot of people. Having the larger ship in there makes it more accessible.’

Evelyn Lee of Midday Travel says the summit serves to recharge her when it comes to selling cruise. ‘You feel that you are being treated as a true partner.’

Lee’s key market is Chinese and Asian clients living in New Zealand and she says 60% of customers are repat. However, there is also growth in the new-cruiser market, being driven by word of mouth.

‘I am excited about P&O Cruises doing back to back itineraries in the Pacific, that will be popular with our clients.’