Ovation indeed: Mega ship creates mega sales

Ovation indeed: Mega ship creates mega sales

Ovation of the Seas well-trumpeted arrival into New Zealand waters has more than doubled Kiwi sales for RCL Cruises’ three brands this season.
Mark Kinchley, RCL sales manager New Zealand, says sales have risen to ‘new heights’ year on year since the company set up here with only one ship seven years ago.
But the impact Royal Caribbean’s 348m-long mega ship has had on sales across the six vessels it now has in its stable has been nothing short of ‘incredible’, Kinchley says.

‘We are currently running 50 to 60% ahead of sales compared to this time last year,’ he says.
Ovation became the largest cruise ship to enter New Zealand waters when it arrived in on 22 December with 6500 passengers and crew on board.
Kinchley acknowledges Ovation’s arrival had been a massive undertaking, but he describes the reaction from the public as being beyond his wildest dream
‘Everyone worked so hard in preparation for its arrival, so to see it so well received at every port was overwhelming... about 6000 people turned up to farewell the ship in Tauranga alone,’ he says.
‘I remember wearing my Royal Caribbean T-shirt, and having strangers coming up to me to shake my hand. To be honest, those times count as some of the proudest moments I’ve experienced in the industry in 35 years.’
Ovation appears to have been the first milestone in a product-win trifecta few months across RCL Cruises’ three brands.
Luxury ship Azamara Journey, under Azamara Club Cruises, arrived into the country for the first time fresh from a $25 million refurbishment.
‘This brand has in the last 18 months being taking on a presence in New Zealand. Kiwis are increasingly understanding Azamara is five-star cruising for people who want to take the speed out of every day life.’
And, on Thursday, the first details of Celebrity Cruises’ first build in five years – Celebrity Edge – was revealed to trade in Auckland.
The ultra-modern ship, which was designed in 3D and features the much hyped Magic Carpet ‘venue’ that rides up and down the vessel as well as split-level villas, will start its Caribbean season in December 2018.
‘I’m delighted we have another incredible story to tell beyond Celebrity Solistice [assigned to New Zealand each year for four seasons],’ says Kinchley. ‘It delivers an experience many other ships can’t deliver.’
Kinchley predicts the boom times are likely to continue, adding cruising has got the attention of Kiwis who 10 years ago couldn’t buy the quality of product they saw in Europe.
‘The standards are now on a par, and I think they can only get bigger and better.’
And while Kiwi trade has been very supportive, Kinchley says, key tourism stakeholders, such as tour operators, have gotten on board by offering top experiences for passengers.
‘That is just as important as delivering the product itself.’
The six ships that presently call in on New Zealand under RCL Cruises are: Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas; Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Journey and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Solstice.
– Lisa Bradley

ProMag