Industry Expert: Extraordinary New Cruise Offerings to Boost Sales Growth
Posted by Mark Devlin
A New Zealand cruise expert with more than three decades experience has said the new service offerings from the cruise sector will give a significant boost to the industry for 2014.
Ice skating rinks; sky diving simulators; Cirque du Soleil performances; and the chance to meet a film star at sea. These are among the diverse new innovations being used to prompt cruise travellers this coming season, says an industry expert.
The General Manager of Cruises at House of Travel, Linda Halliday, says the exciting new offerings are the most impressive she has seen during her 35 years in the business, and are essential if cruise companies are to drive sales.
Halliday says these initiatives are expected to further boost the 48,000 Kiwi cruise travellers last year, a number which has almost doubled since records began in 2006.*
“Cruise companies have to continually up their game to meet the varying needs of an increasing number of travellers. They are becoming more and more creative – offering them an increasingly innovative and extraordinary experience which rivals other travel options, to maintain and drive customer numbers,” she says.
“These can include Barbie themes, cooking demonstrations from top chefs, and even 4D movie theatres aboard,” says Halliday.
A recently launched $924 million cruise liner, the Royal Princess of Princess Cruises, has introduced the industry’s first SkyWalk feature upon its launch in Southampton, England, where it was named by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, last month.
The SkyWalk is a cantilevered, glass-enclosed walkway that extends more than 8 metres beyond the edge of the ship and 40 metres above the water, offering sweeping ocean views.
“We’re already noticing a huge interest in the feature from Kiwi cruisers, who can board the Royal Princess in Europe and experience it. This addresses the increasing popularity of European ocean cruising, which represented 22% of the cruising market last year.
The number of Kiwis taking an ocean cruise in Europe has more than doubled since 2008,” says Halliday.
Another newly launched ship, Norwegian Breakaway, offers five waterslides, a bungee trampoline and an area called The Haven – a ship-within-a-ship-suite-only area which includes access to a private pool, butler service, concierge and exclusive restaurant.
Such innovations will indeed encourage cruise travel among a heightened youth and family market, says Halliday.
Family bookings for cruises have risen to about a third of the total number of bookings over the past five years, she says.
“The family market is the fastest-growing sector, and most ships now have clubs for kids ranging from toddler to teenagers. Mum and dad can arrange babysitting so they can spend the evening enjoying the adult facilities on board,” she says.
“Young people are also beginning to cruise more, with more than two thirds of the New Zealand cruise customers aged under 60. It’s commonly thought that cruising is only for the more mature traveller, but that’s not true at all, especially given the entertainment available and the number of inclusions in a cruise offering means travellers receive tremendous value for money,” she says.
To accommodate an expected increase in travellers’ interest cruising; House of Travel will place the spotlight of its August Expo specifically on the cruise category.
“We have more than 40 cruise lines represented in our Auckland Cruise Expo this year, representing every continent in the world. They can discover cruises to extraordinary locations like Antarctica, where they can board inflatable rafts and get up close and personal to wildlife and icebergs.”
House of Travel’s Auckland Cruise Show will be held on Saturday, August 17, at the Viaduct Events Centre, 10am-2pm.
Visitors who book as a result of the show can also enter a special prize draw.
For more information, visit www.houseoftravel.co.nz
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