HAL committed Australia as a “key market”

Chief Executive Officer Gus Antorcha said the cruise line is witnessing "tremendous growth" in the region.

HOLLAND America Line (HAL) President Gus Antorcha has reaffirmed the company’s commitment to Australia as one of its “key markets” on his inaugural visit to the country last week.

Antorcha met with guests and media on board HAL’s Volendam, which was Down Under as part of her 94-day Grand Australia and New Zealand cruise, sailing round trip from San Diego.

He said HAL is seeing more Australians travel with it locally, witnessing “tremendous growth” within the region.

“We are committed to ensuring our Australian passengers are a priority,” Antorcha said, adding HAL also plays a large part in delivering international guests Down Under.

HAL’s Sydney round trip voyages average 60-70% foreign passengers, he quoted.

“Where our guests want to visit, Australia always ranks highly,” Antorcha said.

“For the Sydney round trip product a lot of folks fly in, it increases our economic impact as well, as when people fly in they spend the night.

“We offer overnight so people can really see the city, so it’s very important to us, and we plan on deploying our ships here for a long time to come.”

Cruising is also an ideal way to visit Australia, Antorcha added, which is why HAL has chosen to feature the country on many of its ‘Grand’ and ‘Legendary’ voyages.

“It’s a great way to do it on ship, you get on, you get to see a lot of Australia, you don’t have to worry about flights,” he said.

“We’re doing more of those, either the Grand or the Legendary, we’ve added a few, so we have some out of Australia, and the other one round trip Singapore, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, Australia.”

A large part of HAL’s success in Australia is due to these longer itineraries, which are proving increasingly differentiated from the rest of the cruise industry.

Antorcha said HAL’s greater diversity of cruises of more than 25 days allows the line to contrast itself from the rest of the market, using Celebrity Cruises as an example, noting the Royal Caribbean Group-owned line is moving to shorter voyages to the West Indies.

“That’s an important part of the itineraries, and it’s increasingly differentiated, you’re seeing a lot of ships, a lot of brands redeployed (on shorter itineraries),” Antorcha said.

“That really allows us to visit and explore and linger in different parts of the world and our guests love it, they look forward to it.

“Australian guests love it because they tend to, when they go on holiday, go a little longer, and go a little further, which we like very much.”

Vice President Pricing & Demand Dan Rough described 28 days as the “sweet spot” for a HAL cruise, “where the itinerary can be unique enough, but the market size and the demand is strong enough.”

Travel advisors play an invaluable role in selling HAL’s longer itineraries, Antorcha said, which in its nature as more complicated product, is more trade-skewed.

Part of HAL’s strategy, in addition to its longer cruises, is its “perfectly sized vessels”, Antorcha added.

“That allows us to things should be smaller, less crowded, and for our guests, that’s, it’s perfect” he said.

“It’s still big enough to offer specialty dining restaurants like this offer multiple entertainment venues, and so there’s enough going on, so that’s why it’s perfectly size to be enough.

“We have variety on the ship, but it’s small enough where doesn’t feel as crowded.”

Subscribe To travelBulletin