Oceania passengers booking higher and for longer

According to the cruise line's executives, some of the post-COVID trends it has witnessed have continued on to today.

OCEANIA Cruises Senior Vice President Global Sales Nikki Upshaw has told travelBulletin the line is performing “extremely well”, with passengers continuing their trend of booking higher stateroom categories and sailing for longer.

Upshaw, who is in Australia this week from head office in Miami, said trends which became apparent at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic are continuing to prevail, saying “our concierge level, verandah categories and up, are really where we see the demand come in, as opposed to the lower categories on our ships.”

“The other phenomenon, especially as you see here in Australia, is sailing for a bit longer,” she added.

“Back-to-back [sailings] and our Grand Voyages are continuing to be something which really resonates.”

Upshaw said this latter trend has developed in part due to how Oceania designs its itineraries.

“We try very hard not to ever repeat ports, so it’s quite easy to keep meandering through the world on Oceania by adding another voyage.”

Vice President International Sales Jason Worth explained in addition to longer sailings, Australian guests are also seeking more exotic cruises.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest in Asia,” he explained, adding, “we have Riviera based in Asia this year and next year, so there’s some circumnavigations of Japan, and those are very popular”.

Worth said Oceania is also seeing a large amount of interest in Africa – a destination sister brand Norwegian Cruise Line just announced a second season for.

“We’ve also seen big interest in West Africa when ships are repositioning into Europe, so there are some Cape Town round trips,” he added.

“It’s a great way to see the developing world…and we also have our ship Marina in South America, which is a great way to see a lot of South America and even sneak in Antarctica.”

Travel advisors are helping Oceania survive market and economic pressures, Upshaw added, saying the cruise line’s hefty sales numbers are prompted by some of its offers in market.

These offers allow travel advisors to “start the conversation” with their clients, she explained.

“We’ve continued to see strong booking demand, and that’s somewhat prompted by an attractive offer to start the conversation going,” Upshaw said.

Oceania’s partners believe a special incentive, value-add, or savings offer often sparks initial interest, she added.

“The trade has been incredibly supportive, because it helps them introduce Oceania to other cruisers that are on other lines,” Upshaw said.

She noted these offers have seen a high new guest quotient booking with Oceania.

Worth said other factors seeing guests rush to Oceania include a more competitive airline environment and rising hotel prices.

“Flights have gotten a little competitive, so that is a bit of a headwind for all travel businesses,” he said.

“There’s more competition, that’s creating a little more benefit so people have more money to spend elsewhere… that’ll help the whole market, the whole travel industry.

“There’s also a trend of hotel offers being so expensive, so there’s a lot more interest in cruise from the typical non-cruiser,” he added.

Subscribe To travelBulletin