If cruising is all about the ports of call, why not extend the onboard experience by bringing the destination onto the ship?
That’s the theory behind Princess Cruises’ new Across the Ditch programme that was launched at the World’s Leading Cruise Lines Summit over the weekend.
Stuart Allison, vice president Australia & New Zealand with the cruise line, says Across the Ditch is starting this summer to give passengers authentic experiences onboard the ships, ranging from a greater selection of New Zealand wines to Maori content such as poi dancing and haka lessons and having park rangers from Fiordland on the ship to explain the local surroundings.
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.’
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia, has welcomed the New Zealand Government's trial of a new biosecurity accreditation scheme for cruise lines.
The trial, announced by the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries this week, will reduce the current biosecurity inspections undertaken by NZ Border Clearance Services for accredited cruise lines from November. To become accredited, cruise lines must demonstrate that they have appropriate systems in place to reduce biosecurity risk.
CLIA Australasia Chairman Steve Odell says the organisation is pleased to have worked with the New Zealand Government on the initiative. ‘The trial means cruise passengers will benefit from more efficient disembarkations and a more positive cruise experience – which will give them
Kiwis taking domestic cruises present major potential for the trade here, says Michael Mihajlov, director destination management with Carnival Australia. He says 75% of domestic bookings from New Zealand and Australia still go through the trade, meaning it is a way agents can make commissions out of their own country.
‘There is going to be a big push to engage the New Zealand trade to get more Kiwis cruising New Zealand.’ He says this year’s maiden visit to Stewart Island by P&O Cruises generated plenty of interest amongst new Zealanders. ‘A lot of New Zealanders have always wanted to go there. It can be a big ask because access is problem in terms of weather and anchorage but demand goes through the roof form the domestic sector. The idea is definitely to go to Stewart Island again.’
Carnival incorporates brands such as P&O and Princess Cruises, along with Seabourne, Holland America Line, Cunard and others.
Mihajlov says P&O in particular is targeting a sector seeking shorter cruises – people primarily in the 30 to 55 age bracket travelling as couples or groups. ‘We’ve got to give them reasons to go on short cruises – food and wine festivals, sorts events, musical and cultural festivals all work well.’