Aurora Expeditions’ visit to New Zealand last week has served the double purpose of inspiring clients and educating the trade, says director of sales – Asia Pacific, Steve McLaughlin.
‘We have encouraged agents to come with their clients to sessions at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (Auckland). We know it can be hard to sell something if you don’t know it well, so we’re here to help.
Increasing air connectivity between New Zealand and North America, coinciding with Norwegian Prima’s debut season in the region, is already generating interest from the Kiwi trade, says NCL’s director of sales Australia and New Zealand, Damian Borg.
Prima is about to embark on a Northern European season, with a debut cruise to Iceland, but will also have an extended Americas season September through March this year with departures from Galveston, Miami and New York.
Viva Expeditions has a new 13-day ‘VIP Antarctica’ small-ship tour with special guests onboard – Sir John Key and modern-day polar explorer Professor Mike Stroud.
Chartering the new luxury expedition vessel Ocean Albatros, Viva is taking them and up to 196 passengers to the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands in November 2023.
Aurora Expeditions has last chance deals for its upcoming Antarctica 2022-23 season, commencing in three months’ time with the South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey on 21 October.
Up to 20% off is being offered off all Antarctica voyages for the 2022-23 season, for bookings before 31 August 2022.
Viking’s 13-day Antarctic Explorer itinerary from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia to Buenos Aires is priced from A$19,995 per person, including savings of up to A$8,000 per couple.
The client visits the La Boca barrio and Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires then heads to the glaciers, snow-covered landscapes and icebergs and an area teeming with penguins, seals, whales and other wildlife.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), will return to Asia for the 2023-2024 cruise season, with 12 port-rich sailings ranging from 10 to 12 days on board Norwegian Jewel. She returns to Asia for her second season in the region following a 16-day repositioning cruise from Seattle, Washington to Tokyo, via Alaska.
Viking has released several new ocean voyages and new 2024 departure dates on some of its most popular itineraries.
New voyages include the 36-day Grand Fjords & Iconic Viking Shores taking in Iceland, Greenland and the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia; plus two new itineraries combining the West Indies with the Mediterranean and the Iberian Peninsula. Viking will also be re-opening two Hawaiian voyages to the islands of Hawaii, Oahu, Maui and Kauai and traversing the South Pacific to Moorea, Bora Bora and the secluded Marquesas Islands. www.vikingcruises.com.au/
Ultimate Cruising has fly/cruise/stay packages to the Gambier Islands and Pitcairn Island with Aranui 5 in 2022 and 2023.
Departing from Papeete, guests head to Pitcairn Island, an intriguing community with an incredible history and lifestyle. Pitcairn Island is only accessible by ship with supply ships visiting once a month and taking few passengers so this opportunity to visit with Aranui Cruises is rare.
Aurora Expeditions has released its new 2023-24 Antarctica season, as well as new 2023 Arctic and British Isles voyages aboard the Sylvia Earle.
The Antarctica season has dozens of departures across both vessels in Aurora’s fleet, purpose-built expedition ships the Greg Mortimer and the new Sylvia Earle.
American Queen Voyages – known for its paddlewheeler river cruises – has launched its first expedition ship, with the new, luxury, 186-guest Ocean Victory debuting in Alaska to offer a season of 11 and 12-night nature adventures from May to September this year and also in 2023 and 2024.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), has announced its return to the Canary Islands for the first time since 2017 with a year-round Europe cruise offering in 2022.
Following a grand 22-day transatlantic voyage from Miami to Lisbon, Norwegian Sun will make her return to Europe offering immersive Canary Island sailings from 21 November 2022.
For the fourth year running, Regent Seven Seas Cruises has sold out its world cruise in record time, with the sailing being completely reserved prior to officially opening for bookings on 15 June 2022.
The sailing, which at 150 nights is the longest in the cruise line’s history, had fares starting at $126,030 per guest for a deluxe veranda suite, and $365,740 per guest for a master suite.
PONANT is opening sales for its 2023 Kimberley sailing expedition programme onboard the company’s three-masted sailing yacht Le Ponant.
Commencing on 7 April 2023, PONANT’s 26 new itineraries cover the Northern Kimberley, Southern Kimberley, and the Rowley Shoals.
Seabourn is marking the return of its entire fleet of ships, with the departure last week of Seabourn Sojourn from Athens, Greece.
The cruise line now has all five of its ships in operation for the first time since March 2020.
PONANT is launching sales of a new offer for 2023-2024 to discover the southern continent.
The selection includes 32 expedition sailings and 12 different itineraries aboard small luxury expedition ships Le Boreal, L’Austral and Le Lyrial, and Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first hybrid electric LNG powered polar exploration ship.
Viking’s 15-day British Isles Explorer from London to Bergen or vv is now on sale, priced from $8,595 per person (savings of up to $1,400 per couple) when booked before 30 June 2022.
The itinerary takes in Scotland’s Highlands and Western Isles as well as Edinburgh. It also visits Britain’s most northerly outpost, the Shetland and Orkney Islands and heads to Belfast, Dublin, Snowdonia, Liverpool, Dover and London.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is offering New Zealand cruisers significant savings on worldwide voyages, including deals for 2022 European summer sailings as well as 2023 voyages for forward-planners.
Guests will save up to 35% off their cruise fare while also gaining all five of NCL’s popular ‘Free at Sea’ offers.
New Zealand-based expedition cruise company Heritage Expeditions is setting sail for Australia’s Kimberley Coast with two new itineraries in its 2023 schedule aboard expedition flagship Heritage Adventurer with an early bird booking discount of 20% across all cabins.
On 16 December 2022, Coral Adventurer will cast off from Cairns on a journey to the remote islands of Wallis and Futuna, ending 21 nights later in Auckland.
‘Our guests look for us to pioneer new expeditions and we have done that with Wallis and Futuna,’ says Coral Expeditions commercial director, Jeff Gillies. ‘Our new fleet enables us to explore places few have heard of – let alone visited. These small islands caught our attention due to their rich and complex history.’
New Zealand-based expedition cruise company Heritage Expeditions’ new flagship Heritage Adventurer is nearing the completion of refurbishment and will embark on three ‘Kiwi as’ adventures.
Commercial director and expedition leader Aaron Russ says the refurbishment, which began in Greece and is nearing completion in Turkey, has restored the vessel to her former glory.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises will soon have ‘feet on the ground’ again in New Zealand. Oceania Cruises has had BDM Gabby Oliver in market since the beginning of 2022. Steve Odell, senior vice-president and managing director Asia Pacific with the cruise lines says Oceania and Regent have plans for roadshows and trade visits by the Australian teams as well.
‘Trade distribution in general has been hugely affected (by the pandemic) but the core of the people who sell premium and luxury are still there.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), has welcomed the New Zealand Government’s decision to reopen its maritime borders to cruising as the line prepares for its inaugural Australasian season for the newly-refurbished Norwegian Spirit, set to offer four sailings from Auckland between January and March 2023.
Heritage Expeditions has added the islands of Japan to its 2023 schedule, announcing three new voyages aboard expedition flagship Heritage Adventurer.
Commercial director and expedition leader, Aaron Russ says Japan’s combination of history, culture and wilderness and wildlife make it ideal for expedition cruising.
PONANT plans to have its 32 guest, three-masted sailing yacht Le Ponant for next year’s Kimberley season. Starting in April 2023, PONANT new bespoke itineraries, will be led by expedition and destination experts, with shore landings on Zodiacs.
An exclusive scenic flight onboard one of Paspaley’s vintage Grumman Mallard flying boats will take guests from or to their embarkation point, as well as provide access to Paspaley’s pearl operations in Kuri Bay.
Viking’s commercial manager New Zealand, Steve Parker says his main objective is to continue to help (where he can) agents struggling to cope with the amount of business and reduced resources.
‘I have been in the retail environment and I know how busy they are. If I can help by talking to their clients directly, even in the evening at a convenient time, I am happy to call them and help get them across the line for the agent.’
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has kicked off the 2022 Alaskan cruise season with Norwegian Bliss from the Port of Seattle. This is the first of any cruise ship to visit Alaska this season as well as the first of five Norwegian Cruise Line vessels to cruise The Last Frontier through to October 2022.
Viking will again partner with Universal Pictures on the release of Downton Abbey: A New Era, the next instalment in the Downton Abbey franchise, in cinemas from 28 April 2022 in Australia and New Zealand.
New Zealand Cruise Association is warning that New Zealand risks losing millions of dollars unless the Government can confirm as soon as possible when our maritime borders will reopen.
The association says the continuing lack of certainty on the future of the cruise sector is also putting at risk hundreds of ailing tourism businesses that support the cruise sector around the country.
PONANT has released a new 13-night Fly and Cruise package for its upcoming 2022 Chairman’s Cruise on board Le Paul Gauguin, in French Polynesia including Tahiti, the Society Islands and the Tuamotus.
The voyage will be hosted by Australian businesswoman Sarina Bratton AM, Asia Pacific chairman of PONANT and Paul Gauguin Cruises.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), has announced the return to service of Pride of America.
The 15th ship in its fleet to return to service, Pride of America, sails weekly seven-day, roundtrip voyages from Honolulu, providing guests nearly 100 hours of port time and the ability to explore four islands in a week’s span.
Steve Parker, NZ commercial manager with Viking, encourages agents to book clients sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment, as eager travellers are securing their future travel plans.
‘Many of our most popular cruises for 2022 have already sold out and 2023 departures are getting close to capacity. As consumer confidence continues to improve in New Zealand, a lot of travellers are looking ahead to secure their long-awaited trips. If agents have clients who want to travel on specific dates, in a desired stateroom category, now is the best time to book,’ he says.
New Zealand travel agents should be learning as much as they can about the new cruising product on offer to prepare for the ‘bounce back’ in customer demand. And they should be confident that the bounce will come, as it has in the rest of the world.
Viking’s latest annual survey of the New Zealand and Australian travel trade has confirmed growing demand for future cruising as travellers are eager to lock in their next cruise.
When asked about an increase in the level of enquiry, 24% of respondents stated they had received ‘more than normal’ the number of requests, while more than half reported a ‘small amount’ in the increase of enquiries.
Heritage Expeditions and Wild Earth Travel owner/director Aaron Russ and BDM Sarah Porter welcomed over 40 agents and brokers onboard Heritage Explorer for an inspection, followed by a long overdue catch up with canapes and bubbles.
The 30m expedition yacht is currently in the middle of a successful summer season exploring islands between Auckland and the Bay of Islands. The 18 passenger vessel is equipped with zodiacs and kayaks.
P&O Cruises Australia has flagged a return to cruising at the end of May, with the launch of a new 2022 programme of sailings from Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne.
The move follows the Federal Government’s decision to lift the cruise ban from April 17.
PONANT is taking bookings for 2023 luxury expeditions with 14 new itineraries.
The new expeditions include journeys in Antarctica, the Arctic, Northern Europe, Oceania and Asia Pacific.
The company will set sail with nine new luxury expeditions off north-west Australia and through Indonesia and south-east Asia, as well as five new departures to the Arctic, Alaska and Antarctica.
Viking’s newest ocean ship – the 930-guest Viking Neptune – has been ‘floated out’, marking a major construction milestone and the first time the ship has touched water.
Set to debut in November 2022, Viking Neptune will spend her maiden season sailing in the Mediterranean before embarking on the 2023-2024 Viking World Cruise, a journey from Fort Lauderdale to London that spans 138 days, 28 countries and 57 ports, with overnight stays in 11 cities.
Demand for long haul international travel has returned –especially for 2023 and beyond – says NZ niche cruise and small ship adventure specialist, Cruise World, which also represents American Queen Voyages in New Zealand.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL’s) Norwegian Viva, the next ship in its new Prima Class will begin sailing Mediterranean itineraries in June 2023, home-porting in key Southern European port cities including Lisbon, Portugal; Venice (Trieste) and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; and Athens (Piraeus), Greece.
She will then sail the Southern Caribbean for her 2023-2024 northern hemisphere winter season offering getaways from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The video showcases 360 degree features of the super yacht, including realistic visualisations of the furnishings and décor on the Pool Deck, Sky Deck and Sky Bar, Marina, and the Owner’s Suite terraces.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), has opened for sale the most itineraries at once in its history, unveiling sailings from 35 departure ports – including new NCL homeports in Haifa, Israel and La Romana, Dominican Republic.
The announcement includes Australia and New Zealand cruises, as well as cruises within Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Alaska and the Caribbean through to October 2024, while Hawai’i inter-island seven-day voyages are now open up to December 2025.
Princess Cruises has released its latest programme, including the longest roundtrip cruise offered from Australia – a 110-night global journey departing late April 2024.
The cruise line will open bookings for its new 2023-24 Australian cruise programme in early December – an unprecedented 11 months ahead of schedule for its world cruise.
Viking has given its trade loyalty programme Rewards by Viking an extensive upgrade. New features further reward trade partners, increased engagement and enhance the overall user experience.
Rewards by Viking allows travel agents to earn reward points for booking Viking’s ocean, river and expedition cruises. These can be redeemed in the online Rewards by Viking store on a range of brand-name items – from electronics and sporting goods to beauty products and gift vouchers.
As cruising continues to gain traction around the world and New Zealand’s borders inch closer to opening, a representative of the sector has given some tips on how to sell cruise to people who are hesitant.
Jacinta Baker, Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL’s) business development manager WA, NZ and home-based, says agents should advise clients ‘not to knock it until they have tried it.’
With the start of Le Commandant Charcot’s inaugural season, PONANT is the first operator to resume luxury expeditions to the White Continent.
PONANT’s 2021-22 season comprises 14 different itineraries and 33 sailings scheduled from now to March 2022. In addition to Le Commandant Charcot, the company’s four sister ships Le Lyrial, L’Austral, Le Boréal and Le Soléal will also be sailing south.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), has released its Global Cruise Industry Environmental Technologies and Practices Inventory and associated Environmental Report produced by Oxford Economics (OE). It comes as CLIA ocean-going members commit to pursue net carbon neutral cruising by 2050.
The number of passengers who have sailed worldwide since ocean cruise operations resumed last year has now passed three million people, while governments in Australia and New Zealand are still yet to agree on plans for a local revival.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) managing director Australasia Joel Katz notes cruising has resumed in 52 countries worldwide and that Australasia remains one of the only major cruise regions where governments had not progressed plans for resumption.
‘Worldwide, more than 70% of CLIA cruise line ocean-going ships are back in operation and we expect that figure to reach 80% in December,’ Katz says. ‘This shows the effectiveness of the cruise industry’s new health protocols introduced in response to the global pandemic.
Paul Gauguin Cruises has launched sales of its 2023 small-ship sailings.
Six itineraries explore the South Pacific and beyond aboard newly renovated luxury small vessel Le Paul Gauguin.
The itineraries, from seven to 16 nights, visit Tahiti, the Society Islands, and the Marquesas, Tuamotus, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Fiji’s islands.
The New Zealand Cruise Association says its ‘most realistic estimate’ is that the industry here will not crank up until the last quarter of 2022.
Chief executive officer Kevin O’Sullivan says this is based on the considerable time it will taker to work with the government through acceptable procedures and protocols which are in place successfully in other countries but still have to be agreed by our officials.
‘These talks have not yet begun but could start once New Zealand achieves vaccination rates above 90%.’
Viking has released a number of new dates for ocean cruise itineraries for late 2023 and early 2024, including those that cover Scandinavia, The Mediterranean, Alaska, The Caribbean, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It has also launched two new combination cruise itineraries in Scandinavia.
‘The new departure dates are for some of our most popular cruise itineraries and provide more choice and certainty for travellers to plan ahead,’ says Michelle Black, managing director of Viking ANZ.
Though cruise in New Zealand faces tough challenges in the short term, at least the industry can be sure there will be demand to get back on ships when the sector can ramp up operations here again.
Benjamin Dale, New Zealand account manager with destination management company (DMC) Akorn, says a real worry had been whether or not people are still wanting to cruise.
‘The answer to that has been a resounding yes. Cruise is selling extremely well (around the world) so demand is not a worry any more.’
Viking has launched its Welcome Back to the World Sale, featuring special offers on an extensive selection of Viking’s river, ocean and expedition cruises until 24 December 2021.
Delivering savings of up to A$8,000 per couple, the sale includes a selection of flight offers as well as an exclusive Viking Explorer Society member offer – saving past passengers an additional A$600 per couple when they book before 31 October 2021.
The New Zealand Cruise Association has expressed its frustration yet again at the government’s failure to even indicate a timeline for a restart in this region.
The association says that it is ‘most likely not until next year’, in its latest newsletter.
‘This month would ordinarily (whatever that means now) see the beginning of the New Zealand cruise season. However, port visits have reduced by 88%, with more to come. It’s important to understand that cruise lines want to operate here but are unable to do so because of the New Zealand government prohibition on ships entering our maritime border.
Emerald Sakara will be the second luxury superyacht for Emerald Cruises and join the yacht cruising fleet in 2023, along with the addition of a new sailing destination – The Seychelles.
Following her maiden voyage through the islands of The Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, Emerald Sakara will join sister-superyacht Emerald Azzurra sailing the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Red and Black Seas. The additional capacity is required to keep up with strong demand for Emerald Cruises ocean-going itineraries – which saw Black Sea sailings sell out within two weeks of being released, despite the global pandemic.