Fred Olsen Cruise Lines head of sales Geoff Ridgeon

Fred Olsen head of sales Geoff Ridgeon: ‘Working together for a strong 2022’

In his regular column for Cruise Trade News, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines head of sales Geoff Ridgeon urges positive thinking and discusses the line’s new travel ready concept.

This time of year is typically the busiest period for our industry, now we’ve taken some well-needed time out to eat mince pies with our loved ones.

I’m not sure that the term ‘hit the ground running’ has ever felt more appropriate and, before I carry on, it’s only right that I address the elephant in the room – the change that the Omicron variant brought with it over the Christmas period.

While it is likely that this will cause a shift in consumer sentiment, equally, the start of the month saw some really encouraging sales figures right across the board.

It shows that people are becoming more used to living in a world with Covid-19, and after a rollercoaster two years it’s time to look ahead to creating a brighter 2022.

January and February are typically key booking periods for travel, and while we’re still not quite back to normal, a good first quarter does create strong foundations to build upon for the rest of the year.

There are some great deals to be had for clients booking during the wave – or turn-of-year – period, for cruises right across the year, and they may just be enough to sway someone who is sitting on the fence.

Travel Ready with Fred Olsen

There are some phenomenal itineraries setting sail this year too, right across the board, with new cruises and new ships coming into the market. Until now a predominantly ex-UK cruise line, we at Fred Olsen have ships venturing further afield this year.

I am particularly excited to see that Borealis will be making for Canada later this year, in time to catch the beautiful autumnal foliage.

However, we haven’t forgotten our wonderful British Isles – the region we have all enjoyed exploring over the past couple of years – and we will continue to offer several UK cruises for those wanting to get away closer to home. For some, it is simply about a break away and enjoying the cruise experience.

If you can forgive me for putting it so succinctly – let’s not forget, simple isn’t always easy – the key will be to focus on two things.

First, reacquaint yourself with the turn-of-year campaigns that each cruise line is running and consider which of those is going to present the best value and the best experience. Second, take the time to research what each cruise line is doing to add that extra bit of reassurance.

At Fred Olsen, we are offering a Travel Ready Service, whereby guests can purchase a package to take care of all the paperwork, including passenger locator forms and NHS vaccination letters, as well as ordering all required tests.

We also have our Plain Sailing Guarantee, while other lines right across the industry will be offering their own policies on flexible bookings. Together, we can ride the turn-of-year wave and build
a stronger 2022 for cruise.

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