Princess Cruises UK & Europe vice-president Tony Roberts explains to Cruise Trade News how the line is working with travel agents and provides an update on Discovery Princess.
How are trade bookings doing at the moment? Have you seen an upturn since the travel rules changed?
2021 has been an intense year for the travel sector but thanks to the support from our agent partners, our seacations were a fantastic success, with trade helping to grow the awareness of Princess Cruises in the market.
Since we have returned to international cruising the momentum with the trade hasn’t stopped and we’re now seeing a natural shift over to 2022 and 2023.
We’re now spending time on well-thought-out campaign plans to ensure our agents continuously have something to promote, so we can collectively continue our success through to wave in January and beyond.
What current promotions are you doing with trade?
We were delighted to host more than 100 agents on a variety of cruises over the summer through both CLIA and our own graduation cruises, for those agents who have achieved commodore status on our Princess Academy training.
We are also proud to be partnering with CLIA by sponsoring the evening entertainment at the CLIA Selling Cruise Day on 4 November in Southampton.
What’s the overall feedback from guests?
The pandemic created a new style of holiday with our seacations and we immediately saw the demand for this type of break.
When we first opened bookings, we saw a huge amount of interest from loyal Princess guests who saw it as an opportunity to get back on a Princess ship.
We knew cruisers familiar with the line were itching to get back on board and it was fantastic to welcome back so many loyal guests.
On top of that, we saw a significant increase in the number of guests who were new to Princess or cruising for the very first time and it was wonderful to hear reports from crew members who said there were many guests who were blown away by the experience.
They saw it as a great opportunity to enjoy all of the facilities of a resort-like holiday in a safe environment.
How has the Medallion tech helped with new health & safety measures on board?
The Medallion technology, which was designed to create seamless experiences for our guests, now lends itself well to travelling in a socially distanced world.
By leveraging the technology, Princess has been able to transform embarkation day by staggering boarding and completely reinventing the traditional muster drill.
Guests can now select their preferred time to arrive at their embarkation terminal and once on board they can watch the important safety training video on their mobile device or stateroom television.
Furthermore, this award-winning technology helps reduce any need to queue on board. For example, with OceanNow, guests can order food, drink and retail items to wherever they are on board, and we recently introduced a new feature, CrewCall Chat, where guests can message a crew member a question or request through the MedallionClass app.
How is work progressing on new ship Discovery Princess?
Discovery Princess is having her final touches put in place and is scheduled to sail her maiden voyage on 27 March 2022.
The inaugural cruise is a seven-night Mexican Riviera voyage, sailing roundtrip from Los Angeles and calling at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.