CruiseSmaller ships from Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises see spike in demand, with 76% comprising new-to-brand travellers.

Size matters a lot for cruise travellers as demand surges

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According to Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Asia Pacific managing director Steve Odell, more cruise passengers are opting for smaller ships.
According to Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Asia Pacific managing director Steve Odell, more cruise passengers are opting for smaller ships.

Being smaller poses a happy problem for Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, both of which are seeing a significant migration of passengers from cruise lines with bigger ships. Post-pandemic cruise demand shows that 76% of passengers are new to the brands, up from 66% pre-pandemic.

“New customers are considering cruising as a travel experience, and we have also noted a shift in preference among the cruise brands. We are seeing seeing a lot of movement in passengers, particularly from the bigger 3,000- to 4,000-passenger ships from other cruise lines to our smaller ships, which accommodate 700 to 1,200 passengers,” says Steve Odell, senior vice president and managing director, Asia Pacific, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises.

We want to emphasise to agents that they should turn their attention to the premium luxury business because there's much more profitability to gain from it.– Steve Odell, SVP and MD, Asia Pacific, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises

Odell shared that both cruise lines are seeing very early booking times, and with passengers planning way in advance, cruise itineraries lined up for the 2023 to 2024 season are steadily filling up their slots.

He added that cruise duration has increased alongside the demand, going from 10 nights to 14 nights or more, with bookings reflecting higher spend in premium accommodation categories.

The numbers not only reflect the strong rebound in desire for travel experiences, but also in the prioritisation of quality choices and in unique once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises' 150-day world cruise on Seven Seas Mariner in 2025 will be open for bookings on 14 June.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises' 150-day world cruise on Seven Seas Mariner in 2025 will be open for bookings on 14 June.

“Our 140- and 190-day world cruises for both Oceania and Regent were sold out within a few hours,” says Odell. He added that Regent's 150-day world cruise on Seven Seas Mariner in 2025 will be open for bookings on 14 June, with pre-registration starting 1 June.

Despite the strong numbers, Odell reported that both cruise lines are looking closely at positive trends to strengthen their product offerings even further, one of which is the rise of the solo traveller. Recognising this demand, particularly in the luxury segment, Oceania will be introducing six solo staterooms on its new Oceania Vista.

“When we started selling the cruises on Vista last year, all the solo cabins on all the cruises were sold out right away,” says Odell. Oceania Cruises will be introducing a total of 56 solo staterooms onboard Regatta, Nautica, Insignia and Sirena from 25 September to 1 October this year. There are no solo staterooms offered by Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

In the face of current demand, Odell highlighted that while the cruise industry is set to make waves again, there aren’t enough travel agents still active on the market to manage the volume of business. 

“We want to invest more time in the training and education of qualified agents, and to see them get back into the business. Importantly, we want to emphasise to agents that they should turn their attention to the premium luxury business because there's much more profitability to gain from it," says Odell.

Seven Seas Explorer, which is arriving in Singapore waters in December, is fully booked for its Asia Pacific season, all through to Japan in April. New ships Seven Seas Grandeur and Oceania Vista will arrive in April next year.

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