Cruise travel is still mostly on hold across the globe, but encouraging signs are emerging from the current booking landscape. Although from different markets, river line AmaWaterways and oceangoing Silversea Cruises and Windstar Cruises are all seeing positive trends that travel agents can leverage right now.
“North American luxury travellers are beginning to plan their next vacations, and based on what we are seeing, river cruises are poised to be among the first to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels,” said Rudi Schreiner, president of AmaWaterways, in a press release.
Looking first to this year and next, AmaWaterways is citing strong demand for cruising’s forthcoming return. Despite current challenges to flying abroad, customers are already booking, and their trusted advisors are crucial to achieving their goals.
The river line has launched a Referral Savings Offer, inviting past guests and referred friends and family to save on their next river cruise, as well as to book with a travel advisor. Through 31 March, each new stateroom reserved as the result of a referral earns both the past cruiser and the referred guest US$100 in savings — guests can direct referrals to book with a travel advisor using their personal referral code.
“Looking ahead, we anticipate travellers will prioritise meaningful and authentic travel experiences that create true connections with their loved ones and the destination they are visiting,” said Schreiner. “Travellers seeking this type of unique, intimate experience are driving increased demand for AmaWaterways.”
Among such trends are client plans for celebration and regenerative travel, catching up with multigenerational loved ones for milestone events and seeking personal wellness and local sustainability. Families are booking itineraries such as Christmas markets routes, and individuals are looking at ways to be healthier along the way, taking advantage of AmaWaterways’ active options and dedicated Wellness Hosts.
Guests can experience their vacations in an uncrowded and unhurried fashion, and many are opting for longer stays. Back-to-back sailings and pre- and post-cruise extensions are in vogue. Also, remember that booking windows are expected to tighten as pent-up demand for first-to-sail trips increases, so it’s best to be on the lookout for availability.
AmaWaterways named wellness as a current trend. Photo Credit: 2021 AmaWaterways
Silversea Cruises is also focusing on the popular places the luxury ocean line traverses as it prioritises its newly released 2022-2023 voyage schedule of 315 sailings to satisfy the latest trends.
"We are excited to see strong interest in a diverse range of destinations, and are especially delighted to see encouraging indications from the members of our Venetian Society loyalty club that they are eager to travel again," said Barbara Muckermann, Silversea’s chief marketing officer, in a press release.
In fact, Silversea just announced its own Sail With Us referral promotion that provides US$500 in savings per suite to loyalists who refer a new-to-Silversea guest that books a new cruise. The referred traveller gets the same US$500 savings. The amount increases to US$1,500 and US$1,000 per suite when referring passengers for full World Cruises or Grand Voyages, respectively. The offer is good through 31 March.
Segueing from intimate ocean vessels to smaller expedition ships, Silversea is poised to return to some of the world’s most off-the-beaten-path locales, such as the Galapagos Islands onboard its brand-new Silver Origin, the Kimberley region of Australia on its classic Silver Explorer or Antarctica on the 254-guest Silver Cloud.
“With our largest-ever collection of itineraries including, for the first time, shore excursions and roundtrip air on all voyages, we are pleased to offer the most convenient and value-rich options for travellers to discover the authentic beauty of the world like never before,” Muckermann said.
Other trending destinations for Silversea include Alaska, where Silver Shadow will return in 2022, sailing from Yokohama, Japan, all the way to Seward, Alaska, featuring Dutch Harbor, Kodiak Island and Homer.
Meanwhile next year, Silver Spirit will position to the Mediterranean for culturally immersive roundtrips from Athens, Greece, and Silversea’s new Silver Moon will showcase Northern Europe in the historic Baltic Sea from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Stockholm, Sweden.
"These fascinating places, both near and far, shine as beacons of light, inspiring travellers to start planning for their next adventure,” Muckermann said.
In much the same way, Windstar is seeing strong wave season bookings for the back end of 2021 and into 2022. In fact, the line’s individual bookings for next year are up 38% over the same promotional period in 2019. What’s more, half of current reservations overall are from customers that are entirely new to the brand.
The line also revealed that older demographics — specifically in the 55 to 70 range — are leading the immediate charge of returning cruisers. The next-largest booking group are those even older, at 71-plus. In terms of destination demand, the first cruises to be filling up for Windstar are warm weather locations such as the Caribbean and Tahiti.
Source: TravelAge West