Although the Australian Cruise ban is still ongoing, Princess Cruises’ worldwide #ArrivalRevival is well underway, so we decided to chat with Princess Cruises’ Sales and Marketing Director, Nick Ferguson to find out what the future looks like at Princess.
Despite the Australian Cruise ban, Princess Cruises’ comeback is going strong worldwide, with the latest celebration taking place last week as Enchanted Princess was officially named in an online event called ‘One World, Enchanted.
We decided to catch up with Nick Ferguson, Princess Cruises’ Sales and Marketing Director, about all things cruise, his visions post-pandemic and how Princess is planning to realise the potential of the next year and beyond.
How are things going overall at Princess Cruises?
Despite not being able to sail in the region for over 20 months, we’re pleased to see the strong interest in cruising continue.
Over just the first two days of our 2023/24 Australia program release we saw over $50M in sales from travel agents which gives us great confidence that our distribution network will come back strong as Australia gets ready for a 30% increase in local capacity (market-wide) to 2023.
I can’t thank our travel agents and trade partners enough for all their support. They’ve done a tremendous job getting behind the launch of our program and supporting the cruise category which has helped to drive the success of the program.
Are you seeing changes in customer behaviour and expectations when it comes to post-pandemic cruising?
We’re seeing a high proportion of guests now opt for our all-inclusive Princess Plus fare type which is a huge opportunity for travel agents as they have the opportunity to earn a commission on the total package.
On average, travel agents earn an extra 25% more commission per booking by booking guests onto the Princess Plus Fare.
Enchanted Princess was officially named on the 14th of December. Tell us a little bit about the ceremony.
Enchanted Princess’ naming ceremony was a celebration like no other. The team created an original and unique production titled ‘Our World, Enchanted’ which premiered on Princess’ social media channels.
The ceremony highlighted the ship and showed how MedallionClass works, introduced Princess’ President John Padgett and the ship’s master, Commodore Nash along with the notable godmothers, Captain Lynn Danaher, Vicki Ferrini and Jenifer Austin, who are all leaders and pioneers in marine exploration and oceanography.
At 40 minutes, it’s a great opportunity to watch (and re-watch!) a time-honoured maritime tradition and is available on-demand on Princess’ YouTube channel.
MedallionClass is now available on all Princess Cruise ships. What are the benefits of MedallionClass? How has the change been received?
MedallionClass makes your cruise holiday with Princess more simple, effortless, personalised and connected.
MedallionClass also gives Princess a unique advantage as we’re able to offer that personalised experience to every guest that you’d normally only associate with a very small ship cruising experience, not to mention how it removes so many friction points (like queuing) allowing you to holiday more.
Our Aussie and Kiwi guests who have experienced MedallionClass on our ships overseas have responded really well to it and all of the features (including the WIFI speed) and they tell us that they can’t wait to see the platform go live on the Australian based Princess ships.
What is your Enchanted Princess personal highlight?
There were so many highlights including getting a first-hand look at our ship and hearing the backstory of how she was built from the ground up.
However, If I had to choose one highlight it would be the ‘look back’ at Princess’ history and seeing some of our most notable godmothers including Diana Princess of Wales christening the original Royal Princess.
There was also a very special photographic tribute to our friend and Love Boat Captain, Gavin MacLeod.
What message would you like to give to travel advisors right now?
We’re hopeful for a local resumption of cruising soon and we thank our trade partners for their support and resilience during this challenging time.
What are your hopes and goals in your role as Princess Cruises’ Sales and Marketing Director for next year and beyond?
I’m hopeful for a local resumption of cruising before the middle of the year as we gear up for the 2022/2023 spring/summer season which will see two Royal class ships, Majestic and Royal Princess sailing out of Sydney along with Coral Princess sailing out of Brisbane and Grand Princess sailing out of Melbourne.
We will also be welcoming another new ship to the fleet, Discovery Princess in March 2022 so there will be more updates and reveals on our next and 6th Royal Class ship in the coming months.
Training and education will be critical over the next year as new consultants join the industry. That’s why we have our Princess Academy, an industry-leading training tool designed to better support our agents from training material on all ships to cruise itineraries and Princess offerings overall. Princess Academy “graduate” agents who complete all modules, qualify for a “graduation cruise” on a Princess ship for them and a guest.
In the past, these cruises have ranged from a 2-night Australian Coastal cruise to an 8-night Japan circumnavigation, right through to a 13-night cruise around New Zealand.
It is all accessible from our trade-only portal so I’m encouraging the trade to join today and get started as there are many benefits to supporting cruise in 2022 and beyond.
I have set a target to get 10,000 agents to become Commodores in our Princess Academy program in 2022. I’m looking forward to meeting and connecting with our valued trade partners again in 2022!
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