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Princess Cruises hosts key trade partners on board Royal Princess

Princess Cruises recently hosted 42 agents and 28 key trade partners on its MedallionClass ship, Royal Princess. Karryon reports from onboard.

Princess Cruises recently hosted 42 agents and 28 key trade partners on its MedallionClass ship, Royal Princess. Karryon reports from onboard.

Travel advisors from Australia joined Princess Cruises’ business development managers Jared Voss, Bonnie Turner and Emma Pequin for a three-day famil between Sydney and Brisbane on Royal Princess.

Coinciding with the advisor famil was Princess Cruises’ inaugural famil for travel trade marketers, hosted by Heather Pryde, National Accounts Manager and Julian De Carlo, Trade Marketing Associate.

The Princess Cruises team
Princess Cruises’ Julian De Carlo and Heather Pryde with Chlorissa Devries (centre) of Travellers Choice

Due to a Friday night storm that delayed the arrival of the ship into Sydney Harbour, sail away was delayed until after nightfall, and as the trade marketing famil enjoyed a hosted dinner in one of Royal Princess’ three main dining rooms, we were treated to fireworks over the Sydney Opera House.

The second day’s sessions for the trade marketing famil commenced with a marketing briefing and training session, hosted by the Princess Cruises team. 

Karryon's Sally Miles
Karryon’s Sally Miles

During the session, Princess Cruises’ Head of Marketing, Chloe Jones, gave a refresher on the brand positioning and core audiences, reminding attendees that Princess is “kid-friendly, just not kid forward”. 

Two of the largest demographics for a typical Princess passenger are families with “tweens and teens”, and multi-generational families. Jones went on to introduce two of the key customer personas: “Belinda”, an energetic adult, age 35-54, with older kids, and “Judith” (or “Judes” to her friends), an active senior aged 55+ with an active lifestyle.

Princess Cruises famil
Chloe Jones presenting to trade marketers in the Symphony Dining Room on deck seven

Liza Williams, Head of Growth Intelligence Editorial and Product at The Growth Distillery, also presented key insights on what drives travellers’ decision-making and what they seek when travelling: escapism, shared experiences, well-being, and micro-moments. 

“It’s what connects us that drives decision,” she said.

To close the training session, Pryde and De Carlo highlighted Princess Cruises’ training and incentive programs. 

The benefits of becoming a ‘Commodore’, including a free graduation cruise and exclusive perks such as Elite status, were also highlighted – as well as the fact that these perks are open not only to advisors but also to anyone working for a travel company, including marketers. 

Pryde also emphasised that advisors receive commission for upgrade packages that clients purchase in advance of the cruise, even if they do it themselves through the Medallion app – another great incentive for marketers and advisors to encourage clients to upgrade to Princess Plus or Princess Premier, which are great packages in and of themselves.

A royal tour

Princess Cruises famil

Afterwards, guests set off on an optional ship tour, though some opted to spend the entirety of the afternoon exploring the ship independently (including a few who booked spa treatments). 

On the evening of day two, the two groups came together for farewell canapes in the Double Decker Bar (previously known as Club 6, located on deck six). 

Captain Andrea Spinardi, Staff Captain Kevin Grant and Hotel General Manager Andrea Magrin attended and spent time chatting with a few agents before taking a group photo. 

The bridge
The bridge

Whilst on board, Karryon was treated to an exclusive bridge tour, where Captain Spinardi shared his joy at having spent this season in Australia and his excitement at returning to sail back into Sydney Harbour later this year. 

Princess Cruises famil
Princess Cruises’ Heather Pryde, Royal Princess Captain Andrea Spinardi, Princess Cruises’ Bonnie Turner, Karryon’s Sally Miles and Royal Princess Hotel General Manager Andrea Magrin

Agents and trade guests were given plenty of free time to explore the ship at their leisure. 

The Good Spirits bar, Alfredo’s Pizzeria (one of the casual restaurants, included in the Princess Plus upgrade package) and the Lotus Spa proved popular, as did the pools and hot tubs on the rooftop decks. 

Many also took in the entertainment each night at the Princess Theatre on deck seven, as well as the various live music performances in the Piazza (spanning decks five through seven) and in each of the bars.

What guests said

Princess Cruises famil
Agents and trade together with the Princess Cruises team and crew

Speaking to some of the trade marketers and agents on board, many revealed their long association with Princess Cruises and why it’s so popular amongst their clients.

“It has to be the outstanding service and attention to detail”, said Blake Newell from FCTG Independent. 

“The Medallion definitely adds a layer of service that is second to none.”

About half of the participants upgraded to the Princess Plus package to avail themselves of the Starlink Internet with the MedallionNet Wi-Fi, drinks package and casual dining venues. 

Many agents said that it was the fastest wi-fi and best value package they had experienced on board a cruise ship – and the OceanNow delivery technology, allowing guests to order drinks through the app to be delivered direct to them wherever they were on board, impressed everyone.

Princess Cruises famil
Liz Green and Melanie Fidler of Travel Auctions braving the SeaWalk

Lauryn Woodward from Cruiseco expressed appreciation to Princess Cruises for bringing trade marketers on board for a famil. 

“I loved the opportunity to experience and understand the Princess product from a consumer perspective and was so impressed by the value of Princess Plus & Premium,” she said.

“I’m so looking forward to utilising some of the insights from the trade marketing session in our next campaign.”

Having the chance to indulge in people-watching was another highlight for agents and trade marketers. 

Princess Cruises famil
Captain Spinardi with travel agents

Tania Myles from TravelManagers said, “It’s really nice to see people who love Princess come back on board and fully embrace everything that’s available”. 

“You can see that they are having the time of their lives,” she added.

Leearne Groves and Vicky Wood, also of TravelManagers, agreed that all of the guests on board appeared to be making the most of their journeys. 

Princess Cruises famil

“I love when I’m walking from one end of the ship to another and watching people connect. I look over and they’re colouring in, and they’re doing a puzzle, and there’s a group playing mahjongg in the library,” Groves said.

Princess Cruises has recently relaunched its OneSource Agent website for Australian and New Zealander travel agents, with enhanced navigation and new updates, including the all-new homepage where advisors can see current Princess Cruises campaigns with one-click access to associated marketing collateral, digital assets and fare tables.