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CRUISE


“Azamara doesn’t have any new ships and probably never will, so I can see why Larry takes that view,” he said. “This industry is one that works for the saying ‘build and they will come’. It’s a truism. This is a competitive industry and everyone is raising the bar, regardless of which space they operate in.” Edie Rodriguez, president and chief


executive of Crystal Cruises, is also confident of growth in the luxury sector, with the brand planning to launch aircraft, river ships and yachts over the next six years.


Agents are leaning towards Del Rio and Rodriguez’s way of thinking, believing that in the long run, an increase in supply will lead to a surge in demand. James Cole, managing director of World


Travel Holdings UK, which owns Six Star Cruises, predicted some short-term impact on pricing, which would settle once demand catches up with supply. He said: “In my 20 years’ experience of


the UK cruise industry, capacity increase has usually been supply-led and due to the cruise lines introducing new product to the market. “In the mid to late 1990s, the public did not demand three-star cruising, which was supplied by the likes of Airtours and Thomson. Demand caught up with supply. “A similar thing happened when Royal Caribbean based a mega-ship in Southampton for the first time. “I don’t see any difference with the


luxury cruise market. The more supply, the more marketing and the more distribution [there is], the more value for money the product will become until demand catches up [quickly] with supply. “In the short term, there may be some


downward price pressure, but in the medium and longer term, demand will catch up with supply.”


Claire Brighton, senior commercial manager at Advantage Travel Partnerships, said members were jumping at the chance


to boost their luxury cruise bookings. She said: “We have seen strong growth in the luxury cruise sector over the past 12 months, which certainly indicates there are more luxury cruise passengers out there for agents to target. “The buzz around new luxury ships


such as Seven Seas Explorer, Oceania’s Sirena and the still-to-come Silver Muse and Seabourn Encore would indicate that passengers want to see new product from these lines.


“It is difficult for anyone to say if the growth in any area of cruise is too much, too quickly – and that includes luxury – but our members are certainly taking the opportunity to grow their share of it, and new product only assists with this.” As Brighton points out, no one really


knows what the future holds for luxury cruising, but the industry will certainly expect growth in its 2016 figures due to the high profile launches. The impact growth has on pricing remains to be seen.


RIGHT: Seabourn Encore, launching in January FAR LEFT: Oceania Cruises’ Sirena BELOW: Seven Seas Explorer


aspire december 2016 — 39


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