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Princess Cruises’ domestic season boosts new-to-cruise sales

Princess Cruises’ UK boss says the line’s first ‘Seacations’ in domestic waters have met predictions for attracting new-to-cruise clients and those who had not experienced a Princess cruise before.

Speaking as the line resumed sailings on Regal Princess, vice-president for UK & Europe Tony Roberts said growing confidence and the addition of a second price point for inside cabins had helped attract a new audience.

He told a Travel Weekly webcast: “Our expectation was that this would be a great opportunity to try a cruise and and we’ve certainly seen that. Initially it was very popular with the past Princess guests, but since then we’ve seen a shift towards new-to-cruise, which is really significant.”

Roberts said the new passengers were a mixture of those who had not cruised before and those who had previously sailed with other lines and hailed an all-inclusive message and competitive pricing for the growth.

“When we started, we were only selling balcony cabins and above, which is where our initial lead-in price (£539) came from. Since then, on some of the cruises we’ve seen demand for some of the inside cabins to become available,” he said.

“We’ve introduced a small number of inside cabins on a few of the sailings. It’s only around about 100 guests per sailing, but actually it’s given us a new price point (£389) in the market.

“So it’s three nights for £389, or effectively 130 pounds a night all-inclusive. I think that is one of the things that also helps us to attract new to cruising, because when they’re comparing that value to something else that they’d be able to do this summer, it’s just incredible value for money.”

Regal Princess will initially sail short ‘cruises to nowhere’ before building up to calls at ports and longer durations of up to seven days in September. The ship will be joined by Sky Princess next month, with its domestic itineraries beginning at the end of August.

Roberts said the initial cruises had sold out, with limited availability in the second half of August and into September.

He also said upgraded safety protocols would be in place on board but said those now felt very natural for customers.

Passengers will have the option to test in their car on arrival or at a walk-up testing station before embarking, and Roberts said the process was working well.

While acknowledging that timings could alter as the ship’s capacity increased, he said: “I’ve actually tried both of them now and it’s a very quick process. For me, it was about 25 minutes from arrival at the terminal to being on the ship. So very, very efficient.”

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