Carnival Cruise Line’s chief operating officer has suggested more ships will be deployed in Europe after the line gained “confidence” in the US market.
The US-based line has 18 homeports around North America and has never consistently based ships in Europe.
There were no Carnival ships based in Europe last summer.
However, Carnival Legend and Carnival Radiance will both operate in the Mediterranean next summer while yet-to-launch 5,200-passenger Mardi Gras will visit the UK as it repositions to the US.
Carnival will offer nine departures out of Dover on 2,124-passenger vessel Carnival Legend in 2021.
Speaking on the maiden voyage of the line’s new ship Carnival Panorama in the Mexican Riviera, Gus Antorcha said: “With Europe, we focused and then pulled back a little bit and then focused. You will see Europe becoming more important.
“We have grown in the US so that gives us more confidence that we can fill a ship at good yields and there is still demand. When we design the right deployment in Europe, it is very popular.”
Antorcha said it was vital that when Carnival tries a market “we should try and stay there for a number of years” as agents were able to build their knowledge and learn from customer feedback.
“It is easier to sell if you’re selling the same product,” he added. “It gives consistency. Some of our sister lines and competitors are moving ships all over the world and they are adding new itineraries every week. That is harder to sell.
“If you are selling a consistent product you build the feedback on the product.”
Iain Baillie, the line’s vice president of international sales, called on agents to encourage the line to base ships in Europe by ensuring passengers were “profitable”.
“It is up to us,” he said. “It is how we educate our guests. We want to make sure our guests are profitable – we want them to choose the bars, the casino and the excursions. If we can get those metrics correct we can keep the ships coming.
“For us to have nine ex-Dover departures [in 2021] – we are going to jump all over that. It is going to be a race though because that [European] deployment is very popular with the US market.”
Christine Duffy, the line’s president, told Travel Weekly: “We feel with Carnival Legend – a Spirit-class ship – we can have some consistent European summer deployment.
“We will put the capacity where we feel we can generate the demand.”
Antorcha said the line’s net promoter scores given by passengers had risen by “25% to 30%” since he first took over as chief operating officer in November 2017. Antorcha briefly left Carnival earlier this year to become the chief executive of SeaWorld Entertainment before returning in October to his former role.
“Now we are north of 50ish, which is very high,” he said.