Extreme cold expected to fuel Wave season cruise bookings

By Tom Stieghorst
The particularly cold winter weather in much of the U.S. is a harbinger of higher Wave season bookings, Royal Caribbean International CEO Adam Goldstein said in a conference call discussing fourth-quarter results.

“Our general sense, based on history, is that it will be relatively helpful to us,” Goldstein said.

The Wave season started slower than usual in the first week of January because the cold was so severe it distracted from vacation planning, Goldstein said.

_Adam Goldstein"It still stands to reason that if this cold snap goes on and on, people will eventually be more inclined to have something on the books in a warmer climate than they are experiencing at home,” he said.

Royal Caribbean has 13% more capacity in the Caribbean this year, part of an industry shift of capacity to the area. Goldstein said the normal, competitive promotional deals are being offered.

“A fundamental part of revenue management is putting the right promotions in place at the right time,” he said. “There’s nothing fundamentally different.”

He said travel agents play a key role in disseminating the tactical promotions to clients able to take advantage of them.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. faces tough comparisons for first-quarter 2014 results because its yield increases in the 2013 first quarter were the highest since the 2000 turn-of-the-millennium bonanza.

Starting in the second quarter of 2014, the comparisons will get much easier because the effects of the Carnival Triumph incident began to erode cruise demand in last year's second quarter, Goldstein said.

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.
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