NEW YORK -- Strong and steady cruise bookings through January have
augured a strong cruise "Wave" season lasting through March, said
suppliers, agents and industry analysts.
Cruise lines reporting strong results include Holland America
Line, which saw bookings surge 40% during the second week of
January, although exact booking figures were unavailable.
Costa Cruises booked more than 1,500 cabins during January, a
10% increase over the previous year's results, according to the
Cruise Lines International Association.
Mass-market giant Carnival Cruises and premium line Celebrity
Cruises had earlier announced record booking days in January. Also,
luxury operator Radisson Seven Seas Cruises processed 25% more
calls this January compared with the same period in 1999.
Radisson also raked in 18% more revenue on cruise bookings,
compared with 1999, and earned more commission dollars this January
than in any month in company history, making for the best 30-day
period in Radisson annals. Meanwhile, Crystal Cruises, another
luxury line, said revenue for the January 2000 Wave month period is
twice last year's total.
First European Cruises, a European-based line in its third full
year of marketing in North America, booked 400 guests in early
January, a 100% increase from last year.
Mediterranean Shipping Cruises, another European operator
marketing in North America, said its bookings are up 21% compared
with last January, and the line is sold out for the winter 2000
Cruise analysts said Wave season momentum should continue to
build. In fact, "if anything, the fundamental outlook appears to be
improving," stated an analysts' report from San Francisco-based
Bofa Montgomery Securities.
European and Alaskan cruise sales continue to be strong, said
the report, citing conversations with cruise-selling agents.
February call volumes and bookings "are off to an excellent
start," the report added. Cruise bookings appear to be up in early
February as cold weather has gripped the U.S.' eastern region, a
primary cruise market.
Bookings for European cruises seem to have returned strongly,
said cruise sellers, and pricing remains steady.
Additionally, new capacity historically has stimulated demand in
the cruise industry, and major North American suppliers will
introduce at least 13 new ships through the end of the year