-- Luxury cruise companies that struggled to fill their world
cruises a few years ago are seeing a major change in travel habits.
This year was the
first year we saw a real pop in business for the long cruises, said
Andrew Poulton, director of marketing for Radisson Seven Seas
Cruises. And not only was the 108-day world cruise sold out -- and
it was sold out in July -- but the Circle South America cruise was
2005 world cruise on the 1,080-passenger Crystal Serenity sailed,
on average, with 900 passengers.
coming back, said Bill Smith, Crystals senior vice president of
marketing and sales, earlier this year.
Holland America Lines senior vice president of sales and marketing,
said hundreds of reservations are on the books for the Prinsendams
2006 world cruise.
Only a few lines
offer world cruises, which average just over 100 days. The lines
sell the cruises in segments to passengers who only wish to take a
portion of the cruise and to full-world cruisers, who stay on for
the entire trip.
challenge for the lines is to balance segment purchases. Certain
segments, for a variety of reasons, are traditionally more popular
than others, which makes inventory planning difficult.
But all the
segments are popular these days.
If people want to
book three [segments], theres not space on one of them, Poulton
said. Even the final leg, from Rome to Fort Lauderdale, which
typically would not be full, was sold out, and we didnt do any kind
of tactical mail campaigns or discounting or anything like that,
which is very unusual because thats the weakest leg.
A few years ago,
transatlantic voyages werent even part of many lines world
At the start of
the Iraq war, with the Middle East and Suez Canal unpopular
cruising destinations, many lines put together truncated world
cruises that sailed to Asia, eastern Africa and South America while
skipping Europe and New York.
Radissons 2006 world cruise was showing tremendous
owner of Strictly Vacations in Santa Barbara, Calif.,
not even come out with a 2006 world cruise brochure and the bottom
and very top categories are sold out, Schulem said.
A few clients are
passing on the 2006 cruise because the itinerary is similar to the
one that was completed late last year.
said it looks like it will be a sellout again.
reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].
contributed to this report.