NEW YORK -- The annual Wave season is here again, and both agents
and cruise executives are preparing for a banner year -- with one
"No one knows if we'll have a war [with Iraq]," Norwegian Cruise
Line CEO Colin Veitch told agents during a question-and-answer
session aboard the Norwegian Dawn. "We're hoping that Wave season
should be strong," he added.
"I'm thinking it's going to be very good," said Kirk Lanterman,
CEO of Holland America Line. "Assuming the [world] environment is
The possibility of war aside, agents who were interviewed on the
Dawn and HAL's new Zuiderdam said they were gearing up for a
successful Wave -- a period of historically strong cruise booking
that begins this month -- and predicting that the public's concern
about safety would play to their advantage.
"I think it's going to be great," said Bea Hymiak of Cammarata's
Travel in Lockport, N.Y. "Our bookings have picked up. I think
people feel more safe [on cruise ships]. The Caribbean is up, and
it's getting big for Alaska."
Cruises are a vacation with price value, said Carole Layer, an
agent at the same agency. "That's what we're selling."
Retailers said sales from North American ports would likely be
strong, and Andy Stuart, senior vice president of sales and
marketing for NCL, agreed.
"There may be a short-term slowdown, but then it will strengthen
in close-to-home [sales]," he said.
Meanwhile, the major cruise lines revved up their annual
Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises all
have launched advertising and marketing campaigns in past
HAL will launch a $2 million ad campaign, to run through March,
and again is mailing its "Sales Call in a Box" promotional kit to
NCL's first new ad campaign in several years -- which will hit
the New York market in time for the Wave period -- will tout the
line's New York-Bahamas-Florida sailings on the Norwegian Dawn.
The company also launched two seasonal promotions for the NCL
and Orient Lines brands: The "Sale of all Sails Wave of Prizes"
awards daily prizes to agents based on the cruise market sold, and
the Orient Lines "Sale of the Seven Continents" awards retailers
who book groups on cruise-tour vacations.
At Princess Cruises, each reservation booked electronically
through March 31 earns agents a 1% bonus override commission on
each cruise or cruise-tour booked through any GDS or via Princess'
online Travel Agent Center.
"We're anticipating a very busy Wave season," said Princess
executive vice president Dean Brown.
Lines embark on promotions offering discounts, bonus
NEW YORK -- Other recent promotional efforts by cruise lines
• Silversea Cruises expanded its Personalized Voyages program to
its entire fleet beginning with January sailings. The program
enables guests to custom-design their cruise vacation by choosing
the cruise length (with a minimum of five nights in a row) and
their embarkation and disembarkation ports from a list of approved
• Costa Cruises is offering promotions for kids and seniors
aboard its Caribbean cruiser, the CostaVictoria. Through April 13,
children age 17 and younger cruise free when staying in a cabin
with two adults. Seniors can cruise with rates beginning at $399
per person, double. The promotion is offered to clients age 60 and
older from Jan. 19 through April 6.
• Crystal Cruises is offering several programs for the summer,
including extending agent bonus commissions on "Best of Everything"
sailings, giving clients transatlantic business class upgrades on
Crystal Symphony sailings and setting inaugural season fares for
the Crystal Serenity, which will debut in July.
• First European Cruises reduced its fares for the 10-night
Canary Island winter cruises on its newest ship, the European
Stars. During January, February and March, the vessel sails
roundtrip from Genoa, Italy, to Marseilles, France; Agadir and
Casablanca, Morocco; Madeira, Portugal; and Lanzarote and Malaga,
• Seabourn Cruise Line extended its offer of up to 50% on
cruise-only savings to include all 2003 Mediterranean cruises of
the Seabourn Spirit and Legend, as well as a selection of cruises
in Scandinavia and northern Europe aboard the Seabourn Pride.