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HomeNewsCruisesAnnual Growth Of Cruise Passengers To Surpass Other Segments: Nishith Saxena, Founder...

Annual Growth Of Cruise Passengers To Surpass Other Segments: Nishith Saxena, Founder & Director, Cruise Professionals

To know about the current scenario of international cruising with regards to Princess Cruises, T3 carries out a detailed interaction with Nishith Saxena, Founder & Director of Cruise Professionals LLP, representing Princess Cruises in India.

How does the growth of global cruise industry look like?

We are witnessing that Cruise Tourism across the world is rebounding faster than anticipated. Globally, the cruise industry is buoyant and excited as we see phenomenal growth in the next 10 years with new cruise lines joining the business. With newer vessels, there would be opportunity for newer ports & destinations to promote themselves – this would help in developing new destinations as well as widening the source markets.Cruise industry still represents a very small percentage of holiday goers internationally with about 31 million ocean-going cruise passengers estimated to sale in 2023. We believe that from here-on the annual growth of ocean-going passengers is going to surpass all other forms of holiday goers for atleast another decade.

Where does India stand in your overall scheme of things?

For Princess Cruises, India is a strategic source market with so much diversity in the buying behavior of consumers. Somehow, the onboard offerings, the promotions & the pricing of all popular destinations of Princess strikes a chord with sophisticated Indian travelers. Add to this the excellent relations we enjoy with the travel fraternity across the country – the result is a healthy business mix where everyone in the distribution cycle is happy. So, we can proudly state that India, as a strategic source market is very important for Princess Cruises – we have already enjoyed 15 years of association and we look forward to many more decades together.

Which age groups & social strata are focussed upon in India by Princess Cruises in the Indian market?

Our focus in India remains on friends & family groups travelling together. More often these guests belong to the HNI & super HNI strata who plan their vacations very meticulously as a result of which they get better value than the last-minute travelers. In India, such guests are not restricted to just main metros & mini-metros. We find them coming from all over the country – at last count, we have guests booking on Princess Cruises from 45 different cities in India. This is also the outcome of extensive market coverage by our sales team during last 23 years since Princess established its presence in India.

What are the strategies followed by Princess Cruises to bounce back after the hit from the pandemic?

While the cruise line suffered setback in terms of revenue loss during the ‘Pause’ months, it gained immensely in terms of passenger trust. When the ships started to operate again in a phased manner, the implementation of Covid-19 prevention & mitigation protocols was highly successful on all of Princess Cruises’ ships. Whatever is done on Princess Cruises is done with passenger experience as the focus, which is why the repeat passenger ratio and also of crew remains extremely high. Bringing in cost efficiencies in cruise operations, invoking a work-from-home culture and rebuilding the brand and retaining the international agency sales network has helped the cruise line in bouncing back immensely in the shortest possible time.

What sort of itineraries you have or are introducing in India?

Alaska remains one of the most favorite itineraries on Princess for Indians. Alaska has been developed as a destination by Princess and the connection which the cruise line enjoys with the local communities in all Alaskan ports is overwhelming. Princess operates 5 wilderness lodges in Alaska, which are used in cruisetours (a land tour in conjunction with a seven-day voyage of the glacier) along with “Direct-to-Wilderness” glass dome trains that offer panoramic views of the route.Other popular itineraries that Indian guests primarily book on Princess Cruises are the Mediterranean, Antarctica, North Europe, Japan & Australia. When an Indian guest seeks an immersive experience in any of the destinations, their first preference remains a Princess Cruise.

What are financial security measures offered to booked passengers by Princess?

Popularly known as CFW (Cancellation Fee Waiver), this is a cruise cancellation penalty waiver program available for passengers cruising onboard Princess Cruises. The program offers a cancellation fee waiver as well as baggage protection in a single package, neither may be purchased separately. This non-refundable program is not trip interruption insurance and only covers cancellation fees and passenger’s baggage while on the cruise, cruise tour or Cruise Plus and is available for purchase at the deposit stage.The plan protects the booking against cancellation penalties up to 3 working days prior to the sailing but our office needs to be notified at least 4 working days prior due to ships operating in different time zones. This program provides a heightened sense of financial security which is why this is termed as At Ease.






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