In the last decade, cruising as a segment has picked up steam in India market. Princess Cruises, one of the premium international cruise lines, has witnessed a sustainable growth in India over past decade. The cruise line has also witnessed that as the market is maturing there has been a constant demand for mid and long haul cruising.
Speaking about the current scenario of the Indian cruising segment, Nishith Saxena, Founder & Director, Cruise Professionals, representative of Princess Cruises in India, said, “Cruise Tourism is probably one of the only segments in travel which has demonstrated consistent growth over last two decades and 2019 was no different. Princess Cruises has had sustainable growth in India over past decade and in 2019 despite the General Elections, which coincided with the summer vacations and affected the travel plans of families, we saw a surge of booking & conversions soon after the election results were declared and have had a busy July & August, which is normally off-season for long haul cruise destinations. We still have another four months to go and we feel that our reservations books are going to be pretty full.”
In the last couple of years, typical Indian cruise travellers selected shorter cruises from mostly the Asian and European homeports. With travellers becoming more matured, cruisers are now looking for more unique itineraries.
Saxena added, “Other than the short-haul popular cruising destinations like Singapore & Dubai, there is a growing demand for mid & long haul destinations like Japan, Australia, Norway, Panama Canal & Antarctica. We strongly feel that over the next five years, while the traditional popular destinations like Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean, and Mediterranean would continue to grow, there would be fast pace growth in the newer cruising destinations which would be inspired by a rich mix of onboard premium cruising experiences plus itineraries with varied & exotic port contents.”
To further personalise the experience of travellers, Princess Cruises has introduced Ocean Medallion Vacation. This feature will be now available in most all the larger vessels.
Speaking about the new product Saxena said, “Princess Cruises is always at a forefront of new developments and the latest in this is the Ocean Medallion Vacation. Ocean Medallion is like your Personal Concierge onboard Princess Cruises – Princess Cruises has surpassed the highest level of service & personalisation which could be achieved on a large scale on their luxury cruise ships with the introduction of Ocean Medallion Vacations. Available on most of the large ships of Princess Cruises, this first-of-its-kind wearable device elevates every moment before, during and after your Ocean Medallion Vacation. From on-demand food and drinks, interactive gaming, custom entertainment and smart navigation, Medallion makes cruising simpler, and more personal and enjoyable than ever.”
Presently, the entire business of Princess Cruises in India is done through the B2B channels. Speaking about the relevance of the travel trade industry, he further said, “This is a very relevant question – B2B or B2C – in such fast changing market scenario and where everything is decided by the click of a button on the net, there seems to be a very thin line with regards to differential between the two. Our 100 per cent bookings are currently coming through B2B channels except for friends & relatives bookings. We continue to push the passengers back to agencies in case we are approached directly as the agent is able to provide other services too. Traditionally, our strategy has been to use the marketing dollars to reach the consumers and have the fulfilment done through the travel agents but if we need to tweak this strategy to remain relevant, we would keep our options open.”