Oceania Cruises sets sales course in Asia

SINGAPORE, 24 October 2017:  If you are a foodie tourist then Oceania Cruises claims to be ahead in its culinary presentations featured in its latest cruises.

Oceania Cruises, that presents a focus on food and longer stays at destinations, introduced its Europe and Americas 2019 collection of itineraries for sales starting last week.

With six ships operating worldwide, Oceania Cruises claims to offer longer port stays when compared with its competitive set.

Voyages range from seven to 44 days, the latter far too long for most Asian travellers, who have to make do with shorter paid holidays than lucky cruise customers in Europe and the North America. Retirees would fit well with Oceania Cruises as they have the time for the longer voyages.

Predictably, Oceania Cruises president and CEO Bob Binder claims the new voyages are “ideal for the discerning traveller who seeks unique and enriching experiences,” which includes just about anyone who has the cash to spend on a cruise these days.

The cruises focus on Europe and America’s iconic cities with 104 itineraries, 80 of them brand new including 40 Mediterranean voyages, 18 new Baltic, Scandinavia and northern Europe journeys, five new Alaska sailings, six new Canada and New England voyages and 10 new tropics cruises.

Cruises sail further north than ever before in Europe, venturing to Greenland, Iceland and some remote ports in Norway such as mountainous Bodo, which is just north of the Arctic Circle and Haugesund, known as the homeland of the Viking kings.

The company’s ship Insignia offers  cruise to Cuba which include overnight stays in Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. Sailing roundtrip from Miami, nine summer and autumn departures are offered, ranging from seven to 11 days.

For Asian travellers that would require at least a couple additional days in air travel.

Like most cruise operators entering the Asian market there is little direct selling other than to repeat customers. but unlike Europe and the Americas there are very few Asian travel agents who bother to specialise in the cruise market.

Cruise companies recognising there could be pent-up demand for cruises  in Asia face the challenge of building a network of specialised cruise agents.

Cruise operators are rushing to establish sales and establish home-ports in Asia with Singapore a favourite spot due to its quality logistic support and a thriving shipping industry. However, they will also need to offer much shorter cruises of around a week, adapt their food offerings and  find alternatives activities as most Asians would shun the idea of sunning themselves on a deck with a book all day.

Those challenges might sound simple enough to address, but it is likely they will offer considerable pain points for cruise operators who have for decades served European and American travellers.