Luxury cruise ‘a massive opportunity’ for the trade

Higher price cruises are “growing dramatically” and offer a “massive opportunity” for the trade, according to the managing director of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Speaking at Clia’s Luxury Residential, Graham Sadler commended how luxury cruise has “diversified” in a similar way to the mainstream sector. He added that Regent’s average commission value is just under $2,000 per booking.

“It’s a massive opportunity,” he said. “There’s varying degrees of luxury, capacities, style and expedition. Ultra-luxury has brought a sector now that in many ways, as [in] the mainstream sector, has diversified into lots of different choices. It’s not just one group of cruise lines, it's not just one segment.

“It's ‘what kind of luxury do you want?’ You don't have to be rich to go on a luxury cruise, there are so many ways people spend their money and invest their money on experiences.

“You’re always looking to be surprised and delighted and that's where the luxury lines really deliver, by remembering [clients’] names, anticipating the drink before they arrive at the bar and cleaning their sunglasses. All these things are intangible, they’re about how it makes you feel and it makes you feel good.”

He said the industry could expect to see several new ships entering the market over the next few years, adding: “The shipyards are full until 2028. There's a big move between the huge ships and the smaller ships that are moving into luxury so there’s a real mixed bag and a stretching out of luxury. The higher price cruises are growing dramatically.”

Sadler said space would continue to be “one of the greatest luxuries”, with clients wanting “big ship facilities on smaller ships”.

“The spas are getting more luxurious and bigger, the gyms are getting bigger, the restaurants are becoming more specialised and more unique and smaller,” he said. “I think the ships will get slightly bigger, but not in terms of capacity.”

Asked what he thought the biggest change in cruise had been during his career, he said: “The quality of the product, the hardware and the software is light years [ahead] compared to what it was even 15-20 years ago.”

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