A new Oceania Cruises‘ circumnavigation of Australia is expected to be hot property among local cruisers when the itinerary goes on sale in coming days.
Oceania Cruises has this week offered a preview of its ‘Tropics & Exotics Collection‘ which extends from late 2022 to the first half of 2023 (as far out as May), including the return of Regatta to Australian waters.
Operating roundtrip counter-clockwise from Sydney, the 35-day circumnavigation will visit more than 20 ports, including Komodo and Bali (Benoa) in Indonesia. Departing 12 December 2022, the voyage includes Christmas in Bali and New Years Eve at sea between Geraldton and Perth (Fremantle).
Jason Worth, Vice President Australia and New Zealand at Oceania Cruises says the 2021 departure of a similar voyage around Australia sold out, and given the current demand for close-to-home sailings, this new option is likely to be repeated, as cruisers continue to book well in advance.
The itinerary is priced from $10,660 per person twin share, which equates to around $305 per night.
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The launch of the fresh itineraries, on sale from 4 March 2021, follows the roll-out of Oceania’s 2022 Europe and Americas program in November for which Worth said there was “huge demand”.
“We’re expecting that same kind of demand for this Tropics and Exotics Collection,” Worth told LATTE.
“It’s great that we will have the option for some sailings in our backyard.”
Worth said the recent release (and subsequent sell-out) of Oceania Cruises’ 180-day world cruise from San Francisco in January 2023 netted a three-fold increase in bookings from the ANZ market compared to the 2022 world cruise. He’s hopeful of similar results for the local itineraries in this program.
“With the past season we definitely picked up our larger share of the passenger list. I expect that to continue into this new season launch.”
Oceania Cruises previewed the Tropics & Exotics Collection to travel advisors last week during a webinar and in-store visits. Worth said that a new Grand Voyage sailing around the Pacific Rim, from Los Angeles to Sydney, was “top of mind” with travel sellers.
The 77-day West-East Wonders cruise explores the US West Coast, Alaska, Russia, Japan, South Asia, and Southern Australia. Departing 25 September 2022, lead-in prices, on a per day basis, start at around $275 per person twin share.
Australia/New Zealand 2022/2023 deployment
As in previous seasons, the program offers a number of open-jaw TransTasman sailings between Australia and New Zealand, however, what is new is a 15-day roundtrip New Zealand voyage from Sydney in February 2023, which can be extended to 33-days and sailing through to Papeete.
“Longer itineraries have been a trend to note,” Worth said.
Oceania Cruises will redeploy Regatta to Australasian waters in 2023. A second vessel would sometimes also make a whistle-stop in our waters during ‘wave season’ as part of a more extensive grand voyage.
“In past years we may have had Nautica, Insignia, Marina down here. Over the next couple of years it will just be Regatta,” Worth told LATTE.
Other noteworthy itineraries
Outside of local and close-to-home sailings, Worth said a Middle East itinerary that’s focused on the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Doha and Oman has garnered interest.
There are also some longer transcontinental sailings, such as 30-day Cape Town to Dubai, and an extended option onto Bangkok.
“One of the highlights for us is really port-intensive itineraries. We try to include as many ports as possible in most itineraries,” Worth added.
Oceania will also offer multiple departures to Antarctica from South America as part of the collection. Those sailings provide a “drive-by” experience for guests to view the icy landscapes and wildlife from the comfort of their ship.
“It’s not your expedition cruise experience as we won’t be getting off in Antarctica, but we’ll be able see quite a lot,” Worth said.
Early bookings are key
Worth encouraged travel advisors to engage with their clients now in order to secure the best options.
“We’ve been telling everyone is if you have future cruise credit, or if you have a particular cabin or sailing in mind, it’s better to jump on it sooner rather than later because it might not be there later.
“There’s no risk, and especially now with half-price deposits, there’s no real reason to wait around. Don’t let your customers get left behind,” he warned.
“While times are tough we do see some positive signs out there with the success of the Round the World cruise and our previous season launch. Now’s not the time to be shy, talk to your clients and tell them there are some great, great opportunities out there for some fantastic sailings far in the future.”
To assist travel advisors, Oceania has been recently rebuilt its Oceania Rewards online platform to better support frontline sellers with a rewards scheme. For more details, see oceaniatradeconnect.com