Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises welcomed close to 100 travel advisors around Sydney for an evening on the Harbour to mark a return to cruising in Australia.
It’s been more than two years since the luxury sister-cruise brands had arranged a gathering of its kind, with last night’s ‘Great Cruise Comeback’ event involving a cruise of a different kind… a two-hour voyage aboard Starship Aqua. Invited guests re-united over beverages and canapes on a stunning autumn evening, beneath a spectacular full moon.
In attendance were the regional heads of both cruise lines, including Lisa Pile, VP Australia/NZ for Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Jason Worth, VP Australia/NZ for Oceania Cruises, along with some of their executive teams, including Gillian Seller, Director of Sales Australia and New Zealand at RSSC, and Johanna Raeder, Director of Marketing APAC for Oceania.
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With their ships to return to Australasia waters at the end of the year, it was a time for the cruise brands to celebrate with their frontline sellers – many of whom had taken part in CLIA Live events hosted throughout the day.
“It’s great to be back in the one-room together again after the rollercoaster of a time we’ve all been through,” commented Steve Odell, VP and MD Asia Pacific for Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Odell used the event to also heap praise on CLIA Australasia and its MD Joel Katz – who was also in attendance – for the organisation’s efforts and for “holding things together for the cruise industry in this country.”
“They fought hard for us. They were our face with government and against all the challenges that we had trying to get cruise ships back in this harbour,” Odell said, which was greeted with applause by the travel advisors.
Odell confirmed the dual-brands will be bringing “luxury back to the harbour”, with Oceania’s Regatta and Regent’s Seven Seas Explorer come December. Seven Seas Explorer will also return on Australia Day in January 2023.
He said both Oceania and Regent Seven Seas have a huge following of loyal guests from Australia, and it was their commitment that “kept us going and motivated” during the pandemic.
We’ve never seen that [loyalty] stronger, as the industry is coming back,” Odell remarked.
Forward bookings remain very strong for 2023 and 2024, highlighted by last week’s performance of Oceania’s newly released 2024 Tropics & Exotics program, and the overwhelming popularity of the 35-day circumnavigation of Australia aboard Regatta, departing 23 December next year.
Similar demand is expected when Regent Seven Seas Cruises launches its 2024 program in late August.
“There’s a lot of future business out there and I think there is almost this fear of losing out if you don’t book something,” he added.
Odell further used the event to also recognise Oceania and Regent’s contact centre staff for their “absolutely sterling job” dealing with two years of refunds and future cruise credits, and who are now being “run off their feet” as new business returns in droves.
“We appreciate it because from a company’s point of view, you’re the front face of our business with the customer – so thank you all,” Odell concluded.
Lead image: from left – Oceania Cruises’ Haydn Wood, Anjelica Balbin, Martine Nunes, Ryan McPherson and Jason Worth; Steve Odell, SVP and MD Asia Pacific, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises; alongside Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Lisa Pile, Suzette Yu, Gillian Seller, Elsa McLean, Scott Graham and Lauren Bevan.