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Travelbiz Gets Enchanted by Princess

13th December 2019 - 3:15pm

Tony Roberts with Rebecca Kelly (both from Princess Cruises)

Tony Roberts with Rebecca Kelly (both from Princess Cruises)

Travelbiz’s Shane Cullen and Declan Mescall interviewed Tony Roberts (Princess Cruises) about the Medallion offering, better guest experience leading to happier customers and higher spend, new value-add offers for guests as part of the WAVE promotion just launched and some exciting experiences for multi-generational cruisers.


Shane: I’d like to ask you about the Medallion, especially since I’ve got to experience it on the Sky Princess. Are you noticing much of an increase in average passenger spend since its introduction?

Tony: The interesting thing, and what Rebecca touched on at the panel discussion (at CLIA Conference), people who’ve tried it, want to come back for it and would miss it if they didn’t have it. That helps [drive] repeat demand. [Guests] spend more on holiday when [it’s] a Medallion Class ship so [are] willing to pay extra for the personalised service and spending a bit more on board as well.

In reality, it’s about the guest experience, and if you get that right, you will create the demand. So our focus has always been about enhancing the guest experience.

Getting another drink, [you] don’t have to get out of your seat. [At your] cabin door, you don’t have to find your key or open the door. Ideal when your hands are full. It’s about eliminating all of the friction points on a holiday. It’s about not having it, it’s about missing it. And that’s the bit that will bring people back again and again.


Shane: You said you were rolling out to other ships? And is there going to be any difference or additional features for the newer ships?

Tony: Princess Cruises are to deliver the Medallion on eleven ships by the end of 2020 and then continue the roll out, so roughly a new ship every 2 months.

Princess Cruises’ newest addition, Sky Princess, was designed with the Medallion in mind. It’s easier as it’s a new build like the Enchanted being built now.

When looking at the existing fleet, refit the ship, installing cabling, screens, sensors; there are 122km of cable, 8000 sensors, thousands of screens as well so it’s quite a big job to do it. We’re in the routine of doing it now so can do one every 2 months.


Shane: At Rebecca’s presentation, she mentioned only one person [per cabin] needs to buy a drinks package, that’s a great [offer].

Tony: Yes, though we have new bit of news. The Wave campaign, the best sale ever with more product on sale than ever before. Also, you can buy the WAVE DEAL where you can secure your cruise for a deposit of just €50. Not just a great price, on top of that, an additional value add package. This is premium drinks package, unlimited wifi and as you know we’re the only cruise company which can offer real high-speed unlimited wifi and your gratuities included as well. And we’re going to be offering all of that for €39 a day which is a significant saving if you were going to buy all of those items together.

And our view is, that will be really popular for people who want to say that I’ve got those things included and I don’t need to worry about those things when I’m on board.

You can add that package to everything we have got for sale which is over 1600 cruises that we have available.


Declan: Is it obligatory per person?

Tony: The way we are doing it is, we are adding it to the first and second guest on the booking, it automatically goes on the 3rd and 4th name. You can remove it on the 3rd & 4th guest.

It is over $90 dollars onboard if you bought it separately and we’re offering it for just €39 [a day].


Shane: So [it’s] cheaper than the price of a typical drinks package normally?

Tony: Yes, it’s incredible value and we know that those things are important to our customers. We wanted to make sure guests have the choice of buying those things as a package.

It is really simple. We have the cruise-only fair which is great value and a low deposit. Then we have the additional package which offers a great saving at just 39 euro a day with gratuities, wifi and premium drinks included.


Shane: Can it be fully inclusive?

Tony: Exactly!


Shane: I saw you are doing a collaboration with Jim Henson?

Tony: It’s Inspired Silliness with Jim Henson. We have used them before, it’s some great fun stuff and a heart back to The Muppets and Fraggle Rock. Lots of fun and [it’s] launching shortly on Sky Princess.


Shane: I caught the preview on Sky Princess, watching the three dancing feathers and [I was] instantly in a good mood. I know my wife would love it and the kids would get a real kick out of it too. When is it rolling out?

Tony: It’s on Sky & Enchanted as well. Princess Cruises has always had a strong family offering but heretofore [we] have not spoken about it as much as other cruise companies. This would really appeal to multi-generational cruiser. The ability to connect with people across generations, grandparents, parents and kids and do something together, appeals to both kids & parents. It’s a “something for everybody” experience.

Production shows aren’t for everybody. This is a bit different and a bit fun for everyone.

It just started on Sky and [will] also [be] on Enchanted when it launches next year.


Shane: You are very busy, it doesn’t stop, does it?

Tony: No, five ships in the next six years. Enchanted next June and Discovery Princess in October 2021. Following that, two next-generation ships in 2023 and 2025. It’s a pretty intense plan.


Declan: How is the Irish market performing for you?

Tony: We secured Rebecca as someone leading the operation in Ireland and someone who knows the market very well. We are definitely the fastest growing cruise liner in the market.

We had the best week ever a couple of weeks ago so positive growth and positive interest [and] really excited for what the future holds.

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