Iconic interview with Jennifer Callister
Jennifer Callister (Royal Caribbean International Head of Ireland) took time out of her very busy schedule last week to catch up with Don and bring you all up to speed on all things Royal Caribbean.
Jenny said, “We’re seeing a very positive start to 2023 based on the last few years and are confident that the business will have a year of growth ahead. We’re continuing to see strength in the consumer market with strong pricing, accelerated bookings, and strong onboard revenue spend prior to sailing and while onboard. The number of travellers considering a cruise is the highest it has been in two years and nearing pre-pandemic levels”.
“We’re noticing fly cruise packages continue to be popular amongst our consumer base which is why we’re working even closer with travel agents to leverage our ATOL licence by offering charters to take travellers to our ships”.
The last few weeks we’ve seen some strong results for 2023 sales. We’re finding that our Irish guests are starting to return to booking holidays in advance but there is still a large number booking their sailing a few months out. Consideration time has also increased, our Irish guests are spending more time researching and reviewing their holiday choices before they book. Following the success with our air charter from Belfast City Airport to Barcelona last year, we relaunched the offering but this time heading to Ravenna, home of Explorer of the Seas. This has proven extremely popular with our guests with very few spaces left for the 2023 season. Our European and Caribbean cruises tend to be the most popular with Irish guests, with Explorer of the Seas, sailing from Ravenna, Symphony of the Seas, sailing from Barcelona, and Odyssey of the Seas, sailing from Rome, being key considerations. Our Oasis class ships continue to be extremely popular with our Irish guests due to the plethora of activities, bars and restaurants onboard. For Irish guests looking for a more exclusive private destination, Perfect Day at Cococay continues to be a draw”.
Our West and East Caribbean itineraries that stop off at the paradise island are always sought after by our guests.
Air travel capacity
We’re always looking for ways to make the lives of our guests easier and this extends to the entire guest experience – not just the cruise. As a result, last year we partnered with George Best Belfast City Airport to increase regional flight connectivity for Royal Caribbean’s Barcelona sailings by offering more direct seats with EasyJet and keeping our Irish guests front of mind. Wave campaign & trade activity Flight challenges have been a key consideration for many consumers over the past couple of months which is why we have been working with our travel partners to ease consumer concerns. In September 2022 we launched our new ‘Mini Wave’ campaign with a range of offers – including savings on airfares from select UK airports and reduced deposits– for travellers booking select 2023 sailings.
Arriving in late 2023 ahead of its January 2024 debut, the first Icon Class ship will be the travel industry’s first-of-its-kind combination of the best of every vacation. From the beach retreat to the resort escape and the theme park adventure, with Icon, every kind of family and adventurer can experience their version of the ultimate family vacation. Overall, we have had an incredible reaction when Icon of the Seas opened for booking back in October which contributed to us having our single largest booking day and highest volume week ever globally.
Exciting times Ahead for Jenny, Micelle and John in Ireland so stay tuned to Travelbiz for more!