Royal Caribbean Cruise Line will retain a similar commission structure for travel agents in 2012 as for 2011 and expects the level of business from Ireland coming through the trade to continue around its current level of 85%. Direct sales will grow, but so too will the company’s overall business.
Dominic Paul, RCCL Vice President and Group Managing Director – UK, Ireland & Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa, told the ITAA conference in Seville yesterday that combined UK and Ireland cruise figures for the year would show around 5% growth – with 2011 being one of the best years ever for the company – but that growth is slowing for 2012.
“One in three guests in 2010 were first-time cruisers and we are looking for more routes to reach non-cruisers,” he said. “We are investing in stronger partnerships with key travel partners and have a dedicated plan for Ireland, with a strategic focus on five core ships – including Splendour of the Seas, which will re-emerge from an extensive $35 million refurbishment on 25th November 2011 with more than twice the number of dining options previously available to guests. We also now have a dedicated Head of Sales for Ireland – Lorraine Quinn, a dedicated air team, Ireland call centre number, and 16-page Irish brochure.
“The company is investing $300 million in a revamp of RCI ships, $120 million in revitalisation of Celebrity Cruises ships, and the two Azamara ships will be making a number of calls into Irish ports in 2012. In addition, next autumn will bring the launch of the new Celebrity Reflection, which will make a nine-night inaugural European cruise departing from Amsterdam on 12th October to Barcelona.”