Cruise workshop with jungle feel: The Cruise Academy took place in Gondwanaland at Leipzig Zoo.
The current trend toward short-term cruise bookings is likely to continue in the coming year. That was the assessment of various shipping companies at fvw|TravelTalk's Cruise Academy in Leipzig.
Cruise in a jungle ambience: The Cruise Academy took place in Gondwanaland at Leipzig Zoo.It was the last Cruise Academy of fvw|TravelTalk this year. In Leipzig, 65 travel agents gathered at the Leipzig Zoo for the cruise workshop to hear news and assessments on the state of the cruise industry from shipping lines NCL, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Arosa, Nicko and Swan Hellenic.
News was plentiful: the new Prima class from NCL, the programs of World Voyager and Vasco da Gama from Nicko Cruises, the family ship Arosa Sena, the new chatbot Henry Hansen from Hapag-Lloyd and, last but not least, the story of the expedition newcomer Swan Hellenic.
Bookings by no means good
At the final discussion with the participating shipping companies, however, thoughtful tones were also heard. For the current booking situation for this winter season is still only satisfactory, but by no means good.
Above all, the short-term booking – unusual for cruises – is still continuing and is making planning more difficult. For example, Christmas voyages by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises can still be booked for this year. "This is a new experience," said sales manager Stefan Nicodemus. And he has noticed that even luxury travellers have developed a certain price sensitivity.
Norwegian Cruise Line also has to live with shorter-notice bookings in the German market, but at the same time is seeing demand for trips that take place in 2024 or 2025. "The situation is not really bad, but it could be better," said Tilo Zimmermann, Director Business Develpoment.
Even river cruise providers such as Arosa are experiencing unusual booking behaviour. "We don't have any trips for 2025 to sell, but our bookings for the 2023 season only last until mid-summer at the moment," said sales director Marius Griego.
For start-up Swan Hellenic, which launched in the midst of the pandemic and now operates the two expedition ships Minerva and Vega, high airfares are a particular problem. That's because the ships operate in Antarctica, among other places. "For Europeans, getting there is extremely expensive," said sales and marketing director Alfredo Spadon. He therefore sees his main clientele in the U.S. at present. "Of course, the German-speaking market is extremely important for us," he said. "But in my estimation, Europeans will tend to stay in Europe in the coming year."