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09 Jun 2017

BY Sophie Griffiths

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TRFBLI

Oceania notes Brexit impact as prices rise

Bernard Carter, Oceania’s senior vice-president and managing director EMEA, spoke to TTG’s Sophie Griffiths about Brexit, attracting Brits and why Oceania won’t be going all-inclusive.

Bernard Carter, Oceania Cruises
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"When we launched in the UK in 2005, we were cheaper than the US. Now we are heading towards the same levels"

Cruise prices for Oceania Cruises have doubled on certain sailings in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, the line’s senior vice-president has revealed.


Bernard Carter, who is also managing director EMEA, told agent partners during a ship visit onboard Nautica in Southampton last week that Brexit had caused a “range of issues”. “We are selling some cruises at double the price we did last year – partly because of Brexit and partly because of changes in strategy on our part.”


Later speaking to TTG, Carter said Oceania was one of the first to “break ranks” and raise prices following the referendum result last June. “[After the vote], any brand priced in US dollars experienced an immediate change. We made a move in September to realign to the new exchange rate… And in some circumstances we are selling at double the price rate compared with last year.”


It comes after Carter admitted the line had been forced to drop prices in the UK to attract British passengers and fill ships following a slump in demand from the US last year, as Americans shied away from Europe amid fears over terrorism.


“Last year we attracted lots of new British and European guests to the brand... We had to – the market was very suppressed because the Americans weren’t coming to Europe.”


He added however that despite the price fall last year, Oceania prices were now higher than in 2015.


“There’s no denying that 2017 is a challenging year but our revenue yield per day is significantly up year-on-year. That is in part thanks to our trade partners. This time last year we had 88 sailings on special offer, today we have a quarter of that,” he added.


“When we launched in the UK in 2005, we were cheaper than the US. Now we are heading towards the same levels on the whole as they are.”


Carter also said Oceania was unlikely to follow sister line Norwegian Cruise Line in introducing all-inclusive fares.


The line already offers free unlimited internet onboard in addition to its OLife Choice programme, which enables guests to choose from free shore excursions, a free house beverage package or a shipboard credit. Carter said: “We have set ourselves aside to be the cruise line of choice.


“Early last year we introduced OLife, as we felt that people need choice.


“I would never say never [regarding all-inclusive], as we listen to our customers, but the message we get is that they like their freedom.”

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