Royal Caribbean is seeing a slight drop in the number of cruise passengers from North America that are cruising their Australian cruises this season due to economic unease across the Pacific. Royal Caribbean insists that passengers from Australia have made up the difference
Royal Caribbean commercial manager Adam Armstrong confirmed that initial demand from North America has been down because consumers in the United States and Canada are more cautious about spending money.
However, Armstrong said the cruise line was prepared for this and had already increased its marketing efforts in Australian markets in the last few months.
Armstrong commented on the numbers, "Overall, we’re carrying more Australians than ever on our local ships. But we’re still carrying about a quarter to a third, depending on the cruise, of our guests from overseas."
"Broadly speaking, we've booked the same load factor this week as we did this week last year so we've really managed to absorb that additional capacity quite nicely."
Armstrong is confident that as the Australian cruise market grows, capacity issues will become irrelevant. Armstrong did warn that infrastructure constraints are a major hindrance to growing demand for cruises in Australia.
Armstrong also confirmed that Royal Caribbean is considering ports across Australia and New Zealand such as Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland and Fremantle. All of those ports could be alternatives for Royal Caribbean to Sydney, which has high costs and limited berths.
"Generally Australia is one of the most expensive countries to operate in,” he said. “So adding that extra cost is always going to be a challenge, particularly if you've got advantageous pricing in other countries where you can put your ships, like Asia."
"Nonetheless, Royal Caribbean remains committed to Australia, with the cruise line becoming “increasingly successful in the market."