Explora Journeys pledges not to discount its new luxury cruises

Explora Journeys discounts
By Linsey McNeill
04/08/2023
Home » Explora Journeys pledges not to discount its new luxury cruises

New luxury cruise line Explora Journeys has promised agents it won’t slash its prices to fill cabins on its first ship Explora I, which set sail on its maiden voyage earlier this week.

Chief Commercial Officer Norbert Stiekema said the MSC sister cruise line was confident that its lead-in price of €4,350 per person for an Ocean Terrace Suite was ‘absolutely competitive with land-based experiences’.

However, Explora Journeys does have a 5% early booking discount and a further 5% discount for customers who combine two or more cruises to create an extended itinerary.

Also, for a limited period, it is offering an air fare credit of at least £250pp, depending on the length of the flight.

But Norbert told agents onboard for a shakedown cruise to Copenhagen: “We won’t discount the price later on. If we do discount later, it’s not good for us and it’s not good for you.”

MSC and Explora Journeys MD for UK & Ireland Antonio Paradiso added: “The prices we are charging are in line with the experience we are offering.

“Occupancy is not going to be our obsession, but we are very confident with the booking patterns we have seen so far.”

He reiterated that the cruise line, which has three more ships on order and options for a further two, has no plans to discount ‘at the moment’, but added: “We are more than happy to host travel advisors.”

Explora Journeys is aiming to host 800 UK and Ireland travel agents on Explora I by mid-September, while the ship is sailing in Northern Europe.

Antonio admitted some cruise lines have been ‘super aggressive’ with their prices this year, but he said there is not the same level of discounting for 2024.

In fact, he said MSC and Explora prices are 20% higher next year compared with 2023.

“Advanced bookings have never been so strong,” added Antonio. “We are going back to the golden age of cruising.”

Whilst he said cruise lines had been forced to discount this year because of the pandemic, which robbed them of the usual early booking period, COVID had also been ‘a big assist’ because so many holidaymakers were introduced to cruising when round-Britain sailings were one of the few travel options available.

During the first year after the pandemic, nearly 50% of MSC’s customers were new-to-cruise, said Antonio, and 85% of these have rebooked.

Even with one or two new ships being delivered every year, MSC doesn’t had enough capacity to keep up with demand, he added.

“Overall, cruise capacity is only growing 3% to 4% a year, and the sort of discounting we have been seeing is only on specific sailings, it’s been selective. From June to September, prices have been very good.”

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