Princess’s UK boss hails line’s fare structure amid cost-of-living crisis

Princess Cruises’ new UK boss has outlined the benefits of the line’s fare structure for customers as she reported the cost-of-living crisis had not yet impacted booking levels.

Speaking during a Travel Weekly webcast, Eithne Williamson, Princess’ vice-president of UK and Europe, also announced new-to-cruise customers were increasingly booking the line’s “further afield” sailings.

Asked whether soaring inflation had hit trading, Williamson said: “We’re not seeing that come through at the moment.”
“Whether we see that sort of decrease in consumer confidence is obviously something that we will keep an eye on,” Williamson added.

“People want to go and have that holiday and really value that time.”

She went on to say a group of travel agents who she had met recently also agreed that they were not seeing any impact yet.

Williamson explained that Princess offered customers different fare options – such as the ‘Princess Standard’, ‘Princess Plus’ or ‘Princess Premier’ – which incrementally offer different onboard benefits.

Princess Standard is the “core” cruise fare; Princess Plus includes crew gratuities, a Plus Beverage package and Wi-Fi for one guest; and a Princess Premier package has Wi-Fi for up to four devices per guest, two specialty dining meals per guest and other benefits.

“The great thing with Princess Cruises is you can you get the option,” she said. “So you can have that point of choosing your price point from a Princess Standard Fare, Princess Plus and Princess Premier.

“We talk about sort of good, better, best [fares]. It’s that point for guests to be able to go ‘what’s appropriate for me? And the decisions that I make at this time?’”

Williamson explained that guests knew how much they were going to spend thanks to the line’s fare structure.

“I think that helps our guests,” she said.

Williamson stressed that it was “incredibly important” for Princess to consider the value of its product.

“With us, we’ve got that built in, to make sure that we can look to continue to deliver that value for money for our guests and support our travel agents,” she said.

On recent booking trends, Williamson reported that new-to-cruise customers were “really picking up” and were going “further afield” and added repeat cruise passengers were looking to sail “locally”.

“We’re seeing that interest in the British Isles that served much more of a US guest before,” she said. “But British passengers have gone ‘I’ve really enjoyed that’.

“All of a sudden it opens up the type of holiday and the type of guest.”

More: Princess Cruises may boost ex-UK capacity, hints new regional boss

Princess Cruises announces new UK and Europe vice president

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