Luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises reports that soaring sales for its 2010 cruises continued through the end of January.  Bookings for the month were 205% greater than for the same month in 2009.  Additionally, to date, new-to–Crystal guests booked for 2010 are 89% of totals for all of 2009. 

The update comes shortly after announcing record bookings for its week ending January 11 and its highest January sales in more than five years for same year bookings.

Where do luxury travelers want to go in 2010? 

* Crystal’s European cruises are generating some of the strongest sales farthest out. Understandable, since the line has more than 30 different itineraries in Northern, Western and Eastern Europe, including cruises to the Black Sea, British Isles, Greek Isles, Dalmatian Coast, Baltic, French and Italian Rivieras, North Cape and Canary Islands in its cruise collection.  

* Crystal Symphony’s new holiday cruise in Hawaii is expected to sell out soon.

* Crystal’s fall Canada/New England season is booking at impressive 2007 and 2008 levels and approximately 30% ahead of last year at this time.  Many of Crystal’s huge base of Crystal Society members (repeat guests) have added one of the new seven-day fall Mexican Riviera cruises to their travel plans because they are only seven days and cruise roundtrip from Los Angeles. 

* While the booking window is increasing (travelers booking farther out), there continues to be substantial close-in reservations – even for very exotic two-week cruises.  Of the line’s two Australia/New Zealand cruises, one is completely full, while the second is continuing to book closer in.

“The close-in booking patterns for 2009 are shifting dramatically,” says Bill Smith, Crystal Cruises’ senior vice president, sales & marketing.  “Savvy travelers and travel agents recognize the value and reputation of Crystal’s luxury cruising in 2010, and that we deliver an incomparable experience of service, space, quality and choices.  Along with the strong bookings from new Crystal guests, our very loyal Crystal Society members continue to come back – discovering Crystal’s many new itineraries and voicing overwhelming compliments for the major redesign of Crystal Symphony.”

Adds Smith, “I’d like to think it was Crystal’s 20th anniversary that is bringing everyone out this year, but it’s probably our guests’ pent up demand to celebrate their own anniversaries, birthdays, family getaways, reunions, special interest trips and the emotional enrichment of travel that is nearer and dearer to their vacation hearts.”