As Premier Cruise Lines launched its second ship, the Star/Ship Oceanic, into the three- and four-day Bahamas market, the line announced plans to acquire three additional ships by 1990.

At the sane time, Charles Rowland, director of the Canaveral Port Authority, announced a $100 million project that will add eight terminals to the existing three, and "make the Port of Canaveral second only to Miami by 2000."

There will be "more than enough" demand to absorb the excess capacity, according to Bruce Nierenberg, president of Premier Cruise Lines. "Disney provides a potential market of 13 million tourists per year, and there is strong support from Central Florida." In addition, the line plans to spend $6 to $7 million in advertising and promotion to strengthen its position in existing markets and expand into new ones, Nierenberg said.

Premier increased capacity with the Oceanic by 150 percent, and expects it to be absorbed by July. In addition, the line expects to sell 100,000 one-week cruise/Disney packages by 1987 - nearly double the number it sold in 1985. The Royale, which usually sails at least 80 percent full is nearly sold out for the next 12 months, and the Oceanic is heavily booked, according to Nierenberg.

The key attraction is the Disney tie-in, Nierenberg said. "The decision about where to take a family vacation is an important one, and people who have never taken a cruise may be afraid of committing to one for seven days. With the Premier package they know that at least Disney is a safe bet."

According to Nierenberg, 70 percent of the passengers are first-time cruisers, and during vacation times, 60 to 75 percent are families. At other times, the passenger profile is comparable to that of RCCL and NCL, he said.

New Ride/Cruise Program

Sixty percent of Premier's passengers are from Central Florida, and to increase traffic from that market, the line recently launched a $399 ride/cruise program with Greyhound. In addition, is focusing its efforts in new markets with a first-time advertising campaign in New York, Atlanta and Chicago in May. Inroads into the European market are planned for 1987.

The line does not direct much of its efforts to Southern Florida because it cannot compete with the price marketing that takes place there, Nierenberg said. "Up north, we can emphasize value because there is not as much discounting, but in Southern Florida, the consumer only cares about price."

New Areas in Bahamas

Premier plans to base all of its new ships in the Bahamas, and expand into the seven-day market. He also foresees the development of other out islands in the region, and said the Bahamas Board of Tourist is actively pursuing this.

Nierenberg does not anticipate any competition in the near future. "The other cruise lines still do not understand where our passengers are coming from," he said.

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