Magic Carpet aboard Celebrity Edge

Tourico Holidays is coming off a 37 percent increase in cruise bookings in 2016, and is already seeing significant demand for 2019 sailings aboard the Celebrity Edge.

“The Celebrity Edge is very innovative. It’s a game changer. There is a lot of pent up demand from past Celebrity guests,” said Lori Sheller, vice president of cruise development. “We have bookings and we have seen the prices go up already. It’s not only a new ship, but a new class of ship.”

In more encouraging news, the agency saw the average cruise transaction go up 8 percent in pricing last year. Sheller said it was attributable to increased ticket pricing which is being driven by cruise lines packaging value-added offers such as food and beverage options.

“You can pick your amenity and it drives up the price point of the cruise. It’s good for the industry overall,” she told Cruise Industry News.

Europe is also recovering well, too, with Tourico seeing an uptick in Europe bookings.

Among new additions has been Viking, as the agency has been able to list both ocean and river sailings.

“We went from zero to quite a bit of business with Viking,” Sheller continued. “One of the focuses we have is retaining business. People who cruise tend to cruise all the time, so it’s about getting the repeat business and having our agents stay in touch with their clients.”

Among her agenda points to grow is increasing international distribution on the backbone of Tourico’s massive hotel business. Growth areas in the immediate future are Latin America and Asia, Sheller said.

There will be plenty of new ships for future guests to choose from, according to the current orderbook.

“We are also selling a lot of MSC,” Sheller said. “The MSC Seaside will be very innovative. They have deinfeitily invested a lot in the North American market, both in the organization itself, building the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and putting their newest ship here.”