Continuous Analysis Drives Deployment Planning

The Nieuw Amsterdam sails under the Golden Gate Bridge

The Amsterdam departed Port Everglades for her 113-day world cruise on January 22 this year, a few weeks later than usual.

The simple deployment move meant Simon Douwes, senior director of deployment and itinerary planning, could mix in Northern Europe in an acceptable weather climate at the end of the voyage.

“That has proved to be a huge success,” he said. Next year, the company will extend it further, to 128 days, adding more segments, and so far, the bookings are very encouraging.           

“One of our highlights is our program on the Maasdam, doing explorations in depth,” Douwes continued. Among the selections is a World War II history cruise from Yokohama to Sydney, with stops in Japan, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

The Maasdam is the only ship in the fleet that has been outfitted with zodiacs, offering an expedition roster of excursions at select ports.

Elsewhere, the company will have a large Canada/New England summer program, two ships in the Mediterranean and eight in Alaska.

The Veendam is a good fit for the tight berth in Havana. (Sergio Ferreira)

“And there is a lot of Iceland, Greenland and Norway in the summer,” Douwes said.

The line’s newest ship, the 2,650-guest Nieuw Statendam, will spend the majority of her summer in the Norwegian fjords.

In Alaska, eight ships offer various options. There are Saturday and Sunday departures from Seattle. The Maasdam helps mix it up, with 21-day sailings from San Francisco. Next summer, she returns for two-week cruises from Vancouver.

In Europe, two Holland America ships will sail in the Mediterranean during the height of the 2019 and 2020 seasons, with calls expected once again in Turkey.

“Kusadasi and Istanbul,” Douwes noted. “That makes the area a lot more attractive.”

It also makes sense for the bottom line as most passengers opt for a shore excursion.

Overall, itinerary planning comes down to the data.       

“It’s a lot of analytics. We continuously analyze what sells best, which areas, which deployments and within those deployment areas; which itineraries are received the best. We look at the yields and costs and how the passengers actually rated it. We look at shore excursions, fuel costs, port costs and everything.  By doing that we come to the most profitable deployment and itineraries for the year.”

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Spring 2019

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