Premium upgrade is paying off, says Fred Olsen owner

Premium upgrade is paying off, says Fred Olsen owner

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is achieving higher revenues and increased profits on its sailings as it gradually creates a more premium offering across the fleet.

Owner Fred Olsen Junior said the ticket price was going up but explained: “It’s not just about changing it for nothing.

“We’re boosting the premium aspect of our ships and that’s resulting in an increase in our yields.”

He continued: “Our itineraries are the richest in the industry, getting clients right into the heart of a destination, and our onboard product is better than ever.

“The investment we have made in the four vessels is huge. We spent a lot of money on Black Watch in 2016, we’ve upgraded all the public rooms on Braemar and Balmoral in 2017 and we’re adding RIB [landing craft] to our fleet to expand the exploratory aspect of our cruises and make us different to other lines.

“All this is contributing to the highest operating profit ever. A combination of a 10% growth in revenues in the last two years, better yields and less discounting off the headline price.”

Olsen Junior added: “When the ticket price goes up, we’re not trying to send any guests away.

“A lot of them are sailing three or four times with us a year, so it might just mean they cut down on the number of cruises or they go from a balcony cabin to an outside.”

Olsen Junior revealed the line was taking away a lot of the upper berths in cabins since the line doesn’t carry a many families.

“We’re removing a lot of the upper berths. They hang there looking unpleasant so they are disappearing.

“We will still be able to carry some children, but we don’t need the number of upper berths we have. It will create more space.”

He said the investment in the fleet had resulted in customer feedback regularly being either eight or nine out of 10 for the food, service and total customer experience.

“It was 10-15 per cent lower than that before,” he said.

Olsen Junior’s comments came as Fred Olsen Cruise Lines launched its 2019/20 brochure, featuring 219 destinations in 75 countries.

The programme, which goes on sale on March 12, features an expanded programme of fly-cruises in addition to sailings from Dover, Southampton, Liverpool, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Highlights include more ‘closer’ cruising, without the need for shuttles into cities in many instances, more Fjords itineraries, five-night ‘taster’ cruises, and greater emphasis on exploration cruising.

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