Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is claiming a 27% hike in sales in the first week of January.
The seven days represented the line’s most successful in its history for both yield and volumes with an increasing number of bookings by first-time cruise passengers.
The line says 80% of people booking new five-night Norwegian fjords cruises from Newcastle are first-time cruisers, and are seven years younger than the Fred Olsen average.
The boost over the same record breaking period last year means that some 2016 departures are now sold out.
Sales and marketing director, Nathan Philpot, said: “We are in a very fortunate position that our smaller ships provide us with the ability to create and tailor-make such rich itineraries, for example, our popular river and waterways cruises on shallow-drafted Braemar.
“Our regional departures also give us the significant benefit of making a Fred Olsen cruise even more accessible to our guests.
“A number of our sailings for 2016 are already sold out, or only have a handful of cabins left. We will be moving our largest ship, Balmoral, to Newcastle this year, which was an ambitious decision, but the travel trade have been extremely supportive, and our sales in the north-east are well ahead of expectations.”
He added: “A key strategic driver for us is to attract new guests to the brand. Whilst we have a very high repeat rate – with a significant number of Fred Olsen cruisers returning time and time again – January has seen the share of ‘new to cruise’ guests shift by seven percentage points, and the average guest age has fallen by 11 months across the fleet.
“This is against a backdrop within the cruise industry that has seen the average age grow by five years, with an increasing reliance on existing customers.”
The line’s 2017/18 cruise programme is being released in March, which will see its fleet of four ships sail from ten UK departure ports to more than 200 destinations worldwide.
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