Demand for Icon of the Seas sailings on a high

Royal Caribbean International (RCI) is reporting strong demand for its exclusive three-level Penthouse Family Suite on the much-anticipated Icon of the Seas, which comes with a US$75,000 price tag.

The maiden seven-night voyage sets sails from Miami on January 27, 2024, and

Hernandez: Asia is an anchor market with the potential to outpace growth in the rest of the world

Bert Hernandez, senior vice president, international, said forward bookings for the suite “sold out in a short time”.

Demand, he shared, was coming from the Middle East, the US, Singapore and South America.

The 20-deck high ship, which can carry up to 7,600 passengers, offers between 20 and 30 per cent more space compared to its competitors, and depending on seasonality, is priced at an average per diem of US$350 per passenger.

Travel agents play a vital role, Angie Stephen, vice president Asia-Pacific, commented, and with Asian passengers willing to fly longhaul, RCI was planning a “big trip” to introduce the ship in Miami to convince its trade partners to sell the cruise beyond Singapore.

RCI has three Icon of the Seas on order and Hernandez expressed the desire to base one in Asia, calling the region an “anchor market with the potential to outpace growth in the rest of the world”.

Describing RCI’s 2020 experiment and introduction of cruises to nowhere in Singapore as a “game changer”, he said it had become a template for other markets in supporting regional and global cruising.

Hernandez continued: “Asia is still opening and is moving in the right direction. With the diversity of destinations with different immigration and visa protocols, we are trying to see how technology being used in Miami can make the process easier.

“We are also looking at en-route immigration which we are trying out in Japan, Hong Kong and some ports in Vietnam.”

RCI, he said, would be “coming back to China in April”, adding it had been the most profitable market before the pandemic.

Ships were limited and RCI would have to pick and choose where they would be based, he quipped.

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