The newly refurbished Diamond Princess on Nov. 20 welcomed guests onboard for its inaugural sailing from its new homeport of San Diego, helping to fuel tourism in the area and support local businesses. The sailing milestone completes the Princess Cruises fleet.
“Homeporting Diamond Princess in a destination as remarkable as San Diego and now giving our west coast fans four convenient to drive California departure points to enjoy the Original Love Boat is an outstanding combination,” said Princess President John Padgett. “Whether you’re looking for four-, five- or seven-day convenient West Coast vacations, or vacations that extend to Hawaiian or South Pacific, Princess Cruises has you covered at incredible values.”
From November 2022 through February 2023, Diamond Princess is offering a series of new cruise itineraries ranging from five- to 16-days and calling at ports along the Mexican Riviera, California Coast, and the Hawaiian Islands. In addition, the ship sails a 20-day cruise to Central America, roundtrip from San Diego on Nov. 27.
“The Port of San Diego is proud to welcome the Diamond Princess, its captain, crew and guests to the Port of San Diego,” said Dan Malcolm, chairman of the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “We are also happy to welcome Princess Cruises back as a homeported line, we look forward to a successful cruise season with them, and to many more years of partnership.”
Diamond Princess features all the world-class dining and entertainment the cruise line is renowned for, all elevated with the Princess MedallionClass Experience. All Princess ships feature the Princess Medallion that enables everything from expedited contactless boarding to locating loved ones anywhere on the ship, as well as enhanced service like having whatever guests need, delivered directly to them, wherever they are on the ship. In addition, guests can share their favorite cruise moments using MedallionNet, as well as stay connected with friends and family back home, work remotely anywhere on the ship, quickly post content and stream favorite movies, and shows.
Stats: Two-Thirds of People Planning to Travel This Winter
Globally, the desire to travel shows no sign of abating, with two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents planning to travel this upcoming season (December 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023) with the majority of those (82 percent) planning one or two trips—that’s according to Tripadvisor’s recent “Seasonal Travel Index” study. Almost 9 in 10 respondents (89 percent) will travel the same amount or more compared to last year, with this figure highest in the U.S. (93 percent).
Inflationary pressures across the globe continue to impact consumer spending behavior, with almost two-thirds of survey respondents (62 percent) changing travel plans because of rising living costs, consistent with behavior from prior “Seasonal Travel Indexes” over the last two quarters. Around a third (32 percent) will likely travel less or for shorter lengths than previously planned, while a similar number (30 percent) plan to vacation closer to home than previously planned. Rising energy costs also impact travel behaviors, though slightly less so than rising living costs.
While affordability is now nearly twice as important as other factors when planning a trip, travelers will maintain travel spend this season, with over a third (36 percent) planning to spend about the same amount as last year on travel and over half (52 percent) spending more. In the U.S., 58 percent plan to spend more.
Most global travelers (57 percent) plan to travel domestically this upcoming season; however, the propensity to take international trips has increased (from 40 to 43 percent) since the previous “Seasonal Travel Index.” With winter on the horizon in the northern hemisphere, the most popular global destinations feature a mix of major global cities like Paris, London and NewYork, along with winter sun favorites such as Cancun, Dubai and Punta Cana. American respondents showed a higher propensity for foreign trips compared to the previous Index (+3 percent).
Unsurprisingly, the top ten fastest growing global destinations (those that have seen the largest year-on-year growth) are all based in Asia Pacific countries, many of which have reopened to international travelers or loosened restrictions over the past 12 months.
Top Destinations for U.S. Travelers
For Americans, the top domestic destinations were New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Key West, Lahaina, Miami Beach, New Orleans, Fort Lauderdale and Anaheim. Internationally, though, Mexico and the Caribbean dominated, making up eight of the top 10 spots (with only Paris and London separating themselves from this group). The list includes:
Holland America Line's Rotterdam. Photo Credit: Peter Knego
Holland America Line is motivating past cruisers to spread the word about the brand to first-timers.
HAL has launched its "Refer a Friend" program, offering past guests a $50 future cruise credit for referring a friend who has never sailed on HAL. The line will award the credit once the booking is made.
The friend will receive $50 in onboard credit per person.
Icon of the Seas will be the first Icon Class ship. Credit: 2022 Royal Caribbean International
After hinting that the upcomingIcon of the Seaswould likely be smaller than the existing Oasis class,Royal Caribbean Internationalhas announced in a surprise move that its new ship will be even bigger — once again making it the next largest cruise ship in the world, at least as currently scheduled for January 2024. Originally anticipated at around 200,000 or so gross registered tons, Icon will actually be 250,800 tons, surpassing the current biggest vessel,Wonder of the Seas,at 235,600 tons.
At double occupancy, Icon will carry 5,610 passengers (7,600 max) in 2,805 cabins, all supported by 2,350 crew members. Its overall form will resemble the Oasis class with a significant width to accommodate another open-air Central Park, complete with 20% more trees, and an alfresco courtyard at the stern. But everything from there has been embellished in an effort to be what the line calls “the Icon of Vacations,” serving as a beach retreat, resort escape and theme park all in one.
Carnival announced in June that the Venezia would join Carnival's fleet. The ship will start sailing year-round from New York on June 15 and will showcase "Carnival Fun Italian Style." Carnival said the ship will "marry the great service, food and entertainment that Carnival's guests enjoy with Costa's Italian design features."
Carnival said the Venezia will showcase "Carnival Fun Italian Style." Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival president Christine Duffy said the ship will "give guests our signature fun, combined with Italian theming, to beautiful destinations from the Bahamas and the Caribbean to Bermuda and Canada."
Following a 15-day transatlantic cruise from Barcelona that departs on May 29, Carnival Venezia will sail a variety of cruises from New York's Manhattan Cruise Terminal. For the summer, the Venezia will alternate between sailing four-, five- six- and eight-day sailings to the Caribbean, Bermuda and ports in Canada and New England, including Halifax and Saint John.
Beginning Sept. 29, the ship will alternate between operating eight- to 12-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean, Southern Caribbean and the Bahamas. Carnival Venezia's nine-day cruises will feature Miami as a port of call.
In 2024, Carnival will welcome a second Costa ship when the Carnival Firenze joins the fleet, scheduled to sail year-round from Long Beach, Calif.
This River Cruise Will Allow Clients to Sail San Francisco and Napa Valley in One Itinerary
American Jazz will sail the new California itinerary. Credit: 2022 American Cruise Lines
American Cruise Linesis launching a unique new West Coast itinerary for travel advisors to sell: an eight-day San Francisco Bay exploration onboardAmerican Jazzstarting in 2023. It marks the brand’s first California sailing with calls in San Francisco, Napa Valley, Vallejo, Stockton and Sacramento, plus cruises in the namesake bay, as well as San Pablo Bay, the Napa River and the San Joaquin River.
“American continues to expand the possibilities for exceptional domestic small-ship cruises across the country,” said Charles B. Robertson, president and CEO of American Cruise Lines. “Exploring this beautiful region of Northern California by riverboat will provide a new opportunity for our guests to discover the Bay Area and Napa Valley in an exceptional way. Many have driven there, but not many can say they have actually cruised through wine country.”
Featured experiences in San Francisco include visits to Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square. Cruisers will also visit a Napa Valley winery and experience a Nascar-like driving event at the Stockton 99 Speedway.
Susan Shultz-Gelino, vice president of trade relations for American Cruise Lines, shared what the development of this new route means for travel advisors.
What inspired the introduction of this unique bay/river itinerary?
While American Cruise Lines specializes in U.S. river cruising, the company began with just a few small ships offering domestic itineraries along the East Coast. Next year, in 2023, we will have 17 U.S.-built riverboats and small ships operating across the country. And despite the growth of our fleet, two constants which continue to make American unique in the marketplace are that we remain the only cruise line offering 100% domestic itineraries on U.S. rivers and coasts, and that all our ships remain very small. American Jazz is just 190 [passengers], and it is our largest.
So, it was just a matter of time before we built more new ships and could expand our itinerary options further west to California. And San Francisco Bay and Napa Valley are particularly stunning, offering amazing opportunities for river cruises. We are looking forward to exploring this dynamic region with our guests next year.
What benefits does this circuit highlight that larger ocean ships do not?
With the exception of San Francisco Bay, most of our new itinerary up into Napa Valley — which includes cruising on the Napa River, the San Joaquin River and the Sacramento River — is inaccessible to large ocean ships. But it is a perfect region to be explored by small, nimble, eco-friendly vessels such as our new American-built riverboats