Boost in booking levels reported by cruise lines


During a year defined by soft cruise prices and hard-sell promotions, three cruise lines this week reported record bookings of some fashion.

Yesterday, Crystal Cruises said that the week ending June 2 was its best in terms of bookings for 2009.

The luxury line said that both its booking and revenue level that week were up more than 100% compared to its average week year.

Earlier that day, Silversea Cruises said that on May 26, it received more calls than ever in its 15-year history. The luxe line added that the record day occurred during a three-week period that saw a 150% increase in bookings over the same period of 2008.

On Tuesday, Norwegian Cruise Line said that sales for the Norwegian Epic broke opening week booking records for the line, far exceeding the initial demand and sales for NCL’s last two new ships.

The 4,200-passenger Epic, which doesn’t sail a revenue cruise until July 17, 2010, beat out the demand for both the Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem, NCL said, promoting it saying that it might raise prices on some of its most popular sailings.

Sluggish bookings have led to some of the lowest cruise prices in almost a decade. If these three reports were indicators that bookings are in fact showing strength, it might be logical to assume that prices could start to creep back up.

However, both Silversea and Crystal attribute much of the booking boost to the good prices.

“It’s very positive to see such a strong response to Crystal’s promotions,” said Gregg Michel, president of Crystal, in a statement.