Friday Five – Oceania Cruises on Cuba, Canada and an exciting announcement to come

Oceania Cruises on Cuba, Canada and an exciting announcement to come

Friday Five – Oceania Cruises on Cuba, Canada and an exciting announcement to comeOceania Cruises is accustomed to making waves in the cruise industry. It recently made history as the first major North American cruise line to travel to Cuba, a sign that when it comes to hot destinations, the island continues to be up front and centre. We sit down with Nikki F. Upshaw, Senior Vice President of Sales to discuss the importance of the Cuba market, plus the increased interest in Canada this year as well as new offerings for 2017.

1. Tell us about the ships and itineraries that are sailing to Cuba this year, and what passengers can expect on these voyages.

Marina is sailing two more voyages to Havana, Cuba this month and we recently introduced six additional voyages aboard Insignia this autumn. These new voyages aboard Insignia include calls in Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. These amazing voyages will allow travellers to immerse themselves in the art, music, history, cuisine, and culture of Cuba. These experiences are deeply personal as all of the excursions include fascinating people-to-people exchanges where you not just see Cuba, you will learn about it from the personal stories of Cuban citizens. They are very eager to share their culture and learn more about the travellers visiting this idyllic island nation.

2. Can you talk about the importance of the Cuba market? And are you seeing a huge demand from North America?

While it is a very small piece of our business, it is burgeoning. The addition of Cuba as a destination has put a new focus and “shine” on the Caribbean region. These voyages are selling out very fast and we anticipate adding even more voyages in the spring, summer, and autumn of 2018. Stay tuned!

3. Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Are you running any promotions? And are you seeing an increase in Canada bookings?

We’ve recently begun marketing and offering our cruises in Canadian dollars and we have Canadian Residents’ specials (10% savings) on a wide range of 2017 and 2018 voyages. Business from Canada is quite robust and it’s one of our most important markets. We can’t thank our Canadian agent partners enough for all of their support and enthusiasm! And happy 150th anniversary!

4. Innovation and technology seem to be trending among cruise lines. Any new technological amenities/services by Oceania for 2017?

As we are well known for, we will be introducing many new culinary innovations in 2017 and 2018. We are always raising the bar to deliver the WOW factor. We will also be rolling out onboard service and amenity enhancements, which will be certain to delight our agent partners and their clients. At Oceania Cruises, we are never standing still as we have such a high guest retention factor, we always want our repeat guests to be surprised and delighted when they step onboard.

5. What else is new for Oceania in 2017?

We just introduced our new Wellness Tours Inspired by Canyon Ranch, a first for the industry and a huge boon for wellness-minded travellers. These include 15 new wellness tours in partnership with Canyon Ranch in France, Spain, Italy and Greece – they will be amazing! We will be opening our new 2018-19 winter itineraries for sale in mid-April and we will have an exciting announcement on March 22nd – stay tuned!