As what’s looking like the most successful Aussie cruise season ever draws to a close, we sit down with Princess Cruises Head of Sales Brett Wendorf and chat about the season, what we can look forward to next and what excites him about the future of cruising.
Q: How was the 2015/16 Aussie Summer Cruise season for Princess? A: Brilliant. We had five ships based in Australia and New Zealand over the summer, with our biggest commitment ever to the cities of Perth and Melbourne. Golden Princess, our newest ship to this market, performed well above our expectations, and Australians and Kiwis alike reaffirmed their love affair with Princess and longer cruises.
Q: What was the biggest highlight over the season? A: Without a doubt, it would be Golden Princess making her maiden voyage into Melbourne. With two helicopters draping massive golden curtains over station pier, it was one of the most unique, clever, and memorable entrances I can remember for a ship’s entry into a harbour.
Q: What can we look forward to in the upcoming 2016/17 Aussie Cruise Season? A: We’re excited about Sun Princess’ recent multi-million dollar revamp with a whole host of new features including the highest rated Princess stage show, BRAVO! We’re looking forward to three World Cruise departures around the World and to South America, our Grand Class ship Emerald Princess arriving to Australia for the first time and that is just for starters!
Q: What else can we get excited about in the near future from Princess? A: There’s so much going on, but the highlights would have to be the following:
- The Princess Luxury Bed: This bedding, which will first be seen first on Emerald Princess and Sun Princess, will provide the best sleep at sea.
- Curtis Stone’s SHARE restaurant: SHARE is now onboard the Sun Princess! For a nominal fee, Australians and New Zealanders will be able to enjoy some of the amazing dishes created by one of Australia’s greatest chefs, Curtis Stone (see below Curtis introduces SHARE to Princess Cruises)
- Magic To Do: Stephen Schwartz, of Wicked fame, has partnered with Princess Cruises and created the Magic To Do musical to entertain our guests. Including an array of many of his award winning songs, Magic to Do is raising the bar in terms of on board entertainment, and will be featured first on Emerald Princess locally.
- The Salty Dog Gastropub: The Salty Dog will provide the ultimate in comfort food on a cruise ship. With a menu created by Ernesto Uchimura of Umami Burger and Plan Check fame, the Salty Dog will redefine the hamburger!
- North to Alaska: Princess is taking destination immersion to another level! We’re the number one cruise line in Alaska already, but with new features like “Puppies in The Piazza” and “Cook Your Catch” that are going to be unique to Princess will put us miles ahead of the competition.
Q: What excites you about the future of cruising in Australia? A: With an increase in demand of cruising and the market maturing, more seasoned cruisers will demand something new in terms of ports and itineraries – that’s exciting. Cuba opening up is going to create some amazing new itineraries in the Caribbean. But what I’m most excited about is Adelaide. The city of churches is now, for the first time, a homeport for Princess Cruises. There’s a great opportunity here for South Australians, for Great Southern Rail, and for Princess to bring on more ‘new to cruise’ from this lovely city.