Retailers polled by Cruise Week report a strong February in cruise sales. However, the generally upbeat reports were tinged with concerns about extended promotions, ongoing challenges in Alaska and something the publication hadn't heard before given all the upbeat talk about Caribbean bookings -- challenges for late summer Caribbean.
During the Travel Leaders Network media update in New York this month, execs pointed out that 2019 is shaping up to be a good year, thanks to factors ranging from low-cost long-haul international airfares to strong demand for cruising.
In terms of specifics, TLN President Roger Block summed it up: "We're ahead of where we were last year in terms of bookings across the board. That's true for sun and fun, that's true for deep water cruising, that's true for river cruising, that's true for escorted cruises."
Cruise Week has been hearing some anecdotal concerns from the trade side with river cruises this year and that seemed to be validated by Block's comments: "Some areas of river cruising are not growing as fast as in the past."
However, he indicated the segment is still growing, albeit at a different pace: "Consumer reaction and acceptance after the voyages continues to be at all-time highs, but we're not growing at the percentages that we did before," said Block.