With cruise holidays witnessing an unprecedented surge in demand, Indians across segments are displaying an increased appetite for cruises. To capitalise on this significant opportunity, Thomas Cook (India) Limited - India's leading omnichannel travel services company and its Group Company, SOTC Travel, have launched an extensive range of Cruise Holidays across International and Domestic destinations. The Companies intend to tap into the leisure market, special occasions, B-leisure, MICE and weddings.
Starting early to coincide with travel re-start, post pandemic, Thomas Cook & SOTC were quick to seize on the domestic cruise potential. The Companies have emerged as top sellers of India cruises (Cordelia), with over 4000 customers booked in this short span. With rapid easing of international health protocols/restrictions, the Companies' data reflects a significant 35-40% month-on-month uptick for cruise holidays; key demand drivers being families: 41%; young professionals/millennials: 29%; couples/honeymooners: 24%. Thomas Cook and SOTC's new Cruise Holidays aims to maximise on this strong and growing potential - with its seacations, river cruises and sustainable blue tourism programs.
Cruises represent a unique value proposition: an all-inclusive holiday without the hassle of multiple checkin/check-out and transfers. A cruise is packed with exciting on-board entertainment/activities like broadway shows, stand-up comedy, casino/ night clubs; dedicated play area for children; diversity of gastronomical experiences, indoor and outdoor games, adventure activities like rock climbing, zip lining and water sports; variety of shopping experiences too. Additionally, on-shore excursions enable travellers to avail of destination sightseeing at various ports of call.
In addition to Cordelia Cruises in India waters, Thomas Cook & SOTC offer a range of short haul cruises: Singapore roundtrip via Malaysia on Genting Dream Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises; also Arabia and Dubai voyage covering Dubai-Oman-Abu Dhabi-Qatar on Azamara Quest and Middle East Costa Cruises sailings covering Dubai-Abu Dhabi-Muscat-Bahrain. European cruises continue to be in high demand and the Cruise Holiday portfolio offers Mediterranean cruises like Norwegian Cruise Line, Viking Ocean Cruises, Princess and Azamara covering Spain-France-Italy; an intensive voyage from Greece covering ports in Turkiye on the Azamara Pursuit; Scandinavian sailings of Norwegian Fjords and Cunard; also Celebrity Cruises to the exotic Canary and Azores islands. USA is featured extensively via Hawaii and Alaskan sailings of Royal Caribbean Cruises, the Carnival Cruises and the family favourite - Disney Cruise Line. Additionally, Antarctica's ice-breaker luxury cruise sailings on Ponant creates an exceptional polar expedition experience. Besides sea/ocean cruises, luxury river cruising like Avalon Waterways, Uniworld River Cruises and Viking Cruises are now witnessing noteworthy demand.
Indians are quintessential value seekers and hence to accelerate cruise bookings, the Companies have announced a range of special deals like Buy One Get One Free and Early Bird Discounts on certain cruises. Select cruise lines are also offering special benefits such as discounted prices and free travel for children under 18 years of age.
Additionally, leveraging the Companies' technology first approach, Thomas Cook and SOTC offer customers the option to select their preferred travel dates and book Cruise holidays through their websites on real time availability basis - this includes cabins, offers, etc.
Mr. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head - Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Limited said "Cruise holidays offer the perfect combination of entertainment and relaxation, be it for multi-generational families, young professionals/millennials and couples. What is noteworthy is that Indians are opting for sea-cations to celebrate a special occasion or a milestone - be it a cruise to nowhere for 2 nights to a luxurious sailing of 30 days! We are seeing growing preference for higher categories like ocean-view cabins and suites, reflecting clear appetite for higher spend. Our extensive portfolio of Cruise Holidays offers a delightful array of cruise experiences from favourites to new and exotic locales. And to accelerate demand, we have launched a range of unbeatable offers like Buy One-Get One Free and early bird specials on select cruise lines."
Mr. Daniel D'Souza, President & Country Head - Holidays, SOTC Travel, said "Cruise Holidays offer the perfect opportunity to our customers to have a diversity of fascinating experiences onboard a luxurious floating hotel. Our customers look forward to having a memorable journey by indulging themselves on the cruise with outof-the-world gastronomic experiences, rejuvenating wellness and spa options, duty-free shopping, entertainment and adventure activities for all age groups.
To inspire our customers across segments, we have announced a range of special deals that are sure to give them the best value for money on their cruise holiday. Additionally, cruises are payable in Indian Rupees making it an added advantage for our customers."