Will There Be A 2021 Wave Season?
by Anne Kalosh.
Throughout 2020, cruise lines tried to tempt home-bound travelers to book a future trip. With abundant deals already floating around, that begs the question: Will there be a 2021 wave season?
Wave season — typically January to March — is the cruise industry’s annual peak booking period when lines tout their best offers.
Alex Sharpe, president and CEO of Signature Travel Network, doesn’t expect a traditional wave in 2021. He said that’s because some lines don’t have the marketing funds or are simply holding off.
But Sharpe added he’s excited for Signature’s cruise line partners that are unleashing wave offers. “There’s going to be less noise, but potentially more impact,” he predicted.
To Sharpe’s point, QuirkyCruise hasn’t noticed the usual deluge of wave deals so far. But some lines are out there early with enticements for small-ship fans. Here’s a sampler, from tall ships to river vessels, expedition ships to super-yachts.
Star Clippers’ Welcome To 2021
Star Clippers is bidding farewell to 2020 and welcoming 2021 with 21 percent off the cruise fare for select itineraries in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. This offer includes a complimentary bottle of Champagne in the cabin to celebrate cruising’s return.
The “Welcome 2021” offer is good for bookings made by Jan. 21.
Travelers can choose from a variety of sailings in the Caribbean and Mediterranean from April 2021 through March 2023. Among the itineraries eligible for savings are Star Clippers’ popular Monaco Grand Prix trials and finals cruises in May 2022.
Also eligible: A wide variety of seven-day Caribbean cruises round-trip Barbados in winter 2022 and 2023, including a special holiday Grenadine islands sailing.
Further choices include Mediterranean adventures along the French Riviera, Amalfi Coast and Croatia and Montenegro by way of Venice in spring and summer 2022. Or, travelers can save on seven-night Greek Islands cruises round-trip from Piraeus (Athens), Greece.
And several grand voyages in the Mediterranean are eligible, too, including a 19-day journey between Cannes, France, and Lisbon, Portugal, in October 2022.
The 170-passenger Star Clipper and Star Flyer are traditional clipper ships with modern amenities, while the 227-passenger Royal Clipper is a five-masted, full-rigged sailing ship with ornate interiors.
American Queen Steamboat Co. And Victory Cruise Lines
Sister brands American Queen Steamboat Co. (AQSC) and Victory Cruise Lines both have new vessels.
For AQSC, the 245-passenger paddle-wheeler American Countess will be plying the Tennessee, Ohio, Cumberland and Mississippi rivers.
Meanwhile Victory will introduce its first expedition ship, the 200-passenger Ocean Victory, to explore Alaska.
Starting Jan. 1, travelers can maximize savings on 2021 and 2022 cruises with AQSC and Victory wave offers. Savings of up to $3,000 per stateroom are available for 2021 voyages and up to $1,200 for 2022 sailings. Bookings must be made by Feb. 28.
The offers are accompanied by a Book With Confidence policy that allows travelers to cancel their reservation up to 121 days before departure and receive a full refund. Or, up to 61 days before departure, they can reschedule their trip to another date in 2021, without penalty.
AQSC and Victory’s all-inclusive fares include a one-night, pre-cruise hotel stay with ground transfers between the hotel and vessel and “hop-on/hop-off” shore excursions at every port.
New upgrades and amenities include unlimited complimentary beverages featuring world-class wines, top-shelf spirits, local craft beers and specialty coffees, plus a smoothie and juice bar every morning. The culinary program now includes fresh lobster and USDA prime beef available every night as well as free, 24-hour in-room dining.
Explore The World With Emerald
Emerald Cruises is ushering in 2021 with an “Explore the World with Us” campaign.
This offers travel inspiration across three continents and sizable savings on an array of 2021 and 2022 river and ocean cruises. Emerald Cruises is the parent of Emerald Waterways and the new Emerald Yacht Cruises.
Travelers who book select 2022 European and Southeast Asia river trips between now and Feb. 28 and pay in full 12 months in advance of departure qualify for Super Early Bird savings of an extra 10 percent off the cruise portion of their booking in addition to the following offers:
- For 2022 European river cruises such as the popular 15-day “Splendours of Europe” between Amsterdam and Budapest, North American travelers can choose from up to free, round-trip air or savings of up to $2,500 per couple, depending on the length of sailing and cabin category.
- For 2022 Southeast Asia sailings like the 13-day “Majestic Mekong Discoverer” between Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Siem Reap, Cambodia, North American travelers can choose from up to free, round-trip air or savings of $2,000 per couple, again depending on the length of sailing and cabin category.
- The “Explore the World with Us” campaign also applies to 2022 sailings in the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Red seas aboard the upcoming 100-passenger super-yacht Emerald Azzurra. North American travelers booking select suite or stateroom categories on 2022 cruises such as the inaugural, eight-day “Best of the Red Sea” will receive a Super Early Bird discount of up to 30 percent off the cruise fare when paying in full 12 months before departure.
Emerald’s flexible booking policy allows customers to delay their travels and transfer to an alternate departure date or itinerary up to 60 days prior to departure with no penalty. The Deposit Protection Plan (value $125 per person on river cruises and $200 per person on yacht cruises) is a complimentary inclusion for all bookings.
Additionally, deposits have been reduced by 50 percent for all bookings.
Those looking for additional security can purchase the new Platinum Protection Plan, which provides coverage in the event of illness or if travel plans are affected by COVID-19.
Riviera Deals Also Reward Travel Advisors
Wave deals at Riviera River Cruises include a $500 discount on cabins and $250 gift card for travel advisors for retail bookings, and a free sixth cabin after five cabins are booked as part of a group. Both incentives apply to new bookings made between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15.
“Wave season is when you’ll find some of the best deals on our European river cruises, and this year we’re offering incentives for both retail and group bookings that can benefit travelers and travel advisors,” said Riviera’s Marilyn Conroy, executive vice president, sales and marketing North America.
Cabins on cruises of eight or more days will be discounted $500 with the travel advisor receiving a $250 gift card per cabin booked. Cabins on solo cruises of eight or more days will be discounted $250 with the travel advisor receiving a $100 gift card per cabin booked. This incentive may be combined with other discounts of up to $2,500 per cabin. The booking must be made, with deposit, between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15.
For groups, a free sixth cabin for a tour conductor will be provided after five cabins are booked. The group booking must be made with a contract issued between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15; the deposit is allowed up to eight weeks later. This incentive can’t be combined with the additional $500 retail discount and isn’t available for solo cruises or cabins with no single supplement.
Riviera offers 20 itineraries on 10 European rivers and waterways, including dedicated departures for solo travelers with no single supplement. Its fleet of 12 vessels is one of the youngest in Europe, with no vessel older than six years.
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