The program will largely be modeled after Regent Seven Seas' Club Mariner program, which, in Alaska, takes an environment- and nature-oriented approach to entertaining the kids. Regent, also owned by Oceania parent Prestige Cruise Holdings, has been operating its award-winning program in Alaska for over a decade. “One of the good things about having two lines is learning from each other,” Prestige Cruise Holdings chairman Frank del Rio told Cruise Critic today.
There is one notable advantage over Regent for Oceania cruisers who use the children's program. Regent Seven Seas, as a luxury line, charges a higher tariff than does Oceania, its hybrid luxury sibling, so this will be the first time that Regent's well-regarded program will be available at a more moderate price point.
Adding a program for children for its second Alaska season, del Rio said, is a result of passenger feedback. Del Rio noted that Oceania's core traveler skews toward the older end in age demographics, and he's hoping the program will encourage grandparents to bring grandchildren along on voyages to the family-friendly region.
And the children's program is not the only change on the way when Oceania returns to Alaska for its second season. The "biggest mistake" Oceania made with Alaska in 2011, according to del Rio, was focusing on long itineraries (10 -14 days) rather than week-long cruises. “There's a reason why [other cruise lines] aren't doing 10 – 14 day itineraries. No one wants them.” As a result, from late May of 2013, most of the Alaska voyages Oceania's Regatta sails will be seven-night trips between Vancouver and Seattle, by way of Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan (and scenic cruising in the Tracy Arm fjord). There will also be a sprinkling of longer cruises offered.
More details on Oceania's Alaska-oriented kids' program were not yet available, but del Rio emphasizes that there are no plans for Oceania to expand this family-friendly effort to other itineraries or other ships in the fleet.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief