New Carnival Japan unit to sell Princess Cruises, other brands
By Donna Tunney
Princess Cruises is getting ready to sell
through Japanese travel agents and tour
operators in anticipation of its 2013 entry
into the Japan source market.
The line, a Carnival Corp. brand, will
deploy its 2,022-passenger Sun Princess on
a series of cruises next spring and summer
from Kobe and Yokohama.
To support the deployment, Carnival
Corp. has created Carnival Japan, a Tokyo-based marketing unit that will also serve
other Carnival Corp. brands in Japan.
Princess is finalizing a Japanese language
version of its agent booking tool called Polar Online and will make changes onboard
the Sun Princess, including adding Japa-nese-speaking staff.
According to Jan Swartz, executive vice
president of Princess, the line no longer
will sell to Japanese customers through a
general sales agent in Japan.
“The Carnival Japan office will now act
as the sales agent for Princess Cruises, Cunard and Seabourn,” Swartz said. Neither
Cunard nor Seabourn will base ships in Japan, however.
The Sun Princess will operate a series
of nine- to 12-day itineraries next April
The company said it expects the vessel
to carry 18,000 passengers during the 2013
deployment in Japan.
Eiko Kijima, president of Cruise Vacations Inc., will oversee Carnival Japan’s Tokyo office. Kijima has been Princess Cruises’ general sales agent in Japan for the last
20 years, Swartz said. She also is listed as an
executive officer with the Japan Association
of Travel Agents.
Japanese preferences, and onboard collateral items and cabin information will be
translated into Japanese, Carnival said.
Carnival Corp. brands and other cruise
lines in recent years increasingly have been
sourcing from markets outside the U.S.
Carnival’s Costa Cruises brand, for ex-
ample, last year launched Costa Cruises
Shipping Service, a wholly owned foreign
enterprise, to sell Costa Cruises’ products
through Chinese travel agents, general sales
agents and directly to Chinese consum-
ers. Costa in May will increase its capacity
in China, when the 2,400-passenger Costa
Victoria replaces the smaller Costa Classica
at its homeport in Shanghai.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has said
that its foreign passenger sourcing will exceed 50% this year.
Royal Caribbean International this year
deployed its 3,100-passenger Voyager of
the Seas to mainland China, joining the
1,800-passenger Legend of the Seas, which
has been operating there since 2010.
Eiko Kijima, Princess’ long-
time general sales agent in
Japan, will oversee Carnival
Japan’s Tokyo office.
Japan cruises aboard the Sun Princess
will open for sale next month.
“Our new Japan deployment is three
times larger than that of any competitive
international cruise program,” Alan Buck-elew, Princess CEO, said in a statement.
“It’s the very first time a global cruise line
is offering a full season of cruises from April
to July designed specifically for passengers
from Japan,” he added. “We believe that our
unique itineraries and onboard experience
will prove extremely popular and will help
to introduce cruise vacations to a growing
number of Japanese vacationers.”
Highlights of the Japan itineraries in-
clude overnight stays at cities with popular
annual festivals, destinations known for
their natural hot springs, northern ports of
Japan and ports in Korea and Taiwan.
According to Carnival Corp., dining
room menus onboard the Sun Princess will
offer international cuisine but will add offerings that cater to Japanese tastes, and an
a la carte sushi bar will be opened. Other
amenities such as the shopping selection
and spa treatments will also be tailored to