Dufry to sail duty free on Carnival Panorama

By Luke Barras-hill |

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Carnival Panorama will make its maiden voyage from Long Beach, California on 11 December.

Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) has appointed Dufry Group to operate the duty free and tax free concession on new mega cruise ship Carnival Panorama, TRBusiness can reveal.

The 4,008-passenger Vista-class ship – CCL’s third following Carnival Vista in 2016 and Carnival Horizon in 2018 – will present the cruise line’s largest retail space at sea.

Dufry sealed the multi-year contract in a tightly contested tender involving multiple bidders, it is understood. The victory adds to its stable of CCL vessels, which include Carnival Inspiration, Sensation and Valor. Dufry declined to comment on the new contract when approached by TRBusiness.

Carnival Panorama will make its maiden three-day cruise from the newly refurbished Long Beach Cruise Terminal, California on 11 December before it embarks on a year-round, seven-day Mexican Riviera itinerary on 14 December.

RETAIL DETAILS TBC 

Guests can peruse a number of categories on the 15-deck, 133,500-ton ship, from beauty, watches and *fine jewellery to liquor, fashion, accessories and several CCL experiential retail concepts such as Cherry on Top.

Specific details on the number of Dufry-operated shops, their sizes and retail configurations were not immediately available, but CCL Vice President Retail Services William Butler confirms the vessel will include a few ‘firsts’ at sea.

“The shops are larger than Carnival Horizon and we’ve got some extended footprints that spill out into the atrium that will allow us to further interact with the guests as they are enjoying the entertainment onboard our ship,” he said.

“We also have new brands and experiences coming onboard to bring the space to life. I was so thrilled to watch Carnival Horizon last year and at the time you think you can’t get any better than this… we have to better ourselves somehow and we’ve got some great new ideas that we’ll be bringing out and sharing in more detail this summer.”

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The renovated beauty space onboard Carnival Valor.

Aside retail, guests can amuse themselves by taking a bike ride on a suspended track above the ship, enjoy the WaterWorks aqua park and the SportSquare open-air recreation centre.

A Havana section featuring tropics-inspired staterooms, a Cuban-themed bar and pool, spacious Family Harbour accommodation, and Cloud 9 Spa are among a number of other attractions.

Indoor and outdoor food & beverage concepts include Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Library Bar and Bonsai Sushi.

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Julián Díaz, CEO, Dufry, has spoken of future investments in the cruise channel.

FIRST CARNIVAL ADVENTURES RETAIL STORE

The past 12 months have been a busy one for the flagship brand of publicly traded Carnival Corporation.

In April, Starboard Cruise Services unveiled its ‘Shop Fun’ retail programme on Carnival Horizon as part of a commercial spread described by Butler at the time as ‘the most significant’ across the Carnival Fleet.

An overhauled retail space on Gebr. Heinemann-operated Carnival Liberty concluded at the end of a year where CCL undertook numerous retail shop refurbishments.

So far this year, the cruise line has refurbished retail shops onboard three ships (Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Pride and Carnival Freedom) with four more ship refurbishments slated for later this year.

These include a $200m transformation of Carnival Triumph into Carnival Sunrise, part of a $2bn fleet-wide enhancement programme that includes a significant investment in shipboard retail spaces.

Carnival Sunrise will feature CCL’s first Carnival Adventures retail shop, which adds a bricks and mortar presence to its line of own-label merchandise. The shop ties the merchandise to CCL’s popular shore excursion programme, which allows guests to select a variety of products to enhance their cruise experience while visiting a port of call. Additional Carnival Adventures’ stores are set to roll out later this year.

In an exclusive interview with TRBusiness in October, Dufry CEO Julián Díaz committed to changing the scope of onboard retailing within a 12-month period as part of a ‘future investment’ into the cruise channel.

“To open a shop on a ship is very simple,” he stated. “But I think we need to be like in the airport. The shops should be different, more alive, should make more contact with passengers. And we need to create a flexible assortment that will be adapted depending on the routes and the type of passenger.”

At that time, he said Dufry had been awarded retail contracts onboard 29 ships.

In May, the global travel retailer announced it had secured new concessions with Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line, growing its retail footprint by 2,800sq m.

*Fine jewellery operated by Effy Jewelry.

Watch out for the March edition, available at the forthcoming Duty Free Summit of the Americas in Orlando, for an extended interview with Carnival Cruise Line.

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