Friday, September 18, 2009

A Change in Cruise Line Pricing Is Happening!!!!

As you know I have long been a critic of looking at the advertised "discounts" by the cruise lines.

It doesn't matter if Silversea or Seabourn or Celebrity or Carnival is offering a 30% off fare in its brochures because, obviously (at least to me) they have never offered the cruise at full fare, so the alleged discount is no discount at all.

Of recent vintage that non-existent 30% discount has been transformed into 60+% discounts...and I won't even get into how that discount is calculated differently by various lines. Yes, there are some excellent deals, but they are not, by any means, 60% off.

The result has been clients calling me up asking why the "discount" isn't greater on one sailing versus another one; while they (it would seem, logically) never actually looked at comparing the actual cost of the cruises. If a cruise discounted 40% costs more than a similar cruise discounted 30%, obviously the better idea is to go with the lower cost cruise, not the more highly discounted one. It is, alas, soooo confusing to many cruisers.

It was reported this week that United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that as to Silversea's offering huge alleged discounts, the practice must stop. So Silversea cannot utilize the 60% off marketing ploy it continues to use in the United States. It delayed the production of its UK brochures as well, while it formulated its new marketing strategy of booking earlier will result in greater savings.

As I noted in a recent post, this most definitely is not a Silversea issue, but rather an industry issue. In fact, the article references Crystal Cruises also reformulating its UK marketing strategy...and Crystal doesn't discount as a rule, but adds value in onboard credits and such.

While I suspect the change will not be happening too quickly in the U.S., at least you know better to not be misled by outrageous discount claims.

And, by the way, that is why I am a good travel agent. I have NEVER sold a cruise based upon an advertised discount rate. I ensure better for my clients. It takes more time, but in the end my clients receive excellent value for their money...And I also ensure they are on the correct cruise and itinerary (as a great price on the wrong ship and/or going to the wrong places isn't a deal at all!)