Saturday, November 6, 2010

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Expands & Increases Cancellation Penalties

Earlier this week I wrote about Regent Seven Seas Cruises suffering from a seriously high cancellation rate (around 25%).  You can read about it here.  What I didn't know at the time (and still have not received any official announcement about it nor did Mark Conroy, Regent's President, mention it at the conference I attended last week) is that Regent Seven Seas has significantly increased its penalties for changes and cancellations.  It is a move, I believe, that is intended to stem the tide of incredibly high cancellation rates after deposits have been paid, but before final payments are due.

To be fair, cancellations that occur closer in to the sailing date leave unsold suites that are significantly harder to sell, so they create a nightmare for a cruise line.  However, you can reduce the cancellations by making it more costly or by providing passengers with a value they believe in and are committed to.

Since I have discussed why I believe Regent is suffering this fate fairly frequently in the blog (inconsistent service, high prices and falsely claiming things are "free" when you are most definitely paying for them) I will get to the bottom line.:  It is gonna cost you. 

Essentially the standard 90 days prior being the start of the penalty period is gone.  Now if your cruise is 25 days or less penalties kick in at 120 days and for cruises of 26 days or more they kick in at 150 days. 

This, of course, is in addition to an "administrative fee" of $200 per suite if you cancel at anytime from the date of deposit  until the penalty periods kick in for cruises under 26 days and $500 for those 26 days or longer.  (I am not sure why an administrative fee - whatever it is - is greater for a longer cruise as the administrative work is identical...but I digress.) 

Here is the new policy:

Cruises less than or equal to 25 nights in length
(combo sailings to be based on combined length of sailing)


From date of deposit to 121 days prior to vacation date: $200 per booking administration fee. This admin fee will be converted to a Future Cruise Credit redeemable on bookings made up to 12 months after cancellation and for travel any time.

120-91 days prior to vacation date: 15% of fare per person
90-51 days prior to vacation date: 50% of fare per person
50-31 days prior to vacation date: 75% of fare per person
30-0 days prior to vacation date: 100% of fare per person

Cruises greater than or equal to 26 nights in length
(combo sailings to be based on combined length of sailing)


From date of deposit to 151 days prior to vacation date: $500 per booking administration fee. This admin fee will be converted to a Future Cruise Credit redeemable on bookings made up to 12 months after cancellation and for travel any time.

150-121 days prior to vacation date: 25% of fare per person
120-91 days prior to vacation date: 50% of fare per person
90-76 days prior to vacation date: 75% of fare per person
75-0 days prior to vacation date: 100% of fare per person

I think this is a huge dis-incentive to book a Regent Seven Seas cruise.  Why would you  to book a cruise that hits you with a 25% penalty if you cancel 5 months before the cruise?  Considering that Regent has made it known that it pretty much has inventory on most all of its cruises, it probably is worth waiting so as to avoid the administrative charge and the far out penalties.

BTW, if you want to move down a category (as when you waitlist for the less expensive suite), Regent will get there there too.  You have to pay the cancellation penalty...and then, if it is worth it, you can "save" on the lower category.

Alas, it seems, Regent Seven Seas' mantra of "free", "free", "free" is quite costly.