Monday, November 28, 2011

UK Luxury Cruises? - Holland America and Seabourn Merge Sales Offices...Be Careful!

It has just been announced that HAL and Seabourn are merging their United Kingdom (UK) sales offices and teams; mimicking the rather frustrating endeavor in the United States.  The reason is not to increase operational efficiencies, but according to the press releases:  Carnival wants to group its "luxury" brands.

Unfortunately, what it will not do is provide a better, or more efficient, entree into the luxury cruise market, but rather a more confused and inaccurate message for the British and European cruiser.

Why?  Apparently, because according the Carnival UK if it is not a mass market experience is it a luxury one.  That is simple not true!

I must contrast this new message to the British/European cruiser against the message given in the United States that Seabourn is, and shall remain, a distinct brand with a distinct office and hierarchy, and most importantly a different clientele.

More specifically, Seabourn's entire inventory consists of suites in an all-inclusive, high service, high cuisine, atmosphere.  Holland America has an inventory of cabins where you pay extra for almost everything...on one side of one ship that equals the entirety of Seabourn's suites on all of its ships.  In fact, on Holland America it doesn't provide a single complimentary drink (save a welcome bottle of sparking wine) to even its top suite guests.  (And the Neptune Lounge is the least robust of almost any cruise line...even Royal Caribbean!)

So the British luxury cruiser is going to wind up getting support from travel agent and back-office philosophy that is focused on calling Holland America a "luxury"product when it is, without any question, an upscale mass market cruise that what really matters to the luxury cruiser is lost.

To make this point even clearer, one need not compare Holland America to Seabourn, but to - let's say - Celebrity Cruises which offers far more amenities for suite guests (complimentary cocktail hours, for example), has multiple alternative dining venues (including the world class Murano Restaurants), etc. Or how about Oceania Cruises or Azamara Club Cruises, which provide a more inclusive (not all inclusive) experience with finer dining options throughout their ships with a higher level of service and 50% or less passengers on their ships.

For an overall article on this subject please read my articles:


A Luxury Cruise: What is the "Industry Accepted Definition of 'Luxury'"? Does One Exist?



Budget Cruises Pitching Luxury: You Don't Get What You Pay For, You Only Think You Do...Because You Have a Bad Travel Agent!


Can someone please explain to me how someone pitching a Holland America cabin to you is going to be better qualified to explain the entirely different experience you will have on a Seabourn cruise...and that person is going to do it telling you, with a serious face, that both are luxury experiences?

So while the newly combined UK offices of Seabourn/Holland America want to represent to you, the traveling public, that they are "luxury" sisters, do not be duped.  And do not ever think it is appropriate to combine the Holland America and Seabourn brands for anything other than back office reservations systems, provisioning, etc., is absolutely an appropriate way to increase efficiencies.

If you are in the UK, elsewhere in Europe or even Australia, please give me a call on the telephone numbers below or email me at eric@goldringtravel.com  to get the accurate information, great service, excellent pricing and, most importantly, the truth.


(877) 2GO-LUXURY 
UK: 020 8133 3450 
AUS: (07) 3102 4685 
International: +1 732 383 7398