Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Seabourn's All-Inclusive Advantage Program...Taking on Regent Seven Seas' "Free", "Free", "Free" Concept, But In a Luxury Manner


Seabourn Cruise Line has just announced that it is offering “All Inclusive Advantage” packages on select sailing.
 
 
With each of these select Seabourn cruises its North American guests will have an option: 
 
          Cruise Only – including all of the normal Seabourn luxury amenities including open bars and a no tipping policy.
 
           All-Inclusive Advantage – including the above plus airfare, a one night pre-cruise hotel stay, transfers and a $2,000 per suite onboard credit which you can utilized for shore excursions of your choice regardless of the shore excursion’s price.
 
That’s right, you can use your Shore Excursion Credit as you desire.  If you want to spend it all on a couple truly unique experiences, you can.  If you want to use it all to hire a private driver for the day, you can.  And if you wish to spread out the credit so that you have a shore excursion in every port, you can do that too.  (Note: You can only use the credit for shore excursions; not, for example, in the spa or on reserve wine list.)
 
And with both “Cruise Only” and “All Inclusive Advantage” pricing you will know, when making your choice, what the cost of the having “all inclusive” will be over and above the basic cruise fare.
 
Now, keep one thing in mind, Seabourn’s all-inclusive advantage pricing will probably be higher than if you or your travel agent were to book everything separately and, of course, your selection of hotels and flights will be restricted, but you will have the benefit (if you see it as that) as having a one-stop shopping experience along with the comfort of knowing that your decision-making requirements are limited plus knowing that Seabourn is accountable to you for everything.
 
Let’s face it, Regent Seven Seas has been quite successful (at least on the sales side) with its all-inclusive product.  But, Seabourn, in my opinion, it is going to do it better than Regent Seven Seas.  “How?” you might ask.  Very simply…and transparently and the luxury of flexibility.
 
 
First, I have said for years that Regent Seven Seas is charging you a significant premium for its all-inclusive fares while it is dishonestly pitching those amenities being provided to you as “free airfare”, “free pre-cruise hotel”, “free (limited) excursions”, “free gratuities” and “free alcoholic beverages”.  Seabourn doesn’t believe in that approach.  Seabourn is happy to show you the price difference so that you may make an informed decision that you are happy with.
 
Second, Seabourn’s All Inclusive Advantage program you are not stuck taking the “bottom of the barrel” tours with hundreds of your fellow passengers; as you are required to do with Regent Seven Seas.  The reality of it is that most of Regent’s “free” tours are the same ones that are offered on mass market lines.  That doesn’t necessarily make them bad tours, but when 50 people are put on a bus that is meeting three other buses at the same rest area on the way to the same venue, it isn’t exactly the same as Seabourn’s placing 25 people on that same type of bus and limiting the tour that one bus.  (Remember on Seabourn you have only 208 and 450 guest ships while on Regent Seven Seas you will have 700+ fellow passengers.)
 
Third, with Seabourn’s All Inclusive Advantage program you are not stuck being upsold to take the tours you really want to take at an additional cost to you, as you are with Regent Seven Seas.  Seriously, if you are paying for your “free” tours, why should you be sort of “bait and switched” finding after you bought your cruise that you have to pay yet more for the tours you really want?
 
Fourth, you not subjected to the “Use It or Lose It” ploy that Regent Seven Seas subjects you to if there is port where you want a private excursion or just want to explore on your own.  With Seabourn’s All Inclusive Advantage Program you are free to spend your onboard credit in whichever ports you desire...or not.
 
 
The following cruises are available for the Seabourn All-Inclusive Advantage Fares (governmental fees and taxes are additional):
  • Seabourn Odyssey Australia and New Zealand Odyssey I - January 6, 2013, 16 days Sydney to Auckland, from $12,499
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  • Seabourn Odyssey Australia and New Zealand Odyssey II- January 22, 2013, 16 days Auckland to Sydney, from $12,099
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  • Seabourn Odyssey Indonesian Odyssey- March 15, 2013, 10 days Bali to Singapore, from $8,199
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  • Seabourn Odyssey India and Arabian Odyssey- March 25, 2013, 16 days Singapore to Dubai, from $9,699
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  • Seabourn Odyssey Kingdoms of the Sun- April 10, 2013, 18 days Dubai to Rome, from $9,799
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  • Seabourn Pride Vietnam and Thailand- March 4, 2013, 14 days Hong Kong to Singapore, from $9,699
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  • Seabourn Pride Jewels of India and Arabia- March 18, 2013, 18 day Singapore to Dubai, from $9,299
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  • Seabourn Pride Wonders of Arabia and Egypt- April 5, 2013, 18 day Dubai to Athens, from $8,999
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  • Seabourn Sojourn Patagonian Passage West-   January 4, 2013 and February 3, 2013, 15 days Buenos Aires to Valparaiso, from $10,799
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  • Seabourn Legend Caribbean Hideaways-  January 26, 2013, February 2, 2013, March 2, 2013, March 23, 2013, 7 day roundtrip St. Thomas, from $4,699
Let’s take a look at the January 6, 2013 Seabourn Odyssey’s Australia and New Zealand Odyssey I cruise.  Cruise only fares start at $7,500.00 per person, double occupancy, while the All-Inclusive Advantage Fare starts at $12,499.  Breaking that down, if you were to do it on your own airfares start at about $2,200 per person from the East Coast (but airfares do run up to about $3,000 per person), a hotel will cost about $500, transfers about $300 and there is a $1,000 (per person) onboard credit.  Yes, that’s right; there may be up to $1,000 (or possibly nothing dependent on airfares) that seems to be missing.  That is the premium I told you about and which Seabourn is being very transparent in showing.
 
Let’s face it:  
 
Many travel agents are lazy and others just don’t know how to put this sort of package together.  So if you use that sort of travel agent because it is (you think) convenient or you are (ha, ha) getting a good deal from them, this can be a great option.  (Call me before booking with that travel agent.  I will show you that they are not a good value!)
 
And then, even with a great travel agent (like Goldring Travel!), some folks still worry about flights, shore excursions, etc. For you, the comfort of knowing things are all overseen by Seabourn may just be worth it.
 
And, of course, finally:  For those Regent Seven Seas passengers who have stayed with Regent primarily because you like the all-inclusive concept, here is a perfect reason to try…just try…a Seabourn cruise.  Have your own Regent Seven Seas vs. Seabourn Cruise Line evaluation.
 
By the way, Seabourn's All-Inclusive Advantage Fares still qualify for the Goldring Travel Seabourn Referral Discount Program, so if you have never sailed on Seabourn before and this program is of interest to you, Goldring Travel will provide you with a direct discount.
 
If you are interested in Seabourn’s All-Inclusive Advantage Program or would like to book any cruise or holiday, please give Goldring Travel a call at (877) 2GO-LUXURY or email me at eric@goldringtravel.com.