It’s that time of the year. The kids are back in school and Fall cruise deals are in full swing. Its the time of the year when hurricane season is not quite over, holiday season is not quite here, travelers are not quite ready to let go of warm weather and cruise lines are nervous about empty berths. Cue Fall Cruise Values from a variety of lines, some poised to battle for your cruise dollars in a number of ways with travel agents right in the middle of it all.
Princess Cruises is offering happy, friendly cruise deals on a variety of warm weather vacation destinations during the Endless Summer Sale beginning today and running through September 24, 2012.
Passengers can save up to 50 percent off of launch fares on Caribbean cruises as well as sailings to Hawaii, Tahiti, the Panama Canal and Australia & New Zealand, departing between January and May, 2013. Information on the more than 120 cruise vacations on sale can be found at http://www.princess.com/sale.
In addition to fare savings, passengers booking interior or oceanview staterooms can receive free onboard spending money of $25 (cruises up to 9 days) to $50 (cruises 10 days or longer), and in balcony staterooms or above can get credits of $50 (cruises up to 9 days) or $100 (for sailings 10 days or longer). All onboard spending money is offered per stateroom.
Royal Caribbean vs. Carnival Cruise Lines
Earlier this week, Carnival Cruise Lines announced an overdue change in the world of travel agent commissions.
A little background: Changes in compensation programs for travel agencies are almost always met with acute paranoia from a certain percentage of travel agents.
Travel Agents know deep down inside that it is entirely possible for someone to book their own cruise online.
Travel agents also know that using a travel agent absolutely adds value to the process.
Travel agents also know that there are a whole lot of buyers out there that are, for lack of a better word, stupid.
Cruise lines can and do take advantage of these buyers who desperately need a travel agent on their side.
So, here we have a bunch of nervous travel agents wondering what the future will bring as far as the income they get from the worlds largest cruises line and what does Royal Caribbean do?
Raises the commission level of travel agents across the board by 2%, a huge and well-timed move to say “Well, Carnival may not like you anymore but we sure do!” loud and clear.
The benefit to consumers is that the higher percentage deal to agents is for a limited time and only for a short window of sailing departures too. In other words: Travel agents are highly motivated to find a Royal Caribbean cruise that is a good fit for someone wanting to travel soon.
On the flip side, should this salvo from Royal Caribbean gain any traction and be felt by Carnival, look for Carnival to pull out their secret weapon that almost always works and results in a huge win for consumers: Low Prices.
Carnival is the king daddy of low prices and with their Funship 2.0 initiative in full swing the value is better than ever….but then Royal Caribbean does have those Oasis-class ships and other fabulous features too.
Which to choose? Which to choose?
Your travel agent can help with that.
Flickr photo by United States Marine Corps Official Page