This is the second in a two-part series on cruise line onboard booking programs.
Encouraging clients to take advantage of cruise lines’ onboard booking programs is an easy way for travel sellers to increase repeat bookings from cruise clients.
Agents just need to educate cruise clients about the tempting rewards on offer and urge clients to book an actual sailing or purchase a future cruise deposit while onboard.
In nearly every case, according to the 14 cruise lines contacted by Travel Market Report, the travel agent on record for a passenger will get credit and commission for any booking made onboard. (See Part One, Part One, “Onboard Cruise Sales: No Need for Fear, Agents Say,” April 2, 2012)
For passengers, rewards are typically in the form of shipboard credits on a future cruise or fare discounts on future cruises. (Norwegian offers a shipboard credit applicable to the guest’s current sailing; it is the only line to do so.)
To give agents the information they need to entice clients to book future cruises onboard, Travel Market Report has compiled details of the onboard booking programs and policies of 14 lines.
Azamara Club Cruises
Name of program: Azamara Passages
How it works: Passengers receive up to $600 discount per stateroom when booking a future voyage w. With each future booking, guests also receive two referral certificates to extend the same benefits to family and friends. Guests can book up to three Azamara Passages voyages while onboard.
Reserved Passages: Guests who know which ship, sail date and stateroom category they want receive a 50% reduced deposit and up to a $600 fare discount, depending on length of future cruise and stateroom category.
Open Passages: Passengers who do not select a ship or sailing date receive a non-refundable 50% reduced deposit that is non-refundable but does not expire, as well as up to a $600 fare discount.
Communication with agent: Both Reserved and Open Passages bookings will be communicated to the originating travel agent partner for servicing.
Commission: Travel agents receive full commission and revenue credit for both Reserved and Open Passages once the future voyage is completed.
Carnival Cruise Lines
How it works: Guests receive onboard credit of up to $200 when booking a future voyage.
Confirmed bookings: Requires ship and sail date. Guests also receive two friends and family vouchers to give away. Vouchers are valid for 60 days and must be applied to the same ship and sail date as the host booking. Vouchers extend the same onboard credit that guests received.
Future certificates: Each certificate is worth $100 toward payment of a future sailing not previously booked. No ship or sail date required. The certificate is valid for 24 months for sailing dates within 36 months.
Communication with agent: Carnival’s sales team advises agents of onboard purchases.
Commission: Confirmed bookings are assigned to the agency that originally booked the cruise guest is currently on.
Name of program: Celebrity Passages
How it works: Guests receive up to $300 onboard credit per stateroom and up to a three-category upgrade (based on availability and only for Reserved Passage bookings) when booking a future voyage.
Reserved Passages: Requires $100 deposit per person, for guests who already know which ship, sail date and stateroom category they want. Applicable onboard credit is added at the time of the onboard booking. A Reserved Passage booking can be transferred to a sister brand and will retain onboard credit, but it will be based on sister brand’s onboard credit structure.
Open Passages: Does not require ship selection or sail date, and does not expire. Requires a $100 nonrefundable deposit per person. Applicable onboard credit is assigned once a ship and sail date has been selected. Open Passages guests receive two friends and family certificates, which provide recipient with the same onboard credit as the guest who originally booked the Open Passage.
Communication with agents: Both Reserved and Open Passages bookings will be communicated to the originating travel agent partner for servicing.
Commission: When a guest books a future sailing onboard, they are advised the booking will be created automatically on behalf of their travel agent of record. Agents receive full commission once the final payment for the sailing has been collected.
Costa Cruises, N.A.
Costa will be testing a new voucher program onboard select ships beginning May 1. Currently the line has no onboard booking program.
Name of program: On Board Savings Programme
How it works: With a booking deposit of $300 per person, guests receive onboard credit of up to $400 on the future voyage, based on length of voyage and stateroom category. Not applicable to Full World Voyage.
Booking options: Guests can either book a specific sailing or place a deposit and take up to four years to redeem. Deposit is refunded after four years.
Commission: Cunard always books under the name of the travel agent through whom guests booked their current voyage, unless the guests advise otherwise.
Disney Cruise Line
How it works: Onboard booking perks vary depending on length of the future cruise, a guest’s Castaway Club level and the stateroom category booked.
Communication with agents: If guest originally booked their current cruise through a travel agent, a booking confirmation is automatically sent to the agent on file.
Commission: The guest’s travel agent/agency receives credit for the future booking.
Holland America Line
How it works: Guests receive up to $100 shipboard credit when purchasing a Future Cruise Deposit for $100 per person.
Booking options: Guests can book their next cruise while onboard or up to four years after the date of their deposit on a future cruise. Does not apply to Grand World Voyages or segments.
Communication with agents: Polar sends a booking confirmation to the agent if the guest makes and deposits a new booking while on board. Agents can check Polar for FCD only purchases.
Commission: Agents automatically receive commission on any booking made onboard by their clients, unless the guest tells the Future Cruise Consultant otherwise.
MSC anticipates offering various onboard booking promotions throughout the year and is currently testing two onboard booking programs, as follows:
Trial program #1: On all MSC vessels, except the MSC Fantasia and MSC Magnifica, the line is offering a 300 Euro shipboard credit per stateroom, for any seven-night or longer Mediterranean cruise departing through May 31. The voucher is provided to the guest to bring to their travel agent. The purchase is nonrefundable.
Trial program #2: Guests onboard the MSC Fantasia and MSC Magnifica receive a shipboard credit of up to 400 Euro, depending on cabin category, when purchasing a future cruise voucher for sailings departing through May 31. To claim shipboard credit, travel agent must fax in the voucher at the time of booking.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Name of program: Cruise Rewards
How it works: Guests receive shipboard credit on current cruise when placing a deposit on an unspecified future voyage onboard ship or on a future cruise when they purchase a Welcome Back Reward up to 45 days after disembarking.
Cruise Reward: Guests who place a $250 deposit toward their next cruise receive a $100 per stateroom shipboard credit on their current sailing. Deposit is good for four years.
Welcome Back Reward: Clients who place a deposit on an unspecified sailing within 45 days of disembarkation receive an onboard credit on the future cruise of $75. Deposit is good for four years.
Communication with agent: For guests who purchase a Cruise Reward while onboard, Norwegian emails the agency of record after the guest returns home. Norwegian also emails the travel agent 30 days before the award expires. If guest purchases a Welcome Back Reward after the cruise, Norwegian will notify the agent of record.
How it works: Guests receive a percentage discount and reduced deposits when booking a future voyage onboard ship.
Specific Sailing: When booking a specific sailing, guests save up to 10% off the best-available promotional offer; they can also take advantage of two-for-one reduced deposits.
Future Cruise Certificate: Guests who purchase a Future Cruise Certificate have two years to redeem and receive 5% off the best-available promotional offer at the actual time of booking.
Communication with agent: Agency is automatically notified of onboard booking.
Commission: Bookings made onboard are automatically credited back to the agency of record, unless otherwise instructed by the guest.
How it works: Guests receive onboard credit of up to $300 when booking a future voyage.
Future Cruise Deposit (FCD): For $100, guests can buy a refundable FCD, which can be used for a future cruise up to four years after purchase. Shipboard credits are applied to future cruises at time of purchase; amount depends on stateroom category and length of sailing.
Confirmed Departure: Requires ship and sail date.
Communication with agent: If passenger checks box stating, “Please share my credit information with my travel agent,” Princess informs the agent by email that their client has purchased an FCD. This also is visible in OneSource.
Commission: Travel agent of record receives a regular commission on the confirmed booking.
Royal Caribbean International
Name of program: NextCruise
How it works: Guests receive shipboard credit of up to $200 when booking a future voyage onboard ship.
Specific Sailing: Requires specific ship and sail date, as well as $100 deposit per person. Guest gets $25 to $200 future shipboard credit per stateroom, depending on length of future cruise. Guests can book RCI or one of the line’s sister brands; onboard credits will be based on the sister line’s credit structure.
Open Sailing: Does not require sail date or ship and $100 per person deposit is nonrefundable. Applies only to Royal Caribbean International ships.
Commission: Royal Caribbean credits the booking to the travel agent on record for the guest on the current sailing.
How it works: Guests receive a 5% discount when purchasing a Future Cruise Deposit.
Booking Options: They can either book their next cruise while onboard or up to four years from date of purchase of the FCD. Deposit is refunded after four years.
Commission: Agent who booked the guests receives full credit and commission for any bookings made on board.
How it works: Guests receive a percentage discount when booking a future cruise or purchasing a future cruise deposit while onboard ship.
Booking options: The guest can either book an actual cruise with specific sail date or put down a $500 per person deposit to qualify for a 5% savings. Deposit must be used within one year.
Commission: The guest’s travel agent who booked the original cruise is the booking agent of record for the new cruise and earns commissions accordingly.
Crystal Cruises did not respond to Travel Market Report’s request for information about the line’s onboard booking programs.