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Luxury Cruise Clients Need Travel InsuranceMarch 11, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Promotional discounts will make luxury cruising more affordable in 2011, Travel Insured International reports, but travelers need stronger insurance to match their trip investment. Economic recovery is steady, but not robust, Travel Insured says, as lines keep cruise fares attractive as airfares keep rising.
“Premium and river cruises are squeezing the luxury market. Cruise lines have rerouted some Mediterranean itineraries due to Mideast unrest,” Travel Insured says, reminding cruisers to strengthen trip insurance when buying up to luxury.
Travel Insured also remands travel professionals that it pays base commisions on sales as high as 25 to 35 percent depending on product.
“With economic recovery progressing at a slow jog dragged by fuel inflation, 2011 shapes up as a year of affordable luxury in cruise vacations, according to several cruise line marketers,” Travel Insured said, citing a survey on luxury and river cruising by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) .
“Taken in the second half of 2010, CLIA found 79 percent of CLIA travel agents said luxury cruise clients are now "somewhat or much more motivated" by a cruise discount deal to book,” Travel Insured says.
“Additionally, 85 percent of agents said river cruise clients, now a subset of the luxury market, are much more motivated by discounts to purchase. The CLIA report said ‘consumer incentives and promotions have made luxury cruising more affordable,’” Travel Insured reports.
“Cruise line executives, commenting to the McClatchy News Service in a February 2011 syndicated article ["Luxury Cruise Lines Sailing Smoothly Again"], said they continue to see plentiful discounting and "affordable luxury" in this year's market. Executives at luxury lines Seabourn and Silversea both said they are offering savings of up to 65 percent off brochure prices,” Travel Insured said in its analysis.
"Luxury has never been more accessible," Seabourn president Richard Meadows told McClatchy's reporter. And Regent Seven Seas president Mark Conroy said his line, in lieu of discounting, is including free shore excursions valued up to $200 each,” Travel Insured said.
“Luxury cruise companies are squeezed at one end by river cruise lines, who are introducing eight of the 14 new cruise industry ships to the U.S. market this year. The river ships, sailing mainly in Europe at 250 passengers or less each, appeal to luxury travelers while offering lower premium fares than luxury ocean vessels,” Travel Insured says.
“At sea, however, premium cruise lines such as Oceania, Celebrity and Holland America, are also squeezing the luxury lines with more luxury-type amenities on their larger ships, described by some as "luxury lite" because of their less-expensive premium prices than the luxury lines,” Travel Insured says.
Travel Insured International, a leading privately-owned insurer, reminded travelers that when they buy up to luxury cruising, whether for a special celebration trip, a dream vacation long saved for, or an impulse purchase for a deal too good to pass up, they have more travel investment to protect than a mid-market or budget travel purchase.
A minimum recommendation by Travel Insured is a comprehensive Worldwide Trip Protector or Worldwide Trip Protector Gold plan for the broadest coverage available in a trip insurance plan. Both plans include up to full reimbursement of the prepaid, non-refundable trip cost for a covered Trip Cancellation, and up to 150 percent of prepaid non-refundable trip cost for a covered Trip Interruption.
Missed Connection, when a three-hour common carrier delay causes the insured to miss their luxury cruise departure, or an unforeseen itinerary change causes loss of a prepaid shore activity, is included, Travel Insured says. So are Trip Delay, Emergency Medical Expense and Emergency Medevac, Baggage Loss or Delay, and Travel Accident coverage. Airline Accident insurance and Rental Car Collision coverage are included in the Gold plan and are both options in the regular Worldwide Trip Protector.
“Whether a luxury trip has been planned as a special occasion or bought on an impulse, the purchase of stronger optional coverage can pinpoint the plan to the biggest personal risks to the cruise vacation. Cancel for Work Reasons, Sports Coverage, a Medical upgrade to higher limits, Airline Accident coverage and even Cancel for Any Reason are all available,” Travel Insured says.
“Additionally, Travel Insured’s comprehensive plans come with Worldwide Emergency Assistance features. Both plans include Medical Assistance, ID Theft Assistance and 24-Hour Concierge Assistance while you are traveling, while Political Evacuation and Business Concierge services are included with Worldwide Trip Protector Gold and added with a Medical Upgrade in the Worldwide Trip Protector,” Travel Insured says.
“A luxury cruise is the trip of a lifetime and travelers should take advantage of affordable luxury travel in 2011 that may be out of their budget once full economic recovery takes hold in the years ahead. But the trip of a lifetime also can mean making the travel investment of a lifetime,” Travel Insured says, urging cruisers to add the right insurance plan to protect their investment.