How to Take Advantage of Cruise Line Bundling

An enhanced Neptune Suite in Holland America’s Eurodam
An enhanced Neptune Suite in Holland America’s Eurodam

Bundling is one of the top trends in cruise sales. For 2016, these “value added” programs continue to evolve. That creates the potential for higher guest satisfaction and higher agent commission. Here’s a sampling of programs from mid- to big-ship lines in the contemporary, premium and upper premium sectors.

OLife Choice: Oceania Cruises is adjusting its popular OLife promotion by providing guests with the flexibility to choose from complimentary amenities when booking a cruise that departs on or after April 25. Valid through June 30, 2016, the new OLife Choice promotion replaced the former OLife Early Booking Advantage and is available to all guests, regardless of stateroom or suite booked. Under the new program, guests can choose complimentary features such as unlimited Internet access plus a choice of a beverage package, shore excursions or a shipboard credit. The number of complimentary shore excursions offered and the amount of the credit is dependent on the cruise length; it ranges from three shore excursions or a $300 credit for voyages up to nine days to five shore excursions and $500 credit for sailings 14 days or longer.

Oceania’s new OLife Choice promotion has replaced the former OLife Early Booking Advantage.
Oceania’s new OLife Choice promotion has replaced the former OLife Early Booking Advantage.

Go Big, Go Better, Go Best: Introduced in mid-2015, Celebrity Cruises’ all-inclusive “Go Big, Go Better, Go Best” fare programs is designed to allow the guest to choose a fare level based on inclusive perks. Options include classic beverage packages, unlimited Internet, prepaid tips or $150 in onboard credit per person. The guest decides what type of fare they wish, dependent on the number of perks they wish included. Agents earn commission on a more inclusive bundle of benefits.

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With “Go Big,” one perk is included, “Go Better” has two benefits and “Go Best” offers all of them. The program applies to guests booking an oceanview stateroom category and higher now through April 2017. This offer is for new bookings only and does not apply for groups.

More Fleetwide Suite Perks: As part of a new $300 million brand enhancement initiative, starting this month, all suites throughout Holland America Line’s fleet will receive new amenities. These include new premium duvets, superior bathrobes and slippers, Bose docking stations, binoculars, an in-suite coffee and espresso machine. Guests also will receive complimentary mimosas with their in-suite breakfast. Existing perks include priority embarkation, disembarkation and tender service; exclusive use of the Neptune Lounge for Pinnacle and Neptune Suite guests; private breakfast service in the Pinnacle Grill; and complimentary laundry and dry cleaning services.

Guests will see new furnishings, decor, amenities and upgrades for all suites on Signature-, Vista- and R-Class ships. Holland America has completed the updates on Eurodam with Oosterdam expected to be revitalized in April, followed by Nieuw Amsterdam, Westerdam, Zuiderdam and Noordam. Additionally, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Volendam and Zaandam will receive the suite enhancements during scheduled drydocks over the next few years.

Royal Suite Class: Royal Caribbean International’s new Royal Suite Class will begin in May 2016 aboard Oasis- and Quantum-class ships; those include Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas, as well as Harmony of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas when they launch this spring. Various amenities included in the cruise fare are available based on three-tiered service levels — Star Class, Sky Class and Sea Class. Top suite guests enjoy the assistance of a Royal Genie, a butler certified by the British Butler Institute; free VOOM fast Internet; complimentary specialty dining; an ultimate beverage package; inclusive gratuities; preferred seating at select onboard venues, and upgraded room amenities including Hermès, Ferragamo and L’OCCITANE bath products and luxury pillow top mattresses. For details about amenities available for each suite class visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com/RoyalSuiteClass.

Expanded “No NCF” Fleet: The new Viking Ocean Cruises, which launched with the 930-passenger Viking Star in 2015 and a no-NCF at sea policy, expands this year. Viking Sea will launch in early 2016, and the company’s third ship on order, Viking Sky, is currently under construction for debut in early 2017. Itineraries include Scandinavia, the Baltic, Mediterranean, and starting this September, North America and the Caribbean. More inclusive fares assure customers aren’t “nickel-and-dimed.” Among the many fare inclusions are shore excursions, specialty dining and government taxes. The “no-NCFs” policy is also helpful to agencies as it delivers higher commissions. 

Seaside Perks: Sales are now open to the general public for the new MSC Seaside, MSC Cruises’ next-generation ship that will be based in Miami year-round and sail to the Caribbean. If clients are speedy this week and book by January 31, they’ll receive an all-inclusive classic drink package, applicable to first and second guest in a stateroom on all seven-night or longer MSC Seaside sailings. Voyagers Club Members booking by that date will continue to receive their 5 percent discount plus that drink package.

Debuting in December 2017, the MSC Seaside will feature an unusual design including a 360-degree, ocean-level promenade on Deck 8 that will include indoor/outdoor shops and restaurants, as well as a full buffet area and a pool; those are typically located on a cruise ship’s higher decks. In addition, the ship’s public spaces will include a two-deck glass-walled atrium and panoramic exterior elevators.

Twice as Nice: For guests booking by February 29, Princess Cruises’ “Twice as Nice Sale” is a value-added offering with double onboard spending money and savings of up to $1,000 per stateroom on hundreds of voyages (of six days or longer) departing this spring through spring 2017. Guests booking an interior or oceanview stateroom receive up to $300 onboard spending money per stateroom and those booking a balcony, mini-suite or suite receive up to $600 onboard spending money per stateroom.

For example, a seven-day Alaska cruise costs $799 per person double for an interior cabin, a $50 discount or a balcony stateroom costs $1,399, again a $50 savings. Added value: Guests receive up to $300 in onboard spending money per stateroom.

Loyalty Rewarded: Le Club Voyage program members will now receive cruise credit for referring new guests to Azamara Club Cruises, thanks to a new “Refer & Receive” offer. For each new (first time) guest booked, Le Club Voyage members will earn $300 in future cruise credit once their referral has completed their sailing. Up to three future cruise credits can be applied to new and existing reservations, which means members can save up to $900 per voyage. There is no limit to how many future cruise credits members can earn. 

Agents can ask clients for referrals and then assist Le Club Voyage members in submitting the online form which includes the referral contact and reservation details. Then, when the referral books and completes their Azamara voyage, the member will receive an e-mail with the credit notification. Plus, the agent will gain a new client.

Disney Dream’s new enhancements include a Star Wars Millennium Falcon space.
Disney Dream’s new enhancements include a Star Wars Millennium Falcon space.

Enticements Afloat

The Power of the Force: Just in time for the “Star Wars” movie mania, Disney Cruise Line has enhanced the Disney Dream with two new interactive youth areas — one themed to Star Wars, another focused on the popular Disney Infinity video game. Also new on the ship is a whimsical sweet shop serving handmade gelato, ice cream and candy treats; the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique; and a new adults’ splash pool and sun deck.

Jazz at Sea: Jazz legend Herbie Hancock will headline Cunard Line’s Blue Note jazz-at sea-themed transatlantic crossing on Queen Mary 2 from Southampton to New York on August 1. The multi-Grammy Award winning star will perform three, 45-minute intimate shows in the ship’s Royal Court Theatre. During the westbound transatlantic crossing Herbie will be joined by band members, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist James Genus and guitarist Lionel Loueke.

Faster Internet: For techies who simply can’t survive without their “devices,” Carnival Cruise Line has introduced faster Internet speeds and less expensive data packages on multiple ships. The program will go fleetwide during first quarter of 2016. A $5 per day package allows guests to connect to such social media sites as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but doesn’t permit full Internet access. For $16 per day, passengers can pull up most of the other Internet sites except bandwidth-hefty Skype or video/music streaming. A robust $25 per day package is available for those seeking Skype and streaming services.

Epic Updates: After a multi-week drydock, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic now sports significant enhancements; the ship is sailing in the Mediterranean and will be homeported at Port Canaveral starting this fall. A new entertainment outlet, The Cavern Club, re-creates the aura of the Liverpool venue where the Beatles once played, and new SplashGolf also was installed in the ship’s Kids Aqua Park. Norwegian Epic also now has a new Broadway show, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert — The Musical.” Newly renovated are Moderno Churrascaria, Cagney’s, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Garden Café, the Manhattan Room and Taste.

A Star is Born: Starting this April, Costa Cruises’ guests with a singing talent can take part in “The Voice of the Sea,” a talent show akin to “The Voice,” which is broadcast in more than 180 countries worldwide. Participants will be chosen during onboard karaoke sessions, and will have the opportunity to perfect their singing skills by rehearsing with onboard musicians and voice coaches. On the show evening, coaches will select the singers to perform — simply by listening to their voices. The public will vote to choose the final winner.

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