Tackling the "To Do" List

Barbara Gilliam, Crystal Cruises vice president of passenger services, told agents attending the annual top producers' trade gala on Crystal Serenity on Friday that since the gala last year, the line had implemented many recommendations suggested by the agents themselves. For example, the line has improved its call response time on the reservations lines, and now agents should be getting through within 15 seconds. In addition, Crystal is now printing the early payment discount amount on the cruise confirmation, it's indicating in a cruise confirmation if passport details have been received, it's sending a reminder to agents for the full payment option (to save clients money) at six months prior to departure, and it's adding the evening dress code information to the cruise confirmation, to name a few. Within the next week, the line will have the ability to create individual agent email and office mailing addresses for individual cruise records; so, for example, the documents could be send to satellite offices or the house of a home-based agent, not just to the agency's main address or email. The line has shifted from Galileo's GDS to Amadeus, which Gilliam said provided a better platform to move into the future, and agents will appreciate new e-ticket receipts with everything on one piece of paper. In addition, using that new GDS platform, agents will be able to book air-sea arrangements five to six months out, rather than waiting until 90 days out. One pitfall said Gilliam is that the airlines have become so strict on security and revenue retention, that if agents make an air reservation six months out, then send in their immigration form later with a different name, the agent might have to cancel the air reservation and rebook all over again, which likely means they'd lose the flight or the particular seat the client wanted. Agents must assure the immigration information exactly matches the name on the ticket. The line's CruiseBuilder booking engine has also been enhanced, she said, noting that the agent can now cancel a cruise, change a stateroom, change a dining preference or cancel a booking, among other new functions. Still to come this year, Gilliam said are CruiseBuilder enhancements that would allow the agency to request a group analysis or book Grand Cruises.

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