All-Inclusive Cruising Is A Win-Win For You & Your Clients
by Vanessa Lee
Quantum of the Seas Wonderland
I am an unabashed fan of
all-inclusive cruising and enjoy the onboard experience it offers regardless of
the size of ship. It just makes life so much easier and the seamless feel is
actually an enhancement to the camaraderie and social aspects of cruising.
As we know, most high-end and
luxury cruise lines are already all (or mostly)-inclusive as are a few river
lines -Uniworld and Tauck as examples. And there has been a lot of buzz and a
number of announcements from Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian in recent
weeks about their intent to "include more". Windstar has an ongoing
all-in promo for a number of departures sailing in the Tropics, mostly in
2016, which include the Caribbean, Tahiti, the Panama Canal and Costa Rica and
I see Celestyal has just come out with an all-inclusive product for its Cuba
Firstly I applaud the cruise
lines for offering value-add promotions rather than discounting. Also the
commissions are higher for travel retailers with such inclusive add-on’s as beverage
packages, gratuities, wi-fi etc. Equally many of the better “all-in” programs
are on certain types of staterooms or suites so those accommodations are
naturally going to be sold at a higher price from the outset – all again
leading to getting the client to buy higher in the ship, enjoy some of the
better staterooms and suites and giving you, the agent, more income for
the sale. Nothing wrong with any of that.
I also realize it can be
confusing to keep up with the different offers coming out on these promotions –
i.e. RCI’s Royal Suite Class (coming soon), Go Big from Celebrity and
Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice, but having just done a bit of research on them
myself, I think they are relatively easy to understand and better yet, easy to
book and explain to your cruise clients. When you boil it all down – the key
is, these are enhancements that will ensure prospects may make a faster
decision, happy cruise clients will see opportunity and maybe buy up to get
more. Generally those waffling about taking a cruise may find one of these
deals to be the closer.
Norwegian’s 5 current offers
(currently set to expire 31AUG) are:
1. Free unlimited beverages
2. Free Specialty Dining
3. Free Wi-Fi (becoming way more important these days)
4. Free Gratuities
5. Free Friends & Family Sail Free promo
Guests can choose one if they
book a Studio and up, and they can get ALL of the offers noted here if they
book a Suite or The Haven. And I love The Haven – when I cruise Norwegian that
is my preferred accommodation choice.
was just announced and again has several level of inclusions
and value enhanced items and a Royal Genie – i.e. a butler trained in the U.K.
(which is where they should be trained!). These offers come with free
gratuities, complimentary specialty dining and unlimited beverage packages as
well as free “VOOM” which is their fantastic Wi-Fi service. Again, all things
that many clients want and seek out. RCI’s suite class will roll out starting
in Spring 2016 on certain ships and I like the fact they are testing these
“all-in” waters here too.
As to Celebrity – I have long
been a huge fan of this brand which many of you may know. We started selling
Celebrity at Encore Cruises back in 1992 and really gave it a huge boost in
Canada during those amazing years. It has always been a brand trying to find
just the right place in cruising and frankly was probably the 1
truly “up-scale” brand, although it was classified as premium along with HAL.
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, (whom I have known for many years at both Royal and
Celebrity) has recently become their President and I know Lisa has many huge
plans for this cruise line which is a sophisticated, contemporary brand with
exceptional service and cuisine that sometimes gets overlooked when playing in
the big boy sandbox.
Celebrity’s Go Big, Go Better or
Go Best has many of the same inclusions as the other lines and you can choose
your perks as you buy each package – i.e. choose 1 or 2 or all options:
1. Classic Beverage Package for 2
2. Prepaid Gratuities
3. Unlimited Wi-Fi
4. $150 Shipboard credit.
Depending on the accommodation and the package you choose these are what you will get.
The other thing about promoting
all-inclusive cruising to your clients is that they will absolutely and
unequivocally gather a taste for this way of cruising and it will benefit both
you and them in the future. It will be much easier to convince them to try
smaller ship and higher end, luxury all-inclusive sailings in the future. They
will experience how great it is not to have to keep signing chits and bills all
the time and they will enjoy the more relaxed feel of an all-inclusive holiday
at sea. This is a perfect way to move them on up – trust me.