No discounting and all-inclusive

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Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean has ended the policy of offering what it calls ‘disruptive’ last minute discounted cruise deals in the US. We call them discounts and the original aim of discounting at the last minute was to fill the cruise ships.

Will this habit spread to the UK? Will Royal Caribbean be forced to change its mind if other cruise companies fail to follow suit? If the practice in the US succeeds will it spread here? Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Richard Fain said the old practice of discounting is both confusing and damaging to “brand integrity” and that is the reason for the change.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced that from January 2016 all guests sailing aboard Norwegian Sky will enjoy an all-inclusive cruise experience with dining, entertainment and now free unlimited beer, wine and premium spirits included. This is no different to what has happened in the cruise market in other parts of the world such as the Pacific. What happened there is that the basic price of the cruise rose in order to cover the provision of free drinks, meals and attractions. That wasn’t how it was portrayed, of course, but that seems to account for price increases then.

NCL’s president, Andy Stuart, says that the company is taking cruising to “the next level to provide our guests with an experience unmatched by any other contemporary cruise line.”

Will both cruise companies be able to maintain these ideas given the competitive nature of the business and that demand from UK travellers dropped slightly last year? Time will tell.

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