RETAILERS hailed successive moves by the
two largest cruise lines to curtail rebate advertising and said
they welcomed the chance to compete for sales with service instead
of on price. But several top producers said the new programs --
launched first by Carnival Cruise Lines and then followed a day
later by Royal Caribbean Cruises' two brands -- would be difficult
to police, and some said that reducing retailers' ability to
advertise lower prices could give the lines' direct sales
departments an advantage.
THERE WAS A
LITTLE CONFUSION about what types of advertising are
"public advertising" -- for example, is it ok to advertise that
you'll give a lower rate over the phone? Carnival boss Bob
Dickinson said he wasn't concerned about deals struck "between two
consenting adults." RCCL president Jack Williams said that RCCL
will look for e-mails that advertise rebates, discount-oriented
agency clubs and ads that encourage consumers to call for lower
rates. "The policy is that you cannot rebate, regardless of the
medium," Williams said.
CAN THEY DO
THIS? It's legal for cruise lines to set the price of the
vacation and to cut back on pay if agents sell it at a lower rate,
industry attorneys said. "The agent is the agent of the cruise line
here, at least that's the position the cruise lines have taken,"
said attorney Arthur Schiff. "This is [the lines'] own product, and
they're selling at the price they want to sell it at."
UP with the Legend of the Seas? The Royal Caribbean
International ship is moving to the U.K. in 2005 and will be sold
almost entirely in the British market. Dan Hanrahan, Royal
Caribbean's senior vice president of marketing, told Travel Weekly
that this isn't the first time Royal Caribbean dedicated a ship to
a non-North American market. Three years ago, the Splendour of the
Seas was sold to South Americans and Europeans. But this is the
first time the burgeoning British market is getting a Royal
Caribbean ship to call its own. "The U.K. is an important market
for any product. It doesn't matter what it is," Hanrahan
THE HORIZON will be back in Philadelphia next summer with
an additional four departures to Bermuda. Celebrity Cruises slated
13 Bermuda cruises from Philly this year, and the port said last
week that "strong bookings and positive customer response" brought
Celebrity back for a third year.
SILVERSEA will return to Africa in 2005
after a year hiatus. It expanded a 2002 partnership with Micato
Safaris to offer pre- and post-cruise packages.