Starting Dec. 2, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line are restricting several agent tasks to the lines' online booking engine, Polar Online. Agents also may be able to do some tasks in a GDS.

The cruise lines are following the lead of sister brand Carnival Cruise Lines, which earlier this year put some booking functions exclusively online, a move that generated agent backlash.

HAL and Princess told agents that its reservations department would not handle the following functions over the phone:

• Triggering booking confirmation copies
• Creating FLASH rate bookings
• Extending options
• Amending booking contact name
• Cross-referencing bookings
• Changing stateroom number
• Altering bed configuration
• Entering independent air information
• Opening a group, changing a group name, adding group amenities and triggering group confirmations and reports.

Princess added that extending group recalls and travel agent brochure/collateral requests will also be done online only.

Princess is offering agents resources to get better at using its online booking system, including step-by-step tutorials, webinars and a portal with information on ship specifications, ports of call and other frequently asked questions.

The portal is already used by Princess' reservations department, said the cruise line.


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