LOS ANGELES -- Crystal Cruises rolled out a wealth of prebooking
options this month, prompting the question: How prevalent is the
trend to reserve excursions, spa treatments or restaurant
reservations even before clients set foot on the ship.
Pretty prevalent, as it turns out: Cruise lines have been busy
adding prebooking features -- primarily for their shore excursions
-- and primarily on their Web sites.
Not all lines offer the choice, and some only offer it on a
case-by-case basis. And shore excursions are not commissionable,
even when booked early. But in order to get your clients' vacation
time booked up in advance, here's a rundown of the options:
Celebrity offers the ability to book shore excursions on www.celebrity.com up to 10 days in advance of the
Crystal's new program lets passengers book spa treatments,
dinner reservations, shore excursions and onboard classes online --
but only if they pay for the cruise ticket more than six months in
advance of the voyage.
Guests who have paid for their cruise on the Crystal Symphony
can reserve services now via links on www.crystalcruises.com; the program will be available
online on June 1 for Crystal Serenity passengers and on Sept. 1 for
Crystal Harmony cruises.
Queens Grill passengers onboard the Queen Mary 2 can pre-book
into the Canyon Ranch spa. Guests are mailed the information three
months before sailing and given a toll-free number to call to book
Disney Cruise Line
Shore excursions can be booked in advance by calling (877)
566-0968, by e-mailing the requests along with the guest's name and
reservation number to [email protected] or by faxing a
shore excursion request form to (407) 566-7031. Forms can be
downloaded from www.disneycruise.com.
Holland America Line
Guests may prebook shore excursions at www.hollandamerica.com approximately 60 days prior to
sailing, but no later than 10 days prior to sailing. Wait-listed
requests for sold-out shore excursions will be processed prior to
requests made on board.
To log onto the proper screens, guests must have a booking
number. There is a box for agents to check if they are making the
order on their client's behalf.
Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL offers prebooking on www.ncl.com. Passengers can prebook shore excursions
online until sail date, provided there is availability.
Oceania offers two shore excursion packages that can be booked
in advance, and a spokesman said the line will begin offering the
packages for sale online at www.oceaniacruises.com, in May.
The Discovery package includes one half-day highlight tour in
each of the destinations on the voyage; the Explorer includes one
full-day tour in each port call. A program to prebook spa
appointments, the spokesman said, is "in the distant future."
Princess lets passengers book shore excursions within 120 days
of the cruise. Passengers or agents can book online on Princess'
Cruise Personalizer (available if you have a booking number) at www.princess.com
or by fax or mail.
The line also prebooks spa appointments aboard the Caribbean
Princess and the Sapphire Princess, the only spas Princess operates
inhouse. These reservations are made online at www.princess.com,
again with a booking number.
Radisson Seven Seas
Prerequest forms are sent to guests booked on most Radisson
Seven Seas ships with their cruise documents 30 days prior to
sailing. (The policy does not extend to the Paul Gauguin, the
company's Tahiti-based ship because it's small enough to
accommodate most passengers' needs, a company representative
Passengers may choose excursions by having their travel agents
fax their completed preference form to the line anytime up to 48
hours prior to their voyage. Requests are processed in the order
Shore excursions can be booked online at www.royalcaribbean.com up to 10 days in advance. An
order form for shore excursions is included with passengers'
documents for them to return by fax. The fax deadline is 21 days
Silversea recently launched an online system for reserving
excursions: Beginning with the summer season, passengers will be
able to reserve shore excursions from 60 days to two weeks prior to
Agents can visit www.silversea.com and go to the calendar displaying
the day-by-day itinerary of a voyage.
To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].