25 May 2010

Carnival Cruises Curtails Air Sea & other Programs

Quoted in Tranvel Market Report, Carlos Garcia, vice president, Travel Services & Guest Logistics, explained the reason for the canceled programs: “Over the past several years the number of guests choosing to purchase these ancillary products from us has been decreasing for a myriad of reasons,” he said, citing guests’ use of hotel or credit cards points as one way in which they book their own pre- and post-hotel nights. for some time now consumers have been using their frequent flyer miles to get to and from the port cities.

Regarding the Deviation Program, which was the most active of the two cancelled programs, Garcia said that most guests who purchase air from the cruise line do so through the FlyAweigh Program (which is continuing). “They choose a regular program and do not need to make changes. Most of them are interested in flying in to meet their ships on the day of sailing.”

In 2007, the cruise lines cut back their air-sea blocks significantly as the price value proposition waned. They also cut back on staffing in these areas to reflect the more modest use. With cruise lines growing rapidly and air traffic still stalled or growing modestly there will be spot outages of matched capacity which resulted in some interesting situations last year when significant discounts were offered to locally boarding traffic in Florida's key cruise ports such as Port Everglades and Miami.

Interestingly the sale of cruises through non-traditional outlets such as cruise only non-ARC or Airline websites are continuing to grow as a share of the total distribution pier for cruise products.

So if you are in the cruise business - better make sure that you can secure your flights to and from the cruises. Its going to get a lot harder to find space.


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