CruiseMates has been the most accurate – and as fare as I know – ONLY cruise community or magazine to officially report on this! Thanks to All! Ever wonder why the other communities haven’t said a word – even with over 100 posted and thousands of views?
The RCL/CXC policy is just that - policy. Here is the link (yes it includes the word “sell” too – meaning that no direct discounting will be allowed.
It will be interpreted, adhered to, pushed to the limits, and abused by some agencies. My policy will be to take the high ground for now and watch others push the policy as well as wait for additional clarification.
Regarding On-line agencies going out of business - most of us are the largest and most profitable in the industry - that is why others continue to enter the marketplace. Most of my competition - or as I call it - my friends, associates & peer group, are incredibly solvent (of course, again considered hearsay). I do not intend to boast - just an attempt to calm some individuals regarding most major cruise dot coms going out of business. Any agency - including local ones, can go out of business. Please ask if you Agency is bonded for protection.
Yes, packaging will be the #1 new ballgame in town - whether it is air, hotel, rental cars, etc. Then #2 will be value added items (which also includes packaging) will be the next item - yes we are waiting to hear if iPods, DVD's, Digital Cameras, etc are allowed. Shipboard credit is NOT allowed - except possibly in a group purchase environment. Now that gets complicated since many agencies purchase group space and sell it on an individual basis - we await clarification on this.
Additionally, not all agencies are created equal and some agencies have key account rates or KAF. These are at lower rate, and only a couple hundred of the largest agencies have them - and only on some sailings. Finally, many agencies are members of consortiums or member groups that are somewhat similar to buying groups. Consortiums are recognized as national accounts by the cruise lines (like the largest of the largest of agencies). These national accounts gain some advantage by negotiating cruise line promotions that are sanctioned - including upgrades, shipboard credit, gift cards etc. This will still be acceptable although they are constantly being adjusted and negotiated and may become limited.
So, the pricing and competitive nature of cruise sales is what changes. Which in IMHO, makes purchasing a cruise - at a true value, or lowest price - more complicated for the consumer. This already happens - currently one of the two biggest dot coms is offering $200 cash back and UP TO $200 shipboard credit on some cruises. A customer of ours - who already booked with us, asked to price protect their booking. We were able to prove that the customers booking with us was still $28 less - not much - but incredibly complicated! (BTW, just making a point - not advertising!) This is how complicated it will become.
Patience and time will tell and everyone will have an opinion. Again, remember RCL & CXC provide great cruises - the choice will be yours the consumer.