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Old December 4th, 2010, 11:05 AM
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Default Regent Cruises Expands & Increases Cancellation Penalties

Regent has recently announced a new, stricter, change and cancellation policy in an apparent effort to correct a situation where too many people book a Regent cruise and then cancel it after they have paid a deposit, but before final payment.

Without providing all the details here, for the most common cruises (25 days or less) Regent's new policy is:

From date of deposit to 121 days prior to vacation date: $200 per booking administration fee. This admin fee will be converted to a Future Cruise Credit redeemable on bookings made up to 12 months after cancellation and for travel any time.

120-91 days prior to vacation date: 15% of fare per person
90-51 days prior to vacation date: 50% of fare per person
50-31 days prior to vacation date: 75% of fare per person
30-0 days prior to vacation date: 100% of fare per person


I have written my thoughts on the subject in my blog, which you can read here.

What do you think?

Is the increased penalty period an incentive not to change your cruise or to not book it unless you are positive you are going?

Do you think it is a reasonable response to what might be seen as abuse by some cruisers?
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Old December 4th, 2010, 11:37 AM
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The $200 admin fee seems a bit over the top. That's $400 per couple which is substantial. And, unless they offer cancel for any reason insurance it could easily convince people to wait and do their bookings much closer to sailing dates.

While I realize speculative bookings can cause some problems for the cruise line, I'd think this policy will make it more difficult to manage their inventory long term.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 10:55 AM
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Kuki, I believe the administration fee per booking is $100 per person or $200 per couple. I was not happy when Regent instituted the fee a year or so ago. I am not happy with the new cancellation policies they just rolled out either. However, when DH and I choose a cruise, we base it on itinerary and price first, not cancellation policies. This new policy from Regent is a good reminder to everyone to "read the fine print" before booking with any cruise line.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 07:34 AM
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The admin cancellation fee can be used as a FCC on a booking within twelve months; thus, you don't lose any money.

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Old December 8th, 2010, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc View Post
The admin cancellation fee can be used as a FCC on a booking within twelve months; thus, you don't lose any money.

Marc
...but only if you book another Regent cruise and you do so within 12 months.

Just pointing out the "fine print" mentioned by BuckeyeGal.

I am sure no one books a cruise primarily upon cancellation provisions. But it is interesting how many international clients I have because the terms for booking in the U.S. are generally far more liberal than in the U.K. as to most cruise lines. For example, in the UK if you make any changes to the booking or cancel the booking more than 10 days after being made, most wind up with a 10% penalty...regardless if you cruise isn't for two years.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 09:37 AM
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As long as you are a steady Regent customer, as some people are, the future cruise credit (FCC) is not too bad a deal - it seems most people would want to reschedule a cruise they had booked anyway.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 11:02 AM
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Honestly, there are no other luxury lines (and I am not sure of any mainstream lines) that charge a $200 administrative fee. Some river cruise lines do, but I do not see it as a trend or concept that is catching on like charging for luggage.

To me it is pretty simple. I believe people should be informed and able to change there minds. I do not charge consultation fees, change fees or cancellation fees because I believe it is part of my job. There are travel agents - in fact seminars are given - on how to charge fees for travel agent services. It is just a different perspective and business model.

Regardless, $200 is not a lot of money when dealing with a luxury cruise. It is, however, your money...and $200 is $200.

So, whether you agree with it or not, or whether you see the logic or not, I guess it still comes down to my initial questions:

Is the increased penalty period an incentive not to change your cruise or to not book it unless you are positive you are going?

Do you think it is a reasonable response to what might be seen as abuse by some cruisers?
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Old December 13th, 2010, 11:58 AM
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I think a lot of cruise lines are guilty of "customer abuse" when it comes to cruise cancellation, etc. We went througha period about two years ago where mainstream cruise lines were throwing people off of ships for the slightest infractions - with no refunds.

It is funny because cruise lines are famous for exemplary service onboard, but when it comes to the actual booking process they can be merciless.

Look at the new Princess/Cunard cancellation policy.

If you do not make your final payment the day it is due there is NO grace period at all - you lose your deposit. And there is no guaranteed warning that your final payment is due.

Obviously, this is a real reason to use a travel agent, but people who self-book are solely responsible for knowing when the final payment is due.

But to answer your question, it does look like some cruise lines are really starting to crack down on customers who cancel at the last minute.

I think it is all related to the commoditization of cruises. The cruise lines don't have time to molly coddle people in the sales process - they want that booking done and over with. It's a sign of the times.

If anything this recession has taught us that efficiency can be a very effective tool for profits. Every business is finding ways to get more out of one person than they ever could before. One way to do that is to raise performance expectations - even from customers.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 07:44 AM
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Silversea also has a $200 per person cancellation penalty and there is no mention on their site of being able to use this as a future cruise credit.

Marc
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Old December 16th, 2010, 03:45 PM
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Marc, I believe the $200 cancellation fee is only if you use their air. If you book cruise only, I don't believe there is an admin fee if you cancel more than 120 days out. At least, that has been our experience.
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