Luxury cruise lines cut perks to offer high-end cruisers big savings

A number of luxury cruise lines have removed extras from their itineraries in a bid to attract upscale and upscale cruise passengers with more affordable options and savings of up to 40%.

Companies like Silversea are now selling cruises that do not include certain parts of your vacation such as private executive transfers, pre and post cruise hotels, baggage handling, international flights and pre and post cruise airport transfers.

The new promotion called Port-to-Port All-Inclusive will still include all amenities and services usually on board as well as some shore excursions.

And the savings are huge. Silversea is offering a 25% discount on the line’s most inclusive fares, which could entice high-end cruise lines to consider new luxury lines.

For example, a seven-day cruise on the silver spirit departing from Barcelona in April 2022 and sailing to Rome, the Door-To-Door offer is priced at $8,300 while the Port-To-Port price is from $4,950.

Atlas Ocean Voyages has made all of its base cruise fares exclusive of air travel and shore excursions on new bookings for departures on or after April 24. An Atlas voyage, for example, went from $7,678 to $5,285 per person for sailing in the Mediterranean.

My Cruise Concierge manager Michelle Levins says she thinks more of her customers will be attracted to luxury with lower prices.

“Port to Port with Silversea still offers all the luxury inclusions guests have come to expect on the cruise, but without added pre- and post-cruise extras, the deposit is non-refundable.

“For our luxury customers on Silversea, we won’t see much change in shopping habits here. Maybe new customers on Silversea might be more tempted by the cheaper price, but our customers are mostly looking search for value, so if the proposed arrangements suit them, they will take the higher rate.

Ms Levins also said it would give high-end cruisers the chance to try luxury lines while using their frequent flyer points to get the best deal.

“Cruise fare unbundling is ideal for customers who wish to use frequent flyer flights instead of taking advantage of a special cruise flight or perhaps they have a different itinerary before or after their trip, this means that customers can have the route that best suits them.”

And on the other hand, some high-end cruise lines are moving in the opposite direction, challenging previous notions that luxury lines offer all-inclusive service and premium lines offer base fares.

Norwegian Cruise Line has an agreement where one upfront price will include all of your liquor, specialty meals, shore excursions, Wi-Fi, and other gratuities. Holland America Line and Princess Cruises also offer similar fares, meaning the days of having to book a luxury cruise for all-inclusive may be coming to an end.

“All-inclusive rates on mainstream cruise lines can include things like specialty restaurants, beverage packages, Wi-Fi, which is often a huge savings over pay-as-you-go, both that you use them,” Ms. Levins said.

“If you only drink two drinks a day, you won’t get a drinks package.”

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