Crystal Cruises has been forced to adjust prices and is discounting selective sailings for the first time.
The ultra-luxury line is cutting almost £500 off three 11-night autumn fly-cruise itineraries in the Mediterranean to give a revised lead in of £1,854 and £340 has been cut from a 16-night Christmas Hawaii cruise from Los Angeles.
Rates for 2012 will be more competitive even though the company is adopting an all-inclusive policy across its two ships from next spring when they arrive in Europe for their summer seasons.
International sales and marketing vice president Philip Ordever said: “I’m the first to admit our cruises were not as competitively priced as they should have been.
“In January we thought we were going to have a tough year but we are now level with last year. Passenger numbers are up but the revenues are not as high as we’d like them to be.”
Overall passenger numbers grew by as much as 12% last year but the company had to sacrifice a similar level of yield to maintain its growth.
Crystal is about to release an “unheard of” price of £1,995 for a 10-night transatlantic voyage in 2012 and Ordever stressed that there would be only “minimal” increases in prices for the following year, mainly to account for higher fuel costs.
The shift to all inclusive with drinks and tips included had helped bring business back and 2012 is “storming away,” according to Ordever.
First quarter 2013 itineraries are about to be released with prices following three weeks later. With 98.9% of bookings through agents, Crystal claims to be the most trade-friendly line in the ultra luxury sector.
“For that reason we are not going to reduce commissions,” said Ordever, who revealed that more flexible shorter cruises would be introduced in 2013.
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