Royal Caribbean boss vows to cut out last-minute discounting

Royal Caribbean boss vows to cut out last-minute discounting

The chief executive of Royal Caribbean is stamping out last-minute discounts on his cruises in the US and says he would look to extend the new policy to other markets including the UK if it is a success.

The line currently reduces fares 30, 20 and 10 days from departure, a practice that Michael Bayley says "devalues the whole product".

"From 2016, the price will never drop. There will be no discounts beyond 30 days from departure," he said.

Bayley accepted the new stance could lead agents to sell other cruise lines which "continue to discount all the way to departure", but said he would rather lose that business and improve his yields and margins.

"Last-minute discounting just devalues the product and nobody, neither us nor the travel agents, is making any money," he told Travel Weekly during the two-day naming celebrations of Anthem of the Seas in Southampton.

"We are not doing anybody any favours by discounting. We work too hard developing these phenomenal products to then charge too little for them," Bayley added.

"We believe we have the best vacation products in the entire industry, offering customer the best value anywhere, and we believe it's time for our customers to pay a little more for them."

Asked if he felt this would encourage the whole cruise sector to stop devaluing its product, Bayley replied: "This is not about cruising in general. This is purely a focus on Royal Caribbean and what we feel is right for our brand."

Royal Caribbean launched Anthem of the Seas this week and also has Explorer of the Seas coming back from a multi-million dollar refit tomorrow (Thursday).

The line also has Harmony of the Seas launching in spring 2016 and a third Quantum-class ship, Ovation of Seas, coming into service in 2018.

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