I had a new client recently call me for a quote on NCL’s Pride of America, sailing 7 nights around Hawaii over New Year’s Eve (Dec.31.11). I got him the quote on the cruise for a balcony cabin, which was $4541.54 for 2 adults. It is a lovely cruise, and a lovely itinerary hitting 4 Hawaiian islands. Of course, that price didn’t include various things (includ air, shore excursions, gratuities, alcohol, etc.).
Then I started talking to the new client to enquire about what they were looking to get from this holiday. I learned that the couple had a special anniversary coming up, they had sailed on NCL before and quite enjoyed the sailing experience, having a balcony was very important to them, they’d prefer to have limited numbers of children onboard, they were very active athletically and wanted to keep very busy onboard the ship (with a running track onboard, but also terrific shore excursions that would enable them to explore new ports of call in depth while still allowing time to explore by themselves), they weren’t tuxedo/ballgown folks but more the casual elegance sort, they enjoyed the spa/water activities/exploring/history tours, they didn’t like having to put their hand in their pocket every five minutes on a holiday – they wanted to know, as closely as possible, how much the trip was going to cost them upfront – so they could budget accordingly, and just go and enjoy themselves onboard.
I went back to the NCL cruise, and sharpened my pencil. Everyone in the industry knows the cost of all the extras on a cruise can double the cost (especially when you add air). So, I went back over the details on the NCL cruise, and priced out air from Ottawa, and added a couple of nights in a Honolulu hotel, plus shore excursions, alcohol, etc. All of a sudden, the $4500 cruise was closer to $11,000. Plus, the client had to spend 2 full days travelling (and his wife was a teacher, with a very fixed travel window), and they were onboard with 2138 other people.
I started to research options, knowing the client thought Hawaii was of interest, but not key. Given everything I’d learned about the client (special anniversary, all inclusive pricing would be nice, wanted a balcony, was interested in exciting and new ports, wanted active shore excursions, wanted there to not be a lot of children onboad, while still allowing casual elegance without the need to dress up in a tuxedo and ballgown). One thought kept coming back to me – upscale but not uptight!
And the cruise line that promises upscale but not uptight is Regent Seven Seas!
I found a terrific itinerary on Regent Mariner for roughly the same dates, and with everything tolled, roughly the same price! Not only was there only 700 onboard this luxury cruise line (rather than 2138), and it had all balcony suites, plus it was a 10 night cuise with a free 1 night pre-cruise hotel, it visited 8 ports (not 4), and it offered all-inclusive pricing – which meant, they offered free unlimited shore excursions,and included air/gratuities/transfers/alcohol, and a guest to staff ratio of only 1:1.6 (which certainly indicates the level of service clients could expect). It was perfect!
Plus, we had an added benefit with this Dec.27.11 sailing on the Regent Mariner, my company, Vision 2000, had group promo space on the sailing – which meant I could secure my clients a $400 onboard credit. AND – the sailing was targeted as a Virtuoso Voyager Group sailing – which meant there was an onboard host, there would be a welcome cocktail party/reception, and the guest could choose a special amenity (either a special Virtuoso led shore excursion in Cozumel, a $125/p credit towards a customized shore excursion, or a $100/p onboard credit). So, the client could have a $600 onboard credit.
I laid out the pricing and comparison for the client.
|ship||Regent Mariner||NCL Pride of America|
|# ports visited||8||4|
|size ship (guests)||700||2138|
|cruise fare for 2||(excl obc) $11,798.00||$4,541.54|
|additional fees onboard cruise|
|air for 2||0||2500||est w UA (AC ~$5K)|
|shore excursions||0||1000||est 125/px2x~4d|
|1n pre-cruise hotel||0||300||est|
|gratuities/ serv. Charges||0||178||est 12/n/p x7nx2|
|beer/liquor/wine||0||400||est 25/p/d + 15%|
|water + soft drinks||0||160||est 20/p/d + 15%|
|alternate dining surcharges||0||60||est 10/p/d|
|sum additional fees onboard cruise||0||4678|
|additional fees for 2 other n Hawaii||n/a|
|2n extra pre-cruise hotel||n/a||600|
|food/ drink 3 other days Hawaii||n/a||450||est 150/d|
|tourist activities Hawaii||n/a||300||est 100/d|
|additional fees for 2 other n Hawaii||n/a||1350|
|TOTAL COST OF CRUISE||
(excl $600 obc)$11,798.00
|11 nights in total||10 nights in total|
Guess which sailing the client chose?
He’s now booked on the Regent Mariner, and thrilled with the list of shore excursions he can choose from. (There are 10 in Key West alone!) And for a price that’s pretty comparable to what NCL would come out at, he’s on a luxury cruise line with white glove service, balcony suites, and all inclusive pricing.
Here’s the itinerary.
So, it begs the question. What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? If you think Regent might work for you, give me a call. Sheila 613-837-0699