Travel agents: Don’t wait for cruise deals
This item was written by Johanna Jainchill, who covers the travel industry for Travel Weekly. Jainchill is serving as Guest Editor of The Cruise Log while USA TODAY Cruise Editor Gene Sloan is away.
Despite a temporary slowdown in mass-market cruise sales, travel agents are warning their clients not to wait for cruise deals.
“If you’re thinking of traveling this year, book now,” said Dave Spinelli, a vice president at Travel Leaders Group, a travel agency network. “We would advise clients to book early to get the best deals, especially on pre- a d post-cruise airfare. Given that airline capacity is limited and airfare costs are expected to increase in the coming months, we would advise consumers not to wait to book their cruise.”
Executives from Travel Leaders Group’s Vacation.com subsidiary said last week that mass-market cruise sales (mass-market lines include Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean) are lagging behind the more upscale lines so far this year, particularly during the usually busy summer months.
However, Vacation.com president John Lovell cautioned cruisers not to wait for deals, because he believes “a tremendous amount of pent-up demand” is fueling a bookings comeback.
Spinelli said this was especially true with cruises that are in high demand, such as river cruises.
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“It is especially important for consumers to book these cruises well in advance in order to get the best value,” he said. “If a consumer waits until the last minute to book a river cruise, they’re likely to find their preferred itineraries are sold out.”