Cruise operator Travelscope has been forced to cut the number of ships it charters from three to two blaming over-capacity for ex-UK cruises and heavy discounting.
No cruises on the 600-passenger Athena will be operated and guests are being offered an alternative on either its other main ship Van Gogh or with another cruiseline. The operator’s 2006/08 brochure also included two cruises on Princess Danae.
Head of marketing Martin Wright said: “This was a very difficult decision to make and it’s not one we took lightly. It’s in response to the increasing competition in the UK market and the amount of discounting our competitors are doing.
“The level of discounting is not good for the industry and it’s not good for our partners because if we are having to discount we are paying them less commission.”
Travelscope’s main business is reader offers but it started to work through the trade at the end of 2005 quickly building relationships through its agent-friendly approach.
The operator specialises in ex-UK cruises from eight regional ports. The decision to take Athena out of the programme was made on March 8 and new Ocean Cruises brochures have been printed excluding cruises on the ship. The programme has been reorganised to offer similar alternative cruises on Van Gogh.
“Most customers are moving across quite happily.” Wright said. “Many are familiar with Van Gogh and have been offered the same itinerary and the same date so there is minimal disruption for them.
“We are working hard to smooth the process for our travel agent partners. We are doing everything to minimise disruption for customers.”