UK Cruise Convention: Price puts off first time cruisers

First-timers are put off cruising because it is too expensive, a leading on-line cruise specialist retailer has said.

Speaking at the Association of Cruise Experts’ Cruise Convention in Southampton, managing director Seamus Conlon said it would be good if overcapacity in the cruise market pushed prices down.

He said: “I think cruise prices will fall and it will be a good thing as it will get more people into the market. A lot of people think it is expensive and it is. That is the reality.”

Conlon, one of five panellists discussing the future of cruising on day one of the three-day convention, admitted margins are tight but said does not shy away from bargain-hunting clients.

But he also denied accusations from independent agents and homeworkers in the audience that his online agency was forcing down prices by hefty discounting.

He said: “We come across clients who have been offered big discounts they want us to better and we go for it. But that’s only about 10% of our business. We market deals from the brochure, not discounts. We just do it more aggressively so everyone thinks we are discounting.”

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