Complete Cruise Solution has defended a decision to enforce its transfers policy after an agent accused it of “blatant profiteering” in a tough economic climate.
Since September 17, CCS – the sales arm of P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Ocean Village and Cunard – no longer allows agents to transfer deposits on cancelled cruises between brands.
But this week, in a last-minute reprieve, it reviewed the policy. Bookings can be transferred once, on request, on a discretionary basis and on the same cruiseline to equivalent or higher value within six months of the previous cruise for a £100 charge.
Where customers want to cancel and switch to a different cruiseline they will still lose their deposit and pay a new one on future bookings. Deposits are 10% of the full cruise fare.
Teddington-based Creative Cruises’ owner Jason Peters warned CCS would lose agent support despite backtracking slightly on the policy.
He said: “The deposit can be up to about £1,000 for a world cruise. It’s blatant profiteering by cruiselines to make up yields in a downturn.”
The economic crisis was already leading to cancellations, admitted Peters.
He added: “We have a few customers who cannot afford to take their cruise. For years we have been able to transfer to other brands in CCS. Stopping this does not benefit the agent or consumer.”
But CCS sales director Mark Pilkington said an increase in customers wanting to defer deposits on bookings meant it was no longer sustainable to offer a more flexible policy.
He added: “Customers were delaying their cruise several times and putting it off to Never Never Land or swapping it to a lower value cruise. We have had agents asking for this change. All we are doing is enforcing what is in our terms and conditions.”
There would be less administration issues for agents changing bookings as a result, he added.
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