Princess to Pay on NCFs, But Only For Now

Payment plan designed to boost May bookings on recently redeployed Grand Princess; ship to remain in Caribbean

By: Theresa Norton Masek

Princess Cruises is paying 10 percent on non-commissionable fares but don’t get your hopes up that the plan will become permanent.

Rather, the incentive is designed to quickly boost sales on the Grand Princess’ Caribbean departures between May 4 and May 25. The Grand was scheduled to reposition to the Mediterranean at the time, but will now remain in the Caribbean, due to sluggish advance sales in Europe.

“The deal is that we’re working under a pretty short time line, with the redeployment of the Grand,” said Dean Brown, executive vice president of customer service and sales. “We’ve used bonus commission coupons in the past or additional percentage points, but we thought agents would respond more quickly to the NCFs. We’re also offering aggressive prices starting at $499 for those May voyages.”

Norwegian Cruise Line implemented a 10 percent commission on NCFs for agents who double their bookings with the line this year.

“This is completely different than NCL,” Brown said. “We’re trying to draw attention to close-in, brand new departures.”

Depending on the response, will Brown consider this type of incentive again? “Let’s hope we don’t have these kind of situations again,” he said. “It’s a very unusual circumstance to redeploy a ship and to have these close-in voyages.”

Meanwhile, most of the passengers booked on Med cruises on the Grand have been accommodated on similar voyages on sister ship, Golden Princess. “We were able to accommodate everyone,” Brown said. “We moved their bookings and deposits, right over to the Golden and contacted them. We’re working with everyone to make sure the new dates and cabins work. It’s going fairly well. And we appreciate all the support agents are giving us.”