Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Don't forget Fred

I read with interest Lisa James’ article [Cruisers find it's still good to talk - Travolution 2.0] in the latest issue of your magazine. However, there are a couple of points that I ought to make with regards to its overall content.

First of all, I am surprised at not finding Fred Olsen Cruise Lines amongst the “The major cruiselines” list.

In 2006 we will carry around 65,000 passengers on our four vessels; that is certainly more that EasyCruise, which are indeed featured.

Also, our focus is almost entirely on the UK market, which can’t be said for many American companies in the list.

As for the reasons why on-line bookings are not taking off for cruise lines – that would be my second point, no-one you talked to mentioned what probably is the main reason for this.

Traditionally, the cruise sector has been working closely with the trade. The high level of commission that we all pay to retailers is rebated in different degrees, thus making them the preferred choice of savvy consumers.

Please note that things are moving on with some cruise operators now offering additional discounts for customers booking on-line, typically 5% off.

It would be interesting to know how much this is changing the overall picture as it transpired from what Lisa was writing. Perhaps she would like to ask that question to the relevant people.

I hope my comments can lead to a positive dialogue.

Riccardo Benzo, marketing manager at Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

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