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Hands up who remembers the P&O and Cunard ‘Price Promise” of a few years ago? – yes, me too. It was confusing when it was in force, it did more than anything I can remember in the last ten years to destroy passengers’  trust in the cruise lines, and its end was unlamented.

Here’s something a bit similar from Royal Caribbean, although this sounds much more constructive. The promise is there will be “no new discounts within 30 days of sailing”. That will apply to all cruises, worldwide, with the exception of 3 and 4 day (day?) cruises. Royal Caribbean refer to it as their ‘pricing integrity promise’.

To me this seems to be a positive development. It’s limited – we’d all prefer it if there we knew there wouldn’t be any discounts (i.e. lower prices for later bookers) from 6 months… 9 months… even 12 months out, but that’s never going to happen. The yield managers need the flexibility to alter prices up to a point but at least that point has now been set. I gather that this single policy replaces a range of earlier policies – some applied from 30 days out but some from closer dates, down to as close as 10 days. The ’30 day’ deadline gives passengers the reassurance that the ship won’t be filled at fire-sale prices at the last possible moment.

Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean, attributes at least some of their current strong position (bookings roughly equal to last year’s record but at higher rates) to this pricing integrity promise.

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