The Latest and Greatest | TravelResearchOnline


The Latest and Greatest

In the chaos of hurricanes over the past few weeks, other cruise news has gone unnoticed. So let’s take a break from Hurricanes Harvey through Maria, and look at the latest improvements rolled out in Espresso, the booking engine used by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Azamara.

Previous Espresso enhancements rolled out earlier this year included the ability to redeem group amenity points online, along with other group management enhancements. The newest enhancements rolled out last month are a mix of improvements.

In groups management, travel agents now have the ability to view and allocate payments to group level value adds. A value add is a cruise fare mark up that can be added to a group. Once submitted and approved by the cruise line, in the past travel agents had to call in payments in order to have monies allocated properly towards the value add portion of the cruise fare. With this new enhancement, we can allocate the value add payment ourselves in Espresso, bypassing the need to call in with payments for processing.

Another groups enhancement is the ability of reinstatement of cancelled crops or individual bookings within a group. Additionally, we now have the ability to change a group’s ship and sail date.
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Two of the most exciting enhancements have nothing to do with groups this time around. The first is searching for connecting staterooms in one simple step. Once you have picked a ship and sail date, the next step is to pick the category(s) of the staterooms you want to book. At the top of the page, you can click a box narrowing your search to just connecting staterooms. It makes finding rooms for families so much faster now.

The next exciting improvement is the long awaited ability to service back-to-back bookings. In the past, these bookings required calling the cruise line any time we needed to service them. With this new enhancement, we can service our back-to-back bookings without picking up the phone.

We look forward to the next set of enhancements that will roll out in the months to come!

Susan SchaeferSusan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel located in Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations, she focuses on travel for 18 to 23-year-olds. Susan can be reached by email at or by phone at (888) 221-1209.

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