Saying that this has been a memorable hurricane season would be an understatement. In the Atlantic alone, dealing with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have strained resources in multiple locations, turned vacations upside down and inside out. This has costed clients, cruise lines, and shore excursion operators a significant amount of money.
The hurricanes have passed, with Hurricane Maria roughly four weeks behind us. But the aftermath of all three hurricanes so close together will linger for months, if not years. Texas, Florida, St Maarten, Puerto Rico, Barbuda, and other islands are still working on returning to some semblance of normal, while the cruise lines are working on returning to normal as quickly as possible.
In that vein, Norwegian Cruise Line recently made an announcement to promote specific 2017 cruises departing from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The first announcement released was confusing for travel agents. Based on feedback, Norwegian came out with an updated offer: a straight forward bonus commission on the sailings specified in the announcement. Norwegian Cruise Line said they “feel strongly that continuing [their] commitment to San Juan departures and all who are locally employed as a result of [their] ships and passengers within Puerto Rico is an important part of regaining normalcy and stability to the island and its residents. [They] ask for our support in reaffirming San Juan as a beautiful point of embarkation for Norwegian Dawn and the role [that] guests will play in supporting the local economy.”
In addition to the bonus commission offer, Norwegian Cruise Line is also incentivizing passengers. The promotion offers up to $1,000 in onboard credit specifically for 2017 Caribbean sailings. The promotion is also combinable with the ongoing Free at Sea promotion.
As the cruise lines return to ports of call that had been damaged, especially San Juan, some passengers are questioning the logic of returning so quickly. The cruise lines will be looking to us to help and support our Caribbean island partners. Norwegian just may be the first of many cruise lines looking to give Caribbean bookings a boost for the end of 2017, going into early 2018.
Reach out to your cruise line BDMs and work together to put together a marketing plan to rebuild your Caribbean sailings.
Susan 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (888) 221-1209.