Week in Review: Cruise Ship COVID Outbreak, New Agency Tech
Luxury Cruise Guide
20 November, 2022
Last weekend, Majestic Princess had to dock in Sydney, Australia, after 800 people onboard tested positive for COVID-19. All guests received rapid antigen tests; those who tested negative were able to disembark. Those who tested positive were assisted by Princess Cruises regarding forward travel home.
Nearly three years ago, Princess Cruises made headlines when several of its ships, including Diamond Princess, Golden Princess and Regal Princess, had to quarantine off the coast of Japan, California and Florida, respectively, due to positive COVID cases.
In other cruise news, Scenic Group USA announced that its “Advance Pay Commission Program”—initially debuted in July—will be extended through all of 2023. This means within 21 days of final payment being received by the cruise company, travel agencies enrolled in the program will receive their commission payments. There are no departure caveats and it’s applicable on both Scenic Luxury Cruises and Emerald Cruises river and ocean products.
Elsewhere, Disney Cruise Line acquired the partially completed ship formerly named Global Dream. Disney will work with Meyer Werft shipbuilding company to complete the cruise ship it will be renamed with certain features completely refreshed and is expected to set sail in 2025.
Bermuda has eliminated its travel authorization (TA) process some three weeks earlier than originally scheduled. The requirement for an approved TA, the associated $40 fee, and proof of vaccination or medical insurance will no longer be a condition of travel from November 14, 2022. In its place, the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) will reinstate the Bermuda Arrival Card, a digital form for visitors only, which was in place prior to the onset of the pandemic.
In Europe, the Finance Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany has reiterated its determination to impose a new tax on vacation packages taking place in the country. If implemented, according to the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), a U.S. business selling German product to a U.S. consumer will be expected to register with the German Authorities and pay a sales tax on the price paid.
New Agency Tech
At Cruise Planners’ CP World, taking place earlier this week in Miami and onboard Norwegian Prima, the agency unveiled new technology tools and applications, most notable of which was the LivePlanner tool. Now advisors have a real-time, live consultation session for vacation planning and presentation with their clients. In tandem with the new LivePlanner, advisors can expect to soon see LivePlanner Collections, including specific destinations and brands, or specific ships, resorts or tours. By combining LivePlanner and Cruise Planners’ newly enhanced Trip Summary 2.0, advisors will be able to build a day-by-day sample itinerary.
Coming soon, too, is Destination Hub, a new addition to CP Maxx. It will also give advisors destination information at the click of a button, powered by Fodor's.
Separately, aboard Norwegian Encore for the annual Dream Vacations and CruiseOne conference, the agencies debuted a new Groups Application. Scheduled to debut in February 2023, the innovative technology is designed to help Dream Vacations and CruiseOne franchise agency advisors more easily book, track and service both group cruise and land vacation bookings. It’s also compatible with multiple devices and browsers.
No Signs of Slowing: According to Tripadvisor’s recent “Seasonal Travel Index” report, globally, the desire to travel shows no sign of abating, with two-thirds of respondents planning to travel this winter season. Nearly 90 percent additionally said they will travel the same amount or more compared to last year.
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