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Luxury cruise lines cut perks to offer premium cruisers big savings

A number of luxury cruise lines have stripped the extras from their itineraries in a bid to lure premium and upper premium cruisers. These luxury lines now have more affordable options and savings of up to 40 per cent off.

Companies like Silversea are now selling cruises which don’t include parts of your holiday like private executive transfers, pre and post cruise hotels, luggage handling, international flights and airport transfers before and after your cruise.

The new promotion called Port-to-Port All-Inclusive fares will still include all of the usually onboard amenities and services as well as some shore excursions.

And the savings are huge. Silversea are offering a 25 per cent discount off the line’s most-inclusive fares which may attract premium cruisers to consider new luxury lines.

For instance, a seven-day cruise on the Silver Spirit departing from Barcelona in April 2022 and sailing to Rome, at the Door-To-Door offer is priced from $8,300 while the Port-To-Port price is from $4,950.

Atlas Ocean Voyages made all of its base cruise fares exclusive of air travel and shore excursions on new bookings for departures on or after April 24. An Atlas voyage, for example has dropped from $7,678 to $5,285 per person for a Mediterranean sailing.

Director of My Cruise Concierge Michelle Levins says she believes more of her clients will be attracted into luxury with the lower prices.

“Port to Port with Silversea still offer all the luxury inclusions that clients would expect on the cruise but without the added extras before and after the cruise, deposit is non-refundable.

“For our luxury clients on Silversea we will not see much of a change in buying pattern here.  Perhaps new clients to Silversea might be more tempted by the cheaper price however our clients are mostly in search of value, so if the offered arrangements suit them, they will take the higher fare.”

Ms Levins also said that it will give premium cruisers the opportunity to try luxury lines, and still use their frequent flyer points in order to get the best bargain.

“Unbundling of cruise fares is great for clients that are keen to use frequent flyer flights instead of taking advantage of a cruise line flight special or perhaps they have a different itinerary pre or post their voyage, this means clients can have the itinerary that best suits them.”

And on the flip side, some premium cruise lines are moving in the opposite direction, challenging the previous notions that luxury lines provide all-inclusive service and premium lines offer base fares.

Norwegian Cruise Line has been running a deal where one initial price will include all your alcohol, specialty dining, shore excursions, Wi-Fi and further gratuities. Holland America Line and Princess Cruises have also been offering similar fares, meaning the days of needing to book a luxury cruise for the all-inclusive might be coming to an end.

“All inclusive fares on mainstream cruise lines can include things such as specialty restaurants, drink packages, WiFi and so this often represents a huge saving than pay as you go, so long as you use these,” said Ms Levins.

“If you only have two drinks a day you will not get the benefit from a drinks package.”