Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thank You to Norwegian Cruise Line

Within the past two weeks, a majority of the big cruise lines have implemented a fuel surcharge to supplement the increased cost of fuel over the last couple years. Although many of the cruise lines utilized similar fuel surcharge policies, Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) has stepped up to the plate by taking a huge risk, all for the benefit of its customers and travel agents.

NCL’s fuel surcharge policy differed in many ways from the policies of other cruise lines but there are two differences which stand out the most for me. The first difference is that NCL’s policy is not a retroactive policy. The majority of the cruise lines have implemented a fuel surcharge that not only applies to new bookings, but also to bookings which have already been made. In other words, travel agencies like Direct Line Cruises are now forced to contact each and every client who has booked on other cruise lines and advise them that they will be charged an additional sum of money despite the fact that the customer has already agreed to pay a set price. Needless to say, this creates a lot of tedious administrative work for the travel agent as well as a great deal of anger, disgust and frustration from customers who are now being told they must spend in excess of $100.00 per cabin booked or as an alternative, cancel their cruise.

NCL, on the other hand, after requesting the opinion of some of its travel agents at a recent event, elected to forgo the additional income it could generate by making the surcharge retroactive and decided that it did not want to burden its agents with the additional administrative work. This was an extremely bold statement by NCL in that it unselfishly looked out for the best interests of its customers and agents at a great expense to NCL.

The second difference is that unlike many of the cruise lines who made their surcharge effective immediately for new bookings, NCL’s surcharge is not in effect until December 1, 2007. By doing so, NCL has given all of its agents an opportunity to sit down and figure out the best way possible to implement the surcharge. Many of the other cruise lines did not afford agencies that luxury which made it extremely difficult for agencies to properly accept bookings with the surcharge included. Thanks to NCL, we were able to alter our computer systems to allow for the fuel surcharge with plenty of time to spare.

On behalf of Direct Line Cruises, its owners, IT personnel, staff and its customers who have already booked an NCL cruise, we thank you for looking out for our best interests at what I am sure is a large cost to you.

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