Celebrity Cruises is the latest brand to adopt a fare with nonrefundable deposit, joining efforts by other cruise lines to stop booking practices which they don't like.
Starting November 29, Celebrity will offer a nonrefundable option with lower fare. As is the case with other lines, passengers will still be able to book cruises with refundable deposits, but at a higher price.
The move comes 6 months after a similar decision was taken by Royal Caribbean, which, just like the Celebrity brand, is owned by RCC Ltd.
On a recent voyage onboard Harmony of the Seas, Michael Bayley (Royal Caribbean president) told travel agents that efforts to load cruise ships early in the booking cycle through a base of confirmed business had been stymied by refundable deposits.
He added that base-loading is the pricing strategy which enables Royal Caribbean to reward early booking with lower prices and had the confidence to raise prices to premium levels closer to ship's departure. According to Bayley, nonrefundable deposits helped agents by reducing the amount of rebooking and repricing they did.
Carnival has had a nonrefundable feature since 2009 with the Early Saver fares. These fares are up to 25% lower, but canceling prior to the final payment triggers a US$50 change fee.