Posted July 17th, 2005, 09:28 PM
The cruise lines, RCI included, aren't going to charge less than the TA's price for a couple of reasons. First, as others have pointed out, they don't want to alienate the companies that still sell a significant portion of their inventory. But it seems to me there's another reason: if you book directly with RCI, they have to handle the customer service that the TA would otherwise provide in exchange for the commission. It costs the cruise line money to employ people to answer questions about passports and visas, arrange special diets, change your dinner seating, process your deposit and final payment, etc. etc. If you book through a TA and then call RCI to handle these kinds of things, they generally send you right back to your TA.
I suspect this was a main reason for RCI's policy of one price/no discounting - they were having to do too much hand-holding with customers who'd booked through discount agencies that cut prices so low they couldn't afford to provide much in the way of customer service. So RCI would end up with lots more customer service calls and probably lots more clueless passengers (the ones who didn't call to ask about visas, dress codes, etc.).
I don't like
the higher prices and no discounting, mind you; I just can understand how it might have come down to this.
But, as usual, I could be wrong.
Explorer of the Seas ~ Caribbean ~ January 27, 2012