Aboard Holland America - World's Largest Cruise Night

| Oct. 17, 2008

Booking Incentives for Booking Onboard

For folks booking a cruise onboard between October 15 and 17th, a host of special booking incentives were made available. Onboard credit of varying amounts was offered for all bookings made onboard. In addition, reduced deposits abounded. For example, the normal $2,500 per person deposit required on a grand voyage booking ($3,500 for the World Cruise) was reduced to $1,750. The remainder of the deposit won't be due until December 5th. Also for those folks choosing Holland America's Cancellation Protection Plan, while the premium for this is normally due at booking, it is being deferred until December 5th as well. As always, deposits on these voyages are fully refundable up to four months prior to sailing.

For those people not interested in a grand voyage at this time, there are good deals to be had as well. Only a $300 fully refundable per person deposit is being required for voyages of 15 days or longer, with no additional money being due until final payment date. This is an amazing deal, especially for some of the more exotic or "Collector's Voyages," where the normal deposits can range into the thousands of dollars. For shorter cruises, reduced deposits are being offered as well, such as $100 per person to hold a spot on a cruise of 7 days or less, or $200 per person for cruises of lengths between 8 and 14 days. These deposits, too, are fully refundable up to the date of final payment.

Then there is also Holland America's normal $100 deposit program available for cruises of 36 days or less (excluding grand voyage segments). While the cruise can be cancelled prior to final payment, this $100 deposit program requires that the deposit remain on the guest's Mariner account number, to be applied to another voyage at anytime within a three year time period.

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Rita posing with Cruise Director Mike Connachan   Trisha Carter also posing with Cruise Director Mike Connachan

Just as travel agents on land extend their office hours during this busy Cruise Vacation month � to accommodate all the extra booking activity generated by these World's Largest Cruise Night events, so does Leah onboard the Statendam. She is adding extra desk hours over the next several days in order to help anyone onboard interested in finding the perfect cruise at the best price. And, unlike her compatriots on dry land, she is doing so without even having the incentive of extra commissions. All of her onboard bookings are automatically assigned back to the guest's preferred travel agent at home, who can then finalize the booking details once the guest arrives home. Holland America will also honor any lower pricing that travel agent is able to secure for the guest, up until the date of final payment.

The one thing I think a lot of us onboard the Statendam got out of the World's Largest Cruise Night event here onboard is that there really is no disadvantage to booking onboard � only advantages. It's truly a win-win situation that can be customized to the individual guest's circumstances. For example, I never liked the $100 deposit on all bookings deal. That deposit is normally not refundable, and can only be applied to another cruise within a three-year time period. Well, what happens if you lose interest in the particular cruise line, or can't find another cruise that meets your needs within three years? Then you lose your $100 deposit. Well, in my case, the reduced deposit deal works out perfectly. I can book an expensive cruise (as I did for a 70-day itinerary in 2010), making a mere $300 fully refundable deposit. Works for me!

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Mario, the Controller onboard the Statendam   Rita of CruiseMates and Trisha of CruiseCritic with Statendam cast

Other plans work best for others. For example, want your deposit to be fully refundable? Fine � do like I did and pay the slightly higher deposit amount rather than the $100 non-refundable one.

Want a grand voyage, but at a lower initial deposit amount? Book onboard and pay the reduced amount, with the remainder not due until early December. If you are planning on taking HAL's insurance, the premium for that won't be due until early December either.

Just want a few "open bookings" that are non-refundable, but at a mere $100 deposit? Simply set up $100 deposits on a couple of sailings or open bookings that you can decide upon later. You'll have three years to use them, and when something comes along that you like, you can simply move the open booking deposit over to that.

I was glad to have the opportunity to be a part of this historic seagoing event. Hopefully, I will be a part of a lot more of them as I sail on Holland America ships in future years, during that wonderful month of October -- also known as National Cruise Vacation Month!

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