Discount Cruises boss defends launch amid criticism

By Harry Kemble
Home » Discount Cruises boss defends launch amid criticism

The boss of new online-only cruise agency Discount Cruises has defended the business after its recent launch attracted criticism.

One agent said it is impossible to compete with the online retailer, which launched earlier this month, and another said selling cut-price cruises was a ‘race to the bottom’.

Jason Daniels launched the Discount Cruises brand to run alongside his ‘full-service business’ OTA Cruise Circle in a bid to appeal to customers ‘who don’t want to book with a human’.

Customers are offered up to 10% off the normal price and Jason told Travel Gossip he’s aiming the business at people looking for an online discount – but agents say it’s impossible to compete.

One Bristol-based homeworker, who asked not to be named, said: “Everyone seems to be racing to discount cruises.

“It’s impossible to compete with it because they’re just giving it away. They’re working on 3% or 4% commission. It’s frustrating.”

A Personal Travel Agent called the decision to launch Discount Cruises ‘c**p’, adding: “People are going to try and save money, but if anything goes wrong with that booking, they’re absolutely screwed. It’s scary.”

A Birmingham-based homeworker said there has been an increase in the number of cut-price cruises currently being offered.

“We’re having to discount ourselves,” he said. “It’s a race to the bottom and it doesn’t help any of us.”

However, he argued the value of booking through an agent was demonstrated when they matched the customer with the right cruise.  

“I think there’s a market for online bookings, but I don’t think that market should be cheaper,” the agent added.

“Are you telling me that someone who books online won’t have a query about their booking?”

He called for other agents to work together to stop cruise retailers ‘under-cutting’ each other.

“There will always be diehards who offer 15% off a cruise, but how long will they last?,” he asked.

One Yorkshire-based Not Just Travel agent, meanwhile, said he is not concerned by the launch of the Discount Cruises brand.

“There will always be an element of people that will shop to death to save 5p,” he argued. “But there’s a far bigger portion of people who want that service.

“The vast majority of the people in this country want to speak to someone when they book a holiday.”

A Travel Counsellor, based in Hampshire, said Discount Cruises was just ‘a travel platform’. “They must think it is worthwhile thing to launch,” she said.

“Being a Travel Counsellor, our business proposition is about being there for people and solving problems.”

In response to Travel Gossip’s request for a comment, Jason said: “We’ll continue to grow Cruise Circle as a full-service business, but there are some people that just want an online-only solution. We’re just trying to cover all bases.

“Is it that bad to have a clear consistent discount message for online only bookings?”

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