P&O Cruises defends docking agents’ commission

By Linsey McNeill
Home » P&O Cruises defends docking agents’ commission

P &O Cruises has defended reducing agents’ commission on last-minute cancellations, even after keeping 100% of the booking value.

An agent had questioned why P&O Cruises reduced their commission from 8.5% to 5% when a customer cancelled just days before their cruise.

Under the booking T&Cs, the customers forfeited 100% of the value of the cruise due to the late cancellation, so P&O Cruises wasn’t out of pocket.

However, it told the agent they needed to repay almost £150 of their commission.

As the customer intended to claim a refund from their travel insurance, the agent pointed out that they were the only ones to lose money, plus they had the additional work of processing the cancellation so the client could make an insurance claim.

The agent said they were ‘disgusted’, claiming that other travel companies don’t reduce agent commissions for last-minute cancellations when they can retain 100% of the client’s money.

Other agents suggested that the cruise line would be saving money on food and cleaning the empty cabin if guests canclled.

Travel Gossip asked rival cruise lines if they also dock commission for late cancellations, but most have not replied directly to the question.

MSC Cruises responded, saying they were ‘unable to comment on confidential agreements with trade partners’.

Norwegian Cruise Lines said: “While we will not discuss the specific details of our business practices, please know that we recognise and value the important relationship we have with our valued Travel Agent partners. Together, we put our mutual guests on exceptional holidays.”

P&O Cruises said: “Cancellations result in a shared loss of revenue for P&O Cruises and our travel partners.

“The wider impact includes empty cabins, a loss of ticketed and onboard revenue. 

“P&O Cruises focus is to work directly with our travel partners to review guests’ individual circumstances and look to mitigate against cancellations where possible which is mutually beneficial.”

It declined to expand upon the cost of empty cabins and also declined to say how much onboard revenue it estimated it would lose, but recent surveys have suggested that passengers typically spend around £85 per person per day on a cruise, although some of this is spent off the ship on excursions.

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