Carnival to Discontinue Future Cruise Certificate Program
By Theresa Norton Masek
September 13, 2012 4:21 PM
Carnival Cruise Lines is eliminating its future cruise certificate program, which gave guests shipboard credit on their next cruise if they made a $100 deposit while onboard. The purchasers could finalize the ship and departure date up to two years later.
The program will end on departures on or after Sept. 27, but guests will still be able to get shipboard credit if they finalize the ship and sail date while onboard. Outstanding certificates will be honored up to the expiration date printed on the face of the certificate.
“After careful consideration, we’ve decided to eliminate the Future Carnival Vacations Program due to its low economic performance,” said a statement on www.GoCCL.com, the line’s travel agent website.
The onboard credit available through onboard booking remains the same — $50 per stateroom for cruises of three to five days, $75 for six days, $100 for seven to 10 days and $200 for 12 or more days. The program is not offered during three- and four-day cruises or in San Juan, so is unavailable on Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Spirit and Carnival Victory.
Travel agency commissions will continue to be protected on bookings made onboard.
Many Carnival customers appear unhappy with the decision, based on comments on the popular blog penned by Senior Cruise Director John Heald. His report that the program was ending garnered more than 460 comments within five hours.
“We always take advantage of this program and it was fantastic. Most of the time when we cruise we don’t know when or what ship our next cruise will be on, but we know we’ll be taking another,” wrote Shelley Johnston Ziegler. “Think about it from a typical working person’s point of view … a lot of us need to get approval for time off and make other travel arrangements and can’t do so so far in advance (assuming we cruise once a year or so). Please consider reinstating this program.”
Agreeing was JP Kraus: “The problem lies in making the confirmed reservation. When booking a cruise (or any vacation for that matter) most of us have to get permission from work, arranging a pet sitter, you name it. This is simply not possible if you have to book a cruise while we’re on a ship. With the [future cruise certificate] we’d be able to make a reservation from the comfort of our own home.”
Others said they didn’t want to spend time researching future cruises with the onboard sales counselor during their vacation, especially if there was a wait.