Last updated: 02:18 PM ET, Fri April 15 2016

MSC Cruises Modifies Its Booking and Travel Agent Policies

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | MSC Cruises | Jason Leppert | April 15, 2016

MSC Cruises Modifies Its Booking and Travel Agent Policies

Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises

Cruise Critic is reporting that MSC Cruises will implement changes to several policies as they relate to bookings and travel agent rebates in order to more closely match other North American competitors.

For instance, reservation deposits will increase to $200 per person for sailings of 14 nights or less and $300 per person for those that are longer come May 1, which is $100 more per person than it was previously.

Additionally, MSC’s cancellation policy is also changing as it pertains to cruises less than 15 nights in length. In order for guests to cancel without penalty, they will need to do so no later than 90 days before sailing as opposed to the 60 days it was before.

MSC executive vice president, Ken Muskat, is quoted as explaining, “the adjusted cancellation and deposit policies are meant to help us manage inventory -- particularly as we open sales 18 months to two years in advance of a sailing -- and ensure that consumers are serious when booking a cruise with MSC.”

As it relates to travel agents, passengers will also be required to transfer their reservations, not yet paid in full, to their agent of choice within 60 days. Also, agents will not be allowed to sell MSC sailings for less than the line is, but they can still offer onboard credit and prepaid gratuity incentives.

These policy changes are similar to what Royal Caribbean International recently did to up its gratuity rates, also claiming to better align with competitors’ pricing. Similarly, MSC Cruises is proving bullish ahead of its plans to make further inroads in the North American market with the impending arrival of the MSC Seaside and opening of its private island in December 2017.

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