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The major companies in the field include: Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation, and Star Cruises/NCL.
Cruise brands take great care when it comes to their reputations because customers believe a brand name implies a certain standard of cruise.
Branding is essential for garnering new business, encouraging repeat customers, creating brand recognition, defining the company’s approach to operations and marketing, and most importantly, establishing customer loyalty.
Cruises have a variety of fixed costs, such as fuel, port administration, and customs.
To increase profits, the cruise operators seek to reduce these costs without adversely affecting quality. Larger companies can negotiate for such items as fuel and consumables much more easily than smaller companies. Through negotiations, costs can be effectively reduced, often by quite a bit.
Traditionally, cruise companies relied on travel agents to help them book cruises.
Cruise operators rely on printed brochures to sell their cruises.
Brochures are carefully designed to encourage advance booking, through such strategies as making off-season prices look dramatically lower than their on-season counterparts, and promising discounts for booking early.
Travel agents who specialize in arranging cruises often form strong alliances with cruise companies, who frequently support “their agents” through training, sales events, and customized marketing materials.
Cruise operators may decide to form alliances with other vacation service providers in order to create a more attractive package, or to create additional reasons for customer loyalty.
Cruise lines have different methods for tipping: several choose to enact a “no-tipping” policy; others provide a helpful brochure which suggests tipping in a very formulaic and orderly system, while some automatically levy a daily service charge.
Planning food and beverage supplies for an entire cruise ship relies on analyzing prior consumption patterns, planning menus for different types of passengers, forecasting needed quantities, and identifying expected changes to routine.
Onboard diseases, such as the norovirus, tend to garner a lot of media attention, but they are in no way the only threats. Security is also a significant concern, especially because cruises have recently begun marketing themselves as a very secure vacation option.