The major cruise companies don't break down commission payments by brand, but Cruise Week suggests that in terms of total commission dollars paid out to North American agents, there’s a good chance Princess ranks near the top.
The vast majority of Princess’ 17 ships are geared to North Americans on a year-round basis. Plus, the line does not offer cruises shorter than seven days – and it is the short cruises that tend to attract more direct bookings and deliver lower commissions.
Princess Executive Vice President Jan Swartz sums up: "When I go to have conversations with national accounts, I stress that we are a huge source of absolute commission dollars. Yes, times are tight, and everybody is making a lot less money than they used to make. However, Princess is a great source of commissions earnings, reason being we sell seven- to 103-day cruises to a very large number of North Americans."
Swartz acknowledges that Princess doesn't get involved in special seasonal commission programs like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Why not? "We’re steady," replies Swartz. "We tend to have a set of policies and relationships with the trade that we stay with in good times and in bad times."
CEO Alan Buckelew sees the Princess commission policy is a microcosm of the company: "We’re not as flashy sometimes with get-rich-quick promotions. Our philosophy, and not just with travel agents, is to try to be a predictable business partner and try not to change our policies very often in good times or bad."