Booking.com launches US cruises in partnership with World Travel Holdings

Change Take

There doesn’t seem to be much downside to Booking.com being in the cruise business. As with the flights that launched in 2019, we can only say – what took you so long?

— Dennis Schaal

Known for many years as a primarily European-oriented lodging business, Amsterdam-based Booking.com on Thursday launched U.S. cruises through a partnership with cruise agency World Travel Holdings.

For Booking.com, which is the flagship brand of Booking Holdings, the deal to offer a white-label cruise site supported by World Travel Holdings in the US underlines the company’s commitment to be a bigger force in the US, where it competes with Expedia and Airbnb. The US is the world’s largest cruise market, accounting for 58% of all cruise bookings, the company said.

Booking Holdings’ parent brand, US-based Priceline.com, also offers cruises with World Travel Holdings, the largest US cruise agency, as its partner.

Differentiation of Booking.com cruises

Asked how Booking.com Cruises will differ from the rest of the pack, a spokesperson said: “The key differentiators of Booking.com Cruises are that customers will have access to exclusive offers and deals on our platform, as well as an improved spend process on the board. On Booking.com, when passengers make a cruise reservation and board the ship, their onboard account will automatically be credited with the amount they can use to purchase food, beverages, spa treatments, excursions, etc.

Booking.com customers will be able to choose from more than 10,000 sailings, over 30 cruise lines. Customers are eligible for “up to $50, $100, $500 or even $1,000” in ship credits depending on how much money they spent to book their cruises, and on Black Friday the company doubles those numbers.

Screenshot of Booking.com’s new cruise website. Source: Booking.com

Best price guarantee

Booking.com also offers a 110% best price guarantee. If a customer finds a lower price on a competing website after 48 hours of making their Booking.com Cruises booking, then Booking.com promises to refund 110% of the difference.

“Additional exclusive offers for time at sea will also be available on select cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and several others,” Booking.com said.

Telephone cruise reservations

Most cruise reservations are made over the phone due to the complexity of typical reservations, and World Travel Holdings agents will handle reservations, customer support and emails. The website also has live chat.

For now, Booking.com’s plan is to launch cruises only in the U.S., a spokesperson said, although the company wants to expand its customer base across all of its verticals, including stays, flights, car rentals, attractions, airport taxis and now cruises.

Some US users will be able to see Booking.com’s new cruise site starting today, and that percentage will grow over the next few weeks, the company said. It will be available on desktop and mobile.

Photo: Carnival Liberty sails from Miami. Source: Mike McBey/Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/158652122@N02/49476509766/in/photolist-2io53BQ-2nVW2Hc-2oev7Co-7GSnc8-7GWio3-2nWN8RQ-2o6eeHk-2mgftPf-2nmXdoV-2omvC3i-2oiQaFW- 2nNpnzz-7GWihs-2o4qFZ8-2ns6Nsf-bCzcfr-7GWioo-2ocRznN-2nH5sW5-2ogKzY7-2omb9Zh-2kep5AF-2nMUJJt-2nY5JN1-2obZsEa-2nMTM6p-7GSnbk-2obhTw4-7GWij j-7GSn58-7GS n4p-7GWisd-2nC9c5j-Boosun-2nn2DEr-2kMfNmb – 2oo9EQE-2oeEUBU-2okXVjp-2oc3M3v-2md6tNq-2mfS5ZZ-2kX7Vow-2kivHQZ-2mnT7Rd-2okSNR3-2m6pStm-2nrtM3S-2mkPK8n-2meLGAZ

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