– Avalon Myanmar – Myanmar River Cruise – April 2017
*Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Journey – Singapore to Dubai (April 8, 2018)
* Azamara Quest – Southeast Asia and Japan (February 2015)
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Part I
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part II
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part III
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part IV
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Some Final Observations and Thoughts
– The Prologue to the Travelogue
– The Adventure Begins…With a Bump or Two
– Settling In Made Easy
– Luxury Touches Here, There and OK, Not, Everywhere…But There Are Lots of Them!
– Asian Flair Onboard and On Shore
– Private Tours, Israel and Conflicts in Perceptions and Perspective
Celebrity Equinox 2009 – Egypt…Impressive and Depressing
– Dining With the Captain and the Reidel Wine Seminar
– The Last Dinner (Tuscan Grille) and Disembarkation
– What Happens When A Class Act Meets Highly Discounted Cruise Fare
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part I
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part II
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part III
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part IV (Food & Wine!)
– Princess Cruises Doesn’t Treat You Like Royalty; Celebrity Cruises Does! Which is a Better Value for the Upscale Cruise Guest? Part I
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. -Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part II: The Standard Veranda Staterooms
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part III: Treating You Right From The Start
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part IV: The Wine Lists Speak Volumes (As Do The Beverage Packages)
Regent Seven Seas Voyager – August 2017
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part I
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part II (Getting There, The Stateroom and First Impressions)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part III (“You Can’t Teach Five Star Service” and Bonafacio, Corsica)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part IV (Calvi, Monaco, Portofino, Porto Azzurro…and Stale Bread)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part V (My Last Day…and How The Chef’s Team Makes It Happen)
On the heels of Seabourn announcing its busiest days (based upon phone calls and/or bookings) on record, Regent Seven Seas made a similar announcement which is now followed by Crystal Cruises and Silversea…and Regent Seven Seas UK’s office.
This is a good news/bad news scenario. (Remember calls and bookings do not equal gross sales increases.)
It is good because the prices have been so low and the givebacks (onboard credits/free air, etc.) by some lines so high that resistance has been broken. This does not mean, however, that the luxury ships are necessarily sailing full. While there are quite a number of cruises that are now sold out or nearly so, it means that quite a few sailings are simply now sailing with higher occupancies.
What I am finding is that there now is a scarcity of upper end suites on these ships. I had warned you all about this happening and, unfortunately, many did not listen. As a result, the across the board bargains (the cruise lines generally did not opt to only severely discount only the lower suites) and complimentary upgrades have filled the ships, but at the possible cost of degrading the perceived rarefied nature of luxury cruising. And…ironically…those willing to “pay the piper” just to get on a cruise this summer or fall are finding that it is the lack of suites, not the price, that is keeping them landlocked.
I am a bit concerned with pressure moving forward that the cruise lines not be perceived as “jacking up” prices when all they are really doing is moving toward “normalizing” them…triggered by simple supply and demand economics. Moreso, I am concerned that many bargain-hunting cruisers who spent their prior years conversing on how they were going to “smuggle booze” onto a ship and protesting even putting on a sport jacket at dinner may adversely affect the cruise experience the lines have been working so hard to maintain (some with more success than others).
With the summer sailing season just about upon us I will be very interested in the feedback from my clients and readers. I would not, however, weigh too heavily the comments on message boards like Cruise Critic because the views expressed will, for the most part, be from those who have never cruised on these luxury lines before and, thus, will be very pleased with the differences from the mass market lines. In other words, while many of the new-to-luxury cruisers will see a steep increase in cruise quality I am concerned that those experienced luxury cruisers will see a commensurate decrease. Hopefully my concerns will be meritless.
There is, of course, the other side of the coin. There are those new-to-luxury cruising that are going to really appreciate the product…not just the price. And those are the new clients that both the cruise lines and luxury travel agents are counting on for the future. There are four new luxury ships coming on line in the next few years (three for Seabourn and one for Silversea). While Silversea is rumored to be considering retiring or mothballing one or more of its ships, there is no doubt that there will be an increased capacity in the luxury market and berths will need to be filled.
Added to that is the increased quality and new ships in the premium market. Oceania has a new ship and Celebrity has its incredible Solstice-class ships. I am confident there will be a strong demand in this premium class to further up their game as those who have gotten a taste of the luxury market during this weaker market will just not be willing to part with their money for a cruise which is too far removed from that experience.
So with some bargains still out there, but inventories getting tight, coupled with the change in who will be aboard the ships, it is going to be very interesting.