– 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)
While all you have been hearing is news of new sales by the cruise lines, the fact is that while prices may be lower, passenger loads are actually increasing nicely and are, on some lines, even ahead of 2008.
Princess just sent out an email that the other day was the busiest booking day in the line’s history. SeaDream Yacht Club just stated in a conference call that it anticipates increasing its fares. CLIA (Cruise Line International Association – the industry association) stated earlier this week that overall cruise line sales are up about 2.8% over last year.
To what extent this trend holds true for the luxury lines I am not sure. Personally I am finding many Seabourn cruises this Spring to be very short on suites; one A2, a couple of A3s and such. My cruise on the Spirit in September is essentially sold out. Obviously that is not true for all cruises, but the sales are getting more bodies on the ships. On the other hand, Regent is getting pretty aggressive as to added value while pretty much maintaining their “highest in the industry” pricing; Silversea is not seeing (from what I can tell) full ships, Crystal is apparently having light loads and Seabourn is running fairly aggressive discount promotions.
I have seen a definite trend toward less cruises, but for longer cruises with higher bottom lines. Essentially my luxury clients are seeing “value” and, especially in rough economic times, “value” can be more important than price. So rather than taking a one week cruise that last year would have cost $9,000, this year’s similar cruise costs $6,000…so spending $12,000 for two weeks is such a great “value” makes the decision easy.
To be sure, I (and many travel agents) are spending almost as much time repricing previously booked cruises as booking new ones. As a result I have figured out quite a few pricing strategies that can provide even greater “value” to my clients. (I could let you know what they are, but then you wouldn’t need me…at least as much!)
What I am wondering, and I have no data on this, is if the cruise lines (especially the inclusive luxury ones) are trading dollars for passengers, but are losing revenue because of the lower fares. (Less passengers paying higher fares vs. More passengers paying lower fares) On the mass market lines, the holy grail of onboard revenue plays a large part in revenues, so I can understand the discounting a bit more. Only time will tell if luxury net revenues are up or down.
But, if you are looking at cruising in 2009 I am getting the feeling that NOW is the best time to book your cruise.