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Why Cruise Lines can give great Discounts to Some Folks
Old 06-29-2012, 11:50 AM   #1
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Why Cruise Lines can give great Discounts to Some Folks

This is from part of an email that I received from Vacations To Go, an online company that tries to sell last minute cruises. I looks to me to be a pretty good explanation on why/how they can offer last-minute rates that are often 50% lower than the regular price.

I have always thought how convenient it would be to live near an embarkation port like Seattle or Ft. Lauderdale or even Houston and be able to drop everything on the spur of the moment and jump on a ship for a week or so to take advantage of $50/day cruise after driving to the local port in your car.

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Cruise lines can provide such outstanding value because of the efficiency with which they deliver their service.

For example, the typical cruise ship has teams of room stewards, chefs and waiters working 7 days a week to clean 1,000 cabins per day and prepare and serve three or four meals a day to 2,000 passengers. When the ship sails from the port of departure, the Hotel Director knows exactly how many meals will be served for the entire cruise and the ship has been provisioned accordingly. Every cabin, table and employee is fully utilized, every day.

That's much more efficient and less wasteful than the system land-based hotels and restaurants must employ to serve a much smaller group of customers who vary in number daily.

As ships have gotten larger and cruise lines have grown into billion-dollar enterprises, feeding and transporting more than 15 million passengers every year, the cruise lines' huge buying power has reduced their costs for everything consumed on the ship. Plus, larger ships and show lounges spread the cost of entertainers, the captain, officers and cruise director over more people.

And unlike airlines and hotels that accept empty seats and rooms during slow periods, cruise lines will do whatever it takes to sail full. All lines except the four 6-star cruise lines will slash prices as low as they need to in order to fill every cabin, and even the 6-star lines are now offering discounts that were once unheard of.

They do this for two reasons. First, on most lines, a significant percentage of the crews' compensation comes from gratuities -- and there are no gratuities from empty cabins.

Second, venues such as casinos, spas, boutiques, photography studios and excursion desks are completely dependent on onboard purchases, which of course are directly related to the number of people onboard.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:35 PM   #2
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I have always thought how convenient it would be to live near an embarkation pot like Seattle or Ft. Lauderdale or even Houston and be able to drop everything on the spur of the moment and jump on a ship for a week or so to take advantage of $50/day cruise after driving to the local port in your car.
We've taken advantage of this on three occasions, driving to Galveston for week-long cruises - but never again. A cruise ship is an enjoyable and very convenient way to vacation until something goes wrong (bad weather, mechanical problems, outbreak of stomach bug, etc.) and then it begins to resemble a floating prison.

We're done cruising.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:50 PM   #3
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We've taken advantage of this on three occasions, driving to Galveston for week-long cruises - but never again. A cruise ship is an enjoyable and very convenient way to vacation until something goes wrong (bad weather, mechanical problems, outbreak of stomach bug, etc.) and then it begins to resemble a floating prison.

We're done cruising.
Yeah, I have always wanted to take a cruise and even though I am aware of the pitfalls you mention, I would take the chance. Of course I would have to go alone as DW is not getting on a cruise ship. Nohow, noway, never. Almost had her talked into it until last March when she got the norovirus and had to be hospitalized for 5 days. Befor that it was all the things that could happen as you mention and then this virus came along and really put the kabosh on the cruises. We're done. Just another thing in life I won't get to do.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:08 PM   #4
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You guys are making a good point when it comes to the negatives in vacation cruises. But there are negatives to most adventures.

We have taken two cruises (Alaska and Panama Canal) and both have been a total success, but we embarked from Seward, Ak and San Diego, CA so our air travel cost really bumped up the total cost.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:08 PM   #5
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Yeah, I have always wanted to take a cruise and even though I am aware of the pitfalls you mention, I would take the chance. Of course I would have to go alone as DW is not getting on a cruise ship. Nohow, noway, never. Almost had her talked into it until last March when she got the norovirus and had to be hospitalized for 5 days. Befor that it was all the things that could happen as you mention and then this virus came along and really put the kabosh on the cruises. We're done. Just another thing in life I won't get to do.
There are "repositioning" cruises and short cruises that may only be 3 days long. My wife used to be a travel agent selling cruises and she always recommended those "on the fence" about cruising to try a 3-day cruise where they can find one. That way, if you don't like it, you're only out the cost of 3 days and the reduced misery of puking over the rail for 3 days instead of 7. And if you like it, you may have found a new vacation option.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:05 PM   #6
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I went on a repositioning cruise ziggy. To try out cruising and see if I was a cruise fan. I prefer other vacation types. BUT I booked a five day cruise with my DH the last week in January. To the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Bahamas...total cost with taxes in and gratutities...less than 250$ a day. I pay more for the hotel sans meals before and after the cruise in Miami...
It is a cheap way to escape the Canadian winter.....food was great...I know they call the Carnival cruise line the "Kmart" cruise line...but I am not a snob..and I thought the food was fabulous.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:05 PM   #7
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This is from part of an email that I received from Vacations To Go, an online company that tries to sell last minute cruises. I looks to me to be a pretty good explanation on why/how they can offer last-minute rates that are often 50% lower than the regular price.
I have always thought how convenient it would be to live near an embarkation port like Seattle or Ft. Lauderdale or even Houston and be able to drop everything on the spur of the moment and jump on a ship for a week or so to take advantage of $50/day cruise after driving to the local port in your car.
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We've taken advantage of this on three occasions, driving to Galveston for week-long cruises - but never again. A cruise ship is an enjoyable and very convenient way to vacation until something goes wrong (bad weather, mechanical problems, outbreak of stomach bug, etc.) and then it begins to resemble a floating prison.
We're done cruising.
Vacations To Go is one of the better consolidators. I remember using them a lot when we were pricing our cruises. Spouse's parents used them for 20-30 of their cruises on both coasts and in Europe.

We had the "good timing" to be on two interisland cruises with the parents-in-law (and our daughter)-- the first one just before the outbreak of the Iraq war, and the second just before Katrina. It was an opportunity for great family bonding with the granddaughter but the PILs managed to screw up their priorities. Both times the entire ship became obsessed with getting in position for a satellite feed (not so easy in the middle of the Pacific below 25N) and my FIL spent most of the week glued to CNN obsessing over events that he had no control over. Part of it was the "warhorse" effect of being a retired CBS technician and wanting to be in the newsroom watching the live feeds, but he spent every conscious minute of every day shaking his head and uttering one doom&gloom statement after another. By the end of the week it was a relief that he was holed up in the stateroom glued to the TV.

Now that spouse and I can hop on a cruise anytime we want to, we never seem to get around to it. There's always some other trip on the schedule or some other activity we'd rather do.

We've had the opposite experience with being 45 minutes away from Pier 10 for NCL. Their home office (where you make the reservations) is in Miami and their Honolulu staff depends on getting the info from them, not from us. So if you try to get a last-minute price you may score a great discount, only to spend a couple hours of back & forth over ID & security issues.

My fear isn't so much weather or norovirus as it is a failure of the toilet vacuum system-- especially in the case of norovirus.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:09 PM   #8
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I booked at the early bird rate...could have saved myself 50 more if I bought a 100 voucher on the last Carnival cruise (for 50 dollars.an incentive to book with them again).
Of course they made money with myself and DH with our bar tab!
Also the rate I paid for two people was for a balcony room....you can cruise even cheaper if you take and inside cabin.
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:45 PM   #9
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We have used Vacations2Go a couple times.

Their prices can be beat though. Sometimes by wads of money.

I suggest you find a good deal on a cruise by checking websites (including vacations2go) and then bid it out on www.cruiseCompete.com for an even better rate. Don't jump at the first offer, let it sit overnight before you commit to anything. You just may be amazed at how low they can go.

The lowest rate I have seen for a cruise is $150 pp for a week long cruise. That was an inside cabin. better cabins were more money. That was an exceptional deal though. You'll most certainly pay more.
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:16 PM   #10
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There are "repositioning" cruises and short cruises that may only be 3 days long. My wife used to be a travel agent selling cruises and she always recommended those "on the fence" about cruising to try a 3-day cruise where they can find one. That way, if you don't like it, you're only out the cost of 3 days and the reduced misery of puking over the rail for 3 days instead of 7. And if you like it, you may have found a new vacation option.
+1

My father had always been paranoid of getting sea sick, and therefore refused to go on a cruise. However, I figured that because of his tightwad ways, if someone were to buy him a cruise, he wouldn't pass it up.

So, for Christmas 2010, I gave my parents a 3 day cruise out of Miami (they were in SW Florida at the time), on Royal Caribbean. Of course, my dad had a great time, and they ended up booking a week around the Mediterranean with some friends the following year (but still waiting for him to get off his duff and book another one!).

I can't recall if I used cruises.com or who, but it was one of those discount places - and I'd never agree to paying anything more than at least 25% off of the "brochure rate" (often 50%), since there's always some sale you can get.
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:23 PM   #11
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My fear isn't so much weather or norovirus as it is a failure of the toilet vacuum system-- especially in the case of norovirus.
Yep, that would really suck.
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Old 06-29-2012, 06:51 PM   #12
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Yep, that would really suck.
I feel sorry for the guy who has to blow...
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:39 PM   #13
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We've taken advantage of this on three occasions, driving to Galveston for week-long cruises - but never again. A cruise ship is an enjoyable and very convenient way to vacation until something goes wrong (bad weather, mechanical problems, outbreak of stomach bug, etc.) and then it begins to resemble a floating prison.

We're done cruising.
Sounds like you had a bad experience. DW and I have been on 5 or 6 cruises and have a terrific experience on every one. Maybe just lucky, but we would go on another.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:30 PM   #14
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Ive been half way looking at cruises to take sometime in Aug. Since I saw this thread I thought I would check out cruisecompete.com.

So far the 3 offers Ive gotten on the cruise I picked are all higher than the standard rate I saw on the cruise company's website. One was ridiculously higher. Not impressed so far.
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Old 06-30-2012, 02:42 AM   #15
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Yep, that would really suck.
Actually, it would really blow...
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:40 AM   #16
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Have not read previous posts in details but 2 cents from my experience.

What VacationsToGo says is right but in the US, cruise is considered more as a luxury than a mode of transportation.The way they treat in Europe is more as a mode of transportation (and luxury as well if you like it that way) but their profit mainly comes from duty-free shopping on the board. I have no idea if the US cruise liners employ similar model as well. Hence, they want maximum people on board. I have cruised for almost free many a times on 2 day cruise.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:00 AM   #17
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The explanation given mostly explains why cruises can be offered at cheap prices. The reason they can be offered at huge discounts near a cruise date relates more to the nature of their costs which are almost totally fixed. Problem wih the last minute booking is they are generally for the less desirable cabins. This may be just fine for many people but not all. Keep in mind you can usually get about 25% off the listed rates at any time. Cruising would indeed be one of the best values in travel today. The smallr, more exclusive ships generally offer better itineraries and overall experience at a higher price point. For many lines the experience is very much" mass market"
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:07 AM   #18
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We have used Vacations2Go a couple times.

Their prices can be beat though. Sometimes by wads of money.

I suggest you find a good deal on a cruise by checking websites (including vacations2go) and then bid it out on www.cruiseCompete.com for an even better rate. Don't jump at the first offer, let it sit overnight before you commit to anything. You just may be amazed at how low they can go.

The lowest rate I have seen for a cruise is $150 pp for a week long cruise. That was an inside cabin. better cabins were more money. That was an exceptional deal though. You'll most certainly pay more.
Vacations2Go prices seem very good until you link over to the specific cruise line's web page and find exactly the same price that V2G says is an XX% discount; that's because V2G measures from the 'rack rate' for effect. Even though V2G is a good starting point to search, why would I go thru V2G when I can deal directly with the cruise line? And, our experience has been that a good travel agent will find all these discounts---and more. So, we use a travel agent.

I'd be very interested in additional discount cruise sites that others have used and been pleased with, due to discounts and service.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:20 PM   #19
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Vacations2Go prices seem very good until you link over to the specific cruise line's web page and find exactly the same price that V2G says is an XX% discount; that's because V2G measures from the 'rack rate' for effect. Even though V2G is a good starting point to search, why would I go thru V2G when I can deal directly with the cruise line? And, our experience has been that a good travel agent will find all these discounts---and more. So, we use a travel agent.

I'd be very interested in additional discount cruise sites that others have used and been pleased with, due to discounts and service.
Our last two cruises we had pretty much the same experience, where the cruise line matched or beat the discounters we had quoted, and of course, with much less administrative BS.


Now back to those malfunctioning toilets..I'm getting a very ugly picture of a Rotor Rooter guy coming on the intercom and saying he is going to reverse the system briefly, and for everyone to remain 5 feet away from their commode.
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:16 PM   #20
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Being annual cruisers with now 23 cruises under our belts, and #24 is already booked for next Summer as a retirement celebration, don't rule out booking early to get discounts. For us personally (so don't jump on me if you've found diff, I'm just relaying our experiences), we have gotten the better deals booking a year or more out. In addition, you can score your best deals between Jan-Mar every year as the cruise lines stocks are partially evaluated on amount of cruise deposits/advanced bookings for the year. Shareholders like seeing lots of bookings.

The cruising model has evolved to where the ship itself is now a major revenue generator vs just the mode of transportation. That's why lines offer low prices to get you on board, then almost everything else is fee-for-service. Just think of the airlines who probably learned to charge for checked bags from the cruise industry!

Of course, if you're a "gaming enthusiast," once you get rated in a ship's casino, the offers can start to flow for "free" cruises. Been on 2 so far and next year's is also comp'd from the cruise line's casino marketing dept. I say "free" because you still have to pay the taxes, gratuities, and we always upgrade to higher category cabins--so, for us, it's a deeply discounted cruise.

Hope this helps somewhat. I also use Discount Cruises. Best cruise prices as agents compete at CruiseCompete. for our bookings to get the best deal and the most comps like on board credits.
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