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-   -   Cruise Pricing as sailing date approaches (http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f46/cruise-pricing-as-sailing-date-approaches-87485.html)

sengsational 07-04-2017 02:07 PM

Cruise Pricing as sailing date approaches
 
I poked around looking for "last minute cruises", but nothing popped-out at me that gave me much insight into the typical scheme used by cruise lines to tread the line between getting people aboard and keeping up the profit margins. IOW, the schedule for price decreases as sailing date approaches.

There just might be someone on here that's watched the price of a cruise or two as the sailing date approached, and can make some generalizations about their observations.

It depends on how full the ship is expected to be, of course. I'm looking at this 14 day re-positioning cruise and the price has gone from $1731, to $1634, to $1562 (for an obstructed balcony...I use that not because that's what I'll book, but it's the one quoted). The price didn't go straight down...it bounced around those prices between 80 and 66 days before sailing (the time I've been watching). Oh, and they add $230 to these prices, plus $182 in tips, so the price I'm quoting is the standard industry practice "BS low-ball brochure" amount. And of course times two, for two people. But I digress.

When I check the cruise on the Princess site, there appears to be plenty of cabins available. There are a few of the cheapest of the cheap balconies (the ones with a lifeboat hanging in front of balcony). And there seem to be very many of the unobstructed ones. And this is 66 days from sailing.

Should I wait to see if the price drops more?

braumeister 07-04-2017 02:19 PM

From my observations, I would say you're still way too early. The great bargains only happen in the last month before sailing.

OldShooter 07-04-2017 02:37 PM

Guessing the date is a crap shoot, but I certainly would not be making decisions based on published sticker prices. I would contact them via email asking for best price on the cabin grade you want. When they respond, almost regardless of the offer, I would reject it as being too low and ask when you should contact them again -- closer to the sailing date. That may get you an attractive price right out of the gate or, if not, might get you some valuable information.

I did exactly that on a small Galapagos ship and when I rejected the offer I got this back: "Let me check with my sales manager." And within a couple of days I had a deal that was almost 40% off. Granted that is quite a bit different scenario than dealing with one of those giant ship/giant company sales departments but you never know. ...

Nemo2 07-04-2017 02:48 PM

Some lines, Royal Caribbean is apparently one, seem to rise as the sail date nears, but RC require a larger down payment in advance....others drop off drastically.

As OS says, it's a crap shoot...ya pays yer money (or not) and ya takes yer chances.

Dash man 07-04-2017 02:57 PM

Royal Caribbean changed their policy a year or two ago to not offer lower prices as last minute deals. Their prices do go up as the sail date gets closer. A few years back if you booked early and the price of your cabin class went down, they would refund the difference. Those days are gone and their stock is doing quite well!

SteveNU 07-04-2017 03:44 PM

The more desirable cabins tend to get booked early. The closer you get to sail away the better deals tend to be found on those cabins that are less desirable.

Texas Proud 07-04-2017 03:53 PM

We found out, but could not go, was the best deals were a couple of days before the cruise...


They called us up 2 days before an offered us a cabin for about $200 for a week... that is $200 for me AND DW, not each....

Would have taken it except for having to deal with DD and someone coming over that we had scheduled...

YVRRocketSurgery 07-04-2017 04:38 PM

For Celebrity, we typically watch their "Exciting Deals" list that comes out Tuesdays and only lasts a few days. I seems like the best deals are the ones with a lot of capacity after the final payment day which I think is 75 days out. Post final payment date, you pretty much have to pay the full price of the cruise immediately versus just putting down a deposit. I suspect the pricing fluctuates pending how much people jump at the deals.

I forget if it's for Norwegian or Holland America but my wife have booked cruises on them with her family. What they seem to do is offer cheap category upgrades to my wife after she has booked which I'm assuming is an effort to free up cheaper lower category rooms which I'm assuming is an easier sell.

MichaelB 07-04-2017 04:43 PM

If there is a sale, Royal Caribbean lets you reprice to the lower sale price as long as you are outside of the "90 day 'til cruise" date. Most of their sales are bogus, but occasionally they do have real sales. We've only cruised once, but over the p[ast two years it looks like pricing has risen due to very strong demand.

HtownRose 07-04-2017 05:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Texas Proud (Post 1904136)


They called us up 2 days before an offered us a cabin for about $200 for a week... that is $200 for me AND DW, not each....

Would love to get on this call list!

CyclingInvestor 07-04-2017 06:00 PM

My friend (70+ cruises) is always watching a few. Best deal taken so far is $799 for 14 day Alaska booked just a couple weeks before sailing last year on Holland America. Best deals always seem to be close to sailing (if you are flexible and can afford to play chicken).

Bamaman 07-04-2017 06:24 PM

We've been on cruises to Mexico and The Bahamas so many times. Been to virtually every Caribbean island (except Martinique)--most islands we've seen numerous times. So used to landing at the San Juan Airport we feel like Puerto Ricans.

Then we moved over to The Baltics and cruised the Scandinavian countries and St. Petersburg. Next, we cruised from Italy to Malta and through Grecian islands and Turkey. Then we took a bargain cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome--stopping at Azores and 2 Spanish ports we didn't care for. Now, we feel like Italians after visiting Rome three times in 2 years. I can tell you we don't want to go back on Holland America--too many really, really old people.

My wife continues to surf the internet late nights looking for cruise bargains. She keeps coming up with deals giving back so many freebies that any more and they'd be paying us to go. I keep telling her I'm not interested in cruising any longer, but I don't think she gets the message. I'm just cruised out.

The best deals come when you're really indifferent about going. If you don't care, the freebies will abound. After researching on our own, we book our trips through Avoya Travel's independent agent, Ann Kent. I've never seen such an organized person, and she stays in close contact with "her people" online and on the phone.

Souschef 07-04-2017 06:29 PM

In my experience, the sales start inside 90 days out, which is when final payment is due. That opens up a lot of cabins.
The problem is the most popular cabins go first, leaving you with inside (ugh) or obstructed view, or way aft or way forward.
For people in Florida, they can just sit and wait for a good deal. Because of TSA rules, you cannot show up the day of a cruise and expect to get on the ship.
Since we are on the West Coast, we have fewer options. The cruise will be north to Alaska or south to Mexico. From Florida there all sorts of itineraries hitting different islands or parts of Mexico,etc.
Because of logistics, such as air travel we tend to book very early and get a good selection of cabins.
YMMV

cathy63 07-04-2017 09:02 PM

If you wait, won't you eat up any savings on the cruise fare by having to pay for higher air fares to and from the embark/debark ports?

Souschef 07-04-2017 09:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cathy63 (Post 1904289)
If you wait, won't you eat up any savings on the cruise fare by having to pay for higher air fares to and from the embark/debark ports?

If you live in Florida, it is not a problem. But you are right! We booked flights to the Big Island of Hawaii, and the fare is now 50% higher!

HtownRose 07-04-2017 09:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cathy63 (Post 1904289)
If you wait, won't you eat up any savings on the cruise fare by having to pay for higher air fares to and from the embark/debark ports?

Back when I had a "real j@b," yes that would have been an issue. Now I have a part time "retirement j@b" with an airline, so airfare is free with my employer or heavily discounted if I have to fly another airline.

audreyh1 07-04-2017 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cathy63 (Post 1904289)
If you wait, won't you eat up any savings on the cruise fare by having to pay for higher air fares to and from the embark/debark ports?

That's why I expect. Unless we drive to Galveston, which is a possibility, it will cost a lot more to buy a plane ticket within 2 weeks of travel.

Scuba 07-04-2017 10:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HtownRose (Post 1904302)
Back when I had a "real j@b," yes that would have been an issue. Now I have a part time "retirement j@b" with an airline, so airfare is free with my employer or heavily discounted if I have to fly another airline.



What kind of retirement j@b can one get with an airline? Did you previously w*rk in the industry? I keep thinking I should try to do something in the travel industry since we love to travel so much.

HtownRose 07-05-2017 08:29 AM

Reservations agent in a call center. My previous experience is insurance - first half underwriting / marketing on the company side, then account service on the broker side. I played up the "customer service" aspect when I applied to the airline, but of course it's totally different. Had to start as full time, & there's been quite a learning curve, but just got approved to go part time.

I had been looking into retiring & going on the ACA but the plans available in my area appeared a bit sketchy - no PPOs - only HMOs & the others with the E - & my assistant at work had done the call center job & it sounded like a nice little bridge-to-retirement job since it came with full benefits even if you were part time.

I was also avidly reading this forum & saw all the ACA issues some were having, & it just seemed too risky to completely retire in my 40s/50s without having a better grasp of how available & affordable health insurance would be until Medicare eligibility. The airline has retiree medical which I could be eligible for at age 61, but I'm only 50 so plenty of time for that to change. (My previous employer offered it at age 55 & 10+ years of service, until they didn't, which is when I began to seriously plan my exit.)

Texas Proud 07-05-2017 08:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HtownRose (Post 1904445)
Reservations agent in a call center. My previous experience is insurance - first half underwriting / marketing on the company side, then account service on the broker side. I played up the "customer service" aspect when I applied to the airline, but of course it's totally different. Had to start as full time, & there's been quite a learning curve, but just got approved to go part time.

I had been looking into retiring & going on the ACA but the plans available in my area appeared a bit sketchy - no PPOs - only HMOs & the others with the E - & my assistant at work had done the call center job & it sounded like a nice little bridge-to-retirement job since it came with full benefits even if you were part time.

I was also avidly reading this forum & saw all the ACA issues some were having, & it just seemed too risky to completely retire in my 40s/50s without having a better grasp of how available & affordable health insurance would be until Medicare eligibility. The airline has retiree medical which I could be eligible for at age 61, but I'm only 50 so plenty of time for that to change. (My previous employer offered it at age 55 & 10+ years of service, until they didn't, which is when I began to seriously plan my exit.)


One of my best friends dad worked for Continental on their reservation line... FWIR, he worked at home!!!

He was in his 70s and also did it part time.... and did it to get the free/cheap tickets.... plus, as he said, a little pocket money... they never had a big stash, so he actually needed to work a bit to make ends meet...


Have not asked if he kept working after the merger... but I bet he would be if they would allow it...


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