Cruising Discounts Update
Written by: Paul Motter
This last week brought us some of the deepest discounts for cruises we have ever seen – as low as $30/day per person. We took note of these deep discounts in our CruiseMates Newsletter which mentions a 12-day $399 cruise on NCL’s Norwegian Jewel sailing out of New York City October 28 on a voyage to the deep Caribbean and ending in Miami. The beautiful thing about this cruise that if you live near either New York or Miami you only have buy airfare to one of the cities, making it even more affordable.
Another cheap cruise is a 12-day trans-Atlantic journey of Royal Caribbean sailing from Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale also for just $399 per person. This cruise stops in Cartegena Spain, the Azores Islands and Nassau. Once again, it is just $30 per day per person – barely more than the cruise line pays to feed each passenger each day. These rates do not include taxes or the fuel surcharge (about $10/day) but they do include “port fees” and other non-commissionable fees.
We also noticed several discounts on Carnival Cruises which is holding an October Sale. Anyone can book a 7-day Caribbean cruise as low as $329 per person, but seniors are getting amazing discounts. We see a January 24, 2009 sailing on Carnival Glory for $129 per person if you are age 55 or older. Or $249 per person for the Nov 2 sailing on Carnival Legend out of Tampa.
These rates are the lowest in my memory, not even accounting for inflation or senior dementia, and I have been cruising for 26 years. These prices are comparable to the 1970s. By the way, it does not matter whether you book these directly with the cruise line or your cruise travel agent – the price is always the same.
Here are a few more unbelievable bargains from this week:
Carnival Triumph; 7 days: 299
Norwegian Dream to Bermuda: $299
Norwegian Star to Mexico: 7 days $299
Celebrity Century 10-days in Europe: $799
Disney World and Cruise; 7-day vacation: $923
Other cruise trends we witnessed this week:
The exchange rate between the Dollar and the Euro is always a factor to the cruise industry, more than most businesses. As the dollar gets stronger cruises to Europe make more sense to U.S. cruisers. The cruise fares get lower because the cruise lines get more bang for their buck when it comes to their expenses overseas. The passengers also get benefits when off the ship because they can afford to do more in port.
Shipbuilding gets more affordable because new ships are priced in Euros. However, because shipbuilding contracts are complicated some of the ones negotiated when Euros were higher may be affected adversely, kind of like the feeling a 2006 home buyer gets when he is paying for a house that is worth 25% less than the mortgage.
Cruise News of the Week:
Orient Lines – sold by NCL to entrepreneur Wayne Heller, with cruise industry veteran Bruce Neirenberg as president and now sailing the Marco Polo II, a classic liner-style ship built in 1969 for the German market, just announced it has slashed prices for its 2009 European cruise season. Prices have dropped from $4649 per person to $2999 for a 16-day Baltic cruise including an overnight stay and sightseeing in Berlin. The 11-day Mediterranean cruise has been dropped from $2999 per person to $1799.
Orient is a classic, “old-school” cruise line with two special dining restaurants as well as a main dining room. No extra charge for the specialty dining. The ship is a tiny 25,000-tons and holds 650 passengers. Guest lecturers are featured on exotic itineraries including the Black Sea and South America.
Carnival is returning to the 13-acre, $60 million Carnival-built cruise center on Grand Turk as a scheduled port visit. The island was damaged when Hurricane Ike rolled through but is open once again.
An 800-foot private beach is available, as well as the site’s massive swimming pool. The on-site Margaritaville restaurant and lounge is operating as well as all of the various shops. Numerous shore excursions include Gibbs Key tour, dune buggy rentals, swimming with horses, and fishing and snorkeling expeditions. The previously offered hop on/hop off bus tour is currently operating as a post-hurricane island tour. Guests are charged a nominal fee for the tour and provided with a pledge card should they wish to donate to the United Way’s Grand Turk hurricane relief fund.
Princess Cruises’ Crown Princess is the next cruise ship to call at the Grand Turk Cruise Center on Oct. 10.
Cruise Industry-related publication Lloyd’s list (Lloyds of London) reports that Akers shipyard of France has ordered a work stoppage on one of the two new F3 class of cruise ships for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Two of these ships are currently being built with one scheduled for 2010 delivery and the other for 2011. These ships come in at 150,000-tons and carry 4200 passenger berths.
The ships are highly unusual in design – with no main dining room or theater, but with several smaller dining and entertainment venues. They are meant to carry the concept of NCL’s “Free-style” cruising to the next level. Industry publication Cruise Week is reporting “Several sources tell Cruise Week that the cost of the F3 has spiralled” and they say that Lloyds confirms that statement.
Part of the dilemma is whether the project can be sold to another cruise line. The unusual design is proprietary to the NCL free-style concept. One of the ships may already be too far along to switch gears. The other ship is believed to be the one that work stoppage has occured on – before it gets so far along other cruise lines would consider it unusable.
As noted above, the changes in Dollar/Euro exchange rate might also have something to do with this. or it could be that Apollo is having problems getting credit to finish both ships with a total cost well over $1 billion.
Perhaps they should just ask the U.S. Government for the money? But not if they are required to locate it in Hawaii with a U.S. crew! (BTW: is you don’t get that joke you are not yet a serious cruiser).
In news similar to the Grand Turk item above, Carnival’s pier at Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Mexico – closed since being damaged by Hurricane Wilma in 2005 – will officially re-open when the 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy and 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy visit the facility on Thursday, Oct. 16.
Nine-acres with 42 shops offering apparel, fine jewelry, artwork and restaurants will also re-open. A new four-acre transportation hub will handle dozens of taxis, tour buses and four rental car facilities.
On-site dining options include the Tres Amigos Bar, a new theme restaurant inspired by the 1986 hit movie starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short. Also featured is Pancho’s Backyard as well as Fat Tuesday, a waterfront bar offering frozen drinks and light snacks, along with a DJ and dance floor.
Disney announced it will send the 2,700-passenger Disney Magic cruise ship overseas for five months in 2010 for a series of sailings that will take it from Russia to Northern Africa. The April-through-September schedule will mark the longest stretch a Disney cruise ship has ever spent away from its home port at Port Canaveral.
Disney’s schedule includes eight 10 and 11-night tours through the Mediterranean and the company’s first sailings in Northern Europe with four 12-night voyages that will take the ship from Dover, England, to St. Petersburg, Russia, with stops in half a dozen other countries.
In addition, the Disney Wonder will offer four and five-night voyages out of Port Canaveral with new stops in Key West and an extra stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.
The “World’s Largest Cruise Night” is a one-time chance to get valuable cruise bargains from participating cruise lines. Here is a preliminary list of offers from participating cruise lines only available through CLIA member travel agencies:
- Disney Cruise Line: Onboard credits of up to $50 on cruises and land & sea packages through December 13, 2009 (booking window: October 16 – November 15)
- Carnival Cruise Lines: Complimentary upgrades on all bookings made October 16
- Celebrity Cruises: Onboard credits up to $200 per stateroom based on cruise length for seven Celebrity ships with sailings between January 1 and June 30, 2009, plus a 50 percent reduced deposit (booking window: October 16 – 18)
- Costa Cruises: $50 per person onboard credit (up to $100 per stateroom) on Caribbean 2008/2009 and Winter Europe 2009 sailings (booking window: October 16 – October 21)
- Crystal Cruises: $100 per person discounts on most 2008 sailings for bookings made during WLCN (booking window: October 14 – November 7)
- Cunard Line: Onboard credits up to $300 and a waiver of deposit for second guest, for bookings on 2008 Holiday voyages and 2009 voyages aboard Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.
- Holland America Line: Special fares to be communicated to travel agents and reduced deposits up to $300 for bookings made during WLCN (booking window: October 15-17)
- MSC Cruises: Special prices on a variety of sailings in the Caribbean and Europe with rates as low as $399 for a seven-day Caribbean cruise, plus shipboard credits of up to $200 (booking window: October 16 – November 3)
- Norwegian Cruise Line: Double onboard credits up to $500, plus reduced deposit on sailings of five days or more (booking window: October 15 – 23)
- Princess Cruises: Reduced deposit of $100, plus a Princess coupon booklet with more than $120 in onboard discounts Regent Seven Seas Cruises: $100 per person shipboard credit on departures of seven nights or longer (booking window: October 16 – November 16)
- Royal Caribbean International: Up to $200 off per person on select cruises and cruise dates for bookings made on October 16 Uniworld Grand River Cruises: $100 savings per person on all 2009 cruises if purchased through an agent having a cruise night on October 16 (booking window: October 16 – 23)
- Windstar Cruises: $50 in shipboard credits per person (maximum $100 per stateroom) on any Wind Spirit sailing between January 31 and March 28, 2009 and any Wind Surf sailing between January 4 and March 15, 2009 (booking window: October 16-November 9)
For specific details and conditions of each offer, contact a participating CLIA member travel agency. For more information about World’s Largest Cruise Night and an event near you, please visit http://www.cruising.org/ to find a CLIA travel agency, Certified Cruise Counsellor or Luxury Cruise Specialist near you.
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