The rates this fall are ridiciously low! $899 for a balcony cabin on a Princess ship, $100 per person, per day on Holland America. I think heavy discounts will continue through winter, but perhaps not as steep.
If you don't care for enormous monsters entering service, there are still plenty of great mid-sized ships. E.g., Celebrity's Zenith, Horizon, HAL's Westerdam.
Donna, I do think there maybe a down side to all these new ships/berths. As retail prices fall, and margins decline, how long can we expect the same level of service and amenities to continue? Will the food we have all loved so much continue at the level we have come to expect?
That is a very valid point, we'll just have to wait and see. So, far I have yet to see any lack in service while cruising, but could change like you pointed out. Doesn't matter to me, I'll still cruise, may-be get an extra cruise in where I wouldn't of been able to before, sounds good to me. Take care.
There could be some impact, but the new ships cost a lot less per berth to operate. A tremendous amount of the cost of operating a vessel is substantially fixed regardless of the size of the vessel -- everything from scheduling and navigation to much of the logisitical support. Much of the price reductions are due to the savings achieved by economies of scale.
Looking forward, the more troublesome problem probably will be the larger vessels overwhelming some of the ports, particularly in the Caribbean. A few years ago, five ships calling simultaneously at St. Thomas meant about 3,000 passengers. Now, one ship can unleash that many passengers on a port of call. The trade-off may well be a combination of more days spent at sea or at private islands and of more cruises away from the traditional cruising areas such as the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, the Mexican Riviera, and Alaska. We're already seeing more of the latter with more vessels heading to Europe. Asia, South America, Hawaii, and the South Pacific are likely destinations for expansion in the future. Right now, these more exotic itineraries still command premium fares that can support the older vessels, many of which are much smaller than the newer vessels.