In scanning this year's brochures for the Europe market, I noticed that Princess seems to be commanding significant premiums over Celebrity for similar itineriaries. Some examples from the respective brochures (all fares are the discounted fares published in the respective brochures and are per person, cruise only, based on double occupancy):
>> MV Millenium "Classical Mediterranean" (12 nights, Barcelona to Istanbul), $2599 (Category 12 - Inside, Continental Deck) vs. MV Golden Princess "Grand Mediterranean" (12 nights, Barcelona to Istanbul or Reverse), $2840-$3090 (Category K - Inside, Plaza or Fiesta Deck)
>> MV Millenium "Westbound Trans-Atlantic" (14 Nights, Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale), $1299 (Category 12) vs. MV Golden Princess "Trans-Atlantic" (15 Nights, Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale), $3040 (Category K)
The second of these represents a premium of about 130% for one extra night at sea!
The two cruises in the first comparison have what I regard as minimial differences in their ports of call, as follows:
>> MV Millenium stops at Villefranche, France, whereas MV Golden Princess stops at Monte Carlo, Monaco (for Nice and Monte Carlo in both cases),
>> MV Millennium stops at Civitavecchia (for Rome) whereas MV Golden Princess stops at Livorno (for Florence and Pisa), and
>> MV Millennium stops at Katakolon, Greece, (for Olympia) whereas MV Golden Princess remains overnight in Barcelona.
The other ports of call are identical between both itineraries.
The trans-Atlantic itineraries are radically different. MV Millenium's -- arguably the most interesting since it includes ports of call not found on her Mediterranean itineraries -- calls at Cadiz (Spain); Funchal (Madeira Islands), St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. MV Golden Princess calls at Marseille (France), Monte Carlo (Monaco), Livorno and Civitavecchia (Italy, respectively for Florence and Pisa and for Rome), Lisbon (Portugal), and Ponta Delgada (Ašores) -- with one extra day aboard the ship.
As both a frequent cruise passenger and an investor in both companies, I would appreciate your input and comments regarding the following questions.
>> 1. Is there something fundamentally superior, either about Princess's product or about MV Golden Princess, to justify a premium in the range of 10-18% in fares for nearly identical Mediterranean itineraries?
>> 2. Is there something so fundamentally better about Princess's trans-Atlantic itinerary to support a premium of $1741 -- about 130% -- for only one extra night aboard the ship?
I have a theory. Don't know if it's true or not, but maybe. Last year the Millanium was the new kid on the block and I will bet that her fares were higher than Grand Princess fares. This year Golden Princess is new and Millenium has been around for awhile. I'll bet that's the reason.
" Is there something so fundamentally better about Princess's trans-Atlantic
itinerary to support a premium of $1741 -- about 130% -- for only one extra night
aboard the ship?"
In my mind there is nothing so special that command such a differential, however, that may not be the actual difference in reality. You state that you are comparing brochure prices. I would imagine that there are a couple of variables that make brochure comparisons invalid. First each company may have designed and priced their respective brochures within different times frames since I would imagine that brochure work must be in to the printers months before they come out. Second the company philosphy regarding brochure pricing may be different. I know Princess loved 2 for 1's and half price sales when I used to be in the business. This was readily accomplished by having much higher prices listed in their brochures than what they knew the market would actually bear. Most lines have become more realistic with their brochure prices in recent years. Finally, market changes and vacancy rate will eventually determine the actual fares for each cruise and will vary week by week.
So the only way to make an actual comparison would be to get a real quote rather than a brochure price even at discounted rates. It would be interesting if one of the TA's out there want to do an actual comparison for us and post it here.
"This year Golden Princess is new and Millenium has been around for awhile. I'll bet that's the reason."
One ship being a newer ship may indeed effect pricing. That said I don't think this is the case here yet but one has to step back and laugh at how we all perceive ships now. Millenium has been around awhile perception wise only because we are all tainted by having a new ship coming out every other week, at least it seems that way. Not to long ago many would have considered that the Millenium hadn't even been at sea long enough to have completed its true total shakedown. It wasn't to long ago that most of the ships we sailed were easily 20 to 30 years old or older. Now people look upon the Zenith ( 1992 ) as almost an ancient ship. In ship life expectancy terms the reality is that the Zenith is a young ship. Some of the ships just recently retired to the scrappers were actually constructed around the time I was born, 1950, and just now retiring.
Sorry I have to laugh as we refer to Millenium as having been around a while. Ship hasn't even worked out it's kinks yet.
By way of clarification, the fares that I quoted were the discounted fares for early bookings that appear in the brochure -- not the so-called "brochure" fare. The published discounted fares ordinarily do hold until a few months before sailing.
That said, I agree with your comments about better fares often being available. It will be interesting to see what the actual yields are on these itineriaries.