I have been on over ten cruises, so I'm not a beginner but also am not close to being an "expert." Our next cruise is 12-22-02 on the Zenith in So.America, Buenos Aires, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile.
I have watched the prices on my cruise fluctuate up and down over the last few months. I was able to catch a pretty good price for this double holiday sailing, before they went back up to nearly brochure rack rates. I still am very confused by the almost daily price fluctuations. It is almost as inexplainable to me as the daily price changes in the airline industry.
I am sure, that some computer GEEK somewhere in cyberspace has written a computer formula that controls capacity on a charge-what-the-market-will-bare basis. I somewhat understand this theory, although I don't agree with it.
I don't think it is fair to customers, whose deposit money has been used by the cruise line, to essentially be treated as second class citizens after they have made their final payment. Often after this date, empty space is dumped at less than wholesale prices to "new bookings only" bargain shoppers. Often these late comers get nicer cabins at cheaper rates, while others have fronted the cruise with their deposits and/or final payments. Meanwhile the cruise lines often, not always, refuse to lower the tariff for these bread-and-butter clients that booked early.
In my opinion each passenger should be charged a fair amount for the cruise, and at least the better cabins should be used as a reward for those who stick with their original contracts and thus pay a higher price. I realize this is done some of the time, but it is often enough to suit me. Comments???
Chuck.. Here's a clip and paste from my post earlier in the week in a thread on the Ask the Staff message board......
If you asked the cruise lines( I have), they would tell you pricing is supposed to work on a bell curve. Book early..save $... then prices rise.. and then the last minute discounting.
What seems to have happened the last couple of years isn't even close. The cruise lines are relying more heavily on yield management programs. A particular category on a particular sailing doesn't seem to be selling well; the program will kick in and lower that category.
This creates some situations which can make no sense. On the Get Lei'd cruise for example, the inside cabins were more expensive than the balcony cabins.
That worked out great for our group, but a very peculiar situation. I make little enough sense... I need the rest of the world to make up for it, by making good sense.
I know what you mean. If you look on Cruise Value Center's web site and look at my cruise, 12-22, Zenith. There are, just like you say, outside cabins that are priced more inexpensively than higher level outside cabins. Go figure??? Thanks for your interesting response.
I lucked out with my 9/15 cruise on Brilliance. I watched prices daily and I found the price of the E1 stateroom I booked to fall about $200. My TA rebooked me, same cabin. At the same time an inside cabin was a bit more expensive. Right after that the price doubled. Go figure. Worked well for me!!!
Cruise pricing is the same as airline pricing -- it goes up or down depending on capacity. It's called yield management.
Princing policies can change quickly. This year, cruisers are booking 60-90 days out,
vs the previous norm of 4-6 months. In response, cruise lines are discounting closer to departure.
Of course cruisers feel resentful when the encounter a passenger sailing in the same category of cabin who paid a lower price. Cruise lines are corporations trying to get the maximum yield for a cabin, the same as any hotel or airline.
You could drive yourself nuts trying to figure out when the best price is available -- they fluctuate daily and some mega-agencies have group space on a ship, ensuring a lower price. My recommendation, look at the purchase price in terms of value for money. Is the amount YOU spent a price that's fair?
I try so hard to get the best price I can and always find someone cheaper on board but then I ask them how they got it and get ideas for my next one. I like to book last minute but not if I really want to go - this year we really really wanted to go on the Rhapsody to Belize starting in October and use the discounts I had on RCL so we booked 4 months out and have watched the prices ever since to see if they have gotten better. They do not have the Cat. Z run of ship cabins any more - they sold out about 3 weeks after I booked - I guess they only have so many and they had a great price on them.. They now have the lowest inside on a guarantee for the same price as the Cat. Z but back when I booked it was $100 higher per person. Who knows? I took a chance because I wanted to sail on this ship in this time range and when you book last minute you really need to be flexible because your ship and date may be sold out and you have to go some other time or on another ship. That is fine in Miami but in Houston there is only 1 ship going on a 7 day so it is between that one and the one out of New Orleans - not much to choose from.. Also keep in mind I had $250 worth of discounts that are compacity controlled and there have been times when I was told that they are no longer taking say the Crown and Anchor coupon so I know if you are using a discount you need to book in advance as much as possible. Debbie