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  #1 (permalink)  
Old October 16th, 2008, 01:41 PM
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Default Will financial meltdown take a toll?

I can't help but wonder if the current world-wide financial meltdown will take a significant toll on cruise bookings. There may well be a pronounced downturn in spending for big ticket or luxury items including cruises

On the upside there is, I suppose, a possibility that it may produce a "buyer's market" complete with some real bargains.
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Old October 16th, 2008, 02:24 PM
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good point
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Old October 16th, 2008, 03:20 PM
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Just make sure you book with a credit card.
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Old October 16th, 2008, 03:23 PM
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I think it will for lots of reasons

"On the upside there is, I suppose, a possibility that it may produce a "buyer's market" complete with some real bargains. "

Okay, you take the chance. Personally, I don’t take for the Canadian Presidents or whatever he is called, advice.

This story isn’t over yet by a long way. I'll monitor what I have in certain places and move it accordingly. And if that is to under the bed, then so be it
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Old October 16th, 2008, 03:35 PM
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The Canadian President is called a Prime Minister.

He is an Economist by trade, which means if he wasn't in public service, he'd be serving the public... in a paper hat.
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Old October 16th, 2008, 04:36 PM
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After the attacks on America in Sept. 2001, while people were still leary of flying, and worried about travel in general, cruise prices did drop dramtically.... and so, yes, there were some great deals available.

BUT... as those prices had to be kept low to work through until people felt more safe cruising, there was also another result. Aside from cutting prices, the cruise lines had to cut expenses, and a key area that took much of the brunt was food and service departments.

Food budgets got cut, and that's when a decline in food quality began showing on all the mass market lines.

It was also the beginning of the spread of "home port" cruising, taking ships to the people so they wouldn't have to fly.


After the cost of cruising was lowered, and bookings recovered, it seems many cruise lines decided they couldn't just jump up to pre 9/11 prices. Instead they decided to keep the prices low to attract people to their ships..... but they began looking for onboard revenue sources.... and thus the practice we so loving refer to now as "Nickel & Diming".
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Old October 16th, 2008, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: Will financial meltdown take a toll?

Quote:
Originally Posted by richstacy
I can't help but wonder if the current world-wide financial meltdown will take a significant toll on cruise bookings. There may well be a pronounced downturn in spending for big ticket or luxury items including cruises

On the upside there is, I suppose, a possibility that it may produce a "buyer's market" complete with some real bargains.
I believe we will see a buyer's market but I also see that we will see more onboard costs to the cruisers. I think we will see more alternative restaurants, "special meals" in the dining room with an additional fee, higher drink costs, excursion fees and increased "service" fees. The new ships must be paid for.

This is not the end of cruising but I do believe that, even more than 9/11, you will see a change in the cruise experience.

If you want the same cruise experience you had a year ago you will have to pay additional for it.

Take care,
Mike
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Old October 16th, 2008, 10:58 PM
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I think our memories of how we used to cruise, and what we expected, as part of the cruise experience have changed for good. It is what it is, & for better or worse, we better get used to paying for things, if we want to, that used to be included. The bottom line is, it's still a great vacation value, and the option is there, to partake in the add ons, or not...
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Old October 16th, 2008, 11:37 PM
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My take is that there will be some great cruise deals out there, but the airfare might cancel those savings.

From up here in Northern Michigan to Fort Lauderdale it has become way too expensive - will probably have to drive 3-5 hours to an airport with better rates, overnight in a hotel, etc.

Lots of things to consider.......

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Old October 17th, 2008, 09:21 AM
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I am sure there will be negative impact on the cruiselines that will probably increase as the Recession deepens as it undoubtedly will.

Nonetheless I take heart from CLIA's survey that most cruisers intend to keep on cruising especially on the high end lines as was stated in Paul's excellent article on the subject in this week's newsletter. While mass market lines will probably be more effected, I think (and hope) that bookings won't drop that significantly. Only time will tell.

I agree with several of the previous comments (especially Kuki's and Trip's) as regards food, services, etc. While most lines will eventually drop their fuel surcharges, I too think "nickel and diming" will not only continue but increase, especially with RCI that has the Oasis close to launch and its sister ship already on the ways.

For those who fly, those costs may well significantly reduce and if so, that will be a silver lining to many who cruise.

Overall, it's gonna' get ugly I'm afraid.

Todd
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Old October 17th, 2008, 10:36 AM
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We are booked on a B2b cruise for the holidays.

I made final payment last week, and one had gone down 73.00 When I went to pay for that one, I was told that I now had 666.00 OBC for the one I had paid the week before.

The ship is still not full, and I expect the price to go down even further.

We were lucky that our air was booked months ago before things started getting rough.

Although there will always be cruisers, I agree that many are probably taking a wait and see attitude.
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Old October 17th, 2008, 12:21 PM
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Talked with some of my friends who also are cruisers, most will not be able to cruise as much if at all, since these down turns. I am hoping that I will be able to get a few great deals next year, but they have to leave from here in Florida. No more flying for us to get to and from destinations. EXCEPT when our next grnad child is born next year!
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Old October 17th, 2008, 03:46 PM
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Boy, I don't know how you guys can get so lucky.

We booked our 2009 cruises in 2007 and the prices are even higher now.

We have never had a price drop.

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Old October 17th, 2008, 04:07 PM
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Great post by Kuki, it summed it up, nice one .

Mike, I dont agree that its a buyers market, not on the bulk lines anyway.

Example: RCI cruise from Barcelona on a "nomal" balcony cabin for 10 nights gives me a base price of £763 p/p as advertised for being on said ship, but I still need to get to there from the UK.

So from an advertised £763 pounds for my balcony cabin experience or £1526 for two the of us,, it now becomes or goes like this.

RCL site quote below is from tonights "pretend" internet booking

Price Breakdown
Guest 1 Cruise Fare 763.00 GBP
Guest 2 Cruise Fare 763.00 GBP
Air Fare 710.00 GBP
Prepay Gratuities: 105.30 GBP
Fuel Supplement: 100.00 GBP
Taxes/Fees 92.00 GBP


Package total is now £2,533.30 GBP, and that is now over a £1,000 or nearly today $2,000 more for us to take our "ordinary" flights that are in total less than three hours from our home to the destination in flying time.

So now we have all the taxes and additional flight and tax costs that make an advertised £763 vacation, into the reality of becoming nearly £1,300 p/p.

So if its a buyers market, then how does that work? Given all the additional proper tax and "stealth tax" that both the airlines and ships are adding on today to get folks on board for that ship experience? Whats the real cost?

My problem is yet again, the advertised price is only an "indication" of price, and in reality no where near the reality because of all of the above in todays cruising , what you actually pay to be there. They try to sell it cheap, but its not in reality
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Old October 17th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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When quoting pricing the cruise lines aren't taking into consideration the cost of airfare. In fact, I don't think the cruise lines even want your airfare business. That's why air is almost always available cheaper elsewhere.

The cruise lines have tried to address the air problem by adding more "home port cruising" to reduce the need for peopel to fly.

David... I imagine you have choices to cruise out of closer ports, Southhampton for example. You're choosing to look at cruises further afield, so the cost to get to them should be considered in your budget before making the decision, but has nothing at all to do with the cruise lines.
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Old October 17th, 2008, 06:52 PM
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A couple of observations:

1. We haven't really seen the effect of the financial problems yet and it may be several months before we do.

2. There will be a great many people with far less disposable income, so no cruise line will be able to fill all these new ships by charging more -- ain't gonna happen!! Prices will have to come down. There will be competition for cruisers, or it will become something that only the very wealthy can do!! Or cruise lines will go out of business -- econ 101.

3. The price of crude is way down (at least temporarily) so both bunker oil and jet fuel will both be cheaper. That too should inure to our benefit.
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Old October 17th, 2008, 07:12 PM
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But Kuki, it's always a factor for you and for me (airfare) because you live in Calgary and I live in Denver, and last time I checked there weren't any cruise ship docks near either
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Old October 17th, 2008, 10:35 PM
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The downturn in the economy has already been showing decreases in cruise prices in the last few months. We have taken four cruises this year and have noticed that the prices have been dropping a little each month. We got some of the best prices on cruise rates this year even with the fuel surcharge. On the last cruise we took on the Carnival Pride October 5, we had booked it about a month prior to sailing. I had noticed that the price decreased again about a week and half before we were scheduled to sail. I didn't think the TA would give us the reduction because we were so close to the sail date. But, we called and she issued a $140 on-board credit. Considering we had a balcony, it was one of the cheapest cruises we have ever taken. We live close to a port, so we can cruise sometimes without the flight which is a huge savings. We plan on booking a cruise at our homeport for December, because of some of the price reductions we noticed.

We met a young lady, a casino host, on our Pride cruise last week. She was from Zimbabwe. We got into a discussion during the week about the economy and the toll it is taking. As bad as it seems for Americans, it is not nearly as devastating as it is in her country. Right now the inflation rate is $231 million percent there. She said the store shelves are bare, and people are trying to get by on one meal a day. No one can afford to buy anything. Their dollar is worthless and prices are out of control. Unemployment is 80 percent, and people are just trying to make it through each each day. She did say stores were were accepting the American dollar and the South African rand...their money is worthless. Even with everything her country is faced with, she was so enthusiastic and bubbly each day we talked to her. She made the cruise a lot of fun for us. As bad as it seems, we are still so much more fortunate that much of the world. We will get through this.
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Old October 17th, 2008, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richstacy
But Kuki, it's always a factor for you and for me (airfare) because you live in Calgary and I live in Denver, and last time I checked there weren't any cruise ship docks near either
Rich... sadly true! I'm not sure about Denver connections, but I do have a choice of cruising out of Vancouver, so cheaper flights, as opposed to Florida. My choice, and nothing to do with the cruise lines.

Now, some cruise lines do occassionally try and induce passengers with "free air". No doubt people would like that if the total price was actually lower because of the "offer".
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Old October 18th, 2008, 12:07 AM
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With us it's generally either LA, Vancouver or Florida. Whichever, it's always a major part of the expense of the cruise.
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Old October 18th, 2008, 12:15 AM
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With any business there is a supply/demand curve. Cruise prices did drop dramatically after 9/11 because of the fear of flying. Rob and I did not let fear prevent us from booking a cruise to Alaska for the following September. Cruise ships would rather fill a ship with a passanger getting the cruise for a bargain rate than to leave a cabin empty. Yes, this economy will prevent a certain segment of the population from cruising but there will be other people who will drive to an embaration port or will opt for a shorter cruise. Cruiselines have ingenious ways of making up for bargains in cruise prices; I believe that they make a good percentage of their profits on the extras like excursions, pictures, drinks, charging for computer time and renting equipment. Cruislines, like any business, who wants to stay in business, wants to develop a lifelong relationship with their clientele!
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Old October 18th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DayvidB
Mike, I don't agree that its a buyers market, not on the bulk lines anyway.

Example: RCI cruise from Barcelona on a "normal" balcony cabin for 10 nights gives me a base price of £763 p/p as advertised for being on said ship, but I still need to get to there from the UK.
David: Cruise lines are notorious for screwing UK cruisers. I do have to concede that I base my observations and pricing based on cruises sold to US citizens and most of the "bargain basement $299" fares are from US ports. There are a couple of extremely low transatlantic/repositioning cruises that have already popped. I.E. Enchantment of the Seas; Lisbon to Sao Paulo

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddDH
Nonetheless I take heart from CLIA's survey that most cruisers intend to keep on cruising especially on the high end lines as was stated in Paul's excellent article on the subject in this week's newsletter. While mass market lines will probably be more effected, I think (and hope) that bookings won't drop that significantly. Only time will tell.
Todd: While I enjoyed reading the article, the data that CLIA used for the survey was from April of this year. There is a big difference in the economy and the attitude of people since April. I would postulate that if the same survey was taken today the results would be much different.

Like you, I hope that bookings do not drop significantly and I really hope that services and overall cruise quality does not suffer.

Take care,
Mike
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Old October 19th, 2008, 03:10 PM
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Kuki says

"David... I imagine you have choices to cruise out of closer ports, Southampton for example. You're choosing to look at cruises further a field, so the cost to get to them should be considered in your budget before making the decision, but has nothing at all to do with the cruise lines."

Southampton, that is a ten hour drive for us at least and not always practical for a lot of folks, especially this far North of London, yip I don’t live in England,,,thank God 8)

In your experience, show me a cruise from Southampton, that for 10 nights in the Med that goes further east than Naples?,,,If they exist then I'd be very surprised. Out of there its the same old intinerary,,,so thats why I need to fly.

And to place that in perspective, from Glasgow or Edinburgh airports and within 3 hours of flying, I could be in Barcelona.

So would you pay those flight prices, plus supplements or taxes in the US, for a flight that took less than 3 hours within your own country?, I don’t think so.

I fly for the experience of where I can meet a ship to give me the cruise I want or places I want to visit, and I am getting ripped off for it, either by the line, the airline or both.

But I also appreciate how you could think like that as an American, when you posted Southampton as a solution, sorry it does not work for most that live in Scotland , Ireland, Wales or in a lot of cases the top or North of England

Seems good, but not reality for many reasons
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Old October 19th, 2008, 05:10 PM
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David, Kuki is a Canadian living in Calgary.

But a ten hour drive? I've driven that far, on occasion, to go to dinner A slight exaggeration but, it all depends on your perspective. Europeans sometimes wonder why we Americans and Canadians use so much gas. Great distance my friend, great distance. If I could get to a ship with a mere ten hour drive, I'd drive every time, save airfare and cruise more often
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Old October 19th, 2008, 05:52 PM
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David.. I don't know where you live. I do know there are cruises from Southhampton and from Dover.

Where I live, the closet port in Vancouver is also at least a 10 hr drive.

But, the point was that IF we choose to cruise, and want to cruise to and from more distant ports that is our decision, and choice.

Tough to blame the cruise lines for the expensive of us getting to the ports we want to cruise from. That's all I was getting at. The cost of the cruise is up to the cruise lines.

I'd love to cruise the far east for example. I havent yet because of the LONG flights necessary to get there. I don't blame the cruise line for that.

But I bet you and I, and many others would love to have the ship pick us up at our front door.
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Old October 19th, 2008, 06:03 PM
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Due to the economy, our cruise leaving 4 weeks from today may be our last. While I have a good job now, it is always at risk of being sent offshore, or I may be forced into retirement. We are in our early 60's and have cruised annually for the past 7-8 years, but our savings have been hit so hard recently we will be forced to cut somewhere. Cruising is by far our most luxurious expense.

There must be some way I can get the US taxpayers to fund our cruises. Maybe I will sell cheap cruise insurance and, if someone ever files a claim, I can get a taxpayer bailout.
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Old October 20th, 2008, 02:45 PM
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Kuki, one I apologise for inferring you were American

But, on this little tiny island that we call the UK, we are not used to driving long distances in short times, simply because of the road infrastructure we live with. In ten hours with your guy’s roads I could drive 700 miles, here that is more like 350 miles. It’s not easy, and its not a pleasant experience, ask anyone foreign that has done it

So a bit of apples and oranges here, yes I agree, but it does not work out, ask any Scot that will drive to Southampton to sail.

Put it this way after 300 miles, they usually book into a lodge for the night and will pick up the rest of the journey the next day.

I know this will seem strange to a lot of folks, but its reality if you ever vacation here and think being 600 and odd miles long this island, that you can do it from one end to the other in a day,,,eh sorry no chance.

So with that, cruising out of SH or Dover isn’t easy for a lot of folks that live here as I say, its great if you are around or south of London.

And, they are SO expensive for what you get, and two its limited in what you can experience on for something like ten days from said ports.

I get all your principles, sadly its not a reality for me and if my other truth be told, I would never sail on a ship that will be X% and above Brit based passengers. I cannot think of anything worse, OMG
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Old October 24th, 2008, 10:23 AM
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I did a solo tour of the UK several years ago and remember taking the Flying Scotsman from London to Edinburgh in a little under five hours. It was quite an enjoyable experience with comfortable seats, pleasant scenery and reasonable dining. I'm not sure how riding the train compares with flying, but wouldn't it be a viable alternative to driving?
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Old October 24th, 2008, 04:01 PM
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Yes I have to agree it could be, but I have a lot of luggage. So two problems...Where do I park my car for two weeks near the train station for less the $25 per day , and then I have to drag said luggage across London to get to the station that takes me to Southampton or Dover, and potentially another couple of hours on that train.

Oh, yes I should have said our train system is as bad as our roads 8)
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Old October 24th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by DayvidB
Yes I have to agree it could be, but I have a lot of luggage. So two problems...Where do I park my car for two weeks near the train station for less the $25 per day , and then I have to drag said luggage across London to get to the station that takes me to Southampton or Dover, and potentially another couple of hours on that train.

Oh, yes I should have said our train system is as bad as our roads 8)
I remember my first trip to England in 1979 and during the trip I had to go from Newcastle (North England) to Brighton (South seaside), England. The distance was just under 300 miles. I rented a car and I figured I could do it in eight - ten hours. I sure was wrong. It took almost fifteen hours to make the trip and I only stopped for fuel and ate at fuel stops.

Things looked good on the map but the reality wasn't the same as I was used to at home. I assumed the roads would be motorways and fairly major highways with "normal" traffic levels.

Duh, Mike wasn't in Kansas (actually Minnesota) anymore.

I now have grown to somewhat appreciate the fact that things take a bit longer in England but it can still be frustrating getting from one end or side of the country to the other. I refuse to use the bus system.

My apologies to David for having to travel through England to get to a cruise.

Take care,
Mike
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