David, at the moment bookings are pretty good for European cruises but I think that when they go they will have what we call "sticker shock" at prices. That could hurt any repeat business but those that have been to Europe before understand the value of the dollar and it's flucuations and just 'deal' with it. <G> Now some that know the rates may have second thoughts and postpone their trip so you will essentually be bombarded with a bunch of 'new' travelers.
Good point Jim, the Russians are appearing big style as "new" travelers in Europe, but as I've said before and when this bites in and "traditional" people see the "bang for their buck." Then Europe as a destination could be a problem.
Re sticker shock prices, yeah you are right, but I can only imagine that will happen for one season, ie 05,. But if the climate continues then when planning for 06 and not having placed full ships in the previous year, it will be a different kettle of fish and the lines based on 05 results will not be so willing to send their ships into Europe, especialy when they have a "potential" increased audience at home for traditional ports due to no-one willing to travel to Europe given the exchange rates.
I may be a bit ahead of the game here, but my opinion is based on pure logistics, you guys fill ships, simple and like any sensible person you look for value for money and it may not be here for the majority
Exchange rates do factor into our planning. Cruise pricing is relatively straightforward, but any time spent vacationing before or after the cruise, tours during the cruise, etc. will become very pricey. I'm not sure if this is a case of the dollar being over-valued, or that other currencies have been under-valued. Yes, exchange rates are a part of our planning process, and might force changes in our future travel plans.
Good point Jim and very valid. We as Canadians have always been subject to fluctuations in currency and as such have become desensitized to those fluctuations. We just accept it and hope our dollar is stronger, but is does not really affect our decisions when we choose our destinations or line! As cruising becomes more and more popular worldwide, more and more people will become those "experienced" travellers and not have this as an issue.
Thomas, we had to go upstairs for a review of the play, but the ruling on the field stands, this is a ligitimate gripe and relevant to cruising!!
I suspect this is in the gripes forum, as the exchange rate right now is REALLY something to gripe about!
Actually, the poor showing of the $US against the European currency is the best reason in the world to CRUISE Europe, instead of taking a land vacation there. The cruise insulates one against the two highest preced items one would encounter on a land vacation: hotel rates and cost of dinner.
Scandanavia has long been known for very high land prices translated to $US. Therefore, those "in the know" have long confined their travels to Norway, etc. to cruising. I predict the same will become the case for all of Europe now. I know we had made preliminary plans to take a land trip to Germany for Oktoberfest and perhaps, just perhaps, take delivery of a car. Well, those plans are in the toilet now. Nixed not only by the price of the land trip, but also by the price of the car! I suspect bookings are falling off fast for European land tours for just this reason. However, we are not cancelling our Venice to Athens cruise we had booked, as being on the ship will insulate us somewhat to the high prices on land.
Richard, so pleased your still going ahead with the Venice - Athens cruise. Dont know your exact itinerary but I hope it takes in Dubrovnik in Croatia, what a stunning jewel that is to discover.
Sorry Thomas if this did not appear a "real" Gripe, but for some of us in Europe it could be, if the lines given current exchange rates cannot forecast getting enough butts in bunks and are planning where their ships will be in 05 and 06 and if they are not prepared to send over my favourite ships due to economics then I have a gripe.
So maybe not yet a gripe, lets call it a concern on my part re European cruising and the availability of the "better" lines to us that are normally US based in the next couple of years
For me, the exchange rate has nothing to do with the plans for a vacation. In September I went to Canada (which I haven't been to in many years) and was astounded at the cost of goods and services. However, I would go there again in a hearbeat.
I'm not rich and I do watch my pennies, but if I wanted to travel to Europe for a land or cruise vacation I would not even consider the exchange rate.
I am working very hard on cruising on the Carnival Liberty out of Rome doing an 11 day round trip and the Itin is outstanding with stops in Naples, Venice (overnight), Dubrovnik, Messina, Barcelona, Cannes and Livorno before returning to Rome. After the cruise we intend to take a tour by rail through Europe ending up in the UK and staying with friends for a bit before retuning. While the dollar may be down right now we can only hope it will gain back some before then. Even if it does not the experiance and knowledge we will gain will be well worth it. If this comes to fruitation I will be doing a number of articles on the differant posrts etc as well as a review of the ship. Might even be able to convince a few of the crew to come online while there. <G>
This is all great news; sorry you guys are taking the hit right now with the exchange rate, but letís hope we keep seeing you guys and the ships over here.
Jim, great itinerary you've got there, regarding Naples take one of the trips to Sorrento or Capri great feedback on all of them and they are the main reason for docking
As for the city itself while nice, its pickpocket and bike drive by grab hell. Last time there we only got 30 yards out the port building when someone tried to have our cameras
A local shop keeper made wear my video camera strap in a way that they could not grab it and showed me how to hold it, just incase someone cut the strap from the back !!!!! A bit heavy but I'm afraid Napoli reality
Venice overnight, the dining room is so quiet as the cruisers take in a meal off ship and I've already said that Dubrovnik is a hidden jewel on the Dalmatian coast.
Nice one, getting a bit jealous as due to work commitments I canít plan anything yet for 05