Alaska in Trouble? Royal Caribbean, Cruise West Pull Ships

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#2
14,192 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
The comment about the Head Tax is interesting, but probably not the major reason why cruise lines are having difficulty selling Alaskan itineraries. There aren't many places for cruise ships to visit, so unlike the Caribbean, the standard itinerary gets a bit old.

The biggest reason they are seeing a drop is, of course, economic conditions and the cost of air travel. The air costs for north and southbound itineraries are prohibitive for a 7-day cruise. B2B really isn't an option compared to other cruises of 14 days since you're going to exactly the same places. If you've been to Alaska before, hitting each of the 3 or 4 standard ports twice during a B2B isn't very attractive.

Cruise lines could possibly do better in Alaska by promoting their cruise-tours and pricing them reasonably.
#3
91 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
As we speak I am checking out an inside passage cruise-a repeat from my cruise in 2006! (The journey is more important than the destination -floating down the inside passage is more than words can describe). I AM NOT happy aboutg the per head charge AK expects just to visit a state in my own country!!!!! Greedy or what. Serves them right. I think Mt. Rushmore land cruise is a better option.
#4
Fairbanks, Alaska
3,320 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
I sit here in Fairbanks and read the papers every day... "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!"... So we have a decline in cruise ship passengers for one year. Big deal! The Lower 48 is experiencing some serious job cut backs. We have them here, too - but everyone I know that has recently experienced a lay-off has been employed again in a week. We are so lucky! Our economy is still strong here. When the price of oil was through the roof last summer and the oil companies were making record profits, there were still people complaining about the Alaskan economy. Historically, we've doing better than most. So the profit margin has gone down a little bit.... Ugh. We're still busy, busy, busy up here and if a cruise ship or two pulls out it's not going to kill us.

I think that the media hype is ridiculous.

Taters
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#5
N. Calif., USA
3,190 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
despite these charges..we re still sailing..

the wonders of alaska are just one of many place s we d like
to see befor leaving this world..

and to share pictures of alaska with our future grand children..it very well
could be all gone by time they re able to enjoy alaska s virgin
wilderness..
#6
134 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
All interesting observations, and I think that the head tax probably isn't enough to deter people from sailing in Alaska. Cruise fares have been discounted across the board. Cruise lines are paying close attention to their bottom line and making moves that are going to be lucrative, especially now.

In my humble opinion, it is the economy. People who are in rough spots just aren't spending on the non-necessities as much, in an effort to keep their heads -- and their finances -- above water. I know I've cut back and taken on a "I won't buy another thing I don't need," mentality.

But for people who do have a few extra bucks to spend, it really is a great time to visit Alaska because of some very affordable cruise fares. And so far, the other heavy-hitters in the region, Princess and Holland America, don't have plans to pull any ships.

I guess the only question now is: Is this the start of something bigger, a potentially severe decline for cruise travel in Alaska? Time will tell.
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Kimmiekaz
#7
984 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Can't say you could not see this coming. The sponsors of the cruise ship head tax and the voters made their decision. Now it's the turn of the cruise lines to respond to this decision.

To think that the head tax decison will not affect the number of future cruise calls is naive.

The real impact of this will be seen if other cruise lines (owned by Carnival Corp) do the same. We'll know soon when they release their 2010 Alaska itineraries.

RCI and CCL have a history of cooperating when they see ports act against their business interests.

See this very interesting thread about cruise ships calling on St Croix for background on what can happen it you piss off the cruise industry:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=557348

I'm not saying that they will quit sailing to Alaska, but they will work together to try to remove the head tax. As a Carnival Corp stockholder, I hope that they can get this money grab by Alaska reversed.

Joe
#9
Texas
2,398 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by spongerob
The comment about the Head Tax is interesting, but probably not the major reason why cruise lines are having difficulty selling Alaskan itineraries. There aren't many places for cruise ships to visit, so unlike the Caribbean, the standard itinerary gets a bit old.

The biggest reason they are seeing a drop is, of course, economic conditions and the cost of air travel. The air costs for north and southbound itineraries are prohibitive for a 7-day cruise. B2B really isn't an option compared to other cruises of 14 days since you're going to exactly the same places. If you've been to Alaska before, hitting each of the 3 or 4 standard ports twice during a B2B isn't very attractive.

Cruise lines could possibly do better in Alaska by promoting their cruise-tours and pricing them reasonably.
Promoting the cruise tours might not help during these economic times; they are still very expensive, especially when you add the airfare.

I think the following would help:
  1. Cruise lines arrange cheap airfare to/from Vancouver
  2. Cruise lines offer 10-night Round-Trip cruises out of Vancouver that stop in Valdez and Seward, in addition to Glacier Bay, Juneau, Sitka, Skagway, and Ketchikan.
Such a cruise would be more economical than most of what is currently offered (except for the 7-day RT cruises).

Although the Inside Passage is quite beautiful, adding a couple of ports plus the Gulf of Alaska (at an economical price) will attract many new customers, IMHO.
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