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Historical Cruise Price Comparisons


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I was cleaning out some old files this afternoon and came upon some past Crystal Cruises brochures. (Yes, these have been collecting dust for some 20-odd years.) I thought it might be an interesting exercise to compare the brochure prices for similar cruises throughout the years. These quotes do not reflect any Crystal Society discounts, port charges, 6 month-pay-in-full discounts, etc.; they are transposed directly from the Crystal brochures.

 

1996 Inaugural Crystal Symphony World Cruise: 96 days

Category E $35,680

Category B $45,410

Category PH $68,645

2005 Inaugural Crystal Serenity World Cruise: 101 days

Category C $38,504

Category B $46,224

Category PH $79,034

2015 20th Anniversary World Cruise Crystal Serenity: 108 days

Category C $34,445

Category B $46,434

Category PH $76,955

 

1996 Barcelona-Athens Crystal Symphony 5/2-5/12/96: 10 days

Category E $ 4,620

Category B $ 5,436

Category PH $ 8,428

2005 Barcelona-London Crystal Symphony 5/26-6/2/05: 11 days

Category E $ 3,596

Category B $ 5,215

Category PH $ 8,575

2014 London-Rome Crystal Serenity 4/18-4/30/14: 12 days

Category C $ 3,470

Category B $ 4,960

Category PH $ 8,730

 

1996 Transatlantic Lisbon-Barbados Crystal Symphony 10/26-11/7/96: 12 days

Category E $ 3,158

Category B $ 3,731

Category PH $ 5,860

2005 Transatlantic Lisbon-Ft. Lauderdale Crystal Serenity 11/16-11/26/05: 10 days

Category C $ 2,795

Category B $ 3,495

Category PH $ 7,180

2013 Transatlantic Barcelona-Miami Crystal Serenity 12/9-12/21/13: 12 days

Category C $ 2,465

Category B $ 3,770

Category PH $ 6,170

 

I will let the actuaries and better mathematicians among us to determine the inflation-adjusted prices between 1996-2005-2013.

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I will let the actuaries and better mathematicians among us to determine the inflation-adjusted prices between 1996-2005-2013.

 

Ouch. That sounds like a challenge. Inflation is not quite uniform and there are several measures of CPI which can give different results, but I just picked one. I also used a measure of annual increases in wages.

 

 

_________Nominal|Adj by|Adj by

___________Price|__CPI_|Wages

1996 Inaugural Crystal Symphony World Cruise: 96 days

Category E|35680|53219.|64558.

Category B|45410|67732.|82164

Category PH|68645|102389.|124204.

2005 Inaugural Crystal Serenity World Cruise: 101 days

Category C|38504|46500|48581

Category B|46224|55823|58321.

Category PH|79034|95446|99718

2015 20th Anniversary World Cruise Crystal Serenity: 108 days

Category C|34445|34445|34445

Category B|46434|46434|46434

Category PH|76955|76955|76955

1996 Barcelona-Athens Crystal Symphony 5/2-5/12/96: 10 days

Category E|4620|6891.|8359

Category B|5436|8108.|9836

Category PH|8428|12571.|15249.

2005 Barcelona-London Crystal Symphony 5/26-6/2/05: 11 days

Category E|3596|43423|4537.

Category B|5215|6298|6580

Category PH|8575|103556|10819.

2014 London-Rome Crystal Serenity 4/18-4/30/14: 12 days

Category C|3470|3470|3470

Category B|4960|4960|4960

Category PH|8730|8730|8730

1996 Transatlantic Lisbon-Barbados Crystal Symphony 10/26-11/7/96: 12 days

Category E|3158|4710.|5714.

Category B|3731|5565.|6750.

Category PH|5860|8740.|10602.

2005 Transatlantic Lisbon-Ft. Lauderdale Crystal Serenity 11/16-11/26/05: 10 days

Category C|2795|3375.|3526.

Category B|3495|4220.|4410.

Category PH|7180||9059.

2013 Transatlantic Barcelona-Miami Crystal Serenity 12/9-12/21/13: 12 days

Category C|2465|2465|2465

Category B|3770|3770|3770

Category PH|6170|6170|6170

 

Different measures yield different results, but definitely real prices have declined.

 

Roy

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Rob, very nicely done.

 

The overall CPI from 1996 to 2013 would be $100 in 1996 is equivalent to $150.00 today. However, things like food are significantly higher than that as well as other costs that the cruise line(s) have to account for.

 

There are the puts and takes that you have noted plus for the world cruise there are a few other puts and takes such as airfare not included but either way it is what many of us have been saying and this is why cruise lines are cannot offer each and every item they did years ago. Otherwise, the cost to cruise would be significantly higher than it is today.

 

Oh, I hope you kept those Crystal Brochures. I've tried to keep as many as I can, particularly the Cruise Atlas from each year. I used to keep each and every Reflections but for the earlier years have kept some from every cruise but not all. The last few years I've kept most of them. As soon as I get rid of something then a month later I wish I hadn't.

 

Keith

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We too keep way too many things. After reading your comparisons I decided to go back and look at our actual WC costs in 2005 and the cost for our planned 2015 cruise.

Since the room we have for 15 is two doors down from our 2005 room I am comparing the actual new cost. Keith mentioned that there were things included before that are not included now. For example in 2005 we could double dip on travel benefits and get both the a Amex on board as well as get our travel consortium' s credits. The was a free excursion for everyone every leg which I arbitrarily valued at $100. Also the change from 3.5% for paying 6 months in advance to today's 2.5% adds to the cost of 2015. Bear with me But here is how my math works out:

 

2005

$46,224. Room cost

$. 0 Business class air included

- $1950 Crystal Society discount

- $1950. On board discount

- $1000. WC on board credit

- $1200. Amex credit ($200 per segment)

- $ 600. Free. Excursions

__________________

$39,524

 

2015

$49,705. Room cost

+$2,300. Air fare -Crystal quote for Business class airfare

- $1250. Crystal Society discount

- $1250. On board discount

+. $ 497 1 %

_______________________

$ 50,002

 

I maybe off a few dollars as the 1% comes off after deductions but it is close.

Therefore comparing the cost change using rafinmd's CPI the price has definitely gone up.

I think that it is worth it but the prices for 2005 to 2015 are different

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Prices on Crystal have not been an issue for us recently. Many of the sailings are real bargains, especially for those who consume alcohol. I have found Oceania prices to be as high or higher and even though Regent includes air and shore excursions, their prices are out of range for us. Seabourn does appear to offer some pretty good bargains lately as well.

Crystal became very reasonable for us after 2009 when, after 3 Crystal cruises in veranda cabins, we discovered E cabins on Symphony and realized that we have no need for a veranda on either ship. The savings allowed us to cruise a lot more frequently.

I am sure that it is tough for Crystal to make a profit at these price levels. We have no problems with price, only with cutbacks.

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Hi TER777

I did get the travel consortium on board credits for 2005 and I assume that we will get them in 2015 but they have not been set yet. So since for other WC this on board consortium credit was pretty much the same every year, I did not include it for either year. The difference is that in 2005 Crystal allowed you to get both consortium and Amex credits, which was $200 per person for each segment. The extra $1000 was an additional on board credit that all World Cruisers received directly from Crystal in addition to everything else.

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Missi Queen:

 

Were gratuities covered in 2005? Alcohol? Specialty dining?

 

Having never considered taking the WC due to time constraints, I don't recall many details.

 

Thanks for the history look back.

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Missi Queen:

 

Were gratuities covered in 2005? Alcohol? Specialty dining?

 

Having never considered taking the WC due to time constraints, I don't recall many details.

 

Thanks for the history look back.

 

I am not Missi Queen. Pre-Paid Gratuities were covered for room stewardess, butler (in Penthouse and Above Categories) and for Waiter and Senior Waiter. Special Dining and Alcohol were not included.

 

As I thought through this one item that is easily forgotten given that the largest group of passengers are from the USA is that the value of the dollar say in 1996 is worth less today than it was in comparison to other currencies such as the Euro so I likely underestimated the actual increase in real costs by just looking at CPI. Obviously some of the major cost factors are fuel, food, and salaries which had significant increases during this period.

 

Keith

Edited by Keith1010
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As Keith mentioned, gratuities were included in 2005 as they are now. There. Was a pp charge at the speciality restaurants of $5.

But when I re looked at things I found that during the 2005 WC we celebrated a 5 yr milestone and received a ship board credit of $500. During 2015 we will be reaching a 40. Milestone and the value will be $300 pp. which an additional $200 differential.

 

Alcohol was not included but checking my old cruise notes there were an average of 3 additional cocktail parties a week over and above the formal ones ie, Captains etc and most were for the entire ship and a few just for Full WCers.

 

We had guests on board at one port and there was no charge. All shuttles were free and of course we received turn down chocolates, doilies in the waste basket as well a linen mat by the bed at night.

 

Looking at this comparison it seems to me that Crystal and I think probably the entire cruise industry is keeping an illusion of pricing staying steady for years but they have done this by reducing benefits and in my belief quality. The actual cost has definitely risen in 10 years no matter what the brouchure says. To me a good comparison could be cars . A 5 series BMW in 2015 costs probably close to $20,000 more than it did in 2005 . They could have kept the price down by taking away items like the radio one year, anti break locking system ,etc. but the product would not have been the same . LOL

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I recall cruising on Crystal over the years and enjoying some substantial discounts over the Cruise Atlas fares. These discounts may have been later fare reductions, a 30% off coupon from a STEX match on a prior cruise, or even a 50% off coupon from cruising on one's birthday.

 

Also, anyone who cruises the itineraries that are heavily discounted may be finding fewer (or more) of them these days than in the past.

 

I'm not sure that these historic prices fully account for the real cost, but the effort to compare is appreciated.

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Before we talk about inflation adjusted prices etc, here is a little piece of info I just did a little research on. What is Crystal`s biggest cost factor in pricing a cruise? I would submit it is the cost of fuel. According to the St. Louis Fed Research site, which I just looked up, the Spot price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate on Jan 1, 1996 was $18.80. It closed at something like $103.00 on Friday. That's a 449% increase, yet on a per diem basis, we paid less for 26 days on Serenity in 2011 than my In-Laws paid for 32 days, the first two segments of the inaugural World Cruise, in 1996!

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I guess that all this research tells us is that if the brochure prices for 1996 or 2005 are similar to today's brochure prices than the old brochure prices were discounted by many many factors plus the new prices do not include items that were included in the past. Otherwise fuel costs alone would have killed Crystal long ago.

 

It looks like the actual costs to the cruiser doing the WC in 2005 were 20-25% less than actual costs for people planning on taking the 2015 WC.

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I guess that all this research tells us is that if the brochure prices for 1996 or 2005 are similar to today's brochure prices than the old brochure prices were discounted by many many factors plus the new prices do not include items that were included in the past. Otherwise fuel costs alone would have killed Crystal long ago.

 

It looks like the actual costs to the cruiser doing the WC in 2005 were 20-25% less than actual costs for people planning on taking the 2015 WC.

 

What kind of items were included in the past that aren't now?

 

Prior to 2004 even soft drinks had an extra charge. I'm hard pressed to come up with something we've lost (and not just shifted around, like the buffets).

 

Oh yeah -- the turndown chocolates and the trash can liners. :eek::D ...and foie gras. :p

 

Vince

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Before we talk about inflation adjusted prices etc, here is a little piece of info I just did a little research on. What is Crystal`s biggest cost factor in pricing a cruise? I would submit it is the cost of fuel. According to the St. Louis Fed Research site, which I just looked up, the Spot price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate on Jan 1, 1996 was $18.80. It closed at something like $103.00 on Friday. That's a 449% increase, yet on a per diem basis, we paid less for 26 days on Serenity in 2011 than my In-Laws paid for 32 days, the first two segments of the inaugural World Cruise, in 1996!

 

Larry, you are right.

 

CPI is probably not the best tool to use anyway. I know I was the one who mentioned CPI in the first place, but it is more appropriate for an individual consumer household and not a business such as a cruise line.

 

I don't see it taking into account other items from the devalued USA dollar to even insurance to the significant increase in food just from a shipping cost (remember cruise lines like Crystal bring in a lot of food from the USA regardless of where the ship is sailing) and we could come up with many other items that it doesn't take into account.

 

There are so many puts and takes to this that it really can get hard to figure it all out. For example, a few times over the past years Crystal ran promotions that for every segment of the world cruise that one booked by x date that they would get a 20% discount for each segment of the following years world cruise. Many of us did just that for 2013 and received a 20% discount off the 2014 world cruise. Or there were the Birthday Cruise coupons and other promotions.

 

Of course on the other hand the ships burn fuel more efficiently than they used to and with less sea days that offsets some cost too.

 

Logic tells me that you are paying less in real dollars today than in 1996 and that is likely true for all if not most cruise lines. But it would take months to do an analysis that would adjust for all of the puts and the takes and that would be for a cruise line company doing the analysis themselves.

 

It's fun too speculate though and I am glad to learn that others keep many of their price lists and cruise atlases and other items like we do. :)

 

Keith

Edited by Keith1010
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Well when comparing the two WCs , business class fare was included in the price and now is not. As I understand it Crystal helps subsidize travel consortium benefits and in 2005 you could get benefits from both Amex platinum and your consortium now you must chose only one. The discount for paying 6 months on advance was 3.5% and is now 2.5%. . The Crystal Society discount and corresponding on board discount were higher in actual dollars on 2005. Crystal gave WCers on board credit. I know in 2005 it was $1000 pp for the full cruise and $600 pp for 4 segments and some lesser amount for fewer legs. Free really nice excursions each leg. The Crystal Society milestone benefits were changed quite a bit and have less value and there were food items that they use to have ie fresh Maine lobster, real cavier at all times .

The numbers are just the math .

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Larry, you are right.

 

CPI is probably not the best tool to use anyway. I know I was the one who mentioned CPI in the first place, but it is more appropriate for an individual consumer household and not a business such as a cruise line.

 

I don't see it taking into account other items from the devalued USA dollar to even insurance to the significant increase in food just from a shipping cost (remember cruise lines like Crystal bring in a lot of food from the USA regardless of where the ship is sailing) and we could come up with many other items that it doesn't take into account.

 

There are so many puts and takes to this that it really can get hard to figure it all out. For example, a few times over the past years Crystal ran promotions that for every segment of the world cruise that one booked by x date that they would get a 20% discount for each segment of the following years world cruise. Many of us did just that for 2013 and received a 20% discount off the 2014 world cruise. Or there were the Birthday Cruise coupons and other promotions.

 

Of course on the other hand the ships burn fuel more efficiently than they used to and with less sea days that offsets some cost too.

 

Logic tells me that you are paying less in real dollars today than in 1996 and that is likely true for all if not most cruise lines. But it would take months to do an analysis that would adjust for all of the puts and the takes and that would be for a cruise line company doing the analysis themselves.

 

It's fun too speculate though and I am glad to learn that others keep many of their price lists and cruise atlases and other items like we do. :)

 

Keith

 

Hi Keith!

 

I don't think there is really anything inherently wrong with using the CPI as it at least gives a yardstick to make comparisons.

 

What made me look at oil prices is this thread twigged a conversation I had with am American Airlines pilot during a rather lengthy delay at La Guardia in June. We were talking about pricing and how people complain that flying is so unpleasant these days relative to "back in the day". His comment, which I think is relevant to this discussion, was that in broad terms we are paying the same for airfare now, when oil is $100/barrel, as we were paying in 1996, when oil was $18/barrel. People gripe and complain about the things that airlines have "taken away" (or charge extra for), yet they whine and complain even louder if the airlines try and raise the prices to reflect the ACTUAL COST of flying the plane! If you were to substitute the words "cruise/cruising" for "fly/flying" in the above statement, it begins to sound an awful lot like things people post on this, and other, CC boards! :rolleyes:

Edited by Roland4
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I decided to compare what we paid for our first World Cruise; 2007 versus what we will pay for the 2014 world cruise. I realize take two years and depending on which ones you pick there are many put and takes but nevertheless I compared these two.

 

I factored in Crystal Society and On Board Booking Discounts and backed out the air credit from 2007 to make it apples to apples with 2014 since air is no longer provided. I did not factor in early payment. In 2007 there was a $2,000.00 credit and I didn't pull it out because today drinks are included which was not the case in 2007. I realize there are other puts and takes but I was just trying to get a rough idea. Not looking for a 100% precise number. The 2007 cruise was 107 days and the 2014 cruise is 89 days so I ultimately converted this to a per diem rate for 2007 and 2014.

 

What I came up with was a 4.2% increase between 2007 and 2014 if I don't include the port and other taxes in the figure or a 5.2% increase if I do.

 

What I did not apply to this is that because we sailed on the 2013 World Cruise and booked it by the specified time frame we received 20% off vouchers for the entire 2014 World Cruise. This means that we will pay around 15-16% less than per diem for the 2014 World Cruise compared to 2007.

 

Again, I know there are some items I didn't factor in such as a consortium benefit that we got in 2007 although back in 2007 it was not very large so maybe the increase in 2014 before our 20% discount is slightly larger and maybe with the 20% discount vouchers we won't pay quite as less in 2014 compared to 2007 but it is close enough for me.

 

Of course today I'll pay a lot more for items that are part of the trip but not payable to Crystal as the hotel rate I will pay (same hotel in 2014 as in 2007) is substantially higher today as will be other items such as eating out and other items that we will purchase off the ship and before and/or after the cruise.

 

And I know that the numbers will be different for 2015.

 

And I know there are some things that might not be part of the 2014 experience that were part of 2014 but the reverse is true too.

 

Keith

Edited by Keith1010
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I decided to compare what we paid for our first World Cruise; 2007 versus what we will pay for the 2014 world cruise. I realize take two years and depending on which ones you pick there are many put and takes but nevertheless I compared these two.

 

I factored in Crystal Society and On Board Booking Discounts and backed out the air credit from 2007 to make it apples to apples with 2014 since air is no longer provided. I did not factor in early payment. In 2007 there was a $2,000.00 credit and I didn't pull it out because today drinks are included which was not the case in 2007. I realize there are other puts and takes but I was just trying to get a rough idea. Not looking for a 100% precise number. The 2007 cruise was 107 days and the 2014 cruise is 89 days so I ultimately converted this to a per diem rate for 2007 and 2014.

 

What I came up with was a 4.2% increase between 2007 and 2014 if I don't include the port and other taxes in the figure or a 5.2% increase if I do.

 

What I did not apply to this is that because we sailed on the 2013 World Cruise and booked it by the specified time frame we received 20% off vouchers for the entire 2014 World Cruise. This means that we will pay around 15-16% less than per diem for the 2014 World Cruise compared to 2007.

 

Again, I know there are some items I didn't factor in such as a consortium benefit that we got in 2007 although back in 2007 it was not very large so maybe the increase in 2014 before our 20% discount is slightly larger and maybe with the 20% discount vouchers we won't pay quite as less in 2014 compared to 2007 but it is close enough for me.

 

Of course today I'll pay a lot more for items that are part of the trip but not payable to Crystal as the hotel rate I will pay (same hotel in 2014 as in 2007) is substantially higher today as will be other items such as eating out and other items that we will purchase off the ship and before and/or after the cruise.

 

And I know that the numbers will be different for 2015.

 

And I know there are some things that might not be part of the 2014 experience that were part of 2014 but the reverse is true too.

 

Keith

 

Interesting numbers. When you take into consideration that inflation has been running in the 1 - 2% per year range through the 7 year period, it would appear, very generally, that on an inflation-adjusted basis you are actually paying LESS in 2014 than you paid in 2007. Not too many commodities that you can say that about.

 

Larry

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I am finding all sorts of ephemera that have survived the years. I just came across the Caronia's final world cruise brochure. 95 days, 20 ports, r/t New York 1/26/67-5/2/67.

 

Minimum rate $2895/pp in an inside room on C deck with bunk beds and shower & toilet only. $14,500/pp for the ship's best two-room suites on Main Deck. The shore excursion offerings are priced from $4/pp for a half-day tour in Cape Town up to $990/pp for the 7-day overland safari tour in South Africa. With many others priced in between the two extremes.

 

It's an inaccurate calculation, but according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, if the 1967 CPI = 100, then the August 2013 CPI = 700. Fast math (from this challenged mathematical mind):

$ 2895 (1967 $) = $ 20,265 (2013 $)

$14500 (1967 $) = $101,500 (2013 $)

 

I've attached some pages from the brochure for those cruise addicts that get a kick out of looking at these things. (I know that I do.)

 

Rob

Caronia 1967 part 1.pdf

Caronia 1967 part 2.pdf

Caronia 1967 part 3.pdf

Caronia 1967 part 4.pdf

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