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lysolqn

Has the former Go Better, Go Best gone crazy?

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If you went to Las Vegas in the 1980s rooms and most food was inexpensive.  They made it up on gambling and some high end restaurants.  All of that is gone (at least on the Strip), and now almost everything is expensive - no cheapee Las Vegas getaways anymore.  If you didn't know the history of 35 years ago, you wouldn't have any "in the old days" stories.  To you it is outrageous pricing, if you compare it to many Marriott resorts (including food) , it is pretty close

 

I think that X is moving in that direction as they raise prices and establish a new value concept.  No more chocolate tables, tuxedo nights and midnight buffet.  They want it to be a floating resort that you can disembark if you want.  If you want the old days to return, you may be disappointed.  Someone has to pay for billion dollar ship builds

 

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1 hour ago, Oville said:

Could you please explain your $700 dollars?  We recently booked a 7 night cruise and the cost for all 4 perks is $560 ($315 for Sail Plus and an additional $245 to upgrade to Sail All).

 

We booked a veranda cabin and then looked for the perk packages that were available.  Sail Plus was the cabin price plus $700 per person; Sail All was the cabin price plus $1085 per person.

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21 minutes ago, lysolqn said:

 

We booked a veranda cabin and then looked for the perk packages that were available.  Sail Plus was the cabin price plus $700 per person; Sail All was the cabin price plus $1085 per person.

Thanks, We would not book the perks at those prices and so probably wouldn’t have booked the cruise.

Edited by Oville

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Another issue is those huge price drops after the final payment. Yes, it happens with other lines as well, but not to that extent. The reason is simple: lines like Princess and HAL start with very reasonable pricing, so they don't need to drop the prices. Celebrity starts with crazy pricing, so they don't fill cabins and need those fire sales. Our June cruise is now 35% cheaper than we booked. Inside cabin was at some point less than $1,000 CAD. We are really concerned what kind of demographics those prices will attract. If we want to sail with Carnival demographics, we would book Carnival, not Celebrity.

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5 hours ago, lysolqn said:

Just booked an 11-night cruise (#39 on X) and checked out the perks offers.  We usually choose two perks ($150 OBC per person and gratuities) since we're not drinkers and have no need for unlimited Wi-Fi because Elite Plus status gives us sufficient free Wi-Fi to meet our needs.   What used to be known as Go Better, Go Best is now Sail Plus (two perks of your choice) and Sail All (all four available perks).  Both options allow for refund of deposit should you need to cancel your reservation.  (It appears X has decided to follow the airline industry with respect to cancellations.  What's next?  Charging for checked baggage?)  Bottom line, Sail Plus is $700 per person, while Sail All is $1085 per person.  Am I the only one who finds these prices ridiculous? 

 

It really depends on the sailing - prices for Sail Plus and Sail All are all over the map. I just looked at our May 2020 8-day Alaska cruise, and Sail Plus is $360 more per person than Sail (for Oceanview, Veranda and AQ staterooms), which to me is pretty reasonable at $45/night. That adds up to $90 more than the cost of $150 OBC plus gratuities ($116-120 for eight days depending on stateroom), but if you take the drink package as a perk (as we do) it is a very good bargain indeed (on an 8-night cruise, the Classic package has a retail value of $472 plus tax/grats). It also includes refundable deposit, which is a perk whose monetary value is a bit more difficult to ascertain. For us, flexibility is very important, and $90 would be "cheap insurance" for us if we need or want to change cruises before final payment. 

 

On your 11-night cruise, $700 per person works out to $63/night, which for us would still be worth it since we take the drink package. If we took the OBC and gratuities, maybe not - those are only worth $315 on an 11-night cruise and $385 is too high a price to function as cheap insurance against changes.

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For me, I want a refundable deposit and will not pay the current pricing for the Sail plus/all.  Celebrity is counting on and has padded the beverage package into the pricing.  I for one, can't drink that much.  We have Elite benefits with drinks, but even without the Elite benefit, I can't drink that much.

 

So, I will be shopping around for a better deal somewhere else.  I like to plan ahead.  I agree that last minute and after final payment is the way to go with Celebrity now.  I could be wrong, but based on the last minute deals and availability, I believe their strategy is not working.

 

 

Edited by Want2Cruise 701

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With the hefty non-refundable deposit vs the perks $ rates which are high... will this discourage people who book multiple rooms, or multiple sailings and then dump them before final payment???

 

On our recent sailing there were few benefits to booking on the ship -- and we had gotten onboard with plans to book 2 more sailings into 2021 . But there just wasn't enough sweetener to make it worthwhile to book  right now... 

 

I am regularly watching our current bookings for re-rating ops. We have our eye on some sailings that we will watch for sales and may wait for bookings inside the 90 day window when prices take a drop.

 

Edited by Fogfog

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2 minutes ago, Want2Cruise 701 said:

For me, I want a refundable deposit and will not pay the current pricing for the Sail plus/all.  Celebrity is counting on and has padded the beverage package into the pricing.  I for one, can't drink that much.  We have Elite benefits with drinks, but even without the Elite benefit, I can't drink that much.

 

So, I will be shopping around for a better deal somewhere else.  I like to plan ahead.  I agree that last minute and after final payment is the way to go with Celebrity now. 

 

 

 

 

I agree, I’ve mentioned before about the non/refunadable deposits issues. We usually book an inside for the kids (no perks required as the TA’s OBC pays for their gratuities) and a balcony with 2 perks for us. That now results in one cabin being a non-refundable deposit and one refundable, so forcing us to take the perks for the inside to make both reservations refundable!

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The travel industry is in a very good place. You are worth, what people are willing to pay.

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4 minutes ago, Fogfog said:

With the hefty non-refundable deposit vs the perks $ rates which are high... will this discourage people who book multiple rooms, or multiple sailings and then dump them before final payment???

 

On our recent sailing there were few benefits to booking on the ship -- and we had gotten onboard with plans to book 2 more sailings into 2021 . But there just wasn't enough sweetener to make it worthwhile to book  right now... 

 

 

I assume they are trying to discourage those who book multiple sailings and then cancel, but unfortunately I don't think they will accomplish that with this strategy. The price of the deposit is the same whether you book Sail or Sail All/Plus, so if you are one of those people who likes to book multiples and then cancel, you can simply book Sail All and cancel without penalty once you make your decision - you can even cancel and then rebook a cheaper, non-refundable Sail fare for the same cruise if you want. 

 

A larger deposit might help discourage this behavior, but even then you will have people who don't mind giving Celebrity an interest-free loan while they make up their minds. Perhaps making deposits transferrable but not refundable without penalty would help? I'm not sure a perfect solution to this problem exists.

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5 minutes ago, villauk said:

 

 

I agree, I’ve mentioned before about the non/refunadable deposits issues. We usually book an inside for the kids (no perks required as the TA’s OBC pays for their gratuities) and a balcony with 2 perks for us. That now results in one cabin being a non-refundable deposit and one refundable, so forcing us to take the perks for the inside to make both reservations refundable!

 

I totally agree with you.  This really hurts families who need multiple cabins.  Luckily for us, we have one teenager so we only need one cabin.  But, now that he's older, we've been sailing in Suites for the larger room.  We could get two cabins and one for himself, but the price for 4 people when we only have three is pretty much the same as a Suite and now we get extra points, michaels club, Luminae and a few extras.

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By coincidence, after looking at a holiday next year and crunching a few numbers,  I asked my wife yesterday "how much do you think our 12 night Med cruise is costing us this year on the Infinity - just the cruise and "free" drinks packages - tips, flights, car parking, excursions etc extra" (2A Balcony)

 

"About £150 / night", she guessed.

 

"Closer to £380 / night", I suggested (500$)

 

"well the steak and seafood in the MDR needs to be a lot better or it will be back to land vacations" 

 

For £150 /night you can find excellent hotels in most parts of the world with £230 in your back pocket which will go a long way for food a drink.

 

A shame really but the continuing price rises whilst still affordable for us no longer appear to be good value.

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The non refundable deposit risk is only $100 per person.  Celebrity is making it easy to compare the basic cruise fare to bundles with perks. The risk seems insignificant to me.  Of course I am not sure that I would ever book without a least the drink perk.

 

It seems silly to me to cruise a non preferred cruise line or to take a different type of vacation, just to potentially not lose $100.

We are all used to paying the full fare when booking airfare with non refundable fares.  (Actually a $200 per person change fee).  In order to save money on a cruise, then we can also get used to it.

 

We usually do not book airfare until we are we are fairly confident that we that we are flying.  Why not the same for a cruise.

 

 

 

 

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I don't blame the cruise lines for going to non refundable deposits...reading that many like to book multiple cruises, then cancel all but one.  

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Stupid pricing choices ; We are looking at 14day South America cruise.  Cheapest veranda 7600 non refundable, 8800 for refundable with 2 perks per cabin.  Difference 1200 for 2 perks.

Gratuities would be 400 for 2.  Leaves 800, to cover either 300 ObC (!!) or the classic alcohol packages which for us is not worth it as one of us does not drink alcohol and the other one maybe max 1-2 glasses per day (and you can not even exchange for premium non alcohol).

btw internet package no use to us either as we are elite plus.

Only reason I am hesitant to book non refundable is that I am worried that this rate would not allow us to take advantage if prices go down (as they probably will seen last and this year experience for that itinerary) or to upgrade free or cheap within 90 days of cruise date.

 

 

Edited by odysee

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My issue with the pricing and bundling of perks is that they are trying to compare 4 different perks and convince you they all have the same value.  IMHO the beverage package is the most expensive of the 4 but only valuable if you enjoy a few glasses of wine or cocktails while on board.  For the crowd that just likes a drink now and then it's value is extremely low.

 

The other 3 perks have a cash price much lower than the beverage package and their value varies based on the length of cruise.

 

All in all I still see some decent values with Celebrity especially when I compare their pricing to other cruise lines that do not offer similar promotions.  What I really think has happened is now that Celebrity shows both prices (with and without perks) we see what the true cost of the perks are and don't like it.

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One other factor to take into account is the time before sailing.

 

We typically book up to two years ahead. In the past we received really good rates when booking that early. By keeping things refundable, we basically consider it to be floating Celebrity an interest-free loan.

 

We end up cancelling a majority of them. Sometimes a deal comes up somewhere else. Sometimes we guess the dates of school spring break incorrectly. Sometimes we see something better on another cruise line. There are lots of things that come up in two years.

 

We will typically know for sure if we are going about 4 to 6 months before the cruise--when we start pricing airfare. I will recheck cruise prices then and would have no problem cancelling and switching to non-refundable if it's lower then. The thing is, I have never seen that happen yet. In every case so far, refundable rates two years in advance have been lower than non-refundable rates six months in advance. 

 

Perhaps that will change on Celebrity given their inflated prices of late, but so far, we haven't seen that happen. We have always been able to recover the premium for refundable fares by booking as soon as itineraries are announced.

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2 hours ago, odysee said:

 

Only reason I am hesitant to book non refundable is that I am worried that this rate would not allow us to take advantage if prices go down (as they probably will seen last and this year experience for that itinerary) or to upgrade free or cheap within 90 days of cruise date.

 

 

 

I haven’t found anything stating that the non-refundable can’t take advantage of price drops.  It might be worth calling Celebrity or your TA to clarify since for you the lower fare with no perks makes sense.

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10 hours ago, lysolqn said:

Just booked an 11-night cruise (#39 on X) and checked out the perks offers.  We usually choose two perks ($150 OBC per person and gratuities) since we're not drinkers and have no need for unlimited Wi-Fi because Elite Plus status gives us sufficient free Wi-Fi to meet our needs.   What used to be known as Go Better, Go Best is now Sail Plus (two perks of your choice) and Sail All (all four available perks).  Both options allow for refund of deposit should you need to cancel your reservation.  (It appears X has decided to follow the airline industry with respect to cancellations.  What's next?  Charging for checked baggage?)  Bottom line, Sail Plus is $700 per person, while Sail All is $1085 per person.  Am I the only one who finds these prices ridiculous?

No, in fact we have had issues with Celebrity pricing for the past couple of years.  Our solution was to do a last minute booking with absolutely no amenities.  The cost for a nice balcony cabin (after netting for OBCs) is just under $100 per passenger day.  Yes, we could have opted to spend a lot more money to get all the usual perks (tips, drinks, etc) but the pricing made absolutely no sense.  What is fun about booking just a cabin is that we have been inundated by X trying to "encourage" us to book various add-ons such as drinks for around $70 per passenger day (we have never spent near that amount on any cruise).

 

We agree with you that adding the various perks is "price ridiculous."  But Celebrity does a fantastic job marketing and many folks are willing to pay the big bucks.  As long as there are those who will pay the price, Celebrity will sell it...and continue to increase the price until lots of customers scream "No Mas!

 

Hank

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7 hours ago, Want2Cruise 701 said:

 

 

So, I will be shopping around for a better deal somewhere else.  I like to plan ahead.  I agree that last minute and after final payment is the way to go with Celebrity now.  I could be wrong, but based on the last minute deals and availability, I believe their strategy is not working.

 

 

 

It's kept me from booking a cruise for next year.  I started looking into the fall 2020 sailings when some itineraries were released but wanted to wait to see all my options.  Well, now I just cannot justify paying another $1400 just to receive two perks or another couple grand for all the perks.  It is what it is but that extra money was going to go for airfare ... but now, it's made me look elsewhere.  

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13 hours ago, citronella said:

I can’t do without WiFi, want a premium drink package and will pay gratuities. If I paid for those individually it would amount to a lot more (especially for a longer cruise) - so for me, bundling them is a good option.

 

Same here.  I priced out the cost of wifi, the premium drinks package, and the tips separately, and it was clearly far more expensive than bundling them together.

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11 hours ago, ak1004 said:

 

This is what OP mentioned in his first post as difference between non refundable and refundable with 2 perks. It might be less on 7 night cruise. Here is an example for 12 night cruise:

image.thumb.png.f602c7e484cf0cfa7e7a84b9c2d48c5e.png

 

This is for veranda cabin. To compare, I can book similar cruise on Princess for about $1,000 CAD less per person, then get Internet for $10/day which is extra $120 or $60 per person. HAL is even less. 

Before they changed to the new pricing, the difference between non-refundable and refundable deposit fares for the same number of perks was generally about 5%. So consider that about 210 CAD of the above 725 CAD difference is due to the refundable deposit and 515 CAD is a reasonable estimate what you would be paying to add the two perks.

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