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Whatsausername

Do cruises typically go up in price closer to sail dates?

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We are looking at booking a cruise. We found it about a month ago and it was a decent price. Things happened, life happened, and now the cruise is nearly $200 more. I know, we should have booked it back then but due to circumstances with communication, it just didn't work out that way. It's sailing from New Orleans in January. It has gone up twice this week alone. Becoming frustrating. Any advice or experience with this?

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Prices go up and down depending on how sales are going.

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2 minutes ago, Whatsausername said:

We are looking at booking a cruise. We found it about a month ago and it was a decent price. Things happened, life happened, and now the cruise is nearly $200 more. I know, we should have booked it back then but due to circumstances with communication, it just didn't work out that way. It's sailing from New Orleans in January. It has gone up twice this week alone. Becoming frustrating. Any advice or experience with this?

You will find that some repetitive, short itinerary cruises on mass market lines (e.g., one week or less Caribbean)may see some price drops after the day final payments are due (because of cancellations).

By contrast, some longer cruises to more unusual/exotic/etc places with a limited number of sailings (particularly on premium/luxury lines) may sell out early after being announced. And any cabin that does become available closer to embarkation day will fetch a premium.

In short, "supply and demand" rules.

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1 hour ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

You will find that some repetitive, short itinerary cruises on mass market lines (e.g., one week or less Caribbean)may see some price drops after the day final payments are due (because of cancellations).

By contrast, some longer cruises to more unusual/exotic/etc places with a limited number of sailings (particularly on premium/luxury lines) may sell out early after being announced. And any cabin that does become available closer to embarkation day will fetch a premium.

In short, "supply and demand" rules.

 

I'm assuming final payment is 3 months before sail date?

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36 minutes ago, Whatsausername said:

 

I'm assuming final payment is 3 months before sail date?

varies by cruise line as well as by cruise length, cabin class, et al.

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1 hour ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

varies by cruise line as well as by cruise length, cabin class, et al.

I see. The cruise in question is a 5 day on Norwegian. Only looking for an inside cabin.

 

At this rate, I suppose I'll either book and get it over with or wait a month or so before. Kind of booked things backwards. Got the flights before the cruise.

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16 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

varies by cruise line as well as by cruise length, cabin class, et al.

Agree. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes the cruise was sold out at 50, or 40, or 30 days, before sailing. So there was no price move.

 

And final payment can be 30 to 75 or more days before final payment. 

 

So, hopefully you can see there is no one final and accurate info. I see you are sailing on NCL. A $200 swing for an inside on a 5 day cruise is pretty  significant. If you want to go, book it. Don't overthink this. I doubt it will go down at this point.

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Under US booking rules, if you see a price you like, BOOK IT.

 

If the price goes down before the final payment date, you can call and get your fare repriced.  So you can get the lower fare.

 

Although, if you booked early, you might get some perks that could go away with the current pricing.  So make sure you are actually paying less overall.

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16 hours ago, GUT2407 said:

Prices go up and down depending on how sales are going.

Precisely. Prices will increase as the ship fills to capacity. After final payment, prices often drop for unsold staterooms. 

Several years ago we were watching the prices for a Med cruise. We were watching one particular itinerary on a specific ship and all of the cruises prior to our selected date dramatically decreased after the final payment. 

Long story short - the specific dates that we wanted only increased after final payment. So - we entered the crap shoot and lost. Had we booked earlier we would have paid less than waiting for the price to decrease and paying more. Ah well ...

Edited by dogs4fun

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Scarcity is always an underlying factor.  If the itinerary is unusual, the cruise is likely to sell out early. If it is one of several mass market ships sailing on similar itineraries they will also probably sell out - but much closer to sailing date.   

 

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This for bookings in the UK only ...............

 

Prices of a lot of cruises, especially those that sail well-worn itineraries, go down in the weeks & months ahead of sailing date.

We've just snagged a 7-day cruise that departs 4th December for 60% less than brochure price (altho I'm not sure anyone actually pays brochure price :classic_wink:). 

 

Some cruise prices actually go up, some cruises book-out early, and unless cabin location / dining choices are available (if they are, there'll be an add-on to get those choices) they'll be pot-luck for late bookings.

 

And if you have to book your own flights, the higher airfares for late booking can outweigh the late-booked cruise bargains.

But for most Brits cruises from the UK won't involve flights.

And the likes of P&O and Marella offer fly-cruises on chartered aircraft to their ships based in the Caribbean & Mediterranean, so the late bargains are inclusive of air and transfers. The one thing to be wary of is availability of flights from your regional airports - a cheap fly-cruise isn't cheap if you live on the south coast & their only available flights are from Edinburgh.:classic_ohmy:

 

Late bargains save a serious amount of money, they're the way to go if you're flexible on dates (eg you're retired), flexible on ships & itineraries, keep up-to-date (on cruise agents' e-mailing lists etc), and don't mind jumping at short notice.

But of very limited use if you're tied to fixed holiday dates, school holidays etc.

 

I'm perfectly happy to be smug about our late-booked bargains - for many years, business commitments meant that the only time we could get away was  Christmas & New Year, for which of course we paid through the nose.

Now it's pay-back time :classic_smile:

 

JB :classic_smile:

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I can only really report on Celebrity sailings.  And my answer has to be "it depends".  Unique or longer cruises (10+ nights) tend to book up earlier and prices tend to go up rather than down.  Examples of these are Mardi Gras cruises, California coastal and Panama Canal crossings (there are only a couple of each due to repositioning), and similar.  Caribbean cruises around school breaks tend to go up in price.  Conversely, Caribbean cruises during hurricane season often end up having last minute deals.  There are so many variables.  The best thing to do if you are looking at a particular cruise is to look at how many cabins are available.  If it is selling out quickly, grab what you can.  If there are still lots of available cabins there is a good chance (but no guarantee) that prices may drop or there may be deals offering more perks.

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We agree with the posters who said "it varies."  Supply/Demand usually determine price and we have snagged some amazing last minute (usually 2-5 weeks prior to the cruise) deals.  And yes, even on Celebrity where we recently (last June) got a great last minute deal on a Summit cruise to Bermuda and Canada.   But popular itineraries or cabin categories often need to be booked well in advance.   

 

Hank

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My understanding is Winter cruises tend to be pricer.. and shoulder season less expensive. I could be wrong but was told that if you book and prices go down the cruise line will adjust your fare if you request that so keep an eye on it. 

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We're sailing from Rio to Buenos in about a week and about two weeks ago our price went down $400/pp. I could either have had it as SBC on this cruise or apply it to a cruise we're doing next year. We did the latter as there's no we could have used $800 on SBC. I had also received several offers to buy upgrades to suites.

 

ETA: I found this via a CC general notice. My O agent had given me a heads up that if I ever saw this to let him know as he doesn't get the notices.

Edited by clo

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On 12/2/2019 at 12:05 PM, nkuzy said:

My understanding is Winter cruises tend to be pricer.. and shoulder season less expensive. I could be wrong but was told that if you book and prices go down the cruise line will adjust your fare if you request that so keep an eye on it. 

 

Holiday winter cruises are more pricey.   But Jan/Feb cruises can be quite cheap/  I recently booked on for $47 per day per person.

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Is that including gratuities, port charges and transportation to the departure point? I think many get caught up in the advertised discount rate and ignore all the other costs.  We just went on an off season 2 back to back 5 day cruises.                                     This is how ONE of them  adds up. $98 cruise price  for each of us.. $138 in port fees and taxes x 2 . $14.50 per day in gratuities x 2 .  $150 in gas round trip to get to Florida departure point, $100 for parking. (++ Add in any  excursions , packages, gambling ect. if desired.)  $722  for 2 on a "$98 each advertised cruise fare" was actually   $72.20 a day each, which is still a great value for room and board and entertainment on a daily basis                                                                                                                                         *I used accumulated credit card  points to pay for the hotel the night before the first cruise left and just had to pay a $35 resort fee at the hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. *My annual travel credit also kicked in on that card so I got a credit of $300 which brings cruise #1 down to $42.50 per day each for the whole shooting match on cruise #1. Note Without the travel credit it was $75.70 a day including the hotel stay the night before.  *we spent slightly more on a day excursion on our own to a beach in Cozumel to do some snorkeling $20 each for the beach passes which included snorkel gear , $20 for a bucket of beers and $12 for cabs to and from which we split with another couple.  I believe had we done this excursion through the cruise line it was $120 each but included "all you can eat and drink" at a crowded beach with other cruisers.  We were off the beaten path at a relatively quiet little private beach.  My point is not to get all caught up in advertised fares as you need to look at the big picture when pricing these things because adding a drinks package and a couple excursions and transport can easily add up to BIG BUCKS. 

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7 minutes ago, nkuzy said:

......My point is not to get all caught up in advertised fares as you need to look at the big picture when pricing these things because adding a drinks package and a couple excursions and transport can easily add up to BIG BUCKS. 

Perhaps the biggest mistake some folks make when they compare cruise costs is to use only the cabin price.

I have often posted here on CC regarding the concept of "net daily rate," which is the total of all costs associated with a cruise vacation (door to door) divided by the number of days away from home.

It's a real eye opener!

 

Upon seeing the advertised cabin price, many individuals immediately dismiss premium/luxury lines because they erroneously think that they are "too expensive." Of course, they may have neglected to consider that the "higher" price of the better experience includes many items that are optional extra costs on the "bargain brand." 

That premium line fare may include air fare (or credit), beverages, gratuities, specialty restaurants and even booze and/or excursions. 

And that's before one's even considered the difference in quality/service/space+crew ratios et al.

DO THE MATH. and assess the value using a quality quotient.

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13 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Perhaps the biggest mistake some folks make when they compare cruise costs is to use only the cabin price.

I have often posted here on CC regarding the concept of "net daily rate," which is the total of all costs associated with a cruise vacation (door to door) divided by the number of days away from home.

It's a real eye opener!

 

Upon seeing the advertised cabin price, many individuals immediately dismiss premium/luxury lines because they erroneously think that they are "too expensive." Of course, they may have neglected to consider that the "higher" price of the better experience includes many items that are optional extra costs on the "bargain brand." 

That premium line fare may include air fare (or credit), beverages, gratuities, specialty restaurants and even booze and/or excursions. 

And that's before one's even considered the difference in quality/service/space+crew ratios et al.

DO THE MATH. and assess the value using a quality quotient.

 

Exactly.  I got a great deal on an 8 night cruise the end of Jan.  The drink package for 2 people was more than the cruise fare, plus tax and port fees.   And that did not include the gratuities.

 

And yes, the luxury lines can actually be a bargain.  Compare a mass market line in a suite, with specialty dining, beverage package and excursions, and the difference can be quite small, or even in favor of the luxury line.

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On 12/4/2019 at 7:43 AM, SRF said:

And yes, the luxury lines can actually be a bargain.  Compare a mass market line in a suite, with specialty dining, beverage package and excursions, and the difference can be quite small, or even in favor of the luxury line.

Are you comparing the same class of cabins?  Suite on mass market v. suite on luxury line? Or, are you comparing suite v. balcony?

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1 hour ago, RocketMan275 said:

Are you comparing the same class of cabins?  Suite on mass market v. suite on luxury line? Or, are you comparing suite v. balcony?

In some cases, a premium/luxury balcony cabin may be more desirable than a mass market suite. IMO, square footage is irrelevant. Layout, bedding/linens, and amenities are what make a difference. You really need to do the specific comparisons since a blanket statement won't work.

In any case (as aforementioned), do the math - particularly on longer cruises requiring Intercontinental air flights. Just the included airfare, or credit if you DIY, can be the great equalizer in bottom line cost.

Drinks? Internet? Excursions? Booze? Gratuities? SBC? Specialty Restaurants? They can cost you a lot on that mass market line while most, if not all, are included in a premium/luxury line cabin fare.

AND, don't forget there's a significant difference in quality of food, service, space & crew ratios, etc etc

 

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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Just now, Flatbush Flyer said:

In some cases, a premium/luxury balcony cabin may be more desirable than a mass market suite. IMO, square footage is irrelevant. Layout, bedding/linens, and amenities are what make a difference. You really need to do the specific comparisons since a blanket statement won't work.

In any case (as aforementioned), do the math - particularly on longer cruises requiring Intercontinental air flights. Just the included airfare, or credit if you DIY, can be the great equalizer in bottom line cost.

Drinks? Internet? Excursions? Booze? Gratuities? SBC? Specialty Restaurants? They can cost you a lot on that mass market line while most, if not all, are included in a premium/luxury line cabin fare.

 

If you believe you have to do specific comparisons, then don't compare apples to oranges. 

Do the suite to suite comparison and the mass market lines win.  

You might as well compare the cost of an inside to that of a balcony.

 

You're not interested in square footage. 

We're not interested in 'free beverages'.  

 

Quite frankly, we prefer the à la carte system of the mass market lines over the included but not free system of the 'luxury lines'.

 

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40 minutes ago, RocketMan275 said:

If you believe you have to do specific comparisons, then don't compare apples to oranges. 

Do the suite to suite comparison and the mass market lines win.  

You might as well compare the cost of an inside to that of a balcony.

 

You're not interested in square footage. 

We're not interested in 'free beverages'.  

 

Quite frankly, we prefer the à la carte system of the mass market lines over the included but not free system of the 'luxury lines'.

 

A la carte? Choose a premium line like Oceania or Azamara.

On Oceania, for example, you could choose a "cruise only" fare (free internet, free beverages, free specialty restaurants) and compare the cost of a balcony cabin to Celebrity or HAL - particularly on a Caribbean cruise.

Folks have done that "apples to apples" balcony comparison here on CC  (I.e., Oceania "cruise only" to Celebrity (w/basic beverages, internet and a couple of specialties) for 7-10 days to the Caribbean and have occasionally found Celebrity to be MORE expensive. 

BTW, this is only one of the reasons that so many Celebrity folks have "jumped ship."

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2 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

A la carte? Choose a premium line like Oceania or Azamara.

On Oceania, for example, you could choose a "cruise only" fare (free internet, free beverages, free specialty restaurants) and compare the cost of a balcony cabin to Celebrity or HAL - particularly on a Caribbean cruise.

Folks have done that "apples to apples" balcony comparison here on CC  (I.e., Oceania "cruise only" to Celebrity (w/basic beverages, internet and a couple of specialties) for 7-10 days to the Caribbean and have occasionally found Celebrity to be MORE expensive. 

BTW, this is only one of the reasons that so many Celebrity folks have "jumped ship."

Those things aren't 'free', they are 'included' which isn't the same thing.

We only book suites.  When we compare suite-to-suite pricing and only include the things we prefer, the 'luxury lines' are not a bargain.

 

We rarely buy a beverage package since we've found our beverage consumption is far less than the cost of the packages. 

We're not interested in internet packages.

Couldn't care less about most shore excursions.

We're not found of the restrictions on the 'free' specialty dining.  Would rather pay for what we want, when we want.

 

It just depends.  If you would normally spend a bunch on those 'free' things and are willing to settle for less than a suite, then go for it.

  

 

 

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19 minutes ago, RocketMan275 said:

Those things aren't 'free', they are 'included' which isn't the same thing.

We only book suites.  When we compare suite-to-suite pricing and only include the things we prefer, the 'luxury lines' are not a bargain.

 

We rarely buy a beverage package since we've found our beverage consumption is far less than the cost of the packages. 

We're not interested in internet packages.

Couldn't care less about most shore excursions.

We're not found of the restrictions on the 'free' specialty dining.  Would rather pay for what we want, when we want.

 

It just depends.  If you would normally spend a bunch on those 'free' things and are willing to settle for less than a suite, then go for it.

  

 

 

"Restrictions" on specialty restaurants???

On Oceania, you can eat as many times in a specialty restaurant as you want as long as your flexible about time and sharing (if necessary). Want extra entrees? Eat as much as you want (BTW, USDA Prime meats).

 

Try comparing the "bigger than balcony" cabins (what you call a suite might be the equivalent of a penthouse on Oceania). Again, you may be surprised at the price. And you'll definitely be surprised at the quality of food.

 

BTW: how big is your balcony in your usual "suite?" Here's a basic B3 balcony (extended) on Oceania (same price as non-extended).

 

Again, remember that I'm talking about "premium" lines and not "luxury" (all inclusives).

 

IMG_9874.JPG

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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