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Anyone Else See 2021 Prices Going Up?

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I've been tracking a 15 day Norwegian fjords cruise since it first became available.  I thought the price might fall due the pandemic and all.  Nope, the price has risen $2,000 (Yacht Club).  What have your experiences been if you've been tracking cruise prices?

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My experience before the shutdown has been that YC prices are the lowest when the cruise is initially offered.  Usually YC sells well and the prices went up as inventory went down.  It was only on poor selling itineraries that YC prices remain as low as when the sailing was initially offered.  Inventory may free up as deposit loss/final payment gets close, 120/90 days.  Prices at that point may or may not go down, but MSC now relies on bidding to fill unsold YC and often gets more than the initially offered prices.  So most commonly YC prices never fall back.  This may change now that YC deposits are not refundable for US bookings and selling cabins to wary customers is going to be more difficult.

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They can inflate prices now for the FCC holders who can’t go elsewhere, but I fully expect very deep discounts on all lines after final payment dates. 

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I am not seeing prices increasing, but I am seeing promotions running out and not being replaced (as they usually would).  This means as an early booking promotion (common in Europe) finishes on it's planned date, the prices are increasing.  My assumption is that when MSC have more certainty as to when cruises can restart, we will likely see some good promotions to fill the ships.

 

Not sure about the US, but for the rest of the world I doubt the FCC cruise credit will have much of a role in determining pricing as it will be refunded in cash at the end of the year if not used by then.  

 

Also, I can confirm in previous (normal) times it was rare to see yacht club cabins reduced in price closer to sailing dates.   There are different prices in different markets, but overall as far as I could see they tended to remain stable.   Some of the best bargains available closer to the cruise date were for the European cruises with different start and finish ports that were used to balance out the demand from different places.         

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, 8420PR said:

This means as an early booking promotion (common in Europe) finishes on it's planned date, the prices are increasing.  My assumption is that when MSC have more certainty as to when cruises can restart, we will likely see some good promotions to fill the ships.

MSC US rarely has any of the better promotional rates when the sailing is first offered, usually it's only Brochure rate (that no one pays) and one other.  Far off sailings get the basic "Two for One" or "Escape to Sea" rate.  Only later will MSC add the more coveted  "Balcony for Inside", "All In Plus" or rates that give OBC.  So if cabin choice is not paramount then waiting is better.  But if you want YC then booking earlier is better because the later promotions don't add any significant value, and by then YC prices are almost always higher. 

 

ETA:  I guess one can consider the lower prices offered at the initial itinerary posting a kind of "sale".  I booked a Divina non-YC sailing a couple days after offered because I wanted a specific cabin.  Within a month the balcony cabin price increased $200pp.  I'll consider switching to the All-In promotion when it's eventually offered, but by then it might possibly be too great a fare difference to be of any value.  It's all pricing game where you have to find where you are comfortable.

Edited by Até

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Posted (edited)
On 4/28/2020 at 4:58 PM, BermudaBound2014 said:

They can inflate prices now for the FCC holders who can’t go elsewhere, but I fully expect very deep discounts on all lines after final payment dates. 

Yes, I read an article that expected 25-30% discounts across the board. We have seen higher prices for 2021 too. Usually working out to what an FCC would be worth. I personally wouldn't book anything now, regardless of how far ahead the sailing is. But wait until they actually need bums on the seats of sailing ships.

I also don't want to go through this FCC/no-refund disaster twice. 

Edited by ssmea03

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There are few people booking right now.  Those who are booking are going to book regardless of price, because they don't need to be convinced to come back.

 

Once lines start opening back up, and ships start sailing, expect the deals to hit in earnest.  These lines aren't going to want these ships sailing at 50% capacity, they'll need them filled, and they know they're going to have to incentivize people to come back.  Deeply discounting prices will be one of the first ways they'll do it.

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I've cancelled all my cruises in the next 10 months.  But I've kept several further out bookings just because I think there may be a different future for cruising.  I really don't think this virus problem is just going to disappear, even in over a year.  Cruise ships are going to have to implement measures before they are going to be allowed to start moving people around the world.  These measures are going to have to be much more stringent than what they were voluntarily doing before the shutdown, but hopefully not as stringent as the CDC has implemented with the no-sail order.  I don't think any cruise line will ever sail with the current restrictions (hence no US sailings until at least mid July). 

 

When the cruise lines are able to return I think the old plan of packing in as many people as possible will not be feasible.  Both governments and the people are not going to be comfortable with that for a long time.  So companies like Genting (for the most part not subject to US rules) have already put out their vision of how cruising will return.  The ships will not be running at full capacity, perhaps as low as 50% capacity.  I expect that will be the case for quite a while and chances are until there is a widespread vaccination, that could be well over 18 months from now to get worldwide immunity. 

 

So yes, there will be less demand but there is also going to be less supply.  The cruise lines are not going to be in a position where they can start up cruising with sailings losing money, that smaller capacity is going to have to at least pay the expenses.  Maybe they're willing to not make much profit, but they're not going to sail at a loss.  I still think if the likely scenario plays out that the ships in the near future get capacity controlled the prices are going to go up.  Once the controls are lifted and they can fill the ships I would agree the prices will drop to get back the customers who are now uneasy about cruising.

 

 

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On 4/29/2020 at 3:59 AM, 8420PR said:

Not sure about the US, but for the rest of the world I doubt the FCC cruise credit will have much of a role in determining pricing as it will be refunded in cash at the end of the year if not used by then.     

 

This is new information for me and I want to make sure I understand you correctly.

 

Outside of the USA, MSC are only allowing FCC be applied until December 31, 2020 and then they plan to give EVERYONE their money back??

 

 

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Well for my August 2021 Divina cruise it did.

 

I booked about 2 weeks ago and now the same cruise is $1000 more (YC for a room for 4).

 

And the funny thing for that cruise was the USD and CDN rate was very similar, partially becuase the US site was charging for 3rd and 4th, where as the CDN site was only charging port fees and taxes for 3rd and 4th (i.e. US site was $5000 USD, where as CDN site was $6000 CDN -- only example, because I forgor the costs)

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I mean I don't feel I'm seeing a massive trend in upward price changes. In fact, I am still finding some '21 bargains for sure. But I do understand and agree that we might see less special offers being refreshed/replaced. 

 

That said, given how far we are into the year now, and the state that some of the lines might come out the other side (and I pray they will) of this, then I am now tempted to wait for Black Friday sales and see what comes along as they will have a better idea where they are then, and may throw out some cracking deals.

 

Again that is dependent on new capacities and social distancing measures and any other potential changes we may be facing.

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On 4/30/2020 at 8:36 PM, BermudaBound2014 said:

 

This is new information for me and I want to make sure I understand you correctly.

 

Outside of the USA, MSC are only allowing FCC be applied until December 31, 2020 and then they plan to give EVERYONE their money back??

 

 

The date when the FCC has to be used is January 31st, 2021, but can be refunded if not able to use.  The T&C of my voucher (Germany) makes the refund sound automatic (which I doubt - it's technically difficult to process), whereas the UK website has an email address:  

https://www.msccruises.co.uk/coronavirus/compensation

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On 4/29/2020 at 3:59 AM, 8420PR said:

Not sure about the US, but for the rest of the world I doubt the FCC cruise credit will have much of a role in determining pricing as it will be refunded in cash at the end of the year if not used by then.  

 

44 minutes ago, 8420PR said:

The date when the FCC has to be used is January 31st, 2021, but can be refunded if not able to use.  The T&C of my voucher (Germany) makes the refund sound automatic (which I doubt - it's technically difficult to process), whereas the UK website has an email address:  

https://www.msccruises.co.uk/coronavirus/compensation

 

OMGOSH... that is only 7 months away. To make sure I am understanding you correctly, if people have not re-booked using the FCC within the next 7 months MSC plans to give everyone their money back at the same time? I can't even wrap my mind around how that makes any business sense. Why wouldn't they extend the FCC timeline to avoid a simultaneous massive cash loss. 

 

Unless I'm way off base, I don't see this plan coming to fruition. A more likely scenario is extending the timeline for using the FCC. Time will tell. Let's revisit this in January :).

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On 4/28/2020 at 12:20 PM, Até said:

My experience before the shutdown has been that YC prices are the lowest when the cruise is initially offered.  Usually YC sells well and the prices went up as inventory went down.  It was only on poor selling itineraries that YC prices remain as low as when the sailing was initially offered.  Inventory may free up as deposit loss/final payment gets close, 120/90 days.  Prices at that point may or may not go down, but MSC now relies on bidding to fill unsold YC and often gets more than the initially offered prices.  So most commonly YC prices never fall back.  This may change now that YC deposits are not refundable for US bookings and selling cabins to wary customers is going to be more difficult.

 

Good to know.  Yes I was comparing to prices shortly after the cruise was available for booking.  With this coronavirus mess, I'll likely skip the 2021 cruise and book the 2022 cruise instead...... and I'll be sure to book as soon as available😉

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For our trips next year, two different YC rooms on same sailings, one is up just under 17% and the other up just under 19%.  Northern Europe.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

 

 

OMGOSH... that is only 7 months away. To make sure I am understanding you correctly, if people have not re-booked using the FCC within the next 7 months MSC plans to give everyone their money back at the same time? I can't even wrap my mind around how that makes any business sense. Why wouldn't they extend the FCC timeline to avoid a simultaneous massive cash loss. 

 

Unless I'm way off base, I don't see this plan coming to fruition. A more likely scenario is extending the timeline for using the FCC. Time will tell. Let's revisit this in January :).

Timetable for using FCC depends on country where is was given. I believe the above January 2021 is for EU countries. it must be applied to cruise by then and cruise must be before Dec 31, 2021.
In US, FCC must be applied to a cruise beginning on or before 2021.

we have one booked for oct and Nov 2021. We are hoping a vaccine will be available by next fall.

Edited by phissy

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1 hour ago, phissy said:

Timetable for using FCC depends on country where is was given. I believe the above January 2021 is for EU countries. it must be applied to cruise by then and cruise must be before Dec 31, 2021.
In US, FCC must be applied to a cruise beginning on or before 2021.

we have one booked for oct and Nov 2021. We are hoping a vaccine will be available by next fall.

 

I think I understand the timetables across most countries. What I find very interesting is that in some countries MSC plans to refund all un-applied FCC (and cash) at one time (at the end of the year).  I would think that would be a massive outpouring of much needed capital.

 

On 4/29/2020 at 3:59 AM, 8420PR said:

Not sure about the US, but for the rest of the world I doubt the FCC cruise credit will have much of a role in determining pricing as it will be refunded in cash at the end of the year if not used by then.  

 

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8 hours ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

 

I think I understand the timetables across most countries. What I find very interesting is that in some countries MSC plans to refund all un-applied FCC (and cash) at one time (at the end of the year).  I would think that would be a massive outpouring of much needed capital.

This is the latest iteration of MSC's policy (since around the middle of April).  I see it as positive, as there is no downside for consumers to accept the FCC today (with 25% bonus) as we can change our mind later and get the money refunded (without the bonus).  MSC are therefore avoiding the capital drains now (at a time when there is likely zero money coming in), and if customers do end up requesting a refund it is better for MSC in January 2021 than May 2020.  Pessimistically you might say it is also an attempt to be compliant with EU laws - refunds have to be offered - while also improving cash-flow.

 

Of course I can understand some customers are annoyed with the current 120 day refund timelines if a refund is requested today (especially at a time when money might be tight), as well as the typical MSC confusion (changing policy, different answers to the same questions etc).

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I have posted, elsewhere, that big price increases for 2021 are a reality because it is the only way that cruise lines can blunt the impact of all the big Future Cruise Credits they have been handing out like candy.  The reality is that those who have received FCCs for cancelled cruises are generally going to find that those FCCs are not worth nearly as much as expected.  With the future price increases you are likely to not get nearly the value of the FCCs that one expected.  As an example, we just looked at a 14 day MSC cruise in 2021 vs a similar cruise we have booked in 2020.  The price for the same cabin category (Yacht Club) has increased by 20% in 2021.  A 20% increase (which translates to over $1600 in the YC) in a single year is huge.  We have seen even bigger price increases on some other mass market lines.   Folks that have received those big FCCs (for cancelled cruises) will need to use it in 2021 (2022 is also possible for some cruise lines) and a portion of those FCCs will be rendered nearly worthless by the price increases.   Think of it in a simple way.  If I were to give you a $100 coupon for a restaurant, but then increase the cost for dinner by $100...I have given you nothing.  The downside for the cruise lines are trying to attract completely new bookings (for folks without FCCs) who will balk at the much higher prices.

 

Hank

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2 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I have posted, elsewhere, that big price increases for 2021 are a reality because it is the only way that cruise lines can blunt the impact of all the big Future Cruise Credits they have been handing out like candy.  The reality is that those who have received FCCs for cancelled cruises are generally going to find that those FCCs are not worth nearly as much as expected.  With the future price increases you are likely to not get nearly the value of the FCCs that one expected.  As an example, we just looked at a 14 day MSC cruise in 2021 vs a similar cruise we have booked in 2020.  The price for the same cabin category (Yacht Club) has increased by 20% in 2021.  A 20% increase (which translates to over $1600 in the YC) in a single year is huge.  We have seen even bigger price increases on some other mass market lines.   Folks that have received those big FCCs (for cancelled cruises) will need to use it in 2021 (2022 is also possible for some cruise lines) and a portion of those FCCs will be rendered nearly worthless by the price increases.   Think of it in a simple way.  If I were to give you a $100 coupon for a restaurant, but then increase the cost for dinner by $100...I have given you nothing.  The downside for the cruise lines are trying to attract completely new bookings (for folks without FCCs) who will balk at the much higher prices.

 

Hank

 

I think you have it exactly right.  The YC cruise I've been tracking for 2021 has gone up $2,000.  I've noticed reports on other boards that some people are finding that prices have gone up so much that even when applying their 125% FCC, they will still have to shell out more cash to rebook the same cruise in 2021.  It's a dangerous balancing act the cruise lines will need to perform once sailings resume.  They can't afford to resume sailings with a bunch of FCC passengers if they contribute little new revenue - this would be an even larger cash drain than just letting the ships remain idle.  They need to find a way to resume sailing in a way that actually generates revenue.  It's not clear to me that this will be possible.

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7 minutes ago, mnocket said:

 They need to find a way to resume sailing in a way that actually generates revenue.  It's not clear to me that this will be possible.

 

I agree, cruise lines need NEW revenue (not FCC revenue). FCC will involve on-board spending which will generate some cash flow, but not nearly as much as new money. I continue to believe that the industry will keep prices high for those with FCC but they will fill the ships by offering amazing deals/discounts/incentives to entice those willing to spend new money to board.

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7 minutes ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

 

I agree, cruise lines need NEW revenue (not FCC revenue). FCC will involve on-board spending which will generate some cash flow, but not nearly as much as new money. I continue to believe that the industry will keep prices high for those with FCC but they will fill the ships by offering amazing deals/discounts/incentives to entice those willing to spend new money to board.

I can't imagine the fury here if cruise lines introduce a two tier pricing structure (i.e. sales apply to only non-FCC bookings).  Just imagine....  people who took refunds rather than FCCs will be able to book and take advantage of sale pricing - those who took FCCs will be hung out to dry.  It would be ugly😡

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On 5/5/2020 at 2:55 PM, mnocket said:

I can't imagine the fury here if cruise lines introduce a two tier pricing structure (i.e. sales apply to only non-FCC bookings).  Just imagine....  people who took refunds rather than FCCs will be able to book and take advantage of sale pricing - those who took FCCs will be hung out to dry.  It would be ugly😡

 

I see the pricing structure a bit more clandestine than a transparent two tier system. For example, this is the second email I have received where FCC bookings can not be used in conjunction with a special being offered. I do suspect these types of exclusive offers  to become the norm as cruise lines engage in a feeding frenzy for new travel dollars. This came from Celebrity:

 

image.png.3c9e7b85a40917512351dd7d1b285461.png

 

 

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If it helps, below is the T&C for the voucher from MSC.  

 

Can the voucher also be combined with other promotions?

 
The MSC Cruises voucher can be combined with any promotion. MSC Voyagers Club members can also combine the voucher with the MSC Voyages Selection runs.

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21 minutes ago, 8420PR said:

If it helps, below is the T&C for the voucher from MSC.  

 

Can the voucher also be combined with other promotions?

 
The MSC Cruises voucher can be combined with any promotion. MSC Voyagers Club members can also combine the voucher with the MSC Voyages Selection runs.

 

I would be amazed if these terms and conditions stay the same. MSC has a  habit of changing terms and conditions on the website on a whim. This isn't a slam on MSC, it's just a fact and those of us who choose to sail with MSC know and accept this. I like that you have a cut and paste of the terms and recommend you keep these as it will certainly help your case should things change.  Ultimately, who knows, stranger things have happened and we are certainly in uncharted territory. I'm always on the side of the consumer, so I do wish you all the best! 

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