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How much did a cruise cost pre COVID?


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I saw a thread on FB this morning about how cruise prices have doubled and even tripled since the pandemic.  Having only done land travel as an adult, I was pricing our future cruises based on what it would have costed us in flights + hotels + food/drinks and so the cost seem reasonable to us.  But I am curious about what cruises used to cost back in the olden days before COVID was a thing.  You don’t have to post the exact price you paid unless you want to, just a general ballpark is ok. For reference, we’re paying about $2800 for a suite on a 3 night cruise to Moreton Island in March 22 with P&O and I am travelling solo on a 9 night cruise with Celebrity in Feb 23 and paying $4500 for a balcony (I didn't know solo supplement was a thing but it is what it is 🤷‍♀️).

 

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We usually cruised on Princess and occasionally on P&O when the price was right. I don't think prices have risen significantly. After all, we have two or three years' inflation to factor in. Maybe there aren't many 'specials' at the moment because the cruise lines don't have to offer them to fill up their ships. The cruises are too far in the future and too uncertain for them to have to do that.

 

If people claim prices have doubled or tripled, I suggest they are not comparing 'apples with apples'. The only way to be sure is to compare brochure prices from the two time periods.

 

I have booked a long cruise as a solo because my husband doesn't want to go. Princess charges nearly double. You 'save' the port fees that would be charged if a second person was in the cabin.

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I did wonder if there was an element of apple vs orange comparison. I don't usually pay attention to commentary on social media but this one in particular got me curious because I have seen similar comments on other threads about increasing prices for the same cruise that has been deferred due to COVID. 

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1 hour ago, Snoopkat said:

I saw a thread on FB this morning about how cruise prices have doubled and even tripled since the pandemic.

 

The prices out there now are for hypothetical cruises, since nobody knows when cruising will start or what it will look like when it does.

 

2022 cruises are very problematical, 2023 cruises may run as advertised, but then again may not. There could be lots of rescheduling and cancellations yet to come if only local cruises are permitted.

 

There is a long forgotten thread about El Cheapo cruise bargains here. It gives you an idea of how cruises were being marketed and discounted before covid.

 

That said, I think you are booking too close ahead for the 2022 cruise and too far ahead for the 2023 cruise. Wait a while to see if cruising opens up for 2022 and also wait to see if prices start discounting for 2023. The only reason to book now is if you think your particular cruise is going to sell out.

 

In answer to your question, I don't think prices have doubled or tripled. I do think they are significantly higher, maybe 10%-20%, but as I said that may change when ships actually start sailing.

 

I also think that what you are paying is within the normal price range, but at the top end of it.

Edited by SinbadThePorter
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One rule of thumb not too long ago was $100 a day. Those days are now long gone. I don't know if anyone has done a survey across cruise operators to find cost averages for last, say, five years.

I'm guessing $300-$500/day depending on cabin type.

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5 minutes ago, lyndarra said:

One rule of thumb not too long ago was $100 a day. Those days are now long gone. I don't know if anyone has done a survey across cruise operators to find cost averages for last, say, five years.

I'm guessing $300-$500/day depending on cabin type.

Not so long ago our benchmark was $150 per day pptws for an ocean view or obstructed OV on quality cruise lines. Yes, those were the good old days, 10-20 years ago.

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46 minutes ago, SinbadThePorter said:

 

There is a long forgotten thread about El Cheapo cruise bargains here. It gives you an idea of how cruises were being marketed and discounted before covid.

 

 

Thank you, I've started reading the first couple of pages and it will be interesting to see the price creep over the years. Lots of good tips on there too, I didn't realise you could use a US TA for one.  I usually book all my travel direct with the supplier so using a TA has never really occurred to me much less an overseas based TA. The Celebrity cruise was the very first one I booked and I did jump the gun a bit with that one so there is definitely some learning in there for future bookings.

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Our last cruise to NZ (13 days from Melbourne on the Golden Princess) at the end of 2018, for a premium balcony cost nearly $6000. Just looked on the Princess website at a similar cruise for the end of 2022 and it would cost about $1000 more.

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39 minutes ago, lyndarra said:

One rule of thumb not too long ago was $100 a day. Those days are now long gone. I don't know if anyone has done a survey across cruise operators to find cost averages for last, say, five years.

I'm guessing $300-$500/day depending on cabin type.

Maybe it's because I don't know what I don't know but $300-500 per day is still pretty good to me considering a hotel alone would cost $300-40 p/n (Sydney prices) and then you have to factor in food/drinks and the cost of getting to the destination itself. Not to mention other non quantitative costs like time spent travelling/checking in at hotels/packing etc. That's the main reason why cruising has started to appeal to me. I've crunched the numbers in several different ways and cruising still comes out cheaper relatively speaking.

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57 minutes ago, lyndarra said:

One rule of thumb not too long ago was $100 a day. Those days are now long gone. I don't know if anyone has done a survey across cruise operators to find cost averages for last, say, five years.

I'm guessing $300-$500/day depending on cabin type.

Our benchmark a few years ago to determine if the pricing was OK, was $100 a day twin share for an inside cabin, even if we booked a different category.

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42 minutes ago, Aus Traveller said:

Our benchmark a few years ago to determine if the pricing was OK, was $100 a day twin share for an inside cabin, even if we booked a different category.

Why use the inside cabin as a benchmark if price increase between categories is non linear?

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20 minutes ago, Snoopkat said:

Why use the inside cabin as a benchmark if price increase between categories is non linear?

We found that the price of an inside cabin did give us an idea of the overall pricing for the cruise and we would then check the pricing on other categories. We usually got an oceanview on a 7-night cruise on P&O for the $100 a night. BTW, we hardly ever booked at brochure price.

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1 hour ago, Snoopkat said:

Maybe it's because I don't know what I don't know but $300-500 per day is still pretty good to me considering a hotel alone would cost $300-40 p/n (Sydney prices) and then you have to factor in food/drinks and the cost of getting to the destination itself. Not to mention other non quantitative costs like time spent travelling/checking in at hotels/packing etc. That's the main reason why cruising has started to appeal to me. I've crunched the numbers in several different ways and cruising still comes out cheaper relatively speaking.

I usually sail on Royal Caribbean and $150 a night each  for 2 in a balcony.

 I have  got it quite a few times for $70 a night and have paid $300 for a Christmas or new year cruise.
When we see a suite for about $300-$400 a night we grab it.

 

When you add it up ,accomodation,transport,food ,entertainment and you only unpack once it’s great stress free holiday.

No customs,sitting in a plane for hours and getting robbed by a taxi driver at the other end, no thanks.

We have a hour on the train to circular quay check in and hit the bar.

 

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Comparing pricing on my P&O New Year cruise (this coming NY) the price of inside cabins has remained the same if not cheaper but the prices of outside or balconies has increased by about 25%.  I booked around 20 months ago. I don't think it will go ahead and will wait to see what happens in the next month prior to final payment.

 

They do have a deal for the next 2 weeks with double OBC and $1 deposits.  There is a huge gap between insides and others.

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11 minutes ago, Ondine said:

Comparing pricing on my P&O New Year cruise (this coming NY) the price of inside cabins has remained the same if not cheaper but the prices of outside or balconies has increased by about 25%.  I booked around 20 months ago. I don't think it will go ahead and will wait to see what happens in the next month prior to final payment.

 

They do have a deal for the next 2 weeks with double OBC and $1 deposits.  There is a huge gap between insides and others.

Maybe with COVID many people prefer a balcony (or an oceanview) rather than an inside making a greater difference in price.

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21 minutes ago, Ondine said:

Comparing pricing on my P&O New Year cruise (this coming NY) the price of inside cabins has remained the same if not cheaper but the prices of outside or balconies has increased by about 25%.  I booked around 20 months ago. I don't think it will go ahead and will wait to see what happens in the next month prior to final payment.

 

They do have a deal for the next 2 weeks with double OBC and $1 deposits.  There is a huge gap between insides and others.

We booked the P&O cruise purely because of the $1 deposit. Our next deposit is due to be paid in Oct, I wonder if they will push out the payment date given we don't actually know if the cruise will go ahead.

 

Anyone here a regular Carnival cruiser? They seem to be really popular with the US market and is consistently one of the cheaper cruise lines I've found, but the reviews I read about the drunken yobs (about 5 pages worth!) became a major turn off for me.

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6 hours ago, Snoopkat said:

I saw a thread on FB this morning about how cruise prices have doubled and even tripled since the pandemic.  Having only done land travel as an adult, I was pricing our future cruises based on what it would have costed us in flights + hotels + food/drinks and so the cost seem reasonable to us.  But I am curious about what cruises used to cost back in the olden days before COVID was a thing.  You don’t have to post the exact price you paid unless you want to, just a general ballpark is ok. For reference, we’re paying about $2800 for a suite on a 3 night cruise to Moreton Island in March 22 with P&O and I am travelling solo on a 9 night cruise with Celebrity in Feb 23 and paying $4500 for a balcony (I didn't know solo supplement was a thing but it is what it is 🤷‍♀️).

 

Comparing pre covid prices to what are being offered now (on cruises that may or may not go ahead) is pretty pointless. Even in "normal" times cruise pricing was/is subject to so many variables that it will do your head in trying. I don't think the two or three times the price claim is really valid. Yes, the cruise lines "on paper"may be charging more than before, but why wouldn't they after losing billions over the last eighteen months.  However, they don't even know when they will be able to resume cruising  here in Australia, never mind the conditions/restrictions the will be  operating under. I know you are only asking as a guide, but really, in my opinion, if the price you get is what you can afford and you are happy with what you are getting for your money, take it. Regardless of what you pay, you will undoubtedly

meet someone on your cruise who paid less for the same thing so, do your research (which is what you are doing now I guess) compare the prices offered, take the best, forget the rest  and.......  ENJOY YOUR CRUISE and welcome to the world of cruising.

 

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45 minutes ago, Snoopkat said:

Anyone here a regular Carnival cruiser? They seem to be really popular with the US market and is consistently one of the cheaper cruise lines I've found, but the reviews I read about the drunken yobs (about 5 pages worth!) became a major turn off for me.

 

I'm not, but it's worthwhile being aware of the hierarchy of cruise lines in Australia.

 

At the bottom are the budget lines, Carnival and P&O. I have no problem with P&O, but some do.

 

Next are the premium cruise lines, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Holland, and probably Celebrity (although they seem to be making some efforts to position themselves higher in the food chain).

 

Lastly are the luxury lines, like Seabourn, Azamara, Silversea and Viking. Some people also put Cunard in this group.

 

You'll find unpleasant people on all cruise ships, you just have to learn to avoid them.

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There are so many variables, line, cabin category and location, time of year, itinerary

 

But we have done many cruises Sydney to Tasmania, in the week before school breaks up, usually around 7 or 8 nights, across a multiplicity of lines, Princess, P&O, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Cunard, Norwegian Mid ship balcony with cabins above and below (have done a few other categories but it would be unfair to compare them) have paid between $175-325 pp pd, we have done it on Princess at least 8 times between $200-$250 pppd, and that’s been over about 20 years, we actually paid less in 2019 than we did in 2000 for almost identical itineraries.

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I was booked on Radiance of the Seas, 13 nights around NZ, in an interior cabin, solo, just as COVID hit.  I paid $2671 for that cruise ($205 per night).

 

The cheapest prices I can find for a similar itinerary today are $3149 for 10 nights on Radiance ($314 per night), $3385 for 11 nights on Ovation ($307 per night), $3523 for 12 nights on Ovation ($293 per night), or $4229 for 13 nights on Radiance ($325 per night).  Those cruises are all in Oct/Nov/Feb/Mar, outside of school holidays - as was my original booking.

 

Based on those numbers, I'm seeing a 50% increase in comparable fares - and a 100% reduction in my cruise bookings.

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I dug out some old Princess Circle magazines and the price for a 13 night New Zealnad cruise on the Golden Princess for 15th of Novemebr 2017 was:

interior $2099pp

oceanview 2699pp

balcony $2999pp

mini suite $3799

Now on one of their older ships for 2022 for a 13 night New Zealand in November the prices are:

interior $2100

oceanview $2700

balcony $3059

mini suite -sold out

 

So I wouldn't say the prices have doubled or tripled.

 

But cruise prices per day can change dramatically depending on what type of cruise. There is a big difference  per day between of a relocation cruise to a world cruise within the same cruise line.

But whatever way we look at it we still think that cruising is great value and we don't have to park the car or go outside to get to a restaurant and show! 😀

 

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A few years ago we did a cruise, 3 nights if memory serves, stayed at Holiday Inn the rocks, dinner at Burgers and Ribs, breakfast at the hotel. The night pre cruise cost more than the actual cruise. Hard to beat for value.

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Thanks everyone. I generally ignore FB commentary as a rule but it's a good time waster for when I'm bored to see how the other side thinks. I wonder if cruising will become more popular with newbies like me when we come out of the pandemic or if people will always go 'yeah nah, remember Ruby Princess?'

I just remembered another thread about things you don't see on cruise ships anymore.  I can't remember all the things mentioned but I think lobster dinners was one of them. Do you still find them good value even without those additions? Or is it more a case of 'yeah it's still good value, but it was REALLY good value before'.

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On Princess from about 3 years before Covid up to December 2019 prices varied about 10% depending on time of year  for the same cruise in the same cabin

 

The only one booked is Nov 2022  for the same cruise in the same cabin... is in the same price...

 

So 2-3 times the cost is a rather large stretch......    So the real cost.... one day in the future is anybody's guess....

 

Don

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Cruise prices vary and will continue to do so just like any travel product.

We all have different budgets and preferences.

Always possible to find favorable pricing but it can take time to research.

Pays to look at the details because a cheap fare may not be as good a deal as it appears.

Fees and charges added or all inclusive?

luckily as individuals we have choices and can usually find something that is a good fit.

Looking forward to cruising again and love the preplanning. 

Hope you find the cruise that suits.    

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