This article is about NCL CEO Frank Del Rio justifying the cost of cruising and how it is going up.
Now sure, running a cruise corporation is a business and they have shareholders that they have to account to so I get raising prices. In fact I think all cruise corporations think exactly like Frank does but are afraid to say it to the media.
If we raise the price of drinks, tours, cabins, excursions, specialty restaurants will people pay?
Cost of cruising itself has only recently seen a substantial increase from when I started cruising back in 1990. I can go back and see that, on average a cost of around $80 per day for an inside and around $100 a day for a balcony. Sure some cruises were more some were less.
Where costs have really gone up is once I am on board. I remember when drinks were around $5. When sodas were free, espresso drinks too. Okay but I am dating myself here. I keep some of my old shore excursions brochures from ships on each port. I can see that for St Thomas a "normal" beach break cost $15 per person and is now $45. Specialty restaurants were $15 - now $25.
But hasn't everything gone up? Certainly groceries, gas, taxes, and well just about everything has gone up. So I can understand the added costs of things on board.
But since I was paying around the same price for the cruise as I use to it wasn't such a big thing for me. I would get on and then would cut back on what I spent once on board -- or not.
A few years ago an officer on board commented to us that fare prices would be going up on Princess and this would be happening industry wide. Well it has come true. Even our cruise this January is around 25% more than it was just a few years ago for the same cabin type and same itinerary (mind you it is on the Royal instead of the Emerald).
Sure the economy in some countries is doing much better, but sadly in Canada our dollar is at a major low! Every US dollar is costing us around $1.30 Canadian. So a cruise that cost us $1,000 each is now $1,300. That has hurt. Then once on board everything is 30% more for us.
Canadians make a huge percentage of cruisers and I am sure people are thinking twice about booking. Sure if you already have something booked you keep it, but how many are going to choose a cruise over a vacation that is affordable and a country with a better exchange rate for their next vacation.
|Gelato bar - added cost|
For many that have gotten hooked on cruising recently and have to stretch their vacation money, will they choose cruising as an option? Maybe but maybe not as often as they use to.
Overall I know cruising is still a great holiday that is an amazing value. And I still recommend people take a look at a cruise as a vacation when they plan something.
In the end cruiselines are profiting but I foresee a drop in bookings in the next year or two as people come to terms with the higher cost of booking, hotels, flights and cost on board.
For us this is the first time in a very very long time we are not planning a cruise later in the year. We are seriously looking at other options. We will be looking at all options and looking for some amazing deals. And will even look outside of Princess if something spectacular comes along.
So are costs going up on cruising? Yes! Are fewer people going to cruise because of it? In the long run yes.
What are you thoughts? Are you cruising more? Less?