Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cruise Lines Continue Major Discounting with a Few Unique Twists

All cruise lines are attempting to find ways to sell staterooms in light of a tough economic environment. Early booking discounts, guaranteed lowest rates, extra premiums, onboard credits and other inducements are being added to help cope with last-minute buying which has become the norm over the past six months of so.

Still, prices are at all-time lows and bargains can be found everywhere on every major cruise line. Smart cruisers are using this environment to upgrade their usual stateroom option. Suites and mini-suites have become much more affordable, not to mention staterooms on many of the ultra-luxury cruise lines. For example, we heard that Seabourn (a leading ultra-luxury cruise line) had to offer discounts of more than 50 % off list prices to fill its brand new Seabourn Odyssey which just entered service.

The seemingly only exception to the rule is Royal Caribbean’s new super mega-ship Oasis of the Seas which had raised its rates several times due to wide-spread consumer interest in cruising on a 5,000 passenger ship, larger than any cruise ship in the world. Costing well over a billion dollars to build, the Oasis is Royal Caribbean’s best bet to increase sales.

So, for anyone looking for a winter cruise vacation this could be the opportunity to sample luxury at bargain basement rates. One thing is certain, these kinds of deals won’t last forever.

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