Thursday, February 25, 2010

Carnival Tells Cruisers - Book Summer Now or Pay More!

In case no one has noticed, cruise pricing in 2010 is considerably higher than it was in 2009. Last year saw cruise prices that equaled or were less than what I paid for my first cruise in 1986!

Both cruise lines and tour operators are trying to re-educate the consumer to the new facts of life.
  1. They are not going to dump prices at the last minute
  2. The best deals will be early saver specials
  3. The closer to the travel date, the higher the prices will be
  4. The pricing is and will continue to be higher than 2009

Although most cruise lines have not announced that their prices are higher and Carnival certainly didn't make any announcements when they started raising prices, consumers have seen the difference.

One frequent cruiser who wanted a 2010 Christmas cruise for her family compared the price to what she paid for Christmas 2009 and was shocked at the much higher pricing.

Now Carnival has come out and announced that they will raise summer cruise prices by 5% on March 22.

What effect will this have on their overwhelming increase in bookings made over the last month? Will it spur people to get their summer cruises booked prior to March 22? Or will it turn those consumers off that were considering Carnival and send them to booking other cruise lines that are not making big announcements about their price increases?

Will a 5% price increase make a big difference?

What many people didn't see is that between June 2009 and November 2009 Carnival had already raised their summer 2010 rates on certain ships and sailing dates by 30%.

Yes, cruise bookings in January were extremely strong across the board, however, there were an equal number of people looking to book their 2010 vacations that decided they just couldn't afford the price increases over 2009.

Understandably, cruise lines have to raise their prices to maintain a consistant product. But giving the cruising public sticker shock is not going to fill their ships.

Hopefully, they won't attempt to make up the 2008 and 2009 losses in just one year!

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