Price Creep is….Creepy!

Am I the only one who’s noticed that cruise prices seem to be going up across the board? Over the past year, I’ve seen the price of an inside cabin slowly creep up. I haven’t seen the attention-grabbing $169 per person enticement in many months. I’m not picking on inside rooms. Everything else seems to have risen accordingly. Even the conventional cruise discounters are no longer offering rates that low. Traditionally, the lowest and highest priced staterooms are the first to sell out: the minimally priced rooms for obvious reasons, and the uppermost for those who want the best quality room. Everything in between is up for grabs with little discounting.

There is a group of people who wait for steep price discounts following disasters. After the Concordia accident, everyone thought Costa would have a fire sale of sorts, deeply discounting fares to get folks sailing again. That never transpired. Then there were multiple problems on Carnival ships culminating with those on the Triumph. I read a lot of blogs following that mishap and people were very disappointed that Carnival didn’t all but give away cruises to get them to on board. Those complaining the loudest, of course, had never taken a cruise.

But I digress. No line is under any obligation to discount following an accident. In fact, common sense dictates that they have bigger monetary problems to deal with than to worry about offering discounts to the general public. So we’ll give the lines a break on that one.

But to get back to those discounts, what I’ve noticed of late is that let’s say the price of a cruise for an outside cabin is $1,000. Let’s say that price includes prepaid gratuities and $50 in credits. That price never really fluctuates, even though it seems to. Instead, it might be $900. With no add ons or $1,100 with a two category upgrade and a $50 credit. You see what I’m getting at. What you pay is essentially the same.

So how do you beat them at their own game? For starters, figure the cost of those gratuities. On a seven night cruise, you might be looking $140 and up added to your bill. Visit a restaurant and you can add another $50 for dinner for two. If those add ons are worth it to you, go for it! It costs the line virtually nothing to throw them in and it adds up to onboard savings for you.

Check the cruise discounting websites regularly. Places like Cru Con, Vacations to Go and Travelzoo are where you will find the most bang for your buck with their limited time promotions.  Be aware that some charge a booking that might eat into your savings!

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