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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Alaska Deal Breakers - The Economy

Alaska Deal Breakers

Updated December 3, 2013: Slow start to holiday cruise shopping means deeper discounts in January during the kick-off of "wave season"

Cruise shopping during Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday may not have lead to record cruise sales.  Even with new promotions changing every 7 to 10 days, cruise travelers are increasingly hard to motivate. It appears, consumers are reluctant to budge until prices drop even lower. As a result, we think cruise shoppers who are among the undecided, might find their patience or procrastination pays off. As the industries "Wave Season" promotion( Jan, Feb, Mar 2014 ) approaches, cruise travelers can expect lower prices on everything from 3 day Bahamas Cruises to Alaska cruises and Cruisetours from 7-16 days. Read the entire article below...


by Raye and Marty Trencher
Editor's and Publishers
Cruise Traveler Magazine

ALASKA Cruises and the economy : It appears many Alaska bound cruise travelers are reluctant to book unless deep discounts are offered. Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday and during the 2014 Wave Season ( January to March ) cruise travelers may not spend their hard earned cash on an Alaska cruise or Alaskan cruise tour unless the cruise line's offer huge discounts plus amenities like onboard spending credits, free cabin upgrades, free shore excursions and more. 

The competition is fierce: For Alaska, many more ships, land tours and options are available in 2014 with 7 cruise lines; Princess, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Celebrity, Regent, Crystal and Norwegian cruise lines competing for their business, budget conscience consumers are seeing record setting-bigger price cuts. It seems like many consumers are holding out for the "best" deal, not just the "better deal" as cruise lines now offer a new promotion, on average, every couple of weeks. Just like car dealers do. And, everyone knows that the deal on offer today is never the last.

Even though segments of our economy are improving; jobs, housing and the stock market, consumer confidence is still below expectations. The uncertainty about health care and the potential of tighter control of household expenses, leaves consumers leery about spending money on a luxury cruise vacation. 

 Not to worry, the cruise lines got the message; they read your emails, tweets and Facebook postings and are responding to consumer demands. The cruise lines know it's a highly competitive environment and they have to fight for every dollar.

As a result, cruise shoppers are seeing big sales events earlier and more often then in prior years. Discounts as much as 70% off published rates can be found for 2014 Alaska cruises. Some priced as low as $519.00 for a 7 day Inside passage cruise on Royal Caribbean 5/16/14, (Norwegian $529 5/24; Celebrity $529 5/23/14 ; Princess $548 5/10/14 and $1099 for a 10 day Alaska cruise tour ( Princess ) for September 2014. Now, that's per person, based on double occupancy, plus tax for an inside cabin, but nonetheless a great price. Similar reductions can be found for ocean view and balcony cabins. Even peak season Summer deals ( June, July and August )can be found on offers from Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America and Princess cruises

Early and late season departures ( May or September ) offer the best savings, but the choices may not be as great as peak season ( June, July or August ) as much of the inventory may already be spoken for.

Regardless of price, If you want the best choice of cabins, especially balcony cabins which sell out first, you need to book now. Waiting until March of next year, may get you a better price, but you run the risk of sleeping just below or above the disco or near the elevators or laundry room.

If you plan on extending your stay in Alaska, say on a land and sea vacation, (aka cruise tour ), be advised space is very limited, as some tours can accommodation only enough people to fill up a motor coach or rail car. Peak season cruise tours should be booked early to insure the tour you want has availability. The ship may have space available way into 2014, but the cruise tour is likely to sell out months in advance of sailing.

Our Advice

If you choose to hold out for the "best " price, the choice of accommodations will be slim and not ideal, and you could be left waiving goodby at the pier, if ship and sailing date you want is sold out. Those that are flexible about the price, sailing date and accommodations will most likely get the "better" deal.

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