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Armageddon For Last-Minute Deals? 

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain indicated that the party may soon be over when it comes to last-minute cruise deals.

Richard FainFain told Bloomberg the reasons will be:

• More ships moving to Asia, reducing the capacity in the Caribbean, where most last-minute deals surface

• Attempts by cruise lines, notably his, to stabilize pricing that alienates cruisers who book early and wind up paying more

He agreed that cruise lines risk having fewer passengers on ships to, as he put it: “…raise the satisfaction level of our guests and strengthen the perception of our brand superiority.”

Hmm, interesting.

Three thoughts come to mind:

One, cruises are like most businesses, with pricing dictated by supply and demand. If fewer ships in the Caribbean create more of a demand, prices will surely go up and there won’t be as many last-minute deals. That’s just business.

Two, why do the “early bookers” complain? If they don’t like the fact that “late bookers” may get a better deal by waiting, all they have to do is change their tactics and take a chance on booking a cruise at the last minute. Certainty comes with a price.

Three, the whole empty-cabin issue is problematic. There aren’t fewer cabins when a ship departs, and having nobody in them at least looks like lost revenue, since the savings from fewer bed changes, or less cleaning and electricity, or even less food on the ship is minimal.

Will cruise lines be able to resist sailing with more empty cabins?

And if they do, will the segment of the population that “bargain shops” — be it for almost-expired yogurt or last-minute cruises — be alienated by a change in cruise policy?

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Holland America Amsterdam
14 nights
December 8, 2014
San Diego, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, Puerto Quetzal, Corinto, Puerto Caldera, Panama Canal, Cartagena, Fort Lauderdale
Inside: $1,199
Cost per day: $85
www.hollandamerica.com

Common 'perceptions' or 'misconceptions' on cruising

We have members of our family (they shall remain nameless, in the interests of harmony) who would not go on a cruise unless it was free, and even then it would likely be kicking and screaming. They have probably been influenced as much by the "common perceptions" of cruising that can be heard anywhere, but most often on TV.

Recently, Bloomberg Businessweek identified seven such remarks from conversations involving non-cruisers. In some cases, these are "common misconceptions" — but we'll let you (and them) be the judges…

1. The ships are too crowded, with long lines everywhere.

This is not true, although judging something as being too anything is always going to be subjective. We've never been on a ship "too crowded" and while we have been in Liberty of the Seas at Sealines — primarily embarking or disembarking — these are the exceptions not the rules, and cruise lines go out of their way to try making it seamless.

2. Cruises are full of morbidly obese people.

While we are not "morbidly" or even mildly obese, we disagree. There are overweight people everywhere, and probably a higher percentage on cruise ships. But to say ships are full of such passengers is a morbidly gross over-reaction.

3. Do we really need more buffets in the world?

We agree 100 per cent…okay, at least 90. But supply and demand dictates this, and obviously there is a demand.

4. Cruise ships are floating cesspools and pollute the environment.

This is a belief borne of ignorance. But that belief, along with growing environmental responsibility, has resulted in cruise ships that are increasingly sensitive to being custodians of the oceans that are their homes. Go on a ship's tour and see for yourself all of the ways (too many to list here) that this industry has gotten into line. If ships were "floating cesspools" cruising would be dying, and it's not.

5. Cruises are for old people.

There is some validity in this, yet cruise lines are constantly being built to attract families. How many "old people" zip-line or shoot down water coasters or climb rock walls? Having said that, with an estimated 22 million people on cruise ships, it's a fair assumption that the majority of passengers with both the resources and the time are retirees.

6. Cruises are full of obnoxious teenagers.

Well, if cruises for for old people, who let the teenagers on the ship? It's true that teenagers can be obnoxious but that doesn't mean all of them are. Frankly, we've seen more obnoxious grandparents than teenagers on cruise ships.

7. Who wants to be stuck on a boat for a week?

This is highly subjective. We all have different tastes, different pleasures. Our answer would be: Who doesn't?

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Mid-ships returning to Bermuda

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
July 6, 2014
Cape Liberty (return): King’s Wharf
Inside: $599
Cost per day: $85
www.celebritycruises.com

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