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Concerts, Cruise Ships Share Philosophy

Last week, we tried to see Neil Diamond in concert (yes, at 74, he’s still performing). A quick check of tickets delivered the news that they weren’t in our budget, unless we wanted to sit where you need binoculars to see the stage. Aha, we thought, there’s sure to Neil Diamond-Eva Rinaldibe a last-minute deal.

There wasn’t.

Standing at the box office five minutes before the show was supposed to start, the $191 tickets were still $191 and, we were politely told, that wasn’t going to change.

Maybe cruise lines are getting tips from ol’ Neil, who at 74 continues to play to nearly sold-out houses. If everybody thinks last-minute deals are the way to go, most people will wait until the last minute and the “gate” will suffer.

Translating that to the current cruise climate, it means last-minute deals are disappearing. Last month, it was Royal Caribbean that decided to rid itself of what CEO Richard Fain called the “used-car salesman kind of mentality.” This month, it’s Carnival. Both consider the strategy a profit-killer and, yes, cruise lines are in the business of turning profits.

– Eva Rinaldi photo

So both would rather have empty cabins on ships more or less full of passengers paying the “going rate” than fill up the ships to have heads in every bed, as they say. This is a major philosophical shift and it’s likely to spread so that there are almost no last-minute deals anywhere.

The same goes for the concert crowd. If a 74-year-old entertainer selling out on his past sets the standard for the non-discounting of tickets, it’s likely to be the case for all entertainers.

If, of course, it isn’t already.

In the news…

• Over a million people welcome Cunard Queens on the Mersey in Liverpool
• Windstar christens Star Legend after $8.5-million refurbishment and name change
• Royal Caribbean to make Aklan, Philippines its hub for Asia region

Today at portsandbows.com: Luxury cruising on the move

Carnival Liberty
7 nights
August 23, 2015
San Juan (return): St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten
Inside: $419
Cost per day: $59

Cruise Companies and Profits

Cruisers like us are always wondering: Do cruise companies make a profit?
Starting with the premise that they aren’t in business to lose money, the obvious answer is yes. Confirmation comes with the news that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Ltd. – which owns Royal, Celebrity, Azamara and others – announced profits of two cents a share for the fourth quarter of 2009.
Okay, so it’s not a fortune. Okay, so it could be attributable, almost entirely, to lower fuel costs during those three months. Okay, Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships contributed to the profits, too. And okay, so it’s not likely to have a big impact on we the cruisers, at least in the near future.
However, analysts had been predicting a loss for the fourth quarter, and Royal, according to comments from the Royal people, bookings in early 2010 are up, especially in the higher-priced European market. That could explain the trend we are seeing to higher cruise prices.
In any case, the good health of the cruise industry is good news for cruisers. You don’t have to worry about your favorite ship going to the scrap yard, or wherever it is that old ships go, and the more people cruising the more competitive the pricing.
That’s it, we’re done.

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