Cruise vacations can represent one of the best vacation values around, that’s for sure. The all-inclusive nature of a cruise makes it one of the easiest ways to go when budgeting too. Some cruises are better values than others though. Here are some of the worst cruise line values.
Cruises from New York
This is the whole supply and demand thing. Few ships sailing from the area with lots of demand equals higher prices in many cases. Summer sailings are a good example where fares for a 7-day cruise can easily be 30 to 50% higher than sailings from Southern ports.
Balconies on old ships
Old ships weren’t built for today’s demand. In the olden days of cruising, ships had mostly inside cabins and Ocean-view cabins with just windows. Just a few cabins had balconies, the popular option today. That makes balconies on old ships prime real estate that gets a premium price.
While options are slowly improving, sailing by yourself is a horrible value compared to sailing with someone else in the cabin to share the cost with. Cruise lines base everything on double-occupancy and with few exceptions charge solo cruisers twice the cruise fare. Kudos to Norwegian Cruise Lines who introduced single studio accommodations on new Norwegian Epic last Summer, a first for the cruise industry.
Sailing during peak season
Spring Break, Summer, and sailings which fall on holidays or pretty much any time school is out demand a premium price. On the flip side, times when kids are IN school have some of the best values, especially Fall sailings. Some of the best? First week in November or December.
Brand new ships
They always demand a premium price. On the latest, greatest new ship that’s not surprising. Normally, you’ll pay more to be one of the first on the most innovative ships out there than an older sister-ship of the same class.
A good way to measure and compare the value of a cruise, or any vacation package, is the cost per person, per day. Cruise lines like this number because it compares very well to other vacation options.
Another part of “value” though is more of a personal matter. It may very well be worth it to sail solo if the alternative is to not sail or sail with someone you would never take your clothes off in front of. Sailing during peak season may be the only time you can go, or you are just dying to try that new ship with all the latest bells and whistles. Your travel agent can help by being aware of or watching for special promotions, discounts or offers over the life of your booking that will soften the blow of these otherwise worst cruise values.
Flickr photo by kthypyrn