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Cruise voyage pricing; how to secure the best possible price with the most perks

Regent Mariner in Alaska  ~  Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises  


Cruises are considered by many to be the best value in travel; the allure of sailing our oceans, seas and numerous scenic rivers with fine dining, entertainment, and stops at interesting ports along the way at an attractive price paid in advance has become ever so popular.

There are two primary ways to secure fantastic cruise pricing while getting the best promotions & perks:
  •       Tapping into pre-reserved “group blocks” of suites & cabins
  •       "Last minute” discounted pricing

GROUP BLOCK SPACE

This is the terminology used by the travel industry for multiple suites / cabins that are pre-reserved without specific names of the travelers.

  • It does NOT mean that you the cruiser needs to be a part of a group.  
  • It does NOT mean that you will be herded around with other cruisers within that group block.
  • It does NOT mean that you have an inferior suite / cabin, or less access to on board amenities.
  • You DO still get to choose from all the cabins / suites that are available on the ship.
  • You DO still get the amenities offered by the cruise line for that sailing.

~    Luxury cruise lines have strict price-controls and do NOT discount pricing at the “last minute”, in fact suites & cabins on luxury cruise lines such as Regent Seven Seas & Silversea Cruises sell out well in advance typically, with price increases as it gets closer to departure. ~

In an effort to prevent a wide variety of pricing from multiple sources / agencies, these cruise lines set firm pricing and do not allow anybody to sell that cruise below that standard rate through the normal sales process (by normal I mean individual pricing on request, as opposed to getting accommodations within a previously arranged group block of suites / cabins).  This allows cruise lines to sell their own product directly to consumers who are shopping by price and still be competitive with travel agents who are offering their own additional perks and incentives.

Many mainstream moderate level cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Princess might lower pricing on unsold cabins as it gets closer to departure.  This may not work well for you as airfare typically increases greatly as it gets closer to departure, so overall savings might not be possible.  Also, if you want to go on a specific cruise or destination and you wait for prices to lower, if those cruises are selling well that is not going to happen.

Cruise inventory is closely monitored and “yield management” practices are in place to maximize their revenue.  Cruise lines allow trusted entities such as travel agencies that have proven experience with selling their product the ability to pre-reserve cabins / suites on many of their sailings.  This is done well in advance, 1 to 2 years prior to sailing.  This is called “Group Block Space”.  A limited amount of suites / cabins are available on many but not all of a cruise line’s sailings.  This brings in revenue to the cruise line in the form of advance deposits, and also makes their “books” look better as they take into account the “promises” made to them by reputable travel agencies who are holding pre-reserved group space.

~ Purchasing a suite / cabin through a reputable travel agency’s previously reserved blocks of suites / cabins on cruise voyages is considered by many travel experts the best way to get a great value on a cruise ~

You get a better price and / or excellent promotions locked in early on.  Pricing & availability on luxury cruises are best well before the cruise departs, with prices rising and availability diminishing as it gets closer to the sailing date typically.  You are NOT subject to any stiffer cancellation penalties, so you can monitor pricing and availability, adjusting accordingly if prices drop and better deals are to be had on the same or similar cruise after you have placed your deposit.

An approved Travel Agency with considerable experience selling cruises will contact a cruise line well in advance and pre-reserve multiple suites / cabins based on the cruise line regulations (minimum and maximum number of suites / cabins allowed, levels of discounts and / or promotions that are applicable, and how far in advance they must sell all of their allotted space before the cruise line wants those suites / cabins back). 

This same program is also something done with land based resorts and tour operators.

Now that you know this, don’t hesitate to contact a reputable travel agency to reserve your next cruise voyage!


~ Bon Voyage! ~

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