Monday, October 13, 2008

Cruises and fuel supplements

Back in August I asked the question (or posed the question) as to which cruise line would be the first to look at the fuel supplements they were charging since the price of crude has been steadily declining. We now have the answer. It's the Carnival Corp Brands - Carnival, Princess, Holland America Line, Cunard, Costa & Seabourne.

Beginning October 31st, fuel supplements will be eliminated for new 2010 bookings on the brands. Don't get to excited though. Prices will also be going up on 2010 sailings. But at least, fuel will not be a separate "line item" that both agents and consumers have to deal with.

For 2008 and 2009 sailings, there may also be an adjustment to the fuel supplement but this is going to be tied to the market price before the cruise departs.

This is from the Carnival Press Release:

"For 2008 and 2009 departures, if the price of light sweet crude oil according to the New York Mercantile Exchange Index is $70 per barrel or less at the 2:30 p.m. close of business as reported by Reuters on each of the 25 consecutive trading days ending five trading days prior to the guest’s cruise departure date, the fuel supplement will be refunded in the form of a shipboard credit. Guests who book a 2010 cruise prior to Oct. 31, 2008, will be charged the current fuel supplement but will also be eligible for a refund in accordance with the same fuel price conditions being implemented for 2008 and 2009 departures."

So is there a fuel supplement? Yes, but when you do go on the cruise, maybe not. I trust the cruise lines to figure this out and as an agent, no, I'm not going to follow this fuel index every day. Sure, I keep up with news and events and I guess I will sort of know where the prices are and for everyone, I hope they continue to come down and stay down (even after the election) but I can't chart every cruise departure date, for every cruise line.

But kudos to the Carnival Corp for taking an honest look at these supplements and at least making an attemp to eliminate them, especially in these trying times. So when will the others follow suit? Time will tell.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Times are tough - why a cruise vacation might be good

The housing market is a wreck, the financial markets are in a freefall (is the bottom near?), people are stressed out about their jobs and a vacation is probably the last thing on your mind. So why think about a cruise vacation now?

Maybe because we all need a time to relax and rejuvenate and what better way than a nice cruise which includes food, entertainment, activities or time to just "get away from it all" and read a good book while out on the high seas.

October is National Cruise Vacation Month and there are many specials and promotions coming up shortly in conjunction with CLIA's World's Largest Cruise Night on October 16th. We are featuring 5 different short cruise line video previews daily on our special webpage set up just for you

and the videos will change every other day for the remainder of October. A total of 21 cruise lines are being previewed. And the best part - FOR YOU - the promotions involve discounts, upgrades, reduced deposit amounts and/or on board credit. The "booking windows" vary but you will get to take advantage of these promotions between Oct 15th and 17th for sure and many will run through October and some even into November. Some of these promos are for select sailings or destinations, but many are simply for any ship in a specified date range well into 2009.

Here's another thought. Times are tough but the cruise lines still need to fill their ships and with the abundance of cruise ships that will be back sailing in the Caribbean this winter, prices are extremely attractive for you. If you live up north, you know a few days on the beach in Jan, Feb, Mar is an ideal plan and loking forward to that can help you through these troubled days.

Another thing to consider is book a lower type category (ocean view instead of balcony) or even an interior cabin which is lower priced. The point is give up a little something to do something that will allow you the chance to relax and enjoy for a week. That's good value in these tough times.