Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cruising Alaska (part 2) – Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold!

Last week’s blog explained that we will have a drastic reduction in cruise beds sailing in Alaska in 2010 which is mostly due to the excessive taxes and port-related fees that Alaska’s state and local governments charge on cruisers. At least five cruises lines have adjusted ships and itineraries which will bring down the number of passengers able to cruise in Alaska by at least 25%.

With such a large impact one of the cruise industry’s most popular destinations, wise consumers will need to know how this will affect you.

Cruise prices, like most prices, are based on the laws of supply and demand. Cruise lines want to earn as much money as they can on their cabins. When the demand is low and cabins are not selling, we see lower rates and promotions. When the cabins are filling, prices increase.

The lower “supply” in Alaska next year will cause a higher demand for those beds and, therefore, higher prices. My advice is to book early! As cabins fill and prices increase, your cruise rate will be protected from increase. In the less likely event that your ship doesn’t fill and the cruise line offers a promotion, there’s a good chance that you will qualify for a reduction. No guarantees, but the majority of cruise rate promotions are applicable to previously booked reservations.

The cruise lines’ reductions also means less choices of ships, itineraries, cabin location and cabin type so don’t risk waiting too long. If your heart is set on something specific, the key to getting what best fits your interests is to book early.

I’m estimating that the reduction in “beds” due to ship deployment and itinerary juggling is going to reduce the number of wheelchair accessible cabins by about 20%. That’s one fifth less accessible cabins in a market that offers the most accessible ports. My fear is that this change for next year is going to most affect the travelers who have disabilities requiring the necessity to have one of these coveted cabins. Booking early is particularly important for travelers needing accessible accommodations.

Most of the cruise lines already have their schedules set for their 2010 Alaska sailings. While the brochures won’t be out for a while, our travel consultants do have access to all of the information available. We’re ready to book you and your friends, your family or your group. We have the keys to making a great vacation and you now have the key to what it takes to get your cabin choice at the best rate.
Don't procrastinate. Book early!