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Has the cruise market topped out?

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We've been rather shocked at cruise rates lately, at roughly $1000 a day per person for "expeditionary" cruises.

On smaller boats, certainly you expect to pay a bit of premium, but $1000 a day per person?

That would have paid off our boat in half a year at $2000 per couple a day, and our home in four years. Millions.

I think the cruise market has topped out, there's profit raking, and the first sector to feel it is Antarctica after the recent "ship of fools" debacle.

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    Do you have a link to that?

    In any case an expedition cruise to the Antartic or say the Galapagos is not at all the market. Its a tiny portion of all cruise offerings.

    We have a Caribbean cruise coming up in April and a balcony cabin is costing about $135.00 pp per night.

    Cheers, Larry. :-)

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    Expedition cruises to Antarctica or the Galapagos or Alaska are in a class to themselves and tend to be very expensive even if they aren't particularly luxurious. And some cruises costs a lot just because they are US-flagged vessels and have to pay their crew prevailing US wages. But more important, I think the term "luxury" has been thrown around so freely that people seem to think you can get a truly luxurious experience for $1200 per week. Well ... no.

    I am certainly seeing $1000 per day cruises on luxury brands, and this seems to be consistent with what one typically pays for a luxury experience. And in some cases (Regent Seven Seas, for example), the costs don't seem out of line for what the line offers: round-trip flights, all shore excursions, almost everything on board, fine wines, etc.

    Granted, a lot of these cruises end up being discounted, but $5000 for a one-week luxury cruise is not at all unusual or really out of line with reality these days, and I'm afraid to say that's what true luxury really costs. Many top-end luxury hotels are routinely $1200 per night for just the room (before taxes and service), which probably works out to more than $5000 per person when you consider the cost of all the extras.

    But regarding the so-called "ship of fools debacle" in Antarctica, this was primarily a research trip that was intended to last 2 months and wasn't a pleasure cruise at all even though it had some tourists on it. While the suddenly cold weather in Antarctica this year was unusual for time, ships get stuck in ice all the time, and the few tourists on that ship knew what they were in for. And I think they were just about a week behind schedule (though the scientists had some of their work disrupted).

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    We cruised the Galapagos back in 2011 on the Explorer II. I think we paid close to $500 per person per day for a "window suite", which was the standard cabin category, not the cheapest, but close. For the money, the cabin was roomy, it included all meals and all excursions (shore expedition). The National Geographic ship was much more expensive, almost identical program and stops except they have a "professional" photographer leading a "photographic expedition", and their price included snorkeling gear. (We paid $50 per person for the rental included wet suit and all)

    The Explorer II has since been sold to Silversea and renamed the Silver Galapagos. The current pricing is about $1,000 a day. Unless you want to go into the much smaller independent boats, the 3 major players (big ship with 99 passenger capacity) are the Celebrity Xpedition, Silver Galapagos and the National Geographic ship (either Endeavour or Islander).

    They have the market cornered and the price won't be going down soon for those type of cruises.

    You can't compare the "expedition" type cruise to the mass market cruises, or even the more luxury small ship cruise. Those expedition type ship holds s maximum of 100 passengers, has very limited entertainment venue, if at all; there is no casino (to make money) and not too much opportunity to sell you souvenirs or drinks as it was a very busy schedule.

    We had daily 6:30 am wake up call, breakfast and off the ship around 8 am. back on board by noon, lunch, shower, change and off the ship again. Back on board around 5 or 6, dinner, briefing at 7, entertainment (karaoke, cocktail lounge) after and it's off to bed. No one is still up drinking and by 10:30 pm, everyone is in bed.

    For the embarkation day, we had a shore excursion after lunch, and on the disembarkation day, we had a shore excursion in the morning before we leave.

    For our $500 a day per person that we paid, I would say we got our money's worth. For $1000 a day, I am not so sure. I posted a trip report here back then. The link is here if you want to see if it is worth $500 a day (or $1000 now)

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    $1000 a day per person? Yikes!!

    We paid $2200 pp for a 5 day cruise in the Galapagos in Sept 2012. A smaller ship and less fancy than the Explorer ships. We had two stops per day. Entertainment almost nil. Excellent guides; small group. Beautiful islands. Small room but comfy bed. Rented wet suit for $40 I think. Brought our own snorkeling gear.

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    Kenav, $2200 per person for 5 days works out to $440 per person per day, not that far off from the $500 per person per day at the Explorer II. I doubt it our food was better than yours but at least we have a choice from a list of 3 entree daily, but we have to make the decision at breakfast time and pre-order.

    There was "entertainment" but no one was taking part. It was a karaoke machine at the lounge and that's it. After dinner and the briefing for the next day, most were too tired and went to bed, maybe have a drink or two and that's about it.

    There were a couple of activities that was organized. One was the "farewell party" where we were "presented" a certificate for crossing the equator, the ship crossed the equator at least six or seven times while we were on board.

    The shore groups are relatively small. 16 is the maximum and usually, we have about 12 to 14 in our group. We had rotating guides and they were all very good. They were university graduates with specialties in the field, some live right on the islands.

    Our cabin was spacious, it was larger than a typical mini suite on a mass market ship. Big bed, full size couch, coffee table, chairs, and lots of open space. Roomy bathrooms and big closet.

    A friend of mine chartered at 16 person catamaran for a week in 2010. I think he said it was $30,000 and he had to buy the "supplies" whatever that means. I think that worked out to about $300 per person per day, which is not bad but it was far from "luxury".

    The question remains. $500 is okay. What would be a fair price now? and is $1000 too much? If the ships are still full and people are paying it, obviously, the answer is not too much yet.

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