Are cruise prices are leaning lower in Europe?
Transatlantic Cruise Bargains
We can't say exactly why we are seeing mega-bargains in transatlantic cruises right now, but they are out there. It is too late to book most cruises sailing to Europe this May (most ships have already sailed) but we are seeing amazing bargains on the autumn return cruises and also 2011 cruises.
A 13-night cruise on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas sailing from Malaga Spain to San Juan, Puerto Rico has cruise prices starting at $499, or $38 per night for an inside cabin. Or you can book a balcony cabin for $799, or $61/night. This cruise actually offers several ports of call; Madeira Island followed by Lanzarote, Las Palmas and Tenerife (three different days in the Canary Islands), and six days at sea before St Martin and landing in San Juan the next day.
This is a popular ship with plenty of onboard activities. And at that price it is a screaming bargain for a cruise containing six ports of call.
Another Royal Caribbean ship, Splendour of the Seas, sails from Barcelona to Sao Paulo, Brazil, starting at $34 per night for a 15-night cruise. Prices start at $509 (inside), $609 (oceanview) and $1009 (balcony). This cruise sails November 27, 2010.
A similar cruise itinerary on the older Vision of the Seas sails November 30th starting at $514 for an inside cabin.
Overall, Royal Caribbean has the greatest number of transatlantic bargains in both 2010 and 2011, more than we had room to name here. Many of them start at under $600 per person for cruises from 12 to 15 days.
Celebrity Century sails October 25, 2010, from Barcelona to Miami; 14-nights with stops in Malaga Spain, Madeira Island (Portugal), Tenerife and Santa Cruz in the Canary Islands and then on to Miami. The price starts at $799, or $57 per night.
Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) has a 15-night cruise from Copenhagen to Port Canaveral starting at just $699 per person (balcony $1009). This cruise stops in Amsterdam, Brussels, Belgium, Lisbon, the Azores and ends in Florida. The sail date is September 20, 2011.
Worth a mention is that the brand new Norwegian Epic is slated to sail regular seven day cruises out of Barcelona for the entire 2011 summer season. If you want to cross over on that exciting new ship (scheduled to debut next month) you can sail to Europe on an 11-night crossing May 7, 2011, starting at $779 per person and $1069 for a balcony. There is only one stop, in the Azores.
Or you can take the return trip on a 13-night cruise; two extra days and an extra stop in St Martin before ending in Miami, for a mere $10 more; $789 inside and $1079 balcony.
Outlook for 2010 European Cruising
One reason the above transatlantic cruises may be so cheap is that the cruise lines had anticipated a robust economic recovery when they made plans for Europe 2011. As we said, NCL made plans to send its flagship, Epic, to Barcelona. Carnival also scheduled its brand new upcoming flagship, Carnival Magic, to sail out of Barcelona for the 2011 summer as well.
Unfortunately, in the last month the economic picture, especially in Europe, has eroded considerably.
If you recall, 2008 was full of European cruise bargains. The Euro had fallen to $1.28 and the economic uncertainty had driven cruise and air prices down significantly. 2009 gave us higher fuel costs and the Euro rose to $1.46. These factors drove up prices, but the economy had recovered enough that there was sufficient demand.
How is 2010 shaping up? My Magic 8-ball is saying "Outlook Not So Good" - for the cruise lines - but it could be a great year for you to take a cruise. But not saying that with certainty yet - we are predicting a possible price drop, and putting you on "bargain watch." Why? We think that demand for European cruises could dry up very quickly and result in price drops as this summer season goes on.
Currently, we see that Royal Caribbean is the best value in Europe for cruises of seven days and less. But for 10-days and longer we see Holland America and Princess with better prices.
Keep in mind that most of this summer season was already sold before the economic changes happened, so any forthcoming bargains will be on whatever is left over. And we are guessing that whatever is left over is not going to sell unless the prices drop considerably, mostly due to lower demand by European cruisers. We also urge to you to keep an eye on 2011 European cruise prices. The cruise lines had anticipated a robust 2011 season, but that may not materialize. That means bargain prices for you.
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