The cruise price predictor seems to be an exercise is "technical analysis" for cruise pricing.
Cruise Price Predictors?
I received notices from two different companies today offering a brand new "future cruise price predictor" that will help you find the best time to book a cruise. The predictor uses recent historical pricing data on specific ships to generate a prediction for future cruise prices.
I have a prediction for these predictors - they will be deemed by most serious cruise buyers to be all but useless. But that is just my prediction - and emulating the words of one of these web sites: "I provide this prediction for information only and I do not offer any guarantees."
Now - this is just my first impression, but nothing about this "predictor" adds up to me. I have the name of the developing site, so I will be asking them a few questions. But speaking of disclaimers, have you ever seen the one on financial products that says "past performance is no guarantee of future results?" And at least financial instruments are smart enough to compare prices seasonally (summer 2010 vs. summer 2011, for example) instead of running a week to week tally like the cruise price predictors, and that is important.
The only thing that affects cruise prices is demand - and demand changes seasonally. For example, this summer there are "too many" cruise ships in the Mediterranean, mostly because cruise lines expected the economic recovery to happen in Europe sooner than America. Unfortunately, that is not working out as planned and so pricing is weak.
Many of those cabins are in Barcelona - where two very large and new ships are spending summer 2011 - Norwegian Epic and the brand new Carnival Magic. Otherwise, both of these ships are meant for the Caribbean market - where they will both sail next autumn. The presence of both of these ships is affecting pricing in Europe this summer, and they will also affect pricing in the Caribbean next autumn - competing with ships like Allure of the Seas, for example.
The "cruise price predictor," developer proudly told me it was featured in both the New York Times and Newsweek - which is true. This is just another example of how unreliable the mainstream press can be for accurate cruise information. Both articles spoke of this price predictor as if it actually has something to offer, to which I say "even a random coin toss is correct 50% of the time."
I took a random try at the predictor - here is what I saw for Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas; unfortunately, this predictor didn't even come close to 50% right - if you go to the Royal Caribbean Web site and look at the actual listed prices.
This predictor "predicted" that balcony cruise fares will remain the same as today for Allure of the Seas through November 2011. They say the price will be $1299, which the model points out as the price on April 28.
But the Royal Caribbean web site shows prices for Allure of the Seas through November 2011, and I can see that on May 8 - the first available cruise on Allure, the price of an outside cabin (cheaper than a balcony) is $1665, more than the $1299 balcony price predicted. On May 29 a balcony cabin is priced at $1549. On July 24 it is $1649. On August 29 the price of a balcony cabin is $1019, and on November 27 a balcony cabin is priced at $1049.
So, to compare (1) Predictor to (2) actual Royal Caribbean prices:
- May 8: $1299 vs. >$1665
- May 29: $1299 vs. $1549
- July 24: $1299 vs. $1649
- Aug. 29: $1299 vs. $1019
- Nov. 27: $1299 vs. $1049
In no case is the predictor even close to the actual Royal Caribbean pricing for specific dates. So, frankly, I don't even understand what the predictor is telling us. Is it what I would pay for a balcony cabin if I booked it on a specific date - regardless of the date I want to sail? Or is it telling me the last minute price for that sail date?
In any case - neither idea makes sense. I will guarantee you that if you try to book Allure of the Seas at the last minute the price will be higher than what it is six months out, because it is a very popular ship. The May 8 price shown above proves that - an outside cabin selling for $1665. Far more than the $1299 balcony cabin predicted price.
More updates to come, but I have to say it would take a tremendous leap of faith for me to take this predictor seriously as it appears to me right now.
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