Cruise ships selling out faster than ever ?

When we booked our upcoming cruise ( spur of the moment ) we were about 100 days out +/-.  Lucky to get a decent price & my choice of cabin, at what I consider last minute.   In the discussion with my new rep, he informed me that Norwegian was already over 50% sold out for 2016.  This was in December 2015.   Are you finding it more difficult to get the cabin you want, on the cruise you want, due to lack of availability ?  And do you find yourself booking your vacations earlier ?

11 Answers

Interesting when you say that NCL are 50% sold out for this year. On the cruise that we booked last August for a September 2016 sailing, there are still the same number of large balcony cabins currently left as when we booked. We did though hand pick our selected cabin after studying the deck plans

I rarely cruise on NCL any more. We generally book cruises early as it is so there are always a generous number of cabins available. This may be a bigger problem on smaller ships. We have never been unable to get a cabin of your liking even if we book last minute on a ship. Prices may go down for last minute bookings but so does the choice of cabins still available. Many cruise lines now say that they will not reduce prices last minute. Time will tell.

Gloria, you should be getting ready for tomorrow

I have had not problems getting a good cabin 90 days out and sometimes less then 90 days. I have only booked one cruise more then 90 days and that was when I was working. Now that I'm retired no need to book that far out.

Well, I guess things look rosy for the industry, but we have no problem booking and getting good deals, supposedly good deals that is. We are getting a lot of brochures pushing wonderful voyages. We always get those but it seems more than usual now, and the discounting is heavy, but then how do you compare, there is always so called discounts. One thing that is different is that I received a phone call from a Regent representative two days ago, putting the hard sell on us. We hardly ever get those phone calls and when we do, it is because someone is hurting. According to Barrons anyway, the Chinese will soon be booking all the best cabins and leaving us Yankees out. LOL

"The cruise industry looks shipshape for 2016. Demand is broadly rising, and although new ships are coming online, many are being diverted to the fast-growing China market. That looks likely to keep pricing firm."

"The cruise market is an oligopoly, with Carnival, which operates about 100 ships, controlling nearly half the market; Royal Caribbean, close to a quarter; and Norwegian, about 10%. Others, like Walt Disney and privately held MSC, vie for the rest. Virgin Group says it will enter the market with three new ships beginning in 2020."

"Global demand for cruising grew 68% over the decade through 2014, according to data published in October by the Cruise Lines International Association, a trade group. The U.S. accounts for just over half of demand, followed by Germany, the U.K., and Australia."

"CHINA’S POTENTIAL for the industry is vast. Just one million people there have cruised, versus 12 million in the U.S. Growth won’t come without choppy waters; cruise operators must play nice with Beijing, and the country needs to expand its ports. Travel brokers, too, must be trained and incentivized to sell cruises. But China is the rare investment opportunity that can pay off now and later, by keeping global cruise inventory tight in the near term and gradually tapping what could become the world’s largest cruise market within a decade. Management has learned that Chinese want less space for sunbathing and more for gambling, and demand a hot teapot in each room."

We usually book about a year out, so we don't have trouble getting the cabin we want. Our last cruise was pretty much sold out until the final payment was due. Apparently there were lots of cancellations as many cabins in all categories became available.

Now that is interesting BAK. My wife and I were just on the Dawn repo at the end of October from Boston to NOLA. We booked 2 weeks more than a year before. By 9 months from the cruise date most of the cruise was sold out. By 5 months before the cruise the prices had more than doubled what we paid and there were few cabins left. By 3 months before the cruise all web sites including NCL showed it sold out. Then all of a sudden a month before the cruise a number of cabins start to appear and by the last 2 weeks there were a large number of cabins available and upgrades to pretty well anything on the ship you wanted including the Havens. I shook my head at that one. Someone, somewhere was playing some games. Bookings should not follow a pattern like that.

If I owned a cruise line I wouldn't be getting too jazzed up over a boom in Chinese citizens lining up to take world cruises.

"Global investors have been watching China warily for months, as they grow increasingly concerned about the country’s economic outlook. Last summer, a slump in the country’s once highflying market and a surprise devaluation of the Chinese renminbi set off turbulence around the world.

The same themes are carrying over into 2016. A report on Monday showed that the Chinese manufacturing sector contracted again. The Chinese renminbi looked shaky."®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

We don't follow the pricing as closely as we used to because we tend to plan and book further in advance. With regard to OldGreyWolf's post, I agree that pricing models should not be that random in terms of last minute price jumps and availabilities. That said, we saw something similar take place on a Princess cruise we took in October/November. What took place was really quite odd.

China took a hit today and it shook the markets worldwide. A smart company will look carefully at 2016. Cruise lines and TA's will always be a bit pushy when it comes to making the sale. The smart cruise knows this and plan accordingly.


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