Feed on

Advance Booking

Is it just me, or has there been more marketing pressure than normal this year to book early for 2009? And don’t next year’s schedules seem to be available very early this year? When we we cruised with Celebrity in early June 2006 we visited the future cruise lady on Galaxy and enquired about cruises for 2007 – and in mid-June of 2006, all she had about the following year were some photocopied summaries & dates. This year, we already (mid-April) have received a printed mini-brochure for Celebrity’s 2009 European cruises. And not just Celebrity: we’ve had similar marketing from P&O, Cunard & Fred. Olsen – all during April.


This blizzard of material has been accompanied by another blizzard of leaflets and flyers from both cruise lines and TAs advertising this year’s summer cruises, in some cases at considerable reductions over the original brochure price. My perception, admittedly without any serious analysis, is that early summer 2008 cruises on Fred. Olsen ships, especially Balmoral in the Med, seem to be available at very low rates.  I wonder if  their Fly/Cruise experiment with Balmoral & Braemar this summer isn’t generating the business they expected; perhaps regular Fred. Olsen customers prefer cruising ex-UK, and the line isn’t winning new customers for the fly/cruises. In contrast I gather that business for P&O this year is very nice indeed, thank you, especially on Ventura. And they’ve stuck to their traditional ex-UK programme, with all six ships sailing out of Southampton until the early winter.


But back to next year (2009). I definitely detect a hint of desperation in the lines’ intense early marketing; given the economy, house prices, etc, perhaps they want to make sure that passengers have made their commitments for 2009 as early as possible. We shall see, but I have a feeling that early summer next year may well bring a huge number of late offers as passengers cancel their bookings. I think that the message is, don’t book for 2009 yet unless you get a really good deal.

2 Responses to “Advance Booking”

  1. Malcolm says:

    What a dilemma, Tom.

    Does one take an early booking offer or wait nearer the time of departure to see if the price falls.

    My American friends tell me that if they book well in advance, then the price drops, they can get the difference refunded!

    They also book cruises well in advance and sometimes pull-out nearer the time if other lines offer more attractive deals. They have much less severe penalties than us Brits get for cancelling and often get all of there deposit back.

  2. execration says:

    execration says : I absolutely agree with this !

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: