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I did a post earlier this year about our to-ing and fro-ing over next year’s cruise. We were intent on doing a Mediterranean fly-cruise but eventually booked on a Baltic cruise from Southampton. (You can read all those to-ings and fro-ings here.) One of things that put us off a fly-cruise – or specifically, a Celebrity fly-cruise – was the cost of drinks on Celebrity ships. Then barely a week after we booked on Azura, Celebrity announced that they were providing the standard drinks package free of charge for Mediterranean fly-cruises. Gnashing teeth? – you could have heard them in the Med. Now it turns out that the offers are even better. Not only are Celebrity offering the free drinks package on Med cruises for next year, there’s a second benefit available: either some on-board spend, or paid-for gratuities. Here’s a link to the page detailing the offers.

Of course, one way of funding generous offers would be by increasing the basic cabin price. However I’ve checked the current prices for the same cabin and cruise that I priced up in the spring, and they’re pretty much the same – maybe £50 per person higher, but no more than that.

I think that if I’d booked a Celebrity cruise for next year before these benefits were included, I’d be seriously unhappy now. Increasingly the moral is: wait until the end of the year; don’t book at the first opportunity.

2 Responses to “The Perils of being an early booker”

  1. Malcolm Oliver says:

    They are not all bad decisions Tom, the Baltic is an excellent itinerary!

    • Tom says:

      Well, we hope so. The trouble is that with all the uncertainty over Venice for 2015, it’s looking like 2014 would have been a better year to do a fly-cruise. As far as I can see, ships over about 90,000 tons will not be able to progress up the Giudecca Canal at all after November 2014, and it will probably be sometime in 2016 before a new channel is dredged. That means that in 2015 all the ships of such major classes as the Grand Princess, Solstice, and Voyager won’t be able to call at Venice. That’s going to require quite a lot of new itineraries.

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