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Amidst staff shortages, soaring inflation, and record gas prices, travelers may wonder if there is still hope for an affordable vacation this summer. Cruise lines have been one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, and they appear to be anxious about travelers as they continue to cut prices for upcoming bookings. With hotel rates up more than 50% in areas like Miami, the average room rate on a cruise ship comes to just $100 a day. With the average daily rate for a mid-size hotel room at $131, according to data provider STR, a cruise is clearly an excellent way to spend a budget vacation this summer.
While the average cruise price per night is cheaper than many hotel rooms, this simple comparison doesn’t quite show the full extent of the cost-saving benefits for travelers. When booking a cruise with the most popular cruise lines, the nightly price often includes meals, in-flight entertainment, and lodging. One of the biggest appeals mentioned by travelers who frequent cruises is the value that this experience offers. While meals and entertainment are generally included, some cruises even offer additional services such as free childcare, all-inclusive alcohol, and gratuities.
Travelers interested in taking advantage of discounted fares need not rush, as cruise lines are pushing hard to increase occupancy rates to nearly 100% by the end of the year. The discounted fares are likely to remain in place, as it took years for fares in the cruise industry to rebound after the blanket discounts. In more good news for travelers, many cruise lines are leaving additional fuel surcharges out of the bill. With fuel costs currently rising, this is a huge benefit for summer cruisers.
With prices continuing to drop for the upcoming summer cruise season, many future travelers are canceling their reservations with the sole aim of rebooking at a lower price. While they may lose their non-refundable deposit, the cost savings are large enough to make the effort worthwhile. With prices lower, cruise lines will likely see occupancy rates reach a level not seen since before the pandemic. With almost full occupancy and passengers coming on board at a discount, analysts expect travel spending to increase by more than 100%.
While full occupancy is clearly a desire for cruise lines, cruisers themselves are more mixed in their opinions toward increasing cruise capacity again now that Covid has waned. In a survey by Cruise Critic, only 18% of those surveyed were looking forward to cruise ships reaching full occupancy again. Among respondents, 77% said they did not think it was a good time to return to full occupancy.
However, it should be noted that out of 77% of those who felt this way, only 56% of them felt that the time was not right due to coronavirus concerns. Another 44% think they will be safe during cruises; They just enjoy the extra space on board. While their preference for additional space is understandable, the financial benefits of full occupancy for both the client and the cruise line offset the loss of space.
The financial benefits of cruises this summer are obvious. However, another benefit of booking a vacation on a cruise ship is the transportation included. After boarding the plane, travelers need to unpack their bags only once, and they will be able to visit many countries, cities and attractions. Why choose between different Caribbean islands if you can wake up every day to a new island waiting for you to explore what they have to offer?
For travelers who travel a lot, current discounts likely won’t go unnoticed. For travelers who are used to a traditional vacation on Earth, 2022 might be the year to try something new. With the value offered on a cruise through all-inclusive offers and ever-lower cruise prices, travelers’ wallets will be thankful for the new adventure.
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