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Fly Fast Cruise Slow

Holiday 2020 Cruise Fares - Crystal vs. Regent

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We are looking at some cruises out to late 2020 and into 2021+, and we have noticed that Crystal’s per diem on many of the cruises we are looking at are significantly higher than what have previously been paying. We have been very brand loyal and have only ever cruised Crystal, but these significantly higher fares, coupled with the quality of new ships coming out, have now enticed us to start looking at the other luxury lines. In fact, we recently booked a 2020 holiday cruise on the new Regent Splendor, mostly because we have been reading/hearing many great things about their new ship Explorer and want to try the newest one Splendor. Secondly, the price differential seems absurd between Crystal and Regent, on this particular cruise, and was also a major factor in our decision.

 

For example, for the 2020 holiday cruise in the Caribbean on Serenity vs Splendor - (excluding the airfare on Regent, and including the port taxes on Crystal), an entry level verandah room B3 on Crystal is priced, on a per diem basis, the same as the entry level Deluxe Verandah Suite G2 on Splendor (and it includes excursions and is a larger room, not mention again the fact that Splendor is a brand new ship).

 

Much more extreme is the the Penthouse category on Crystal being priced at 50% more than the F2 category on Splendor and 15% more than their PH C category (which also includes pre-cruise hotel in Miami).

 

We have a few cruises booked on Crystal in 2020, but we are really looking forward to trying Splendor for holiday 2020 as we consider our cruises for 2021 and beyond.

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Yes - I’ve noticed that Crystal is edging up the fares as well and found other lines, with new ships, becoming competitive. It reminds me of the tale of the frog that boiled to death as it was warmed up over time...

 

We too have booked a Regent cruise to give them a try - albeit not until 2021 for us 

 

We are holding off booking anything for 2022 at the moment to see what deals start to appear in the market 

 

This situation may be exacerbated by the pricing strategy in the Australian market where a lot of the lines, including luxury ones, are adopting quite aggressive Aust $$ pricing and in some cases business air bundles to selected cruises

 

Crystal now has A$ fares available as an option which are currently competitive with their US$ fares provided the A$ stays below 70 cents US - although not being able to pay for them with a credit card in (almost) 2020 makes no sense at all 

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I think this is a fair fare comparison ....

 
Serenity PH:
serenity.png.34e4461a06ddbfe48bc2f2afaf766887.png
 
Explorer F2 with air credit:
explorer.png.4f77572698f3e7223509b4dc9009cc57.png
 
Of course, you don't get a butler in an F2 on Explorer, but it is a really well-designed cabin with a larger veranda than a Serenity PH, which is even larger if you move up to an F1, I think.
 
Edited by drib
oh - and on explorer, some tours are included

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9 minutes ago, drib said:

I think this is a fair fare comparison ....

 
Serenity PH:
serenity.png.34e4461a06ddbfe48bc2f2afaf766887.png
 
Explorer F2 with air credit:
explorer.png.4f77572698f3e7223509b4dc9009cc57.png
 
Of course, you don't get a butler in an F2 on Explorer, but it is a really well-designed cabin with a larger veranda than a Serenity PH, which is even larger if you move up to an F1, I think.
 


Is it?
 

You’ll need to confirm this but isn’t Regent’s pricing inclusive of port charges and fees whereas Crystals needs those to be added? If that’s the case then the pricing differential will be even more pronounced 
 

Plus in some cases Regent provide a pre or post accomodation/tour package as part of the fare 

 

I notice you have included “with air credit” in the Explorer heading but ticked the no air credit option - so is it included or not in the pricing shown - I suspect not?

 

Definitely food for thought...

Edited by Stickman1990

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11 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:

You’ll need to confirm this but isn’t Regent’s pricing inclusive of port charges and fees whereas Crystals needs those to be added? If that’s the case then the pricing differential will be even more pronounced 
 

Plus in some cases Regent provide a pre or post accomodation/tour package as part of the fare 

 

Regent port charges are included, but you're starting to pick nits. (as opposed to what Kerry does, which is to pick knits.) Crystal has a discount for Crystal Society - is that still on all cruises? - and a discount for paying in advance. Regent sometimes has discounts for their Seven Seas Society.

 

There is no Regent hotel credit available on an F. You have to be booked in an E or better. This is often worth going for the modest jump in cost between an F and an E since it's offset by the hotel credit, and a discount on some premium tours and premium wines. It becomes a very small amount to pay for a better location, and on Explorer and Splendor, you definitely get the double-wide balcony for Cat E and above.

 

(Oh misread that ... when they have the added pre and post tours, usually two or three days, those are nice and you can take a credit for them too. But those are usually on the way-more expensive itineraries and usually when they are not selling well.)

 

Edited by drib
picking my own nits

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1 minute ago, drib said:

 

Regent port charges are included, but you're starting to pick nits. (as opposed to what Kerry does, which is to pick knits.) Crystal has a discount for Crystal Society - is that still on all cruises? - and a discount for paying in advance. Regent sometimes has discounts for their Seven Seas Society.

 

There is no Regent hotel credit available on an F. You have to be booked in an E or better. This is often worth going for the modest jump in cost between an F and an E since it's offset by the hotel credit, and a discount on some premium tours and premium wines. It becomes a very small amount to pay for a better location, and on Explorer and Splendor, you definitely get the double-wide balcony.

 


Interesting Regent don’t give a Sevens Seas Society discount on all cruises - but those port charges and fees can mount up so I wouldn’t discount the value of them being included in the Regent fares v Crystals

 

As for paying in advance - it’s 9 months that Crystal require now for the 2.5% discount - that’s a long time in advance especially when compared to the timing of the final payment for Regent fares 

 

It must be different on US fares as we booked the most basic fare and got the inclusion of a 3 day pre or post tour and accomodation included in our fare - we didn’t want it so just cashed it out (for a very generous amount I felt)

 

Of course the ultimate test is whether we like the Regent experience - if not then it doesn’t matter what it’s priced like. Of course if I listen to one recent Regent cruiser who tried Crystal......oh I’ll have to go back to that thread and see what the current opinion is....

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4 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:

It must be different on US fares as we booked the most basic fare and got the inclusion of a 3 day pre or post tour and accomodation included in our fare - we didn’t want it so just cashed it out (for a very generous amount I felt)

 

The two or three day pre/post tours, when they are included, are for all categories.

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Fly Fast Cruise Slow:

 

I often say it is a good idea to try different cruise lines so you can figure out what works for "you".

 

I highlight "you" because each of us has different preferences and likes and dislikes.

 

My own view is for cruise lines in the luxury category (premium too) there are many puts and takes so I've never been able to decide based on cost.

 

Why?

 

Because how does one value some of the amenities provided when it comes to items such as service, enrichment and entertainment.  

 

In our early days of cruising I found it easier to do because we were not sailing on luxury lines.


There is no question that if you are looking at room size alone that often other luxury lines are priced at lower costs.

 

You have to think through all of the other areas but you really can't make an informed decision until you try another line.  When you do that will help you going forward.

 

So it's good you are trying Regent.  Only you can decide which line you prefer and you believe provides you with better value. 

 

Again better differs from person to person.

 

Please do let us know what you think.

 

Happy Holidays.

 

Keith

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2 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:

Of course the ultimate test is whether we like the Regent experience - if not then it doesn’t matter what it’s priced like.

 

Totally agree, all things need to be considered, however as they say, choice is good. We too are going to hold off on the future cruise bookings until we have a better idea of things and try some of the other products out there. We have an open slot to fill in 2021 that we are inclined to fill with another line.

 

To be honest, the combination of Crystal’s rapidly increasing fares (I could understand if they introduced new ships) and their semi-recent cancellation policy changes (very prohibitive for someone who still works and needs some degree of flex should something arise) is pushing me to venture out.

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2 hours ago, drib said:

I think this is a fair fare comparison ....

 

Drib - your website is fantastic and we have been using it for some time. I didn’t realize that you can run trend analysis on the category/pricing etc. It is very good, thank you.

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2 minutes ago, Fly Fast Cruise Slow said:

To be honest, the combination of Crystal’s rapidly increasing fares (I could understand if they introduced new ships) and their semi-recent cancellation policy changes (very prohibitive for someone who still works and needs some degree of flex should something arise) is pushing me to venture out.


Agreed - You certainly don’t have to be still working to hate the new cancellation policy

 

Hey we’re still going to enjoy Serenity in February though - as they say Carpe Diem! 

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2 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:

You’ll need to confirm this but isn’t Regent’s pricing inclusive of port charges and fees whereas Crystals needs those to be added? If that’s the case then the pricing differential will be even more pronounced 
 

Plus in some cases Regent provide a pre or post accomodation/tour package as part of the fare 

 

Sorry for the flurry of posts, but it is also important to mention that Regent includes most shore excursions in their pricing as well, where as we know, Crystal does not...

Edited by Fly Fast Cruise Slow
Correction

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2 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Fly Fast Cruise Slow:

 

I often say it is a good idea to try different cruise lines so you can figure out what works for "you".

 

I highlight "you" because each of us has different preferences and likes and dislikes.

 

My own view is for cruise lines in the luxury category (premium too) there are many puts and takes so I've never been able to decide based on cost.

 

Why?

 

Because how does one value some of the amenities provided when it comes to items such as service, enrichment and entertainment.  

 

In our early days of cruising I found it easier to do because we were not sailing on luxury lines.


There is no question that if you are looking at room size alone that often other luxury lines are priced at lower costs.

 

You have to think through all of the other areas but you really can't make an informed decision until you try another line.  When you do that will help you going forward.

 

So it's good you are trying Regent.  Only you can decide which line you prefer and you believe provides you with better value. 

 

Again better differs from person to person.

 

Please do let us know what you think.

 

Happy Holidays.

 

Keith

 

Keith, thank you very much for your words of wisdom. 

 

My original point was more about the fact that Crystal ships are getting older and the pricing is going up substantially on many itineraries. Not sure what the strategy is given it seems that many of the recent Caribbean itineraries were underpriced perhaps to prospect new clients and capture the revenue on the other itineraries.  In any case, it has now got to the stage where, in our case, and I suspect this will be the case with others, we now see perceived value in other lines with much newer products, amenities and equally good reviews.

 

As mentioned in my original post, our decision was not based on price and room size alone. The are a variety of factors that drove us to this decision:

 

1. Reviews from Regent/Explorer (particularly from Boblerm who always has a well-balanced review of both Crystal and Regent and who appears in writing (we have never met) to value the same things we do).

2. The age of the ship being Brand New vs. 18 years old

3. Inclusion of shore shore excursions vs. not included

4. Size of the rooms

5. Itinerary

6. Price - taking points 1-5 into consideration and comparing it to Crystal

 

Of course we are savvy enough to realise that the actual experience on the ship needs to be assessed at the time of the cruise - service, f&b, entertainment, quality of the included excursions etc.etc.

 

Only then can we make an informed decision about what works for us and the value proposition that entails. We will then share with everyone what works or does not work for us so that others may take that into consideration when making cruising decisions that suit them.

Edited by Fly Fast Cruise Slow

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4 hours ago, Fly Fast Cruise Slow said:

 

To be honest, the combination of Crystal’s rapidly increasing fares (I could understand if they introduced new ships) and their semi-recent cancellation policy changes (very prohibitive for someone who still works and needs some degree of flex should something arise) is pushing me to venture out.

 

This is precisely my situation -- with an emphasis on the payment/cancellation policy.  I miss Crystal a lot:  I spent lots of wonderful nights on Serenity/Symphony (not interested in yacht or river boats).  Other virtues offset the vice of the smallish standard cabins.  But I simply cannot justify tying myself to Crystal's payment/cancellation policy (esp. by comparison with other luxury lines) and I have taken my 100+ nights/year elsewhere.

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4 hours ago, Fly Fast Cruise Slow said:

 

Sorry for the flurry of posts, but it is also important to mention that Regent includes most shore excursions in their pricing as well, where as we know, Crystal does not...

We were Regent cruisers when they rolled out the shore excursion program. It's one of the main reasons we switched. We found that basic tours were included (Drive around the city and stop at a few stops type) but the better tours were an added premium. 

Additionally because tours were "free" people were booking them and then not showing up. 

 

Also there is no comparison when it comes to food and service compared to Regent. Food on Regent was good but nothing special. Food on Crystal is definitely quite a few steps above. 

Additionally entertainment and lectures we found to be so much better on Crystal. Interesting, on Regent we never really considered the ship the destination. On Crystal we do.

Edited by AtA

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Also doesn't SB charge for internet?

Does Regent? They used to unless you had reached a certain milestone and then you were limited to the number of devices in the room?

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I am with AtA as a gold level Regent Cruiser we left Regent to sail Oceania due to the all included ShoreEx.

Originally when Regent went All Inclusive, we would do air credit but they credited for half of the cost of Coach.  The excursions were so basic - and crowded that they were not luxe.  Then the onboard experience for both lines were boring to me.  Lots of Nickle and Diming. Bait and Switch. Nothing to do. No passengers out past showtime. Ship all rolled up and sometimes at 11 pm, I'd be the only one out of my cabin! No one in the casino! No music playing.

 

I avoided Crystal for years. All the "formality" and fixed seating.  Are the cabins small? Yes, but, very well appointed.  The service is outstanding and without being standoffish or stuffy.  Things to do from Sunrise to Midnight and then some. You actually have multiple choices of what to do all day and all evening.  The cost of shore excursions are reasonable.  The shore ex operators are basically the same in most ports and so are the tours.

Food is good on both lines and is subjective but Crystal hits all the check boxes for us. 

I was looking at some entry level sailings for 2021 and the per diem very reasonable. I only have not booked because of the new cancellation policy.

I won't say never but highly unlikely that I will be back on a Regent or Oceania ship.

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Seabourn do charge for internet unless you’re relatively senior in status otherwise it’s $400 for unlimited access 


Regent include 1 device unlimited - although recent posts on their forums suggest the quality of what is being delivered is unsatisfactory and not usable for a lot of the time - that will certainly be a challenge 

 

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1 hour ago, Observer said:

This is precisely my situation -- with an emphasis on the payment/cancellation policy.  I miss Crystal a lot:  I spent lots of wonderful nights on Serenity/Symphony (not interested in yacht or river boats).  Other virtues offset the vice of the smallish standard cabins.  But I simply cannot justify tying myself to Crystal's payment/cancellation policy (esp. by comparison with other luxury lines) and I have taken my 100+ nights/year elsewhere.


Welcome back - good to hear from you and glad you are enjoying cruising albeit with someone else - who have you chosen?

You are right - in the end actions speak louder than words 

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5 hours ago, Fly Fast Cruise Slow said:

 

Keith, thank you very much for your words of wisdom. 

 

My original point was more about the fact that Crystal ships are getting older and the pricing is going up substantially on many itineraries. Not sure what the strategy is given it seems that many of the recent Caribbean itineraries were underpriced perhaps to prospect new clients and capture the revenue on the other itineraries.  In any case, it has now got to the stage where, in our case, and I suspect this will be the case with others, we now see perceived value in other lines with much newer products, amenities and equally good reviews.

 

As mentioned in my original post, our decision was not based on price and room size alone. The are a variety of factors that drove us to this decision:

 

1. Reviews from Regent/Explorer (particularly from Boblerm who always has a well-balanced review of both Crystal and Regent and who appears in writing (we have never met) to value the same things we do).

2. The age of the ship being Brand New vs. 18 years old

3. Inclusion of shore shore excursions vs. not included

4. Size of the rooms

5. Itinerary

6. Price - taking points 1-5 into consideration and comparing it to Crystal

 

Of course we are savvy enough to realise that the actual experience on the ship needs to be assessed at the time of the cruise - service, f&b, entertainment, quality of the included excursions etc.etc.

 

Only then can we make an informed decision about what works for us and the value proposition that entails. We will then share with everyone what works or does not work for us so that others may take that into consideration when making cruising decisions that suit them.

Fly Fast Cruise Slow,

 

Excellent points.  In the end this is why I feel it is important to try different cruise lines to figure out what works for you.

 

I have many friends as well as just people we know who have sailed Crystal and say Regent. 

 

Some prefer Crystal.

 

Some prefer Regent.

 

Some like both.

 

Some say the newest Regent ships are the most beautiful they have sailed.

 

Some say the service is the same.

 

Others prefer Crystal and give me examples.


Some say the food is the same.  Some say better on Crystal.

 

And this goes on and on.

 

Same for other luxury lines when compared.


Same within a line.  Oh we read here that someone had a meal at Prego and it was their best meal ever.  Some say just an Italian Restaurant.

 

We all have different priorities, likes, dislikes, etc. and until you try it you'll never know.

 

Excursions are a perfect example.  How does one value included excursions?  For some a wonderful deal and value.  For others a waste because they don't want them.  Reverse might be true for Crystal.  How does one value the enrichment program?  Might be high for those who utilize it.  Might be low for those who could care less.  Room size?  For some very important and a deal breaker.  For others they could care less.

 

As to the pricing I haven't done much comparison to other lines.  I used to but really no longer do this and I am up front as to why.  At this stage it is rare that we would sail another line.  The major driver would be itinerary.

 

All I can say is from a filling the ship perspective whatever they are doing seems to be filling the ships at higher levels than I've seen before.  Now the ships do carry less people than before but the cruises we were on this year were close to being full and sometimes completely full and that appears to have continued for pretty much the year with few exceptions.  Now they have changed some approaches where there are some opportunities for upgrade and I believe more surprise upgrades to the PH and above categories based on comments on this board and hearing from people we know and then I assume selling the categories they were originally assigned to.  Does this translate to increased revenue and increased profitability?  Time will tell.  2020 bookings on some of the cruises we are familiar with seem very high in spite of changes to deposit time frames and administrative fees. 

 

Choice is good.  From a cruise fare perspective within a line and also comparing to other lines prices do vary. 

 

Even on the same cruise we read posts and you would think the people were on different cruises.  Entertainment wonderful/entertainment boring....Food terrific.  Food cold.  Wonderful lecturers.  Didn't care for the lecturers.  Couldn't get a chair at the pool.  Plenty of chairs.

 

I've believe this when it comes to cruising and when I worked I believed it as well.  Always good to try another company.  In the end you might appreciate Crystal more.  Or you might like the other better.  Or you might like both and have two go to lines.

 

Whatever you do I hope you are happy.

 

I did want to note that we had the pleasure of sailing with Boblerm and his lovely wife.  They are wonderful people and we share their love of life including cruising and have tremendous respect for the two of them.

 

Happy Holidays.

 

Keith

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There is one word to compare the costs between Crystal and Regent == SHOP....

We are very itinerary driven place we have not been or places we have been and want to see again.

We found several 2022 Symphony cruises in SH categories at $523 per diem. (Venice to Lisbon b2b)

Some of Regent's cruises are also crazy priced  - 2021 Auckland Sydney on Mariner is $1433 - yet the first leg in an G cabin is $691 from Lima to Auckland (booked on this)

 

Supply and demand....

 

 

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7 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

... All I can say is from a filling the ship perspective whatever they are doing seems to be filling the ships at higher levels than I've seen before ...

 

World cruises span a good chunk of the year, about 30% of the year, and have popular, non-repeating itineraries. So that experience is a false indicator. It's like if the cruiser formerly known as Bodogbodog were to conclude that Crystal doesn't stock enough beer because they always ran out on his sailings.

 
The data I have shows that ocean ship sales are soft, especially on Symphony, and that category status largely doesn't change to 100% "unavailable" until within three months of sailing. Of course the pony in the pile of unsold cabins is that we get more lowered fares, special fares, getaway itineraries, and so on.
Edited by drib

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3 minutes ago, drib said:

 

World cruises span a good chunk of the year, about 30% of the year, and have popular, non-repeating itineraries. So that experience is a false indicator. It's like if the cruiser formerly known as Bodogbodog were to conclude that Crystal doesn't stock enough beer because they always ran out on his sailings.

 
The data I have shows that ocean ship sales are soft, especially on Symphony, and that category status largely doesn't change to 100% "unavailable" until within three months of sailing. Of course the pony in the pile of unsold cabins is that we get more lowered fares, special fares, getaway itineraries, and so on.

David,

 

Sorry if I was not clear.  I was speaking about 2019.

 

We boarded Serenity December of 2018 and the Holiday Cruise and the one that began 2019 was very full.

 

We stayed on board well after the World Cruise and those sailings were full or almost full.  We were told the rest of the summer season was full and the same was true for the fall.  I believe Symphony was pretty full for the fall.  Not sure about the summer. 

 

Also I do know the 2020 World Cruise is pretty full.

 

Keith

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38 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

Sorry if I was not clear.  I was speaking about 2019.

 

I have category status starting before January 2019.

 

That first leg, Los Angeles to Auckland, didn't change to 100% unavailable until my January 2019 update. Auckland to Perth, you could still get a PH until January 26. Perth to Cape Town - never sold out - nor did Cape Town to Monte Carlo. 

 

The full current world cruise, Miami to Rome didn't change to 100% unavailable until October 7. And there is a lot of availability still on the Papeete to Auckland leg - you can see it for yourself from there on the Crystal web site.

Edited by drib

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David, all I can tell you is Serenity was very full for the entire year of 2019.  I didn't say sold out on the World Cruise but it was fairly full.  This continued beyond World Cruise with some sailing completely sold out and other very full.

 

As I said not sure how this translates to profitability but it should translate to pretty strong revenue.

 

Time will tell.

 

I do know for a while the 2020 World Cruise was pretty full knowing some people who couldn't book a room who waited.  Some did free up as it always does.  

 

We have lots of friends (some from this board) who are sailing Symphony when it leaves from San Diego with some staying for one voyage and others  for several.  While many of us book early many do book later so we'll see what happens.

 

I think 2019 will turn out to be a strong year for Crystal and believe their River Cruises seemed to do very well too.

 

Keith

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