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Holiday 2020 Cruise Fares - Crystal vs. Regent

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5 hours ago, Observer said:

 

Another group who might yield useful insights would be previously loyal/frequent guests who have no returned recently.  Why not?  Crystal should certainly have these data and should be able to run a query with ease -- people with x number of Crystal Society credits who haven't earned credits in y years.  

 

For many (certainly five, perhaps as many as ten) years, I stayed each year for a week or two at a resort.  I then stopped going.  After the second year during which I had not returned, I got a letter from the GM (whom I didn't know) asking if s/he could call.  The letter made clear that this was not to be a sales call.  I said yes.  And they wanted to know why I had not returned.  They said they make such calls routinely and find them very profitable.    

Observer....I say this with the upmost respect and not to be argumentative.

 

Sometimes people change.  Sometime business changes.  Sometimes both change concurrently.

By people I mean that sometimes in life even if a cruise line or other business hasn't changed but we have and we might outgrow a company we used to enjoy.  

 

Other times the company changes and they do so in ways we don't care for and we start to look at other alternatives.

 

Often (nor always but often) when a company changes they realize some of their customers will not like the change(s) and will go elsewhere but they still make the change(s) if they believe it is good for the health of the business both in near term and long terms growth along with profitability. 

 

I am reminded about how upset some were (well not some but many) when Crystal went to all-inclusive and concurrently started to eliminate those as you wish credits.  This continued for quite sometime after it rolled out.  However, they did so to attract a new set of cruisers.  If there only focus was keeping the existing ones happy they could have done that but if they didn't bring in new customers the reality is with the continued aging  of the embedded base of society members the business would lose marketshare.  Now it's business as usual for both new and long terms guests as well as for team Crystal.

 

We all can list other related changes with the most recent one being open dining.  At the same time changes have been made to attract younger guests that some of the long timers don't like.  Examples include:  shorter cruises (yes even those six day Mediterranean cruises over this summer), less sea days and more ports and overnights including some when the cruise starts and ends.  Another example was the move to less formality with BTO nights and eliminating them all-together on shorter cruises.  Some applauded that while other cringed and did not like it at all.  I remember all the comments about Crystal dumbing down.

 

Now if your customer base is shrinking and no one is booking you have to reassess all of this and that might include focus groups with former society members and existing ones.   However, if you understand what the impact of the changes will have and that includes losing some long term customers while at the same time growing your business and if you achieve those desired results you wouldn't solicit feedback from past customers.  I guess a company could just to make a former customer feel better but if it was done just for this reason only in the end it would not resolve the customer issue.

 

Do I agree with every change Crystal makes?  Heck no.  But speaking for myself  I don't expect them to not change because of my view.  Sometimes you just have to push through the change even if there is a lot of pushback at first and again inclusive comes to mind. There were a large number of people upset about it.  With that said this board is an example of the positive impact this change had as several on this board gave Crystal a try because of inclusive and a number of them are Crystal regulars.

 

I am glad you have found a cruise line that you seem very happy with.  In the end that is important.  Ironically the cruise line you enjoy we thought was very so so and not to our liking and we did sail it twice.  Neither one of us are wrong.  We are just human.  I also met some on those sailings that told me about how things used to be and how they didn't like the change and were starting to look at alternatives.  I also met some who raved about the line.  

 

Finally the same is true for the employees.  There are time that employees of any company don't like the changes.  Sometimes they get over it, sometimes they initially don't like them but after getting used to them they very much appreciate them.  Sometimes the changes are disastrous and the company has to reverse course.  And simply sometimes the employee leave the company.  In this case the company has to look at the results to determine if the changes were what they desired and sometimes when the company makes the changes they know they will lose people.

 

The key is to actively monitor all of this when a management team makes change to a product.

 

We are fortunate as consumers that across most products there is lots of choice.  This was not the case many years ago when there were quite a few monopolies across many industries and/or very little competition.  It wasn't that long ago in the scheme of time when many cruise lines were floundering and going under.  We are fortunate a reversal took place in the industry and I give a lot of credit to Carnival and in the USA to the Love Boat TV series for attracting people to this area of travel.

 

I realize you might not agree on any and all I said and this but just wanted to share my thoughts on this and again not to be argumentative.

 

Keith

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It seems to me that this discussion sums up the whole point of Cruise Critic - it's an environment where views can be exchanged and in the case of the Crystal board it is done (almost entirely) respectfully and politely. It brings to the table the views of those with considerable experience and knowledge, those with intelligence and well argued points and a few people like me - regular Joe's, who have some views too.

 

The fact that people make their case leaves the rest of us with the pleasant task of reading several varied viewpoints, weighing them up, comparing them to our own experiences, taking the useful points away and leaving the points of less use on the table.

 

Reading the various contributions left me reflecting that the 6 day and the 7 day cruises we took last Summer were very different experiences compared to the 14 day cruise in October. Basically the same product (different ship, I grant you) but with a different vibe. And I'm not sure it was all down to the many new-to-Crystal folk on the shorter cruises (some of whom were a pain - but avoidable) - I think it was down to the fact that you cruise 'differently' on a longer trip - simple as that. And I'm guessing there are several contributors here who have never done a short 6/7 night trip?? (a 7 nighter as a part of a longer trip doesn't count, Keith!) Our longest ever cruise was 28 nights on Regent - a very different experience to their 7 day trips too. I am reminded that whilst they were a while back now, our 8 cruises on Silversea and Regent whilst perfectly enjoyable were not as enjoyable, all things considered, as cruises with Crystal. The Crystal product contains more components that suit us. Which means we are somewhat resistant to change. And that is what happens when you like something a lot - you don't want it to change and, in a way, you don't want to out grow it. But I understand that others will be at a different point on their Crystal journey and will be fidgety, looking for major change, new ships etc. etc. That is what seems to be reflected in the discussion here. And isn't that the dilemma for Crystal management? As with any organisation you know you can't please all of the people all of the time - and pleasing all the passionate folk who take the trouble to contribute on CC is absolutely impossible!!

 

Vive la discussion!

 

Adrian

 

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7 hours ago, Observer said:

Another group who might yield useful insights would be previously loyal/frequent guests who have no returned recently.  Why not?  Crystal should certainly have these data and should be able to run a query with ease -- people with x number of Crystal Society credits who haven't earned credits in y years.  

 

For many (certainly five, perhaps as many as ten) years, I stayed each year for a week or two at a resort.  I then stopped going.  After the second year during which I had not returned, I got a letter from the GM (whom I didn't know) asking if s/he could call.  The letter made clear that this was not to be a sales call.  I said yes.  And they wanted to know why I had not returned.  They said they make such calls routinely and find them very profitable.

 

Exactly. I agree.  The research is so valuable for companies to gain insights and understand why people behave the way in which they do and develop their future strategy around it. 
 

As a frequent flyer, I currently sit on the Qantas Advisory Panel which is a market research group formed by Qantas to gain insights into the various experiences that they provide. I can see firsthand my contributions are valued and tested in some instances. I think the performance of Qantas speaks for itself. 
 

In addition, I personally have ingrained this consumer research culture into my organisation and the insights play a key role in our strategic plans with impressive measurable results over the years. 

As they say, without data you are just a person with an opinion. 

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4 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

The key is to actively monitor all of this when a management team makes change to a product.

 

 

I disagree with little that you say in your post.  All I was suggesting was that there was a cohort of people who might participate in that monitoring process and who just might provide valuable insights: viz., people who had a lot of nights on Crystal and had returned to the ships year after year but suddenly stopped sailing with the line.  The explanations could be health issues, financial challenges, etc., having nothing to do with the cruise line itself.  But some may be related to the product, and these data could contribute to the active monitoring process you suggest.

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4 hours ago, Noggins said:

It seems to me that this discussion sums up the whole point of Cruise Critic - it's an environment where views can be exchanged and in the case of the Crystal board it is done (almost entirely) respectfully and politely. 

 

Amen to this observation, Adrian. The comments and rebuttals on some of the other CC boards are downright nasty. On a couple of the other boards, the CC moderators have included introductory common threads such as "Dealing with Difficult Posts" and "Clean It Up" . No such advisories on the Crystal board.

 

Rob

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7 minutes ago, ryndam said:

 

Amen to this observation, Adrian. The comments and rebuttals on some of the other CC boards are downright nasty. On a couple of the other boards, the CC moderators have included introductory common threads such as "Dealing with Difficult Posts" and "Clean It Up" . No such advisories on the Crystal board.

 

Rob

 

Generally true, Rob, but there are cases where there has been an unpleasant person here and there and then also a generally pleasant person who seems to either be off their meds or hitting the sauce heavily when writing some posts!! 😱😏🙄🤓

 

Patty

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7 hours ago, ryndam said:

 

Amen to this observation, Adrian. The comments and rebuttals on some of the other CC boards are downright nasty. On a couple of the other boards, the CC moderators have included introductory common threads such as "Dealing with Difficult Posts" and "Clean It Up" . No such advisories on the Crystal board.

 

Rob

I'm laughing because there is a regular on one of the other boards who also posts here who thinks our board is nasty. LMAO.

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On 12/26/2019 at 3:56 PM, 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.

 

 

Our last Crystal cruise, the fare was $1,600 and port charges $450. That's 28%. In one of our upcoming cruises, the fare is $3,000 and port charges $550. That's 18%. Not exactly nits.

 

The whole comparison between lines is pretty much useless because it's not apples to apples. Regent includes excursions. O and Crystal don't. O excludes alcohol and gratitude. Crystal and Regent include them. Crystal prices exclude port charges.

 

On elated note, how do you know if Crystal is "struggling"? Do you have access to their sales data? How does it compare to Oceania and Regent? What is considered good vacancy? On our last Symphony cruise we were 700 guests in the first 5 days and 800 guests in the last 5 days. Is it considered good vacancy? On our upcoming cruise in May I see ALL categories as "Call for availability" (meaning sold out?) This is 5 months in advance.

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33 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

The whole comparison between lines is pretty much useless because it's not apples to apples. Regent includes excursions. O and Crystal don't. O excludes alcohol and gratitude. Crystal and Regent include them. Crystal prices exclude port charges.

 

 

for Oceania finding the  right TA  you can get Gratuities included  & once you reach a certain loyalty level they are included

We now get enough OBC  to cover  the alcohol   that we drink which is not a lot

last O cruise we struggled  to spend our OBC  even after buying bottles of wine  (and we know the markup on the ships)

Our Crystal cruise  was about $270 pp pd   so it was worth giving them a try

 

I would choose  by what line ticks the most boxes for you  & the itinerary of course .. JMO

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5 minutes ago, LHT28 said:

for Oceania finding the  right TA  you can get Gratuities included  & once you reach a certain loyalty level they are included

We now get enough OBC  to cover  the alcohol   that we drink which is not a lot

last O cruise we struggled  to spend our OBC  even after buying bottles of wine  (and we know the markup on the ships)

Our Crystal cruise  was about $270 pp pd   so it was worth giving them a try

 

I would choose  by what line ticks the most boxes for you  & the itinerary of course .. JMO

 

Of course. But you can say the same about Crystal - with the right TA you get OBC to cover some of the excursions.

 

And I agree 100% regarding most boxes for you & the itinerary. Our current future cruises (3 on Crystal and 2 on Oceania) are based purely on the itinerary. We like both lines based on our (limited) experience, and I would not hesitate sailing on either of them given the right itinerary and price. Two of our future Crystal cruises are around $300 pp pd which is not too far from O (but we book the cheapest cabin).

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We booked Crystal 11 nights cruise in Europe for $3,550 USD. This is before the discounts which will bring the price to under $3,300.

 

Can someone show me a cruise on Silversea, Seabourn or Regent that comes close to that price?

 

The cheapest I could find on Silversea was 11 nights Venice to Venice in April 2020 (which is low season) at $5,000 with free economy air.

 

On Seabourn the cheapest 11 nights is $5,275 USD. plus they charge extra for internet which to me is a matter of principle - any line that charges those prices should included the internet.
 

Didn’t even check Regent as they start at $10k at least (including business air which is about $2,500 from Toronto.

 

Seems to me that Crystal is still the cheapest among the luxury lines. I would gladly try another luxury line if I could find anything close to Crystal pricing.

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I would imagine that at the price point you quoted ak1004 is for an ocean view room? If so, this sort of stateroom doesn't exist on other luxury lines. Once the new Crystal ocean ships are released I imagine they won't have them either and that the prices will be much more in line with other luxury lines - something to keep in mind when we keep wishing that Crystal would release new ocean ships already. Having said that there are still certain cruises and itineraries where Crystal charges as much, if not more, than the other luxury lines. The one the the OP (my husband) mentioned is one of them.

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6 hours ago, ClefsDor said:

I would imagine that at the price point you quoted ak1004 is for an ocean view room? If so, this sort of stateroom doesn't exist on other luxury lines. Once the new Crystal ocean ships are released I imagine they won't have them either and that the prices will be much more in line with other luxury lines - something to keep in mind when we keep wishing that Crystal would release new ocean ships already. Having said that there are still certain cruises and itineraries where Crystal charges as much, if not more, than the other luxury lines. The one the the OP (my husband) mentioned is one of them.

 

Yes, Ocean view, and many of Silversea and Seabourn ships do have OV cabins. It is true that most of them are bigger than OV on Crystal. However, many people (including myself) don't care about veranda or cabin size. We come to our cabin to sleep and take a shower, and I couldn't care less if my cabin is 200 sqft or 500 sqft. As much as I want to experience luxury cruising, I won't pay for something that I don't use. If those small OV cabins are gone, Crystal will lose a lot of customers, and I'm sure other lines will come and fill that niche. 

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7 hours ago, ak1004 said:

If those small OV cabins are gone, Crystal will lose a lot of customers, and I'm sure other lines will come and fill that niche. 

I agree that Crystal will lose many customers if these categories are eliminated but even if they kept some OV rooms they would be much bigger than the current rooms and therefore the cost would be more in line with other luxury ships. I am fine too with the smaller cabin size as they are so well laid out but I know that come the new ships the current prices like the one you quoted won't exist, unfortunately.

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3 minutes ago, ClefsDor said:

I agree that Crystal will lose many customers if these categories are eliminated but even if they kept some OV rooms they would be much bigger than the current rooms and therefore the cost would be more in line with other luxury ships. I am fine too with the smaller cabin size as they are so well laid out but I know that come the new ships the current prices like the one you quoted won't exist, unfortunately.

 

Then I guess it's good that we have 3 future bookings on Crystal at prices that are still reasonable.. After that, who knows..

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1 hour ago, ak1004 said:

 

Then I guess it's good that we have 3 future bookings on Crystal at prices that are still reasonable.. After that, who knows..

 

I suspect you are safe until at least 2023 and maybe even longer. As a general "rule" it takes about three years (give or take) from announcement of a new ship to delivery. We are now on the doorstep of 2020 and the silence from Crystal on a new ship is deafening! I call it the "New Ship of Myth and Legend"!

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Hopefully if the new Crystal ship that will come along someday should not directly impact the cost of the older smaller cabins on the older ships, whether or not it has cabins equivalent in size to the current Ocean View cabins on Symphony and Serenity.   So far the higher costs on Esprit, Endeavor, and the river ships do not seem to have directly affected the costs on the existing ocean ships, so why should a new ocean ship affect them?  There will be a great demand for the "new," so it will probably support a higher price structure on the new ship, especially if all the cabins are larger.

 

It is just a gut feeling, but it seems to me that Regent charges more for Explorer and Splendor than for their older ships.  The Regent prices are so varied, especially by including airfare, that it is hard to make a direct comparison.

 

I would expect perhaps some gradual price inflation over time (unless the overall market is glutted with more new ships than new passengers), but not a direct effect of increased costs on the old ships just because a newer one comes along.  Maybe I am overly optimistic?

Karen

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SusieQft said:

It is just a gut feeling, but it seems to me that Regent charges more for Explorer and Splendor than for their older ships.  The Regent prices are so varied, especially by including airfare, that it is hard to make a direct comparison.

 

If there were some loser out there who spent all his* time accumulating and analyzing the data, I think you might find that the three biggest factors for cruise fares are location (of cruise), location (of cabin), and location (of pocketbook).

The per diem for Regent ships might look something like this:

 

Explorer, 857 days, $ 707
Mariner, 732 days, $ 652
Navigator, 819 days, $ 627
Splendor, 782 days, $ 695
Voyager, 803 days, $ 677

Those are all the lowest categories, except for Navigator, where said loser used the lowest balcony. And those are all with taking the air credit.

Splendor in 2022 is wholly in the Caribbean, which really distorts the average. (Average per day for an H in 2022 is $524!) But this might be a great way to sample the ship to see if you all the hype is true, and if it's worth spending more on some future itinerary elsewhere in the world.

And for another point of reference, these averages are for a Crystal B1, since all the averages above are for cabins with a balcony, except for Endeavor, which shows an S7:

Serenity, 1069 days, $ 498
Symphony, 1087 days, $ 478
Endeavor, 909 days, $ 1,190

 

But trust your gut anyway because statistics lie. 

Edited by drib
* his or her

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1 hour ago, SusieQft said:

 

It is just a gut feeling, but it seems to me that Regent charges more for Explorer and Splendor than for their older ships.  The Regent prices are so varied, especially by including airfare, that it is hard to make a direct comparison.

 

 

I think this is true for all lines, isn't it? Celebrity Edge is the most expensive, followed by older S class and even older M class. Oceania O class is more expensive than R class. Same for Princess. I'm pretty sure Regent follows the same pattern. 

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29 minutes ago, drib said:

 

If there were some loser out there who spent all his* time accumulating and analyzing the data, I think you might find that the three biggest factors for cruise fares are location (of cruise), location (of cabin), and location (of pocketbook).

The per diem for Regent ships might look something like this:

 

Explorer, 857 days, $ 707
Mariner, 732 days, $ 652
Navigator, 819 days, $ 627
Splendor, 782 days, $ 695
Voyager, 803 days, $ 677

Those are all the lowest categories, except for Navigator, where said loser used the lowest balcony. And those are all with taking the air credit.

Splendor in 2022 is wholly in the Caribbean, which really distorts the average. (Average per day for an H in 2022 is $524!) But this might be a great way to sample the ship to see if you all the hype is true, and if it's worth spending more on some future itinerary elsewhere in the world.

And for another point of reference, these averages are for a Crystal B1, since all the averages above are for cabins with a balcony, except for Endeavor, which shows an S7:

Serenity, 1069 days, $ 498
Symphony, 1087 days, $ 478
Endeavor, 909 days, $ 1,190

 

But trust your gut anyway because statistics lie. 

How much is an air credit worth? What happens if you take it out?

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9 minutes ago, drib said:

But trust your gut anyway because statistics lie. 

Thank you, Drib!  I give data a lot of credence, and it trumps my gut feeling in most cases.  😉  And I do value and greatly appreciate all the data you provide.  😍   Although the difference is not as much as I expected, I see that Explorer and Splendor are the most expensive, as my "gut" told me.  😀

 

I would attribute the Regent vs Crystal difference in the average prices you just quoted mostly to shore excursions, since your numbers are after taking the air credit.  Some may also be that in many cases the included air is more valuable than the air credit, and I suppose some would also cite cabin size, which is less of an issue for me personally.  The difference in the per diem (excluding Endeavor, which is in a whole different category IMO) is not much more than we end up spending on Crystal shore excursions on an average itinerary.  

 

Sampling a ship in the Caribbean is not as convenient from the west coast as for those in or closer to Florida.  Not having sailed on Regent yet, I am looking forward to "sampling" Mariner and Navigator in 2020 and 2021.  They seem to have itineraries of more interest to me than Regent's larger ships.

Karen

 

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, drib said:

 

If there were some loser out there who spent all his* time....
 

But trust your gut anyway because statistics lie. 


Brilliant - great comparison and factually correct I’m sure - but don’t forget that Regent includes port charges and Crystal doesn’t so the Crystal prices are in reality higher than stated if a fare (see what I did!) comparison is to be made

 

But aggregated data can mask the reality that using a rifle approach to searching out good fares versus a shotgun to try and capture everything can result in very good pricing 

 

I prefer the rifle approach and have been very successful in finding some great pricing on selected voyages over the years - the majority on Crystal but also Seabourn and a future Regent Explorer cruise 

 

To be honest I’m finding these days if the itinerary appeals we just book it - life is too short to worry about waiting for a bargain - you never know when you’re number is drawn from the barrel and you’re out of the game - and I’m not talking about the Guaranty/Upgrade lottery either!

Edited by Stickman1990

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17 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

I think this is true for all lines, isn't it?

I would think so.  I have not looked so much at the other lines you mentioned, but it makes sense.  Which is why I was wondering why so many seem to be thinking that Crystal's new ship will cause prices to go up on the existing ships.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, SusieQft said:

Which is why I was wondering why so many seem to be thinking that Crystal's new ship will cause prices to go up on the existing ships.


I agree - market and competitive forces will be a big factor in how they are configured and priced. Although with a lot of “boomers” retiring that’s a lot of disposable wealth coming on stream to support luxury experiences 

 

Although it does seem the new luxury ships from the various lines are not including Ocean View class cabins - they’re all including balconies - so that takes it into the higher fare classes of Crystal

 

and dear little Greta is doing her best to encourage people to sail rather than fly so perhaps the millennials will jump on the cruising bandwagon 

Edited by Stickman1990

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Thanks so much for the figures, drib.  Once again a very helpful and impressive data dump.

 

I assume that the Crystal figures do not include port fees/taxes (which I believe are included on published Regent fares).  These fees are significant can increase the cost of a cruise by ~ 10% for the lowest price cabin on Crystal.  Of course the taxes are not yoked to the cost of the cabin, and the percentage is higher for the lower cost cabins than the Penthouse suites. 

 

Is my assumption correct?  Including the variable port fees for every itinerary would be very challenging, I would think.

 

Thanks again.

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