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O's 2024 pricing is ridiculous!


julia
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On 11/2/2023 at 8:45 AM, ak1004 said:

I looked at Windstar. The ships look nice, good itineraries, but the prices are comparable to O, and they don't include WiFi, drinks or excursions.

This year was my first O cruise (Riviera March was supposed to be Bermuda but weather made us go elsewhere) and my first Windstar cruise (Star Legend Oct Istanbul to Athens). 

I wrote a review of my windstar vacation on the CC Windstar board. Should still be on the first page as they don’t get a lot of posts. 
 

 

I really enjoyed our O cruise even though the itinerary was vastly changed while we were on board. We booked 2 more sailings with them for Vista in Oct 2024 and March 2025 while on board. We don’t book the packages and felt the pricing for our upcoming PH2 and PH1 are very competitive.  Those sailings are now priced $1000 per person more under SM.  
 

On our Riviera sailing we were impressed with the food but were really surprised with the low quality alcohol and wine available.  It didn’t seem to fit.  I mean how can you have such great food but not have the same level of wine and alcohol to go with it?  For example, my Manhattan was made with Ten High bourbon and Martini & Rossi vermouth. It was so bad I did not drink it. The only other bourbon they had on board was a Woodford reserve that was priced at some astronomical price….I seem to recall $20 a shot but don’t quote me on that. My martini was served in a margarita glass…twice…I gave up.  I simply could not find a white wine on board that I liked. What I did love about O is that I could get what I wanted at our next port stop and bring it onboard without issue. I did love the happy hours on O and the Captains party events with open bars. 
 

On our Windstar sailing (also booked without packages) I found the menus to be more limited than O’s, but hand to heart I felt the quality was superior.  Again as we all know food is subjective but if you read my review there’s pictures.
 

Every cabin on windstar has full MDR room service while it is open. It had an expansive 24 hour gourmet room service menu.  
My Manhattan was made with Woodford reserve and Antica vermouth for $17 including 18% gratuity. 
‘The wine list was extensive and so reasonably priced (I posted the complete list in my review). They had my Trimbach wines and I was in heaven. 


‘I paid $9 a day per person for unlimited 24 hour turn around laundry.  
 

Windstar has a deck BBQ that simply blew my mind with how good it was.  

 

In Ephesus they had a linen tablecloth gourmet meal served at night under the beautifully lit up ancient amphitheater with the Aegean Sea Orchestra playing outstanding classical music. The wine flowed freely from the minute we got there until we left. The 30 minute bus ride each way was perfectly organized and executed.  This excursion (260 of the 269 passengers onboard went) was included in our fare. 

 

I had coffee with the Captain every morning in the Yacht club and my husband took full advantage of the open bridge policy. In fact every single day I saw and spoke to every officer on board….that’s how visible they were. Officers made sure my every desire was fulfilled. I was simply blown away. 
 

We already had another sailing booked with Windstar (Oct 2025 Montreal to Boston) but we booked another while on board (17 days Papeete RT with 10 days of the water sports deck open for May 2026). 
 

Right now O with SM is not competitive with Windstar. I will continue to look at all cruise lines and sail with the one who has the itinerary I want at a price I am willing to pay for it. 
 

O is certainly on that list and after reading folks comments on SB and SS I’ll add them. But Windstar is my first choice at the moment.  

Edited by HaveDogWillTravel
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I think each person will place value on different included or excluded items. It really boils down to your personal cruising style. 

 

For the Mediterranean sailing on Windstar we were in port all but one day and our T-Mobile plan gave us free texting and cellular. Even while we were sailing we were many times close enough to land to have cellular. So we never missed the wifi. On O we just didn’t use wifi on sea days and used cellular in port.
 

I am by no means able to reliably compare the price of O’s excursions to Windstar’s as I cannot figure out  their pricing without taking a lesson on it. It was just too much work so I didn’t. WS excursions I felt were very reasonably priced and transparent. All the excursions were very small groups (there’s only 300 some odd passengers at most & we only had 269 on our sailing). And they were extremely well run with long term well established partners. We did 3 WS excursions and 3 independent ones. On O we did all independent. 
 

On port intensive itineraries there just isn’t a lot of drinking going on while on board for us. O was 10 day and WS was 8. Our bar bill on each was under $200. We  had OBC that covered all of that if I recall correctly. The only thing we paid at the end was the gratuities. 
 

Windstar had a sale that ended Nov 6th on 2025 and 2026 sailings that gave you their All In package free. We booked our next two under that sale so I’ll find out if I think it’s worth paying for I guess. For now we do great without packages and save lots of money by not using them. 
 

We had a deck 7 aft balcony on Riviera that had the padded loungers so that was really nice.  We had a French balcony on WS. I thought I wouldn’t care for that but we loved it. The WS living room felt so spacious to us. Both had great bathrooms. 
 


 

 

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3 minutes ago, HaveDogWillTravel said:

I think each person will place value on different included or excluded items. It really boils down to your personal cruising style. 

 

For the Mediterranean sailing on Windstar we were in port all but one day and our T-Mobile plan gave us free texting and cellular. Even while we were sailing we were many times close enough to land to have cellular. So we never missed the wifi. On O we just didn’t use wifi on sea days and used cellular in port.
 

I am by no means able to reliably compare the price of O’s excursions to Windstar’s as I cannot figure out  their pricing without taking a lesson on it. It was just too much work so I didn’t. WS excursions I felt were very reasonably priced and transparent. All the excursions were very small groups (there’s only 300 some odd passengers at most & we only had 269 on our sailing). And they were extremely well run with long term well established partners. We did 3 WS excursions and 3 independent ones. On O we did all independent. 
 

On port intensive itineraries there just isn’t a lot of drinking going on while on board for us. O was 10 day and WS was 8. Our bar bill on each was under $200. We  had OBC that covered all of that if I recall correctly. The only thing we paid at the end was the gratuities. 
 

Windstar had a sale that ended Nov 6th on 2025 and 2026 sailings that gave you their All In package free. We booked our next two under that sale so I’ll find out if I think it’s worth paying for I guess. For now we do great without packages and save lots of money by not using them. 
 

We had a deck 7 aft balcony on Riviera that had the padded loungers so that was really nice.  We had a French balcony on WS. I thought I wouldn’t care for that but we loved it. The WS living room felt so spacious to us. Both had great bathrooms. 
 


 

 

 

I completely agree with you about value.

 

But the prices I checked are similar or slightly lower on O even if you ignore all the inclusions. I checked few other sailings. Vista French veranda is consistently around $400 USD per night, while most W sailings are around $400-450 or more (there are some exceptions of course). So I was kind of surprised by your statement that O with SM is not competitive with Windstar. Plus 

 

I did see the sale on W, but since we don't drink and most of the value of the sale is drinks, I doubt it would be much value for us anyway

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Of course I meant for me WS is a better value compared to what I’d pay on O with what I’m seeing for SM prices. 
 
Windstars All in package includes unlimited cocktails and wine (not just at meals and not just limited wines) wifi and gratuities. So it’s not a direct comparison to SM. It depends on what included or excluded items you place more value on. SM doesn’t  include gratuities and if I recall correctly you can’t use OBC to pay them. 
 

 I place a lot of value on the availability of great wine and alcohol at good prices,( really this is so important, O really disappointed in this matter),  the included Ephesus excursion (other sailings have special events. Our South Pacific one has a beach bbq and show where everyone takes a catamaran to the island), the small ship experience with under 300 passengers, & great easy to understand excursions and pricing.  
Maybe Os excursions are easier to figure out now that they have SM but my sailings don’t so I’m still stuck needing a tutorial to figure it out. 
 

I place a lot of value in the open bridge policy and ease of talking directly with officers all over the ship all day.  No calling GS and waiting for a call back. 
 

That said O really took great care of us when things went south on that March trip. Not everyone on board agreed but I was happy. 

If I’m reading between the lines correctly you place a lot of value on wifi and the included excursions. 

 

I really enjoyed both products and have two future sailings on each line. And honestly there’s no guarantee that my future sailings on either line will live up to the first. 
 

Edited by HaveDogWillTravel
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Oceania's NCLH (and all the other cruise corporations) borrowed heavily to remain --ahem-- afloat during the COVID shutdown.  Now, where do you suppose the money to repay those loans is going to come from?  😞  And since everybody else has a mountain of debt to pay off, too, there is not going to be that much price competition to hold down the cost of a cruise on O.

 

C'est la vie.  To rephrase the old advice:  If Windstar --or even Carnival brand-- gives *you* more smiles per buck at the current prices, by all means go help them pay of their loans.  😉

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6 hours ago, Snaefell3 said:

Oceania's NCLH (and all the other cruise corporations) borrowed heavily to remain --ahem-- afloat during the COVID shutdown.  Now, where do you suppose the money to repay those loans is going to come from?  😞  And since everybody else has a mountain of debt to pay off, too, there is not going to be that much price competition to hold down the cost of a cruise on O.

 

C'est la vie.  To rephrase the old advice:  If Windstar --or even Carnival brand-- gives *you* more smiles per buck at the current prices, by all means go help them pay of their loans.  😉

MSC is the one major cruise line/corporation without excess long term debt.  They continue to add 1-2 new ships a year plus are expanding their new luxury line (Explora Journeys) with one new ship per year for the next 5 years.

 

Hank

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21 minutes ago, Pandazoo said:

To me that is an unfair comparison using a 300 person sailing yacht to a 1200 person cruise ship.

It’s not a comparison.  Earlier in this thread someone asked about what windstar was like.  So it’s just a description of what I found windstar to be like. 

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To me O and W are in the same category, right between Celebrity/Princess and SS/SB. It’s not about the size. To me they are both small ships and have more similarities than differences.

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1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

MSC is the one major cruise line/corporation without excess long term debt.

True, except that Mediterranean Shipping Company isn't a cruise-ship corporation, and it shows 😉

 

(The 23 MSC cruise ships are just an afterthought to the 720 container ship corporation)

 

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10 minutes ago, Snaefell3 said:

True, except that Mediterranean Shipping Company isn't a cruise-ship corporation, and it shows 😉

 

(The 23 MSC cruise ships are just an afterthought to the 720 container ship corporation)

 

My goodness, we can agree to disagree.  We have cruised on both MSC (always in their Yacht Club) and the new Explora Journeys (wholly owned by MSC) and they are anything but an afterthought.  In fact, we were on the new EJ1 during its recent naming ceremony (in NYC) where there were plenty of representatives of both the Swiss-based company and the Aponte family (who own MSC).  

 

The Aponte family support of the cruise industry goes back several decades and they continue to expand both their brands at a steady pace.  Unlike many in the cruise industry, the MSC folks are innovators (not followers) and do things their own way (for better or worse).  There is a lot to like about MSC and EJ and plenty to not like.  But make no mistake, they are now big players in the cruise industry with the Aponte family readily investing $Billions in the business.    In fact, their ship within a ship model (found on the newer MSC vessels) has been a blueprint for other lines who are all gradually adopting their own ship within a ship models.  I think of it as "forward to the past" in that the trend has been to move to a multi-class system (rather than the single class system known in the cruise industry) that had mostly disappeared except on Cunard.

 

Many cruisers abhor a class system on cruise ships, but the reality is that it makes sense that those willing to pay more money (sometimes a lot more) should get more!  Consider that on the MSC ships, folks who are on a tight budget can cruise for less than $100 per day while others, willing to pay over $400 per person day, can be on the same ship in the luxurious Yacht Club.  DW and I spend a fair amount of time cruising on small ship luxury ships (we love it) but also love the Yacht Club (advantages of both small and large ship cruising).  Other lines such as NCL, Celebrity, and RCI also have their own ship within a ship concepts.  

 

How does "O" fit into the current cruise line industry?  I guess that is one reason we booked more than a month on the Vista....to find out for ourselves :).

 

Hank

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/19/2023 at 9:28 AM, HaveDogWillTravel said:

It’s not a comparison.  Earlier in this thread someone asked about what windstar was like.  So it’s just a description of what I found windstar to be like. 

I like both Oceania and Windstar. They each have good and not so good features. Food and service is good on both lines.  If you like a big pool, lots of activities, a nightly shows, like SM, Oceania is best. Windstar is best for relaxation. Food is excellent on both. Given that we seldom drink and often prefer doing our own thing in the Caribbean, we will be on Windstar winter 2025.  We are hopeful that Oceania will review SM and bring back cruise only fares.

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4 hours ago, Redtravel said:

I like both Oceania and Windstar. They each have good and not so good features. Food and service is good on both lines.  If you like a big pool, lots of activities, a nightly shows, like SM, Oceania is best. Windstar is best for relaxation. Food is excellent on both. Given that we seldom drink and often prefer doing our own thing in the Caribbean, we will be on Windstar winter 2025.  We are hopeful that Oceania will review SM and bring back cruise only fares.

That's what Celebrity did. I just like the fare only option as well. 

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We are done with the mega ships. Last year we did a Viking Ocean cruise and really enjoyed the smaller ship experience. After looking at Oceania, Azamara and Viking for Europe in 2025, we decided to try our first Oceania cruise. It will be on the Vista. After a bunch of research, we determined Oceania was no more money than Azamara and they had nicer ships. And they were substantially less than Viking. They may be much pricier than in the past, but so is everyone else. 

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17 hours ago, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

We are done with the mega ships. Last year we did a Viking Ocean cruise and really enjoyed the smaller ship experience. After looking at Oceania, Azamara and Viking for Europe in 2025, we decided to try our first Oceania cruise. It will be on the Vista. After a bunch of research, we determined Oceania was no more money than Azamara and they had nicer ships. And they were substantially less than Viking. They may be much pricier than in the past, but so is everyone else. 

 

Exactly our thoughts.

 

People forget how much prices have increased in the last few years. Look at flights, hotels, land vacations, you name it.

 

To me, comparing O prices to 5 years ago is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is how O compares to other cruise lines. Like you, we are done with the large ships, so for 2025 European cruises, we looked at Oceania, Azamara, Viking, Seabourn and Silversea. We booked 2 cruises with O because we concluded they still offer the best value for money, even considering we don't drink and rarely take ship excursions. Viking prices are comparable to SB and SS, which to me is absurd. Azamara prices are comparable to O for entry level veranda, and paying the same price for 240 sqft cabin and 170 sqft cabin doesn't make sense to me - so again, O wins.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/1/2023 at 1:34 PM, Snaefell3 said:

Alas.  It's *not* a case of "That's it".   Yes, O did simplify published their options with SimplyMORE.

 

What I and others are calling "opaque" are the unpublished ("silent") sales with "combinablity restrictions".  And there are *lots* of silent sales.

 

I'll give you an example from booking my first O cruise.  Being a new cruise line to me, I called O directly, intending to switch the booking to my then regular TA.  I booked a silent sale offer with a very spiffy price.  My non-Oceania-savy TA said, "Oh!  As 'Oceania partners' we can give you pre-paid gratuities under the Oceania Cruises Amenity Program on top of that".  Adding the OCAAP perk failed with a "not combinable" error message.  The TA then forced the PPG, which cancelled the silent sale offer, raising the fare by 60%.  That's "opaque". 

There are many ways people use the word "opaque" in the context of travel product pricing, but as far as I know, there are two widely-accepted usages:

 

1.  Bundled Pricing (no access to itemized pricing)  as illustrated below

https://fastercapital.com/content/Bundled-Pricing--Untangling-the-Complexity-of-Opaque-Pricing-Packages.html

 

2.  Pricing a product without revealing the actual source of the product (Priceline car rental where you agree to rent from a mystery car rental company for a reduced price as one example) as illustrated below

https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/valuation/opaque-pricing/

 

Oceania having a non-promoted promotion or otherwise making their promotions difficult to use/understand is not something I call "opaque."  I'd rather call this strangely executed marketing with no known benefit to the customer or the company.

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We recently put down a deposit on a 10 night Baltic cruise on Vista for June/July 2025.

 

Our recent cruise on Riviera, which was our first cruise on any Oceania (on a side note, it makes me cringe every time I hear the lady with a fake British accent pronounce the name of the cruise line in the way the company wants us to pronounce...If they want us to call it that way, they need to change the name to Oceana...I'm done venting...), was good but not perfect, especially in the dining service aspect of the cruise.

 

We started looking at al of the possible cruises that still fit our criteria, which are:

 

-7 to 12 night cruises (I cannot really take too much more time since I am still working.)

-Ideally a Baltic cruise

-Smaller ships (less than 2,000 passengers)

-Not too expensive (at most $450 per diem)

 

When we did this, Oceania was the only line we can find that meets them.

 

So we are giving Oceania a second try in 2025.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, Psoque said:

We recently put down a deposit on a 10 night Baltic cruise on Vista for June/July 2025. ... 

-7 to 12 night cruises (I cannot really take too much more time since I am still working.)

-Ideally a Baltic cruise

-Smaller ships (less than 2,000 passengers)

-Not too expensive (at most $450 per diem)

 

When we did this, Oceania was the only line we can find that meets them. So we are giving Oceania a second try in 2025.

What cabin level?

 

We've got our 2024 B2B on Sirena in the Baltic in Aug-Sept. 20 nights. But the price increases and SM have meant we're doing an F and a C1. BUT I watch all the sales to see if we can't upgrade to a better cabin for a great price. As I've done before many times.

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1 hour ago, MEFIowa said:

What cabin level?

 

We've got our 2024 B2B on Sirena in the Baltic in Aug-Sept. 20 nights. But the price increases and SM have meant we're doing an F and a C1. BUT I watch all the sales to see if we can't upgrade to a better cabin for a great price. As I've done before many times.

We put a deposit for a B3 cabin.  Based on what we experience on a Concierge-level cruise on Riviera, we don’t think we will miss much by being in B3.  For this particular itinerary, cabins cheaper than B3 were all full, and my TA was told waitlisting is currently not available (despite what the website says…).

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14 hours ago, Psoque said:

There are many ways people use the word "opaque" in the context of travel product pricing, but as far as I know, there are two widely-accepted usages:

Try a third: "Not disclosing even the existence 'combinabilty' restrictions when making a price offering, much less that the offering had such".

 

Case in point: I transferred a direct booking to a TA who then added an OCAPP perk and triggered a 40% fare increase to the lowest fare that allowed OCAPP perks.

 

Oceania "graciously" reinstated the original fare (without OCAPP).  I still sail Oceania because I enjoy their voyages, but I treat their sales staff like a used car dealer -- or maybe a 3-card Monte dealer.

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10 hours ago, Snaefell3 said:

Try a third: "Not disclosing even the existence 'combinabilty' restrictions when making a price offering, much less that the offering had such".

 

Case in point: I transferred a direct booking to a TA who then added an OCAPP perk and triggered a 40% fare increase to the lowest fare that allowed OCAPP perks.

 

Oceania "graciously" reinstated the original fare (without OCAPP).  I still sail Oceania because I enjoy their voyages, but I treat their sales staff like a used car dealer -- or maybe a 3-card Monte dealer.

I agree that a few cruise lines do this, and it is wrong, and they should either disclose their rules, or get rid of these stupid rules to begin with.

 

However, that’s not opaque pricing/marketing.  That’s just incompetent marketing.

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4 minutes ago, Psoque said:

I agree that a few cruise lines do this, and it is wrong, and they should either disclose their rules, or get rid of these stupid rules to begin with.

 

However, that’s not opaque pricing/marketing.  That’s just incompetent marketing.

Not revealing restrictions on a price offering means the real price is not disclosed: "opaque".

Quod erat demonstrandum.

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Selling a product without giving the customer the final price is not opaque pricing…that’s just bad business practice.  The word “opaque” in the “opaque pricing” applies to the product, not the pricing.    But we all live in our own little bubbles, so we can call whatever anything.

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We were looking at Baltic cruise options for the summer of 2025, and we looked at a lot of lines (Oceania, Azamara, Crystal, Windstar, and Viking) but we could not find anything reasonably priced (less than $450 per diem) other than a few itineraries on Oceania Sirena and Vista.  I guess it depends on individual itineraries, but none of the “premium” cruise lines (including Oceania) are offering outstanding value the way we received from Oceania recently.  And we liked the hard product on Oceania (which is without a doubt very similar in some ways to luxury lines) but we sincerely felt the dining service onboard Riviera was as bad (or maybe worse than) as what we have experienced on NCL,Princess,HAL, and Celebrity.

 

I guess there is no perfect cruise line, as long as we don’t have an unlimited budget.

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