Categorized | Cruises

Book soon for best deals on 2012 sailings…

Posted on 14 October 2011


Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas arrives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Nov. 11, 2010.

ABOARD THE ALLURE OF THE SEAS — Thinking about booking a cruise for the coming year? The head of the nation’s largest cruise-selling franchise says you’ll want to do it sooner rather than later.


“Pricing definitely has stabilized and is moving up,” says Dwain Wall, senior vice president and general manager for CruiseOne, a chain of travel agencies with more than 700 locations nationwide.


Wall, who also runs sister company Cruises Inc., tells USA TODAY he’s not expecting cruise lines to roll out huge discounts on 2012 sailings over the coming months — despite a downturn in bookings in August and early September. Those who delay booking a 2012 cruise hoping for lower prices likely will find the opposite: higher prices, as well as less availability of cabins.


“It’s a fallacy to think that if you wait you’re going to get a better deal,” says Wall, who spoke during a break from CruiseOne and Cruises Inc.’s annual conference, being held this week aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.


Even if cruise lines were to offer last-minute deals on some 2012 cruises, it likely will be tough next year for would-be cruisers to find affordable flights to ships at the last minute, Wall says.


“It is a little concerning what we’re hearing from some of the airline analysts about the amount of capacity the airlines are cutting,” he says. “Especially for (cruises in) Europe, Australia and Asia, you need to get your air now, and that means you need to book your cruise now. It’s going to get very difficult to find air.”


Wall says CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. saw a dip in bookings in August in the wake of the U.S. debt ceiling debate and subsequent stock market decline, but it was nothing like what happened in 2008 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The 2008 crisis triggered huge discounting by cruise lines.


“I think this whole debt thing really freaked people out. I know it freaked me out,” he says. But “the markets seem to have calmed down.”


Sounding upbeat, Wall noted that top managers at the company have “a very positive outlook for 2012.”


CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. are part of World Travel Holdings, which also operates CruisesOnly,, and several other travel-selling brands. The company bills itself as the largest seller of cruises in North America

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