It’s perfectly understandable that intending holidaymakers should compare prices between competing products, destinations or suppliers when researching whom they should book their next travel arrangements with. It’s all too easy though to lose sight of the most important criteria of all — which one represents the best value for money? Everyone is familiar with the old saying ‘You get what you pay for’ and rarely is that more true than when making travel arrangements. Because the true cost of a holiday is not simply what you pay for up front but rather all the additional costs on the ground when you arrive at your chosen destination, it is important to always bear in mind that you are comparing like for like when making such judgement calls. We in the travel industry have noticed a growing trend among consumers over the course of the past two or three years where more consideration is now being given to the cost of all the incidental ‘expenses’ that have to be absorbed once you arrive in resort and which it is often difficult to accurately budget for. It is for this reason that more and more holiday makers are looking favourably on both all-inclusive holidays and cruises.
Cruising in particular more often than not represents exceptional value for money when you consider that each ‘package’ includes all your meals and snacks (up to nine meals per day), your accommodation, your travel (from port to port), your entertainment (with shows every evening) and day-long entertainment that can include everything from ice-skating, surfing, rock climbing and zip wires to croquet, wine tasting, cookery classes and other lifestyle improvement activities, not to mention kids clubs for all ages and baby sitting on tap*. Add to that, numerous wine bars, pool bars, karaoke bars and entertainment throughout the day and evening from world-class musicians — all factored into the one price that you pay up front and you begin to get some idea of what all this stuff would cost you if you were putting your hand in your pocket all the time at some up-market resort on shore.
With so many people having failed to get away this summer because of a combination of limited capacity and high prices, there is a pent up demand right now so there are a lot of you out there who are wondering whether you should book early in order to avoid disappointment a second (or even third time) in a row or to wait it out in the hope and expectation that you’ll get a bargain nearer your intended date of departure. Take it from me that now is the time to make those deliberations and commit yourself as there is not going to be a better deal further on down that road. Both MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean have great early offers out in the marketplace right now with all sorts of early booking incentives on offer so if you know you’re going to go away in 2013 then now is the optimum time to make that decision and commit!
To put it another way: If your local department store starts a big sale in the morning, who is most likely to get the best bargain throughout the day? The person who queues up at the front door and is the first pass the barrier or the person who wanders into the store five minutes before closing time looking for what’s left? I rest my case!