The weak Australian dollar is bad news for cruisers, especially those travelling aboard lines that charge in US dollars.
While all lines using US dollars will be affected by the current roller-coaster prices on currencies, holidaymakers may particularly feel the pinch if they are travelling on ships from Royal Caribbean.
A survey by Cruise Passenger has found, because of the fluctuating dollar, onboard spending like drinks packages, service charges for spas and bars as well as purchases in the gift ship will cost more.
But that’s not all.
The current onboard pricing of the Deluxe Beverage Package, according to a Royal Caribbean customer representative, is US$63 – US$70 per day (AU$92.96 – AU$103.29).
But the representative said in 2020, prices will rise to US$69 – US$82 per day (AU$101.82 – AU$121) thanks to a normal price increases not connected to dollar’s fluctuations.
That means, whether you pre-book, or purchase onboard, cruises sailing in 2020 will see a rise of up to 17 per cent.
An additional 18 per cent service charge will also be added to the total bill, bringing the 2019 prices to AU$109.69 – AU$121.88 and the 2020 prices to AU$120.15 – AU$142.78.
The pre-booking price of the drinks package on Royal Caribbean is also set to increase in 2020 but it remains the best way to get the cheapest price for your drinks package.
“Until a beverage package is purchased, these prices are subject to change. Variances to beverage package pricing can be due to the sailing region, changes in exchange rate and Pre-Cruise Flash Sale offers,” says Royal Caribbean.
“We recommend purchasing a Deluxe Beverage Package pre-cruise to take advantage of the exclusive 20% pre-cruise discount.”
The pre-booking price of the Deluxe Beverage Package on a 12-night New Zealand Cruise on Ovation of the Seas departing Sydney costs $82.20 per day on a sailing departing October 29, 2019.
But the price increases to $88.38 per day when departing on February 29, 2020, on the same itinerary and ship. The price includes and 18 per cent service charge.
A Royal Caribbean customer representative also advises that guests can pre-book the drinks package to lock in the price and they can also check back periodically for the most current pricing. If the prices drop, guests can cancel their previous package and buy it again at the lower price.
According to an NCL customer representative, the AU dollar prices for drinks packages are converted from the advertised US dollar prices on their website.
“If there is a big fluctuation (in the exchange rate), it might change the price of the drinks package,” said the representative.
There is no way of getting a quote of the AU dollar price of the drinks package until you have booked a sailing with NCL.
On NCL, guests can take advantage of their ‘Free at Sea’ offer that allows guests the choice of up to five free offers, including a Free Beverage Package.