I was just reading the February 2007 issue of Cruise Travel magazine and enjoyed a column about the origins of Caribbean cruising out of Miami. The article had photos of brochures for the old NCL Starward from 1968 which proudly listed pricing for a 7-day cruise starting at $195. The article also listed prices of the day for a 3-day cruise on the Sunward in 1966 starting at $59.
So let's compare those 40 year-old prices with today's dollars. I used an on-line inflation calculator which only goes to the year 2005. All prices are per person/double occupancy. Not sure if the old prices included port charges and taxes but I assume they didn't.
That $195 for a 7-day cruise in 1968 equates to $1079 in 2005 dollars. I just checked the Carnival website and I can get a 7-day cruise on the Triumph for $469.
That $59 3-day cruise in 1966 equals $346 in 2005 dollars. A 3-day cruise on the Sensation can be had today for $209. By the way, a 5-day cruise on the Holiday can be had for $199 on some sailings.
Although those early ships had more things included, such as sodas and all the food, they were also much smaller and cramped ships with much less to do. Most were converted from car ferries or smaller ocean liners. Booze still cost extra and buffets were small affairs on deck because the idea of large purpose-built buffet restaurants had yet to come to fruition. The dining room was the primary eating place for all meals and seating times were used for all meals and not just for dinner as is the typical case today.
I found the figures to be quite amazing. Cruising has always been a great vacation value but it is even more so today, even with all the extra charges that so many of us sometimes whine about.
Very interesting, Dave;
this is one reason I don't mind all the selling that goes on today--I think it helps keep cruise prices down.
I have some 30 year old Princess brochures that bear out what you've said; I'm at work right now and don't have access to them, but when I get a chance, I'll post some comparisons here.
One of my first cruises was on the old Sun Princess, a converted ferry; it was small (17,000 grt), not much to do, and certainly not very fancy--but I really loved that ship!