So here it is a little over a month from the first revenue voyages of the Oasis Of The Seas - and all the scheduled cruises have plenty of open cabins. I booked a guaranteed inside rate yesterday and once I submitted payment I was immediately put in an oceanview cabin which, if I had booked it specifically, would have cost me an extra $320. Although my 4-night cruise is the first "paying passenger" voyage, it is not the official inaugural cruise. That will start on the day I debark the Oasis. I know it is odd, but it happens. However, even that "official" inaugural has plenty of open cabins. Should RCI be concerned? I remember being on the inaugural Freedom Of The Seas cruise and it was sold out months before it happened. Is it simply the economy? Or just timing, given early December is normally a slow time for cruise lines? Or perhaps is it the cadillac pricing RCI has placed on the Oasis? The cruise line is counting on media hype over the next two to three weeks to push people into booking up the first cruises. We'll see. All I know is, I'll bet my mother's apple pie recipe there are some people in Miami exchanging worried looks right now.
(By the way - I know I advise people to book specific cabins, but since this trip is just me I don't have to consider family comfort. All I need is a bed and bathroom.)
I notice the Family staterooms are showing no availability though. I went on the Freedom 2nt Non-revenue 2nt cruise from Boston on May 19, 2006. It then had more non-revenue cruises as it worked its way to Miami. It would have been late May or early June when it started revenue cruises. Many schools would have been out for the summer. The Oasis is starting during a time when schools will be in session. It's also between two major holidays. The first week of December traditionally is a low time for cruises. Also the Carnival Dream arrives in New York November 12th and starts its Inaugural festivities and cruises. There's a lot going on with two new ships in the market.
And, as I understand it, they will both be home-ported in Ft Lauderdale.
Hard for an amateur like me to understand that logic.
Given that concentrated and limited market, and many folks who have to consider the extra cost for airfare which must be added to the primium prices charged to sail these ships, I imagine it would tend to exclude a large chunk of the potential market.
Seems more reasonable to consider basing them in two different densely-populated geographical regions (NY, Boston, San Francisco, etc.) in an attempt to capture a broader "local" customer base.
But, that would probably tend to limit the number of possible itineraries...
I'm sure a lot of thinking went into these issues before that decision was made.
It doesn't seem that running a cruise line is very easy.
That's just what I was thinking. That's 11,000 more passengers than they're trying to book right now. Considering the state of our economy, and people trying to cut their spending (something our government sure isn't doing); I doubt if going on a cruise is going to be on top of anyone's list for a necessity. There's probably going to be some good sales coming.
The reason both are based in Port Everglades is infrastructure. RCI built a special terminal just for the Oasis and Allure, with 90 check-in desks, and also have a deal with Customs to staff 22 checkpoints for processing the passengers. They'd have to duplicate that in order to put a ship in NY, etc. Too much overhead, that many more employees, etc.