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Old 12-17-2013, 05:09 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Central Valley, CA
Posts: 1,965

Just how much DID DCL jack up prices in 2015?

This is the question that I asked myself as I am planning our Oct 2015 trip on the Fantasy. I've been reading all the horror stories that you have so I wanted to look into the prices myself to determine the answer.

First, I gotta tell you the answer is very difficult to determine. First off, I looked on the opening prices for 2014 thread and and determined that there seems to be a problem with the data contained therein. The obvious problem is that everyone knows that as the Disney Ships fill they tier up. Meaning that the prices go to the next tier and as a result if the sailing was particularly popular the opening day prices could be tiered up and there's no real way of knowing that. The other problem that I have was that there's really only 4 months of 2015 released and if you look at the opening prices thread for the Fantasy, there's only January and February that have a lot of respondents. March and April have relatively few. Now for the more insidious problem that I had with the data from this thread. I'm going to go "not very far out on a limb" here and say that most of us who frequent the DCL portion of the DIS have been on more than one cruise. And up until the recent changes we all keep a dummy date in our pocket for opening day. Right? Now, I find it HIGHLY unlikely that of the 24 respondents for opening day only 2 of them had OBB. I believe that a great many of these prices reflect a 10% discount but which ones? See what I mean? The data is dirty.

Now go on to comparing current prices for Jan-Apr 2014 to the prices for Jan-Apr for 2015. This data is even worse. Why? Because all the cruises are less than 5 months away and have all tiered up. Add to the mix that the Fantasy is alternating Eastern and Western cruises in 2014 and the Fantasy and Magic have these cruise split between them for 2015 and you include a new layer of complexity to comparisons. Now here's another monkey wrench thrown in that you need to adjust for. The Fantasy's inside cabins tend to be higher priced than the Magic's. And the Magic's Verandah's then to be higher priced than the Fantasy's. Sheesh! It's enough to give one a headache.

So today I sat down and made a comparison sheet for the two years to see how much has really changed price wise. Here's my findings:

Disclaimer: I chose one cabin form the Inside, oceanview and verandah categories to compare. I also looked at the cheaper cruises because it is my contention that the more popular cruises have tiered up and as a result are much more difficult to compare. I also factored for just two to a cabin because varying ages of the 3rd and 4th passengers can really mess up a comparison. I also only looked at the Fantasy 2014 and the Fantasy/Magic 2015 cruises. I didn't want to be bogged down in too much complexity.

If you simply look at booking a cruise in the next 4 months and the price you would pay compared to waiting for the newly released dates in 2015 you would see a substantial savings in waiting. Lending credence to the oft rendered advice to book early. The actual savings was all over the map due to the varying degrees that individual cruises have tiered up. but you could save as little as 1% to as much at 37% (in only one instance) by booking a 2015 cruise. But critics would point out (and they would be correct) that this is an unfair comparison and that you would need to compare opening day prices to see what if any price increases have occurred.

So, I added to my spreadsheet the opening day prices. Now, bear in mind... I only had really two months of data January and February had a lot of data whereas March and April had relatively few respondents. Here's where I had really seen the OBB problem. Percentage-wise I see that the 2015 Fantasy/Magic prices are approximately 13-25% over the Fantasy 2014 opening day prices. That's a suspicious spread because it's right around the 10% OBB figure. In other words. If I work a price quote off the DCL website I get a number without discount. And if I take the opening day prices at face value I see a jump in DCL's prices of about 13-25% but if you assume (and I do) that some respondents did not report the OBB when they reported their opening day prices then you get a more moderate 3-15% price increase over 2014. Now, I know that 15% really isn't that moderate but again take into account that these prices have been out for a while and some have tiered up. That will account for about a 5-10% boost.

Here's my conclusion. When opening day prices went up. It appeared to me that everyone shopping for a cruise were looking to book the same few weeks. That caused the prices to tier up rapidly and make it look like prices jumped dramatically (and realistically they had) Plus, those most likely to report unsavory numbers are the ones most shocked by the price jump. But one has no way of knowing at which tier that the respondent received their quote.

So, while everyone has been crying doom and gloom, it really looked to me like the prices (at least those that I looked at) were not to far removed from the previous year.

I'm sure that I'll probably get flamed a bit. But I'm not thinking that the prices looked too incredible.
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