Cruise Pricing Improving Says Analyst

A June travel agent survey by Bank of America indicates a pickup in pricing as booking windows lengthen and Alaska and Caribbean pricing improves. Bank of America analyst Michael Savner writes that the June booking window improved by three days, primarily due to pricing increases. "Prices are changing rapidly on far out bookings," said one agent that was polled. "In one instance, group prices have gone up 50 percent six months out." Surprisingly, new passport rules have hurt 2008 bookings. "I am finding more people are hesitant for booking with my 2008 groups," said one travel agent." They are scared that passports are going to be required for sea travel next summer." Another agent said that the passport rules are confusing some clients. In terms of destinations, one agent said Alaska is out this year, and Europe is starting to fizzle as the value of the dollar is making people wait until next year. The Caribbean, however, is making a comeback, said the agent, especially on cruises embarking from Bayonne, New York and Baltimore. New deployments are helping too, said another agent. "Customers like something new."

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