CRUISE fares will be coming down rapidly in the next few weeks, and it’s got nothing to do with the credit crunch.
In fact, although the advertised fares will fall like a stone, what the passenger actually pays won’t change a great deal.
It’s all because of a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority, who investigated a complaint that one of the big agencies specialising in selling cruises had been advertising misleading prices.
For years, most of the cruise lines have been offering two fares – the standard brochure price, and a heavily reduced price, which they disguise either as an early booking discount or a last-minute discount.
As you might have suspected, it turns out that no-one ever pays the full brochure price – one company admitted the nearest it had ever come to that was a whopping 35 per cent discount on a Christmas cruise.
Trading Standards people are now saying that the practice of declaring an unrealistic fare in order to seem to be offering great discounts could be illegal.
The agency hauled over the coals by the ASA has already changed its ads and no longer offer a comparison between their fare and the brochure price.
Next step will be the cruise lines cutting the fares in their brochure to realistic levels
What’s the best cruise bargain you’ve ever had? Let me know.