We wanted to try and do a comparison of ships, which is impossible as no two ships, no two cabins, or cruises make for the same deal. So, what is this price nightmare, and what does cruising cost? But we all search and look at prices – just how pointless or not is that?

Looking at prices is interesting to try and gauge the market and maybe try and figure who is trying to focus on what? Size of ship, level of service, collection of destinations, it is a mine field. It is further complicated because you can use totally different areas of the same ship and have a totally different experience; casual in the bar and buffet, dressy in the restaurant and lounge. On the same ship the pub might have no nibbles with drinks, the bar might have crunchy baked wiglets and the like, the wine bar might have canapé. So, impossible task.

But, Viking Ocena Cruising have made a real impact in the Ocean cruise market with deliberately modern, new small ships carrying 1000 guests. These are the new small ships, and SAGA have order two new ones, and Viking are rumoured to have made an on going production line which might hit twelve, though that will change long before they are all built. So, there is a market there and what is their price target?

The next size up is the Sun Class or Century Class of ships with 2000 guests. What used to be called medium sized ships, the new Marella Explorer and the P&O Oceana and the P&O Aurora which will become adult only from March 2019 are all the circa 2000 guest size.

We know smaller ships exist, we know larger ships exist, but we decided to take these four ships, look at a cruise in NOVEMBER 2018 so we were at the same financial place historically and see what they were offering.

  • VIKING SHIPS             930 guests     47,800 Gtonnes  228m long
  • P&O AURORA             1950 guests    76,152 Gtonnes   270m long
  • P&O OCEANA             2016 guests    77,499 GTonnes   261m long
  • MARELLA EXPLORER   1924 guests    76,998 GTonnes   262m long

Click names above for the ship tour video…. because , within the ship they can all be so different.

  • VIKING SHIPS              6 lifts  1 pool
  • P&O AURORA               9 lifts  3 pools (plus kids)
  • P&O OCEANA               9 lifts  3 pools (plus kids)
  • MARELLA EXPLORER   10 lifts, 10 bars, 10 restaurants, 1 pool

We could have added the Cunard ships in here as they are the same size, similar to P&O ships in styling, but add tips to every purchase and room. Each ship trades very differently. Click the name below for the brochure links to the cruise operators web site.

  • VIKING CRUISE        £3175 – 8 nights, S. USA with flight & 4 tours  (£395 pp night)
  • P&O AURORA             £529   – 10 nights, Baltic                      (£53  pp p night)
  • P&O OCEANA             £699   – 10 nights, Iberia                     (£70 pp night)
  • MARELLA EXPLORER  £1166 – 7 nights, Caribbean with flight  (£166 pp night)

Both the Viking and Explorer have a flight, so, a transatlantic flight bulk bought at trade is about £100, say £200. Tours can be £80 each, four tours £320.  Viking include wine, beer and soft drinks with food, Marella is all inclusive and we worked out their costs are £150 per week more expensive when all inclusive. It gets more complicated because there is often a code for Marella, currently £100 off and Viking are are suggesting £500 off pp if booked early. Now it is even more complicated than that! We have just posted a blog on the SAGA Sapphire’s farewell cruises and their press release is worded that the prices ‘based on two people sharing the lowest available inside cabin grade and includes any relevant booking discount…’ This is because a low deck inside cabin, at the front or back of the ship is less sought after than a balcony cabin in the middle of a ship. So deal prices can be for deal cabins and you hope for an upgrade. There is no comparison.

So, actual costs above, in order to try and get closer to a like-for-like, if things were not charged as they are, is impossible but we need to remove the deal offers, the all in wine. We will adjust £450 off the Marella cost, and £1150 off the Viking cost with no other logic than is used above.

  • VIKING SHIPS            £2005 – 8 nights,    (£250 pp night)
  • P&O AURORA             £529   – 10 nights,  (£53  pp p night)
  • P&O OCEANA             £699   – 10 nights   (£70 pp night)
  • MARELLA EXPLORER  £1025 – 7 nights,     (£102 pp night)

Just running over the final SAGA Sapphire 5 cruises we got a different per night cost, lowest was £132, average was about £172 and the farewell mega cruise worked out at £227 per night. But check here is the link to SAGA Sapphire.

It is obvious that the basic on offer on some or all ships can be improved by paying more on cabin, premium restaurants, private areas, extra service. But, you can cruise at the basic cost. So, take on board that as rooms get sold, the price of that room goes and you only have the available prices for the cabins left. That is, we suggest, until the last minute deals come up! What might happen then? We suggest that often, they then upgrade the early bookers (that surprise unexpected upgrade), and re-sell the lower price rooms they have made available. This could happen to not to upset those who have already booked.

But then even further complications – on P&O tips are additional, WiFi is expensive. And clothes, some will buy clothes to enable them to use the dress code restricted areas of the ship, if there are any…..  That is how hard it is to compare cruises. Impossible. Why did we try? For the sake of fairness do your own research, your own calculations, and check the links for current prices, because even though they all line up next to each other at the harbour and sell the same beer, things must be different. One thing we can say is that when you step on board, whether all inclusive or not, you will be tempted to spend at many opportunities, on ship and ashore. Click the Tips box

How do we try and help cruisers? Well we are always expanding the destination menus and you will find they open up like this, here is the Baltic for example. EASY HELPFUL FILMS & GUIDES TO ALL THE BALTIC DESTINATIONS AABENRAA AARHUS  AARLBORG AMSTERDAM BRUGES COPENHAGEN FREDERICIA  GDANSK GOTHENBURG HAMBURG HELSINGBORG HELSINKI HUNDESTED KALUNDBORG KIELE KLAIPEDA MALMO MARIEHAHN MURMANSK OSLO RIGA RØNNE SKAGEN ST PETERSBURG STOCKHOLM TALLINN TRAVEMUNDE VISBY WARNEMUNDE

We have Chat sites for ships and a few other things like Adults Only CruisingFind your ship’s chat site + share your pictures + experiences to help others  

And we work a version of many of the ship’s whole year, as they sail round the globe, in date order with links to the cruise operators own brochure for latest information. Here are a few P&O ARCADIA adult ship MARELLA DREAM P&O ORIANA  MARELLA EXPLORER P&O VENTURA MARELLA DISCOVERY P&O BRITANNIA MARELLA EXPLORER 2 P&O AZURA MARELLA CELEBRATION P&O OCEANA MARELLA DISCOVERY 2 P&O AURORA

If you are new to cruising, then look at our first timers blog, then look at the destination films and ship tours and cruise like an expert.