To Cruise or Not to Cruise…with Inspirato Pass

Hello my fellow travelers! Let’s explore cruising with Inspirato Pass…

I have a handful of friends that love to cruise. They swear by it. They can’t get enough of it.  It is their vacation of choice time and time…and time again.  They arrive.  They unpack once.  They never cook or prep food.  They never grocery shop or clean a single dish.  They never struggle with deciding if they should rent a car or not.  All this and at the same time, they always have a beautiful ocean view and are able to travel to a number of fascinating destinations with just one trip! I get it!

That being said, I am not a cruiser.  I’ve done a couple of cruises, including the obligatory Alaska cruise as a middle schooler and a pretty unique Black Sea cruise in my 20’s.  These were both years and years ago.  Since then, I’m more of a land based guy.  I’ll take a nice hotel room or a beautiful home every time.  I actually enjoy driving around and exploring new places, shopping for food, and cooking (well, at least sometimes) while away.  Shoot, I may even enjoy washing the occasional dish or two when away on vacation.  It just feels different when you’re not at home for some reason.  

Anyway, I most likely won’t be taking any cruises with Inspirato Pass.  But, with many of you being cruise loving vacationers, I thought I’d dig in a bit to the Pass offerings for cruises.  Pass has an entire menu section on the site related to cruises and quite a vast array of available itineraries.  Do they make sense for the Passholder?  Is there value to be had?  Let’s figure it out…

Once again, the only way to understand the value of Pass offerings is to be able to compare them to an approximate value in the marketplace.  As always, our goal as Passholders is to achieve signicantly more vacation value than what we would be able to do by booking and planning trips ourselves.

In my attempt to do a fair assessment, I’m providing four case studies of cruises that are offered on the Pass site today, December 13, 2019.  I’ve selected some nearer term trips and some that are a few, or even many, months out, trying to balance the offerings.  So let’s see where this all leads…

Cruise #1 – Enchanting Danube, March 15-22:

The next available cruise to reserve with Pass is the Enchanting Danube.  Budapest, Vienna, Linz, Passau, Salzburg, Durnstein along the beautiful Danube for 8 days.  Everything is included…food, beverage (including wine & spirits), tours, and even gratuities!  I won’t deny this sounds like an enchanting voyage indeed!  Should you consider using Pass for this trip?

This cruise returns to port 100 days from today.  Remember that Pass costs $82.24 per day.  This trip will thus be valued at $8,224 of Pass cost, simple enough.  The discounted price available on Uniworld’s website is $4,759 per person for the suite category, which is the highest level offered for Inspirato Pass.  So, for double occupancy, you would pay $9,518, a $1,295 premium compared to value with provided through Pass.  Pass is thus providing the equivalent of an additional 14% discount over what you can grab online.  Does this make it worth it?  It all depends!  I’ll take a $1,295 savings any day.  And this on top of a 30% discount that is currently being offered by the cruise line.  it’s not the 2x or 3x value you might be able to achieve from an Inspirato home reservation, but if this is an itinerary and a trip you’d just love do with your special someone, it sure seems to make enough sense.  Moving on…

Cruise #2 – Gems of Northern Italy, April 3-12:

This is a 10-day Uniworld Cruise from Milan to Venice, and just as with the above, everything is included.  Once again, a quite spectacular itinerary!  So, how does value look for this trip?

The Gems of Northern Italy voyage embarks on April 3 and finishes up in Venice on April 12.  If booked today, this trip would cost $9,950 of Pass value.  The discounted available price on the Uniworld website is $7,289 per person, $14,578 double occupancy.  Pass value reflects an approximately 32% discount to what is available by booking yourself online.  Now we’re getting at some serious value!  By being a Passholder, you’re paying a third less for this trip in real dollar terms.  If you’ve always wanted to float downriver from Milan to Venice, I’d say this is your chance!

Cruise #3 – West Greenland Explorer, May 18-28

An itinerary for the more adventurous set of Inspirato Passholders.  Any cruise that promotes the amenity of a free onboard doctor for sea sickness may not be for the faint of heart!  I’m going to assume that this would not be a likely selection for most, but let’s run the numbers nonetheless.  You will disembark the West Greenland Explorer on May 28, or 167 days from now.  That equates to $13,734 Pass dollars.  The cost of the offering from Aurora Expeditions is $7,440 per person for Balcony Stateroom, which is the level of room offered currently on Pass.  Double Occupancy cost is then $14,880.  For this trip, you are paying 92% of market value.  An 8% discount is nothing to get too excited about.  You’d never sign up for Pass just to save 8% on a cruise.  I get that. The only reason you’d opt to use your Pass for this trip would be because you REALLY want to cruise West Greenland.  And if that’s the case for you, might as well save a few bucks by going with Pass.  Otherwise, I’d say your Pass can be much better utilized elsewhere.  Now, onto our last case study…

Cruise #4 – Monte Carlo to Barcelona, October 30-November 8

Let’s not waste too much time here.  Booking a cruise (or perhaps any reservation) close to eleven months out is generally going to be a non-starter.  A lot can change in eleven months, and after all, one of the most fun parts about Pass is treasure hunting for as many valuable trips as possible!  But alas, let’s look at how this would play out for a Passholder. For all I know, this may be someone’s dream vacation and a big bucket list goal.  

You will return home from this cruise on November 8, 2020.  That is 323 days from now, or $26,564 of Pass value!  If you select the option of 2 Deluxe Veranda Suites, the market cost is $30,960, reflecting a 14% discount using Pass.  That, of course, does not allow for consideration of the time value of money, etc.  It’s not a bad deal by any means, just not a real high value target for most.

Circling back to our initial question now…to cruise or not to cruise with Pass?  What’s the takeaway after breaking down these four opportunities?  Well, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.  I’d say we absolutely do have clear winner with the Gems of Northern Italy cruise.  Your Pass is only held up for about 4 months and you are getting a 30% discount on the trip!  I’d take that deal any day! (that is, if cruises were my thing)  The other three trips fall into the “just okay” category.  Look, the more options provided by Inspirato for Passholders, the better.  I’m thankful that these options are all here, and the breadth of offerings only enhances the value of Pass for every single one of us.

The final takeaway…do a bit of homework.  It only takes a few minutes to compare what you can get online versus the cost associated with using Pass.  And if you uncover a gem (in this case Gems of Northern Italy), well then book, cruise, repeat! 🙂

Don’t hesitate to say hello or let me know if you have any questions or comments.  If you like nerding out on this stuff like I do, feel free to check my math on any of these posts.  Thank you for reading!

Lastly…please know that there will be travel stories and firsthand Pass experiences coming soon!  I leave for my first Pass trip to Deer Valley in 22 days!  In the meantime, it’s great to build a foundation of how Pass works practically and financially, and then move on to what will hopefully be many, many great vacation stories and recommendations!  Stay tuned!

Happy Travels and Happy Holidays!

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