Cruising is an industry that enjoys the highest satisfaction rating of every travel option there is, meaning more people who take cruises say they would be likely to do it again than any other travel option. Meanwhile, the levels of service in the airline sector are at an all-time low, and it has nothing to do with new security requirements put on the airlines by government agencies like the TIA.
What is wrong with the airlines? It all stems from one simple problem; More people are flying, but the number of flights operated by major airlines is shrinking. At the same time, major airlines in the past few years have slashed their workforces - often to cut costs as part of a bankruptcy reorganization plan - so there are fewer employees at the airport to help you, fewer handlers to move your bags quickly to the carousel, more overworked flight attendants in the planes and so on.
Even though the number of flights has been shrinking, that hasn't improved the industry's on-time performance. On-time arrivals during 2006 fell to their worst levels since before 9/11. And the number of checked bags that got lost or misdirected during 2006 reached the highest level in 16 years. During the first quarter of 2007, more than a quarter of all flights arrived more than 15 minutes late (vs. 20 percent in 2004), and more than three percent were canceled (vs. two percent in 2004).
So, how do you make the best of this bad situation? The above information is taken from one of our recent columns by airlines industry expert James Glab. He also tells you how to make the best of this bad situation so the least exjoyable part of your cruise vacation can become at least tolderable. Read Air Service Hits All-time Low.
We requested our readers take a poll to identify why they choose to cruise for their vacation. The results surprised us. The over-riding perception of a cruise vacation for 85% of the traveling American public who has never been on a cruise ship, is that it involves a ship, laying in the sun, holding an umbrella-laden cocktail, and visiting hot and sunny ports.
But our readers chose the following as the main reason they cruise for their vacation; "I cruise to see the world, I think it is the most convenient form of travel there is." I couldn't agree more. Ships are by far the best way to see the world, especially if you choose a cruise line that spends up to three days in places like St. Peterburg Russia. Whether it is Europe, South America, or Asia, what could be better than unpacking once and taking your hotel and restaurants with you? If you have ever traveled overseas anything other way, you know exactly what I mean!
Most of the premium and luxury lines are already "traveler" and "enrichment" focused. Offering exotic destinations and outrageously interesting shore experiences (fly a MiG? Fire a Kalishnikov with a Russian General, African Safaris to Mount Kilimanjaro...). Yet, even the "mass market" lines like Carnival, NCL and Royal Caribbean are going to Europe, Asia and South America these days, with port intensive itineraries and great value on the prices.
The second most selected reason was, "I don't care where I cruise, I just love the ships for food, service & entertainment." So, you have the best of both worlds. For the traveler in the family you can see the world in the most convenient conveyance possible. And if your spouse simply wants pampering that is also available. Poll Results Here.
Fun and International Flair on Costa
Our Family Editor takes her brood on Costa Magica ship in the Caribbean. A review and recommendations
Cruise Industry Under Attack - Part 2
Part two. These articles are about MEDIA SENSATIONALISM - hence the title. Don't be alarmed!
Cruise Industry Under Attack
News Flash! Media reports nationwide have cruise ships under attack! Cruise ship travel means possible peril to life and limb.
Interview with John Heald
Carnival's most popular cruise director gives us his experience and opinions about cruising.
NEW YORK TIMES:
"Many sites that offer reviews are selling cruises, which raises questions about impartiality. An exceptions is CruiseMates."
"The Web's best site for articles, advice, or chatting with Cruise People. Self-financed and run independently of the industry, so their opinions are impartial"
John Heald Blogger Cruise
Carnival Freedom, January 19, 2008.
We have the best prices available, from $532 pp plus a $100 shipboard credit and CruiseMates cocktail party. Click in for details!
A 14-night transatlantic cruise.
April 2008, from Florida to the Caribbean then to Europe including the Canary Islands, Spain, Florence Italy and ending in Rome - starting as low as $699 per person. This one is filling up fast!
7 nights in the Eastern Caribbean.
Carnival Freedom, Thanksgiving, 2007.
Kiplinger's Magazine named CruiseMates to its
Top 25 Best Value Travel Sites for 2006
Cruisemates is the most useful cruise-review site. We especially like its advice columns, which are written for people of different ages and interests.