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There’s Still Great Value in Cruising

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In these still tough economic times there’s few people who don’t look to get excellent value for each and every dollar they spend.  And this holds true, even for those who can afford a vacation.

People cruise for a variety of reasons, but I believe the majority do so for a combination of travel, adventure and relaxation. In recent years we’ve seen a rise in complaints of “nickel and diming” on board cruise ships. There’s little doubt the cruise lines have attempted to enhance their on board revenues. However, I honestly find the complaining about it somewhat amusing.

How much does it cost for a hotel room per day? How much does it cost to purchase 3 meals per day, plus snacks. How expensive is room service at that hotel?  How much does it cost you for entertainment each day? And how much are your transportation costs, even considering only those which apply to getting to and from meals or entertainment?

Granted, some hotel chains are now offering complimentary breakfast service. It’s a bid odd that people tout and enjoy this amenity, and rarely complain about the lack of selection they serve. Yet, they’ll get on a ship, and somehow a fairly common complaint is lack of variety at the buffet.

This is just a small part of my objection to some of things people complain about. I’m not sure why people believe they’re justified in having much higher expectations, almost across the board, for cruise lines… irregardless of what they pay, it seems.

As with hotel chains, and even all-inclusive resorts, there is a heirarchy of levels of accommodation, and goods and services available on cruise lines, normally in direct relation to what the customer pays.

However, on a cruise ship, one has the choice to choose, and pay for,  lower priced accomodations, yet still receive the same goods and services as those who choose to purchase more expensive accomodation — with the exception of those purchasing top level suites. Everyone on the ship has access to, and the ability to take advantage of all the other amenities on the ship, including restaurants, bars, and entertainment.

With little effort it’s possible to book a cruise for as little as $75 -$100 per person per day. Want a cabin with a private balcony? Add another $25 -$50 per person per day, and you can upgrade to very comfortable accomodation, with a private balcony.

It is easily possible to take all your meals in only the facilities where the cost of the food is included in your fare. Most modern cruise ships do offer some variety of restaurants which do require a surcharge above the cost of our fare to dine there. Though I personally think there’s excellent value in taking advantage of those options on occassion, there is certainly no requirement to do so. In fact, I object when I hear complaints asking why “they” should have to pay for “better” food.  The reasoning is quite simple; it’s like on land when you have a choice from an average, standard, restaurant, as compared to dining in a more upscale bistro.

Included in your cruise fare is a twice, sometimes three times, there’s also an all you can eat buffet. Included in your cruise fare is complimentary room service at any time you choose. Today many of the cruise lines allow you to have anything on the dining room menu served to you in your cabin, if you so choose. These are not options I can recall seeing in any hotel room.

I view all the amenities made available on a ship that require an extra charge as optional. And I do often choose to parktake in some of them, and pay the extra fees. But, knowing that, I budget in advance for those extra charges. Taking those extras into consideration, I then add that total to the basic cost of my cruise fare.  If the total cost is in the realm of what I want to spend, then I book, and get on board fully prepared to enjoy all I’ve paid for.

Despite the very occassional glitches I’ve encountered in the 50+ cruises I’ve sailed, I have yet to feel I didn’t get outstanding value for the dollars I spent. Perfection is a difficult goal to define, I think.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

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Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time May 2, 2012 at 5:15 am

Excellent call on what you get for the buck on a cruise (MOST cruise ships). Today there are some well known cruise lines that are sneaking in charges for room service, pizza, some charge for ice cream – the list can be extensive. However, the basics of the cruise are as Kuki stated, and one can have the time of their lives, or in the case of seasoned cruisers, enjoy all there is to see, do and eat during the cruise, regardles of price.

There is a BUT to this, some lines are actually charging for the evening shows just as some are charging for and THIS IS MY OPINION – the worthless cooking demos, that once were free, as well as wine, martini and scotch tasting. Mind you, this is not a general for all ships , nor is it the given across the board of cruising. My favorite newby, pay to see the bridge! What a waste of money, or pay to see the galley.

I compared prices for two cruise lines, same cruise, owned by the same conglomerate, identical cruises. One, all inclusive, with a heavy discount, for two, with free air, a balcony cabin FOR two was $21,000.00 for the 14 dayer. Second cruise line, remember, same corporation ownership, same cabin, free air, not all inclusive, for two, $10,000.00. Say what you will, gag at the prices if you must, but, come on, one is rediculously priced, and one is insulting.

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