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What We Can Do To Help The Cruise Lines

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This week an article by Associate Press talked about how the airlines are considering charging additional fees if family members flying together want to insure they are seated together on their flights.

The sighted reason, “Airlines are searching for more ways to raise revenue to offset rising fuel costs” (even though that same reasoning has been the airlines arguments for the past few years as we’ve seen a barrel of oil  go up to $140 – down closer to $70 – back up towards $110 – and back down near its present $92).

The cruise lines too have been struggling with budgeting the volatility in fuel pricing. They however did handle it somewhat differently, instituting additional “fuel surcharges” on cruise  fares when gasoline prices went high, and to their credit removed those surcharges when prices dropped. In their contracts they did reserve the right to re-institute the fuel surcharges should the price of a barrel of oil go above $75 again. Though it did peak again well over that threshold, and still sits above it, the cruise lines have made the decision not to re-institute the fuel surcharges.

I hate flying and the terrible way the airlines treat their passengers. Whereas both the airline industry and the cruise industry are both working in a difficult economy to produce profitability, I think the cruise lines do a much better job of trying to make the customers happy, than the airlines do. As a result of that more customer friendly general attitude,  I’ve decided it’s my job  to help the industry produce additional revenues, and come up with some ideas for them.

It’s time for me to pay up, by coming up with ideas which will encourage you to pay more.

-1- Many cruise lines offer priority boarding as an amenity to members of their “frequent cruiser programs”.  And they have found it is a highly appreciated amenity that passengers value. Knowing passengers value it, should be enough of a tip off. If it has “value” to customers, doesn’t that mean we – meaning the cruise line’s and me trying to help them – should easily be able to monetize that value.  No doubt anyone who gives any thought to this will think I just stole the idea from the airlines (some of which are already charging for priority boarding), but I’m going to call it my own.

That way, when instituted, the cruise lines can tell everyone who gets upset by the extra charge that they should be mad at me, not them, because it was my idea. Now, don’t you go trying to tell me you’ve already paid for the privilege with all the repeat business you’ve given to the cruise line. Your brand loyalty is admirable, but it’s time to further display that  loyalty by paying extra.

– 2 –On warm weather cruises, on pretty much every cruise, there’s incredible demand for those sun beds/loungers (what are they really called anyway?) located near to the pools. That demand also always creates problems, with people rushing out early in the mornings to place personal items on them, to “claim” them for the day. Then, those who were unable to wake up early enough to “mark them” , return from the cruise and post to the message boards that something has to be done to deal with the problem.

To erase the problem, we ( yes cruise lines.. you and me) only have to begin each day by having the “loungers” in a pile on deck, manned by our lounger rental guy, and have passengers present their cruise charge cards to sign for and rent them. He should have a printer handy, so he can print labels for each lounger to announce who is the current temporary owner of each lounger. I don’t think we should just rent them out for the day, though that could be a higher priced option. We should rent them out by the hour as well. Because, then we open up an entire additional revenue stream, with the ability to charge late fees.

-3- Self disembarkation – where passengers are allowed to leave the ship first, when the cruise ends (if they can carry all their own bags off the ship) – has become a very popular option. So, with this popularity, isn’t it time to charge people extra for the privilege?  For those who want to stay in their cabins until the very last minute before disembarking the ship, they should be more than willing to pay a few dollars more to do so.

I suppose it would be best for me to stop offering my “great ideas” for additional revenue before a virtual lynch mob appears in my email “inbox”.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

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Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time May 30, 2012 at 5:16 am

I agree with the treatment of passengers by the airlines, on some issues, yet, I have been accorded pleasantries by cabin attendants and I realy have no major complaints there, HOWEVER how are those cabin attendants treated by the airlines? Not too swell, I’ll bet.

As for those rediculous “rented” cabanas on deck, I will never pay for it, so, I will never know if it;s a nice option or not. Many of thes ecabanas have taken away deck space for viewing the sea, and thus, leaves most of us our treasured balcony, for those that book one.

I have no sympathy for price gouging, by air or at sea, but, we all seem to put up with it.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time May 31, 2012 at 5:53 am

Perhaps a more succinct way to help the cruise lines is to buy nothing that is pushed at you for purchasing. Nothing PERIOD.

No photos, no cocktail tasting or wine club flights, no buying the soda card, no laundry sent out, no rediculous cooking demos, no alternate restaurants, no shore excursions – ad nauseaum – Kuki has pointed all of this out beforwe and quite well.

Avoid the casino, avoid any and all expenses. Do not cancel your gratuities.

Keep it streamlined, then the cruise lines will get the idea and hopefully stop these rediculous gouges. Even stop the health spa experience.

Stop stop stop spending.

They, cruise lines, still have to keep proices attractive, and they do have to feed the passenger, so just stop spending.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time May 31, 2012 at 5:58 am

I think your ideas are good, but you need to go deeper into the spirit of the airlines’ strategies.

1. Charge people to dine at the same table for dinner – after all, dining room space is at a premium.

2. Charge people extra who want to share their staterooms with their spouses.

3. Put extra people in everyone’s cabin – after allm those are beds they can sell.

4. Make all the public toilets “pay toilets” it not only brings inclome, it improves hygeine.

5. Make them bring their own condiments for the buffet, why they supply mustard, catsup and mayo?

6. Charge usurious rates for internet access – after all, this is a ship. The passengers should be paying enough that the crew and officers get it free or at least at a discounted rate. (oh wait…)

[these are just jokes]

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time June 1, 2012 at 5:09 am

Ah, one more: Bring your own Purell and hazmat tux!

Comment from rciaddict
Time June 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Tux? I thought we were doing away with them on “formal” nights. Maybe we can charge a cover to enter the dining room on formal nights in t-shirts and cut-offs, since this seems to be an attractive option for some folks.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time June 2, 2012 at 4:56 am

Bring your own bunkering fuel- donate it to the boiler room, and avoid fuel surcharges – the more you donate, the higher your upgrade in cabin type’

Don’t have any fuel, then bring authentic bagels – the ones served on most ships are not geniune, and don’t forget the smoked salmon and cream cheese –

Comment from Tim Butler
Time June 3, 2012 at 7:38 am

you say you want ice with your drink??? that will be a extra .50 cents.
Towels in your stateroom will cost you 1.00 per towel after the first set.
Better bed linen and pillows can be rented for a 3.00 per day premium.
Refridgerator use in stateroom is a extra 1.00 per day.
These are just a few ways we can “Help” our cruiselines 🙂

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time June 4, 2012 at 5:53 am

Was there not a cruise line that did charge for toilet paper, soap and linen use and god know what else – was it “Easy Cruise”? Not a a good system for most of us – rotten idea.

Comment from Greg & dobbs
Time June 4, 2012 at 10:01 am

Kuki, your “tongue in cheek” observations contain more truth than fiction. Cruise lines, like airlines, are using a “menu-driven” pricing structure in order to keep basic rates attractive while compensating for higher fuel costs, and we have to understand that. While we don’t agree our loyalty should result in added costs for pre-boarding simply because it has value, we do feel another area having “value” should be monitized, as you say. We refer to desired lounges and their location, as you mentioned. Cruise lines are already charging a premium for “privatized” cabanas or added comfort zones, and this idea has sea legs. We’d even go so far as to pay a price for a reserved treadmill in the gym during a popular hour…

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time June 6, 2012 at 5:48 am

Monitizing and privatizing has some rough edges and there is a part to this that many seasoned or new passengers may not understand. I for one and many others, will accept it as the norm, after all, we have learned to put up and shut up about dining, as you care to dine times, pay-for alternate dining – this list goes on, and will probably expand over time. We seem to reserveor lock-in at special rates for many of the things we do in daily life. So what. If you want it, it is there for you.

One thing we all have learned to put up with, either by paying extra for it or not, and on a very innocent level, buying prefered parking and special no wait tickets at amusement and theme parks.

Comment from Bob M
Time August 7, 2012 at 11:43 pm

I have a feeling I am a minority but I like traveling on cheap cruises and I don’t like to pay for extras. Like for sodas I feel like I am at Disneyland or something, I normally would not be paying this high cost if it was on land. Its just insulting to know they can get us just because they have no competition.

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