Originally Posted by AR
This subject has been beaten to death not only in this string but for years and years on this and other cruise sites.
Bottom line: It is axiomatic that cruise lines strive to keep their base prices as low as possible in order to drive bookings and compete effectively. Airlines do the same thing, which is why you now pay to check bags, eat food, and rest your weary head on a pillow. If they throw those things in like they used to, they must necessarily raise fares, and if they do that two things will happen:
1) There will be endless strings on boards like this about how the airfares to get to cruises are usuriously high, some of them started by the moderators.
2) More importantly, the airline that raises its base fares will show up last on the list on all the search engines like Orbitz. They will lose business as a result.
Same thing with ships. People compare base fares, even if they aren't apples to apples. If a line wants to compete, they've got to hold the base fares down. Period.
Which means they've got to set up a bunch of serious profit centers for those who want to partake of them, and they do. You've just got to cope with that, and it's really easy to do: if you don't want to spend extra, just don't.
As far as specialty restaurants are concerned, on Celebrity we eat in all of them at least once, sometimes more. We leave on a TA in a few weeks and have already prebooked all of them once. We're really looking forward to trying Qsine. It looks like a lot of fun. Overall we're very much in the camp of 2katz3fsh.
The argument that the specialties should be included in the fare has another problem beyond just the concept of holding the base fare down. . .
Do the bloody math!
If you're on a 3,000-passenger ship and everyone has free access to the specialties, how's that going to work out in terms of accommodating everyone? Naturally, if they're "free" they'll become the most in-demand places on the ship, and like night follows day they won't have nearly enough room for everybody. And then the screaming will really start--both onboard and online! Cruising is now a mass-market commoditized business. If you make the specialties free, they will then become the equivalent of the MDR. By definition.
So the surcharge drives away those who do not consider it a value proposition and leaves the nicely-spaced, quiet tables, personal service, and at least marginally better food for those who value those things and are willing to pay for them. Lots of things on ships are not birthrights. Massages aren't free, drinks aren't free, Cokes aren't free, the casino isn't free, bingo isn't free, shore excursions aren't free, and specialty restaurants aren't free.
You just have to decide where you are on that continuum. If you feel you can't afford specialties or they don't represent value for money, just head for the MDR. Most people do, and I've never heard of anyone starving there.
Missed my point on a few issues.
First I believe that the specialty restarants should be things of the past. Celebrity use to be know for some of the best quality of food at sea...Not anymore, many will tell you the food has declined. So to get the quality of food that use to be served in the main dinning room now cost you between $30.00 and $40.00 per person.
Its not a matter of being able to afford it or not nor is it about representing value or not....Its about what use to be standard on Celebrity.
I would rather them raise the cruise price by a few hundred dollars and give everyone a higher quality of food in the MDR.
I am not one of those people that choose a item because it is cheaper...In most cases the cheaper item will cost you more in the long run. Look at a prime example...
A Rio sedan costing 11,000 or a Toyota Corolla costing 17,000....I chose the Corolla because it will cost me less in the long run...I own two autos...A Toyota Tundra and that Corolla...I use the Corolla to commute to and from work and have 380,000 miles on it....It still runs great...That Rio I doubt would last half the time.
back to cruises...They now not only charge you to eat a quality food that use to be standard but they took away the midnight buffets (for some time now) just to save on cost.
Remember word of mouth travels fast..if a cruise line is skimping and is being cheap word will spread...Can Celebrity afford any bad mouthing ?
I have also heard that there is more and more of those annoying messages announcing art auctions and bingo games...something I loath...nothing makes a cruise feel cheap like listening to messages announcing art auctions...bingo games and the horse races.
My Wife and I have not been on a cruise for about 5 years we do however have a dozen or so under our belt and we always loved Celebrity. But like I said I have been getting feed back that the little things are being eliminated..remember when you first boarded a crew member wearing white gloves escorted you to your room...I hear now they give you a map or just point you in the direction...its the little things that make a cruise seem like they really care about you.
We were going to book a cruise on Summit but My wife suggested not too long ago that maybe we should give either Silver Sea or Crystal a shot...I am giving it a serious consideration.