Originally Posted by MercedMike
We first cruised in 1972 on Royal Caribbean. We have continued over all those years.
Today they charge extra for the specialty restaurants. In 1972 they didn't have them.
Today they charge extra for the Thermal Suite and the Sanctuary. In 1972 they didn't have them.
Today they charge extra for the fancy ice cream parlor. In 1972 they didn't have them.
Today they charge extra for wine tastings. In 1972 they didn't have them.
Today they charge extra for cooking classes and computer classes. In 1972 they didn't have them.
The fact is that on that cruise we enjoyed so much in 1972, there were many fewer things to do than there are now. The cruise lines have added many free activities, and a few that are extra charge. But I really can't think of anything that was included in 1972 that is now charged for. Almost all the "nickel and dime" is offered IN ADDITION to the basic cruise experience.
Optional tipping has indeed been replaced by the "service charge." This is saving me money, because we almost always got outstanding service and tipped quite a bit more than the recommended minimum.
MercedMike...we haven't cruise as long as you have, but appreciate reading your response. Boy, cruising has come a long way.
We enjoy having the option of the extra amenities even at additional cost...although most of the time the additional cost is minimal considering what is offered. But the basic cruise experience is often enough..plenty of free things to do, and certainly plenty of food choices.
The specialty restaurants are a personal favorite for us. We could NEVER afford the kind of food and service locally that is offer on board ship at such a minimal cost. We've never once felt cheated. And we've never been forced in any way to go to one of these restaurants either. In fact, you need reservations. Some passengers making reservations online for the most popular restaurants before they board the ship. I don't think there is a lot of evidence that passengers feel these restaurants are a money making scam.
Many extra-pay options actually add to the Cruise experience IF the passenger choses to take advantage of them. A passenger can go to the hair salon, thermal spa, acupuncture, or have a massage. These amenities are available by choice, and of course you will pay extra.
If a company, corporation Or cruise line is clever enough to find a way to make extra money by adding to our comfort and pleasure...geeze so what...it's no big deal... we have the choice to either buy/participate or not.
But if I chose not to take advantage of these extra options, it's certainly not going to have a negative impact on my cruise experience or cause me to feel resentful because the cruise line is offering them at an extra cost.
(It's like paying a premium price for a movie ticket to see the latest blockbuster, then feeling resentful and angry because the theatre a charging you extra for the popcorn and soda. What, it's not included????)