Sometimes I wonder how the cruise industry looks at its customers.
I follow the cruise industry full-time, as do the very capable cruise agents who post here, and even we have hard time keeping up with ALL of the various rules and options the cruise lines have. Especialy when every single cruise line not only has their own options to sell, but they also keep changing them.
Sometimes I think the cruise lines depnd in keeping customers just a little bit "in the dark" about the "hidden rules," etc. If it was easy too compare cruise lines side by side for every option and its cost, then we would see price wars.
It is almost as if the cruise lines intentionally keep pricing as complicated as posssible - to the point where (1) they can hide the competitive cost of a given add-on, and as a result (2) the buyer has to rely upoon the advice of the seller.
In other words, there is nothing even close to a "show me the carfax" kind of moment where cruise buying is concerned.
I see bundling as a way for cruise line to sell convenience at a price, however they also have to make a profit, so the trick is finding out the top point a customer will pay for that convenience.
One unfortunate drawback of that is things like this... "how do you make a drink package more attractive? Raise the prices of individual drinks onboard."
The other concern for the cruise line is "how much do pay the ahent for selling this?" If they make a drink package commisionable (and they should), it essentially means they have to boost the price by 15% above what they already caalculated the "profit point" to be. That adds $7.50 to a $50 drink package. So, the customer is at $57.50, and he's also going to get hit with an 18% gratuity; add another $10. A $50 drink package now costs $67.50 - per day.
In any case - people have shown they will pay for inclusiveness (some people, anyway), but I can't help feeling the best deals are still pay as you go.
However, there is a certain buyer mentality out there that some people just want what they want, and the price is secondary. Those people are about to have a lot more packages to choose from.