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  #31 (permalink)  
Old January 25th, 2011, 11:29 AM
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Thumbs down Extra charges

TomTom, I'm with you. I don't pay for anything extra except alcoholic drinks (in moderation), soda (or "pop" as we say in the midwest. It was free in the MDR on my first cruise), excursions, and minimal shopping on board. I do go to the casino, again in moderation. I don't do the specialty restaurants--$75 extra on Disney? :eek:-, spa or related venues. No photos either. The wait staff does a better job IMO, lol. Don't drink coffee or tea. I did enjoy the Normandie as the Elite departure lounge last Sat.
DH and I started cruising in '02 on Explorer OS and loved it. It is what got us hooked. We did 8 cruises in 6 yrs before he passed away in 8-08. I am still cruising with other friends and his sister. I don't know if I want to go bigger than Voyager class, but I do like Radiance class, X's M class and C class. I am mourning the departure of Galaxy and Mercury.
Really small ships do not appeal to me because of the lack of activities, mainly trivia and other games. I don't mind FN, although I think it is prob ably on it's way out. I like the auto-tipping system and have no complaint about the service I have received on any cruise.
I book OV cabins because I like to have a view. Got an amazing free upgrade to CC on Summit for the Med cruise, but I would never pay for it. Hardly used the veranda because it was usually too hot to sit out for more than a few minutes.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old January 25th, 2011, 12:24 PM
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Question Nickles and dimes

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Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
But here is what I discovered; if you compare almost identical suites on both ships, in the end the cost of sailing on Celebrity is almost identical to sailing on Regent, assuming you indulge in just about every optional extra Celebrity has to offer; alcohol nightly, soda, gratuities, shore excursions in every port, special dining and of course your airfare.

Like so many things; there are two ways to look at the results. You can sail on Regent and never worry about being “nickel and dimed,” but you are paying for that feeling. Optionally, you can sail in a suite on mainstream ship and indulge in special options to your heart’s content and probably end up paying about the same amount.
AHA! But -- the main point to me -- is that many people do NOT indulge in, or even want, all those special options! Look at the responses here, and the lists of different things that people would like included.

Now the main point is that all those included items have to be paid for somehow. I don't drink sodas, and very few alcoholic beverages. My DW will have one glass of wine at dinner and me none at all. We do not choose expensive excursions in every port. I might drink one specialty coffee the whole cruise. One or two fancy ice cream sundaes would be my limit, too. I do like to treat myself to caviar, though.

Therefore it would be very foolish for me to choose a cruise line that offered all those things free (or an "all-inclusive" resort) because then I would be paying for other people's drinking and touring habits!! And other passengers would be paying for my caviar habit. So the TRUE bottom line is that you can sail on a mainstream ship, indulge in SOME special options that YOU particularly want, and end up paying LESS!

On our first cruise in 1971 on Song of Norway, almost everything on board except alcohol was free. We had a wonderful time! But -- they simply did not have all those other things! No coffee bar, no ice cream bar, no specialty restaurants, no caviar bar, no art auction. Almost everything that is regarded as "nickle and diming" is stuff that has actually been added to the cruise experience over those 40 years!

We had a great time on Song of Norway without all the extras, and mostly we still cruise the same way, spending very few nickles and dimes.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 02:35 PM
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Nina, these 2 points you mention....

the cost of transfers to and from the airport... these can be had for less then what the ship offers, depending on the port....Fll-Miami is $15.00 pp. for example..
Linda - what is this in reference to? I have never seen $15 transfers from FLL to Miami.

Please do tell!
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Old January 25th, 2011, 02:39 PM
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Edie Bornstein has worked with Larry Pimentel at Cunard and Seabourn; and the pair is now charged with revitalizing Azamara Club Cruises.

Edie’s and her inveterate “sidekick,” Larry Pimentel, cruised on Azamara to understand what their customers want out of a cruise. During the cruise they asked many people specifically what they did and did not like about the cruise.

One pervasive attitude is a widespread aversion to what is called “nickel and diming.” Most importantly, most people consider some extra charges to be more egregious than others.

Every cruise line has a specific level of “inclusiveness,” in the cruise fare - for example enough food to feed everyone, but in the last 10 years cruise lines have also started offering special dining options for a fee.

Realistically, these options would not even be available unless the cruise line can recoup the cost. Using the new restaurant on Disney Dream called Remy for example; the menu is designed by two chefs awarded the highest honors in their regions; the European chef, Arnaud Lallement, is a Michelin two-star chef while his American counterpart, Scott Hunnel, has received the highest American honors; James Beard and the AAA Five Diamond.

Disney charges $75 per person for a full dinner in this restaurant, but that includes a welcoming champagne cocktail, every course including dessert and a glass of Remy Martin Cognac at the end of the meal. The same meal in any Arnaud’s Michelin two-star restaurant l'Assiette Champenoise in the Champagne region of France, for example, would easily cost close to $300 per person, so Remy is actually a very good deal.

The point is that “inclusiveness” in cruises in an elusive subject. There are people who feel everything should be included in a cruise and no surcharges should ever apply, and then there are people who recognize the value in offering something that would not otherwise be available at all.

Still, Edie and Larry heard cruisers repeatedly say “we do not want to be nickel and dimed.” So, what is the difference between offering something of value at a fair price and “nickel and diming?” Of course, anything a cruise line includes in the cruise fare will increase the cruise fare. On the other hand, many cruise lines compete on base price and make up their profit by charging for more things onboard. Is that the “nickel and diming” these cruisers are referring to?

Larry and Edie found certain things to include in the cruise fare that did not raise the cruise fare beyond “good value” consideration. They now include gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner only, free shuttle service when possible in ports of call and specialty dining for suite guests.

I recently compared the overall cost of cruising on Celebrity Solstice and the luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas. Regent includes almost everything in its cruise fare; airfare, alcohol, soda, shore excursions (with a value of $200 per person or less), gratuities and fine dining. On Celebrity each of those items are additional costs after you pay the much lower cruise fare.

But here is what I discovered; if you compare almost identical suites on both ships, in the end the cost of sailing on Celebrity is almost identical to sailing on Regent, assuming you indulge in just about every optional extra Celebrity has to offer; alcohol nightly, soda, gratuities, shore excursions in every port, special dining and of course your airfare.

Like so many things; there are two ways to look at the results. You can sail on Regent and never worry about being “nickel and dimed,” but you are paying for that feeling. Optionally, you can sail in a suite on mainstream ship and indulge in special options to your heart’s content and probably end up paying about the same amount.

Have a good number of people already figured this out? Suites are the most popular staterooms on mainstream cruise ships and always sell out first. Are the luxury cruise lines really in competition with the mainstream lines more than they realize?

What do you think?
The "nickel and diming" has gotten out of control on the mainstream cruise lines, and there is little respite, even when one upgrades to a suite. Not only does this practice bring up the cost significantly above what one might expect to be paying for a cruise, even when trying to be a bit careful, but it also adds the annoyance factor of constantly having to check the cost/price, pull out your cruise card and sign a receipt. Sure, the price of an all-inclusive cruise might seem a bit high, especially when one is effectively subsidizing the fellow passengers who make excessive expenditures, but I think Azamara has the right idea with their compromise by limiting these extras but covering most of the usual expenditures in their cruise price. I know I am willing to pay a bit more at the front end even if it is just to minimize the annoyance factors.
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old January 25th, 2011, 02:46 PM
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So the TRUE bottom line is that you can sail on a mainstream ship, indulge in SOME special options that YOU particularly want, and end up paying LESS!
This really is the essence of the whole value proposition.

I really can't help thinking that most people who sail on luxury lines are well-off enough (financially) that they actually do not have to worry about the cost of the cruise. I WISH I was in that boat but I am not.

Some (but definitely not most) of those people consider themselves to be somewhat elite and really don't want to travel with people who are not in the same league.

That is OK, do as you please (if that is who you are), but to me it seems the essence of THAT point of view is that you select a cruise line based on who the other passnegers will be. I don't encourage that line of thought because it is too unprdictable.

But getting back to "value," it really is up to each person to decide what cruise aspects are worth the money to them. For some people, it is worth the money not to have to worry about the cost of everything while they are onboard.

I did some research to see how much one pays for that privilege, and my research said you tend to pay for pretty much everything you get included in the cruise fare. It is pretty hard to get past the point where you are getting "more than you paid for" by choosing an all inclusive cruise.

But you know what - I will not claim to be an expert on that. Luxury travel agents like Eric know and understand a lot more about the value proposition of each cruise line than I do, and I would love to get his input on that.

I also welcome the point of view of luxury travelers with personal experience on the topic of "value proposition."
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old January 25th, 2011, 02:59 PM
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but I think Azamara has the right idea with their compromise by limiting these extras but covering most of the usual expenditures in their cruise price. I know I am willing to pay a bit more at the front end even if it is just to minimize the annoyance factors.
I agree. What Azamara has done is pretty compelling - that they put in "just the right amount" of inclusiveness - and they are still about 15% lower in cruise fares to Oceania with similar itineraries.
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old January 25th, 2011, 03:08 PM
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On our first cruise in 1971 on Song of Norway, almost everything on board except alcohol was free. We had a wonderful time! But -- they simply did not have all those other things! No coffee bar, no ice cream bar, no specialty restaurants, no caviar bar, no art auction. Almost everything that is regarded as "nickle and diming" is stuff that has actually been added to the cruise experience over those 40 years!
So - is it still technically "nickel and diming" if it is optional and has been added? I don't think so. I think there is another word for it (it may not be pretty) but I dont see it as "nickel and diming?"

Take your pick:
  • hawking
  • haggling
  • paltering
  • dickering
  • huckstering
  • mongering
But I am not sure "nickel & diming" applies, because that usually means suddenly charging for things you used to get free.

Now, there are some things that are nickel & diming; sodas, the extra cost of pictures, pizza delivery, ice cream (when it costs - but it is still free on most cruise ships and actually getting more available all the time).
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old January 25th, 2011, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
MercedMike



This really is the essence of the whole value proposition.

I really can't help thinking that most people who sail on luxury lines are well-off enough (financially) that they actually do not have to worry about the cost of the cruise. I WISH I was in that boat but I am not.

Some (but definitely not most) of those people consider themselves to be somewhat elite and really don't want to travel with people who are not in the same league.
Paul, I have found the opposite to be true; the "majority" of the cruisers on Regent are working stiffs or retired working stiffs. Often in senior management but I have met a number of school teachers, librarians, post masters, and fellow engineers. Most of us cruise Regent because we do think it is a great value. I do not like paying more than the lowest category cabin; even if I have to take a guarantee.

True, there is some real money on board (Nicole Kidman was on one cruise). They pay for the real expensive cabins; of which there are not many. And we do get the occassional snobs; no denying that. But, for the most part, I have met hard working folks.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old January 25th, 2011, 05:58 PM
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Default What is Nickel and Diming

I have felt the extra charges on curises for small things like soda and water to be real negitive. It seems that what every cruise line you go on, they attack you as soon as you sit down and then get made if you don't want a $4 coke. The worst treatment I got was on a Celebrity ship. I was trying to get my child settled with his food so I could get mine and when the sever came by she asked him what he wanted to drink. He said apple juice. Her responce was to look at me and say you have to get that yourself. This type of treatmet was repeated many times. I also have noticed the main dinning food quality has gone down as more and more extra charge venues are added. After 15 years of cruising I find myself getting more and more disappointed. This is sad because my son loves the kids clubs and room sevice.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 09:52 AM
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I have felt the extra charges on curises for small things like soda and water to be real negitive. It seems that what every cruise line you go on, they attack you as soon as you sit down and then get made if you don't want a $4 coke. The worst treatment I got was on a Celebrity ship. I was trying to get my child settled with his food so I could get mine and when the sever came by she asked him what he wanted to drink. He said apple juice. Her responce was to look at me and say you have to get that yourself. This type of treatmet was repeated many times. I also have noticed the main dinning food quality has gone down as more and more extra charge venues are added. After 15 years of cruising I find myself getting more and more disappointed. This is sad because my son loves the kids clubs and room sevice.

I'm inter-mingling my threads here .... but at the risk of posting off-topic. This is why I don't feel special on cruiseships .... its the service. The main purpose should be in keeping a passenger (especially a child!) happy - get him the freaking apple juice. I found this on DREAM as well. One night after dinner, my daughter wanted an apple for desssert. Of course, it wasn't on the menu and the waiter said no. DH got into an "argument" with the waiter, saying, "you mean to tell me there isn't an apple in the kitchen you can get for my daughter? You mean there isn't someone who can be spared to run up to the lido and get an apple?". If service was at the forefront, and they wanted to make every PAX (within reason) feel special ..... somebody could have found an apple. Maybe my expectations are out of line.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 11:24 AM
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Default A proposal for consideration

As to nickel & diming, one dividing line seems to be between what you want included and what you do not want included; and that will vary from person to person. Has anyone proposed anything like this?:

Your cruise cost will cover only room, port fees, and dining for all meals in the main dining room and buffet areas (and tea/water/coffee). Any other activities, meals or beverages would be "al la carte".

However, in addition to the basic room and board, you also have loaded on your cruise card a fixed amount to cover the other "basics" that many consider core requirements. That way someone who loves the big shows can use their credit for entertainment every night and forego any specialty restaurants while a "foodie" who hates Las Vegas style entertainment can eat in a specialty restaurant every night of the cruise and ignore the big productions. Because alcohol and port excursions are such money makers for the cruise lines, they would probably make policy that the credit cannot be used for those purchases. The card would also have to be a use or loose credit because I cannot see a cruise line refunding the unused portion. If someone exceeded the amount, they could simply pay on a per item basis or, perhaps, buy additional blocks of these “ship dollars” to put back on their card.

This way the cruise lines are still getting their "cover" and the passengers decide what is inclusive and what is not.

This is just a wild idea that popped into my mind as I was reading this thread and would be interested in anyone’s thoughts.
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old January 26th, 2011, 12:00 PM
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Default Ala carte

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Originally Posted by dlm2005 View Post

Your cruise cost will cover only room, port fees, and dining for all meals in the main dining room and buffet areas (and tea/water/coffee). Any other activities, meals or beverages would be "al la carte".
It is in my mind that there is a cruise line in Europe aiming at the minimum budget cruiser which basically goes deeper than that -- your cruise fare of something like $39 per day covers room and transportation only, even any food aboard is "ala carte." This is the ultimate in choice, sort of a floating hostel!
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Old January 26th, 2011, 12:18 PM
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I'm inter-mingling my threads here .... but at the risk of posting off-topic. This is why I don't feel special on cruiseships .... its the service. The main purpose should be in keeping a passenger (especially a child!) happy - get him the freaking apple juice. I found this on DREAM as well. One night after dinner, my daughter wanted an apple for desssert. Of course, it wasn't on the menu and the waiter said no. DH got into an "argument" with the waiter, saying, "you mean to tell me there isn't an apple in the kitchen you can get for my daughter? You mean there isn't someone who can be spared to run up to the lido and get an apple?". If service was at the forefront, and they wanted to make every PAX (within reason) feel special ..... somebody could have found an apple. Maybe my expectations are out of line.
You are not alone -I, for one, don't think your expectations are out of line.
I do not believe there was no fruit in the kitchen.

I was on a Nile cruise, passed over the dessert and the waiter asked why - I said I just wanted some fruit and a basket of fruit accompanied by finger bowl and cutlery was produced in a flash.

Small vessel again.

Annie
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Old January 26th, 2011, 01:47 PM
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I'm fully in favor of nickel and diming. We know ahead of time what the base cruise price is, and that gratuities are automatically charged (even know the exact amount). The extras that we want, we pay for, and the things we don't want we don't buy. We drink very little, alochol or pop, and I would not want to subsidize someone else's habit. Main dining room meals and service have always been far above what I expect and I don't see why anyone would consider it unsatisfactory. Ice water is cheap and healthy. We're not wealthy, not snobs, are fully satisfied with inside cabins on Riviera deck, and have never had a bad cruise, with 8 under the belt and 2 more booked, all on Carnival.

Andy
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Old January 26th, 2011, 04:23 PM
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In my opinion, the term "nickel & diming" doesn't refer to alcohol, pop, photos, & shore excursions. Those are things that were always an extra charge from the time we started cruising, 15 cruises ago. It refers to other things that the cruiselines are now charging for to up their revenue. This started, as it was mentioned, with the ice cream--the Hagen Daz. Now on some other lines it's Ben & Jerry's...and along with that are many other things which vary from line to line such as specialty coffee, special fresh squeezed orange juice, upgraded steak on the main dining room menu, specialty dining options, and much more. Although, even though they've had these extra charges for things, they're all of course optional, and people can either choose to spend the money for them, or not. We almost never do... except for the occasional specialty restaurants, and usually only when other friends are going too.
However... we were just looking at booking the new NCL Epic. I believe that they take the term "nickel & diming" to a whole new level. When we first saw that ship, we thought wow... it looks cool... and loved the thought of the Blue Man Group, the Cirque show, Comedy Club, the ice bar, etc. We've researched though, and even though some of these things are included, you have to book your tickets for them online ahead of time, or as soon as you get onboard, or chances are that you might not be able to see these shows at all. Same for the ice bar tickets, which they charge you $20 to go in for a half hour, and you get two small drinks. The same for the Cirque show-there's a charge, and it includes dinner. They also charge $5 per person for bowling, $1.50 per person for billiards, and the list goes on. I could go on about the issues with this ship, but the point was about the "nickel & diming". We've never minded paying for alcohol and pop, and some other things are options, not mandatory, but it's getting ridiculous.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 05:00 PM
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I have to agree with Andy. I can't see that offering extra items for sale as "nickel and diming" anyone. No one is harassed, harangued nor forced to buy anything. The alternative dining is optional, and usually one has to have reservations well ahead to even get into one! The cost of the cruise includes all the food the average person could possible eat. If you don't like what's on the dinner menu, surely there's something in the buffet you can eat, if not, try pizza or room service. I've yet to see anyone with a plate in the buffet that appeared as though they weren't enjoying themselves tremendously.
As far as cokes go, I've never been on a cruise line anywhere that a coke cost $4.00. ( back in 1988 in Lichtenstein an 8 oz. bottle of coke was $2.50--$ 12.00 for 2 cokes and 2 brats on a bun ) I don't drink much alcohol, other than an occasional mixed drink or a glass of wine now and then. Usually on a 7 day cruise, I may buy 2-3 cokes, always ask for them in a can and pay $1.75 or $2.00,plus the .15%.
The other night we went to eat with our son and his family-- a coke was $2.50, of course " free refills " were included. But the catch there is that the glass was about 80 % full of ice with some syrupy coke and water mixed in-- had I gotten a can of coke, I would have had as much, or more, as what they gave me after you took away the ice.
People always complain about these "extra " costs as nickel and diming-- just buy what you want and skip the rest. That way everyone should be happy. I've seen people got to the spa and drop a load of money for a rub, facial, manicure, pedicure, lotions and potions, etc. and be happy as a bug in a rug but then have to listen to them complain at dinner for an hour because they had to pay for a coke.
What people spend or don't spend doesn't bother me as long as it doesn't affect my wallet. When they start including alcohol, cokes, etc. it will simply be reflected in the cost of the cruise and like, Andy, I don't want to pay for something for someone else to eat or use that I don't eat or use myself. If any cruise line tomorrow started giving free cokes, the waste would be unbelievable.
If you don't believe me, just watch what people waste in the buffet because it's " free !" Ask RCCL why they started out with Johnny Rockets as" free" and then had to start charging-- waste!!
When you got to a restaurant at home to eat, do you expect to get a free coke or free coffee? Hardly. But you're not forced to buy it--you can get water.
I just think everyone should make up their own mind as to what they want and if they want something, buy it, eat it, drink it, use it and forget it. Don't do it and then gripe for a months about the cost-- you know up front what it costs-- get it or forget it.

There's always this to consider-- is this item something we need, or just something we want-- if we need it, we pretty much have to pay the price. If we just want it, we have a choice--pay or walk away.
Can I get an amen!! Can I get flamed ??
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Old January 27th, 2011, 05:22 AM
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The vast majority of passengers on my Mass Market ship tell me that they definitely want all the included perks from the "good old days" of cruising, but they want to continue paying the lower prices that result from today's marketing strategy of pay as you go.

Sorry folks - you cannot have it both ways.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 12:46 PM
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Question Included perks vs. pay as you go

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Originally Posted by Bruce Chafkin1 View Post
The vast majority of passengers on my Mass Market ship tell me that they definitely want all the included perks from the "good old days" of cruising, but they want to continue paying the lower prices that result from today's marketing strategy of pay as you go.

Sorry folks - you cannot have it both ways.
Well, I cannot think of a single thing that was included on the Song of Norway in 1972 that is not still included today. Every single "pay as you go" item is something that has been ADDED since the "good old days." Many free things have also been added, such as expanded entertainment and activities, improved pools and hot tubs, and even MUTS.

Can you mention something that used to be included which is now an extra charge?
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Old January 27th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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My cruising history only goes back to 2004 so I don't know much about the "good old days" (though the DW did sail on Song of Norway back in the early 70's.)

It seems one exception to the "add on" would be NCL's creation of paid performances. Does any other cruise line have shows that require a paid admission?
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Old January 27th, 2011, 03:53 PM
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One person's "included" is another one's "forced to pay."

Of course it is cheaper to sail on a high-cost, all inclusive cruise than a standard cruise on which you select every extra-charge option.

I think there needs to be a balance between what is included and what is not. For instance, I do not drink many (if any) soda/pop drinks on board, but I would not object to a small increase in the cruise price to have them available for no extra cost, but I am totally opposed to paying for someone else's binge drinking.

People's ideas of where to strike the balance differ based in large part on their own preferences, but I believe most would be much more inclined to pay included costs that are low, than high priced items.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 06:45 AM
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Is it Nickle and Diming to pay for bowling on NCL or say climbing the Rock Wall or the wave rider on RCL? I say it is. All entertainment on a cruise ship should be included in the fair.

How about the Childrens arcade areas...are the games free or do they have to pay for each game? (I don't know, never been in those areas) How about kids activities? Do they make ceramics or model airplanes that cost?

Don't laugh, arcade game play can add up quickly for say 3 kids during a week long cruise.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Truck Cruiser View Post
Is it Nickle and Diming to pay for bowling on NCL or say climbing the Rock Wall or the wave rider on RCL? I say it is. All entertainment on a cruise ship should be included in the fair.

How about the Childrens arcade areas...are the games free or do they have to pay for each game? (I don't know, never been in those areas) How about kids activities? Do they make ceramics or model airplanes that cost?

Don't laugh, arcade game play can add up quickly for say 3 kids during a week long cruise.
All entertainment on a cruise ship IS included in the FAIR.
But all the newly added entertainment is NOT included in the FARE.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truck Cruiser View Post
Is it Nickle and Diming to pay for bowling on NCL or say climbing the Rock Wall or the wave rider on RCL? I say it is. All entertainment on a cruise ship should be included in the fair.

How about the Childrens arcade areas...are the games free or do they have to pay for each game? (I don't know, never been in those areas) How about kids activities? Do they make ceramics or model airplanes that cost?

Don't laugh, arcade game play can add up quickly for say 3 kids during a week long cruise.
.
I don't believe there is a charge for the rock wall or waverider on RCL, at least I haven't heard of one.

I can understand the charge for bowling as there are only 6 lanes (on Epic) and the charge keeps someone or a group from hogging them for a lengthy period of time.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 07:47 AM
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Well, I cannot think of a single thing that was included on the Song of Norway in 1972 that is not still included today. Every single "pay as you go" item is something that has been ADDED since the "good old days." Many free things have also been added, such as expanded entertainment and activities, improved pools and hot tubs, and even MUTS.

Can you mention something that used to be included which is now an extra charge?
Caviar. Although most North American cruise passengers don't really like caviar, many want to have it anyway - because it is a high cost item. Until the 1980's there was a big pot of caviar in nearly every public room on embark day. Now you have to order it in advance and pay big money for it.

Sodas. Several mass market lines offered free sodas as recently as 2001. Since then, only Disney offers them "free".(you just pay for them up front in the fare). All the other mass market lines charge for them.

Ice Cream. Princess just caved in and stopped charging for ice cream (but they still charge for Gelato). A few other lines charge for premium ice cream (Ben and Jerrys, etc)

Back of the house / Bridge Tours. Until recently, selected people could have free back of house and Bridge Tours. It was difficult to arrange, but there was no charge. Now several lines are charging over $100 for them.

Visitors before Sailing. Until the 1980's, many cruise lines allowed passengers to have visitors onboard for lunch or cocktails before the ship departed. Then it was stopped for "security reasons". Now it is back at Princess - with a charge.

Headliner Shows. Not so long ago, we saw well known performers on stage on cruises. We don't see that so much anymore, but when NCL does it, they charge you to get in.

Wheelchairs. Until 10 years ago, anyone could use a ship's wheelchair anytime - free of charge. Then there were so many lawsuits that the cruise lines had to protect themselves by forcing pax to rent a wheelchair from a third party vendor who has very good liability insurance.

Wine Tasting. When I was a F&B Manager on ships, we almost always offered complimentary wine tastings at least once per cruise. No longer.

Cabin Deliveries / Photocopies. When groups sail with us, they often request that we deliver things to cabins for them. They often also request that we photocopy certain documents for delivery to their members. All of this used to be gratis. Now we charge.

Meeting Rooms / Pianist / DJ / AV Setups. Until 10 years ago, anytime somebody wanted to use a meeting room, have a pianist play for a cocktail party, have a DJ for a special funstion, or have a room set up for a meeting or presentation, it was done free of charge. Now we charge for all those things.

Coffee/Tea set-ups, Hot and Cold Appetizers. Until the 1990s, anytime anyone wanted a special setup with the above items, we didn't ask too many questions. We only needed to know, How Many?, What Time?, and Where? The new question is, How much do you want to spend? We charge for all of it most of the time.

Playing Cards. Not so long ago, a passenger could have as many decks of playing cards as he wanted. Many passengers took advantage of this and took dozens home as gifts/souvenirs. Many cruise lines now charge for them.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zack Adams View Post
The thing that bothers me is that by buying a package of minutes for the internet they also charge me a "One Time Setup Fee" and I do this in my cabin without any staff help
I don't know of any cruise lines that charge a one-time set-up fee. (That I have noticed). The fact that you can connect/disconnect without a charge is one way to save a lot of money on the Internet on ships.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 07:32 PM
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The whole thing is perception. Joe and Joanne Cruise go on their first cruise. They get on board this huge, beautiful and exciting ship.

However, once they get on board they want a drink. That's $14 for the two of them.
They want a soda. That another $4.50 for two.
They want to eat in the steakhouse and that's another $60.
Then they would like to buy a formal night picture and that's another $30.
They would like to go to the steam room and find out they need to buy a $90 per person Spa pass.
They would like to have an after dinner latte and that's another $5.

So on and so on.

I know that you can have a wonderful time without partaking in all of these things but once they are on board they want to enjoy the things that they see and that other people are enjoying. However, they find that when they want to enjoy these things there is usually a significant charge associated with it. This leaves a bad impression with Joe and Joanne especially after they paid something in the low to mid four figures to get a cabin on the ship.

Joe and Joanne do learn that they can have a good time without partaking in these extras but still feel they aren't getting the value they thought they would.

I know very well that you can go without many of these things or budget for them and not worry about it. The kid doesn't get to buy all the candy in the candy store but they still feel bad if they just get to look in the window. Or the cruisers have a bad feeling to be constantly charged to enjoy the offerings and also have a shock when they get the bill at the end of the cruise.

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Mike
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Last edited by Mike M; April 13th, 2011 at 07:20 AM. Reason: Changed error of "five" figures to "four" figures. With a five figure cruise everything better be included. :)
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Old April 11th, 2011, 11:46 PM
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With all due respect, the Joes and Joannes of the world need to learn to do a little research prior to cruising, going to the store, the car lot, getting a massage or whatever. You can't go to Kroger's meat dept. and get filet mignon and expect it to be the price of round steak. They have to make a choice--do I want it bad enough to pay for filet mignon or do I want to pay for a cheaper cut? If they go to a Cadillac dealership, do they expect to drive away in a Cadillac for the price of a Chevy? If so, naturally they may be disappointed. Maybe had they checked into the price difference prior to going they wouldn't be so upset. If they want a formal photo made at home, they will no doubt pay considerably more than for one made on the ship. If they decide to go to a day spa at home and both get a massage, etc. do they not check into what it's going to cost before hand? Again, I would venture to say it would cost more than a massage onboard, at least in my neck of the woods. Bottom line is simply that people should check into what's considered included and what, if anything is extra and if they want the extras, then they have to decide if it's worth paying for or not. If so, then pay up and don't grouse about the cost. If it's not worth it, pass on it and don't grouse about the cost.
Simply put, everyone has the power to choose--use it, one way or another, as best suits the individual and then forget it.
Just my worthless, simple opinion, which doesn't mean anything to anyone but me.But If I want something and buy it, I don't go around for a month complaining about the cost. If I pass on it, I forget it immediately.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 05:20 AM
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I keep seeing the phrase..."I don't want to pay for someone else's habits"....I realize that there are some real penny pincher's that cruise! There are some who also spend alot on the "extras" on a cruise. I think what we are trying to get to here is the things that should be included or decently priced that are not. Personally, Coffee, Tea, iced tea and lemonade from the buffet are not enough. Sit by the pool and ask a waiter to get you one of these items, they will look at you like you are crazy, "get it yourself they would say!"

Soda's being included would not add much to the price of a cruise. Pictures at 5-10 dollars each would be reasonable. Exercise equipment should be free to use. Spa treatments are way over priced and could be cheaper. I guess nickel and diming could also be viewed as over pricing for services rendered too.

One could ask the question....what is a reasonable price to you? I am sure we would get a million opinions to that question. From what I have seen....Azamara sounds as if they have listened to the consumer and put a great product out that should satisfy everyone.

happy sailing
Tim
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Old April 13th, 2011, 08:00 AM
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Interesting, yesterday's mail included some sort of "travel pack" a set of half sheet fliers advertising various vacation options. Carnival's flier talked about an All-Inclusive vacation. Granted all the things they listed are included in the price of the cruise but they fail to mention tips and all the other opportunities you have to spend money. I can see where Joe and Joanne could get the idea that they will not need to spend any additional dollars on board.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 08:04 AM
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Ron,
I hope you understand that I completely agree with you and I also disagree with you.

People really do need to research their vacation choice. When I'm going to drop $2,000 to $5,000 on a Caribbean cruise I want to know what I'm getting into.

The problems are that the vast majority of cruisers do not do any more research than read the travel agent's brochures and/or take a look at the cruise line's website. In none of this material are the drink, photo or most of the spa prices posted. Nor do they post the cost of specialty coffee. If there are specialty restaurants most of the cruise lines say there is a "nominal" or extra charge. Off the top of my head I don't remember any of this material giving an exact figure but I do believe NCL does. There may be pages on cruise lines websites that have more specific information but you REALLY have to dig to find them.

Of the millions of people who cruise each year only a very small percentage go to sites like Cruisemates to get real information about cruising. (It's one of the reasons I get irritated when someone asks, what we think, is a simple question and is told to use the "search" function or doesn't get an answer.) Doing this extra research is how someone can have a more enjoyable cruise and understand the charges they may incur and the options they have and what they want to partake in, what they don't and what it is going to cost.

In January I did an All Inclusive with two family members, two friends and their spouses. It was a five star AI and was very nice. The total cost for five days was about the same as the total cost of seven days in a Sky Suite on a Celebrity Caribbean cruise with our normal $400 - $500 final bill. This made the cost per day in the AI about $125 pp/pd more. Two of the people, other than my wife and I, had cruised before but these two don't want to go again because they "feel" it is too expensive because of all the "extra" charges. These are not financially naive people or not intelligent. One is an airline Captain and the other a physician. I asked "Why is it more expensive? I can cruise in a nice cabin, in a decent suite for less than we are paying here." Their response was: "On a cruise you are constantly required to pull out your card to pay for something." That's the "perception" problem. It isn't reality but if that's how someone feels it is reality to them.

It's a hard thing to change that perception.

Take care,
Mike
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