the "we can't afford to cruise" segment got me thinking on how effectively the cruise folks are in luring folks to cruise that might not know really how expensive it really is. If you really stop and think about it..the image in the early part of the century about cruising was that it was "only for the rich" and now the marketing foks have put the spin on it that "everyone can afford to cruise and act like they are rich because they can cruise"..I think there is a segment of this board that cast judgement on others desire and ability to want to cruise but don't take into effect how seductive the cruise lines have made it.
Think of this analogy...car companies are the absolute masters of seduction of getting people to buy more car then they can afford (rebates, incentives, employee discounts, 6 year car notes etc.)..People find themselves into a "negative equity situation" where after 2 years into a 6 year loan, they owe more then the car is worth. I don't buy new cars anymore. I wait for 18-36 months and buy thru a broker off a return lease and save lots of $$$ (more then off sets the new car feel).
Cruising is the same way. They (cruise lines) make it real easy (cruise line credit cards, low $499 cabin rate), but never show the hidden cost (air, onboard stuff etc) which adds up quickly and often is more then the cruise itself.( I bet Dave the Wave's next cruise that each cruise line has a goal of onboard revenue by cabin type to exceed by a % of the cost of the cabin) People want to live that fantasy of cruising and will sometimes stretch beyond their limits to do it. If thoses poor folks follow these boards and read about how some folks take 2-3-4 cruises a year they may not be aware that not all these folks have great discretionary income, many work in the travel industry (TA, airlines, retired etc). This does not make anyone a "bad" person because they elect to cruise when they might not be able to afford it.
I just did not like the way that particular thread was heading. The cruise lines do a heck of a job of seduction and we have all been seduced by someone or something in our lives
There are advertising agencies world wide making MILLIONS of dollars to come up with ad campaigns to part us from our money in all kinds of ways.
The bottom line is people have to be responsible for how they CHOSE to spend their money. It a somewhat normal reaction to want to buy everything that "glitters" at us. But that doesn't mean it's possible or realistic.
Cruises are a pretty major vacation investment, and it sometimes shocks me how little people research them before making the decision. This is evidenced pretty convincingly by the large number of posts you see from people saying... I just booked the XXXXX , what can you tell me about it? They should be asking that question BEFORE they book.
I didn't take my first cruise until I was 44 years old! It's not that I wasn't making a nice living already, and didn't go on vacations. BUT... the reality was we were raising a family (which took money), purchasing a home, a car, education and all the things that go along with a growing family situation. Our vacations were mostly driving family vacations, of a less expensive nature.
We began to cruise once we felt our family situation was stable and established. We researched our first cruise, and each one to follow, quite thouroughly before we entered the market.
I think sometimes people simply want too much immediate gratification, rather than waiting until they can afford (both financially and in terms of maturity) more of life's luxury items.
It's way too easy to say "THEY made me do it!", and blame someone else for our bad decisions. People need to make SMART decisions using the brains god gave them!
All cruise lines have that "X percent" they want outside of bookings for revenue. On many lines, I agree the number is 100%. On others, the number is quite a bit less. I think people need to do research and figure out total cost of their trip instead of depending on the cruise line or a fly by night work from home amateur TA.
Some travel agents advertising cruise rates that dont include port charges and taxes that end up costing hundreds of dollars. The amount they advertise for should include all mandatory charges. Aslo some travel agents post a cruise cost for a cabin or airfare rate which has already been booked and which they can not provide, this is illegal.
As with anything else that you buy, read the fine print! Make sure the TA provides you with the total cost including taxes etc before you book. Then include $10 a day for tips.
Cruising is still one of the most reasonable ways to have a fine vacation. Even driving to a destination is not very reasonable any more with the high cost of gasoline, and the increased cost of lodging and food.
A good "brick and mortar" TA (like ours) or a good online TA, who is a cruise specialist, will tell you the total cost-fares, taxes, port charges, and tips. While you definately should read the fine print in the ads, a good TA will tell you the cost of everything as soon as you call or visit.
If they are advertising cruises or airfares that don't exist, I'd be calling the BBB and the State's Atty. Generals office to report them.
If they don't give you the full cost, I suggest you change TA's ASAP.
"A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour."