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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 18th, 2006, 10:51 AM
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Tina,
Honestly, I was going to book a suite next week. I just got the vacation time cleared. But now, I think I'll pass, for now.
After all... we are unimportant, here on chit-chat, and don't make a difference!
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Old January 18th, 2006, 04:55 PM
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I hear ya Jason!
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Old January 18th, 2006, 07:03 PM
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CruiseMates doesn't make any money whether you take this cruise or not. Do you really think that this is a source, large or small, of revenue for this site?
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Old January 18th, 2006, 08:48 PM
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Marc, Could you explain to us more of what you are saying. I always thought that by using the TA's on here, it helped Cruisemates. I would not have booked my other cruises with Nancy if I had known that.

While I have your attention: You told us how many hits were on several sites, and not the others. Is this by counting them on the thread, or is there a place to go on here, to get that info.

Thanks,

Luanne
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Old January 18th, 2006, 09:05 PM
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Hi Luanne,
Marc is correct, the site doesn't make any money from any of their Cruisemates group cruises. The t/a that handles may get some extra advertizing through the boards because of it. Also, by booking with the t/a that is handling the group cruise, you get a few extra's that you wouldn't normally by booking with someone else for the same cruise/same time. Also, if there is any group discounts by booking with a group, thats also a savings that you get when booking through the t/a thats doing the cruise.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 09:30 PM
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Donna, Does that go for individual booked cruises too?

Thanks

Luanne
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Old January 18th, 2006, 11:30 PM
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Arrrgh I could not afford it even if I shared with someone?
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Old January 19th, 2006, 12:47 AM
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Yeah, maybe Nancy's got no cabins left, but a little birdie told me that "one or two" people tend to cancel just before the full-refund deadline (next October???)..... dunno about the price, but it's not the end of the world as we know it.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 07:59 AM
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Your are right CC.

As I stated before, first I booked this to get the good prices but knew all well there is a chance I will not go. Many reasons. Some obvious. First is my dd school. Until I know her schedule for next school year we have to wait and see. Sometimes we have two weeks at Xmas, sometimes one.

After that we will have to wait and see. Second I booked it because of the people here and I was looking for a good priced cruise for four people. If the flavor of that cruise changes because of events here, that too will as it has now cause me to re-think. But my priority is my family.

I never said that by cancelling I would be taking money away from CM. I'm not that stupid, Marc! I know how boards like this work and what they do get from it. You assumed. It is not my intention to harm CM in anyway. I don't work/think that way!
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Old January 19th, 2006, 08:47 AM
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Marc and Donna,
So let me get this straight… The FREE cabins given to CruiseMates for each “?� amount of cabins booked, through Nancy, are worth nothing? Your assumption, of us (on Chit-chat) being ignorant to the process is as upsetting as (chit-chat) being unimportant. If not enough people book the CruiseMates sponsored cruise…Hence No Comped cabins for the CM Staff members… The Result would be, cancellation of sponsored cruise… I recall a couple of those. NO VALUE to Cruisemates? Come on… Give us a little credit … This is almost embarrassing!

I'll have to edit my signature, cause' it ain't funny no more...
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Old January 19th, 2006, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason
Marc and Donna,
So let me get this straight… The FREE cabins given to CruiseMates for each “?� amount of cabins booked, through Nancy, are worth nothing? Your assumption, of us (on Chit-chat) being ignorant to the process is as upsetting as (chit-chat) being unimportant. If not enough people book the CruiseMates sponsored cruise…Hence No Comped cabins for the CM Staff members… The Result would be, cancellation of sponsored cruise… I recall a couple of those. NO VALUE to Cruisemates? Come on… Give us a little credit … This is almost embarrassing!

I'll have to edit my signature, cause' it ain't funny no more...
Jason...

What Donna is saying is absolutely true, Cruisemates does NOT do CruiseMates cruises to make money. There are arrangements made between CM and the travel agents to accommodate the CM hosts, but on a cruise with 160 cabins sold that equals a lot of "free" cabins that CruiseMates is not making a penny from - they are going back into the pool to keep the cost of the cruise down.

Jason, we provide you with a free public forum, but not for the purpose of mis-quoting us in a bad light. But I thank you for bringing an important misperception to light. I suppose some people have believed we do this simply to sell our group cruises. Nothing could be further from the truth. If we stopped doing CM cruises right now it would not affect our bottom line one iota (might even improve it).

We do the group cruises because they are fun thing to do, and it gives us an opportunity to give our underpaid staff a perk. However. the staff member who goes often ends up doing a lot more work and spending more money on those cruises than they expected, because they care about making the fun happen.

So, we are not here just for the almighty dollar, believe it or not. And though it would probably be wiser for me not to respond to allegations most people know are not true, because we are good people, I have a hard time not standing up for us when someone claims otherwise.

Actually, I am hoping some cabins will open up because I would personally like to meet all of you. I have not been on a CM cruise since 2001. With all those free cabins, you'd think the president would get one at some point ;-) - just kidding, there are no free cabins.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 11:16 AM
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Paul, I am trying to understand what you are saying. I have read it twice, and still don't understand all. I am only familiar with carnival, but was told by them that if I could get 8 rooms booked on our Conquest cruise, the ninth would be free. Is this what you are talking about? Are you saying that if we didn't want the 9th free, we could use the price to make the others cheaper? Is this why our Century cruise was so much cheaper? When you have this big a group, do you offer freebies to all staff that want to go? I remember when the Century cruise came up, and we were discussing it in chat, we had one employee who couldn't go, and one who said that it was just a standard room, and if you wanted to upgrade, you had to pay for that yourself. How do you decide who takes what group. Do you take turns?

I disagree with you about not responding. I think it is important to speak up with the truth. The truth gives us peace, lies make us question.

Might I suggest an article from you or Anne concerning the roll of the advertisers. Do they help Cruisemates? Is the fact that we use them, helping to make the boards better, or does it not really matter to CM.

What is our roll in CM?

I hate math, but I am adding 2+2 and I am getting 6.

Please help us to understand.

Luanne
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Old January 19th, 2006, 11:24 AM
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Very good Post Luanne. I too would like those questions answered, or maybe we are just not important enough. I am confused again. 8)
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Old January 19th, 2006, 11:32 AM
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BJ, We have to matter. I am not the brightest match in the book, but If there was no us, then they would be just them, and that would get old real fast. I am not talking about us, as in you or me, i am talking about everybody. I woke up to 14 e-mails this morning. Most wanted to know if I thought we matter anymore. They matter to me, but I can't answer for CM.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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Paul… How wonderful to finally here from you.
Quote:
but not for the purpose of mis-quoting us in a bad light. But I thank you for bringing an important misperception to light. I suppose some people have believed we do this simply to sell our group cruises. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Would you please point out where I quoted, much less misquoted, anyone. At no time in my post did I mention money. I said “VALUE�.

Quote:
And though it would probably be wiser for me not to respond to allegations most people know are not true, because we are good people, I have a hard time not standing up for us when someone claims otherwise.
Where did I say; you are NOT GOOD PEOPLE.

Quote:
If we stopped doing CM cruises right now it would not affect our bottom line one iota (might even improve it).
Let me post one of many scenarios pertaining to "bottom line". I know Kuki is a major mainstay to the CruiseMates organization and I admire his abilities as a writer like most around here. I too enjoyed his many reviews. I also realize that if he had to personally pay for all these cruises himself, they would become rather limited, and rightfully so. I guess he’s expendable as well.

Quote:
If we stopped doing CM cruises right now it would not affect our bottom line one iota (might even improve it).
To say it would not affect the bottom line one iota is a travesty, because affect (monetary, readership or hits) eventually lead to the bottom line.

Quote:
there are no free cabins.
To say there are no free cabins is not true.

Paul, believe me, I am very grateful for the free public form here. I feel very close to the CM family including it’s staff, and I have never claimed they are bad people, as you have insinuated. You are the one that stated all us at chit-chat are unimportant in the scheme of things and are not good for business.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 04:10 PM
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Hi Luanne,
The different cruiselines may do the TC's differently. I know we did one group cruise and we simply divided the cost of the free berth amoung averyone that went. I don't know all the details for this one, but sometimes the host will end up getting the "free" cabin. I did one CM cruise that I hosted and believe me, my free cabin was not free and when they say that, its the cheapest inside cabin price, so if you wanted to upgrade, etc...thats a lot extra, doesn't include port charges or taxes or air....

Paul is also saying the same thing I did earlier, Cruisemates doesn't make any money themselves for the site by having Cruisemages group cruises...

Mary Lou and I are co-hosting the Freedom cruise and we decided from the beginning, we would just have a group cruise and not hold the t/a to any free cabins, so we are getting nothing on that, we just wanted to do it together and go on Freedom..

Hopefully this makes more sense?
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Old January 19th, 2006, 04:29 PM
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I’ve been away cruising… on a CM group cruise with 96 cruisemates. There’s been painfully slow Internet service, so I have hardly been on the boards at all, other than to post my daily log.


Today the weather on deck is 54 degrees, so I have more indoor time, so thought I would pop in. A lot had obviously happened, and I’ll wait until I get home on regular internet service to offer my personal comments. BUT, I did want to comment on this thread since the CM group cruise program is sort of my “invention� and my responsibility.

Firstly, people should NOT assume that they know what’s going on, and how our program is run just because they know what the cruise lines policies are regarding tour conductor berths. There’s MUCH more to group cruises than 1 free berth for each 8 people booked!!! And I’ve tried to explain all the options on the message boards when people have asked questions about setting up their own group cruises.

Not sure why anyone thinks they really have a “right� to know the way we do set these up, if they are happy with the price, service, amenities and value, and fun, they get when they sail on one of our groups. And the fact they do is evidenced that we have MANY people who have been on multiple CM group cruises. But, at the same time I can’t stand to see false information being tossed around, like people thinking they know the facts!

There’s nothing nefarious going on. CruiseMates exists by selling advertising. It’s a commercial site, made free to for your use, by doing so. CruiseMates makes NO money from the CruiseMates Group Cruises… and nor do I! Other than the agents who bid on and win our group cruises are advertisers, or often will become advertisers when the group does well.

But, there is no commission or percentage of a group cruise booking that goes to CruiseMates, or me!

Every CM group is hosted by a CM staff person, and their cabin is paid for the Travel Agent who wins the bid for each group. If the group sells enough cabins to earn “tour conductor berths� from the cruise lines those go to the travel agent.

The travel agents generally will consider that income/expense ratio when submitting their bids to us.

Does that mean the staff person hosting is going free? I DON’T think so! There’s a lot of work involved in organizing a group cruise both before the cruise, with time spent e mailing and organizing chats etc. There’s also a considerable amount of time put into organizing group events onboard, and making certain everyone who wants to be is included.

Besides a lot of time and effort the hosts often spend their own money on gifts, prizes, t shirts, door magnets, phone books etc. That is money out of their pocket, not imaginary money. And if you’ve sailed with our groups, and have witnessed the effort the hosts put in to make the cruise fun for the group, and see that they work the cruise, then you’re not really watching.

The cruise I’m on now I brought along two extra suitcases full of t-shirts and prizes to give away at various events. I spent time putting together Trivia sheets for 5 nights in the dining rooms, and I get them printed daily, and delivered to the dining room. I printed magnetic door signs for everyone in the group. I wrote and organized the hints for the scavenger hunt, and other contests we’re having onboard.

All of this comes at a cost.. both financial and an obligation of my time! And I believe the other staff put in just as much effort on the cruises they host.

On the upcoming Century cruise Mike is hosting. I am booked, and paying my own way, because I want to be there. Just as other staffers have booked and paid their own way on previous CM group cruises.

As I said, on the other issues, I’ll give my personal comments and opinions for when I have better access.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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Kuki isn't here to talk about the Cruisemates Cruise program so it isn't fair for me to speak for him but I can say a few things about it.

No one except the agents make hard money off of it and often they lose money.

The cruises are negotiated so they are a good value, give people a decent amenity package, and are with agents that are reputable and knowledgeable.

There is intrinsic value because they are the vehicle that brings this "Cyber community" into reality. It is when you can meet the people you see everyday and do it by doing something you love to do, CRUISING. With a CM cruise you get together with old friends and meet old friends for the first time. They are fun and they are usually a very good deal.

My first CM cruise with Jim was on Cruisemates cruise. It was on the Renaissance, Tahiti cruise.

There is a free cabin given to the host. It is usually a mid-level outside cabin or low end balcony, depending on the block of cabins held. If the host wants something different they pay for the upgrade. In many instances the host also places a deposit in the event they cancel. The host pays all their own travel expenses, insurance and all on board costs and excursions. There is no "expense account". The cost of materials or "extras" such as t-shirts, name tags, door signs, phone books, etc. are either picked up by the host or donated by people in the group. A CM cruise for a host is not free. I have had to turn down a few of them because of the expense. The cost of the Hong Kong cruise, for me, is VERY expensive.

Oft times when a cruise does not sell, at all it is pulled and no one goes.

Additional cabins may have been pre-negotiated at the time on certain sailings that were anticipated to sell well and additional hosts would be required. (I wish they would have done that on Century) . But rarely are things renegotiated. The package is offered at the time of booking and that's what you get. The fun and Cruisemates activities are the icing on the cake and what Cruisemates gets really makes no difference to the person booking it.

In terms of what it does to the bottom line: It does help in terms of intrinsic value and public relations. It makes the place more like a home. When it come to the bean counters, no it doesn't really add a line item because the advertisers get some "free" advertising out of the deal and the message board rule of putting an advertising link in your signature is suspended and we do some "promotional posts" , but without CM cruises and the opportunity it gives it, lessens the "feeling" of making the place a home and that makes a big difference to your customer. Many people have met on these cruises and have become lifelong friends.

Don't worry that will never go away. It isn't the person who builds your house that makes it home. It's the people who live in it. So don't destroy the house and we'll make sure that the lights stay on.

Now I think it's time to go back to our regular programming.

Take care,
Mike
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Old January 19th, 2006, 04:56 PM
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Hi Mike,
Well put!! I couldn't of said it better.....hey, and the lights are still on :-)
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Old January 19th, 2006, 06:57 PM
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Amen, Mike!
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Old January 19th, 2006, 07:21 PM
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MIke,I love it when you talk that way..ooxoxooxoxox
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Old January 19th, 2006, 08:13 PM
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THANK YOU CruiseMates for coming clean about the program.....

(even if Jason had to pull a few teeth to get you to do it)

A clean ship is a happy ship.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 07:39 AM
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Actually, I came on to post something totally unrelated to what this thread has turned into. But since it appears to have come to some type of resolution then I feel I can continue with my off-topic.

I just wanted to mention that I have put my Century logo entry on hold while being bombarded with "real" work and in the meantime it got a bit crushed. Ohhh! I hope I can salvage it. Mine is not made to be competitive and I will embarrass myself and post it when re-worked.

Karen
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Old January 20th, 2006, 10:41 AM
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First of all I’d like to thank Mike for his straightforward answers to most of the questions proposed. It seems you are the only one that has the cajone’s to admit to our importance. The beating around the bush answers, previously offered by others, were a little evasive, to say the least. I got tired of trying to read between the lines.
Although I am still gravely concerned about Chit-Chats existence in the near future. And because of Paul’s self-proclaimed prejudices against Chit-Chat I felt extremely threatened and IF ANYONE THREATENS “MY FAMILY� I GET MY FEATHERS RUFFLED, hence my postings. This ol’ Buzzard still has a little fight in em’.
Hopefully Chit-Chat will remain unscathed, but with Paul beliefs on the matter (and he does run the joint) I won’t hold my breath. For every morning, I log on and it pops up, I am thankful. Lets all hope it continues… we can only HOPE now because we are not allowed to ask for PRAYER according to other posters… but that is another pot yet to stir and right-now I’m tired and for now I digress…
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Old January 20th, 2006, 11:22 AM
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The questions have been answered: Chit Chat is still here and prayers and and good thoughts can still be asked for.

Thoughts and "prayers" of good thoughts and wishes for others will always be allowed and even though the word prayer is used it can be interpreted how someone wants it to. Biblical verse, religious text, or religious discussion is discouraged. Like politics it becomes just too hot of a subject and almost always leads to bad feelings. There are other boards for those discussions.

If someone posts as an example: Oh God bless this board and all who enter and strike down all who try to delete this post. We would have a problem. I would be looking over my shoulder but it would be deleted.

As I stated before: The board policies haven't really changed since a week ago so I am locking this thread and we will get back to everyday life. Whatever that is.

Take care,
Mike
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Old January 20th, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Jason...

I never said "chit-chat is not important," I said exactly the opposite. And for CM cruises, we have been "coming clean" since they started. We have nothing to hide. If we did, all of these messages from staff explaining them wouldn't have appeared so spontaeously.

Can you imagine what it is like have people in our own site accusing us of being bad, selfish people? But dont think anyone is being singled out in that regard. It happens all the time.

And so, I know this scenario, nothing I do or say will be good enough, because I am "Paul", the bad guy who runs the company and has to make tough decisions. I would like it if the people in chat-chat made me as welcome as they do everyone else, since I am the one who made, and continues to make this all possible. But no, I am the bad guy. And obviously not liked by certain individuals.

No matter what I say, it just doesn't make any difference. So I won't be coming back to chit-chat.

I hope you enjoy CruiseMates, even if it is without me, as that is what is important to me. farewell
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