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Old April 10th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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Default A Disturbing Trend or not?

One of the things that seperates modern cruises from the ocean liner voyages of the past, is the concept that all modern cruise ships are a "one class" ship for all passengers. In fact, one of the big draws of modern cruises is that unlike the past, your cruise fare gets you and every other passenger access to the same public areas, same services, same food, and same access to everything the ship has to offer. The difference in cruise fares had only to do with your accommodations, i.e. your cabin size and location. This is what the cruise lines have touted as "modern cruising" as a way to seperate themselves from the ways of the old ocean liners, which had multiple classes of passengers, 1st class luxury passengers all the way down to "steerage" passengers that were kept below decks and not allowed to eat, recreate, or mix with those in the upper classes.

A new trend seems to be developing with NCL's "Villas and Suites", Celebrity Cruise's Solstice with it's luxury suite section, and Carnival's new Spa suites. In these cases, those willing to pay more, will now be seperated from the rest of the passengers with there own spa services, dining rooms, public areas, and pools. All of which will be of much higher quality and not available to other passengers on those ships.

My point here is this, since modern cruising began in the late 60's, the cruiselines have used the "one class" concept to seperate themselves from the ocean liners of old to attract middle class North Americans to take a cruise vacation and build the industry. Is the chase for the almighty "luxury dollar" by the modern cruise lines mean a return to the ship class society of old?

This is not a case of "if they're willing to pay for it". What I'm talking about is the basic principle of cruise lines instituting a multi-class system onboard ships based on how much a passenger can pay and be able to offer these passengers seperate areas, suites, spa services, and dining options not available to others onboard.

Your thoughts?
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Old April 10th, 2008, 02:18 PM
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Doesn't bother me one way or the other. We now have choices in dining, so if someone thinks they are better than me and can afford to be seperated from the masses so be it!
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Old April 10th, 2008, 02:33 PM
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If NCL, Celebrity, and Carnival do indeed start with the "multiple classes" sailing, I'll simply find a line that doesn't do that type of thing. I've got many, many cruises aboard all of these lines, but they certainly aren't the only game in town. This is the reason I won't sail Cunard!

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Old April 10th, 2008, 03:21 PM
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I would hate to see a difference in the classes. Didn't they watch "Titanic"?
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Old April 10th, 2008, 03:56 PM
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After being on the Gem, when she came to Boston, I was lucky enough to view the Garden Villa's and Courtyard Suites. There is a small pool to accomodate these guests, as well as an intimate dining area, where guests can dine privately.

The rooms are quite stunning in my opinion, reason enough to book them just for that reason. But honestly, if you are a people person, you would join in the many dining options, and use the large pools, just like anyone booking the ship. For me, other then the luxe cabins, I could not stay up there, disjointed from the other guests.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 05:48 PM
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It really doesn't matter to me....because the "fun" is always where I'm at!

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Old April 10th, 2008, 05:53 PM
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I was on GEM in January and know some one well who was in the couryard villas, they did enjoy a swim there for sure, but they sat at the table with us to eat.........Doesnt bother me at all they have a few extra perks.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 07:36 PM
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I hadn't nticed and really won't give it any further thought.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 08:20 PM
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At one level it does bother me. I like the way things are now. On the other hand, if someone can afford to book a special room or area that is available to them, and they want to, why shouldn't they? If a ship that I was sailing on gave me the feeling that I didn't fit in, then I wouldn't be booking that ship again. I'm sure there will be enough around so that all of us can chose the type of cruise experience that we want.

That's one thing that I love about cruising. All of the choices and variety.

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Old April 10th, 2008, 09:18 PM
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Default A disturbing Trend or Not

There already is a more subtle form of social caste system on cruise ships today.

What we have now on the cruise lines are the least expensive inside cabins all the way up to fabulous penthouse suites. That is a kind of separation of the masses via financial ability to pay. I suppose, too, that even the specialty restaurants are a kind of separation. Some cruisers cannot afford the extra charges or travel on a shoestring budget. You can carry that idea further by thinking of Carnival as budget cruising all the way of up to cruise lines such as Seaborne Yachts and Residensea, which I understand requires a minimum annual income of five billion.

It's just that the cruise ships you mention in your post are more blatant in their "layering."

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Old April 10th, 2008, 10:13 PM
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most major airlines have no problem selling out it's first class and business class on international or coast to coast flights..cruise lines are no different

if people are willing to pay it, they will provide it..the rest of us can hope for the "courtesy upgrade"
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Old April 10th, 2008, 11:03 PM
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It wouldn't bother me enough to avoid a ship or cruiseline that I otherwise find wonderful.

I've been in suites and in "cheap seats" - (a single cabin on the Norway was NOT a luxury accommodation - more like a closet). You can book a suite and not have the best cruise of your life and you can book the "bleachers" and have a sensational time. It all depends on who you meet, what you see, your own attitude. I suspect there are some lonely, unhappy people in suites and in first class and there are a lot of very happy, fun and enchanting people in "lower class" accommodations.

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Old April 11th, 2008, 02:32 PM
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This is a perfectly predictable and natural evolution of mass market cruising. Once they hooked a far larger universe of people into cruising by reducing prices dramatically, they realized that those who still appreciate and can afford the higher-end experience were being underserved. The success of outfits like Oceania cemented this view.

So, they are migrating from the one size fits all concept to the "choose your level of luxury" approach. They're obviously trying to overcome the cattle car atmosphere that inevitably accompanies ships of the size they're building these days and attempting to realize some economies of scale by giving multiple market segments an experience they'll all enjoy on the same ship. It's not about being or not being a "people person." Some who are perfectly nice, outgoing people appreciate and can afford a higher level of accommodations and service. Why would their presence on the same ship diminish your enjoyment of the kind of cruise you've been taking all along? Airplanes have first class and coach; trains have sleeping cars and coach cars. Hotels have regular rooms and suites and executive lounges. What's the big deal?
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Old April 11th, 2008, 02:48 PM
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There are already luxury lines for the people who want to be separate for the rest of us mid class cruisers. I'm sorry if sitting at a table with some who works for a living is that much of a problem for some of the rich and famous. My opinion if you want to book these special classes don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out of my dining. :evil: Where is RCCL on this I may have a new line.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 03:44 PM
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Kat--

I think you're missing the point. They're shooting for various levels of a "middle ground" here. Sure, you can always go on Crystal if you want to. But the leviathans the mass market lines are building are off-putting to some mainstream cruisers, and the lines know it. It has nothing to do with snobbery or "eating with you."

Seems to me they're simply trying to offset some of the perceived negatives of the monster ships by giving those who can afford it a more upscale alternative without having to go up to the $500 a day range.

I truly think you're building a straw man here with your "rich and famous" vs. "working people" stuff. It has nothing whatever to do with the concept of sitting at a table with you or having a drink with you. Just because someone might be able to afford better accommodations than you doesn't make them evil. In all honesty, it appears that you're the one who's acting much more class-conscious than those you seem to disdain.

And after seeing your posts here for quite awhile, I know you're better than that.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 04:43 PM
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I bet a large number of people who have money, and may choose those upscale amenities worked very hard to get where they are. It seems to be a common misconception that someone who is rich hasn't worked very hard to earn that money. It aint necessarily so.

Those with money can look down their noses at those without and vice versa. The really rich person is the one who is blessed by focusing on those valuable assets that no amount of money can buy.

I still like all the choices we have. I feel like a millionaire just by getting on a cruiseship.

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Old April 11th, 2008, 08:58 PM
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My point here was not to equate cruising with airplanes, trains or hotels. Nor was it to disparriage the rich. I am trying to point to the actions of cruise lines that built the cruise industry on the principle of "one class" cruising, now changing this approach to attract the luxury dollar to mass market cruise lines. Those willing to pay more for luxury have cruise lines for that, i.e. Seabourn, Oceania and etc. That is why the major cruise line parent companies have multiple cruise lines in there fleets. (Carnival has Seabourn and Windstar, RCCL has Azamara and etc.) Of course there are people that will be willing to pay for access to the special luxury areas, but is it right on principle?

I don't see this trend changing, as new cruise ships are being built and the cruise lines are looking for ways to "one-up" each other and draw the luxury dollar. I'm sure there will always be space on the mass market cruise lines for those of us that book oceanviews and balcony cabins as well as the rich folks in there special luxury areas we won't be allowed to go in.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 09:18 PM
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Do you really see this as a matter of principle? Do you really believe that there is something sacred about a one-class ship? Or a mass market ship?

There are no principles at issue here at all. You don't have a birthright to a 100% downmarket ship any more than you have one to a 100% upmarket ship. You make it sound like some sort of moral issue is in play here, and I don't see that at all.

The industry went to one class cruising as a way of building business, not because they had a sacred belief in the concept. They didn't do it as a matter of principle; they did it because they thought that they could make money and increase the number of people cruising. Now that they've done that, and they have a greater universe of people cruising, market segmenatation is starting to make more and more sense to them.

Nothing stays the same, especially in marketing. You stagnate, you lose. The competition will eat your lunch.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AR
Do you really see this as a matter of principle?
Yes, I do!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AR
There are no principles at issue here at all. You don't have a birthright to a 100% downmarket ship any more than you have one to a 100% upmarket ship. You make it sound like some sort of moral issue is in play here, and I don't see that at all.
I do see a principle here, but not a moral issue. I didn't say anything about a birthright, and I didn't say the cruise lines didn't have a right to do it, just that I don't care for it. The cruise lines certainly do have the right to build and market their ships in any way they believe will maximize revenue. I don't think they are being "immoral" or anything, just that I believe they are violating the basic principle that helped build the industry. Even as the cruise lines have to innovate to stay ahead, they need, I believe, stay true to the basic principles that got them to where they are in the first place.
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Old April 12th, 2008, 12:26 AM
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Old April 12th, 2008, 01:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katlady
There are already luxury lines for the people who want to be separate for the rest of us mid class cruisers. I'm sorry if sitting at a table with some who works for a living is that much of a problem for some of the rich and famous. My opinion if you want to book these special classes don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out of my dining. :evil: Where is RCCL on this I may have a new line.
I find this remark appalling. Those of us who cruise luxury lines do not do it "to be separate for the rest of us mid class cruisers." I cruise luxury lines because I want the food, service, accomodations, and itineraries that only a small luxury ship can provide. I also find it much more economical than getting a large suite on a main line or premium cruise line which would still leave me without the necessary food, serice, and amenitites. My fellow passengers, for the most part, are like me; working stiffs or retired working stiffs who want value for their money. We are not the rich and famous (although they do sometimes show up). I work hard for my money. My wife works hard for her money. We do not have new cars (actually no cars now) every three years and certainly won't spend the bucks on a Lexus or Mercedes like many here. We don't live extravagantly. We just like to travel. We spend every spare sent that is not being saved for retirement for traveling. Of course, we have the added benefit of having no kids to support.

I do like to select my own table mates which means that I will try to avoid sailing any cruise line that puts strangers at a set table. I like the choices for dinner in terms of time, location, and dinner partners that can be found both in main stream (NCL) and luxury (Regent, Silversea, Seabourn) cruise lines. Does this make me a snob?

The main stream cruise lines going to a multi class system has been evolving for a few years. It is exactly this reason that we found luxury cruising to start with. When we realized that we could get the cheapest cabin on Regent and have all the amenities we wanted for less than a Sky Suite on Celebrity; it was a no brainer. This is why the main stream lines have to expand the benefits for suite cruisers. You just can't give them more space or they will eventually realize that they should just move up the cruise line ladder. You need to give benefits that have more perceived value than actual cost to provide.

Katlady, please consider editing your previous post to remove the inciteful language.
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Old April 13th, 2008, 06:59 PM
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One could consider various reasons a person with sufficient assets to book the high-dollar experience would do so on a multi-class ship.
1. Most of the all-luxury ships are mid to small in size. Perhaps the person wants luxury accommodations on a huge ship with all the high-tech goodies.
2. Perhaps the appeal is having an envious audience. Some cannot truly enjoy luxury in the company of peers, all of whom can afford the best.
3. Then there is the ordinary person who saves aggressively toward vacations but has very little time off. If they can only get one shot every two years, they give it their best shot.
Myself, I could not imagine spending five cruises' money one one cruise, because the cruise experience itself means so much more to me than a few private comforts. Besides, the cleaning staff spends nearly as much time in my room as I do.
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Old April 13th, 2008, 07:21 PM
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I do like to select my own table mates which means that I will try to avoid sailing any cruise line that puts strangers at a set table. I like the choices for dinner in terms of time, location, and dinner partners that can be found both in main stream (NCL) and luxury (Regent, Silversea, Seabourn) cruise lines. Does this make me a snob? [/quote]
Absolutely not! It makes you quite different from me, but definitely not a snob. Some people treasure new experiences in the company of family and close friends. For me, meeting new people is the most important part of the experience. Bless my DW; she is more of your persuasion, but she puts up with my gregariousness as long as I reciprocate with a mountain retreat once in a while or a table for two in the alternative restaurant.
Besides, the simple fact that we are all on vacation [except for the plainly identified staff and crew] makes us more alike than we are different. That plus the commonality that we are all five miles from land [straight down].
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Old April 14th, 2008, 03:18 AM
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or one can simply select to cruise on a smaller ship and get the same experience without paying the higher fare..on all my cruises to Greece or Venice, the ships were smaller (800)s, had an inside cabin (cheapest) and enjoyed all the perks
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