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Old May 28th, 2008, 09:32 AM
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Default Peter Greenburg Video on Cost of Cruising

http://www.aarp.org/leisure/travel/a...of_cruise.html

Peter Greenburg is considered the travel professional for NBC, often featured on the Today Show, etc. In the video above, dated May 18, 2008, he talks about the hidden costs of cruising. It seems like a jab at Royal Caribbean, and is inaccurate in my experience.

He refers to Johnny Rockets, Ben Jerry's as being "expensive onboard options" and then he says, "and then toss in rock climbing, ice skating and onboard wave surfing and ka-ching" - Last time I checked the cruise lines didn't charge extra for those things.

He talks about tipping and knocks off seven or eight job titles of everyone you MUST tip onboard, including shore excursion staff (?), and all the usual, but he never says what it usually adds up to.

He sums it up by saying - "In all, figure the cost of your cruise and multiply it times 1.75, oh and that is per person, and does NOT include the cost of your alcohol."

Is he crazy? I rarely spend that much on a cruise tab, and he is obviously inaccurate and inflammatory. Do you agree?
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Old May 28th, 2008, 09:44 AM
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Paul...........I sure agree.......he must have a beef with the cruiselines or just Royal Caribbean...........

Couldn't believe all the people he said to tip........

What a bad rap.........




Sharon
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Old May 28th, 2008, 09:54 AM
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While I love Peter, I think, for many posters here, he is way, way off base. If I cruised with his math, I would not be cruising.

Everyone knows what's important to their qaulity of a vacation. If you cannot live withput doing, seeing, and buying everything you see,and tipping like that, his math could be your downfall.

And for tipping all the crew he mentions, no way...sorry!

In this AARP forum, he might be scaring off many in retirement, or with fixed incomes, who think I can never cruise now!
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Old May 28th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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well yeah...

First of all, tipping is the same now as it has ever been, about $10 per person per day. It isn't like he says, that cruises have changed in how "inclusive" they are. And the cruise line istributes the tips, so it isn't like you are reaching into your pocket after every meal. It is misleading.

Second, everyone tips the same amount - despite the amount that you pay for the curise - so it isn't logical to base your overall cost on the basic price of the cruise. It is more logical to base it on a per-day system.

Finally, he makes it sound as if cruises are full of hidden charges. And I think this is becoming pervasive with novices. They don't understand that a cruise is still a cruise with a "free" dining room, etc. That even though there is a Ben & Jerrys there are also plenty of free dessrts, including ice cream. I have seen posts where people say "how will I know how much a dining room costs before I eat there?" etc.

If someone is going to broach a subject like "the 'new realities' of cruising," it would be a good idea to be far more accurate.

I have met Peter Greenburg, and he mentions our site in his latest book. Generally a nice guy and usually accurate. I am sorry he "missed the boat" on this one. It almost does seem like he has a vendetta, or else AARP told him what to say.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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Peter's presentation was flawed and presented more overwhelming than necessary. His examples were also misleading but his overall message can be construed as fairly accurate.

He names Johnny Rocket's and Ben and Jerry's as the "additional charge restaurants" and then says you can pay $20-$30 to eat there. Chops or a Celebrity, Olympic type, of restaurant charges these prices. Johnny Rockets is somewhere around $5/pp.

There is an additional charge for ice skating and it's for the skate rental. I'm not sure if wave surfing is additional but rock climbing has not been on our RCL cruises.

He also double dips in the number of people you need to tip. He lists the cabin steward and the "maid". Both are the same people. He also lists the wine steward and the bar tenders. Their tips are included in the price of the drinks or wine.

He should just say that $10 to $13/day is the amount you will pay for tips.

In regard to the shore excursions. It is customary to tip the guide and driver on a shore excursion but it is not required.

However expenses do add up and people need to realize this.

If you do take a couple of ship's shore excursions the expenses quickly mount up. The lowest price excursions you will find on most ship's are around $40/pp. Many full day excursions can easily run $300 - $1000 based on where you are and what you do.

So, if you take a seven day cruise, in an inside cabin at $700, add in your tips, do four excursions at an average of $75/each, eat in the $30 alternative restaurant once, have one spa treatment for $100 and your bill will be about 3/4 the cost of your cabin. $70+$300+$30+$100=$500. The actual cost would be almost double this amount for two people and we know that cabin costs are usually based on double occupancy.

$500 is close to his 1.75 for the total cost of the cruise.

I have always recommended that people figure $100 pp/day additional for expenses. While many of these charges are added to you onboard account and go to your credit card, they are still the true additional cost of the cruise and prepare people for that final bill at the end of the cruise.

Many folks will cruise with far less of an expense than this but none of the cost examples I show above are out of line. The cruise lines are not twisting anyone's arm or requiring them to pay additional money on onboard charges but they do make it very tempting to do so.

It is better to be informed before you cruise than shocked at the end of it.

Take care,
Mike
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Old May 28th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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Mike, I love it when you do the math. I don't mean to stick my head in the sand about add-on expenses, but I do think he is misleading here.

Your figures are spot on - Your math comes out to $500 per person for a 7-day cruise. I haven't personally had a bill close to that ($1000/couple) in years, but that is me (we). I tend to shy away from very expensive tours unless we are in a foreign land I really want to see and won't get back. I also skip the spa treatments, my DW may get one.

But also, your math is for the cheapest cabin, whereas most new ships have as many as 80%+ balcony cabins. These cost, on average, about $1250 per person (that is a CLIA figure for the average price of a cruise these days). Many Alaska and European balcony cabins are going for over $200 pppd. That puts Peter's recommendation at over $150 pppd which is almost double your figures.

You COULD spend that much if you wanted to, but I doubt that most people do.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 04:03 PM
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People like "bus drivers" and "shore excursion staff" (I'm sure he meant tour guides) are tipped whether you are on a cruise or not. So are taxi drivers, but there has yet to be a taxi service on a cruise ship (soon, maybe).

At the last all-inclusive we stayed at, the tipping was much the same as a cruise. We had to tip the "maid", the waiters, and pretty much everybody else who put out their hand (the baggage guy springs to mind). Even the guy who "controls" the beach loungers wanted a handout, then allowed us to pull our chairs to the spot we wanted - by ourselves. Booze was included, but in fairness we could have drank ourselves to death (no exaggeration) for how much extra it cost just for open bar. The food was better on our last cruise, as well.

Good thing a high percentage of AARP members have already cruised, and can recognize this piece as a hastily-thrown together misinformed load of BS.

He should say, if you want to travel, be prepared to tip. Period. He makes it sound like a cruise is outside the norm.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 04:34 PM
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I just watched it again, it is especially the first part where he says, "it wasn't long ago that you could go on a cruise and put your wallet away, expecting everything onboard would be included. NOW you have to tip..." etc.

Then he notes all the things like rock-climbing, etc that are included in the price and says they are not. wrong again.

Then he alludes that it is hard to find a dining venue on a ship that you don't have to pay for. not true, you still get the dinin included on every cruise (except easyCruise).

Finally he says, figure 75% of your cruise cost, and that doesn't include your bar tab. Why is the bar tab suddenly separate?

In other words, he completely forgets to say that almost everything he mentions are OPTIONAL costs, not hidden costs. I think reports like this are confusing novices into thinking they are walking into traps where they will be on a ship and forced to spend money just to eat or have fun. That just isn't accurate.

Funny, I remember being on a cruise with Peter back in 1996, and I just saw him at the Queen Victoria naming. He knows cruising. I don't get it.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 04:39 PM
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Potter School of Journalism ??


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Old May 28th, 2008, 07:14 PM
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Paul, why not email him, and, let him know he has a whole bunch of people here, who disagree with him:)
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Old May 28th, 2008, 07:49 PM
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or I would be glad to test his theory if he paid for my balcony cabin ::
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:30 PM
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I think pretty much anybody who has visited CruiseMates for a few months would trump this guy as a "cruise expert".

If Mr. Motter says he has cruised a lot, then the "expert" must be smoking something they offered him in Ochos Rios.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 04:56 PM
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1.75 might be the average for those people in the casino helping pay my way, but it sure isn't my ratio. But then I do not get on a ship to do things I can do right here in Nashvegas, like go to Johnny Rockets or Ben & Jerry's, and I sure don't want to "get stoned and miss it", so my bar bill is $0.00. Drinking is tricky at sea level anyway.
I wonder who was sponsoring the show Mr. Greenburg was on at the time; Marriott or Radisson, perhaps?
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Old May 29th, 2008, 07:48 PM
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I like your hat, monk.

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Old May 29th, 2008, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boSeaphus
I like your hat, monk.

DW and I were in NOLA killing time before boarding Fantasy to cruise with our friends Norman and Linda. Norman is quick with a shutter, and there I was standing in front of a light post getting ready to take their picture when Norman beat me to the shot.
Looks like I'm impersonating the Pope.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 01:33 AM
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if you look at it quickly enough it looks like a black lawn-dart
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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:18 PM
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Default Interesting Topic!

Paul, good topic. I believe this one place where cruise lines mis the boat. There are many ways to spend extra money on a cruise and it is up to the individual to decide what will make the vacation better. Tipping is part of the cost of crusing, and should be planned into the cruise cost. Bad service should not receive a tip, so far I have never felt that way and hope I never do. The reason I think cruise lines are making a mistake is because they make the reward programs linked to the number of cruses. I think they should be linked to dollars spent like Casinos. I work with a guy that prides himself on fifteen plus cruises and always goes for the cheapest cabin and never spends a dime while on the ship. This is there diamond passanger. This guy goes to the short line while people spending more on one cruise than he spends on five wait in long lines. Cruise lines should take better care of the people who pay the bills. Mike
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Old May 30th, 2008, 01:28 PM
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When any person decides to go on a cruise, it is their choice how they are going to spend their money. They should educate themselves to what is included in the price of a cruise and what is not included in the price of the cruise. Most cruiselines do not make much profit on the basic price of a cruise; what they do make money on is the extras; excursions, drinks, pictures, their stores, and when the representative gives a talk on where to shop in the various ports (cruiselines get kickbacks from these stores). Only a fool parts with their hard earned money!
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Old May 31st, 2008, 03:49 AM
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Default Paul Greenberg

Last time I cruised on the Explorer of the Seas in June of '06 (a cruise we are scheduled to repeat next month), the cruise cost around 3,700 for the wife and I. We had around a grand in ancillary expense (including by the way, alcohol which Greenberg doesn't include) which I believe may be about average, maybe a bit more. Although I live on a fixed income, I've never been accused of being cheap and over tip to what my wife refers to as an embarrassing degree. As I wrote in an e-mail to Paul Greenberg regarding his 1.75 multiplication rule; he either mis spoke, spends like a drunken sailor or has no idea what he's talking about.

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Old May 31st, 2008, 08:42 AM
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I basically agree with Paul...... Greenberg is way out of line, especially in saying some things that are included in the price are optional and cost extra. That said....... some cruisers probably do spend 1.75 and I sometimes wonder if they realize what they are doing.

I can't tell you how often I have seen the "end-of cruise reckoning" tucked in the door and it is pages and pages of single space billing. Our tab is usually less than 1/4 page. I can't help but wonder how much these people wind up paying for their cruise and if they had a clue what they were doing.

We cruisemates know that you can have a wonderful time on a cruise and basically stick with what's included, but some people would probably be better off to just go ahead and pony up for an all-inclusive line to start with.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 09:33 AM
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Most responses come from experienced cruisers. I believe that the more experienced you become at cruising the less you spend onboard. The lure of photographs, bingo, foo-foo drinks, art auctions and gold by the inch becomes less appealing. Experienced cruisers also do more things on their own and do not do ship's shore excursions.

I think that people get that first "last day shock" of the onboard account statement then they become more frugal on their future cruises.

I do think people need to add up "everything" they spend on a cruise in order to get a true idea of what the true cost is. Add up the money spent on shore, private tours/taxis, transportation to and from the port, meals and drinks onshore and any money spent in the casino and they will see it does add up. Many people who say they have no "shipboard" bill do have some other expenses they don't realize or don't admit.

Take care,
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boSeaphus
if you look at it quickly enough it looks like a black lawn-dart
And I thought I had a sick mind!!
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