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Old May 8th, 2011, 12:04 PM
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Default Today's Biggest Cruise Topics

What are the biggest topics in cruising right now?

We are in a somewhat quiet period as we wait for the economy to recover, etc.

There are no new classes of ships coming out for at least a year.

So - WHAT ARE THE BIG CRUISE ISSUES RIGHT NOW?

Is there anything about the current cruise market you think people are dying to know - because I just don't feel like there is much going on right now.

What should I be investigating and reporting about for you?
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Old May 8th, 2011, 05:04 PM
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How cruiselines can give offers of lower single supplements. I read that some people do pay double, lucky them that have that much spare cash. But, this has curtailed a lot of us from cruising. I am not inclined to be on Epic's singles area.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 05:15 PM
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the proliferation of full charter theme cruises (i.e. smooth jazz/cool soul, jam, rhythm and blues, Kid Rock , G&L i.e. Rosie O'Donnell's etc)...and why there is such a high loyal repeat segment who pay above the premium rack rates and sell out the charter a year in advance..why it's a good deal for the cruise lines...what happens to booked guests that are displaced by the charter..what types of groups/activities are potential candidates for full charters in the future..how do the cruise lines keep track of incremental future business from this segment (i.e. if their first cruise was a full charter smooth jazz and their next cruise is a normal cruise, how do they keep the cruiser entertained) .I was not aware of your blog, so if this has been a topic, I apologize

another suggested topic..what about the segment of the veteran cruising public that just wants to have it the way it was before the mega ships (the ship is the destination) etc..i.e. a good book, a simple floor show, sleep on the deck after lunch, basic rest/relaxation/boredom..
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Old May 8th, 2011, 06:02 PM
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Default Today's Biggfest Cruise Topics

Why can't cruiselines find a way of reducing air fare to far away places, such as Europe, South America, Asia? The cost of flying and all its extra fees can be a deterrent to taking a cruise.

Judy
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Old May 8th, 2011, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by CruisinK n J View Post
Why can't cruiselines find a way of reducing air fare to far away places, such as Europe, South America, Asia? The cost of flying and all its extra fees can be a deterrent to taking a cruise.

Judy
Judy,
Let me save Paul a bit of effort.

Cruise lines are not charities; they are for profit corporations that invest obscene amounts of money in order to make very large profits.

How do cruise lines make profits?
Onboard spending.

Who does all that onboard spending?
People who have lots of money.

If you owned a cruise line, would you want to attract people who have lots of money to spend onboard - or people who cannot even afford the airfare to get to the ship?
I think I can guess your answer to that question.

If subsidizing airfare to cruises was even possible - why would a cruise line want to encourage people with minimal funds to cruise on their ships, when plenty of people with lots of money are willing to do it without a charity handout?

Socialism rarely works for very long - because eventually you run out of other peoples' money.

If I cannot afford to cruise, or fly to a ship, then I have 2 choices:
1. Don't go.
2. Find more money.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 09:25 PM
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I've been looking at cruise's for 2012 and found them to be much more expensive than any we've ever taken. I don't know why, but I'm thinking they're addding the fuel charges to the cost of a cruise instead of breaking them out . I'd be interested in your opinion.

How much does a cruise line really lose on a single cruiser in an 1A cabin, a K cabin (or any other "cheap" cabin)?

What's going on with NCL's "singles" areas?

We used to book a year ahead, now (unless we're booking Carnival's Easy Saver) it looks like it may cost less to book 30 days ahead !

We, along with some other people I've gotten to know, are "old" cruiser's. The main thing we enjoy is being on the ship. We don't much care for the "shows" or the "pool antics" or even the shore excursions. We like being on the ship and, personally, we like that DH can go to the Casino, I can go to the cabin and relax and read, we can eat whenever we want, and we're taken care of by our Room Steward and our favorite bartender !

Paul, if you can find a story somewhere in there, go for it !
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Old May 8th, 2011, 09:41 PM
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I just happened to be watching CNBC this evening .They featured the NCL ship ,The Pearl .I thought the show was fascinating .

Regardless of the economy people are still booking cruises because its the best value of any kind of vacation .
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Old May 8th, 2011, 10:14 PM
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Here's a question for you: will there ever be another non-smoking ship?
Because if there is, I'll be first in line to book it!

donna
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Old May 8th, 2011, 10:31 PM
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Paul, another topic that might be of interest is what is going to happen to all the"old" ships; ones more than ten years old. So far, the companies have shipped them off to other parts of the world. Can that last forever? The Voyager Class and Millie Class will soon be old by current cruiser's standards. Will the cruise lines be able to convince people that old ships are just as good?

Of particular interest to me as two of three Regent ships have reached ten years old with the last soon to follow.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 10:35 PM
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Default Non smoking ship

Quote:
Originally Posted by rollerdonna View Post
Here's a question for you: will there ever be another non-smoking ship?
Because if there is, I'll be first in line to book it!

donna

Most definitely there will be one.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry43 View Post
Most definitely there will be one.
Henry, you must still be smoking the weed.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 03:12 AM
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Thank you all for the excellent suggestions - keep them coming.

I have heard that cruise lines DO work with thre airlines to get lower air - especially to Europe this year. not sure how they do it, though.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 03:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Chafkin1 View Post
Judy,
Let me save Paul a bit of effort.

Cruise lines are not charities; they are for profit corporations that invest obscene amounts of money in order to make very large profits.

How do cruise lines make profits?
Onboard spending.

Who does all that onboard spending?
People who have lots of money.

If you owned a cruise line, would you want to attract people who have lots of money to spend onboard - or people who cannot even afford the airfare to get to the ship?
I think I can guess your answer to that question.

If subsidizing airfare to cruises was even possible - why would a cruise line want to encourage people with minimal funds to cruise on their ships, when plenty of people with lots of money are willing to do it without a charity handout?

Socialism rarely works for very long - because eventually you run out of other peoples' money.

If I cannot afford to cruise, or fly to a ship, then I have 2 choices:
1. Don't go.
2. Find more money.

Very offended by this post. I can afford to cruise in first class any time I want. But for those that save for each and every cruise, power to them. We will sit at the same table at dinner and enjoy their company.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 07:46 AM
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I find it fasinating that all the ships profits are off on board spending! Only been on one cruise must be alot more people spending money then I thought . They must get a pretty good chunck of change from the state room fees.I would be interested in the day to day cost and break down of running a cruise ship .Maybe even compare todays operations and costs to the years gone by.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 08:05 AM
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Speaking of airlines, airline costs, and airline inconvenience,,,,I often wondered why the cruise lines, or one of 'em, doesn't offer trans Atlantic cruises, not just repositioning, for those of us who don't like flying commercially anymore, and have time to cruise? Yes, I can take a repositioning cruise to get to Europe,,but then if I want to come back prior to waiting 6 months of so, I have to fly. As a pilot, I love flying,,,but not commercially anymore.....

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Old May 9th, 2011, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skymaster View Post
Speaking of airlines, airline costs, and airline inconvenience,,,,I often wondered why the cruise lines, or one of 'em, doesn't offer trans Atlantic cruises, not just repositioning, for those of us who don't like flying commercially anymore, and have time to cruise? Yes, I can take a repositioning cruise to get to Europe,,but then if I want to come back prior to waiting 6 months of so, I have to fly. As a pilot, I love flying,,,but not commercially anymore.....

"SKY"
Why don't you just take a normal transatlantic one way and the QM2 the other? Cunard has been going back and forth to USA for a long time.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rollerdonna View Post
Here's a question for you: will there ever be another non-smoking ship?
Because if there is, I'll be first in line to book it!

donna

And I'll be right behind you Donna! Although I must say that Celebritys smoking policies have created an environment that is pretty close to a non smoking ship.

I'm another cruiser who prefers smaller ships of the ocean liner type. I wonder if any of the cruise lines will ever build anything under 100,000 tons in the future (besides the luxury lines)
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Old May 9th, 2011, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okie/Tex View Post
Very offended by this post. I can afford to cruise in first class any time I want. But for those that save for each and every cruise, power to them. We will sit at the same table at dinner and enjoy their company.
I too am happy to socialize with anybody on any cruise without checking their net worth statement. Nevertheless, I think that Bruce's post is absolutely correct, not offensive in the slightest, and something that needed to be said at long last.

Part of the reason airfares seem so high to cruisers is that base cruise fares seem so low, and the apparent difference gets on people's nerves.

Airfares are not high relative to their actual value, as evidenced by the fact that airlines still aren't making much money (if any), even though management generally has improved greatly over the last 15 years. Judy's post seems to imply that cruise lines have far more power to set airfares than they really do. They can use their ability to generate volume to capture some discounts, but that's it.

Airlines have already "outboarded" pretty much all the extras they can: baggage fees, pillows, blankets, food, seat selection. The well's essentially dry for additional ancillary revenue. Compare that to the discretionary spending opportunities on ships, and you'll understand why Bruce's point is absolutely right on. A lot of people who scream to the high heavens about $25 to check a bag on a plane don't even blink at $150 for a spa treatment, $100 for a shore excursion that's worth maybe $40 on the open market, a half a buck per minute for internet service, and on and on. The add-on opportunities for ships are virtually endless compared to airlines. So airlines have to make more of it up in the base fare.

So, from a pure marketing standpoint (completely dispassionate with no intent to offend anybody), why should a cruise line expend Herculean efforts to snag even lower airfares to benefit those for whom that additional savings is "make or break" for their ability to take the cruise? Chances are, the onboard spending by those people will be relatively low. The only reason to do this would be if your ships are running chronically empty, which I gather isn't the case these days.

So we're back to Bruce's solution, with perhaps a third option. . .don't go, get more money, or take a less expensive cruise closer to home. I imagine that the heavy concentration of ships in the Caribbean stems at least in part from people exercising that third option.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rollerdonna View Post
Here's a question for you: will there ever be another non-smoking ship?
Because if there is, I'll be first in line to book it!

donna
Azamara is more than 99% non-smoking - one of the reasons I love them!

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Old May 9th, 2011, 09:22 AM
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I would love to see an article that will explain that people who cruise do not just fall off of ships. That there is no such thing as getting to close to the edge. That people can just slip and fall off.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 09:35 AM
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Paul..another suggestion..most of the cruise lines have changed their loyalty program to try to reflect the increase number of repeat cruisers..they are trying to edge towards amount paid for the cruise, cabin type and onboard spending revenue..can you research how they came to the decisions that they have implemented and also will we ever see a true seamless alliance program (like the airlines have)to capitalize on the corporation family of cruiselines ?

since you were nice enough to share with us your experience of onboard romances (or lack of it) perhaps you can offset some of the perceptions that are out there fueled by the type of book you just received

how do the cruiselines fill ships at the last minute ? (due to cancellation of large groups)
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Old May 9th, 2011, 10:07 AM
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A few areas of interest to me?

How to find the right cruiseline for you [perhaps a discussion on which cruiselines cater to which groups/lifestyles/ages/interests]. I've learned a lot of this here and through trial and error, but this would be of interest to a newbie.

Luxury cruise lines - worth the extra money?

How to get the best deal on a cruise [perhaps more of interest in this economy.]

Cruising with kids? Alternatives to Disney? I find this especially interesting with Royal doing the Dreamworks cruises, and NCL doing the Nickolodean cruises. Someones banking on getthing the family vacation dollar.

Allergies. This one is near and dear to my heart. What can the cruiselines do to make their ships more friendly to those with allergies. I'm talking about makign the ships allergen-free; but having better disclosure in their menus to those with special needs.

Not sure if thes are the types of ideas you are looking for or not.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skymaster View Post
Speaking of airlines, airline costs, and airline inconvenience,,,,I often wondered why the cruise lines, or one of 'em, doesn't offer trans Atlantic cruises, not just repositioning, for those of us who don't like flying commercially anymore, and have time to cruise? Yes, I can take a repositioning cruise to get to Europe,,but then if I want to come back prior to waiting 6 months of so, I have to fly. As a pilot, I love flying,,,but not commercially anymore.....

"SKY"
This is an excellent question that I can answer for you.
Transatlantic cruisers don't spend very much money onboard.
There are no Shore Tours to speak of (a major revenue producer).
T/A passengers eat about 50% more food than cruisers on other itineraries.
The ship burns far more very expensive fuel on Transatlantics.

When you add up the numbers, it does not make financial sense to promote transatlantic cruises that cost more to run, and yield far less revenue. This all results in lower profits.
We have shareholders who are expecting a good return for their investments. So we position ships in areas that are less costly, and yield higher onboard revenues. That results in higher profits, happier shareholders, and job security for us.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okie/Tex View Post
Very offended by this post. I can afford to cruise in first class any time I want. But for those that save for each and every cruise, power to them. We will sit at the same table at dinner and enjoy their company.
Please don't be offended. I do not mean anything personal about anyone's financial situation.

I am talking about simple capitalism - one of the pillars of life in America.
Companies in a free market want customers who can afford to buy their products.
When I lived in China for many years, we didn't have that challenge. The Communist Government subsidized prices to allow the poor to purchase things they normally could not afford.
I do not recommend that the cruise lines go that way.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Marc View Post
Henry, you must still be smoking the weed.
The one in Cruise Chat is totally different from the one who posts on the boards.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
I would love to see an article that will explain that people who cruise do not just fall off of ships. That there is no such thing as getting to close to the edge. That people can just slip and fall off.
Thank you Louanne... You are absoloutely correct.

I have actually done this article a number of times. It used to be an issue I got pretty passionate about. I wrote a long article about the fact that the people who "disappear" from ships are virtually never found to be the victims of foul play - it almost always turns out provable or circumstantially likely that they chose to jump or they foolishly went beyond the barriers of safety and fell.

But this is a very contentious issue, with entire web sites set up to suggest a concerted effort by the cruise industry to "cover up" a cruise ship crime problem. And I have been attacked pretty violently (in print and even by phone threats to my job and even death threat emails) by these people.

I found out many of these people are low-life know-it-alls just looking for people to blame for the problems of society. This is also why I find books entitled "The Truth About the Cruise Industry" to be such a joke when all they are just an amalgam of how many women any writer was able to sleep with during his contract.

After awhile these topics just became juvenile and of no interest to me any longer. I have said the truth and people can choose whether or not to believe it, but you can't argue with stupid, I found out.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 01:26 PM
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I love the idea of comparing cruise lines in different categories as a value proposition.

For example, maybe you take Celebrity and Crystal and pick one or two relatively similar cruise lengths and itineraries. Then do empirical adjustments to make it apples and apples for length of cruise and included vs. excluded items (tips, etc.). After that comes the subjective part: "does the added quality of Crystal justify the difference in cost for most people?" Yes, yes, we know that the answer is in the eye of the customer, but it can be put on the basis of. . ."you will pay xx% more for the following improvements and enhancements. You decide whether that premium is worth it."

This is tough in some ways for travel writers who get most of their trips comped, because they don't often personally deal with the value issues. But I think it can be done.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 01:51 PM
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What I don't understand in comparing is why would people select a more expensive cruise, over a less expensive.

I have truely enjoyed Kuki posting of his lastest cruise. I knew nothing about the Crystal line, so I went to their web site.

I was completely blown away by the prices. I can understand if the ship is going to an area where no others travel, but to spend thousands of dollars more for the same trip is shocking, unless it is all about the rep of the line, not being caught dead on a Carnival type ship.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc View Post
Why don't you just take a normal transatlantic one way and the QM2 the other? Cunard has been going back and forth to USA for a long time.
HA! I knew just as soon as I hit the "Submit" that you would come back with that reply. Unlike you, I don't have the MONEY to cruise on Cunard or aboard the QM2. I'd be down in the bilge shoveling coal or something! I was making reference to the "normal peoples" cruiselines. ie: RCI, Carnival, NCL, or HAL.
Yep, wish I could afford to cruise the QM2,,,,sure would be nice.

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Old May 9th, 2011, 02:07 PM
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I have actually seen some pretty reasonable deals on QM crossings. It is a very fuin trip and even with five or six days at sea it never gets boring.

Thanks for the ideas - I am using one for the newsletter today....

Quote:
Queen of Oakville - How to get the best deal on a cruise [perhaps more of interest in this economy.]
There is one basic thing about cruise buying many people - especially novices, do not know.

As far as luxury lines go - they are there for wealthy people with the money to spend on whatever they want. There are a lot of people in that category, although if you combine ALL of the luxury cruise line ships all together it might equal the capacity of one Carnival & one Royal Caribbean ship together.
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