It would seem that HAL and other lines are implementing more extra charges. On the new Vista class ships, the Java Cafe is now extra and the Hydro pool is $15 from my understanding. Cruise ship are becoming less and less all inclusive!
Perhaps the man who creates these extra fees is the same one who sings the role of the innkeeper in Les Miserables when ships do the "Tribute to Broadway" show..
Consider these lines.....
"Nothing gets you nothing, everythings got a little price, charge them for the lice, extra for the mice, 2% for looking in the mirror twice. Resonable charges plus some little extras on the side. Every little slice, every little cut, 3% for sleeping with the window shut.
When it comes to fixing prices, there are a lot of tricks he knows. With all the increases, all those bits and pieces, it's amazing how it grows."
By constantly adding extra charges, the cruise ships will eventually price themselves out of the reach of regular, working class, passengers like myself who only started cruising in the last decade when the prices of cruises became affordable. There are only so many people who can afford expensive vacations and there are a lot of cruise ships out there to fill.
All these extra charges have started appearing as Carnival started buying up the cruise ship companies. There will eventually be very little competition as Carnival acquires more and more cruise companies. Once two or three large companies own most the cruise ships, they can pretty well charge what they want. However, they may end up shooting themselves in the foot if people refuse to pay the exorbitant prices and find other ways to spend their holidays.
Hopefully, cruising will not become the vacation choice of the wealthy as it once was. It is such a nice way to spend a hard-earned vacation for people like me.
The extra charges for some things over and above standard (such as gourmet coffees and spa pools) are because the basic fares are being discounted so much and cruising is cheaper than ever. The cruiselines want to get you on the ships, so they make it very economical to book a cruise. Cruising itself is cheaper than ever, but like anywhere else you get what you pay for. If you want some of the more expensive extras then you have to pay for them as you use them, but no one is forcing you to do that, so you can cruise quite cheaply.
You can't have an ALL inclusive vacation and then expect very cheap fares, too. You can get all-inclusive on some lines, including tips, liquor, and all the extras, but you will have a much higher basic fare. That actually sounds fair to me.
I agree with Peaches. The extra charges are for "extra" things. And, while I'm not a fan of Carnival per se, these really have nothing to do with Carnival. Specialty coffees cost more at home, too. The spa pool is ectra, but you can still use the whirlpools, which really aren't any different, at no extra charge. In general, HAL is still much better than other lines. For examle - Ever stop at Princess' ice cream bar? Ouch! But you get free ice cream on HAL. Most people don't need Hagen Daz to be happy with their ice cream. And ditto for cappucino in the dining room. You pay extra for this on other lines.
I've also seen posts recently about the charges for the specialty dining rooms. But these charges make sense to me. In fact, I believe the best dinner I've ever had, land or sea, was March 2003 on Zuiderdam in Odyssey. Absolutely fabulous. I'm more than willing to pay $25 for that kind of dinner. And if you don't want to dine there, you still get, IMHO, the best meals at sea iin HAL's dining rooms.
While it's true that cruising's extra-charges have gone up in recent years, even on HAL - what hasn't? Cruising is still a real bargain and a great way to vacation. But it's also a business and has a botom line, like everything else.
Of all the lines I cruise (HAL, Princess, Celebrity) I truly believe that you get the best price-for-what-you-get, the best food, and absolutely the best service, and ship maintenance, on HAL.
Looking forward to my next (7th) HAL cruise 11-6 on Zuiderdam!
Believe it or not, I agree that cruiseships are still a great bargain. My point or less is where is this trend going?
One point is that people are willing to pay these extra charges and according to the rules of supply and demand, this nickle and diming could put the hurt on budget minded folks such as myself.
I don't drink specialty coffees or use the hydro pools so I'm glad they are not included in my price. If anything the extra charges for extras- internet, spa, soda, etc. keeps the price at a level thay many can stll afford.
I have cuirsed a lot but niver with HAL. I will cruise on Zuiderdam with my family this August for the first time. Do you have any suggestion where I can find out what are the extra charges on the ship? Is there a sample dining menu posted somewhere on the internet?
No Hana, I don't know of any list of "extra" charges on a ship. However it would be a neat idea if they listed somewhere the extra/optional charges for goods and services available to guest. I'm booked on the Oosterdam and feel that I won't need to pay extra for spa pool or special coffee, since I can use the Lido pools & hottubs and don't drink much coffee.
Seriously..how cheap can you be? Do you think the world should give you everything for free. DOES THE WORLD OWE YOU? Extra things deserve to be paid for. I'll bet you are one of those people who do not tip waiters because you feel that the owners should just pay the servers more. Grow up. If you can't afford the tip you can't afford the trip!!!!!!
Get up on the wrong side of the bed? Or is it the wrong time of the month?
I see nothing wrong with the post. Just a simple question.
If you don't know the answer, don't post.
The extra charges on the Zuiderdam are for the gourmet coffees in the Java Cafe, the Hydro Pool in the Spa, the Pinnacle Grill, the Internet Cafe, and of course any photos that you want to buy, sodas and liquor are extra, too.
There are no self-service laundry facilities on the Z. But, you can cram as much as you want into a smallish laundry bag for on $12.00. Allow 48 hours for return.
I was just about to say the same thing to Mary D. I don't think anyone was being cheap - I think they just wanted to know the cost up front. Everyone does things differently and WE also like to plan ahead and have a good idea of how much we'll spend. I don't think this makes us cheap.
Fsdg1097, can you tell me if you do the Bag of laundry more than once for the $12 or is it $12 each time? I know the pressing service is $30 for the entire cruise.
I just have to ask an interesting question. Can anyone really tell if someone has had a major sea wrap or mud wrap. They may have paid 75.00 or more for such a spa treatment, but can any of you tell?
Personnally I think spa treatmeants and such are the biggest money makers ships have to offer. These spas are also the biggest rip offs world wide. Don't complain about the extras. They get you when they can. If you are dumb enough to fall for it.
Someone provided a link recently and it had the policies for most all the cruise lines regarding the various alcohols that were allowed or prohibited to be taken on board. Can anyone provide this link? It seems like the link was either on this board or on Cruise Critic.
Thanks in advance.
Peace Mary D !! I don't feel anyone here expects a cruise to be free. My problem is taking cost off the front and hiding them on the rear. As a matter of fact if you read the last part of the post, I was making a VAIN attempt at humor.
Quit amuseing is the quote "I'll bet you are one of those people who do not tip...."
You lost your bet!! Stay out of the casino, you'll lose money making silly wagers.
With regard to the cost of spa treatments on board-yes they are expensive, but I have found the prices to be comparable to going rates at a "Spa" on land. Reputable spa's (I can only speak for here in California) utilize certified/lic. massage therapists and (for facial treatments and the like) lic. professionals as well. For massage services at a less expensive rate on land I utilize those professionals who are contracted through my chiropractor, a physical therapy bsns. or a sports medicine establishment. That said-I still splurge and do some form of spa treatment when I cruise, the reason being that I have never enjoyed a massage so much as when I can finish and walk back to my stateroom (there is always something lost when I finish and have to drive home). I will be traveling on HAL for the first time in August and will be interested to see their full price list. I noticed on their web site that Steiner runs their show which is the same company that operates on Disney Cruises. When we have traveled on Disney, Steiner has offered some reasonable packages for a full weeks unlimited utilization of hydropools, saunas, etc. which we have taken advantage of.
As far as the "extra charges" go-I have always figured that the cruise lines make the majority of their profit on the on board tabs people run up (I imagine there is a large percentage of passengers whose final tab runs well in excess of their passage as evidenced by the "sticker shocked" faces at disembarkation). I think this is supported by the number of lines that no longer allow passengers to bring aboard liquor or consume on board the liquor purchased in the ship's duty free shops. In the grand scheme of things I am less annoyed by the extra charges than by the tip per person per day auto. tacked on my bill (just charge me a bit more on my passage and let me determine who and at what amount I desire regarding gratuities).
Bravemom: I agree with you concerning the tips being added automatically to the account. I truly enjoy handing the tip envelope to cabin attendant, waiter, or busperson and saying "Thanks for a great job" . Later this month I'm on the Oosterdam and understand that tips will be added at $10 per day to cover ALL staff. I'm considering an additional personal gratuity, however it's my understanding that any additional tips must be recorded and pooled. And to think, they claimed that HAL's tipping policy was confusing before.
If you leave the auto tip in place on your account, any additional tips you personally distribute to the crew are not pooled. They may keep them. If you remove the auto tip from your account, then the tips you distribute must be pooled. So, in my opinion, the way to go is to leave your auto tip in place and, should you feel it is warranted, tip additionally as you see fit. The waiters in the Pinnacle are included in the pooled tips as well, btw.
We stay out of the bar, the casino, do our own excursions at 1/2 the price and stay out of the spa.
We bring a bottle on board, buy a few bottles of wine with dinner and usually only have a bill about 400 plus tips for a 14 night cruise. We are there for the ship, the food, the entertainment and the travel opportunity. I get my pedicure and manicure before I leave home at about 20% of what they charge on board,
In response to the extra charges on board. Most of them can be avoided if you don't drink anything but the water, tea and coffee offered free on deck and in the dining room, don't go to special resturants or the spas. What we do since we are not big drinkers, we go to the first bar that we see and buy a soda card. This card entitles you to all the soda that you want to drink at no extra charge other the initial cost. We have been to all inclusives and still feel that cruises are a better deal because you are not paying for everyone else's drinks.