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  #31 (permalink)  
Old August 5th, 2008, 09:41 AM
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In my opinion, most of the main cruiselines seems to have a decent line to what´s included in the price for the cruise and what´s not not.

Some people say, "don´t include the specialrestaurants in the cruiseprice because I don´t want to pay for things that I don´t use", but what shall then be included in the price? Some people never use roomservice, why is that included in the price? Some people never see a show, why are they included in the price? Some people don´t drink coffee, why is that included?......

In my opinion it´s okej to pay extra for specialrestaurants and it´s okej that roomservice is included in the price for the cruise but the question is still interesting!
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old August 12th, 2008, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikhag
In my opinion it´s okej to pay extra for specialrestaurants and it´s okej that roomservice is included in the price for the cruise but the question is still interesting!
I agree with you 100%.

I think the big draw of the luxury lines is that since everything is already included, people don't have to constantly be bothered signing chits for everything, where on a mass market line we do. Also, I've been told (never tested this out) that a luxury line sailing could actually come out cheaper in the long run because you pay extra for very, very few things ... maybe some shore excursions, purchases in the gift shop, and your gambling expenses. Other than that, your onboard bill at the end of the cruise will be zip. Everything was already paid for when you paid for your cruise.

I guess it all depends on what kind of onboard bills we rack up, but I do have to say that I am a reasonably conservative spender, and on a 30 day cruise my onboard bill (for one person) was over a grand. And I even book and pay for most of my shore excursions in advance ... so those are not even on there. The bill adds up fast. A drink here, a purchase in the gift shop there, tips, dinner in the specialty restaurant a couple of nights, this and that, etc. And I've seen others on my sailings who had to have onboard bills five times more than mine because everytime I turned around they were getting spa treatments, buying shore excursions, etc.

There are a lot of things even now that are included in the cost of my cruise that I don't use ... lobster dinners in the dining room (I hate lobster), room service which I rarely use, Club HAL (I have no kids), the pools (which I rarely use), etc., etc. But still I pay for them because overall the HAL experience makes what I pay worth it. So, I just wondered how people would feel if HAL ever decided to take it a step further, and charge a bit more for their sailings, but include a lot more things in the base price ... like a no-charge dinner or two in the specialty restaurants each week, maybe a wine package with dinner, maybe a shore excursion or two, included gratuities, etc.

It's an interesting concept.

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--rita
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old August 13th, 2008, 03:06 AM
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A no-charge dinner in the specialty restaurant each week is NOT a good idea! I think that it´s good that there is an extra charge there because that makes it much easier to get a table!

Many people never go to the specialty restaurant when they have to pay for it, if they could go for "free", they would!
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old August 19th, 2008, 03:08 PM
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AI land vacations are still very different from cruising: you spend an entire vacation in one spot, there are very few activities included except for non motorized water sports and if there is nightly entertainment it isn't much more than the original Amateur Hour.

As for pricing, I did some checking, $49 per night at the cheapest in Pueta Plata isn't listed on any of the vacation sights I use, but there are some for about $60 per night (3 star resorts only) For Cancun you are looking at $70 to $100 per night, 3 star. These are on the water in most cases, sometimes across the street, but are not water front rooms. DR is the cheapest of all Caribben destinations. Try Aruba, St Martin or some of the more popular locations, or try Cancun for 4 star and up: more like $150 to $200 per night and this is per person, not per cabin.

I certainly am not putting down AI, they offer a good product and for those who want to get away for a few days and just relax this is an easy vacation. There is something to say about everything being included even though I have yet to find the food anywhere near as good, overall as on a cruise ship. My point is, they can be very costly, can not be compared to sailing (neither better or worse, just not the same) and I don't know want to see AI come to ships. I still want to decide where I spend my budgeted money. If I want to allow a $100 for specialty dining, I will, if you want to spend that at the spa, you can.

I will agree with those of you who would like more included, the choice of non alcoholic beverages suck and the soda cards are way out of line, price wise...

Nita
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old August 19th, 2008, 03:08 PM
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AI land vacations are still very different from cruising: you spend an entire vacation in one spot, there are very few activities included except for non motorized water sports and if there is nightly entertainment it isn't much more than the original Amateur Hour.

As for pricing, I did some checking, $49 per night at the cheapest in Pueta Plata isn't listed on any of the vacation sights I use, but there are some for about $60 per night (3 star resorts only) For Cancun you are looking at $70 to $100 per night, 3 star. These are on the water in most cases, sometimes across the street, but are not water front rooms. DR is the cheapest of all Caribben destinations. Try Aruba, St Martin or some of the more popular locations, or try Cancun for 4 star and up: more like $150 to $200 per night and this is per person, not per cabin.

I certainly am not putting down AI, they offer a good product and for those who want to get away for a few days and just relax this is an easy vacation. There is something to say about everything being included even though I have yet to find the food anywhere near as good, overall as on a cruise ship. My point is, they can be very costly, can not be compared to sailing (neither better or worse, just not the same) and I don't know want to see AI come to ships. I still want to decide where I spend my budgeted money. If I want to allow a $100 for specialty dining, I will, if you want to spend that at the spa, you can.

I will agree with those of you who would like more included, the choice of non alcoholic beverages suck and the soda cards are way out of line, price wise...

Nita
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old August 20th, 2008, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikhag
A no-charge dinner in the specialty restaurant each week is NOT a good idea! I think that it´s good that there is an extra charge there because that makes it much easier to get a table!

Many people never go to the specialty restaurant when they have to pay for it, if they could go for "free", they would!
Actually, there are a lot of people who get this bennie. On one of my cruises, a friend and I had a table in the dining room with two other couples. All of us had a free "Pinnacle Grill Experience" coupon, given to us by our respective travel agents). So, we each skipping the dining room one night to eat there. HAL runs promos with the travel agents in order to boost bookings and these vouchers for a free dinner in the Pinnacle are one of the "bennies" they give out. Lots of people on some cruises have a free dinner coming to them. I've gotten one just about every cruise.

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--rita
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old August 20th, 2008, 10:04 PM
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A slight change in course. I am not so concerned about the nickel & dimeing as I am that HAL is becoming more mass market & family oriented and loosing its roots offering a "traditional" cruise experience. Carnival (CCL) already has Carnival and Princess for the masses and now HAL is at about the same level, then it is a huge jump up to Seabourn. HAL with continued Vista Class builds moves more to the mass market with Princess, Carnival, RCL & NCL. Meanwhile Princess with its R Class small ships is positioning itself for HAL's traditional market of experienced travelers (not catering to families with children).

In my mind HAL should have bought the R Class vessels (and let Carnival & Princess have the larger builds) and focus more on service and exotic itineraries. Charging 10-20% more than Princess and main lines would allow HAL some room away from nickel & dime tactics and into a market currently occupied by Azamara and possibly Oceania.

HAL tries to market itself as a "premium" line but it's truly just as mass market as Princess & RCL. In the past 10 years Princess come up and HAL has gone down to the point they offer nearly the same service to the same market for the same price.
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old August 21st, 2008, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilotdane
HAL tries to market itself as a "premium" line but it's truly just as mass market as Princess & RCL. In the past 10 years Princess come up and HAL has gone down to the point they offer nearly the same service to the same market for the same price.
Unfortunately, though, the money is in the new cruiser, not the old one. The new cruiser wants glitzy ships and non-stop nighttime action. Sadly, the more traditional style cruiser that HAL has always appealed to is being squeezed out by this new breed of cruiser.

Let's face it, if HAL only marketed smaller ships and more exotic itineraries, they may at some point have difficulty filling their ships. As the older folks die off, or stop cruising due to age or infirmity, who would take their place? The new, younger cruisers don't have the time and/or money to take these longer sailings.

I am just glad HAL is keepng the smaller ships for the folks like us, while offering some of what the younger cruisers want on the larger ships. It seems a good compromise. And for us who really don't want to sail with a boatload of kids on a big ship, we can always select those longer, exotic itineraries and get the HAL that we know and love.

As for HAL being a "premium" line ... I don't know ... what's a premium line? To me, a "premium" line would be one where a lot of things were included in your fare, but not everything. The ships would be smaller, as in carrying a few hundred people, and the dining room would be flexible seating where the small number of passengers could get to know different people each night. Or, if the ship was bigger, it might be all outside or suite accommodations. I would class maybe Azamara and perhaps Oceana in as premium. For smaller ships, perhaps Cruise West?

But HAL, at least to me, is not a premium line for all passengers. Yes, it may be premium for certain ones ... like those staying in the luxury suites with the Neptune Lounge concierge. Those people get treated a step above the average cruiser, as well they should for what they pay. They get invited to lots of special parties and events that we never hear about. Same with Cunard. People in Grill Class do not enjoy the same sailing experience as those in the lower level accommodations. So, yes, those people enjoy a premium experience on those lines, but the average joe gets a mass market cruise ... nothing more and nothing less than he could have gotten on Princess or Carnival.

Then there are the luxury lines. Those are the ones where just about everything is included ... liquor, some shore excursions, etc. Those are the lines with all suite accommodations, smaller ships ... and a whole elevated level of service because they carry a lot less passengers in relation to the number of staff members. On those lines, everyone gets treated like those in the upper level accommodations on Cunard and HAL. Everyone enjoys better food, more attention, more ammenities.

But, no ... I definitely would not consider HAL to be a premium line. It could only be that if all of the accommodations were on the level with the luxury suites, and if everyone got the higher level of service.

Blue skies ...

--rita
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old August 22nd, 2008, 07:14 AM
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I have sailed numerous times with both Princess and Holland America over the last few years. Although I would agree that Holland America is in reality a mass market cruise line for most passengers, I still feel that the level of service is higher than Princess. I have stopped sailing with Princess due to the slippage in service on their ships. There is a downslide in customer service everywhere in the world today (I am in a customer service industry myself - unrelated to travel - and I can see the decrease in service levels over the past years).
However, I feel that the decline is occuring at Princess as well, and I feel that the level of service on a Holland America ship is still superior to what I have experienced recently on Princess ships. Given the choice between the two for a comparable itinerary, give me Holland America and her "nickle and diming" every time!!
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old August 24th, 2008, 01:07 PM
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HAL is attempting to attract more families as these are today and tomorrows cruisers, but it still is geared to the more refined, more mature passengers, with less activities, trivia that attracts a different group than on other lines, slightly better service, not as much night life and not the ever active kids program offered by Carnival: RCI and NCL. Every line has a niche, let's hope HAL keeps hers. BTW, Mass marketed, yes!!!
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  #41 (permalink)  
Old September 5th, 2008, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: Nickel and Diming ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kryos
Do you feel that there there is too much nickel and diming onboard HAL ships these days? Do you feel that there are a lot of things vital to your good cruise experience that you are now being asked to pay for?

Would you be willing to pay more for your cruise to get some of those things included once again -- things like specialty coffees, gym classes, specialty restaurants, soft drinks, etc.?

Would you go for a cruise line that charged a bit more, and included pretty much everything except alcohol, shore excursions, spa treatments, and boutique purchases in your base cruise fare?

Just curious since I notice a lot of complaints about nickel and diming lately and wonder if it could be our own fault in demanding lower and lower cruise fares.

Blue skies ...

--rita
Just came back for a 14 Day to Alaska on the Veendam . Didn't find any problems. Our total account bill was about 600US$ for the two weeks.
They weren't overly pushy with the extra's.
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