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Old June 28th, 2006, 09:20 AM
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Default Fee for Sanctuary

I am not surprised since new it was only a matter of time after all. Once we demonstrated that we not only had no problem paying additional for food on a ship but in fact rejoiced in added charges for alternative restaurants that someone would think of great new stuff to charge for. Better desserts and coffee at a cafe, ice cream, just scratched surface.

I just booked new Crown Princess for October sailing and noted that the area that I have loved on ships that have such areas, the adult only pool, now how as a fee. Not only a fee but a nice big one, $15 for SEGMENTS of the day. $15 for 9am till noon, $15 dollars for 1 pm til 6 or some such. Oh and don't forget we have servers with nice fruit things etc for only $3.

I know that there are some that might feel that this is wrong, that having a nice quiet spot on the ship is some sort of benefit that should be afforded ticket paying passengers as a basic service. Why I don't know since so many have demonstrated that they are quite happy to pay for a better steak and so forth.

So I say, how do you feel about paying extra for a quiet spot on your vacation?

Maybe it's time to be honest and just get back to the good old ship system, STEERAGE and UPPER CLASS? Let's avoid all these nickle and dime charges and simply put the steerage people in hammocks below and the good paying customers in the nice upper deck spots where they belong.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 10:14 AM
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I checked on the Princess site and the Sanctuary is far more than the adult only pool. It is an extension of the spa which is the reason for any charges.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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Doug,

Yes I guess you could take that viewpoint and justify an additional fee. I don't however since it replaces the non-fee adult only pool section. What makes it an extension of the spa persay? The cold towels to mope our weary brows? Used to get those just coming onboard from a port call or sitting out in the sun at the regular pool, sporadically admittedly but at times. The fact that you can get a massage under a canopy?

The buffet is an extentsion of the galley, hummm, ka-ching!

Tongue in cheek of course yet nickle and diming is now the heart of the business. All one has to do is read the financials of this public company to see that onboard revenues constitute a larger and larger portion of the companies revenue stream. My chagrin to all this is simply that as cruise ship morph into being more and more compatable to mainstream land vacations they also become less and less a unique and valued vacation option.

I admit to being an apparent minority viewpoint since everyone seems to prefer the pay as you go model lately.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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From my reading they provide special services not ordinarily provided at any of the pools and have massages and other spa services available.

Not defending, just clarifying.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 04:59 PM
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I seriously think that passengers are being shortchanged. How about extending massage or other kind of services on some walkways which people use to get to dining rooms from their cabins? In order to give "better or dedicated" services, sections of some walkways are now cordorned off. Passengers have the option to get thru these sections by paying a small fee for them to get in those areas to begin with...

If I stay in a land-based hotel where areas are closed off to accomodate other guest functions, although my enjoyment of the hotel has been reduced I still can take advantage of spending more time outside the hotel. At the same time, I can make a note not to come back to this hotel if the "cordoning-off" is a routine practice. Guests can even join together to make known this reduction of service level as a practice to other potential guests or even pursue other recourses.

In this case, clearly the trend of having more sea days for passengers means more time for revenue generation on the part of the cruiselines is also going to make even more "captive" and "helpless" for passengers.

I am booked on Crown. But I am seriously thinking of backing out now. I believe the recent on-and-off promotions with big shipboard credits is indication that at the very least it's not easy to fill the much increased capacity for sailings from New York, for instance. Lower fares to get them on, then make them pay.

First it's several hundred more cabins added to Caribbean Princess along with practically little or no extra public space. This makes people even more difficult than from before to find enough spaces in the Princess Theatre, for one thing, even if they want to participate in the entertainment.

What the advertising messages suggest is becoming more and more of a hook than a true representation of what cruise ship environment can deliever.

I cruised on nearly all sizes of the Carnival ships. The last overly crowded experiences on Carnival Victory really drove me away from future Carnival cruises. I started using only Princess, from Island to Star to Caribbean, for example, one can see more and more people are being put on board for "captive" selling exercises and less and less available public spaces.

I have a hunch that Carnival (same as from Princess now) doesn't care about offering fair deals to its customers, because the penetration is just so little as yet. Even if many existing customers are being turned away, it's much easier to entice new comers to spend more money than the seasoned passengers anyway. All it taks is more fancy advertising or pricing campaigns to lure newbies who hardly know better.

By the way, there have never been diamond supply shortages. So "Diamond is Forever" is coined to discourage reselling, thus not flooding the already much available markets. For example, I can't wonder how much the practice of onboard art auction have become more like selling time shares. If these sellings are done instead on land, 95% of the transactions would have been requested for refunds.

Frankly, I used to cruise more often. But at this point, I am already feeling there are much more value-based travel alternatives outside cruising.

It's not just $15 more each segment of times for the right to use certain sections of space, it's what is being taken away that is worth much much more values as a result of these practices, which are yet to come.

I read some disgruntled but loyal ipod users have successfully organized their messages that changed the rid-off practices on the part of Apple to sell the ipod batteries. (In before days each model can use only a particular shaped or otherwise battery which clearly has been a nonsense)

I feel much for the newbie who are apt to be more responsive to promotions and advertising in the process of shelling out hard-earned cash...

I truthfully feel enough is enough. This once find cruising-based vacation as a viable choice now becomes more and more disoriented.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgeny
Doug,

Yes I guess you could take that viewpoint and justify an additional fee. I don't however since it replaces the non-fee adult only pool section. What makes it an extension of the spa persay? The cold towels to mope our weary brows? Used to get those just coming onboard from a port call or sitting out in the sun at the regular pool, sporadically admittedly but at times. The fact that you can get a massage under a canopy?

The buffet is an extentsion of the galley, hummm, ka-ching!

Tongue in cheek of course yet nickle and diming is now the heart of the business. All one has to do is read the financials of this public company to see that onboard revenues constitute a larger and larger portion of the companies revenue stream. My chagrin to all this is simply that as cruise ship morph into being more and more compatable to mainstream land vacations they also become less and less a unique and valued vacation option.

I admit to being an apparent minority viewpoint since everyone seems to prefer the pay as you go model lately.
I have to agree whole heartedly with this post. The cruise line is Nickle and Diming us to death. The sad part is that people are stupid enough to pay all these extras. I am amazed to see the steak house full almost every night and people paying for a steak that they could have in the regular dining room for free. I remember when you could get esspresso and capachino with your dinner. Now it's like $2.50. The reason about the Santuary being an extension of the spa and that is why they charge you is a lot of crap. The cruise lines are going to keep doing these things for as long as they can get away with it. If the Steak house were not full of stupid people every night I wonder how long these "Specialty" dining rooms would stay open. Thinking it over maybe some of those people are not stupid, they just have so much money they don't know what to do with it. When I hit the lottery I will eat in the Steak house every night.
If I have offended any stupid people I apologize.
Jim
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Old August 21st, 2006, 09:05 AM
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I am a travel agent I was given a tour of the Crown by a Princess rep. last week.

We specifically spoke about the fee for the Sanctuary. Princess implemented it because of the abuse by people reserving the chairs with their towels and then not sitting in them.

There are not very many seats in the Sanctuary and it is a plush and very relaxing area. They felt that implementing the fee would stop the "chair holders" and allow those who truly wanted to use the seats.

She did tell me that Princess is looking at alternate suggestions for how to ensure that the Sanctuary is not used by chair holders, such as allowing travelers who purchase a Spa service to a block of time to use the Sanctuary with no fee for a certain amount of blocked time.

Unfortunately, it is the chair hogs who make things bad for everyone else. I wish every cruise line would adhere to their own rules about chair holding - most have a 30 minute limit but I have yet to be on a ship that enforces that.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 11:56 AM
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I'm not sure if we're being nickle and dimed or not.

Years ago, cruising was more expensive than it is now. Also, back then, you didn't have the specialty restaurants, ice cream stands, or specialty drinks like cappacino. With the cruise price lower and the number of services increased, is the cruiseline simply responding to requests for enhanced services by letting those people who use those services pay for them?

We have back-to-back cruises booked on the Crown for next January/February and you won't find many of those nickle and dime items on our final bill. We have never been to a specialty restaurant and won't because the dining room is just fine. Our bar bill for a week will likely be less than $25 and drinking flavored coffee for $2.50 a cup is ridiculous, at least for us. I'd rather sit in the library and read than pay $15 for deck space to do the same thing.

However, we too submit to the nickle and dime items, and our downfall is ice cream. We rarely eat ice cream at home, but do so almost every day onboard. Our ice cream bill will probably be double our bar bill. I know I can get ice cream in the buffet, almost daily, and I can order it as dessert too, but I truly love what they have available on the ice cream bar and I'm willing to pay for it.

The reason I'm willing to pay for it is that I remember cruising when it wasn't available. My cruise fare has gone down and they added ice cream so, in the end, even with paying for ice cream, I'm probably saving money over what I would have paid just to cruise years ago.

The next two cruises will be numbers 12 and 13 and Princess has done nothing to scare us away yet. We always remember that we have the option to pay for the new service or not, and our typical response is that we do not.
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 01:12 PM
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George,

I am not surprised since new it was only a matter of time after all. Once we demonstrated that we not only had no problem paying additional for food on a ship but in fact rejoiced in added charges for alternative restaurants that someone would think of great new stuff to charge for. Better desserts and coffee at a cafe, ice cream, just scratched surface.

I just booked new Crown Princess for October sailing and noted that the area that I have loved on ships that have such areas, the adult only pool, now how as a fee. Not only a fee but a nice big one, $15 for SEGMENTS of the day. $15 for 9am till noon, $15 dollars for 1 pm til 6 or some such. Oh and don't forget we have servers with nice fruit things etc for only $3.

I know that there are some that might feel that this is wrong, that having a nice quiet spot on the ship is some sort of benefit that should be afforded ticket paying passengers as a basic service. Why I don't know since so many have demonstrated that they are quite happy to pay for a better steak and so forth.

So I say, how do you feel about paying extra for a quiet spot on your vacation?

Maybe it's time to be honest and just get back to the good old ship system, STEERAGE and UPPER CLASS? Let's avoid all these nickle and dime charges and simply put the steerage people in hammocks below and the good paying customers in the nice upper deck spots where they belong.


I, for one, fundamentally agree with you. Charges for what were included services in the past really grate.

That said, there's an economic reality at work here. Princess's fares have dropped by about a third since the parent company voted to merge operations with Carnival Corporation. The company has to make up that revenue somehow, and "onboard revenue" is the only way to do so. Thus, the company is looking for every possible way to generate more "onboard revenue" including charges for services that previously were included. This is an industry-wide trend to some extent, but it's particularly acute at Princess due to the line's diminished pricing power.

Then again, the obnoxious surcharges may be part of what's diminishing the line's pricing power by driving its former customers to its competitors. There's nothing like a business that points its customers to a red carpet leading right out the door....

Norm.
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 04:50 PM
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I guess the next step will be to charge for room service.
Jim.
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 05:50 PM
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Norm ,Have you noticed the big drop in pricing on Princess for cruises in the fall thru Jan?They have never dealt at this level that I can remember.The opposite is true for Celebrity where there are very few deals being offered followed closely by Holland and RCL.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big apple
Norm ,Have you noticed the big drop in pricing on Princess for cruises in the fall thru Jan?They have never dealt at this level that I can remember.The opposite is true for Celebrity where there are very few deals being offered followed closely by Holland and RCL.
When we booked our Crown cruise in March for the Nov. 4 sailing, we booked a balcony room for $859. The pricing was the cheapest for the first cruises of each itinerary in each port. The next cruise that did the islands we are going on after ours was $200 more at the time. I haven't checked pricing again, but I know there were not many rooms left on the ship at all.

We couldn't even get a group rate because they weren't taking them when we had a group.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 10:36 PM
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Am talking about pricing in the last 30 days not last march.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 10:48 PM
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big apple,

Norm ,Have you noticed the big drop in pricing on Princess for cruises in the fall thru Jan?They have never dealt at this level that I can remember.The opposite is true for Celebrity where there are very few deals being offered followed closely by Holland and RCL.

As an investor, I look at trends over a somewhat longer term. Princess has been advertising seven night cruises to the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera, and Alaska for less than half of what I paid for comparable itineraries and dates about four or five years ago, while both Celebrity's and Royal Caribbean's comparable cruises have gone up in price over the same period. We Fools absolutely love solid companies that have pricing power in their primary markets!

Norm.
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Old August 24th, 2006, 09:49 AM
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Norm,right on in your comments.Have kept copies of my invoices thru the years and my cost on Princess in the 70,s was the same as today and it is no wonder the cruise lines looking at numerous ways to make a profit.What% do you think they get in booking of all the various tours?This along with the price of drinks has to be a large contributor to the bottom line.My concern is that in the future most every activaty will have a charge placed against it.Your idea on this?
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Old August 24th, 2006, 12:05 PM
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I don't know that they get that much for the excursions.

We looked at booking a dolphin swim directly with a company that does them instead of through Princess and the Princess price was only $20 more than if we booked it on our own.

It ended up being work it to book through Princess because the excursion also provided transportaion to and from the ship.

I would think that the excursion companies probably discount further for the cruise line.

Perhaps Princess is luring travelers with lower prices in order to move them from the other cruise lines to Princess.

That may also be why they are moving into departing from more ports, like Brooklyn, to compete with Carnival, Norwegian, Holland and Royal and Celebrity in the NY market.
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