Why do some people happily pay higher cruise fares for inclusive options they may never use?
The opulent surroundings on Regent Seven Seas cruise ships
Luxury cruise lines are in a world of their own - with ships generally much smaller and quieter than the large mainstream cruise ships operated by Celebrity and Princess. It's funny, but because those more mainstream ships are so much bigger they also have a lot more diversity in entertainment and culinary offerings. But luxury cruisers still prefer the less-active "yacht-like" experience aboard smaller ships.
Did you decide on a cruise so you can experience Regent first hand? 9 November, Mariner is sailing Monte Carlo to Rio. A good mix of both sea days and port days so you can really check out the ship. Would love to have a newbie onboard.
We're on the Mariner's Monaco-Rio cruise too, and have cruised with Marc and his wife Arlene several times, most recently from Dubai to Athens this past spring. We've cruised 307 nights with Regent, and have also cruised with Cunard (Bermuda and the QE2's 2000 World Cruise), Crystal, Holland-American, Silversea, and Princess - in total more than 400 nights, all but five since 2000.
We started on Cunard's QE-2, a 5 day New York - Bermuda round trip in 1980, which we really liked. But when we sailed from Hong Kong to Cape Town in 2000, we found the class system on board not to our taste, even though we were in Grille Class. That fall we tried a crossing in the Radisson Diamond, and loved it. Although we were still 'exploring', we found the Radisson style near-perfect for us, and when we managed to get invited to the Voyager's shakedown and christening in 2003, we were hooked. We stayed on for the maiden cruise and booked the first two legs of Voyager's first world Cruise, from Los Angeles to Australia, IMHO our best cruise ever.
In those days, Radisson was the cruise line that said YES to every reasonable (and some unreasonable) requests, that bent over backward to be more than fair, and that made sure that it's guests were taken care of, no matter what happened. But apparently their owners, the Carlson Companies, weren't satisfied with their investment and sold out to Apollo, the current owner. Before that happened, Radisson changed its name to Regent, went 'all-inclusive', and adopted a truly brilliant customer loyalty program.
I say that about the customer loyalty program with considerable forethought, because we're not happy with the changes. We don't really drink enough and don't take enough ship's excursions to justify the 'all-inclusive' policy, although as you point out, it's very popular. We also don't like the staff and policy changes and price increases that have occurred over the past several years, so we've tried to find alternatives, but none have measured up. The closest were Silversea and Regent's sister line, Oceania, but the perks we get with the loyalty program unbalanced the scale against Silversea, and the total rip-off Internet offering on Oceania just ruled that out. We don't mind paying for what we get, but just refuse to knowingly allow people to screw us as that program does! Here is what I posted on Cruise Critic about Oceania's Internet program:
The absolute worst thing was the Internet charges. I spend a lot of time on the computer and Internet; I enjoy it. On Oceania we were told we would be provided a laptop computer for our use in our penthouse suite. Because I have a lot of 'stuff' on my laptop, and a very nice small roll-on that has a special compartment for it, I brought it along anyway. Thank goodness! Oceania has contracted out management of its computers and Internet access, and is providing laptop computers in PH staterooms. The charges (which start at $0.95 cents a minute) are atrocious, even when you buy one of the discounted packages. But wait, it gets worse! Any use of the so-called "free" computer requires you to “log in”, at which point the charging meter starts ticking. So you can’t read or draft e-mails off line, or play Solitaire, or make any use of the thing without paying through the nose. The real killer: I haven’t experienced such poor response since I was using a first generation PC-XT to access bulletin boards using a 1200 baud modem back in the mid-1980s. This is, of course, to Oceania’s (or their contractor’s) great advantage; THEY ARE CHARGING BY THE MINUTE, so the slower the response the longer it takes and more you are charged! A total rip-off and the reason we will never again cruise with Oceania while this policy is in place. In this uber-connected era, a decent connection at reasonable cost is a minimum expectation of most travelers. Not so at Oceania. For me, reasonably priced, decent Internet service is a sine qua non! Enough is enough!
We've tried most of the premium lines, but their ships are either too old or too big to suit us, and we don't really like multiple dinner seatings with fixed assignments either. For us, Regent is the best, it's Seven Seas loyalty program has us happily hooked, so we have five future cruises booked through Fall 2013 now. Part of the secret is the great agent we share with Mark & Arlene; she's a Regent loyalist and the absolute best, so we just follow her leadership and advice! By the way, she and her husband, a superb photographer, will be sailing with us this Fall.
Last edited by count Florida; July 18th, 2012 at 02:25 AM.
That is a very interesting asessment. I like Oceania ships a LOT and I would think that in the big picture what you get is worth paying a little more for Internet access - especially since you mentioned you are not really fans of the all-inclusive approach of the new Regent with Shore excursions, etc.
However, I see it is the principle more than the money with you. I am surprised to hear you can't use the penthouse laptop for anything without "logging on" - that is just dumb, and I am glad you brought your own laptop (as I would have done as well).
The article indicates that most people like all-inclusive even though they realize it is not a value proposition. I guess that only goes so far.
Have you tried Seabourn? It has a very reasonable Internet plan - I think you get unlimited access - but you pay something like $250/week. But still, it is very nice to be able to have all the Internet you want.
Seabourn has an "unlimited" plan, I believe it was $399, late last year....but that lasted me for 88 days! Wouldn't be much good for a 7 or 10 day cruise though! They also have a new loyalty program, which for old Granny as a "Diamond" member, gets internet FREE!! Cant wait to use it!!
__________________ Granny Lorr
Seabourn Pride...Dover to Singapore...88 Days....Sept 17 2011
I started cruising with Radisson and then Regent. What I liked was more space, fewer passengers, good food, shower stalls, and ,at that time, a typically low single supplement.
With the advent of the included excursions the supplement is now 100% and the excursions are fully booked 4 months in advance.
A Deluxe Verandah on HAL comes close to the old days with a smaller shower stall and
a lot more people.
Thank you for commenting Buckeye. Can I just ask you to clarify for me what you mean by "the supplement is 100%?" - Do you mean as opposed to the typical 200% - or do you mean an additional 100% (as in 'not as low as it used to be?").