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  #31 (permalink)  
Old April 17th, 2014, 01:15 PM
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I agree with beachbum. The ship was plainly PLANNED for the American market and it has been touted and marketed to us as such for almost two years now.

It is obvious this was very much a fast decision - not coincidentally done very soon after Adam Goldstein became COO of the parent company.

I don't mind China getting ships, I expected the 3rd Oasis would go to Shanghai or Hong Kong, but I believe it is going to Southampton instead. That probably has something to do with this decision.

All of the major Asian ports; Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, just spent a considerable amount of money to upgrade their port facilities. I did an amazingly good article about it for a major news site here:

World's best cruise ship terminals | Fox News

So, I am well aware of the developments over there. This is what makes me wonder what kind of government pressure, or handshake deals might have been done to make this happen.
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Old April 17th, 2014, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by felix_the_cat View Post
I would suggest you all re-read what you and many others say which is what pees me off.

To paraphrase you all - "the new ships should come to the U.S. first and the older ships should go somewhere else. The American's ports are better and we deserve everything first."
Then you can likely appreciate the fact that an inaccurate paraphrasing of previous comments would tend to also result is a similar reaction.

Having read more than 340 posts at various places online today on this topic - nearly 80% of those (yes I kept a "tick sheet to track them"...it is quite clear that there are many, many Royal Caribbean loyal customers who feel everything from misled to betrayed by their announcement yesterday.

It has more to do with the misrepresentations from RCI, who promoted a series of things to U.S. cruisers over the past 12-18 months regarding multiple ships...only to change a myriad of home ports, destinations, timelines, and itineraries.

Since it is common for people to plan/book cruises as much as perhaps 1 year in advance, and some of the affected ships already have bookings which will now need to be cancelled or changed...this has personal financial implications to those cruisers (I am not one of them as an FYI).

Furthermore, those who plan well in advance, which likely represents many long-time RCI customers...these announced changes have the potential to severely disrupt or alter any plans.

Finally, let me note that even if these kinds of changes impacted Southampton
or some other non-U.S. port...it would still be perceived as "an 11th hour drastic change" and impact cruisers in those markets. Bottom line - the results would be the same.

The execution (selected that word carefully) of this new business model is highly-disruptive at minimum. In addition, doing so in the 11th hour after more than a year of heavy promotion on an entirely different model of deployment approaches calling it "deceitful".

If the 24-hour post-announcement feedback is any indication...RCI will get plenty of negative impact as a result. What makes it really disturbing is that it seems like the greatest impact will be to seasoned, loyal, established customers. It comes at a time when the cruise industry struggles to obtain and retain loyalty.

All those last 4-5 points demonstrate incompetence of the decision from a market business perspective.
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Old April 17th, 2014, 01:29 PM
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My colleague David Beers (editor CruiseReviews.com) had already booked the Anthem TransAtlantic cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale - paid his deposit.

Now that ship is not even going to Ft Laud. And he still doesn't know what he will be offered concerning his reservation.
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Old April 17th, 2014, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by seadog2 View Post
I sailed on the Mariner when it was here in LA to Mexico. I understand the lack of ports. That Mexico cruise was "just ok". The Jewel does a California Coastal cruise that looks to be good. I wonder though why Royal won't do a Caribbean cruise from the port of LA through the Panama canal. An 8 or 10 dayer. With the expansion of the Panama canal the Independence would be perfect. Just a thought. The coastal cruise is 7 days.
I am pretty sure it takes a good five days just to reach Panama from Los Angeles. Even Acapulco requires an 8-day cruise.

BUT I think there are other Mexico-based itineraries they should be looking at. What they need is a good "private beach" experience on the West Coast, somewhere along the Pacific coast of Baja would be great (and I have heard over the years that Carnival has been in negotiations to do this).

Cabo is a much better port of call than most people realize. And Loreto (inside the Sea of Cortez) is also good. Mazatlan has been cleaned up somewhat, but what they need to do there is similar to what they have done in Jamaica.

Jamaica is unfit for tourism, unless you are on a ships' tour. They need to create zip-line, horseback riding and beach experiences in Mexico - alternatives to "shopping" and taking a taxi to bad neighborhoods.

When you get as far south as Puerto Vallarta the beaches are great, but few Americans who take that cruise even go out in PV. They just stay on the ship. In fact - there is a mile-long stretch of beach in PV right by the dock with great hotels with restaurants that welcome day visitors. You can para-sail, ride horseback, water-ski, etc. But they do not promote it enough.

Between Cabo, PV and maybe Ensenada or Catalina there is no reason why you couldn't expand the tour options and completely revive California cruising. But that is another topic.
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Old April 17th, 2014, 01:49 PM
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Makes us all wonder what was the real reason behind this quick switch of Quantum.

I just can't picture the Asian market lining up to ride the bumper cars, flowrider, sky dive and north star. Quantum is an American market type of ship.

Bayonne is gaining Liberty for a few months then Anthem so New Jersey will have a new ship there however FL has lost the Anthem and there will be cruisers Pissed off.
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Old April 17th, 2014, 01:53 PM
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Yes, the 14-night transatlantic on the Anthem previously scheduled for October 31, 2015 is now an 8-night voyage departing Southampton on October 27, 2015.

While I anticipate RCI just moving my booking to the revised cruise and saying if you don't like it, cancel it (plenty of time since we are well outside the penalty phase), they apparently are offering UK cruisers who were booked on the original cruise an option for the Allure TA from Barcelona to Port Everglades which happens around the same time. Well, I'm not interested in that option.

RCI is holding a webinar with agents this afternoon so I am expecting more news on the bookings that are now in turmoil.

Let me also say that I think RCI lost some credibility with this move to China. I know that one shouldn't trust a big corporation without question, but they really sold us a bill of goods. As others have said, it isn't that I think every new ship should come here, it's that they said it was coming here and trumpeted it for many months. So now RCI says 'well, it's still coming to America, so what's your beef?' But it's only for 4 months.

Something has happened recently to suddenly cause this change in the deployment of Quantum, but RCI is not saying. I've read rumors about problems with Bermuda being able to support Quantum, and now we see the ship being pulled out and sent to China right before it would have started it's Bermuda sailings.
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Old April 17th, 2014, 04:19 PM
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Very interesting, sure sounds like something is up....Awaiting on what info. you should find out...
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Old April 17th, 2014, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
I am pretty sure it takes a good five days just to reach Panama from Los Angeles. Even Acapulco requires an 8-day cruise.

BUT I think there are other Mexico-based itineraries they should be looking at. What they need is a good "private beach" experience on the West Coast, somewhere along the Pacific coast of Baja would be great (and I have heard over the years that Carnival has been in negotiations to do this).

Cabo is a much better port of call than most people realize. And Loreto (inside the Sea of Cortez) is also good. Mazatlan has been cleaned up somewhat, but what they need to do there is similar to what they have done in Jamaica.

Jamaica is unfit for tourism, unless you are on a ships' tour. They need to create zip-line, horseback riding and beach experiences in Mexico - alternatives to "shopping" and taking a taxi to bad neighborhoods.

When you get as far south as Puerto Vallarta the beaches are great, but few Americans who take that cruise even go out in PV. They just stay on the ship. In fact - there is a mile-long stretch of beach in PV right by the dock with great hotels with restaurants that welcome day visitors. You can para-sail, ride horseback, water-ski, etc. But they do not promote it enough.

Between Cabo, PV and maybe Ensenada or Catalina there is no reason why you couldn't expand the tour options and completely revive California cruising. But that is another topic.
I believe there are other options to ports in Mexico. Hopefully RCI would consider them. The 15 day repo cruise from LA to San Juan looks really good. I would only be interested in it if they did the return repo cruise from San Juan to LA. I feel bad for those who have booked the Quantum and the Anthem who are now displaced. People feel blindsided by this sudden switch and understandably so. This reminds me of the company I was employed by before I retired. They would say one thing and do another.
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Old April 17th, 2014, 06:19 PM
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If that is the case and Bermuda is not ready for a bigger girl then Explorer will Bermuda be ready for Liberty and eventually Anthem? Besides Quantum could have done Caribbean/Bahamas sailings until Bermuda was ready.

There is a piece of the China puzzle missing to this story.....

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Old April 17th, 2014, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
Just so you know - we just had the press conference - and the RCL team insisted there was no financial incentive from China behind this decision.
I have the same feeling as you stated in your later post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
So, I am well aware of the developments over there. This is what makes me wonder what kind of government pressure, or handshake deals might have been done to make this happen.
With a ship of this size and the other cruise options for the Asian market I feel there had to be some sort of financial incentive, beyond the increasing number of middle class Asians, in order to make this appealing to RCL.

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Old April 17th, 2014, 07:42 PM
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By the way - from the amazingly good article on best ports in the world at FoxNews.com:

Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, Hong Kong

Terminal number one of the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong is set to open in June, 2013, with a second terminal set to open in July, 2014. They are in Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong, built over an old runway once servicing the former Kai Tak airport.

Kai Tak cruise terminal can also manage a 220,000-ton-displacement cruise ship, which is convenient since Royal Caribbean is a 20 percent stakeholder, and so far the number one customer with three ships scheduled to use the terminal regularly. It's also already to schedule service for Princess, Cunard and Regent Seven Seas.

The ultra high tech building with a large public park area on the top floor will cost about $500 million and was designed by Foster + Partners of London, which also built the London’s Millennium Bridge and London City Hall.


It is easy to assume one reason they were forced to do this is because they encouraged them to build these new ports and then did not schedule an Oasis ship to go over there. That tells me they would rather see a Quantum class over there and keep Oasis in US/UK - where people recognize and appreciate a new and premium ship experience
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Old April 18th, 2014, 05:33 AM
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2) Quantum, in fact, could be one of the most boring new Royal Caribbean ships yet. Take away iFly and the Pod on a crane - and it is otherwise a gimmicky ship with a small Royal Promenade - a typical theater, standard staterooms, no main dining rooms. I see it as something like a Norwegian Epic-style ship, meant to pack in cruisers like Sardines. - Now, right now, this is just theoretical thinking, I have not seen the ship yet. But from what I have seen, I am not that impressed.
Packing them in like Sardines, is a phrase I have read a couple of times on here and it doesn't make sense. The cabins are 9% larger than Oasis Class cabins. How is that packing them in like sardines?, when there is more space. The ratio of crew to passengers is the same across the fleet. So not sure where the sardine phrase is making sense.
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Old April 18th, 2014, 09:17 AM
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China is not some third or forth world country. I bet RCI makes record profit in Asia.
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Old April 18th, 2014, 10:36 AM
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If, like some people have said, Quantum is not filling up, I can tell you why. It's price and selection of destinations. I just did mock bookings on Quantum and Indy, both mid December, D1 cabins. Indy is over $500 cheaper, and look where you go. St Martin, St Kitts, San Juan, and Labadee. Much better than Nassau, Coco Cay, and Port Canaveral. Nothing against Port Canaveral, but it's a much better place to depart from, than to visit. The weather in December in central Florida could be in the 80's, but just as easily be in the 50's or 60's. If I'm going to spend a few grand on a cruise in the winter, I want to go someplace were I know it's going to be warm.
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Old April 18th, 2014, 10:43 AM
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Packing them in like Sardines, is a phrase I have read a couple of times on here and it doesn't make sense. The cabins are 9% larger than Oasis Class cabins. How is that packing them in like sardines?, when there is more space. The ratio of crew to passengers is the same across the fleet. So not sure where the sardine phrase is making sense.
"Packing them in like sardines" isn't solely about the cabin size. It's about the total space on the ship including public areas. The passenger space ratio on Quantum is smaller than both the Freedom and the Oasis class. Not by much, but it is nevertheless a tighter ship, space wise, as is the trend for all new builds.

With all berths filled, Freedom has a PSR of 35.3, Oasis 35.4, and Quantum 34.2.
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Old April 18th, 2014, 11:01 AM
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"packing them in like sardines" refers to the passenger space ratio for all the public areas of the ship per passenger. Now, unfortunately we do not have ways to calculate just the square footage of public areas and staterooms on ship (separating them from crew areas, galleys, engine rooms, etc.) but one can do a round calculation and see about how much PSR is available on a given ship by taking the total tonnage and dividing it by the passenger capacity;

Take Oasis of the Seas - it is 220,000-tons and carries 5400 passengers berths - that gives us a PSR of: 40.7

Take Quantum of the Seas - it is 167,888 tons and holds 4905 (total passengers): the PSR is 34 - about 13% smaller. This is on par with Carnival and other lines that are known for putting a lot of people on smaller ships.

In fact, if you look at the floor plans of Anthem, you see that there is no Royal Promenade. You also see that is has several decks of cabins with only two decks of public rooms.

Oasis has literally five full decks in the middle of the ship with nothing but public space - there is deck 4 with Studio B, the Casino, Comedy Club, and shops, the above is the three deck tall Royal Promenade. Above that is Central Park with restaurants and the AquaTheater on the back.

But the deck plans for Quantum only show Decks four and five as being completely for public space, with parts of deck three - far less public space. This public space is what I refer to when I mention crowding - it has to do with how many people can fit into a given theater or dining room at any given time.
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Old April 18th, 2014, 12:32 PM
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Thanks guys for clearing it up. Will be nice to see how it feels in real life.
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Old April 18th, 2014, 03:34 PM
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Wow, what a shock to the RCI fans. No matter what RCI states in their press conference; I bet they are getting a big incentive to place Quantum in Asia. It may be something like you don't have to pay any port taxes for one year; it could be we will give RCI a tax break on total revenue. This is an American based company; so to make a sudden gesture of taking a brand new ship and moving it around the world has to be about money. I have been to Hong Kong, and used to fly into Kai Tak Airport. What a great place to start or end your cruise; you're virtually downtown where everything is located.http://aecom.com/deployedfiles/Inter...al_mainimg.jpg
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Old April 18th, 2014, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
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China is not some third or forth world country. I bet RCI makes record profit in Asia.
Forbes Magazine: The average annual household income in China, converted to dollars, was $10,220, compared with $84,300 in the United States.

The thing is that China has so many more people than the US that if even 10% of it population is wealthy enough for a cruise, that's almost equal to the population of the U.S.
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Old April 18th, 2014, 06:47 PM
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I agree with Paul, that's a lot of people in mainland China. Think about this; if 75% of the passengers are from Asia, and they all drink one Coke while onboard; look how much money Coke will make. So RCI has most likely done its homework.
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Old April 19th, 2014, 02:02 AM
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China may be the world giant, but there are other "giants" in Asia. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and even Vietnam have fast-growing middle classes. Don't forget Japan, Taiwan and the Phillipines either, as well as Singapore.

We look down on these peoples because they tend to SERVE us on cruise ships... well now they might just want to be served. It's a HUGE market, that just needs a little marketing. Hard to do without ships in position.
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Old April 19th, 2014, 05:53 AM
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Do Americans not fly to other countries to cruise?
I'm from the UK and it would never occur to me not to fly to another country to meet the ship in its home port. I don't just sail from the UK. In fact out of the 8 Cruises I have done, none have been from the UK. It's only this year and next that I am. I would travel to China and do those ports. So there must be a percentage of the ship that will be from other regions.
It just seems that if the ship isn't in America, then you won't go on it. How many people have come over to the Mediterranean and cruised?
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Old April 19th, 2014, 08:23 AM
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What seems to be happening is missing the real issue - where the ships are moving isn't as much a big deal as HOW this all happened. After a year or more of U.S, port-based promotion for both Quantum and Athem...all that is getting drastically changed.

That is the angst, not the final destination itself.

That said...

As one of many people who simply won't run the risks to cruise in the peak Caribbean time from Bayonne NJ because of the frequent adverse weather and higher costs of traveling there, as well as paying for the extra 2 days just sailing from and back to that port (instead of gaining a destination stop)...this basically eliminates any chance of a Quantum class ship being realistically chosen by a substantial number of cruisers.

The way this was handled by RCI is they key issue...it will likely also lead to a defection of a measurable number of loyal existing RCI cruisers. I've already seen 2 polls started online after the news - about 20% of voting cruisers said as far as they are concerned - RCI can pound sand for their future business because of this fiasco and will likely switch to another cruise line.

"Grossly misleading", "deceitful", "betrayed" are terms depicting how some have portrayed the way RCI has handed the musical-ship game they have now played, and plenty of folks seem to be angry...not just frustrated. That can't be a good thing for RCI.

The costs of acquiring a new RCI cruiser are significant, the costs of losing a loyal RCI cruiser are substantial.

While thousands protested about the policy changes for smokers...that pales in comparison with the backlash that is obviously growing based on RCI's ship-deployment decision announcement. Even more...its an issue that won't go away for months and perhaps years to come.
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Old April 19th, 2014, 09:33 AM
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I agree 100%. Thanks for posting this
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Old April 19th, 2014, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
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Do Americans not fly to other countries to cruise?
I'm from the UK and it would never occur to me not to fly to another country to meet the ship in its home port. I don't just sail from the UK. In fact out of the 8 Cruises I have done, none have been from the UK. It's only this year and next that I am. I would travel to China and do those ports. So there must be a percentage of the ship that will be from other regions.
It just seems that if the ship isn't in America, then you won't go on it. How many people have come over to the Mediterranean and cruised?
I don't agree with some of your post. Most people cruise close to home; its a matter of money. The US based cruise lines are now putting more of their ships in ports other than florida and NY. They are reaching out to more families who don't live near these two ports. Second, airfare keeps going up. If you fly from Michigan to Florida, the airfare is a lot less than Michigan to London. Not to say people don't do it. I myself have sailed out of both Southhampton, and Venice, and Barcelona. I will be going back to Venice to cruise next year. The price of my airline tickets are almost the same as cruise price; hence, why Americans don't travel too far to catch a ship Thanks for your post
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Old April 19th, 2014, 09:57 AM
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Keep in mind Royal Caribbean is a Company and Companies do what is good for their wallet just like we cruisers do what is best for our wallets.

If it's best for Royal's wallet that Quantum go to China so be it. Don't cruisers book cruises then look for price drops and more and more perks?? Don't cruisers book cruises then cancel to rebook a cheaper ship or even another cruise line? Does Royal feel Betrayed and Angry when cruisers do that?

On the flip side....those that were booked on Anthem have to now rearrange their travel plans will not be happy.

Running a large corporation you will never make everyone happy.

I have the Quantum booked and don't plan on canceling because she is going to China or how Royal handled the whole thing however I may cancel Quantum because of not being able to take two weeks off from work in December. I hope Royal is not angry with me if I cancel...

I hope Indy is not moving to China Next week...because I'm planning on having another Awesome Royal cruise!
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Old April 19th, 2014, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by SausPud View Post
Do Americans not fly to other countries to cruise?
I'm from the UK and it would never occur to me not to fly to another country to meet the ship in its home port. I don't just sail from the UK. In fact out of the 8 Cruises I have done, none have been from the UK. It's only this year and next that I am. I would travel to China and do those ports. So there must be a percentage of the ship that will be from other regions.
It just seems that if the ship isn't in America, then you won't go on it. How many people have come over to the Mediterranean and cruised?
Meds cruises are still popular. For myself though I would not take a Meds cruise just because I like to stay in a city for more then one day and stay and in the cities I want to stay in. Unless there is a ship that has this Itinerary...Milan, Venice, Split, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Koprivnica. I prefer Italy/Croatia by land not ship.
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Last edited by thecruisequeen; April 19th, 2014 at 11:20 AM.
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  #58 (permalink)  
Old April 19th, 2014, 10:58 AM
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Airfare costs are a factor for travel to Asia from the U.S., but another factor exists that is often overlooked.

That factor is the U.S. is still a largely isolated country in respect to the rest of the planet, and I mean in a geographic sense. Canada to the north, Mexico to the south, a bunch of small mostly English-speaking islands in the Caribbean, and that's it. Thus a lot of Americans are not comfortable flying to foreign lands for a vacation or cruise. They don't speak the language, or they don't understand the local customs, they are fearful of running afoul of the law and being locked up, it's the whole list of irrational fears of the unknown, but it really does keep a lot of Americans at home, where taking a cruise to Alaska, Bermuda, the Caribbean, or the Canadian maritime provinces is as far as they will go.

In the UK, people are used to being close to so many other cultures. Flying to China or Malaysia is not a big deal to you.

I spend a lot of time in this forum and in other places answering questions about cruising from foreign ports from other Americans who are 'anxious' or 'nervous'. But once they make the leap, they come home and say 'you know, that wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be.'

Many of us in this forum still fight the battle about the need to get a passport with many American cruisers. A closed-loop cruise from an American port doesn't require a passport, so many simply don't want to get one and they are quite stubborn about it. And, if you don't have a passport you can't board an international flight.
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Old April 19th, 2014, 11:56 AM
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It's about time for American's to spread their wings - and fly. The world is no longer centered around them and their needs/wants. They are missing so much with their self-centered ideas.


You talk about how much it is to fly from the U.S. Well, it's expensive to fly from England, Australia, China, Japan etc to the U.S. I'm afraid that now the shoe is on the other foot.


People go to the states from those countries and don't speak English but they learn - American's will also have to learn to communicate in a multi language setting that is not English/Spanish.


For those that think RCI will lose hoards of cruisers over this - they won't. Like anything else, they may wander for a short while but they'll be back. They like the product, their like their PERKS, - they either won't leave or will be back.


You can bet RCL has taken this all into consideration - losing a few American cruisers vs getting a lot more cruisers from a new market - no brainer. It's all about the money, not the "loyal" cruiser. Everyone is just a number to them $$$$$$$number.


It seems to me RCI has been downgrading the "loyalty" perks for some time now. They know what they are doing.


Yes, they may well have changed their collective minds on the timing of this move, but it was going to happen no matter what. It was only a matter of when - now everyone know the "when".
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Old April 19th, 2014, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felix_the_cat View Post
It's about time for American's to spread their wings - and fly. The world is no longer centered around them and their needs/wants. They are missing so much with their self-centered ideas.


You talk about how much it is to fly from the U.S. Well, it's expensive to fly from England, Australia, China, Japan etc to the U.S. I'm afraid that now the shoe is on the other foot.


People go to the states from those countries and don't speak English but they learn - American's will also have to learn to communicate in a multi language setting that is not English/Spanish.


For those that think RCI will lose hoards of cruisers over this - they won't. Like anything else, they may wander for a short while but they'll be back. They like the product, their like their PERKS, - they either won't leave or will be back.


You can bet RCL has taken this all into consideration - losing a few American cruisers vs getting a lot more cruisers from a new market - no brainer. It's all about the money, not the "loyal" cruiser. Everyone is just a number to them $$$$$$$number.


It seems to me RCI has been downgrading the "loyalty" perks for some time now. They know what they are doing.


Yes, they may well have changed their collective minds on the timing of this move, but it was going to happen no matter what. It was only a matter of when - now everyone know the "when".
You seem a little upset and frustrated with Americans. I am sorry to hear that. I travel for a living and have been to every continent except Antartica; I've been to over two hundred countries, and can't count how many cities I've visited. I have never had a problem with language barrier, or making friends. When people hear you're from America, they seem to go out of their way to make sure you are welcome. So please don't slam americans for being closed minded. I've been to Asia so many times, it doesn't make sense for me to cruise over there;; I have plenty of pictures and souvenirs from all over Asia. Thanks for listening
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