See my post "My Gripes" below. Todays Wall Street Journal (12/27/01) contains an article on the front page of the "Marketplace" section which does a good job of describing the ever-growing list of extra charge items being imposed by supposedly all-inclusive cruise lines. Amen! Maybe we all should start demanding a full list of extras and their prices before booking. And maybe we could go one step further by asking our Congressmen and Senators to require full disclosure of these things by the lines at or before booking.
Oh come on! Now we want the US Government to tell FOREIGN CORPORATIONS what they can and cannot say! Of course there are "extras" onboard ships! There are "extras" at DisneyWorld too! ANYWHERE you go you will find that there are some things that are not included in the all-inclusive pricing. That is why it is so nice to have a cruise savy travel agent AND websites such as Cruisemates so that travelers can find out just what is available and what isn't and what you can expect to pay extra for. Tips are always extra, that's a given. Also, do you really think that for $600pp they should suppy booze, manicures, massages, goumet food, 5 star resturant fare, gambling, and all the other things that one should be able to figure out should cost extra? For crying out loud, they are already giving you wonderful shows, fantastic meals and all you can eat, transportation to exotic areas, a cabin, access to all forms of entertainment 24/7. No matter how you look at it, a cruise is the most cost effective, safest, and most enjoyable vacation you can find! I certainly don't want our 'wonderful' Congressmen/women to mess that up! All they would be able to do is ensure that they are allowed free cruisers so that they can make sure they comply to their regulations! <G>
Anyone who takes the time to write to a Senator or a Congressman or The U.S. Department of Transportation that has the responsibility for the cruise lines on this subject at hand, probably will not receive a response. If you are fortunate, you may get a one or two page letter filled with nothing more than gobbledygook.
Did you read the article? The problem is not that cruise lines charge for "extras". The problem is that they don't DISCLOSE this at time of booking. And yea, I do think that any corporation that advertises in the US ought to comply with US law.Especially if they also trade on the NYSE.Too many lines advertise on TV as all inclusive, and (as the article points out) many consumers are mislead. You don't see foreign car manufacturers advertising their cars as "all inclusive" then tacking on extra charges for options to make it a real car, do you? Heck, I can't even call a cruise line and get a straight answer as to what is included, what is extra, and who much.
cars are all inclusive! Wanna check the sticker. You will probably note that they charge extra for a motor, wheels, seats, destination charges, "loyalty fees" (that is so they can pay for the unsolicited mail they send you), and a bunch of other stuff!
What I am saying is that it would seem that a reasonable person would understand that not EVERYTHING available onboard is included in the price. For those that don't understand that, then they definately should by the time they are through talking to their TA.
Sir: As a mature person with four college degrees, including a bachelors in business administration and a Doctorate in Law, I well understand the evolution of the law as to automobilie sales. Thirty years ago, they were the "bad guys" as to false and misleading advertising.But not now, due to public pressure. Now the travel industry is. This will remain so, untill public pressure stops the abuse.
Personally, I recently saw an ad for a car built by a foriegn corporation (Mercedes Benz) with US ties (via Chrysler division). It was for a C32 AMG, and stated "base price $49,900, delivery, taxes, options, and asseccories extra. Contact your dealer for details". It gave a toll free number in case I didn't know of my nearest dealer. I did know of the local dealer, and called. the dealer. The salesman there was happy to SEND ME a listing showing the price for the delivery, taxes, options, and accessories I might want. From this information, I was able to arrive at a total price of the car I would want. Heck, the delaer even told me what his profit would be on the deal! You know what? I may buy it, partially because it is one of the world's great cars, and partially because of the FULL DISCLOSURE OF THE DEAL.
This is all I ask of a cruise line on which I am considering booking. I know there will be extras on the cruise. But I want the same treatment I got from the car dealer - being a written list of extras and the prices thereof. If I don't like it, I won't book. If I do, I'll pay.Keeping with the analogy with cars, what the cruise lines want me to do is to pay the "base price" and then be locked on the ship until I pay whatever "extras" they have dictated for my particular cruise. There's no contract here. There's an illegal failure to disclose by the lines, and I won't shut up until it is stopped. I'm sorry if I offend some, but I simply believe the traveling public is entitled to the same full disclosure they have when they buy a car. That is, full information before they pay anything.
What "extras" do the cruise lines DICTATE you should pay after boarding? Extras are just that: extra, and are optional. You don't have to take the ships' shore excursions, you don't have to eat in alternative restaurants, you don't have to gamble, you don't even have to shop onboard. You don't have to drink (although any reasonable person doesn't expect alcohol to be included--it isn't at hotels and resorts other than all-inclusives). You don't even have to tip, although most of us wouldn't advise that either.
Cruise brochures do disclose, usually on the inside back pages, exactly what is and what is not included. It is unreasonable for a cruise line to list the prices of each drink and each shore excursion in brochures that cover wide ranges of itineraries.
I do not like nickle and diming but I definitely do not want our government involved in what is an individual decision.
I agree with winner. Ruth, go ahead and sue, or try to. I would really be interested in knowing what attorney would possible take this case on a "pay me only if I win" deal. They aren't doing anything wrong and there is no false advertising. If you want pricing, simple, ask your TA or the cruiseline before you book for pricing of the 'extras'. I am sure they will provide them for you, if not, the prices are listed right there in the paper discribing the shore excursions etc. You are under no obligation to book anything BTW. Lets leave our Government out of this, it has no business in business IMHO.
If all you are satisfied by shrinking content of cruises, extra charges for things that used to be included,impossibility of getting accurate info from the lines' customer service dept., and cruise line ads that throw the words "all-inclusive" around freely, then, hey, who am I to ruin your party?
It's just strange that these and other boards are full of other cruise guests' accounts with much the same complaints, but, hey, what do they know?
something to ponder, on the flip side of what you are basing your arguement on -- that you should get everything under the sun for one low price if it's advertised as "all inclusive" (even though the fine print in advertisments says what's included, as do cruise line brochures)...
have the cruise lines *subtracted* features from what used to be included in the "base price" as per diems have plummetted? yes, i realize price reductions are a result of supply & demand, however cruises that six month ago cost $1000 for passage are now being sold for $499. based on seven nights, that's a little more than $70 per. what have the cruise lines eliminated (and thus, passengers "lost") as the per diem fell from $175 to $70 and less? probably nothing that wasn't "extra" to begin with.
there is PLENTY of notification if you read: a) the fine print; and b) everything placed in front of you (brochures, etc)... both things you should well know carrying a doctorate in law. if you're trained as an attorney and don't know the first rule of contracts (which booking a cruise would qualify as) that you READ EVRY SINGLE WORD AND UNDERSTAND IT before you agree to or sign anything, you need more training.
you also need to go back and take a night school class in spelling.
I too feel like the full disclosuer of "extras" so that we can compare base rates and the extras. Even if they don't tell us the price of these things, the least they can do is let the customer know what is not included in the cost of the cruise. I had always thought that things like the putt putt golf, climbing wall, ice skating, etc. were all part of the base fee for some cruises. Man was I wrong on that. Yes they look great in the flyers, but nowhere do they say they cost extra. After being on a couple of cruises, I kinda know what to expect as far as thing like cokes, mixed drinks and things like that costing extra. I don't like to be blindsided by the extras that come along later.
I always expect to pay for the "extras" for Christ's sake. What is all inclusive is room, meals, and travel. What get's my ire up is when the published price is not the actual price; meaning tacking on port charges, taxes, etc. that you don't have the option of not buying. Why advertise a cruies for say $499 and then bill the customer $671? You can not go on that cruise for $499 damn it.
I still think it's a great deal though. I know an elderly couple in Florida that takes a 4-day every month for around $250 ;; for an inside room. They don't drink, don't go on shore excursions, don't do any of the extras but manage to travel for 4 days, eat all they want, get entertained, shop, swim, exercise, sit in the hot tub, relax on the deck, watch movies, read a good novel, dance and gamble for no more expense. Sounds like a good deal to me.
Thats all we need is more government intervention. Then those "good old boys" will figure a new tax for us. Read the cruise brochure and everthing else is an extra. Oh...and go have some fun and forget the stuffed shirts in Washington, DC