I can understand in deep water or fast moving currents but where do they get the right to make you rent a vest on the private islands in 4 feet of water. It's just another way to squeeze a few more dollars from your pockets. They say its "liability" but they're going to have to pull me from the water kicking and screaming this time.
One more rip off, just received info on Princess Cays. $15.00 for a banana boat ride that lasts 15 minutes!!! On RCL's Coco Cay it was $8.00 and I thought that was high.
ian, people have drowned in bath tubs. Of course, they are going to make you wear a vest in the water....yes even 4ft deep <G>. They don't want to be sued by your family. If it was my business you would wear a vest and if you refused to wear it, I would kick you off the tour...without a refund. As far as prices....you don't have to buy.
(Scuba Certified Former Force Recon Marine......MANY years ago :
Funny, they don't make you wear a vest in the pool. Its just a cash grab, nothing else. If they were so concerned for your safety they would give you the vest. The last time on a private island many didn't have them and nobody cared.
Ian: Am in total agreement with those above who said that this is a "cash grab". These "gosh darn" mass market lines are doing nothing else but one "cash grab" after another. There should be no reason why anything should cost extra on a private island! What about this. We all demand to know what is extra and what is included, in a written statement, before we book? Now, I brace myself for the rants that are sure to follow what some perceive as a radeical statement about a cruise, that everyone knows is Gospel when you buy (i.e.) a car. They will say "but all the lines are doing this". Well, they haven't sailed Radisson.
Thanks. My gripe is not safety its the cruise line digging for more cash. Why are snorkelers such a risk? If the water is rough or not safe then they shouldn't let them in. Have vests available for those who want them and charge for them like everything else. Volleyball is free, no risk of lawsuits from broken fingers I guess.
Other passengers can flop on a free lounge chair all day, get a free sunburn (no mandatory Princess approved sunblock required), graze at the buffet until they almost burst and consume pails of the ship's booze. Then at their leisure they can waddle (stagger) into water over their heads, but they are not a safety concern.
Put on a face mask and fins then suddenly you are are serious safety concern, a danger to yourself, that requires a mandatory floatation device, at an additional charge of course.
I don't take unnecessary risks at any time but I don't understand why swimming is okay but snorkelers are in such danger in 4 feet of calm water.
The cruise line is just annoyed that we bring our own gear and don't rent their's.
This isn't a new issue. NCL has required a vest for their Dive In program for over 20 years. My guess is that a line takes on an additional liability risk by providing training for an activity, as NCL does for snorkeling, if they don't teach the absolutely safest way to snorkel. The way around it is to bring your own gear, but that doesn't necessarily keep you from having to use a vest if the cruise line owns the beach.
Nickel and diming cruise passengers is a problem we agree on. The only way to avoid that is to cruise on an upscale line like Seabourn or Radisson.
Another reply to this message said that if you don't want to be "cash gouged" for things like this, you have to take Seabourn or Radisson. These two lines are NOT similar. Seabourn isn't much more all inclusive that what you've been on, and look for fares of $5000 or so. Radisson is so inclusive that it's hard to run up a bill except for shore excursions, and those are usually covered by the AMEX platinum and various other credits available. And the cost for a good room for 7 days is about $2500, and sometimes you can hook up with a "free air" special that makes Radisson competitive with the mass market lines. If you are as tired of the "nickel and diming to death" as I am, Radisson's the way to go right now!
Rather than spending $2500 for a 7 day cruise, buy a vest for $30.00 and never have to rent one again. Besides , at least at Princess Cays, you can skip the snorkeling it is probably better in your bath tub.
Bill, if ian's only problem had been only with a $4 vest rental, his gripe would not have been worth any of our responses. But ian goes on to mention $15 for this or that, etc., in the never ending stream of "extra charges" on these mass market ships. My example of the $2500 Radisson cruise, where ian would not have had any of his gripes, basically included all this at no charge, plus ALL drinks, several free excursions, free air to Tahiti and back, free pre cruise hotel and post cruise day room, a standard cabin that would have been a 4 step upgrade on other lines, included tips, and many other inclusions. Upon our return, we did the math and compared our TOTAL COST to our last RCI cruise last spring, and found that Radisson was several hundred dollars LESS! And better service and food came along with the deal.
Princess and all the other mass market lines are employing a marketing technique where more and more "needed" extra cost items are involved, none of them costing all that much alone, but all of them adding up to a considerable amount at the end of the cruise. This is like car dealers who used to advertise a very low price on a certain car, but by the time you added customary equipment (options?) the price nearly doubled.
Your shock at Radisson's $2500 price is exactly how the mass market lines want us to react. But after you next mass market cruise, total up you costs. Unless you live in the port city, book a closet-sized room in the bowels of the ship, don't take excursions or drink soft or hard drinks or water, you'll be surprised how close to Radisson's price it will be, if not over it.
Last year I took a 14 day Celebrity cruise on Mercury through the Panama Canal from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale. With airfare, upper level outside cabin and all expenses including drinks and excursions it cost me same as your Radison Cruise. Twice the cruise for the same price. I think I'll stick with the upper scale mass market such as Celebrity and not worry about $4.00 here
Just my opinion.
Bill, Your Celeb Cruise sounds like a good one for a good price. My "math" on our recent Radisson Paul Gauguin cruise was weighted by the free air fare to Tahiti from the middle of the US. The "math" admittedly would not work that way for every cruise, unless perhaps a "free air" special was in place, and the guest lived a great distance from the port of departure. Our math on this cruise showed a cruise only price of about $430 per person due to this and the other inclusions. But we know it wouldn't always work that way. As to Celeb, many reviewers rate it ABOVE mass market levels, so we want to look into it someday when the math on it wourkout better for us than other up scale lines.
Thanks for everyone's input, I didn't expect this much discussion.
Just for the record, vest rental at Princess Cay is $8 each so it would be $16 to snorkel with my wife. Since some have mentioned here, and I have read elsewhere, that snorkeling on Princess Cay is lousy so we do not intend to waste our time or money. Grand Cayman and Cozumel will be snorkel days and since we have visted both before we know where to go so no ship's excursions.
I love the ship's excursion to the wreck of the Cali in Grand Cayman. We took it once then realized we could have jumped off the ship and reached the spot faster. Live and learn.
Ian, I'm curious. What did you pay for your cruise? 20 years ago, cruises cost about double what they cost now and there was very little that you had to pay extra for. BUT...there were maybe three very small and crowded ships per cruise line and few people could afford to actually take a cruise. Unfortunately now cruise lines sell cabins at a huge discount and do the hard sell on the extras that were once included. They have to do this in order to fill all those megaships that keep rolling off the 'assembly' line. If you add up all of the extras to the price charged for today's cruises, the total amount would be just about the same as what a cruise cost 20 years ago. I would rather the fares be increased and the hard sell once aboard be eliminated. But in reality, a cruise is an even bigger bargain now than they were back then even with the extras.
I go back over 30 years guys. In 1969 we paid more for our 7 day honeymoon cruise in an inside cabin, with air taxes and port charges than we paid for the same inclusions on an outside, 10 day in 99 and an 8 day balcony GTY that ended up being a mini-suite in 01. In fact, we paid the same in 69 for 2 in one inside cabin as we did for four in 2 cabins (1 in/1out) in 90. I'll pay the couple extra here and there at my option for prices like i paid recently.
Warren: My gripe here is not the "cost" so much as it is the fact snorkelers are 'forced" to pay something to enjoy an advertised recreation when others can splash around in the same water without paying extra. As for "risk" I believe it is more likely that a drunken passesnger will fall off a balconey than anyone drowning at Princess Cay.
What I paid for the cruise is irrelevant and comparison to what cruises cost 20 or 30 years ago is also not an issue since many items we purchase today cost less such as computers, VCR's & microwaves.
I suspect that vest rentals are not a major source of revenue for the cruise lines but it does pay the salary of the person who hands them out and charges your account.