Have you ever come across cruise lines directing passengers to specific shops and excursion companies in each port?
I've read where many cruise lines have "agreements" with these businesses for driving customers to them.
Is this right? How do I know if these shops and sight-seeing companies are legitimate?
If you have any interesting stories I'd love to hear them.
I guess it's a two way street, so to speak. It is understood the cruiselines will receive some compensation from the stores for sending customers their way, but the cruiselines will also only partner with stores who have a good reputation. Imagine the bad publicity a ship would get if they sent customers to a store which was poorly run with poor quality merchandise.
Yeah, it's a business deal, and not really a "scam." Cruise line recommendations of certain stores in a given port usually are accompanied by a cruise line guarantee of some sort covering the merchandise cruisers buy there. No doubt, the line gets a "cut" for all cruisers' purchases there, too. But all are free to shop around and compare. If a better deal can be found and if the cruiseline guarantee isn't an issue, nobody is forcing cruisers to buy at line recommended stores.
What I don't like about this sort of business deal is that it has the bad habit of turning "port talks" on the ship into "infomercials" instead of useful information about what to see and do at the port..
What bothers me about the port talks is that they don't tell passengers that the cruise lines get kickbacks from the stores, but instead try to scare passengers into believing that those are the only stores that it is safe to buy from.
Nothing has changed except the actors.
The Cruise director on the Mardi Gras got a little crossways
with me when I asked if there were any beaches we could walk
to from the ship. Back then the port talks were a an infomercial
not only about the "recomended" shops, but also up-selling the
Has anyone ever gone into a store, found the "lucky Cabin number",
and won anything ??? On the three cruises we checked, the cabin was
either empty, or occupied by an entertainer working on the ship.
Don't expect to find your pot of gold by having your cabin number listed
in any of the stores downtown.
"Has anyone ever gone into a store, found the "lucky Cabin number",
and won anything ??? "
... most of the time there isn't even a cabin on the ship with the number posted, or it would be underwater!
This is similar to the "see if this is the REAL diamond" gig. You take your "free diamond" to a particular store and they look at it through the loop to see if you have won the REAL diamond. If you read the fine print on the papers, you'll see that contest is good for about 5 years. I was standing at a counter once when a women came in all excited and wound up over the possibility that she might win... she was quite disappointed. I told her they'd found the winner about 5 years ago. The guy behind the counter wasn't too happy with me... lol! She left without buying anything and so did we. Those little fake diamonds are fun to bring home to the kids, though. I've even considered getting two set into earrings; they're so pretty.
It's just business as usual. The cruiselines probably get something out of the deal, but at the same time you get some assurance that you've made a purchase of the genuine thing with a guarantee to that effect. I suspect that the cruiselines also push slow selling excursions to maximize profits and that may not have the same desired result for the purchaser. I don't know that I'd call it a scam, though. It's just taking care of business.
i wouldn't call it a scam, just good business. The stores that the cruise lines recommend must be doing something right or the cruise lines would recommend going somewhere else. I also like the fact that as long as you register your purchase from the selected stores with the cruise line you get a guarantee from the cruise line.
Some of the freebies are kind of cute, i have cute little braclette with a starfish and a diamond "chip" its fun and casual.
Yes, if you take a line that recommends stores, the stores "do something right." They give the cruise line a percentage of their revenues! But, hey, that's OK because the line gives some sort of guarantee on the product, although I've heard of problems trying to collect on the "guarantee" also. But without it, you'd have the problem of trying to collect from a merchant in a far off country, where the laws on sales warranties may be nonexistent.
Again, the real problem is that these kind of cruise line/store deals turn the port talks into nothing but infomercials, when the guests instead want info on what to do and what to see in the ports.
"What bothers me about the port talks is that they don't tell passengers that the cruise lines get kickbacks from the stores, but instead try to scare passengers into believing that those are the only stores that it is safe to buy from."
The cruiselines should be upfront abot what the program is. But I think the stores are bigger scammers than the cruise lines. Like the "lucky cabin" scam. when you walk into a store with your little cruise ship chest medallion - that day-glo number with the cruise line logo on it - you might as well be wearing a sign that says "sucker".
The best way to get deals in the Caribbean is to know prices for things before you get there. They are going to start out highballing you, but if you give them that "are you crazy" look and then you know exactly how much it should cost, they will usually make you a pretty good deal.
The cruise director I worked with on the Norway used to do the port/sales talk, but he never liked it. The day after St Thomas his satndard joke was, "How did you like St Thomas? Yes, you had those shopkeepers exactly where they wanted you" (not a typo).
I am the editor, but I also speculate, ask questions and play devil's advocate. I reserve the right to change my mind.
Once Upon A Time, the Cruise Directors used to get a "cut" or fee from those business establishments he advertised as a good place do do business with.It was alleged some Cruise directors were raking in over $100,000-200,00 plus. Noawdays the Cruise Lines consider any fees or "cuts" belong to the Cruise Line.
Other Possible Scams:
Bingo: Once Upon A Time, a percentage of the player receipts used to be set aside fr a benefit fund for the members of the crew. Today, the Cruise Line are alleged to retain a percentage of the receipts. Ever wonder why nobody wins the "big Jackpot" until the very last day, of the cruise?
Designer Watches: These are the male and female watches selling for around $69.00.
On our first ever cruise in 1972 aboard a cruise ship, we purchaased one of these watches. When it came time to have the battery replace, a little old man in a booth at the College of the Desert Street Fair in Palm Desert, CA.was asked how much the watch was worth. He steared us to another booth where the very same watch was selling for $15 or two for $25.
Many years ago while the ship was docked in Honolulu, I purchased a designer watch in Woolworths for $24. The identical watch was on sale aboard ship for $69.00
A shopkeeper in St. Thomas explained to us that he could sell us the same straw hat at a cheaper price because he didn't have an "agreement" with any of the cruiselines. Lower prices work for me! You do have to be a smart shopper and have some knowledge of the product and the quality of the item that you are purchasing.
Actually, I don't think that this is a scam either, just good business. When I took my last Alaska cruise on the Carnival Spirit, they separated the "shopping" part of the shore talks by having their own "Professional Shopper" give that part of the talk. I am sure that the stores do get some kind of compensation, but Carnival also gave additional guarantees for purchases made in their selection of stores. I had an opportunity to compare their recommendations with an independent source in one of the ports too. I have a friend who lives in Whitehorse, YT who goes to Skagway frequently. He met me on the day that we were in Skagway. When we were walking around Skagway, he pointed out the stores that he thought were best...and they were the same ones as recommended by Carnival.
Linda, your response reminded me of a cruise passenger on the Spirit as well. She returned from port thrilled to the toes because she had bought a new fur jacket on the recommendation of one of those personal shoppers - a new "Ranch Mink" jacket.
It was rather funny to think that anyone would travel all the way to Alaska to get a jacket that was harvested in Minnesota and would have probably been a heck of a lot cheaper to buy in the lower states to boot! The woman was from Pittsburgh and I asked her why if she was bent on buying fur she wouldn't want to buy northern fur if she had come all that way? Trust me, her response was not ladylike!
, Northy. Like everything else, you have to take a little time to research the area before you go to know what is an area specialty and what has been brought in to fill out the stores stock. Your story reminds me of an experience that I had in Quebec City. I was in Old Quebec City in a Native American shop admiring the local native artwork and crafts that they had for sale. The shopkeeper came up to me and said that he had just gotten in a shipment of Plains Indian goods if I was interested in something besides his usual stock from the Huron and other Native Peoples of the Eastern Canada. I asked him where they had come from and he proudly said that they came from members of the Cherokee tribe in the tribal capital in Oklahoma. I am from Oklahoma, but I had to go over and look. To his credit, the pieces did look authentic, but the price on the items was about 3 times what I would have paid for it at home...and the capital of the Cherokee Nation is only about 30 miles from where I live. I told him where I was from, thanked him for his time and went back to looking at the items from the local people.