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Travel Gripes! Gripe about cruises or getting to one.(airlines, taxis)

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old April 4th, 2005, 02:51 AM
MikeN
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Default Why rip off UK customers?

We in the UK are fed up with the world wide perception that British customers can pay more for products and services than a large number of our fellow US and European colleagues do.

My gripe has arisen as I saw a cruise advertised on a number of US sites for a cruise on a Princess Cruise Liner, leaving from Southampton on July 31st for a 10 night cruise. The price stated was $1399 per person for an inside cabin. Checking it out with some UK sites, the price they were quoting was 1300.

As I wanted to book 3 cabins (6 persons), it made economic sense to book through the US site. After phoning the site I was very disappointed to be told that they were not allowed to sell Princess cruises to UK customers.

I am sure the PR guru's would try to tell me that they want to support the British travel agents but from a customers point of view it is yet another company who are trying to exploit the UK market.

Surely the idea is to maximize occupancy and fill up as many of the staterooms as possible. In this case there is absolutely no way I would book this cruise at the inflated price showing and I have doubts that I would support Princess or other cruise lines that follow this policy. How can anyone tell me that makes economic sense?.

I appreciate Princess are not the only US owned cruise line to adopt this policy and indeed a British package company Thompson, owned by TUI have been spread across the newspapers for much the same reason, selling the same holidays for substantially less to other European countries, again showing prejudice and contempt for the British customer.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old April 4th, 2005, 03:10 AM
billieZ
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Its all supply and demand. If people in the UK don't stop paying the price then why should the cruise line lower the price. I live in Canada and have met people from the UK in Florida who paid a lot less than I did to travel there. Last Sept in Florida UK people could buy park entrance tickets cheaper than I could just by proving they live in the UK. Is that fair?

No matter where you travel certain groups get discounts that others can not. You can probably book an Alasken cruise leaving Vancouver cheaper than I can from Toronto.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 06:39 AM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

If I'm not mistaken, TA's in the U.S. have to be licensed in a particular state to sell travel in that state. That may be the reason they wouldn't sell to UK customers.

Regards,
Thomas+
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Old April 4th, 2005, 07:32 AM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

A couple of things. Customers in the UK have to buy travel insurance, no exceptions. It's their law, not US corporate policy. I'm sure that there are other tariffs and fees designed to protect local businesses from offshore competition. Got a beef with that? Take it up with your elected officials, because, I agree, they really do stick it to you guys over there.

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Old April 4th, 2005, 10:21 AM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Honestly that would upset me too. Can't say I blame you for feeling the way you do. Just another thought, can you order through any of the Canadian TA's? My d/h is Canadian and one day when we were up there visiting my in laws I stopped by an agency and was talking to an agent about cruises, and I asked her if it was possible to purchase our cruise from her in Canada even though we were residents of the US. She said no problem. Now, we were not discussing Princess, and its possible you may still have the same restrictions there too, but it might be something to check into. I had very good fortune dealing with Canadian TA's on land based vacations when d/h and I were planning our honeymoon, because the exchange rate was very favorable we'd fly out of Toronto to our destination and saved a lot of money because we were paying in Canadian $$$.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 12:19 PM
pg
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Just wanted to say I agree with you, that is a terrible rip off.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

On the surface, this looks like a real rip-off! I don't know the cost of the mandatory English travel insurance, but still it would not seem to equal the us price, adjusted for exchange rates. When dealing with England, I always have to ask whether there are any taxes involved that are not applied in the US. Many of us might consider retiring to England (which is beautiful) except for the high tax rates, and the fact that almost everything seems to be taxed!

Thanks,
Richard
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Old April 4th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

From a U.S. TA Thomas is right.

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Old April 5th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Is this usually the case over there or maybe thompson vacations has some sort of exclusivity in that product in that market??

Either way legislation is for society's issues. This is an economic issue, when sales drop because this is not a good value proposition considering the same product can be purchased elsewhere much cheaper, changes will result.

banker
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Old April 6th, 2005, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Hi, I'm back

Thomson is cruising for UK trailer park people and holds no comparison to main stream cruising. In fact Carnival people would be so P 'ed off on one of their ships!

It targets people who once went to Spain to a 2 or 3 star hotel and laid on a beach all day,,now lets its go cruising with Thomson on ships decommissioned by other lines at least three times previous, get the picture.

Okay back to Mikes post

Wake up and smell the coffee or the tea

The main market for cruising and the chance of gaining 100% occupancy for a cruise comes from the American market, no matter the line, ship or destination.

So which TA's are going to get or negotiate the big discount level?

UK people are not ripped off, we pay the market price given our demand in the market.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 03:09 PM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Guys:

I've never heard of "Thompson" before. What is it?

Also, I was wondering if the Value Added Tax (VAT) is being applied to cruises in the UK. VAT is about 20%, I think.

Thanks,
Richard
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old April 8th, 2005, 02:44 PM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Thomson is a UK based travel company, that was once only land based vacations.

They decided to go into cruising (http://www.thomson-cruises.co.uk) , bought some really old ships that others had decommed at least twice and went cruising.

I imagine they get a really good return on the investment (they are very popular for Med cruising in the UK mass market)

VAT (Value added Tax) is like local tax and is 17.5% of cost price and added to everything in the UK apart from food, childrens clothing and some other stuff I cant think of right now

Personal insurance as some have quoted either in the air, on beach or sea is NOT included in the price and is NOT mandatory in the UK. It is still a personal option, but most sensible people take it. As it covers you for the TA or cacation line going bust (get your money back), missed flights, taking ill, lost belongings etc etc.
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Old April 9th, 2005, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

But again, is VAT included in the price of a cruise quoted to UK clients?

Thanks,
Richard
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old April 11th, 2005, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

VAT is included for cruises, but the deal is still stitched for the internet buyer.

The internet and its availability to purchase world wide still has its rules re price paid as far as the majors are concerned.

For example and forget crusing for now. You go to say Epson online to buy an ink cartridge.

What happens, no central "Big World" shop, you are directed to your countries own area for purchase. So within the same computer, for the same goods the price will vary, and in a lot of cases by a lot based on market demand from that country.

Cruising is no different, no way a US agent can sell to Europe, they would loose the ability very quickly indeed.
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Old April 12th, 2005, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Yep, that's free market economics 101 . The laws in countries vary to protect their commercial industries. In the U.S. a cruise ship, foreigned flagged, cannot leave a U.S. port and return to a U.S. port without first stopping in a foreign port. The Jones Act was enacted almost 100 years ago to protect shipping industries from competition.


Regards,
Thomas
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old April 13th, 2005, 06:05 AM
Peter V
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Default Re: Re: Why rip off UK customers?

I live in the UK, and I have no problems using a US agent and getting the best price. You just need to find an agent that has no problems dealing with your foreign address. All the lines handle foreign guests.

The only difference is that you need to buy cruise only and find your own airfare. My back to back on the Golden Princess over Christmas was priced at 2500 with air from a UK agent for a BD balcony. My US agent got it for $2800 without air for a confirmed BA with possible mini-suite upgrade. The conversion rate paid for the airfare and a week in san Juan prior to the cruise, how can you go wrong. The prices I listed are pp total for both weeks.

Cheers,
Peter
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old April 13th, 2005, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Peter, I find that scenario really interesting, and I believe you. But it goes against everything I have seen in the web market for cruise only sailing from the USA territories and for UK based people buying.

Key line appears
"You just need to find an agent that has no problems dealing with your foreign address"

I think somehow rules are getting bent there, and the lines would not be happy if they discovered US based TA's doing it, and they will react to them as a reseller.

They as sellers could disappear and potentially so could your paid for cruise
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old April 14th, 2005, 01:49 AM
Peter V
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Default Re: Re: Why rip off UK customers?

No, not at all both Princess and Carnival know where I live, and who the agent is that is doing the booking.

Peter
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Old May 5th, 2005, 08:20 AM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

We're the same as you Peter. We've booked 2 cruises now via a US website and each time we've saved a small fortune. We have paid for a balcony cabin for October 2005 $799 per person, where Princess in the UK wanted 1200 per person. Albiet that included Airfare but this we managed to get for a reasonable price bringing the total to approximately 900 per person - 600 saving, not bad eh???

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Old May 5th, 2005, 04:06 PM
Jacqueline01
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Living in the Netherlands we learned to book our cruises with a TA in the US, it makes it big difference. Instead of paying last cruise in Febr Euro 709 p.p. for an inside cabin at home, we payed Euro 550 p.p. for the same cabin. Our TA in the US does not have any problem with overseas payments, paperwork, what so ever.
We are very happy with her.
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  #21 (permalink)  
Old May 9th, 2005, 06:41 AM
britcruiser
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Default Re: Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Debs,
Could you please forward me the details of the company you use. I have recently asked for this sort of info on cruisemates, so if you have used this company in the past and everthing was OK that gives me the confidence to do it myself.

Many thanks
Marshall
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Old May 9th, 2005, 03:06 PM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Yeah I'm a convert too, please post a link for us ripped off Brits <G>
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old May 18th, 2005, 02:50 AM
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Default Re: Why rip off UK customers?

Hi DavidB

I tried to post the link for the TA I use in the States but unfortunately due to message board rules it had to be deleted.

If you still want the information please send me an email and I will forward the details on to you. That goes for any fellow Brit who also hates being ripped off by our so called bargain Travel Agents.

Thanks
Debs

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