Author Topic: What is cruising becoming?  (Read 3745 times)

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Phil

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What is cruising becoming?
« on: November 08, 2007, 02:20:39 PM »
I recently answered many questions from a friend who booked her first cruise with her husband. The cruise was a 5 day cruise on NCL to Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
   It was her return to home and her email to me that has me somewhat surprised.

I started to cruise back in 1983 and my last cruise was in May of this year. I would say I have watched the evolution of modern day cruising take place and change.

My first cruise was Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam and her 2nd voyage. It was a 14 day cruise and at the time cruising was only thought to be for the rich.
   I had booked the cruise some 13 months out so I had lots of time to find books to read as the internet was not available at that time.
   I found several things to be different from what I had read. Tipping on Holland America was “not required” which meant do not tip I soon found out. As there were 4 of us sharing a cabin we needed a few extra towels and a extra ice bucket. I asked the room Steward for these Items via a note and left $10 with the note. Boy was I surprised to find him tapping me on my shoulder during the Bon Voyage sail away handing me back the tip. He said he could not take it as it was his job to do the things I requested.

During this first cruise I found hard drinks to be $1.75 and a glass of draft beer to be .75 cents and soda/pop was free.
   Oh yes the cabin had liquor cabinets in them for one to have their own bottle. One just had to go to the Duty Free store buy the bottle and take it back to their cabin.
   Wine on board was sold at duty free prices.

One of my early cruises I booked Sitmar’s Fairwaind to the Panama Canal. We were taking our 10 month old daughter on this cruise. It was what Sitmar did for us that still surprises me today. There was no charge for her to go, not even port taxes. Sitmar sent us a list of things we could have free of charge. These included a crib in the room, baby food, diapers, cookies.
   Also Sitmar had a nursery on board that was open where we could leave our daughter free of charge.

So lets fast forward to today.

My friend who I talk about at the start of this was going on a 7 day land holiday before the cruise. She had asked me about taking any left over wine or beer on board and I said well wine isn’t a problem but if you take it to the dinning room they will charge you a “corkage” fee of about $10.00 to open it. I said the beer isn’t a problem either as long as it is just a few cans and not a 24 pack under your arm.
   Well it turns out I was wrong on both accounts, NCL now has a zero tolerance for such items. It is now taken away and returned the last night.
   Oh yes in her case it was 4 cans of beer.
She said one of the cheapest bottles of wine was around $40 on her cruise.
   A smoothie was just over $10 a drink. Mixed drinks were $9 a drink and soda/pop was $3 a can.

Oh yes I recently heard that NCL has started a experiment on one ship where they are putting cocktail tables and chairs at the front of the show lounge and  one can reserve these at $10 a chair. The big problem I hear is the first 3-4 rows can not see the show now because the tables are higher than those seated on those rows.

This fall I have noticed a the number of email offers from cruise lines at a all time high. I have seen 7+ day cruises for as low as $239 per person.
   What this means is lines are now having problems filling berths the conventional way. Yet the cruise lines annual reports are saying they are running at capacity profits are up. How is this possible?
I would suggest they are charging less for the consumer to get on board and once they have you like a caged animal they are hitting you up everything else.
   People laughed when Easycruise started, but I don’t think it will be long before we see more cruises being like this. Also Easycruise will soon be operating it’s second ship, so it can’t be as bad as people first thought.

We now see cruise lines calling tipping a service charge that is automatically added to ones on board account. It is now divided among more staff than it was ever intended for.

There is currently 40 ships on order ranging from 8,700 - 220,000 tons for delivery to 2011.
   The question is how will they fill these ships? Yes some “older” ships will be retired or sold. This will only be a small fraction. The cruise lines are already discounting so what happens to make up for the lost revenue? Reserve a deck chair by the pool? Pay for house keeping? Pay to see the show? Cover charge for the Disco? Need a blanket for Alaska, what is your cabin number please?
   Oh yes in case you think any of my idea’s above are absurd then I suggest you think again. Easycruise charges for house keeping. 

My thoughts on this have lead me to think that the days of me cruising will soon be over. It is no longer what it was when I started and it appears to be headed where I will have to wonder what is next? It becomes where it is no longer relaxing wondering what the next item they want to charge for.

Phil

exnavy Bill

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Re: What is cruising becoming?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2007, 08:02:17 PM »
   My first cruise was a 14 day cruise on HAL Rotterdam in May 1969. My second cruise was in 1972 also on Rotterdam. Like you said, drinks were dirt cheap, no tipping, etc.
    I agree cruising has gone way in the opposite direction based on my recent experience.
    I too have been getting blivitzed with emails offering incredibly cheap fares by almost all of the major lines.
    My Jan. 2008 NCL Gem cruise will be interesting as it is my first on NCL.
     Solution - Freighter Cruising! Nice accomodations, good food, get to know the officers, crew, passengers well, different ports, but no dancing girls, casino's, etc. Being an old sailor i can handle that!

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Re: What is cruising becoming?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2007, 08:02:17 PM »