Bucking The Trend

In an industry where cruise lines are increasingly taking heat for predatory “gotcha” surprise charges, hidden fees, vertical “gratuity” levies and deceptive booking practices – can you imagine the advantages available to the first cruise line to buck the trend? Imagine being met on board with a complimentary cocktail or soft drink that is truly complimentary? Or unasked for fresh flowers in the cabin (with a note – “we thank you for cruising with us - enjoy your stay”). Not to mention a cruise that right up front acknowledges an “automatic daily gratuity surcharge” – but expressly does away with ALL other “tips” or “gratuities?”  Or – better yet – comes up with a statement: “We proudly pay our staff an honest wage – tipping is absolutely voluntary.”


Add a pain free embarkation/disembarkation process to the mix - and you'd have a winner. Who wouldn't forgive a host of errors if things started off so well?

Tags: gratuities embarkation cruise lines predatory practices

5 Answers

Indeed I do think that would be very attractive especially to experienced cruisers.

It seems though, like airlines, the focus in on filling the vessel and revenue management as opposed to customer experience. As a business person I appreciate that.

My gut tells me the vast majority of cruise passengers shop with price a big factor in the decision making process. Not everyone does so, but I believe a large number do.

Perhaps the cruise industry may follow what airlines are doing. The no frills fares where everything is extra, but also enhanced fare offerings that bundle things. Sort of sounds like what some lines do with suite packages including more features.

As far as a pain free embark/debark that is a tough nut to crack. Getting several thousand people off and on a ship same day will remain a big challenge. Bigger terminals, more ground staff equate to higher operating costs. Smaller ships partially solve this problem but that isn't the trend. The biggest source of pain in the process is everyone wanting to do it at the same time. How do you address that? How about a $50 OBC for arriving at the terminal at 2PM? That impacts the bottom line but is the cost of such a program worth the return? I'm not so sure. A large factor is the terminal itself, which usually isn't owned by the cruise line but rented or leased from the port.

I think that you have been sitting out in the hot sun too long.

Oh ye of little faith. Cruisers represent a formidable consumer block.

I believe that the level of service and customer appreciation that you mention will be available with some of the luxury lines. Of course, you will have to pay for it up front with your fare.

A $400.00 fare will become a $800.00 fare, But it will be all inclusive. They may or may not include a 5 pack of pictures of your choice, or wine in your room at arrival.

BUT, it will cost you.

We went to a restaurant with my son and daughter in law the other week- total for 4 people including wine and cocktails tip as well came to just over $650.00.

I also took my wife to Red Robin last Saturday. Dinner for 2 with soft drinks and milkshake $35.00.

Remember---- You always get what you pay for.

You can be a fan of cruising and still object to the more onerous price gouging practices. I understand some cruise lines (NCL is one) are raising the per capita mandatory gratuities tax to $19. And in this case - you aren't getting any more - just paying more. If you don't speak up - if you don't express your disgust to your favorite cruise line - they will all be following suit.


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