BAK1061
Contributor Level: Captain

Quantity over quality

This seems to be the way the cruise industry is going.   Lower prices are offset by more passengers.  They are catering to people who have never cruised, and people who work while on vacation ( hence the  wifi networks always being improved upon ).   At risk ?   Those of us who remember what it was like when a cruise was a luxury.   The service, the food, the attractions.   Live shows are being replaced with movies at sea.  Bigger water attractions are attracting larger families.  Fewer stewards to attend to our cabins.

I have read on another site, how Carnival is cutting back on all kinds of services ( the latest being once a day cabin makeup ) but all the loyalists are sticking with them because of price.  REALLY ?  You're willing to spend money, albeit less money, on a cruise that is substandard ?   Can someone please explain that logic ! 

Other than an exotic cruise, I don't see my cruise history extending too much longer.  Even the ports have gotten worse.  Trampled might be a better word.

Is there an RV show coming up ?  I might have to check those out again.  If I want to get away from my town, I may have to drive.  I won't cruise with 5000 other passengers.  I'd have to reserve a lounge chair at 3am Wink.

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19 Answers

Johngold
Moderator
Contributor Level: Captain

Monique and I are still looking to cruise. However, we will be going back to Bermuda and spending time there for short cruises. We will do Panama Canal again in the future and maybe a longer cruise to the Cook Islands  area. I won't be doing short island hopping carribean cruises as even at good price point, ships to big and way too many people.

I see the industry will be catering to the Asian market with Mega ships. I can see the changes they have to make to retain the market that they need . It's just that we are reading too much about the small annoying things that drive people away from cruising.

Ejan
Contributor Level: Cruise Director

Just stay away from mega-ships.

BDRebel
Contributor Level: Captain

Personally, I've been shopping small blue-water craft -- be my own cruise line.

The once a day room cabin make up is for those people that want it.  Passengers still have the option of continuing to get the original morning, evening and turn down service (without an additional cost). 

noname111
Contributor Level: Captain

We don't cruise on mega-ships. . . no interest in those.  We have gravitated toward PCL and Celebrity as our preferred lines and may simply stick with PCL after next winter. 

I believe that cruise lines will continue down the present bigger-is-better until the industry begins to implode... and it will at some point.  

JusMe
Moderator
Contributor Level: Captain

I prefer to stick with ships that  do not have the amusement park attractions (leave those to families with kids).  If I'm doing a 7 night or longer cruise I prefer Celebrity,    I think of  a 3 or 4 night as a get away,  not really a cruise.  On the shot get away I'm fine to go on Carnival since they are the only line that is home ported in my local port of Los Angeles.  I know what to expect and it is less $$ then even driving down to San Diego for the few days.

 

For me a lot of cruising is being on the water.  So unless I rent a house boat on the river nothing else gets me the relaxing of the sea. On a house boat I'd have to cook and clean,  so not vacation.

 

I can remember back in the 1970's my mom would say if you can get a cruise for under $100.00 per person per day it is a good price (that was for Sitmar or Admiral).  Back then a brand new Mustang was only about $ 5,000.00.  Now a new Mustang would start at about $ 25,000.   The price of cruising has not gone up with inflation so of course things will be cut.   I guess to compare you would now have to go to Azmara or Crystal to be the in the same price range and level of service.

 

 

Kennicott
Contributor Level: Captain

I do believe there has been a significant overall deterioration of product throughout the major lines. Since we relegate our cruising to three companies it is difficult to get a handle on what all the others are doing except by talking and listening to fellow voyagers, here and elsewhere. But large ships are the way all the majors are going. For instance, the CEO of Holland America Group has announced the smallest ship Princess will have in the future is 140,000 gross  tons (about 4,000 pax) and HAL will be at 100,000 GT.   

It appears to me that all the large mainstream cruise lines have adopted pretty much the same business model now. From a profit motive standpoint it is likely to last. If I were to guess at who is to blame, I would say the two big boys on the block are the culprits, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited.  They have been at each others throats for some years now, pursuing a concept that leans toward building more and more very large vessels. Some of the largest ships are getting close to the 9000 passenger plus crew mark, (RCL will have four of them). To finance construction of these vessels huge investment dollars are required. In order to fill these ships most lines have adopted a policy of getting passengers on board for a very low initial fee, no sticker shock. Even the more affluent baby boomer market isn't large enough to handle this expansion, so the demographics of the average cruiser has been greatly expanded.

In order to maintain and increase revenues, charging extra for just about everything is taking place. Except for the basic stateroom and food served in the main dining rooms, buffet areas, pizzerias and hamburger/hot dog grill outlets one pays an add-on fee. The ships function more or less like large floating resorts, with all sorts of premium type restaurants and other eatery venues where additional payments are required, not to mention all the boutiques and multiple retail outlets trying to sell something. There is heavy emphasis on selling ship sponsored shore excursions where a lot of money is to be made by the industry. Effort is made to steer guests away from independent shore excursions venders, i.e. Woe be it unto those booking an independent that is late getting them back for the scheduled departure. Another is booze, do you think the reason most lines restrict alcohol from coming on board anymore is to lessen the likelihood of a drunk falling overboard, nope, ask anyone in the restaurant and bar business where the profits are. 

In addition, I strongly believe all 11 of the majors are downgrading their product in most areas. Meaning, less staff and poorer quality cuisine in their main dining rooms. Cutting down on the size of, quality of, and service within the main dining rooms and other no extra charge areas, guests are more or less forcibly channeled into this nickel and dime game. I wouldn't be surprised to see a concentrated trend away from providing a MDR experience, relying instead on huge Golden Coral type buffet areas for the no extra charge meals.  

Formal dress codes is just one area of the days of yore cruising that is being sacrificed. Marketing experts suggest the industry is caught in a dilemma here. On the one hand most of their guests (about 70%) prefer a significant reduction in formality over what traditionally has been offered for the entire cruise experience. On the other, a minority of their guests, demographically older, prefer the manner of sailing they are accustomed to and consider the new trends a degradation in cruise quality. But more importantly for the future, doing away with the old means losing the opportunity to cultivate a culture of younger cruisers to the older style of cruising. So what happens to the entire industry if and when circumstances alter leisure vacation preferences and the new mass market fad of cruising loses appeal?

But hey, right the now cruisers seem to prefer this low cost trend, they get on board for very little and don't require the amenities and all the other stuff some of us have gotten used to so they don't pay extra. Maybe we are too curmudgeonly in our old age, resisting change and expecting too much. But I agree completely with OP BAK 1061, time to start looking elsewhere. Right now we are basking in the sun in the Sandwich Islands in a fine condo for three weeks, to get here we flew, love it. Don't have a cruise booked either, but we haven't given up completely, sure like to reach the 600 day sailing point just to say I did, have about four weeks to go though. 

 

BAK1061
Contributor Level: Captain

I expect, in an effort to keep prices down, we will begin to see sponsorship and naming rights on some ships.  Norwegian Cruise Line presents the Verizon Spinnaker Lounge.   

The CELEBRITY / AT&T SOLSTICE ......

and the appropriately named Trump Lusitania.   Because he can torpedo and sink his own campaign. Yummy

noname111
Contributor Level: Captain

Acckkk.... We had that thought but waved it off thinkin' naaaaahhhhh, they'd never do that.  

 

BDRebel
Contributor Level: Captain

With the two major companies owning several separate lines, why not address both concerns -- the newer, younger less formal base on one line, with a more formal, traditional base on a different line (kind of like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, or Carnival and Princess).

Instead of taking both lines down the rabbit hole, offer different lines to different interests.

This would keep the lines happy, the stock holders happy and the main company happy.

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