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The Suite class is not for us commoners. A lot of cruise lines have this going now, NCL has the Haven, MSC has the yacht club, Celebrity has the Spa cabins and the concierge class, some of Carnival ships have the spa cabins, More boutique cruises and river cruises have wine and beer included and shore excursions (and you boy do you pay for it). Cunard has different dining rooms depending on the cabin class you booked.
I see this more as RCI trying to get some of the higher end clients to it's ships then trying to force us commoners into the high end. Since the time of the titanic, the bread and butter of cruise lines has been steerage with the icing of the cake being the few first class cabins. I see this as lines trying to get part of the Icing as well as us bread and butter. With all the new ships coming out every year they need the cabins filled, us commoners are keeling them filled and afloat.
I have heard it called a Ship within a ship. To me this is just bringing back class separation on cruise ships.
I agree with JusMe here. There is a definite drift back to the old days where the ships were divided up by passenger class distinctions, what's next "steerage class" again? That is why we have stayed away from Cunard, friends who use them tell us that they really lead the parade toward "snob" class service. I have even shunned upgrades into suite status on HAL and Princess as I don't care for that little special exclusive lounge atmosphere they offer you when you book a cabin like that.
Having said that, some time back we did get a real deal on a Regent cruise, which is a so called "all-inclusive". Since everybody is treated the same, except for cabin size pretty much, one doesn't get the impression of inequality. It was great and we really enjoyed getting away from the nickel and dime game now being played out by the majors.
However, there are down sides to that type of cruise as well, which I won't bother going into here. Anyway, we ended up doing about 120 days sailing on Regent and the total cost of the cruises weren't all that much more than we had been paying for on HAL and Princess for commensurate itineraries and cabin size. However, all good things come to an end though, I guess. Regent's cruise product has deteriorated slightly as their prices have escalated. Furthermore, I'm having a tough time finding an itinerary of their's that interests us.
But the real crunch is the expense. In order to fairly compare Princess with Regent I have to factor in air since Regent provides "free", both way, airline coach tickets, we use business or first class so that is extra on Regent. Anyway, what I get nowadays is something like this. All costs cranked in Princess seems to run us about $500 a day per person while Regent is close to $800.