When Hotel Managers Show Their Teeth

I love cruising. Seriously. It is a luxury that I insist on affording. But – I want my money’s worth. I have amassed enough “loyalty points” to encourage upgrades in cabin selection, priority embarkation/disembarkation, and a few onboard credits. And I get it – from their perspective – the Cruise Lines are a BUSINESS – trying to maximize profits. And – therein lies the rub.


Where is the balance between passenger satisfaction and maximized profits? That "golden mean?"


One is met on board with a “complimentary” drink – only to have to present your cruise card for your first charge of the trip. Then there are the “hawkers” aggressively pushing “the cocktail of the day/hour” on the pool decks, or gouge you for an expensive “artisanal” when you just ask for a glass of water. Not to mention dubious art auctions, wine tastings, dance lessons, and “beauty demonstrations.” I remember when bottled of water and ship towels were passed out gratis as passengers departed the ship in Caribbean ports – now? No towels - and bottled water is $2.00 (for a small bottle). The first few trips I was mildly entertained when accosted by ship photographers in port for “souvenir photos” until I found out photo packages cost hundreds of dollars.  Or steered towards in-port jewelers who kick back 15% to their cruise ship pimps. Even the internet (buy a$100 worth of minutes – fail to log out properly – and lose all your minutes). And then there's the "mandatory" automatic "gratuity taxes" and the not so subliminal expectations of ADDITIONAL tipping.


Squeezing out every nickel from cruise passengers – many of which have just booked their cruise of a lifetime - may be a net loss for cruise lines. They need to strike a happy medium between making an honest profit and forcing passengers to cower away from every proffered ship “experience” for fear of being taken to the cleaners.


My advice? Don’t be a tightwad – it’s a vacation. Enjoy yourselves and don’t sweat the petty cash. On the other hand – be aware when the Hotel Manager stuffs his/her hand in your pocket and goes for your gold like a proctologist.

8 Answers

I understand the cruise industry is there to make a profit. I listen and read about the nickel and diming. I just don't sweat this stuff, I'm a big boy, I know how to say no and walk away. If I want something beyond what is included in my fair I just buy it and go on with my day.

I tend not to keep my wallet where a proctologist would find itBig Smile

I agree that there seems to be a run for the cruisers wallet as soon as they board, but an experienced cruiser already knows about it. It is easy to say "no" and just walk away.

The inexperienced cruiser, if not warned about prior by their TA, or their frequenting various cruise boards, may be stuck with a surprising final bill, which may or may not affect their future cruising plans.

I agree that some things that were gratis in the past should be returned, but that would mean an increase in fares.

Granted, they will either get the money up front from the fares or at the end from the added on amounts, but that medium you ask about is somewhere between losing customers due to the expensive posted fare or the lost future sales due to added on expenses.

Yes, the cruise industry is a business. But, it needs repeat passengers to stay successful. I try to avoid as much as I can of the extra charges. But, if I want something extra, I pay for it without thinking twice. They have to satisfy their shareholders, too as well as their passengers.

I hate the cutbacks as well but it is impossible to nickel and dime me. I buy $400 in cruise cash for my account and bring another $400 in cash. I have a good time and no what I've spent. No surprise bill at the end and I also slip my favorite bartender an extra buck when I buy rinks. I seem to never have to wait for a cocktail.

And like any business, shareholders come first and everything else falls in place after them. Sad part is employees are at the bottom and the customers are real close to the bottom.

I have worked for corporations for most of my working career. ALL corporations are in business for profit. Shareholders matter, Profits matter. And even customers matter. Corporations depend on the customer for the income needed to pay dividends to shareholders.

On cruise ships, every dollar counts. For newbies, it comes as shock if they are not informed. For me, I budget the extras and expect to spend some extra for the extras. If you get the idea.

We travel on a budget and have no problem saying no thank you when beverages are offered, or spa deals, extra cost for dining etc., and we have a fantastic time.

Actually, on many of those, I appreciate their efforts. Many times I was unaware of something and the "nickel-and-dimer" brought it to my attention. On the top of my mind for this was a wine-tasting (Princess, $25, which I enjoyed) and a full galley tour by the Head Chef (Celebrity, free - also quite interesting. It was here that I discovered the boxes of "Tea Flavored Drink Mix")

And I've never minded someone offering to get me a drink!


*Cruiseline.com is not a booking agent or travel agency, and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners (travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our users' convenience. Cruiseline.com does not guarantee any specific rates or prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site for the exact amount. Cruiseline.com is not responsible for content on external web sites.

Back to Top