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USCG Teacher

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  1. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to JLMoran in Only RC Excursions To Leave Ship?   
    Unfortunately, this is something I had discussed with my travel agent not only when debating 2021 vs 2022, but even 2022 going forward. We don't know how long that particular requirement of only going on ship-hosted excursions will remain in effect (though I'd be surprised if it lasts all the way into the 2022 season).
    It's not at all surprising that Royal (and probably other lines as well) will try to make up for lost revenue by inflating prices for excursions offered right now. I'm sure that part of it is that they are banking on people not knowing they can cancel and rebook if a particular excursion comes down to a lower price. But the cynical part of me is thinking that (a) they know that all such excursions will be very limited capacity to start with, (b) there is probably enough pent-up demand to cause excursions to sell out even with those inflated prices, and (c) once sold out they're under no obligation to continue showing updated prices or having more sales.
    So they're probably taking a calculated gamble -- "Let's see if we can sell out these excursions on '21 sailings before lower pricing policies become mandatory. If we can do that, we've gotten a good bit of extra profit on this sailing. If not, we'll put the updated pricing policy into effect, still sell out because now it's more desirable, and still have some profit. Either way, win-win."
    They know they've got those who really want a particular trip in the next 12-18 (24?) months over a barrel. Just like they're starting to make the sneaky move of changing refundable deposits to NRD after a Lift & Shift or application of FCC, I fully expect they're going to try and find other ways to lock in higher than normal revenue at least until the volume of sailings and passenger loads are fully back to normal. They have a metric crap ton of debt to pay off over the next few years, and unfortunately I think the most desperate to cruise and the long-term die-hards who will be earlier to return than most are going to be helping in that effort. Whether we want to or not.
  2. Haha
  3. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to twangster in Only RC Excursions To Leave Ship?   
    Here is an example of excursion pricing shenanigans.  I am fortunate to have sailed to Alaska a number of times over the past three years.  I save my excursion books from the ship and I have screen shots of cruise planner offers.  I also track sale events in a spreadsheet. 
     Excursion booked through Royal
    2019 Dog Sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier normal price $580
    2021 Dog Sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier  normal price $769
    2021 Dog Sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier sale price $691
    Excursion booked direct with vendor for same excursion
    2021 Dog Sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier normal price $549
     
    I understand that Royal as a middle man has to have their cut.  In previous years that explained the $549 vs. $580 difference but if you managed to catch a sale then the difference was often close to zero.  In those cases it made more sense to book it through Royal which is what I often did.
    The problem for 2021 is with Royal inflating excursion prices across the board.  Now when they put them on sale they are nowhere close to the vendor direct price, the 2021 sale price is well higher than last year's normal price.  
    It has the appearance that Royal knew this Healthy Sail Panel recommendation was coming so they preemptively raised prices.  They are offering promotional or sale events but those don't come close to previous pricing nor do they come close to vendor direct pricing.  
    This makes it appear like they aren't trying to follow the guidance of the Health Sail Panel:
    Cruise operators should consider employing strategies that would make these cruise line-sponsored excursions more appealing to guests (e.g., potentially reconsidering the cost of curated experiences, offering a wider variety of excursions to private beach locations) than self-exploration or other externally sponsored excursions. The pricing increases create the appearance that Royal is trying to capitalize and increase profits based on the requirement for guests to be required to book a cruise line excursion only.
    If Royal was taking an approach to promote cruise line excursions by lowering the prices or keeping them closer to last year and/or direct pricing then I would be more likely to embrace cruising in the restart phase.  Instead I have to pay out of pocket for numerous COVID-19 tests and I have to pay inflated rates for shore excursions since I am forced to book the excursions through Royal.   When you put it all together I'm left thinking I need to carefully consider cruising in 2021 and look towards 2022 or 2023 for some cruising normalcy.
  4. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to JLMoran in Only RC Excursions To Leave Ship?   
    This is my one concern with my prior post about maybe booking a last-minute trip to Bermuda in '21. If Bermuda says no overnight stays by cruise ships, then it wouldn't be so big of a deal to me. But if overnights remain part of the trip, then I lose that freedom to go wherever I want for a lot less than the ship's excursions cost, with no worries about being late for all-aboard. And that's by far the biggest draw of that trip.
  5. Haha
    USCG Teacher reacted to RickinSTL in Will you Consider Driving to Port Instead of Flying?   
    Sorry.. as much as I love my wife.. there's no way I could spend 17 hours in a car with her having to pee once every hour.. lol.. Ill take my chances with flying lol 
  6. Like
  7. Like
    USCG Teacher got a reaction from WannaCruise in Will you Consider Driving to Port Instead of Flying?   
    Within an hour to Cape Liberty, so that's a no-brainer for me.  As things stand right now, if I were cruising out of FL I would almost certainly take the Auto Train down.  Shave a day of drive time (and arrive well rested) and have my car there for an emergency return trip.  After the cruise I'd probably just drive back home over two days, saves money and there's less of a real hard deadline as to when I get there.  It's not like my house will leave me at the pier!
  8. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to JLMoran in Will you Consider Driving to Port Instead of Flying?   
    I forgot that's an option for us New Jerseyans! Not the cheapest option, but definitely a good one to keep in mind when flights are even pricier.
  9. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to JLMoran in House Recon - OK, So Not a Cruise Blog...   
    And clearly you're a potential employee who the new boss sees as a must-have, if he / she is making this much of an effort to draw you in, even knowing how much PTO you'll need next year.
  10. Like
    USCG Teacher got a reaction from JLMoran in Will you Consider Driving to Port Instead of Flying?   
    Within an hour to Cape Liberty, so that's a no-brainer for me.  As things stand right now, if I were cruising out of FL I would almost certainly take the Auto Train down.  Shave a day of drive time (and arrive well rested) and have my car there for an emergency return trip.  After the cruise I'd probably just drive back home over two days, saves money and there's less of a real hard deadline as to when I get there.  It's not like my house will leave me at the pier!
  11. Like
    USCG Teacher got a reaction from Ogilthorpe in Will you Consider Driving to Port Instead of Flying?   
    Within an hour to Cape Liberty, so that's a no-brainer for me.  As things stand right now, if I were cruising out of FL I would almost certainly take the Auto Train down.  Shave a day of drive time (and arrive well rested) and have my car there for an emergency return trip.  After the cruise I'd probably just drive back home over two days, saves money and there's less of a real hard deadline as to when I get there.  It's not like my house will leave me at the pier!
  12. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to WAAAYTOOO in House Recon - OK, So Not a Cruise Blog...   
    So, we have very good news on the VA home sale.  It went on the market, officially, this past Thursday, Sept. 24.  By the end of the weekend, we had 13 offers with over 51 live viewings.  We accepted the latest offer this morning at more than $30K above the asking price.  YIPPEE !!!  
    They are basically paying cash so financing complications are non-existent and they don't want to take possession until Nov. 16 so that will give us time to get our s**t together and head south.  I still have not completely abandoned the idea of taking the new job but I've pretty much decided that I am ready to go to Florida !
    It's been a whirlwind, but it seems like all of the chips are falling into place.  We will be homeless very soon !!
  13. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to joshgates in When RCI starts sailing again, which ships and itineraries will be first?   
    I would actually be completely on board and looking forward to a 7 day private island / sea day cruise.
  14. Like
    USCG Teacher got a reaction from ehw51 in Best Food you ever ate and where were you   
    YES!  Great choice!
    For me:
    Stroganoff Strudel from Ludwig's Garten in Philadelphia.
    Crispy Rice and drunken noodles from Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas.
    Peanut Butter Pie from Willow Valley Resort in Lancaster, PA.
    Sweet crepes from literally every street vendor in Paris.
  15. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to twangster in Room service charges   
    I suppose they could revert to the old menu that didn't have the good stuff the new fee based menu does.
    On the other hand, if guests are fearful to the point that in room dining is how they desire to isolate in their cabin then I'm wondering a little bit if these guests should consider shifting their cruise into the future.  I'm not trying to be aggressive or argumentative, just... why go on a cruise during the restart phase if the desire is to stay in the cabin most of the time?
    I get it.  These are strange times.  The restart of cruising is going to be a strange time.  It won't be for everyone.  Time spent in a dining venue is minor relative to the time in all other aspects of the overall experience. 
    If eating all meals in your cabin is the only way to be confident during the restart phase, you might want to consider delaying cruising until the future when the experience will be closer to normal.  
  16. Like
    USCG Teacher got a reaction from Baked Alaska in If Lift & Shift request is submitted, do you have to accept their pick?   
    Same and same. 👍
  17. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to Jolly Ogre in If Lift & Shift request is submitted, do you have to accept their pick?   
    I am extremely happy on my L&S. It worked out great after I schooled the TA.
    Last cruise with that TA. All future cruises are and will be with MEI.
  18. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to Mike Stephens in Cruise Planner Deals for November/December 2020 cruises   
    Still clinging to that strand of hope for Nov 9 on Grandeur, I just said screw it and booked my 1st cabana at Labadee, price is just too good (and I'm promoting social distancing...I'm a responsible citizen after all!)  😆
  19. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to Melodyjn in Cruise Planner Deals for November/December 2020 cruises   
    I've purchased my items I wanted for my December 12th cruise on the Symphony. I have HIGH hopes!
  20. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Cruise Planner Deals for November/December 2020 cruises   
    Of course, Black Friday/Cyber Monday is coming up and historically there have been good sales around that time, but who knows what will happen this year.  Last year’s holiday sales were a dud.
  21. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Cruise Planner Deals for November/December 2020 cruises   
    I believe this is 100% likely.  I fear that onboard prices are going to be sky-high.  At some point, the Cruise Planner prices are going to shoot up and stay there. I really don’t see any downside to purchasing CP items on sale.  The worst that can happen is that you get a refund or FCC if the cruise is cancelled.
  22. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to KWong in If Royal starts river cruising would you do it?   
    Not just river cruises in NA - I once looked up that train tour through the Rockies and wow that's pricey. Wouldn't mind doing it but I gotta win the lottery first. 
  23. Like
    USCG Teacher reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Airline doesn't want to book flight....   
    Resurrecting an old thread.  I wanted to report on a GREAT experience with American Airlines and itinerary changes.
    I had to change a flight NOT once, but TWICE.  For both calls, AA made the necessary changes quickly and without charging a dime in change fees.  I am thrilled with this new policy.  The first time I changed it, there was an increase in fare (which I absolutely expected) so I just paid the increased fare.  The second time I changed it, the fare went DOWN by over $350 PP so I got credit vouchers for that fare difference.
    After so many bad experiences trying to change air itineraries, I was happy for some good news.  I hope they NEVER change their no change fee policy !!!
  24. Like
    USCG Teacher got a reaction from IRMO12HD in RCB Group Cruise: Deluxe Beverage Package now $46/day!!   
    Good looking out, friend!  🙂 Was $46 on my August Oasis cruise, just nabbed it.
  25. Thanks
    USCG Teacher reacted to IRMO12HD in RCB Group Cruise: Deluxe Beverage Package now $46/day!!   
    I don't know how long this will last, but here are the prices I saw on Cruise Planner today (9/21/2020) at 1:20 pm PST for Anthem OTS Norwegian Fjords 16-24 July 2021:
     
    DBP (it says including gratuity!): $46/day; total for each DBP was $368, so it looks like gratuity was included in the price.
    DBP + 1 Device VOOM: $54/day ("Each adult of legal drinking age assigned to the same stateroom must purchase this package. Price shown is per person, per day.).  I couldn't tell if this meant that both had to buy DBP + Voom 1 Device)
    VOOM 1 Device: $11.49/day
    VOOM 2 Device: $17.99/day
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