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For the cruise (deep) insiders. Many years back I saw a TV doc on the life of a 7 day carrib cruise out of FLL. It was an RCI ship, may have been the Oasis.

All the depart prep - loadup:  hundreds of new mattresses, a small liquor store worth of booze, a pallet of strawberries, check in: late arrivals, insufficient ID to board etc..

just like a reality show without the script. One thing that always stuck was the $$ side of the story, the war room to get the ship filled to 100%. The calls they'd make to the

frequent cruisers, I assume the nearby florida retirees. An empty cabin is revenue that will never be recovered. Of course they never revealed a break even point on capacity

but they gave the impression it was the last 5-10% of the ship that was the sweet spot for profit. And the constant review of numbers on the real gravy  , all of the extras: meals, booze and shopping that were targets to meet to make it a really successful week.

 

I think about this again as I troll through the current offerings and now see what i think now must be the new pricing strategy of WAS $$ NOW $$ SAVE $$. I did not recall that

as being listed on every departure as it is now. Is this just marketing games? Possible that the major expense of fuel  and the savings they are now experiencing are being passed on?   Or is it  just get them on with the lowest number and we'll make it up with the add-on services and a $12 drink. True comparison only works for the lucky USD holders as the rest of the world

gets the currency pinch.  Same cruise route year over year, what kind of increase or not have you seen with RCI?

 

My limited cruise history is still very positive. Great overall value to visit, if only for a day, a new country, learn to surf and rock climbing all within a few days. I'm on a three year cruise cycle so I cannot become jaded to the excitement I read in all the other posts.

 

RP

 

 

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The cruise Industry has also used a model design to fill the ships. The first part of sales  is to put passengers in the cabins, the second part is to sell products and services to the passengers, drinks, up sell food, tours, shopping, Casinos, etc. So the price is set when the ship is put on sale and then based upon sales the price will be adjusted. But everyone wants a sale so the full price is a number that no one really pays. The cruise listings start of with a discount.  If they want $1000 dollars the say $1100 and list a starting price of 9% off.

 

Everyone wants to see a deal. So they build extra money into the list price to be able to offer discounts. Then they look at how may cabins sold, how many days, left to sell and adjust pricing again. Very much like the Auto industry who ever pays list price and always a different deal or promo going on. In the old days (pre 9/11) they would offer large discounts at the dock just before the ships sailed. I remember as a very young boy visiting the grandparents, going to the pier and Papa booking us on a trip leaving in 3 hours. They would give those cabins away. But since 9/11 TSA rules say all cruise passenger list must be final 3 days before sailing.

 

So today the cruise lines do the same things as in the past but use the internet to adjust pricing and fill cabins. With the last sale day being 3 days before sailing. 

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Agree with Todd. You now almost need a calculator to really know how much a cruise costs, and make comparisons. With all the added drink packages, OBC, dining packages, etc., it's like buying a car.

 

Everybody seems to be caught up in the big "SALE" game, but evidently it works for their marketing dept. I am glad I have the time and now some experience to sift through the hype to see what the cruise fare is. Then we can start adding on with gratuities, port taxes, etc., etc........did I mention it's like buying a car?

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The cruise industry has always had inflated brochure pricing since I booked my first cruise in 2003. You always paid less than the brochure price for booking early at the pieces typically included airfare back then. And with the various sales, it is very difficult to identify the true price of a cruise especially when NCL and Celebrity have sails with giveaway promotions (e.g.m dining, drink packages, etc.). Even onboard credit is a bit misleading as $100 OBC doesn't actually aquate to a true $100 savings as there's profit factored into what you're buying with that OBC. In addition, since people view OBC as free money, they may use it to purchase items that they wouldn't otherwise buy.

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The "three day" rule is interesting, would not have guessed. So I assume there is a 'no sail' list the US gov has that cruise co.s must adhere to?

The manifest needs to be submitted to the government for pre screening, which is why the rule exists.

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The "three day" rule is interesting, would not have guessed. So I assume there is a 'no sail' list the US gov has that cruise co.s must adhere to?

 

One interesting thing about this is the cruise lines seem to follow this Worldwide. Royal has the same 3 day policy in place for cruises that never enter the United States. A two day Hong Kong Cruise to nowhere follows the same rule. You would think TSA has no control over what a non US Flagged ship does 100% outside the United States? I guess they just want one rule fleet wide.

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I have read many stories recently on cruise critic of people being able to book cruises as long as its before 24 hours out.. Even able to do it right on the website.  

 

Also, some people have talked about being able to book right at the port as well.  Not sure how thats possible if a 3 day rule is supposed to be out there, but there are plenty of people still talking about booking last minute living close to the piers.

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Another intersting point.

 

The gartuitiues we are charged today are a way for the cruise line to give their employees a raise, at our expense. In the past, you would tip, in cash, the people who worked with you at the end of cruise based on the service you received. Most people followed the guidelines, but some didn't tip at all.

 

The new system makes it hard to remove the "automatic" tips and everyone, not just those who served you, get tipped. Of course, you can tip extra for those who go above and beyond. It takes some of the incentive for the crew out of the equation. If they are getting tipped automatically, why go above and beyond? Yes, some passengers understand and will tip for great service, but the bulk of today's cruising passengers figure they've already tipped.

 

The cruising demographic has changed so I guess this is the new standard....

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Keep in mind that the crew do get raises and promotions, so there are incentives other than the tips they receive. In addition, I had both good and bad service before the auto gratuities were implemented, so there are other factors that influence service.

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I have read many stories recently on cruise critic of people being able to book cruises as long as its before 24 hours out.. Even able to do it right on the website.  

 

Also, some people have talked about being able to book right at the port as well.  Not sure how thats possible if a 3 day rule is supposed to be out there, but there are plenty of people still talking about booking last minute living close to the piers.

 

Yes, the three day statement seemed pretty cut and dry. Curious why no rebuttal on your post.

 

Further to the processing end of things, since you cannot book a ticket without a passport (limited exemptions shown on RCI page) you think you'd be pre-screened  well in advance of three days.

If a TSA / border agent can chime in, I assume they already know before they ask the question "what is the purpose for your visit" ? The flight / cruise booking where you gave the passport number

has already been sent on. Been tempted to test but these people have no sense of humor anymore - either side of the border... the non walled (currently) northern one.

 

Lastly, if the 3 day is correct, how did the cruise industry get saddled with that one and not the airlines. They love last minute booking$.

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You can definitely book a cruise without a passport... even cruise without one on a closed loop cruise from the US.

 No one ever said that you could not do so. The same as you are not required to health and or home owners  insurance, or to lock your doors, or to take the keys out of your car.... Lots of things you can do, but it does not make these choices the smart way to do it.

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We mostly book about 7-3 days in advance, and started doing so in 2004. It's generally because we can't schedule much in advance, and last-minute cruises offered such great discounts. First started cruising Royal Caribbean because we thought the balance between last-minute price and quality of the line was the best. 

 

Now, the last-minute fares are not nearly as good as they used to be. Our last amazing steal was almost two years ago, on Freedom in August 2014, 3 days in advance. Last March, we actually paid more to book 7 days in advance on Brilliance than what the fares were a month or so before that (7 days is really too early, but the ship ended up selling out at the higher price, and we didn't want to miss out...).  

 

I just attributed the worsening last-minute fares to RC's success. And now we're so spoiled that we won't go to another line for a lower price. With C&A discounts, it seems like it's less hassle and not always much price difference to book further in advance. Also, it seems like more ships now sell out than they used to, at least in the summer months and breaks when kids aren't in school.

 

The closest we've ever cut it is 3 days out, so I don't know about the 3-day rule. There's definitely a lot more hassle involved at check in, making dinner reservations, etc. But a little last-minute hassle is better than no vacation at all! 

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