Jump to content
Royal Caribbean Blog

Celebrity goes All-In!!


JLMoran
 Share

Recommended Posts

Shamelessly cross-posting from CruiseHabit: Celebrity Goes All-In: Drink, Wifi, and Gratuities Included with Every Cruise Fare

Quote

Always Included

Celebrity's new program is called Always Included, because starting November 17,2020 all sailings (except those in the Galapagos) will include WiFi, drinks, and gratuities. 

Book a Celebrity cruise and you'll get a classic beverage package, Wi-Fi for two devices, and gratuities/services charges are already built into the fare.  

This is very smart on their part -- they've clearly been looking at what people have traditionally chosen when they chose the Sail Better (3 perks) option and I'll bet it was always those three; I doubt anyone chose the OBC because there are already so many other ways to get that. With this change, Celebrity has chosen to essentially become a "basic" all-inclusive line; similar to sister Azamara, but with some upgrade options still available (see the full article for details on that).

What will be interesting to see is how this affects the cruise fares going forward; if I'm remembering right, fares have been priced at the Sail Better (choose 3 perks) rate by default, with an option to get "Lowest Price" with no perks and NRD after you've made your cabin selection. So I would hope that there won't be any appreciable fare bump, but it won't surprise me to see some kind of increase. Especially with the 2022 itineraries when they come out.

Not gonna lie, this plus the generally better itinerary selections that X offers may just bump me out of Royal and into Celebrity for all my cruising going forward, at least once I've taken one more Royal cruise to get up to Platinum and cross-match to Select level with Captain's Club.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We haven't sailed Celebrity yet but like the look of their more interesting itineraries. However this move would likely put us off as we only drink a soda or beer at dinner. We are not interested in the cocktails, juices or specialty coffees and the tap water is fine, so we are effectively the cruise line's worst type of customer. This move would ensure a minimum spend from guests like us who normally spend peanuts on top of the basic cruise fare. Not sure I want to play that game. 😞

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Spoke with my TA today about this change, and she is more than a little concerned by it. She thinks the prices are going to shoot up even higher than they already have for 2021, and not by a little bit either. She was cautioning me that I may now find that Celebrity's itineraries in Alaska and Europe are going to be priced well beyond any budget I might have in mind. Guess I'll find out in the next few days to a couple of weeks, as the '22 itineraries begin to roll out. 😕 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great idea.  I've been a proponent of that approach since the "nickel and diming" started a few years ago.  When we started, things were pretty inclusive but after 20+ years things have become more a la carte.  I'd rather pay an overall higher fare for having those included.  That's why we moved up to suite level on Celebrity - to get the 4 perks (premium drink, wifi, gratuities and OBC) - Michaels club now Retreat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the FAQ list that someone posted over on CC: http://creative.rccl.com/Sales/Celebrity/General_Info/CEL_Always_Inlcuded_FAQs.pdf

#11 gives you Celebrity's calculation as to the retail value of the various AI levels. 

Having done the sums this would make me a very unhappy camper as it would effectively mean we would be paying close to $60 for the one soda/beer we would normally purchase nightly to drink at dinner. AND we would likely have to pay extra on top to upgrade to the streaming internet option. I really liked the look of the Celebrity itineraries going forward and I suspect that the extra expense this is sure to add will be a huge hurdle in convincing DH to give them a try.  😢

So many people complain about nickel and diming but at least that way you can get exactly the experience you want rather than an "off-the-peg" version that doesn't suit your needs so well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a solo cruiser this really sucks.

Q. #18: Will Single guests be charged double the supplement, if so, will the extra amount be refunded later?

A: Yes, Single guests will be charged double the per day amount for either the Elevate or Indulge package. Single guests will receive double the amount of corresponding Onboard Credit; however, the Beverage and Wi-Fi packages will not be doubled as these amenities are provided per person. There will not be a refund for the unused packages.

For a single guest Indulge is $120 per day but all you get is more OBC.  A single guest on a 7 night cruise pays $840 for Indulge.  You pay for a beverage package and wifi upgrade for your ghost but don't get a second wifi plan or more drinks.  Wowser.

A big question is what do they do with base cruise fare?

I'm not a fan of the basic beverage package and Surf internet is pretty limited.  I tend to upgrade both.  

If everything is included what do you do with the OBC?  

I'll need to run some pricing exercises but it's beginning to look a lot like buh-bye Celebrity. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, twangster said:

If everything is included what do you do with the OBC?

Well, per the article the OBC given at the first upgrade tier is only usable for shore excursions. The extra OBC at the Indulge level is all that can be used for anything and everything. So depending on how many excursions you typically purchase, it could be used entirely to offset those costs. And depending on your taste in alcohol, you could still end up using at least some of the general-use OBC for some beverage purchases; if I'm remembering right, the Premium package still only covers up to a certain dollar amount. I know with my taste in wines, I was always dipping into any OBC even with a drink package because the wines I picked always went a few bucks over the limit. But maybe it would only help if you're @monorailmedic and dipping into the high-end scotch options.

21 minutes ago, twangster said:

A big question is what do they do with base cruise fare?

This is what my TA and I are wondering also. Suites automatically get Indulge level, so that's going to be built into the cabin price. I was thinking of booking a Sky Suite for myself and Cathy on whatever I end up booking for '22 (assuming I end up on Celebrity and not Royal), so getting all the perks will be good if they don't seriously jack up the price even more than it already is. Considering that suites have always gotten the full perk package, I'd hope their pricing stays relatively stable.

The real question is the regular cabins. I would almost certainly put the kids in a regular room, since only my one daughter will be legal drinking age on board. Hopefully verandah and ocean view cabins won't see a monster spike in pricing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After reading the FAQ linked to by @FionaMG, I'm starting to wonder if the cruise booking will still offer an option without the perks. There are a few questions there that have answers beginning with, "If a guest books their cruise with Always Included package pricing". Why include the "if" unless there is an option to not book with that package?

I know they have had a "cheapest fare" option the whole time the Sail Your Way package offer has been going, where you elect to get no perks at all. It would make sense to still offer this, because there are still going to be passengers who don't want wifi, don't want an alcohol package, and/or don't care about OBC. Pure speculation on my part, but I'd hope this would still be an option for those who want it, along with the option to then individually buy packages they do want via the Cruise Planner.

@twangster, also note that you can choose to individually upgrade the drink package from Classic to Premium for only $12 a day, per person (see question #17, also covered in @monorailmedic's article). Billy's article also indicated that the internet could be individually upgraded from Surf to Stream without buying the Indulge package upgrade, although I didn't see anything supporting this in the FAQ. But it certainly sounds like they're giving a way for individuals to upgrade parts of the perk package without necessarily having everyone in the cabin go the Elevate / Indulge route.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

I'm starting to wonder if the cruise booking will still offer an option without the perks. There are a few questions there that have answers beginning with, "If a guest books their cruise with Always Included package pricing". Why include the "if" unless there is an option to not book with that package?

I know they have had a "cheapest fare" option the whole time the Sail Your Way package offer has been going, where you elect to get no perks at all. It would make sense to still offer this, because there are still going to be passengers who don't want wifi, don't want an alcohol package, and/or don't care about OBC. Pure speculation on my part, but I'd hope this would still be an option for those who want it, along with the option to then individually buy packages they do want via the Cruise Planner.

This would be great at it is precisely what suits us best. Basic fare with no extras and then add in (in our case) grats, streaming wifi package and a couple of excursions.

But the whole thing smacks to me of a ploy to ensure a minimum "spend" per passenger, effectively suckering folks like us who are the cruise line's least-desired passengers, i.e. the ones who spend very little on top of their basic cruise fare. I've been following the discussion over on CC too and there are always though who say, well if you don't drink alcohol you can always take advantage of the juices and specialty coffees. Problem is we don't drink those either. 😞

Anyway, I really hope you're right and I'm wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, JLMoran said:

I know they have had a "cheapest fare" option the whole time the Sail Your Way package offer has been going, where you elect to get no perks at all. It would make sense to still offer this, because there are still going to be passengers who don't want wifi, don't want an alcohol package, and/or don't care about OBC. Pure speculation on my part, but I'd hope this would still be an option for those who want it, along with the option to then individually buy packages they do want via the Cruise Planner.

The way they have announced "We're All In" suggests no more base fares absent of perks.

  • Starting on Nov. 17, all of Celebrity Cruises' fares will include unlimited drinks (cocktails, wines by the glass, beer, sodas); unlimited WiFi; and daily gratuities. The move comes as Celebrity shifts towards a “new luxury” culture with the launch of its Edge Series ships, President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said in a statement.

Celebrity has a long way to go to reach "luxury" culture.  So if Celebrity is moving up the ladder into luxury where does that leave Azamara?  SilverSea is true luxury, Azamara has been a premium upscale brand.  Celebrity has been neither premium or luxury, merely upscale.  Do they plan to position Celebrity above Azamara?  If so prices will soar. 

I have my doubts that large ships can scale to the luxury category.  The small ships in the Azamara and SilverSea fleets fit this category much better.   The crew to guest ratio on SilverSea approaches 1:1 on some ships.  That's how you provide luxury service but it comes with a notable price tag. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, cruisellama said:

Great idea.  I've been a proponent of that approach since the "nickel and diming" started a few years ago.  When we started, things were pretty inclusive but after 20+ years things have become more a la carte.  I'd rather pay an overall higher fare for having those included.  That's why we moved up to suite level on Celebrity - to get the 4 perks (premium drink, wifi, gratuities and OBC) - Michaels club now Retreat.

 

20 hours ago, FionaMG said:

We haven't sailed Celebrity yet but like the look of their more interesting itineraries. However this move would likely put us off as we only drink a soda or beer at dinner. We are not interested in the cocktails, juices or specialty coffees and the tap water is fine, so we are effectively the cruise line's worst type of customer. This move would ensure a minimum spend from guests like us who normally spend peanuts on top of the basic cruise fare. Not sure I want to play that game. 😞

You have customer A - Cruisellama - who wants everything included and is upset when it's not.  Then you have customer B - FionaMG - who doesn't want everything included because they don't use most of the extra services.   So how do you make everyone happy?     

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, JLMoran said:

After reading the FAQ linked to by @FionaMG, I'm starting to wonder if the cruise booking will still offer an option without the perks. There are a few questions there that have answers beginning with, "If a guest books their cruise with Always Included package pricing". Why include the "if" unless there is an option to not book with that package?

I know they have had a "cheapest fare" option the whole time the Sail Your Way package offer has been going, where you elect to get no perks at all. It would make sense to still offer this, because there are still going to be passengers who don't want wifi, don't want an alcohol package, and/or don't care about OBC. Pure speculation on my part, but I'd hope this would still be an option for those who want it, along with the option to then individually buy packages they do want via the Cruise Planner.

@twangster, also note that you can choose to individually upgrade the drink package from Classic to Premium for only $12 a day, per person (see question #17, also covered in @monorailmedic's article). Billy's article also indicated that the internet could be individually upgraded from Surf to Stream without buying the Indulge package upgrade, although I didn't see anything supporting this in the FAQ. But it certainly sounds like they're giving a way for individuals to upgrade parts of the perk package without necessarily having everyone in the cabin go the Elevate / Indulge route.

The "if" may be to cover "Simply Sail" bookings:

Q. #27: What is Simply Sail? When is it available?

A: Simply Sail will offer a cruise-only rate for select sailings within 90 days of departure. Simply Sail will replace Exciting Deals with a new creative look and feel but maintain the same offering parameters.

This may be similar to something that NCL seems to offer for last minute bookings.

At least for NCL, you can get a discount for declining booking a cruise with an "included" drink package, because gratuity isn't included in the "free drink package".  With Celebrity, now you don't even have that option.

NCL including the drink package in their promotions is one of the reasons i've been sailing on Royal more often for the last few years.  My kids are old enough where it makes more sense for me to book 2 connecting cabins.  Royal and NCL are the two major cruise lines that sail out of NY/NJ year round.  If I want to book a cruise for spring break and sail out of NY/NJ, those are my two choices.  Occasionally I price out NCL to see if it makes sense to check out their newer ships, but usually Royal is the same price, or cheaper.  Since I prefer traditional dining (especially when on a cruise with my kids), if the price is similar i'll tend to pick Royal.

I do miss "cruises to nowhere" though -- for many years i'd check out the latest NCL ships via 1 or 2 night getaways out of NYC with my wife (we left the kids at home with my mom).

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/11/2020 at 1:24 PM, KathyC said:

 

You have customer A - Cruisellama - who wants everything included and is upset when it's not.  Then you have customer B - FionaMG - who doesn't want everything included because they don't use most of the extra services.   So how do you make everyone happy?     

One approach would be to offer bundles of perks that cruisers could easily add during the booking process.  Oh wait, that's what they used to offer...  🙂 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, KathyC said:

 

You have customer A - Cruisellama - who wants everything included and is upset when it's not.  Then you have customer B - FionaMG - who doesn't want everything included because they don't use most of the extra services.   So how do you make everyone happy?     

How do you make everyone happy?  You don't.  

You choose the customer who is the most profitable and make that person happy (as long as you believe there are enough other people who feel the same way).  X must think there are more than enough Customer A's out there.  And X also knows that some Customer B's will gripe but still end up booking a cruise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While i like the idea of a all-inclusive or all in.....I think Celebrity had the best of both worlds before with the perks you could add on or were sometimes included.

 

I feel like this will defn make their base cruise price more expensive....and some of the things included were worth some good $, but things I would never pay extra for or care to have.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, KathyC said:

 

You have customer A - Cruisellama - who wants everything included and is upset when it's not.  Then you have customer B - FionaMG - who doesn't want everything included because they don't use most of the extra services.   So how do you make everyone happy?     

You can't please everyone all the time.  Just try to win over as many as you can.  RCG  has 2 more premium inclusive lines with Azamara and Silverseas - smaller ships, unique destinations, higher crew/passenger ratio.  I saw Celebrity as the transition line.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Got some confirmation over the comments for that article that wi-fi as well as the drink package can be upgraded a la carte. Billy (aka @monorailmedic) said the likely reason there isn't listed pricing per-day for that is because the package price for wifi varies more than the drink package prices (which have been stable for years). So while you can upgrade under the same conditions (must be inside final payment or on board), there isn't the same certainty about what it'll cost.

Not sure if this changes your outlook any, @twangster, but it does indeed seem that you could upgrade just the beverage and wifi post-final payment, without having to pay the full price for Enhance or Indulge (and without getting OBC that isn't any use to you). One would hope that also means you wouldn't be paying double at that point for being a solo traveler.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Time will tell.  

Celebrity is the only RCG brand that doesn't  provide solo discounts on cruise fares for me now that I've gone above 340 points in C&A.  Azamara and SilverSea advertise those cruises that have reduced single supplements.  That puts Celebrity at a disadvantage for me on the solo playing field.  They aren't the only cruise line that does this so it's not just a Celebrity thing but it was the reason why I went with SilverSea in the Galapagos and it's why I'll probably go Azamara to Iceland and the Antarctic.  While these lines cost more with the solo discounts they sometimes offer Celebrity becomes the most expensive by a large margin for my unique circumstances.

The costs for onboard wifi/drink upgrades will be known eventually.   Once we can put all the numbers on paper it will be easier to shop them.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reference @Matt's recent blog article pondering whether RCL might follow suit, I can't decide what I think of the idea. The extras will of course be built into the cruise fare and I'm not sure I want RCL to set the price for me... I kinda like following the CP pricing and feel very pleased with myself when I bag a bargain! 😊

EDIT: Having now thought about it further, IMHO it will be better to leave RC cruises "as is" as the availability of the choice is likely to reduce the number of customers who may feel compelled to walk away from the wider RCL group (I'm not suggesting I'm one of them BTW).

Edited by Ian T
Expanding narrative
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, bjstrand said:

I am wondering if they have started bumping prices in anticipation of the change. I lift and shifted from Jan '21 to Jan '22 and price checking apples to apples the price has jumped from $2900 for two 4 perks package to more than $5100 for an all in veranda stateroom. Quite a change.

I think we can expect to see the rates wrap the cost in.  (But lets them collect larger deposits too to keep the cash flowing)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, cruisellama said:

I think we can expect to see the rates wrap the cost in.  (But lets them collect larger deposits too to keep the cash flowing)

Deposits are unchanged from what I've seen -- still $250 pp for cruises shorter than 9 nights, $450 for 9+. BUT...

12 hours ago, bjstrand said:

I lift and shifted from Jan '21 to Jan '22 and price checking apples to apples the price has jumped from $2900 for two 4 perks package to more than $5100 for an all in veranda stateroom. Quite a change.

...that final payment date could end up being a lot more painful if that's the kind of price bump they're making across the board. @bjstrand, was your 4-perks package price on a promo, or you paid that total after paying for the perks upgrade?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...