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All Included Fare Option


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I'd like to hear people's thoughts about Royal not offering an "all included" fare option (drinks, wifi, tips) in addition to the cruise only fare that they currently offer.

It's a big pain in the rear not knowing exactly how much a beverage package or internet is going to cost until after you've booked the reservation. Borderline shady.

I get the idea is they've likely found they can generate more revenue by requiring the purchase after booking.

I'd think that if they offered an all included rate, they'd run into less people trying to overindulge on drinks in order to get their money's worth for the drink package they purchased versus having that cost be less salient as being a part of your cruise payment.

People might also be more generous tipping onboard because that daily gratuities doesn't show up on your shipboard account each day.

Tell me what I'm missing. I know I'm not seeing everything clearly enough here.

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28 minutes ago, OCSC Mike said:

Many ships are sailing at nearly full capacity. If it ain’t broke…

For sure. Nothing to fix at this point with all this pent up demand, but what about when the seas calm?

Has RCCL ever offered this sort or option or deal in the past? I haven't been on the market for long enough to know.

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Shady?  That is a pretty extreme statement.

Besides they have a near All Inclusive rate.  It's called Star Class.

Ultimately it may very well be all about money.  That's perfectly okay.  They are a for-profit business.  It's up to them to create a product portfolio that accomplishes their primary goal of bringing value to their stockholders.  

They are pretty popular and their product is in high demand with a loyal following.  They are doing most things right.  

Bundling "free" (not free) packages like NCL does is a lot closer to being shady.  

Both Celebrity and Princess cater to a different demographic that doesn't tend to include binge drinkers.  They can offer bundles because they will be profitable with their bundles knowing most of their cruisers won't tend to overindulge.   Sure they may be a handful that will drink the cruise line under the profit line but most of their guests are not costing them money with bundles.  I think Princess added bundles because Celebrity went always included.  Celebrity did stumble a bit and had to retrofit unbundled fares back into the game plan when the Always In proved to miss the mark a little bit.

For many years Royal has enjoyed higher revenue per passenger using a smaller fleet compared to the 800 pound gorilla of the industry.  They accomplish this by being smarter than the 800 pound gorilla.  The question then becomes why doesn't the 800 pound gorilla realize they are leaving money on the table?  Royal has spent a lot of time with very smart people data mining sales trends and they know exactly how to push pricing to maximize revenue.   That's business smarts.

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All inclusive usually is a lot more $ for things not everyone might want.

a former drinker, or those under 21 won’t  use a drink package with alcohol. Not everyone wants WiFi.  
my kids never drank soda and the fancy drink so it saved me $. As a family of 6 we’ve shared the WiFi codes.

I recently did the all inclusive with celebrity.  It was a mistake.  I didn’t need the WiFi in the Mediterranean, I could use my phone in port for a lot less $. Drinks, nothing like a Caribbean  cruise with sea days, by the time we were done with excursions we had a drink with dinner snd maybe 2 after. 
 

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11 hours ago, AspiringCruisePlanner said:

It's a big pain in the rear not knowing exactly how much a beverage package or internet is going to cost until after you've booked the reservation. Borderline shady.

There are plenty of people who don't book any drink or internet package. Far from shady.

The model Royal has is based primarily in what guests want. They want the lowest possible price to get onboard and then customize their experience with add-ons that they elect to purchase.

It's a modular approach that has been in place for decades and it's resonated with guests.

The one area I wish was included was gratuities since they've become compulsory with the auto-gratuities.

But going back to your earlier point, I'd argue the onus is on the consumer to research before they buy.  Ignorance isn't an excuse.

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I think...they don't offer it as the base fare because it is entirely possible to cruise on Royal without adding on drinks, internet, excursions, photos, etc in terms of add-ons. You get free food, beverages, lodging, entertainment, housekeeping, and the ports included in your fare. There is no NEED to have the extras. Yeah..they are LOVELY. I always get the soda package and the photo package and of course I love knowing my day in port will be well spent so I get an excursion....but it's not necessary to have a full an complete cruise.

As others said, if people want free drinks, specialty dining, and wifi there is Star Class and your base fare is higher to include those costs.

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11 hours ago, twangster said:

Bundling "free" (not free) packages like NCL does is a lot closer to being shady.

Agreed.

NCL has some appealing itineraries which made me do a couple mock bookings during their (seemingly) never ending "free drinks, free dining, free airfare, free excursions, etc." promotion. YIKES! After the total price made me pick my jaw up off the desk, I realized that these items are NOT actually free.

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I think there are basically 2 "pools" of people who are regular cruisers:

1.  Those that want to get in for the lowest possible cost

2.  Those that want the convenience of having everything taken care of for them 

Of course, there are subgroups that are combinations of these 2 but for all practical purposes, these are the 2 prevailing high level concepts.

Personally, I think Royal has done a very good job of catering to both groups. 

I happen to be in Group #2 so I thoroughly enjoy Star Class and all of its inclusions even if I know, going in, that this is not going to be the most cost-effective option.  It's not about "getting my money's worth" to me.  For me, it's about paying for an experience where I am not worrying about what I need to "add on".  It's all there already.

For those who want the lowest cost, there are options there for them.  They can get a reasonable rate and then add whatever "extras" they want.

Where I think Royal has missed the boat (pun intended) is that they have failed to expand their "all inclusive" option to all of the other ships.  I fully realize that the other ship classes can never accommodate a suites restaurant and that this is one major hurdle but they could certainly adjust their AI product to compensate for that.  Everything else is already in place !

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10 hours ago, twangster said:

Shady?  That is a pretty extreme statement.

Besides they have a near All Inclusive rate.  It's called Star Class.

Ultimately it may very well be all about money.  That's perfectly okay.  They are a for-profit business.  It's up to them to create a product portfolio that accomplishes their primary goal of bringing value to their stockholders.  

They are pretty popular and their product is in high demand with a loyal following.  They are doing most things right.  

Bundling "free" (not free) packages like NCL does is a lot closer to being shady.  

Both Celebrity and Princess cater to a different demographic that doesn't tend to include binge drinkers.  They can offer bundles because they will be profitable with their bundles knowing most of their cruisers won't tend to overindulge.   Sure they may be a handful that will drink the cruise line under the profit line but most of their guests are not costing them money with bundles.  I think Princess added bundles because Celebrity went always included.  Celebrity did stumble a bit and had to retrofit unbundled fares back into the game plan when the Always In proved to miss the mark a little bit.

For many years Royal has enjoyed higher revenue per passenger using a smaller fleet compared to the 800 pound gorilla of the industry.  They accomplish this by being smarter than the 800 pound gorilla.  The question then becomes why doesn't the 800 pound gorilla realize they are leaving money on the table?  Royal has spent a lot of time with very smart people data mining sales trends and they know exactly how to push pricing to maximize revenue.   That's business smarts.

Thanks @twangster!  Appreciate the insight.  Maybe shady is a little too harsh, but something is hidden under the surface when it doesn't need to be.

20 minutes ago, Matt said:

But going back to your earlier point, I'd argue the onus is on the consumer to research before they buy.  Ignorance isn't an excuse.

As far as I'm aware, the only way to find out what the beverage or internet prices are for a specific cruise prior to booking is to find a roll call and ask those people what the prices are.  This isn't practical when you're trying to budget a vacation and compare options.  I know that there is a general price range that the drink package can fall in, but a large per person per day variance between sailings can easily add up to an extra $400 that wasn't accounted for.

For others who are saying that they wouldn't use everything that comes with an all included fare, that's fine.  I wouldn't imagine them offering only an all included fare without a cruise only fare as well.  Certainly higher C&A folks would loose their s*** if they were only able to book all included.  The cruise-only fare would be the publicly advertised price as it would have a lower sticker price. 

To the folks mentioning star class as the all-included option they offer.  Yes, that's an all included option, but not applicable to the average customer.  The desire I have is an all included rate, in addition to a cruise-only rate, for all levels of cabin categories so that the total vacation cost can be determined prior to booking.  Certainly, there would have to be some sort of discount for these added perks versus adding them on separately in the cruise planner.  It's also worth mentioning that if the all included fare was purchased, the money spent for that upgrade would now be part of the cruise fare and subject to the regular cancellation fee schedule.  Not as desirable for the consumer, but if it comes at a discount, that's the risk that is taken.  Same argument as refundable/non-refundable deposit bookings.

What is comes down to is what several of you stated - if bookings are strong and onboard spend is favorable, there's no need to offer this all included pricing model.  It'll be interesting to see whether they will ever adopt this strategy if booking volumes settle down.

37 minutes ago, SPS said:

NCL has some appealing itineraries which made me do a couple mock bookings during their (seemingly) never ending "free drinks, free dining, free airfare, free excursions, etc." promotion. YIKES! After the total price made me pick my jaw up off the desk, I realized that these items are NOT actually free.

Certainly this pricing strategy is not to be desired for those people who won't utilize these perks.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts! I always appreciate this sort of discussion.

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I agree with the fare including gratuities.  As a business owner, I use my revenues to pay my employees, not rely on an additional extra revenue stream to distribute.

As far as the drink packages, I don't mind paying extra for a true "Extra".  It allows me to set a goal of exceeding my daily costs!

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I think people need to stop using the word shady when it just means something they don't like.

Even all inclusive doesn't always mean "all inclusive." The lines that bundle everything don't often boldly publish the fine print. I believe NCL's all inclusive is a lower level and you still might pay more if you want certain things. 

I like picking and choosing what I want to pay and not supplementing others. The nature of cruising is that supply and demand determines most everything.  Fares can go down and so finding out what the internet, drinks etc will cost after booking isn't a shady business practice. I have budget for plenty of land-based vacations and gotten to the destinations and much has changed.

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1 hour ago, smokeybandit said:

I have never booked a beverage package, dining package or internet package.

I'm glad I don't have to pay extra for any of that to be included. That's why those packages exist, for people to buy separately.

I absolutely agree with you.

It's not so much a case of looking for the cheapest price as not wanting to pay for stuff that you don't need or want. If I don't drink alcohol, why should I have to have the cost of alcoholic drinks included in my cruise fare? If I want to disconnect, why should I have to have the cost of internet included in my cruise fare?

I think Royal have it right. The basics are included and the rest is available to whoever wants it at a supplement. By all means offer an all-inclusive rate but as an option and not an obligation.

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52 minutes ago, AspiringCruisePlanner said:

This isn't practical when you're trying to budget a vacation and compare options.  I know that there is a general price range that the drink package can fall in, but a large per person per day variance between sailings can easily add up to an extra $400 that wasn't accounted for.

Why not just use the high end of the price range in your comparison? Then if it's lower, you feel like you're coming out ahead.

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It would be a nice option for me, but I am certainly not their primary customer, so I understand the difference.  I use the internet packages and drink packages every cruise and usually travel solo.  Celebrity has become similar in price point as I like to cruise, so I choose them more now.  

Their drink package pricing isn't shady to me at all, but as it has gone up over the last couple years (understandably), its pushed me to different brands more that bundle and save me a bit of money.  But again, Im not necessarily their full target demographic so whatever they have to do to make money works for me.  

Ill see how Princess is on Sunday. 

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58 minutes ago, RJC said:

I agree with the fare including gratuities.  As a business owner, I use my revenues to pay my employees, not rely on an additional extra revenue stream to distribute.

Yes! Especially when you cater to people from various cultures. On our cruise we found out that over the season 50% of guests opted out of the gratuities. It really messed with the crew members who were counting on the money.

Edited by RafaellaCG
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1 hour ago, AspiringCruisePlanner said:

Thanks @twangster!  Appreciate the insight.  Maybe shady is a little too harsh, but something is hidden under the surface when it doesn't need to be.

We'll have to disagree.  I don't see the hidden, dark, secretive, shady, "under the surface" that you do.

When I go anywhere as a tourist I don't assume drinks are included and I don't see the need to phone the hotel bar and demand to know the ask for price for each type of drink I might consume.  The fact that a hotel doesn't publish their bar drink menu or indicate how much a glass of wine, beer or cocktail will be on their website doesn't make that hotel secretive. 

I can loosely estimate how much I might drink on vacation without knowing the exact prices at each venue I might visit.  Some trips I might go under my drink guestimate and some trips I go over my drink estimate.  Oh well, I must have been in a good mood to order those extra drinks.  That's life.  

1 hour ago, AspiringCruisePlanner said:

To the folks mentioning star class as the all-included option they offer.  Yes, that's an all included option, but not applicable to the average customer. 

Drink packages, at least pre-shutdown, were typically acquired by around 22% of guests.  That doesn't rise to the average consumer definition.  In fact it kind points to the opposite - the average consumer doesn't want a drink package.

You want something.  There is nothing wrong with that.  You be you.  Just because a company doesn't offer it the way YOU want it doesn't make it "under the surface" or dark, or shady.  

If you are looking for a budgetary number to plug into a spreadsheet budget $100 per day for a drink package.  Some cruises you will under that and some cruises you may end up over it such as short cruises.  That will get you in the ballpark as you think about booking a cruise.

 

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2 hours ago, twangster said:

We'll have to disagree.  I don't see the hidden, dark, secretive, shady, "under the surface" that you do.

When I go anywhere as a tourist I don't assume drinks are included and I don't see the need to phone the hotel bar and demand to know the ask for price for each type of drink I might consume.  The fact that a hotel doesn't publish their bar drink menu or indicate how much a glass of wine, beer or cocktail will be on their website doesn't make that hotel secretive. 

I can loosely estimate how much I might drink on vacation without knowing the exact prices at each venue I might visit.  Some trips I might go under my drink guestimate and some trips I go over my drink estimate.  Oh well, I must have been in a good mood to order those extra drinks.  That's life.  

Drink packages, at least pre-shutdown, were typically acquired by around 22% of guests.  That doesn't rise to the average consumer definition.  In fact it kind points to the opposite - the average consumer doesn't want a drink package.

You want something.  There is nothing wrong with that.  You be you.  Just because a company doesn't offer it the way YOU want it doesn't make it "under the surface" or dark, or shady.  

If you are looking for a budgetary number to plug into a spreadsheet budget $100 per day for a drink package.  Some cruises you will under that and some cruises you may end up over it such as short cruises.  That will get you in the ballpark as you think about booking a cruise.

 

Fair enough. Great color.

Interesting data point that only 22% of guests purchased a drink package. Was that specifically the UBP or any drink package?

As a follow up that data point, one could wonder whether that percentage would go up if all included was offered assuming you counted an all included upgrade as a beverage package purchase. No way to be sure at this point one way or the other. 

Another thought is what impact does offering AI as an upgrade option upon booking do their revenues? Would their be a negative impact to the perceived value of these add-ons? Would there be less incentive to purchase add-ons after booking because the discount was already passed up? 

No one knows the answers to these questions which makes this more of a thought experiment than anything.

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I actually would like to see this option - one with everything included (DBP, gratuities, wi-fi, et cetera) and one price without.  Princess has started doing bookings this way.  I dislike not knowing what the beverage package or wi-fi or UDP will be until I actually book the cruise.  We're pretty loyal to RCL, but having the option to book either way like Princess started doing would be nice.

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3 hours ago, AspiringCruisePlanner said:

Interesting data point that only 22% of guests purchased a drink package. Was that specifically the UBP or any drink package?

UBP - Not sure I've heard of that.

The 22% figure is for the Deluxe Beverage Package or DX as it appears on a SeaPass card.  

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14 hours ago, twangster said:

UBP - Not sure I've heard of that.

 

12 hours ago, AspiringCruisePlanner said:

Yes, deluxe beverage package was what I was looking for. I must have been think ultimate or unlimited. Whoops.

Unlimited Dining Package (UDP) and Deluxe Beverage Package (DBP).

Easy enough for some to confuse the two when abbreviating, especially if you have never purchased either (and never intend to do so).

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The value that NCL puts on their “free” items really jacks up the price.  I was pricing some 7 day cruises this week for 2024 and the gratuities alone for the “free” Beverage package was over 500 USD per person.  For the “second person flies free”  offer  NCL was charging 1900USD for passenger 1 ( keeping in mind this is for nearly 2 years from now the current pricing for same dates this year I could book direct flights for approx 575 USD per person).

Right after cruising started again in late 2021 or early 2022 Celebrity only offered an all inclusive rate for a while but I see they now offer both Cruise Only and All In rates.

I prefer having options to add the packages/items I want.

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On 9/10/2022 at 6:50 AM, SuzanneM said:

Looking in the cruise planner and watching for sales is part of what makes cruising fun for me. I love pre-cruise planning. 

So much same. I keep checking the main site for Aug 2024 sailings but there aren't any yet and I just don't know what to do with myself!

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On 9/7/2022 at 8:48 PM, AspiringCruisePlanner said:

It's a big pain in the rear not knowing exactly how much a beverage package or internet is going to cost until after you've booked the reservation.

I have done some looking around the RC web site and I can't find the cost for the Cruise Planner items unless I launch the cruise planner from a booked cruise. 

If I were to book a Grand Suite, and that booking can't be done as refundable, and decide the add on extras were too much and don't want to go anymore, I can't cancel without financial penalty. 

If I choose a non star class cabin, I have complete the booking and pay the deposit to see the costs.

Is there a way to determine the cost of the different add-ons without actually booking a cabin? 

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10 minutes ago, Toby said:

I have done some looking around the RC web site and I can't find the cost for the Cruise Planner items unless I launch the cruise planner from a booked cruise. 

If I were to book a Grand Suite, and that booking can't be done as refundable, and decide the add on extras were too much and don't want to go anymore, I can't cancel without financial penalty. 

If I choose a non star class cabin, I have complete the booking and pay the deposit to see the costs.

Is there a way to determine the cost of the different add-ons without actually booking a cabin? 

A big problem with cruise planner items is that they vary from ship to ship and sailing to sailing. 

Perhaps you could find a roll call for the particular cruise you're interested in and ask on there if anyone would be willing to get you the prices?

 

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1 hour ago, FionaMG said:

A big problem with cruise planner items is that they vary from ship to ship and sailing to sailing. 

Perhaps you could find a roll call for the particular cruise you're interested in and ask on there if anyone would be willing to get you the prices?

 

I do understand there would some complexity but RC does know the cost of the different add-ons if one books a particular cruise.  Why should actually booking it make the data that RC already has available?  It could be part of the booking process,  The onus should not be on the consumer. 

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1 hour ago, Toby said:

I have done some looking around the RC web site and I can't find the cost for the Cruise Planner items unless I launch the cruise planner from a booked cruise. 

If I were to book a Grand Suite, and that booking can't be done as refundable, and decide the add on extras were too much and don't want to go anymore, I can't cancel without financial penalty. 

If I choose a non star class cabin, I have complete the booking and pay the deposit to see the costs.

Is there a way to determine the cost of the different add-ons without actually booking a cabin? 

I was curious myself and now I'll have to put my foot in my mouth because you CAN see current prices for cruise planner items without having to book that cruise or ask someone else.  The downside is that the cruise planner packages need to be available to purchase in order to see the pricing.

It just involves a little URL parameter adjusting.

Here's the base URL for the beverage package page (you can navigate to any page from there as you normally would):

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/account/cruise-planner/category/beverage?bookingId=0000000&shipCode={ShipCode}&sailDate={YYYYMMDD}

Simply replace the {ShipCode} portion of the URL with the ship code you're looking for.  You can find the ship code by doing a search with on the main "Find A Cruise" page and filter down to the ship you're looking for.  The ship code will then be shown in the URL for that filtered page.

Also replace the {YYYYMMDD} with the sail date of the cruise you want to look at.

So, if you wanted to see the price for the beverage packages for Wonder of the Seas Aug 27, 2022 sailing, the URL is:

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/account/cruise-planner/category/beverage?bookingId=0000000&shipCode=WN&sailDate=20230827

You can see the price of deluxe beverage package is $77.99 per person per day, less gratuities.

image.thumb.png.d9fc2e8923a06c09027e773e7c032617.png

As a bonus.  You can also see how much that over-the-water cabana at the beach club is running prior to you booking the cruise. The price is staggering for this date.

image.thumb.png.014ced61ee272253f121bf057bcdf564.png

Note: I am NOT booked on these sailings but can see the prices no problem.

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10 minutes ago, Toby said:

I admire your tenacity and your technical abilities but I doubt the average consumer of RC cruises has your technical knowledge. 

I'll stand by earlier comments.

I'm totally with you that this is a little too involved and is a bit of a hack, but it does prove the fact that this information is ABLE to be published before booking and is not currently.  

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