Cruisers have more onboard options — and many come with a price tag.
November 19, 2011 – Star Tribune – By Hannah Sampson — When clients ask Miami travel agent Ralph Santisteban what’s included in the price of a cruise, he answers: “Before I tell you what is included, let me tell you what’s not included, because that list is much smaller.”
Cruises are a great value for frugal travelers, the sales pitch goes, because you pay the fare upfront and everything — room, food, activities — is included. Unless you want to watch a murder mystery show over lunch, that is. Or hit the spa or casino. Or drink alcohol, soda or a Starbucks cappuccino.
While many cruise companies long have charged a nominal fee for dining in upscale specialty restaurants, the range of options is expanding as operators seek to draw more guests — and revenues — in a tight economy.
Mainstream cruise operators such as Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line say they would prefer to keep fares low and let customers decide where they’d like to splurge rather than include alcohol and fancy meals in the main ticket price.
And there are a host of new opportunities for splurging. The Disney Dream, Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, includes Remy, a $75-a-person gourmet restaurant (alcohol not included).
“What really is driving a lot of the things we do on board is our customers say they want variety and they want choice,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president of hotel operations for Royal Caribbean. Read More