Top 11 Cruise Trends for 2011

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

Cruise Critic News & Feature Articles
Up-to-the minute News & Feature Articles from Cruise Critic
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 03:50 PM.
#2
northern ontario canada
18 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
The cruise industry enticed us all with all the inclusions that we would get if we chose to spend our vacation dollars with them. Well now the game has changed. After they have convinced us to go sailing instead of beach vacations, they are changing the game. They are now charging for food, coffee, entertainment, etc. The sky is the limit.
After my last cruise on NCL Epic, I have decided to rethink my vacation dollar spending. I think that good old beach vacation might just get me back. The last bill was the last straw, and we are very moderate drinkers.
So sad to say, but Bye Bye. Maybe I'll see you later, maybe not.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#3
Charlotte, NC
316 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
I TOTALLY AGREE. We had been planning a Celebrity Solstice cruise to Barcelona round trip, but I'm thinking twice about it after learning about how Celebrity left all of those passengers stranded last summer because of a broken rudder. Apparently there was a rail strike in France, (so what's new) and yet they had 24 hours to disembark and find alternative transportation. I doubt that anyone on that cruise will choose Celebrity again, who needs that kind of stress on vacation. I felt nickeled and dimed last summer on a Princess Mediterranean cruise. What really galled my husband was the slowness of the internet Wi Fi. They sell packages of minutes but most are taken away just trying to open your mail. The worst part was how everyone kept trying to trick you into buying drinks in hideous shot glasses, expensive potions at the spa, (even after saying I wouldn't be buying) it made he spa experience very stressful, and those too expensive to be believed photos. If they dropped the prices they would sell tons more instead of having to throw them all away. I also noted that our room steward was overworked. He had a lot more cabins to take care of this cruise. Perhaps we will go to our lovely outer banks and rent a gorgeous home for the same amount. I think the cruise industry has become greedy. Thank goodness for the Cruise Critic community, I really base vacation decisions based on reviews I read, so everyone should do an honest review after their cruises.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
GUIDANCE LADY
#4
1 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
To travel very far, one must tolerate airline add on fees as there are few alternatives. To cruise or not to cruise, that is the question. Most people who cruise have at least one or two incidents to report from an inconvenience to a disaster. And most report cruise line indifference as the the most likely respnce to a complaint. We still put up with it because we like to cruise, and feel that the finances are fairly straight forward - generally once price for all and the al a carte items are pretty much time honored. However, the add ons may change some minds and send people on other vacations. Our next plan does not include a cruise. Also I wonder if the deteriorating quality of the food on our past few cruises is not a ploy to get the suckers to welcome a chance to pay a little extra for something decent to eat?
#5
USA
833 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
We have been on 20+ cruises! None for 18 months! Why? The nickel dime bit! We always book a suite and there are less and less perks, more and more nickel and dime!
What did me in? The $25 pp charge at a Jazz lunch on the NCL ship! Plus it was so great for NCL, the ship was totally sold out at 120%. Horrible for us! Just think, we paid to be on a ship that had 20% more people than it should have!
I could go on and on! So much has been discontinued and all the newer cruise people don't even know what they are missing!
My money has turned into other types of vacations and we are having a great time!
Azamara has all the bells and whistles. They make no cuts! We do love Azamara!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Wasasalad
#6
USA
833 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
We have been on 20+ cruises! None for 18 months! Why? The nickel dime bit! We always book a suite and there are less and less perks, more and more nickel and dime!
What did me in? The $25 pp charge at a Jazz lunch on the NCL ship! Plus it was so great for NCL, the ship was totally sold out at 120%. Horrible for us! Just think, we paid to be on a ship that had 20% more people than it should have!
I could go on and on! So much has been discontinued and all the newer cruise people don't even know what they are missing!
My money has turned into other types of vacations and we are having a great time!
Azamara has all the bells and whistles. They make no cuts! We do love Azamara!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Wasasalad
#7
25 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
At the risk of someone saying "good riddance" (go ahead!) - I have to say that my next cruise (Celebrity Summit in two weeks, and my 17th in 6 years) will be my last for a long time (maybe for good). We were on the 12 day Med loop (NCL Jade) in December and it finally dawned on me that the crew was desperately unhappy (whether overt or not, because the majority still put on their happy faces - but a chat with most revealed they are tired of being away from family and friends for 10 months straight and working 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week for most of it), We can rationalize all we want - that they are making good money from our tips as opposed to poverty in home countries, but the reality still is that they are working longer and harder than is even legal (much less right) in the countries that the passengers hail from... The ships burn an incredible amount of fuel (can you say $5.00 gasoline and the re-application of fuel charges), service levels are declining, and the cruise industry is not the bargain it once was. Notwithstanding the many many folks I've convinced to go cruising since my first go round (RCCL Navigator aft balcony) in 2006, it is an absolute fact that all-inclusives are turning into the vacation bargaining. With discount websites, you can go to the Caribbean for $800 (all in, including airfare, if you pick the right week or go last minute) to a 5 star resort. It has all the luxury of a suite, plus "free drinks", and a lot less aggravation... No matter how hard the staff work, at least they go home at night, and the fuel burned by the plane to get there is basically the same as flying to the port for a cruise. Land resorts don't have the crowds and bustle of getting on and off at ports. Did I mention unlimited drinks thrown in at no extra cost? True, you don't get the revolving kalidiscope of ports, but that is a good thing about Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor - these sites make it easy to find out which resort to go to...

So the nickel and diming (not to mention my conscience) finally got to me - final tally: 7 RCCL, 7 NCL, 1 Princess, 2 Celebrity. I am still writing my Jade review (NCL is declining, big-time), so will post once more before fading away to a lurker...

For those about to cruise, we salute you. For those thinking about it, check out all-inclusives. They are the new rodents' rear and bargain of the year...
#8
Canada
136 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
I totally agree that some cruise lines are becoming a little greedy as of late. Things have certainly changed since we started cruising and over time you begin to wonder what your cruise fare actually covers. While I can appreciate that some people choose to dine in a specialty restaurant and do not mind paying for it, I would never pay extra for such a meal. Yes I can definitely afford it, however, I feel that dining room food aboard a cruise liner has always had the reputation of being comparable to the finest restaurants and I believe it sends a message that you receive only moderate fare unless you pay “for something better”. I remember the wonderful, traditional midnight buffets and late night crepe buffets that Carnival had, only to be replaced by hot dogs, burgers and cookies at night. I do agree that lavish buffets became a waste of food that late at night, however, for people at the early sitting dinners who may become hungry later at night, I’m sure they could come up with something better than what is offered now. Our (and many others) biggest complaint on our recent Costa cruise was that there was no coffee available after midnight. The self serve coffee machines were shut down and coffee had to be ordered through room service (for a small fee). Juice was only available during the breakfast hours – absolutely nothing else but coffee and water at lunchtime – unless of course you ordered apple juice (for a fee) from the bar. In all fairness though, on our first Carnival cruise we made suggestions on our comment card that we could tell were implemented the following year. Hearing some of the other cruise “nickel & diming” stories though makes us happy with the Carnival product and hope they stay that way. We will not stop cruising because of this though!!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
"Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time."

1959 Home Lines–Italia–Transatlantic
1992 (08/21)–Premier–Oceanic–Bahamas
1993 (08/20)–Premier–Oceanic–Bahamas
1994 (08/27)–Carnival Holiday-7 day W Caribbean
1995 (08/26)–Carnival Fascination–7 day S Caribbean
1996 (08/25)–Carnival Inspiration–7 day S Caribbean
1997 (08/31 & 09/07)–Carnival Destiny–14 day W & E Caribbean
1998 (08/30)–Carnival Inspiration–7 day S Caribbean
1999 (08/29 & 09/05)–Carnival Paradise–14 day W & E Caribbean
2000 (08/27 & 09/03)–Carnival Inspiration–14 day Carib. European Delight/Dutch Treat
2001 (09/02 & 09/09)–Carnival Destiny-14 day Carib. European Delight/Dutch Treat
2002 (09/22 & 10/03)–Carnival Paradise–21 day Exotic & S Carib. & Panama Canal
2003 (09/13 & 09/20)–Carnival Glory–14 day W & E Caribbean
2004 (09/11 & 09/18)–Carnival Glory–14 day W & E Caribbean
2005 (09/30)-Carnival Liberty-12 day Grand Mediterranean
2006 (09/28)-Carnival Liberty-12 day Grand Mediterranean
2007 (09/22 & 10/04)-Carnival Freedom-24 day Greek Isles/Grand Mediterranean
2008 (08/30)-Carnival Splendor-12 day Baltic & Russia
2009 (10/03)-Carnival Dream-12 day Grand Mediterranean
2010 (08/22)-Costa Magica-12 day Baltic & Russia
2011 (09/25)-Carnival Magic-12 day Grand Mediterranean
2012 (09/08)-Costa Mediterranea-13 day Black Sea
2013 (09/01)-Carnival Legend-12 day Northern Europe
2014 (09/28)-Costa Deliziosa-11 day Spain, Morocco, Portugal
2015 (09/28)-Costa Pacifica-11 day Greece, Turkey, Italy
2016 (09/11)-Costa Magica-11 day Spain, Morocco, Portugal

#9
Northwest Florida panhandle
14 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
In answer to your question about whether the "nickel and diming" trend of charging for extras will drive cruisers to other types of vacation options...YES, YES, YES! For us that was one of the biggest perks of cruising...to be able to negotiate an all-inclusive fare prior to embarking and be left with basically no big monetary surprises at the end of the trip to end up paying for over the course of the year following. In just four short years we have definitely noticed a decline in the quality of included services and food, lending validity to the assumption that those paying for upgraded meals, etc. will add to the mediocrity of the included ones. The other big draw to cruising was the multi-location destinations, however, now the number of bigger cruise ships and huge numbers of passengers being funneled into every port on the same days has made the ports-of-call almost annoyingly crowded and difficult to enjoy. Standing in line to get on the ship, standing in line to get off the ship at each port, standing in line or fighting huge crowds to see the sights on shore, finding land tours sold out far in advance of our arrival and on-shore crowds making one feel like steer being channeled into a slaughter house chute, and then once again standing in line to get back on the ship! As well as standing in line ON the ship for various things like ice cream, excursions, tender tickets and tender departures (despite the tender ticket procedure!), just to name a few. The above situations do not make for happy cruising. We are noticing, as others have also mentioned, that all-inclusive locations are increasingly affordable and are truly "all-inclusive"...many even including special air fare incentives! And I can plan and choose to avoid the areas where massive cruise passengers are pouring into port and clogging up the works and diminishing my ability to leisurely enjoy my destination. I have always been sold on the luxury, value and fun of cruising, but these aforementioned changes have certainly challenged this passenger's viewpoint. We will definitely be looking to expand our thinking and explore other vacation options.
#10
Missouri
3,412 Posts
Joined May 2009
Would you folks like cheese with your wine? Stop complaining. Cruising is still the best value for a vaction. If you are dumb enough to pay the exorbit prices for the spa and some of the specialty restuarants that's your problem. Midnight buffet and the choclate buffet suck money and if you are really hungry at night either order room service or get a slice of pizza. (late dining usually solves the munchies) It's always easy to find fault. I think the cruise lines due a fantastic job and I've been on most popular priced lines. If you want a Seaborne, Silversea or Windgate or whatever experience, open your wallet. I've been on a few cruises that encountered problems and was not always happy with the consideration offered but I guess that's life.
#11
USA
833 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
We have decided to not cruise for a while! We will continue on the Azamara. They have amazing service and incredible quality. Just the most wonderful vacation!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Wasasalad
#12
Virginia
23 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
This is our first cruise and we have been reading blogs, reviews and message boards looking for tips and advice on making this 20th anniversary present the best it can be. One constant I have seen throughout is the complaining that goes on regarding the lack of more bang for your buck. I understand that the world is still recovering from hard times and that people are starting to get back to enjoying their life, spending a lil money and hoping for the best. What I find disheartening and disappointing is the trend of paying a little and expecting a lot. It seems everyone is out to seek the cheapest deal with the expectation of expensive returns. If that isn't achieved complaints of feeling slighted, ripped off and just plain not taken care of clog these forums with selfish dribble. We booked our cruise because it was in our price range, close to home (so no airplane ride) and going to a tropical place which has always been a dream. We didn't want to go into debt overpaying for a vacation that will last only 7 days. Whether you spend a little or a lot, it is what you make it. Spending your time sweating the small stuff, you miss out on the big picture..... sailing the ocean, going somewhere you have never been, being relaxed and happy with your loved ones. I for one will enjoy my cruise because I will be on a well deserved vacation with my family. I will appreciate the hard work and effort it takes to try and please 2000+ people, and will not sweat it if it isn't perfect. I say this not to discredit others opinions, but a pledge for me and my family that our review will be of all of the fun we had and nothing more.
#13
Florida
1,248 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by IMONABOAT03
This is our first cruise and we have been reading blogs, reviews and message boards looking for tips and advice on making this 20th anniversary present the best it can be. One constant I have seen throughout is the complaining that goes on regarding the lack of more bang for your buck.
I really believe that you'll throughly enjoy your cruise - most everyone marvels at the first time on a ship at sea. Most of the 'complaining' that you read is from seasoned cruisers who have noticed a change in the product over the years.

In much the same way airline travel has decreased in quality since 1970 until today the cruise industry has/is evolving. Not many people like change.

Originally posted by IMONABOAT03
I for one will enjoy my cruise because I will be on a well deserved vacation with my family. I will appreciate the hard work and effort it takes to try and please 2000+ people, and will not sweat it if it isn't perfect. I say this not to discredit others opinions, but a pledge for me and my family that our review will be of all of the fun we had and nothing more.
Please don't take this the wrong way but a review of only the highlights isn't really a review is it? My advice when doing a review is to stick to the quantative facts first - then include your personal likes and dislikes. What really makes it helpful when discussing your likes is to let others know how it compares, in my opinion, to something relative.

For example saying the food in the main dining room was great isn't that helpful. Great compared to what?

Writing, 'the food in the main dining room was great, it reminded me of the wonderful meals at Morton's steak house' - that is much more helpful. Or this, 'the food in the main dining room was great, it reminded me of our local Applebee's in terms of taste and size.'

Most cruisers have a wonderful time but that doesn't mean things can't be improved. Have a nice vacation.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Mr. Luckytoo - Fair & Balanced!
#14
Virginia
23 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
I absolutely agree Mr. Luckytoo. How I wish that the reviews were written that way. Thank you for your well wishes and thoughtful reply!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#15
Not anywhere near the ocean
9 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Our cruise in a few months will be our first and our only. But like the other "newbie" on the Boards, I too have scoured your fine reviews and critiques (and most of them are fantastically entertaining! You guys make me so jealous!)

I want to be a cruise-virgin, marveling at how big it all is, how beautiful it all is, but I'm not blind that cruising has gone down the drain. The lousy economy hasn't helped, but when etiquette and standards aren't upheld in lieu of making money, of course everything is going to slide from a Macy's type of cruise-lifestyle to one of Dollar General.

Even though I'm an optimist by nature, I'm realistic enough to realize that my dollars aren't going as far as they could have.

To you veterans, thank you for being so detailed in your reports and reviews. It certainly helps us out, whether we stay quietly in the shadows and read. Or post right away.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#16
Tulsa, OK
59 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
What a bunch of whiners!!! It seems to me that we want things both ways. We want super low fares and great deals... but we also want free drinks and huge buffets. I have a huge problem with people that book super-cheap cruises and then expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter. The same thing that has happened with the airline segment is happening to the cruise segment, hotel segment and just about every other travel related business. We want to be able to fly anywhere for next to nothing and then complain when all we get to eat is peanuts.

So many people have taken cruising for granted. What an experience it is! We get to be on a fabulous ship surrounded by fun people, enjoying different ports and places.... and we want to do it all while consuming enormous amounts of food and beverages - for free. Well, sorry. It doesn't work that way. If you want an all inclusive experience, you need to pay for it. Book yourself on a more expensive line or stay home.

The waste that happens on a cruise ship is always astounding to me. On my last cruise, several of the people that I had the unfortunate luck to be seated with for dinner ordered 2-3 entrées per person, per night! Can you imagine what the cost of that is multiplied by the number of passengers on a ship? Granted, not EVERYONE does this.... but it's quite common. Then those same people who let enough food for 2 people go to waste every night had the audacity to complain about prices being high for other things on the ship. If you don't want to pay for a premium dining experience on a ship, thats OK!.... but be quiet about it. Do you think your piddling little initial fare actually covers the cost of your room and feeding you for a week? HA! The cruise lines need to make up the cost somewhere else... which is why other things have become so expensive. Photos too expensive? Then don't buy one. Take your little point and click camera and get a fellow passenger to take a picture of you. You can print it off at Walgreens when you get home.

I do not work for a cruise line (I'm a planning consultant for small businesses) but I have several friends that do. The horror stories they have to tell when they come home are NOT about how poorly management treats them on the ship or what awful pay they get, they are about the rude passengers with "give it to me now" attitudes.

The cruising public in general has demanded low fares and in turn, got exactly what they asked for. Low fares = lower service, plain and simple.

In September, I'm taking a cruise on Oasis of the Seas. It's a ship that I have been wanting to try since its debut. The total cost for my cruise is about $1300pp including airfare. $1300 divided by 7 days is $186 per day. For a vacation with meals included, that is not a bad price at all. The fact that my drinks (and I do drink more than my fair share) will cost more, so be it. If I were staying at a beach resort somewhere, I would have to pay for them there as well.
#17
Norwood, Mass. BOSTON PROUD
2,110 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Hi

I know this has been talked about before. But when will cruise lines wake up. My travel friend is not able to travel this year. I want to cruise. I do not think I am cheap. But reading some posts here you cannot get one of the better cabins. I don't mind a inside cabin. But I would like to be on a certain section of the ship. I would also leave extra for thee steward so he would not lose out on a second tip. They are making bigger ships there are lots of singles out there. MAKE some single rooms. We do not care if they are small. Stop ripping us off the 150-200 more fair because we are single travelers. Please I am not going to share a room with a stranger.

So as much as I want to cruise this year I will not. I know the cruise lines do not care.
#18
USA
833 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Some of the rates that I see are ok. You need to look every day and book when you can get a low fare
You are paying for two, but just think, all the peace and quiet and the whole room to yourself! I love to do it!
One of the new giant ships has a group of rooms for single occupancy rooms with a common area to share!

Originally posted by Watson's aunt
Hi

I know this has been talked about before. But when will cruise lines wake up. My travel friend is not able to travel this year. I want to cruise. I do not think I am cheap. But reading some posts here you cannot get one of the better cabins. I don't mind a inside cabin. But I would like to be on a certain section of the ship. I would also leave extra for thee steward so he would not lose out on a second tip. They are making bigger ships there are lots of singles out there. MAKE some single rooms. We do not care if they are small. Stop ripping us off the 150-200 more fair because we are single travelers. Please I am not going to share a room with a stranger.

So as much as I want to cruise this year I will not. I know the cruise lines do not care.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Wasasalad
#20
USA
833 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Originally posted by Watson's aunt
where are you looking?

Thanks

Mary
I have the best luck with going to the cruise company sites. I always book direct, never seem to have good luck with travel agents. It is weird days that seem to have good prices. Near holidays and on holidays seem to be the best.
When i am booking I look every day sometimes several times a day.
CruiseBrothers.com and Whitetravel.com have been great. They are on line and you book it yourself and I do get good prices.
Also, if I see nothing I will call the company and ask. I do not like those personal cruise consultant people. They seem to be a rip off! They call me almost every day and I have never even had a good price once!
Hotels same thing. AAA rates and senior rates and special discount rates are usually higher than the lowest rate available category.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Wasasalad