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  #1  
Old January 16th, 2014, 03:47 AM
123456con 123456con is offline
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Default Charge for Specialty Restaurants

I was checking in online Crystal and was about to reserve at the specialty restaurants and came across:

"Should you wish to dine at Prego or Silk Road more than once during your voyage, you may make your reservation/s with the maitre d’ while on board for a nominal fee of $30 per person."

Is this a new policy? We were just onboard 2013 and didn't encounter such a thing. Rather disappointed after all Crystal is suppose to be "all inclusive" if they are going to charge $30 for every meal after your first in the specialty restaurants.

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  #2  
Old January 16th, 2014, 03:54 AM
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Bodogbodog Bodogbodog is offline
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The change was announced in October last year that the policy would change from 1 January 2014 and there is a 59 page thread on the topic here
It was clearly a very emotional issue for some
It was finally closed by CC as it had run its course...

Have a read of the specifics of the policy - there are two visits allowed on 14 days or longer cruises and no fees payable for those on Full World Cruises - or if you're really keen for those who have achieved 50 cruises status for example

Let's not go down that path again

Last edited by Bodogbodog; January 16th, 2014 at 04:04 AM.

  #3  
Old January 16th, 2014, 11:31 AM
paul bernard paul bernard is offline
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I agree that it seems most unlikely that anyone will be convinced by any new arguments on this question at this point. However, I wish to address a larger issue: As a number off the Crystal faithful, Keith among them, have pointed out, the amounts involved in Crystal's recent introduction of a fee for additional specialty restaurants are relatively small compared to the total cost of a luxury cruise: if you can afford the latter, presumably the former won't break you. This may well be, but at times perception is more powerful than reality. If money is no object, I'll cruise exclusively on Hapag-Lloyd's EUROPA or EUROPA II--trust me, it's a superior product. The fact that I don't is, ipso facto, proof that it is, and that Crystal is not justified in simply assuming cavalierly that it can charge me whatever it likes, according to its whim.

Nor am I comfortable with Keith's argument, which he has made before, that in order to stay in business, Crystal must make a decent profit in orderto keep providing him with the service that he likes and is comfortable with. Perhaps, perhaps not. It may also be that, in the manner which various international shipping companie and air lines used to be subsidized by their governments in order to propagandize on behalf of the national economy as a whole, N.Y.K. has this kind of arrangement with Japan and, in consequence, doesn't have to turn every nickel over twice. If, not so very often in a lifetime, one does stumble across such an opportunity, the thing to do is to take advantage, not to worry oneself unduly about the financial welfare of the service provider.

  #4  
Old January 16th, 2014, 11:49 AM
BWIVince BWIVince is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul bernard View Post
I agree that it seems most unlikely that anyone will be convinced by any new arguments on this question at this point. However, I wish to address a larger issue: As a number off the Crystal faithful, Keith among them, have pointed out, the amounts involved in Crystal's recent introduction of a fee for additional specialty restaurants are relatively small compared to the total cost of a luxury cruise: if you can afford the latter, presumably the former won't break you. This may well be, but at times perception is more powerful than reality. If money is no object, I'll cruise exclusively on Hapag-Lloyd's EUROPA or EUROPA II--trust me, it's a superior product. The fact that I don't is, ipso facto, proof that it is, and that Crystal is not justified in simply assuming cavalierly that it can charge me whatever it likes, according to its whim.

Nor am I comfortable with Keith's argument, which he has made before, that in order to stay in business, Crystal must make a decent profit in orderto keep providing him with the service that he likes and is comfortable with. Perhaps, perhaps not. It may also be that, in the manner which various international shipping companie and air lines used to be subsidized by their governments in order to propagandize on behalf of the national economy as a whole, N.Y.K. has this kind of arrangement with Japan and, in consequence, doesn't have to turn every nickel over twice. If, not so very often in a lifetime, one does stumble across such an opportunity, the thing to do is to take advantage, not to worry oneself unduly about the financial welfare of the service provider.
I'll spare anyone any discussion about the speciality restaurants because I'm literally blue in the face from talking it out, but your point about state-subsidized companies is an interesting one... But it would seem to be to be a very dated point.

In 2014, I don't think corporations are receiving operational subsidies like you think they are anymore. Sure, there are some examples (Like EAS service to the airlines, development subsidies to the oil companies, etc.), but the days of governments propping up airlines and shipping companies to be flagships of the state are LONG over. Money is injected where there's a practical (or politically practical) need, but not to put on a pretty show.

And using Japan as an example, JAL and ANA have both had a very, very rough time the past 6 or 7 years and have had to restructure a lot of the ways they do business to accomodate all of the belt tightening and cutbacks required in this economy. While there is investment money out there for companies who can put it to good use, there is no magic fountain of cash in Japan that can be tapped just to subsidize an American-based cruise line that can't turn a profit.

I totally agree that's not the customer's concern at all... That's management's problem. The customer just can't expect that if their service provider isn't turning a profit, that they will be around for long.

Vince

Last edited by BWIVince; January 16th, 2014 at 11:52 AM.

  #5  
Old January 16th, 2014, 12:26 PM
123456con 123456con is offline
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Today is the first time I have come across this policy. And to say my family, a group of 40pax, have fully paid for the cruise 6 months in advance! I am writing Crystal a strong letter. Crystal clearly misrepresented itself in claiming its an all-inclusive cruise! The argument, that everybody should be able to eat there is so weak and doesn't deserve a $30/person charge. We've been on many cruises with Crystal and the Maitre'd controls the situation & simply says yes or no if he can accommodate you at a certain time and date.

  #6  
Old January 16th, 2014, 12:29 PM
calliopecruiser calliopecruiser is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul bernard View Post
that Crystal is not justified in simply assuming cavalierly that it can charge me whatever it likes, according to its whim.
Well, actually, they are free to charge according to their whim. Almost any company can charge whatever they like for their discretionary product.......but they have to accept the consequences of their choice. So Crystal can choose to charge what they like, and individuals can choose to buy their product or not. They'll soon figure out if their "whims" (i.e. their business decisions) got them the result they wanted or not.

I just think it hurts some people's egos that Crystal's choices don't reflect their ideas or suggestions of what Crystal should do or be, or they are upset that Crystal isn't the product they were used to......not just in this case, of course. What I'm talking about here isn't about the extra charge as much as it is Crystal's new business choices.
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  #7  
Old January 16th, 2014, 12:32 PM
ctjon ctjon is offline
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Not to go through the whole thing again but I'd be interested if based upon the policy people are finding it easier to get reservations than it was before or if people who don't care about spending the money are just going more.

  #8  
Old January 16th, 2014, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWIVince View Post
In 2014, I don't think corporations are receiving operational subsidies like you think they are anymore. Sure, there are some examples (Like EAS service to the airlines, development subsidies to the oil companies, etc.), but the days of governments propping up airlines and shipping companies to be flagships of the state are LONG over
Vince - your comments may be true in the US but it's certainly not the case in some countries/areas such as Singapore or the Middle East - airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar are examples of State supported businesses that are competing on the world stage with substantial Government funding to either get them established or support them on an ongoing basis for non commercial reasons. Government bailouts of troubled national carriers is not unknown - the New Zealand government "invested" in Air NZ a few years ago rather than let it go bust when it's private sector owners went bust

I certainly don't believe Crystal fall into this category - maybe there's some cross subsidisation within the overall NYK group for whatever reasons but nothing from the Japanese government

  #9  
Old January 16th, 2014, 04:35 PM
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Rally Rally is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bodogbodog View Post
Vince - your comments may be true in the US but it's certainly not the case in some countries/areas such as Singapore or the Middle East - airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar are examples of State supported businesses that are competing on the world stage with substantial Government funding to either get them established or support them on an ongoing basis for non commercial reasons. Government bailouts of troubled national carriers is not unknown - the New Zealand government "invested" in Air NZ a few years ago rather than let it go bust when it's private sector owners went bust

I certainly don't believe Crystal fall into this category - maybe there's some cross subsidisation within the overall NYK group for whatever reasons but nothing from the Japanese government
Hardly anyone associates Crystal Cruises with Japan. Fewer have even HEARD of NYK. Fewer still associate Crystal with NYK. Does anyone really think either Japan or NYK invest in Crystal for the promotional value? Gees.
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  #10  
Old January 18th, 2014, 05:02 PM
paul bernard paul bernard is offline
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Default Naivete is charming, but...


Gees, yes, I do think so.

  #11  
Old January 20th, 2014, 04:35 PM
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I still can't get over my irritation. What I also hate is we always booked reservation for 4 assuming we would invite a couple we met on board. But now Crystal doesn't not allow you to dine/make a reservation unless you know names ahead of time. Thanks Crystal. Because I am in PH I can order from specialty and eat in.


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  #12  
Old January 20th, 2014, 04:54 PM
BWIVince BWIVince is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenLA View Post
I still can't get over my irritation. What I also hate is we always booked reservation for 4 assuming we would invite a couple we met on board. But now Crystal doesn't not allow you to dine/make a reservation unless you know names ahead of time. Thanks Crystal. Because I am in PH I can order from specialty and eat in.


Looking to book someone else for 2015
That part of the policy has actually been better received than the fee, and prior to Crystal's announcement this policy in use at a couple of other lines was suggested here on CC for adoption by Crystal (without the fee) because it was a "fairer" way of controlling each guest's advance reservations than the one-per-booking method Crystal used, in the eyes of those suggesting it.

I think in practice it's not that big of a deal because you can always see the maître d' about adjusting the reservation on board if you meet another couple you'd like to dine with, as most people have in the past. There will always be cases where it's not possible to adjust the booking, as there always have been, but with a little flexibility something can usually be done in my experience.

Be sure to check the policies carefully before switching, because this part of it was copied from what some other lines were doing.

Vince

  #13  
Old January 20th, 2014, 07:34 PM
Suite Travels Suite Travels is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenLA View Post
I still can't get over my irritation. What I also hate is we always booked reservation for 4 assuming we would invite a couple we met on board. But now Crystal doesn't not allow you to dine/make a reservation unless you know names ahead of time. Thanks Crystal. Because I am in PH I can order from specialty and eat in.


Looking to book someone else for 2015
Karen, absolutly you can and you can invite another couple and have a private dinner in your suite without the additional charge. Just tell your butler when you want to do this. Sounds good to me. Drinks and four nice people in your suite is very nice. You can always scamper out after you finish dinner.

  #14  
Old January 20th, 2014, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenLA View Post
I still can't get over my irritation. What I also hate is we always booked reservation for 4 assuming we would invite a couple we met on board. But now Crystal doesn't not allow you to dine/make a reservation unless you know names ahead of time. Thanks Crystal. Because I am in PH I can order from specialty and eat in.


Looking to book someone else for 2015
Give someone else a try. You may discover there's an alternative luxury line out there that won't take your business for granted and will let you dine in the specialty restaurants without charge. I see Regent is now using Crystal's restaurant surcharge in their marketing to show how uncompetitive Crystal now is. Good for them.
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  #15  
Old January 21st, 2014, 02:31 AM
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Give it up CommoDave! You've made your point over and over and........


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