Why do Princess charge a ridiculous price for infants?

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#21
Bay area, California
435 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
I feel your pain. Last year I treated my 3 children, spouses and first grandchild to a cruise, figuring the baby would be free, since he was 5 months old at time of booking. Imagine my surprise when I had to pay full fare for him! It was almost a deal-breaker, but everyone had already arranged for vacation time.

I understand all the reasons the baby pays full 3rd person fare & I agree- I just had never considered it before. Not a fun surprise!

I hope you go and make some fun memories with your little one-- we sure did!
#23
The Land of Ahhs!
44,132 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
If small children and/or babies sailed for free, can you only imagine the Princess experience? 3500 passengers onboard and 1500 of them under the age of 5. The dining experience alone would be such a thrill.
I totally see why each berth onboard (1st or 2nd passenger rate, or 3rd or 4th passenger rate) is charged the same fare whether the passenger is 6 months or 100.
#24
16,375 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Originally posted by Toto2Kansas
If small children and/or babies sailed for free, can you only imagine the Princess experience? 3500 passengers onboard and 1500 of them under the age of 5. The dining experience alone would be such a thrill.
I totally see why each berth onboard (1st or 2nd passenger rate, or 3rd or 4th passenger rate) is charged the same fare whether the passenger is 6 months or 100.

Yikes!!

On MSC, kids 17 and under just pay taxes in a room with 2 adults, but as mentioned - you get what you pay for.

Disney sometimes has a Kids Sail Free promo, but you'll pay more for Disney. NCL has their promos, as do Carnival, RCI, and HAL. You just have to watch for them!
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#25
Santa Rosa, CA
198 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Originally posted by 4cats4me
Last time I checked an infant is a human being. I discern no difference between infant versus 10-year-old versus adult. If you wish to cruise, good for you. If you don't want to pay the piper then you have choices to go on different types of vacations, maybe at a hotel where there won't be a charge for infants. I agree with Pam -- if she has to pay double as a single, why should your kid coast for free or an extremely reduced fare?
We had to pay double for my mom last month, but I didn't get the double credit applied to my account - she did. I guess, using OP's logic, I should fight to get the double credits added to MY shipboard account since we paid for mom.
Nope, ma'am -- life is not always fair regarding a fare.

And as for airlines, babies are only free if you hold them on your lap up to the age of two. In my family, we purchase the extra seat so that it will be a more comfortable journey.

A couple of years ago my husband and I took our two sons, daughters in law, 13 month old grand daughter and my mother on a cruise. Princess was going to charge us full cost for son, daughter in law and grandchild in one cabin and in another cabin (my mother) was going to be charged double. I decided if I was going to have to pay full charge for my granddaughter anyway, she could be assigned to my mother's room, thereby saving me one full fare ticket. Granddaughter stayed with her parents in their room. My daughter in law took special diaper disposal bags and crib sheets to eliminate extra work for the steward. Granddaughter ate at the table in the main dining room every night and the wait staff brought her little rolls in the shape of animals and her food was in small servings very prettily arranged. She was serenaded in a couple of venues and danced on the dance floor to the rock music. Was it worth a full adult price for a child? Did she get full dollar value for the cruise, maybe not, but it was worth it to us to have her along.
#26
In the Valley, CA
22,994 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
We started taking our daughter on cruises at age of 23 months (she was on her 7th in December at age 13) and I think we've always paid third person rate for her each time (that's Carnival and Princess).

When they're a toddler, they are still in diapers and or just starting potty training. Even if you bring disposal bags, the cabin steward still has to remove the used diapers. In fact, that was one of the first things we addressed with our steward on that first cruise. At that age, kids do love to throw things off their high chairs at meals. The waitstaff and many other crew members seem to love to dote on the little ones (many are missing their own kids back home).

We've never reduced our tips for her as we've felt, no matter how much we work at it, there's still work involved with our little passenger.

If you have a problem with paying full fare (or even the 3rd person rate), then you can ask your TA to find you a cruiseline that charges less for infants. But it could be that it's a line that charges more for your rate (like Disney).
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#27
Shanghai, PRC / Sete, France
3,885 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Why does Princess charge so much for infants?
The answer is very simple.
Businesses always give lower prices to customers they want to do more business with.
And they quote higher prices to customers whose business they do not want.

Ships make a profit ONLY from onboard spending.
How much money are your infants planning to spend onboard when they cruise?

If I had the option of selling a cruise to a family with kids and very little money to spend, or a group of adults with money to burn, the choice would be a very simple one.

You should make the same choice. Book with a cruise line that wants your business.
#28
Chesapeake, VA
118 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Cruiselines barely break even for price of a room. If the cruise isn't booked to capacity they likely are taking a loss of the room alone.


The entire business model is based on upsells, specialty dining, drinks, gambling, shore excursions (cruiseline usually takes 50%+ off the topline), etc.

So for a given cruise if the ticket price is $1000 the cruiseline is counting on making $1500 - $2000 revenue per person. Given that children don't rack up hundreds of thousands in upsells the potential profit is limited to only the ticket price. If your infant was a big drinker and the cruiseline could count of a $500+ bar tab then they likely would be willing to consider cutting the price.



If cruises were truly inclusive (everything covered from booze to shore excursions) ticket prices would be double (or maybe triple) and then likely kids would be significantly discounted.
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#29
SW Florida
1,366 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Princess considers the baby as a body. That body does not spend anything onboard. The "body" leaves dirty diapers and requires other requirements. Princess SHOULD charge the same amount for a "body" as any other body.
#30
Phoenix, AZ
90 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by BruceMuzz
Why does Princess charge so much for infants?
The answer is very simple.
Businesses always give lower prices to customers they want to do more business with.
And they quote higher prices to customers whose business they do not want.

Ships make a profit ONLY from onboard spending.
How much money are your infants planning to spend onboard when they cruise?
Indeed.

To boil it down, children generate no income for the cruise line. They do, however, generate mess, noise, and plenty of complaints, all of which demonstrably effect the quality of other passenger's trips, and force the cruise line's staff to deal with those messes, that noise, and all of those complaints from people who have paid a lot of money (relatively speaking...) to escape exactly those things.

In effect, children cost the cruise line money, while producing no income. Sounds like a poor business model to follow, no?
#31
Los Angeles, CA
23 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Originally posted by small talk
Not happy!


We are (were) BIG Princess fans (Platinum members) but now our loyalty to the cruise line has probably ended when they quoted us £1282 for a 10-day Panama cruise with a 14-month-old. They charge the same price for a child of this age as they do for a much older child!

I cannot understand how they can justify this when such a small child is not going to be using the amenities in the same way as say a 10-year-old! We can't even leave our child in a kids programme for an hour when under the age of three so they are certainly not using the time and resources of one of the youth leaders. They don't care much for 5-course dinners and their food will consist of a small bowl full - so why the hike in price????

Even airlines cost differently for infants up to the age of 2 as they do not pay a fare (taxes and local charges - yes, but they are costed differently to a 3 year old +)

I am absolutely stunned - especially as they are supposed to be 'child friendly'. We will be looking again at cruises but not with Princess.
I do feel your frustration about having to pay a ridiculous sum of money for a baby or toddler, but almost all major cruise lines seemed to adopt this policy. Cruising seemed so affordable back on our first cruise back in 1992 when it was just me and my wife (We now have a 4 year old son and a 18 months old infant girl ). I do understand that children do take up berth space like any other adult, but consider that our infant girl slept in a crib and barely ate or drank anything on our last cruise, the price we had to pay for her was a little unreasonable. Having said that, what else can you do if you do enjoy cruising ?
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#32
perth
18 Posts
Joined May 2011
hi we cruise on princess ships from australia with our kids and there are no children fares at all, just 2nd and 3rd passenger fares. also princess limit the amount of children and age groups on board. on our first cruise on the pacific princess they didn't allow children under the age of 6 years, this is one of the reason i love princess cruises my kids have loved there holidays with limited kids and always looked after and entertained in small groups, the kids feel special,
and as an adult passengers it's one of the great things you know theres not going to be hundreds of kids. my kids are now 18 and 20 and still cruising with us on princess cruises.
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#33
174 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by shepp
...some of us booze-drinking, gambling adults who gravitate to Princess in part because of the paucity of young kids. No-charge childen by the MSC boatload? No thanks.

You (presumably) chose to have a kid, and now are almost immediately schlepping it along on an expedition it probably neither understands nor appreciates, at least not any more than playing with its blankie. Sorry you feel peeved. On the other hand, I, happily childless by choice, have been underwriting other peoples' kids' schooling and family-oriented tax breaks for many years. And that's the way it is.

Ouch. Sorry you feel hard done by for having your taxes pay for things you don't use (that's what most people's taxes do by the way, pay for things other people use, or everything would be user-charged) but no need to take it out on someone who clearly neither wants to give up on any holidays for years nor leave baby at home when they go (a position I entirely understand as I'm sure many others do).

We will be travelling with a 2 year old next month. No she doesn't "appreciate" the specialness of travelling (her older sister does though, at age 10) but has enjoyed her previous international trips (to a tropical island and snow), she's a very easy traveller, and we don't want to leave her behind. It is a family holiday after all.

Incidentally the reason we chose Princess was because it advertises itself as family friendly (this may come as a surprise to a number of people on these boards judging by some of the comments I've seen ). Celebrity claims to prefer travellers without children so we didn't even look at them. No-one else was really an option for the itinerary we wanted.

Did we mind paying 'normal' 3rd and 4th person rates? Well, it is up to businesses to charge what they want, customers can accept or go elsewhere. We liked the itinerary and the ship so went for it.
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#34
near Philly
2,661 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
We've always payed 3&4th passenger rates for our boys - we've never has any kind of 'kids discount' mostly because we travel in the summer which are prime months.


Also can we not turn this into a child bashing thread - it's seeming to go in that direction with some of the comments. Like SJ27 said we booked on Princess because it's family friendly but reading the boards & some of the comments are making me think the cc members don't believe that
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#35
10,570 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
To everyone who thinks Princess does this to 'repel' children, please read my above post again.

The reason they do it is that a child takes up a slot that could be sold to an adult and therefore pays the same price. That's it. It's not an active anti-child policy.

If Princess didn't want to have children on board it could be handled much more easily and cost effective by removing the kids program and using the space for revenue.
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#36
San Francisco
3,873 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by SJ27
Ouch. Sorry you feel hard done by for having your taxes pay for things you don't use (that's what most people's taxes do by the way, pay for things other people use, or everything would be user-charged) but no need to take it out on someone who clearly neither wants to give up on any holidays for years nor leave baby at home when they go (a position I entirely understand as I'm sure many others do).
Honestly, I don't feel "hard done" by paying taxes. But, as I and others have pointed out, the economic model of cruise ships is such that infants are nowhere near as profitable as adult passengers, and should Princess allow free or reduced fares for them, the rest of us would presumably end up subsidizing other peoples' children through our paying higher fares and onboard charges. (I seem to recall, for instance, that MSC, with its occasional free-child promos, charges notably more for shipboard amenities, not even providing free water with dinner.) Paying for public schools is a social good; underwriting other people's vacations is not.

And "not taking a Princess cruise at reduced rates" is certainly not the same as "giving up on any holidays for years."
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#37
Long Island, NY
5,502 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by PescadoAmarillo
It's because price is not based on cost but on demand. Princess (and most other cruiselines) charge the same price for 3rd/4th passengers in a cabin because they can. Parents wanting to cruise with little ones will pay it. Also, your toddler is taking a space that might otherwise be filled by an adult 3rd/4th passenger who would pay that amount.
I have received reduced 3rd and 4th passenger rates over the years for my children. With that said the last cruise we took it was cheaper to book a second room for my kids who were 14 and 17 at the time. The 3rd and 4th passenger rate was $50 more pp than the 1st and 2nd passenger rate. Go figure.
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#38
Aliso Viejo, CA
41,788 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by Iamcruzin
I have received reduced 3rd and 4th passenger rates over the years for my children. With that said the last cruise we took it was cheaper to book a second room for my kids who were 14 and 17 at the time. The 3rd and 4th passenger rate was $50 more pp than the 1st and 2nd passenger rate. Go figure.
Princess changed their pricing for 3rd and 4th passengers a few years ago. Since I've never booked a 3rd or 4th, I'm not sure when but you used to be able to book them for $300-$400/pp. Now, they are almost full price.

The bottom line is money. Princess charges more because it can. They don't have to work as hard to fill their ships the way some other cruiselines do with advertising, "kids go free", and other promotions. Supply and demand.
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#39
Los Angeles, CA
23 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Originally posted by Pam in CA
Princess changed their pricing for 3rd and 4th passengers a few years ago. Since I've never booked a 3rd or 4th, I'm not sure when but you used to be able to book them for $300-$400/pp. Now, they are almost full price.

The bottom line is money. Princess charges more because it can. They don't have to work as hard to fill their ships the way some other cruiselines do with advertising, "kids go free", and other promotions. Supply and demand.
I agree that when we first started cruising back in 1992, it was a lot less for 3rd or 4th, but like Pam said "Princess charges more because it can". I also guess that it doesn't help that since my first cruise, the consolidation of the cruise industry between the big two giants CCL and RCL, as they have bought out other cruise lines like Princess, Celebrity, Costa etc. So they can really dictate pricing.
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#40
Clarksburg, WV
13,970 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by Richie2pies
Princess considers the baby as a body. That body does not spend anything onboard. The "body" leaves dirty diapers and requires other requirements. Princess SHOULD charge the same amount for a "body" as any other body.
Originally posted by furb
Indeed.

To boil it down, children generate no income for the cruise line. They do, however, generate mess, noise, and plenty of complaints, all of which demonstrably effect the quality of other passenger's trips, and force the cruise line's staff to deal with those messes, that noise, and all of those complaints from people who have paid a lot of money (relatively speaking...) to escape exactly those things.

In effect, children cost the cruise line money, while producing no income. Sounds like a poor business model to follow, no?
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