We today received an e mail from a cruise travel site advertising a Far East Royal Caribbean cruise.
For a 17 night holiday, including 14 nights in a balcony cabin on Mariner of the Seas, the total cost per person was £1689.
Although we had no plans to cruise in the near future, we felt that such a price was too good to pass on.
Until we looked at the inevitable add on's!!!!!
Royal Caribbean want to charge 27 dollars (13.50 per person) per day for gratuities. Total for 14 days: 378 dollars. (approx £290.) In addition, they charge 18 per cent service charge on every drink bought. This brought something like a G and T to over 8 dollars. (Approx £6.30.) Thus a couple of these each in an evening and you've blown around £25.
Then there was the wine. Bad enough that we blithely get ripped off by British restaurants charging around £15 for a bottle of plonk that could almost certainly be bought in a continental supermarket for about 3 quid, but with the 18 per cent service charge added on, we worked out that a bottle of Malbec in Mariner of the Seas restaurant would cost about £30. Add that to a couple of drinks and one is up to £55/60 per day. That's around £800 just on drinks for the cruise........and if you really started to enjoy yourself!!!??!
If one tries to better this by buying the drinks package, it will cost 55 dollars per day, per person. Total for a 14 day cruise: 1540 dollars. (£1186 approx.)
I would think you would need to have an alcohol problem to break even, even though this package does include soft drinks!!
So assuming one went for the drinks package and then gave the recommended gratuity to the cabin steward, the cost of the cruise has just been inflated by £1476. (43.69 per cent)
Result: We will not be going on this cruise and Royal Caribbean have lost their share of £3378 worth of our custom.
No doubt someone with more wealth, or more gullible or both will take up the slack. It's not that we could not afford the extra, but rather that we have become fed up with the stealthy way that so many cruise lines operate by trying to make initial fares look "oh so reasonable" but then charge rip off prices having gained a captive audience.
Companies like Thomson (TUI) don't do it. Why do we, the paying public, let these others get away with it?