10 things cruise lines won't tell you

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#2
Shanghai, PRC / Sete, France
3,895 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
I have managed cruise ships for the past 3 decades.
I find that article is spot on.

Just a few years ago we had Mr and Mrs Howell as passengers.
They didn't care how much anything cost, so long as their champagne glasses were never empty.
The cruise lines gave them whatever they wanted.

Today we have the Skipper and Gilligan. They can barely afford a beer. They really couldn't afford the cruise, but smuggled enough beer onboard to save a few dollars. Unfortunately had to leave most of their clothes at home to make room for the beer in their suitcases.

The blame is not with the passengers. The cruise lines decided to market to the homeless, the unemployed, and the criminally insane.

Everybody wanted the cheapest cruise. This is what you get.
#3
Queensland
329 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
interesting read thanks. Nothing in it that surprises me greatly.
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#4
Wisconsin
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Joined Aug 2008
Good article for newcomers to cruising. I think any of us who have been cruising for awhile know most of that, but it's good that it's all laid out for the reader.
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#6
New York, NY
21,021 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
the one thing about the article is the Cruise line air part is wrong. The cruise lines don 't help when the air planes get screwed up...
#7
107,529 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Thanks for posting the link.
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#8
Rockport, Texas
5,836 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Interesting article, and 10 reasons why new cruisers should use a travel agent that knows these things and will pass on the knowledge. Unfortunately most "agents" working in cruise line call centers have never even been on a cruise and can't answer any question that isn't in the FAQ on their computer.
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#9
Southern California
37,421 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by smeyer418
the one thing about the article is the Cruise line air part is wrong. The cruise lines don 't help when the air planes get screwed up...
That is not the only thing wrong with the article.
#10
1,566 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
This link was also posted in cruise line specific board. Here is my response:

As in many published articles there is a mix of useful information and flat out wrong information. Here's paragraph 4, at least the header is correct.

4. "Sure, We Can Take Care of Your Plane Reservations, but You'd Do a Whole Lot Better on Your Own."
"Many cruise lines offer to book customers' airfare, with the guarantee that -- should there be a flight delay -- they'll hold the ship or fly them to the next port."

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. Cruise air is provided as a convenience and the cruise lines specifically deny any responsibility or accountability for the passenger getting to the port of embarkation on time, holding the ship if the flight is late, or getting them to the next port. That is one reason why trip insurance is critical. Read the sticky at the top of the "Cruise Air" board to really understand consolidator air tickets (what the cruise line provides.) A free cruise to anyone who can find this "guarantee" in writing from any cruise line.

This myth that the cruise line provides this "guarantee" is harder to kill than the abominable snowman.

Numerous examples of cruise passengers astonished that neither the airline nor the cruise line has any interest in their missed connections resulting in missing embarkation are found in the cruise air board. Have a look at the "missed cruise due to Delta" thread over at Royal Caribbean.

Yes, occasionally a ship will wait a limited time for a significant number of delayed passengers. Be grateful if it happens, but do not rely on it.

"Booking airfare independently will be cheaper most of the time, says Gorfain. But when the cruise lines book it, they will oversee the flight. That means if there are weather delays and you miss the ship, the cruise, in tandem with the airline, will arrange to get passengers to the next port of call, he says."

This article is just so bad -- it creates a false sense of security. Cruise lines do NOT "oversee" the flight. They do not "arrange" to get passengers to the next port. There are numerous disadvantages to cruise air; in this article "Smart Money" is just plain "dumb."
#11
Michigan
7,870 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
I have never experienced ANY of the problems mentioned in the article. I have however, experienced overpriced drinks and other on board purchases. I always book my own air (for THOUSANDS less than the cruise line), and while I usually skip the travel insurance, I would probably book that through my TA if I felt it was necessary.
#12
14,640 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
The cruiseline does tell you all of this. You just have to read the fine print, and by reading complaining posts on this board, it's obvious most people assume someone else is taking care of them, because they seem quite surprised when this stuff happens to them!

Agree, too bad the writer couldn't get all his facts straight in regard to cruise air.
#13
CA
2,133 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by smeyer418
the one thing about the article is the Cruise line air part is wrong. The cruise lines don 't help when the air planes get screwed up...


This statement is very misleading.

Sometimes they do help.

Going with the cruise air is not always a bad thing. Every time I have done it, it was cheaper and the flights I was given was just as good as what I could have gotten.

For example Princess chartered air from LAX to Acapulco (there were no direct flights from LAX to Acapulco).and return from San Juan. They held the ship because the charter flight was late. The fare was cheaper then what I could get and more convenient fights.

On a cruise from Barcelona and back from Copenhagen the airfare was cheaper then what I could book. In addition, Azamara was very late into Copenhagen. they made new reservation for everyone that booked their air, the people that did not book sir with the cruise had to make there own changes. They did allow free internet for those people.

River cruise with AMA flying from LAX to Budapest and returning from Prague was cheaper then I could get and excellent flights and connections (BA from LAX to Heathrow for connections).

So, I think the blanket statements that by getting cruise air the cruise line will do nothing to help is incorrect.

Sometimes cruise air is best deal you will find. I think a lot of the people that say you will always get it cheaper yourself don't do much flying outside the USA.
#14
New York, NY
21,021 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Originally posted by Donray

This statement is very misleading.

Sometimes they do help.

Going with the cruise air is not always a bad thing. Every time I have done it, it was cheaper and the flights I was given was just as good as what I could have gotten.

For example Princess chartered air from LAX to Acapulco (there were no direct flights from LAX to Acapulco).and return from San Juan. They held the ship because the charter flight was late. The fare was cheaper then what I could get and more convenient fights.

On a cruise from Barcelona and back from Copenhagen the airfare was cheaper then what I could book. In addition, Azamara was very late into Copenhagen. they made new reservation for everyone that booked their air, the people that did not book sir with the cruise had to make there own changes. They did allow free internet for those people.

River cruise with AMA flying from LAX to Budapest and returning from Prague was cheaper then I could get and excellent flights and connections (BA from LAX to Heathrow for connections).

So, I think the blanket statements that by getting cruise air the cruise line will do nothing to help is incorrect.

Sometimes cruise air is best deal you will find. I think a lot of the people that say you will always get it cheaper yourself don't do much flying outside the USA.
I do lots of flying. when the flights get screwed up the cruise lines do very little to help. They don't promise to hold the ship...that is a myth. Sometimes they do hold the ship when many flights and people are late but they are not required to. It becomes the airlines responsibility to get you caught up....and they don't do that either. Please read the stories about what happens to people with cruise air last week. My statement is accurate about what happened. Yes sometimes it is cheaper to use the cruise lines air especially at the last minute, but most times its much cheaper to do it yourself. The cruise line wanted $1250 per person for my cruise on a "deal" I got similar flights for $608 pp. I am coming in five days early and leaving one day later to make sure of my flights. I get to see more and learn something about the country. Its a myth that they always hold the ship. All the cruise lines specifically say that cruise air is an accommodation and they take absolutely no responsibility for it. That is what their documents say. Please look it up. Sometimes they do wait but they are not required to and don't always...I don't see how that is misleading.
#15
Las Cruces, NM
2,409 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
I agree with both of you. The cruise lines don't guarantee that they will hold the ship and it's in the fine print as a convenience with most lines. Yes, I said "most". Not all of them view it that way and will help their passengers. I think the biggest debacles have been the fault of the passengers: getting to the airport, gee, 55 minutes before their flight or, hey, flying through a city in a snowstorm and having your flight arrive on the same day? The cruise lines cannot be liable for people's lack of common sense. I thought the article was a bit silly especially since they quoted the wackos at cruisejunkie. Are hotels not breeding grounds for germs? I figure if you want to be 100% safe, stay home..........
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#16
Arizona/Missouri
14,848 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
[quote=Donray;23238902]

This statement is very misleading.

Sometimes they do help.

Going with the cruise air is not always a bad thing. Every time I have done it, it was cheaper and the flights I was given was just as good as what I could have gotten.

Originally posted by Donray
For example Princess chartered air from LAX to Acapulco (there were no direct flights from LAX to Acapulco).and return from San Juan. They held the ship because the charter flight was late. The fare was cheaper then what I could get and more convenient fights.
Originally posted by Donray
OF COURSE they held the ship. It was a PRINCESS charter. 200+ people on ONE flight-don't want to loose the on board revenue. They generally would have held the ship for 200+ people on any airline.
PRICE seems to be your entire focus

Originally posted by Donray
On a cruise from Barcelona and back from Copenhagen the airfare was cheaper then what I could book. In addition, Azamara was very late into Copenhagen. they made new reservation for everyone that booked their air, the people that did not book sir with the cruise had to make there own changes. They did allow free internet for those people.
Originally posted by Donray
Did you ask how many people had to stay overnight to get home? ON THEIR OWN DIME??? This is an example of a CRUISE LINE problem. The cruise line HAS to step up to the plate and make it right because THEY caused the problem. Has absolutely NOTHING to do with cruise air tickets.
Originally posted by Donray
River cruise with AMA flying from LAX to Budapest and returning from Prague was cheaper then I could get and excellent flights and connections (BA from LAX to Heathrow for connections).
Originally posted by Donray
Again, your focus is entirely on price.

Originally posted by Donray
So, I think the blanket statements that by getting cruise air the cruise line will do nothing to help is incorrect.
Originally posted by Donray

Sometimes cruise air is best deal you will find. I think a lot of the people that say you will always get it cheaper yourself don't do much flying outside the USA.
Your entire focus is on PRICE. You seem to gloss over the other downsides of cruise air/consolidator tickets. You had one problem-late ship. Again, has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with a cruise air ticket. In that PARTICULAR instance, the cruise line WAS responsible. For all those that booked their own air AND booked it AFTER the recommended time, the cruise line could be liable for the change fees and any additional airline fare (although it is easier to file a claim with your travel insurance than fight the cruise line for the change fees/additional fare)

As for flying outside the USA, I flew over 143,000 miles in 2009, a good portion of it between the USA and the Middle East/Asia. I was going to book a portion of the Crystal world cruise in the Mid East(as I was going to be in the Mid East and figured a little R & R was in order). Just for giggles, I asked Crystal air/sea dept for a business class ticket from NYC to Dubai. They quoted me a whopping $11,400 and couldn't tell me the carrier until 6 months pre cruise. Kuwait Airlines flies nonstop JFK/Kuwait City in First Class for less than $2500. Kuwait City to Dubai-an hour flight and always less than $200.00. Granted, Kuwait Airlines is NOT up to par in first class with Singapore, Cathay or BA. But a darn sight better than any USA carrier in first class. I would have been an idiot to pay Crystal's price.

You need to expand your horizons and do some REAL research into air fares. A good place to start: http://www.itasoftware.com

Only rarely can the cruise air packages beat the price of a self purchased ticket. And you get all those little benefits of a self booked ticket-ENDORSABLE tickets and a much higher priority for rebooking. The benefits alone are worth more than the few dollars saved.
#17
Bristol, UK
1,318 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Judging by the name of the author, this is a US only report and does not apply to the rest of the world Never let a good story get in the way of the truth, European and certainly UK travellers are treated differently. The ship are generally held up for late charter flights, the cruise will be booked inclusive of air flight, therefore cruiseline responibility. "Ports are missed due to bad weather" this is something we don't know? There are lots of viruses on ships, probably no more than in your best hotels and dare I say your hospitals. Food preparation, I would like to see any restaurant cope with 500 or 600 guests turning up at the same time. All very misleading IMO
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#18
Yachats, OR
887 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Not all cruise insurance issued by the cruise lines is the same. Some do cover what the article said they don't.

They didn't mention that some cruise lines that are public give you free OBC if you are a shareholder.

I found the article very one sided and lacking in journalistic integrity!
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#19
Los Angeles, CA
974 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Originally posted by bar_20
Not all cruise insurance issued by the cruise lines is the same. Some do cover what the article said they don't.
Similar thread posted in the Celebrity boards a few days ago. I think these Smart Money articles always tend to stress the negative. This monthly "10 Things you don't know" feature is pretty much to make the customer wary of whatever the featured business happens to be that month, whether it be Hospitals, Dog washers, Nail salons, Amusement parks, etc. So I always read the article with that perspective.

I think one thing helpful for new cruisers is the mention of trip insurance. When I first started cruising, I just automatically bought the cruise insurance thinking it was ok. Only after doing more research and learning about coverages, etc., did I later learn that it is very apparent that you can get a much better deal buying insurance on your own. Lots of great threads on these boards regarding travel insurance!