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Squire5000

Time to Take A Stand - Elimination of In Room Consumption

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I just got off the phone with RCCL customer service regarding this idiotic, short-sighted decision by RCCL elimnating our ability to purchase our favorite spirits in the gift shop, pay the $9.50, and enjoy a pre/post dinner cocktail in our staterooms. The person in Customer Service was very nice, made note of my views, but suggested that I write a letter as it may be more effective. While I was talking to him, I could hear another person next to him responding to a similar complaint from another customer.

 

If we are serious about taking issue with this decision, we need to be vocal about our views and communicate them in a constructive manner to the management of RCCL. E-mail is great, but working for the greatest? bureaucracy on earth, the U.S. Government, I speak from experience whe I say a written letter gets more attention than an e-mail. E-mail generally results in a "head count" whereas a letter requires someone to put a hand on it and, in the interest of "keeping the customer satisfied", generally results in a personalized,written response, not a canned e-mail reply.

 

Also, if you're a member of Crown & Anchor, make it known to them They make such a big deal about the C&A people being the core to their success, let them know how we feel. We're Diamond members, made a mention of it and suggested they take a page from Princess if the distribution is an issue and let us buy it up front like you do with Princess.

 

It seems like the PR department at RCCL is out to lunch.

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The following is a message I recieved from RCCL when I asked who to escalate this question to:

 

Royal Caribbean International reviews its policies periodically. Upon review of the policy regulating onboard alcohol purchases for stateroom consumption, our Corporate Office has made the decision to alter this policy. As of August 5, 2005, the revised policy now states that all bottles of alcohol purchased onboard will only be delivered to the guest's room on the last day of the voyage. We regret any disappointment this change has caused you.

 

You may send your comments to the following addresses or fax number.

 

E-mail: Web_cruise_comments@rccl.com

Royal Caribbean International

Customer Service Department

1080 Caribbean Way

Miami, Fl., 33132

Fax: 305-373-6697

 

Please include your name, ship, sailing date, and reservation number to ensure a speedy and accurate reply.

 

If you prefer to speak with a Customer Service Representative directly, please call 1-800-256-6649 (option number four.)

 

Thank you for choosing Royal Caribbean International.

 

Pedro Curbelo

Customer Service Representative

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Do you feel they're doing this to be mean? It's likely become an insurance issue. I can't imagine RCCL giving up the revunue voluntarily, knowing most people will smuggle some onboard now.

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Since I am not one to bring a bottle aboard nor purchase one for consumption

I would normally be apolitical on this issue.

 

HOWEVER - since I have not heard a reason other than "this is a change of policy" I will vote with the folks who want to see the new policy abolished.

 

Here is the question though. Does Celebrity allow this?

 

I hear that RCCL was unique in allowing it and does Princess, HAL etc allow it . If that is the case you are right that this may be an insurance issue - YET if that's the case then they would have to eliminate the mini bar and stop offfering packages to be delivered to the room. Hmnnnn I smell a rat here.

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Being the cynic I am, I doubt it's an insurance concern. They've got lawyers that have vetted this situation long before this vhange took place. All you have to do it look at the cruise contract or their guest policy to see that they have almost no exposure on any issue. Those lawyers are drawing down big bucks.

 

This is all about the bottom line, as is everything with the cruise industry these days. They're taking a beating on fuel costs just like everyone else and they've got to make up the deficit somehow. All you have to do is go to dinner to see evidence of that. Remember the days when they would have a basket of rolls on the table when you came into the dining room? No more. They hand them out individually. I'm sure the bean counters took a look at the bar bills, compared it to the in room consumption numbers and decided they were missing a revenue flow. No different than the airlines that drop pillows, blankets, etc. I'm waiting for them to add a surcharge before final payment if you don't pay the balance in full at the time you make a reservation.

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I think a mini-bar is prohibitively expensive for bingers who are most likely to be an insurance issue whereas selling someone a cheap bottle of hootch does, in fact, encourage them to drink up.

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I will have my plastic bottle of Bailey, Grey Goose & some dark rum we bought in S Carib (I forget the name but they are famous). For a week cruise on FOS, we have free before & after dinner cocktails, but after shows we like to sit back with a SeaBreeze or BayBreeze from Maui, Irish Coffee is a great way to start the day, and a mai tai with friends also goes over BIG TIME! At the pool I do lemonade & vodka.

 

We are not wine drinkers, so dinner is nothing but food for us.

 

 

Reading is $9.50 charge, which must be a RCCL thing since I got Baileys & Grey Goose over our 2 week TA by just bringing my navy blue Celebrity tote to the shop, putting it atop the salesman's feet behind the cash register & he drops the bottle in it & away I go. Next day do it again, & again next day. One bottle per day & we had a gift for my BIL who was picking us up.

 

Did the same on a week cruise on Infinity for more Baileys & Grey Gosse. They are liter bottles not 750 ml you usually get for $16 each.

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I ust got off of the phone with RCCL. She gave me the "policy answer". Well I told her that I wanted it explained. So she said that it was a "decision of the REVENUE department". So I said "that explains alot. It is another way of RCCL making money off of their customers". "OH no", she says "It isn't about that". So I asked "well what does revenue deal with".....MONEY!!!" She then said that "we still could have drinks brought to the room from room service". I answered "two bottles of absolute cost $40.00 with the consumption fee. At $7.00 per drink, (she said that she didn't know how much a drink costs). I said, "I do. It is $6.93". That is approximately 6 drinks for 40.00. You do the math. She got really annoyed at that one.

 

She said to write letters to customer service. I told her that this is going to force people onto other lines and the smugglers will come out in force. She said that people already smuuggle liquor on board.

 

She also gave a lame story about taxes and controlling what people drank in their staterooms....come on...it's all about REVENUE!!!

 

Write those letters!

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For a week cruise on FOS, we have free before & after dinner cocktails, but after shows we like to sit back with a SeaBreeze or BayBreeze from Maui, Irish Coffee is a great way to start the day, and a mai tai with friends also goes over BIG TIME!

QUOTE]

 

How did you get free drinks before and after dinner?

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Is it insurance, maybe if their liability has increase over the infamous missing groom that was reported to be snockered over a bottle of Abstinth (sp?) that was summgled on board. There has been so much hoopla on the news about why did RCCL serve him so much liquor, how many passengers are out of control, how much crime, blah, blah, blah. I dont know how many of you see this, but I have never found this to be true - and what about personal choice and responsibility?

Now they find it was the grooms own stash (or the Russia Mafia gangs he was seen with?) of a type of liquor that is not even offered in the ship store so I guess the luggage will be triple search to insure their image is intact. Never mind what their patrons perfer. Or perhaps it is wanting to make more money out of their own bars, I would think in part.

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Seems the party line story is beginning to unravel. It'a all about money; it's always about money. They've got a captive audience. Sure it's their ship and they can do as they please, but how about a little consierdation for the little things that mean a lot and make a cruise an experience worth remembering and not a hassle? I go on a cruise to get away from the hassle factor, not deal with it in a different setting.

 

Anybody play the slots lately on a RCCL ship? We were on the Empress a week ago. The Casino was strangely quiet. No one was winning with the slots. In fact, the thing would spin, come to a stop and than back up or go forward. I'm not a gambler ($10 for the slots per cruise), but it sure seemed a bit strange to me.

 

Come on RCCL, restore the simple pleasures. You'll reap your rewards tenfold down the line.

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I ust got off of the phone with RCCL. She gave me the "policy answer". Well I told her that I wanted it explained. So she said that it was a "decision of the REVENUE department". So I said "that explains alot. It is another way of RCCL making money off of their customers". "OH no", she says "It isn't about that". So I asked "well what does revenue deal with".....MONEY!!!" She then said that "we still could have drinks brought to the room from room service". I answered "two bottles of absolute cost $40.00 with the consumption fee. At $7.00 per drink, (she said that she didn't know how much a drink costs). I said, "I do. It is $6.93". That is approximately 6 drinks for 40.00. You do the math. She got really annoyed at that one.

 

She said to write letters to customer service. I told her that this is going to force people onto other lines and the smugglers will come out in force. She said that people already smuuggle liquor on board.

 

She also gave a lame story about taxes and controlling what people drank in their staterooms....come on...it's all about REVENUE!!!

 

Write those letters!

 

If this is true then there is no room for debate or justification...

 

Sounds like Robinob found the real truth here! I for one am going to do exactly as the RCI rep said.... smuggle, since they obviously are aware it happens, what's the big deal if I do it now? Game on!...:p

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If you're a Diamond member of C&A and the ship has conceirge service, you can get free pre-dinner drinks and snacks as well as after dinner drinks free of charge. A nice deal if you qualify. But what about the passenger that hasn't reached that level? Let them buy what they want and take it back to their stateroom.

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I've never minded paying the $9.50 consumption tax...err ..I mean "fee". It was no more expensive than buying a bottle of Jack Daniels at home and packing it in my luggage. What RCCL doesn't realize is that fewer people will buy booze from their Duty Free Shops if they can't consume it at sea. On our Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Navigator of the Seas last summer, the booze was cheaper in the Duty Free Shops in St Thomas (Havenstocks?? Shopping Center) than on the ship. I'd rather buy it in St Thomas at a cheaper price, and have them box it, than give RCCL extra money.

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For a week cruise on FOS, we have free before & after dinner cocktails, but after shows we like to sit back with a SeaBreeze or BayBreeze from Maui, Irish Coffee is a great way to start the day, and a mai tai with friends also goes over BIG TIME!

QUOTE]

 

How did you get free drinks before and after dinner?

 

Probably concierge. 5-830 each evening.

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It's about the bottom line---profits! It can't be about liability, because they are just as liable for someone sitting in the bars getting plastered and then falling down or getting hurt from being drunk.

They just want you to use their bars and lounges and buy drinks there-----more $$$ for them. Pretty crappy PR, in my opinion. :mad:

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Sorry, but the cruise lines are no different from any other for profit business. Last time I checked, restaurants in my area that sell alcohol don't allow people to bring their own. Why should the cruise lines do otherwise?

 

I would guess that at least a small part of the reason for the policy change is that enough people have abused the system to hurt those who just want to enjoy an after dinner drink or an occasional in-room cocktail.

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Sorry, but the cruise lines are no different from any other for profit business. Last time I checked, restaurants in my area that sell alcohol don't allow people to bring their own. Why should the cruise lines do otherwise?

 

I would guess that at least a small part of the reason for the policy change is that enough people have abused the system to hurt those who just want to enjoy an after dinner drink or an occasional in-room cocktail.

 

No, Restaurants don't but hotels/motels allow you to bring your own bottle to the room.

 

This is all about money.

If you where the cruise line what would you rather do...charge $9. 50 per bottle, or don't allow bottles and charge $6 a drink?? How many $6, $7 drinks (1.5oz shots) are in bottle….20, 25….???

 

You force people to purchase from the bars and/or room service.

Forget insurance...it's the almighty dollar pure and simple. It’s nickel and diming to the max.

Larry

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But you are not bringing your own. You are buying theirs. It just doesn't make sense. I will FAX my letter tomorrow.

 

FAX # is 305-373-6697

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we sailed on princess over spring break and we were able to bring as many bottles of wine onboard - no charge. They opened the box and checked out the wine and put it on board. If you bring it into the dining room there is a small charge...but we asked for wine glasses for our cabin and we enjoyed our own fine wine.

 

So this new rule is not widespread...it's THEIR choice.

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I ust got off of the phone with RCCL. She gave me the "policy answer". Well I told her that I wanted it explained. So she said that it was a "decision of the REVENUE department". So I said "that explains alot. It is another way of RCCL making money off of their customers". "OH no", she says "It isn't about that". So I asked "well what does revenue deal with".....MONEY!!!" She then said that "we still could have drinks brought to the room from room service". I answered "two bottles of absolute cost $40.00 with the consumption fee. At $7.00 per drink, (she said that she didn't know how much a drink costs). I said, "I do. It is $6.93". That is approximately 6 drinks for 40.00. You do the math. She got really annoyed at that one.

 

She said to write letters to customer service. I told her that this is going to force people onto other lines and the smugglers will come out in force. She said that people already smuuggle liquor on board.

 

She also gave a lame story about taxes and controlling what people drank in their staterooms....come on...it's all about REVENUE!!!

 

Write those letters!

Lets say they raise the fee to $10.50 or $11.50 - certainly that would improve the bottom line and while there would be screaming and yelling would it be as much as eliminating the ability to buy it at all???

 

The answer you got was probably "scripted" as the young lady didn't have a clue as to what you were talking about.

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It's about the bottom line---profits! It can't be about liability, because they are just as liable for someone sitting in the bars getting plastered and then falling down or getting hurt from being drunk.

They just want you to use their bars and lounges and buy drinks there-----more $$$ for them. Pretty crappy PR, in my opinion. :mad:

The difference is that they can instruct the bar staff to cut people off if they overindulge and therefore reduce the chances that an inebriated passenger will injure himself. Their liability if they overserve a passenger is clear and should they fail to act appropriately, the financial consequences can be very costly. However, under the old policy they couldn't control the amount of drinking that went on in the privacy of one's stateroom. If a passenger drinks to excess in his stateroom, goes out on deck and injures himself the line would have to prove that they had not over-served that individual. Too few people are willing to assume responsibility for their actions nowadays and are all too ready to sue someone else and claim that they are to blame for whatever misfortune strikes them. I suspect the lawyers told the line to change their liquor policy to avoid such situations. Unfortunately as is the case in so many instances, the many are adversely affected by the actions of a few.

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The question was asked early on about whether Celebrity allowed you to buy bottles and pay the consumption fee. The answer is no, Celebrity never had a consumption fee to take your alcohol back to your cabin. The policy is to hold your purchases till the final night. However, as macop said in her post, it is possible to get a willing staff member to put your purchase in your bag at the time you buy it, but it's not done very often. The staff member could lose their job if found out. You cannot purchase bottles at the bar either. What you CAN do on Celebrity is order one of the bon voyage packages prior to cruising that includes a bottle of booze, a 6 pack of soda and some nibbles.

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At first sight, I thought this thread was about the elimination of Room Service! ;) Now that I hear it is about alcohol...aw, nevermind.

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The question was asked early on about whether Celebrity allowed you to buy bottles and pay the consumption fee. The answer is no, Celebrity never had a consumption fee to take your alcohol back to your cabin. The policy is to hold your purchases till the final night. However, as macop said in her post, it is possible to get a willing staff member to put your purchase in your bag at the time you buy it, but it's not done very often. The staff member could lose their job if found out. You cannot purchase bottles at the bar either. What you CAN do on Celebrity is order one of the bon voyage packages prior to cruising that includes a bottle of booze, a 6 pack of soda and some nibbles.

 

Char, you are right to an extent. You can acutually (I have done this on the Mercury) order the gift of liquor and soft drinks on board and it will be delivered within the 1/2 hour. What is not mentioned, is that a bottle of liquor on Celebrity is $50.00. That does include the 6 pack of soda and nibbles. Expensive yes, but not as expensive as "by the drink". I haven't checked to see if Celebrity has pulled its liquor by the bottle. Has anyone checked this out? Maybe corporate thinks that anyone cruising on RCCL is not in the same class as X. Ouch, that hurt!!!

 

I have to assume that as each ship hits drydock for refurbishment, all of the Royal Suites and Owners Suites will no longer have bars. I also know that this equates to less than 1% of the ship.

 

Maybe all of the ships will be converted to the mini bars that are now available in hotel rooms. This spring my DW and I keep our vitiman jiuce in a referigerator on the Zuiderdam in the refer mini bar. After the second day, we checked our bill, and lo and behold, we had been charged for some liquor. We called the pursers desk and had someone come check out the mini bar, remove all drinks from the mini bar, and credit our account.

 

There has to be more to RCCL's logic than liability. They are a foreign bottom ship, so immune to most laws. What's the profit motive in this move?

 

Maybe the lurkers know?????????

 

Rick

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I really don't think tht's the case, altough you argue convincingly. Our last two cruises were on HAL, they are very liberal, I believe the rate was 6 or 7 dollars back to the cabin, and even with many senior passengers the pax and crew were all fine. This is all about revenue, and really ticks us off because we checked this out before booking, and now are set to sail for the first time October2 with RCI. We always have booked a balcony cabin or better, and like to enjoy a few cocktails before late dinner in privacy. This is a bad policy change, and if we hadn't made final payment recently I would consider cancelling. Celebrity let us bring anything onboard with nothing said, they are great food and service wise, maybe we should have stuck with them or HAL

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Not being a big drinker...Not that big of a deal for me.But I can certainly see how it is for some.Even for a non big drinker,who just wants a little cocktail before dinner,without going to a bar..

 

I don't know what the policey is on most other ships.If it is inline with others,then I don't see any need for any big uproar.............

 

However...What totally baffles me is...Why on earth would they sell it onboard,only to be delivered on the last day????Its not like they carry any special vintages or have great prices?Who would want to bring it home??

Most people are partied out by then anyway...As a matter of fact,being a resident of Texas...I can only bring home..either by way of ship or across state line...Like a half a quart...(ok,that may be a little low...But its very little)

 

So...I am a little confused on this one? I mean jeez...Begrudge someone a champagne toast on their balcony!!!??

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Please excuse me while I re-quote myself:

 

THEY think that they are going to make more money by forcing us to buy only from the bars. Instead, everyone is going to be more and more ingenious in devising ways to smuggle. That $9.50 per bottle "in-cabin consumption fee" that they were pocketing IN VAST QUANTITY will be gone, gone, gone. They didn't have to do a THING to get that fee. No overhead, no labor costs, no materials. Just sit back and KA-CHING. Now if people WANT to buy booze to take home, they'll buy in the islands, where it was cheaper anyway. RC, this is a LOSING PROPOSITION.

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Oddly enough, this is one of those situations where no one wins, neither the customer or RCI. Repeat customers and newbies aware of the $9.50 in cabin consumption deal are/will be pissed when they find out about this "policy" change. This group (including me) will do everything possible to avoid contibuting to RCI's booze revenue. This means skyrocketing smuggling and avoidance of ship's store booze in favour of island bought booze. RCI is banking on "new" business who are not aware of any of this. This new business is newbie cruisers and cruisers from other lines who have not had the $9.50 deal. Again, this is a lose/lose deal and it stinks.

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We stopped SMUGGLING two years ago and paid the fee for a bottle of Asolut. It was still cheaper than buying it in NJ and hauling it across the country.. We left the remains, usually about half a bottle, for the room steward.

 

Our travel agent always sends flowers and champagne. Are they going to confiscate that too and hold it till we go home????????????

 

If so, I'll tell my TA now to save his money since I don't want the hassle of carrying it home.............

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If people write letters AND people stop buying bottles of liquor onboard altogether AND bar revenues don't go up a lot, I think that this policy might change again (in favor of the customer). Hopefully all of these "ANDS" will come true.

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Sorry for those of you who don't recognize that this may be an attempt to reduce some of the EXCESSIVE drinking that goes on on some of these trips. Some take drinking on a cruise way too far. If smuggling booze, or getting a deal on booze, or counting how many drinks you get from a bottle vs paying by the drink, is that big of an issue, you may need to seek proffessional help.

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Sorry, sir (Eric) you are wrong. In fact I rarely drink but do have parties in my suite. I do not need professional help. I am the one who calculated the drink cost. You may be a bit naive because if RCCL was really worrying about how much people drink they would close most of their bars and not allow teenage drinking.

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oops....Erie, I am assuming a woman. I looked quick and thought that it said Eric....Same message, though.

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If it is all about revenue, I personally wish they would raise the cruise fare by about $25 to $50 a day and let people buy their alcohol at the ship board shop. Then there wouldn't be so much whining.

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The difference is that they can instruct the bar staff to cut people off if they overindulge and therefore reduce the chances that an inebriated passenger will injure himself. Their liability if they overserve a passenger is clear and should they fail to act appropriately, the financial consequences can be very costly. However, under the old policy they couldn't control the amount of drinking that went on in the privacy of one's stateroom. If a passenger drinks to excess in his stateroom, goes out on deck and injures himself the line would have to prove that they had not over-served that individual. Too few people are willing to assume responsibility for their actions nowadays and are all too ready to sue someone else and claim that they are to blame for whatever misfortune strikes them. I suspect the lawyers told the line to change their liquor policy to avoid such situations. Unfortunately as is the case in so many instances, the many are adversely affected by the actions of a few.

 

I think this is exactly right. When a lawsuit happens in a liability case one of the first things which is examined is if a company did diligence in preventing an accident. If the shop on board (run by the line or contracted by them) is letting people buy multiple bottles of the hard stuff and allowing excessive consumption then a case can be made for fault on the line's part when that customer causes a problem. Very similar to laws these days where bartenders and establishment with liquor licences (even temporary ones) are responsible if someone drinks too much and then casues a traffic accident.

 

I do think that the line will benefit by pax buying drinks at the bars on board and make greater profits by eliminating the abilility to take bottles back to the cabin. But I suspect it is the cost of multi-million $ lawsuits that is the over-ridding concern.

 

As someone said, it is the irresponsibility of a few excessive drinkers (not implying anything about anyone here!!!) that ruined it for us moderate folks. Such is life these days.

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Based on the timing, I still think it stems from the honeymooner. They'll look the other way if you smuggle, but if you happen to get drunk, in a fight and tossed overboard it's not their liability because they didn't sell you the booze. I intend to spend less in the bars than I did and they'll lose the $9.50's when I cruise in Sept. I'll write a paper letter. This is like the gestapo telling me I can't have a cocktail in my room after paying beaucoup bucks for the right to be there. How many people out of the millions that cruise get so drunk from the in room consumpsion that they damage property or cause injury? Those people are going to get their drinks, whatever it takes. As far as bartenders being able to cut people off, apparently it didn't happen in the casino on the infamous honeymoon night. OK now let's blame the press. Baggage handlers may be the answer. Imaging how much heavier luggage is going to get.

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If it is all about revenue, I personally wish they would raise the cruise fare by about $25 to $50 a day and let people buy their alcohol at the ship board shop. Then there wouldn't be so much whining.

 

That would work nicely for those who want to spend thier cruise drinking in their room but would work against non-drinkers and those who want to relax in the ship's lounges. I think the cruise line will always keep the base price as low as possible, for advertising reasons.

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If the new policy cuts down on some of the obnoxious drunks them I'm all for it. Nothing ruins a vacation quicker than someone that doesn't know when to say when.

 

I've enjoyed buying a bottle of some cordial like Irish Creme but, I don't have to have a drink poored from a bottle in my room to enjoy a cruise. The money they'll make from passengers who will now have to purchase drinks at the bar will be offset by the money they'll lose from passengers like me who pretty much only drink from the bottle I take back to my room. I bet it comes out to pretty much of a wash.

 

One other thought. I bet there's a lot you writing E-mails that have complained about kids on the cruise being obnoxious. If those kids were frequently drunk, this policy change can be a reflection of those complaints. It will make it harder for underage kids to get drunk if mom and dad don't have a bottle handy in the cabin that they can get into.

 

As for smuggling booze on board, what makes anyone think they won't get tighter about that? You might want to smuggle a bottle onboard but you might also find that they tighten up and start taking those bottles away from you.

 

Sure you can go to another cruise line. But from what I've been reading, some of them have had similar policies inforce for sometime now.

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