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What are peoples thoughts on Always INcluded?


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I'm on the fence with this, although I do wish it was an option, like with Princess and NCL.

 

My husband only drinks soda, so we get him a soda package. I drink a glass of wine with dinner, MAYBE another drink once or twice during a cruise. We don't care about wifi because we like to be disconnected for a change, but it is a nice perk. Gratuities included is good. I wish I could trade those perks for OBC, like Princess used to do with their sip n sail promo.

 

I don't think I'll ever see a price like we got for our last cruise, Jan 4-9 2020 on the Equinox. Booked it during the Veteran's day sale. We got a balcony cabin PREMIUM beverage package, wifi, and gratuities, for $659 pp plus taxes and port charges. I had never booked a beverage package before, and it was nice. The sommelier would even suggest more expensive wines that were included on the package.

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On 2/13/2021 at 11:56 AM, rodan said:

Sorry to disagree but Oceania is not AI and that is a good thing. Internet is included and sometimes gratuities. Dining in all their specialty restaurants are included but you are only guaranteed one visit each unless an opening is available. Drinks except alcohol are included which is fine by us. All in all they are our favorite line thus pushing Celebrity to number 2 or worse although we are Elite plus. I am not a fan of their AI and will sail with them maybe once a year if I can find a cruise and price that is exceptionally appealing and that will be their loss as we are heavy cruisers and will no longer push Celebrity to friends or acquaintances 

Don't be "sorry."  First cruise with Oceania: Riviera.  We booked a suite and according to the TA came with more than we wanted.  We are not "drinkers" - maybe one drink a day and that would be something like a Pina Colada or Irish Coffee.  

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22 hours ago, paulh84 said:

I'm still surprised that people are offended at a 'money grab' from a company that hasn't had operating income in almost a year, is not sure when they will see income again and has an insane amount of new debt. It's a business....

i believe it's not quite a money grab. All costs are increasing, period. As a business owner who has to maintain heavy equipment, i can tell you from my own experience that maintenance costs have skyrocketed. Parts are up 20-50% in some cases, and that's if you can find them! These ships need to be maintained regardless if they are sailing or not.  Combine that with fuel, food costs, I believe X is attempting to provide the customer "something" in exchange for the increased costs to them, which they can no longer absorb. Absent AI, the prices will not be that much lower given the current state of things.

 

Of course you could always "donate" more money in the ships casino, as the Blue Chip Club is pretty generous with free cruises, minus the perks, for those inclined to do so.This could be an easier way around AI once cruising resumes!

 

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1 minute ago, highway180 said:

i believe it's not quite a money grab. All costs are increasing, period. As a business owner who has to maintain heavy equipment, i can tell you from my own experience that maintenance costs have skyrocketed. Parts are up 20-50% in some cases, and that's if you can find them! These ships need to be maintained regardless if they are sailing or not.  Combine that with fuel, food costs, I believe X is attempting to provide the customer "something" in exchange for the increased costs to them, which they can no longer absorb. Absent AI, the prices will not be that much lower given the current state of things.

 

Of course you could always "donate" more money in the ships casino, as the Blue Chip Club is pretty generous with free cruises, minus the perks, for those inclined to do so.This could be an easier way around AI once cruising resumes!

 

You are absolutely correct re costs.  My DH owned a business for many years also. Cruising is still affordable for many of us and not much more than some 5 star resorts.  Prior to cruising I only went to resorts but after my first cruise 17 years ago I was so hooked now do 3 to 4 a year.

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17 minutes ago, highway180 said:

i believe it's not quite a money grab. All costs are increasing, period. As a business owner who has to maintain heavy equipment, i can tell you from my own experience that maintenance costs have skyrocketed. Parts are up 20-50% in some cases, and that's if you can find them! These ships need to be maintained regardless if they are sailing or not.  Combine that with fuel, food costs, I believe X is attempting to provide the customer "something" in exchange for the increased costs to them, which they can no longer absorb. Absent AI, the prices will not be that much lower given the current state of things.

 

Of course you could always "donate" more money in the ships casino, as the Blue Chip Club is pretty generous with free cruises, minus the perks, for those inclined to do so.This could be an easier way around AI once cruising resumes!

 

h180 - thank you for this input. Many who do not own businesses do not fully appreciate there are 'behind the scenes' costs that makes a business operate and must be recouped at some point in time either up-front or down the road or not at all through price structure charged the public.

 

I, too, own a business and have to increase pricing to customers when our pricing goes up to a point where to absorb these increases does not make sense no matter how much we do not like to.

 

Often times when one is an employee vs employer, each has a different view of what is going on.

 

bon voyage

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1 hour ago, Bo1953 said:

Often times when one is an employee vs employer, each has a different view of what is going on.

Correct--- LOL--- Maybe " Most " times rather than " Often " times ???

While this is not a site on " How to operate a business " , your statement reminds me of the philosophy we always used ----

Treat our employees the way they " deserved " to be treated, and , the Company's  best " Insurance Policy " was ---- Pay the bills on time. That way we always had excellent employees and received great service from companies we dealt with. 

 

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On 2/14/2021 at 9:59 AM, paulh84 said:

I'm still surprised that people are offended at a 'money grab' from a company that hasn't had operating income in almost a year, is not sure when they will see income again and has an insane amount of new debt. It's a business....

Every cruise line is in the same place (although RCG's debt, which they brought on themselves even before the cessation of sailing, is heavier).  But everyone is not approaching it the same way, and thus the "money grab" line.

 I am forced to take AI whether I want it or not.  I do not have to on Princess, HAL or NCL.  Which is why we have booked 7 sailings on those lines since AI was introduced.  I would hazard a guess that 5 or 6 of those bookings would have been on =X= if we would still have had the option.

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3 minutes ago, ECCruise said:

Every cruise line is in the same place (although RCG's debt, which they brought on themselves even before the cessation of sailing, is heavier).  But everyone is not approaching it the same way, and thus the "money grab" line.

 I am forced to take AI whether I want it or not.  I do not have to on Princess, HAL or NCL.  Which is why we have booked 7 sailings on those lines since AI was introduced.  I would hazard a guess that 5 or 6 of those bookings would have been on =X= if we would still have had the option.

The only reality of being "forced to" accept booking with AI, is if you choose to book in advance and/or directly and/or through a third party which only offers AI fares.

 

It has already been pointed out that several posters have been able to book without AI via third parties, one can also book within 90 days of sailing to avoid buying AI, as well....

 

To indicate that one does not have the option, is not accurate at all.

 

bon voyage

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8 minutes ago, Bo1953 said:

The only reality of being "forced to" accept booking with AI, is if you choose to book in advance and/or directly and/or through a third party which only offers AI fares.

 

It has already been pointed out that several posters have been able to book without AI via third parties, one can also book within 90 days of sailing to avoid buying AI, as well....

 

To indicate that one does not have the option, is not accurate at all.

 

bon voyage

Important note:  I am speaking of our personal situation. That is why I clearly started with "I am" not "you are."

 

The 90 day caveat is ONLY on selected (i.e. generally not selling well) sailings.  And we simply never book the kinds of cruises that allow a 90 day window.  International airfare likely would be too prohibitive or not available in that time frame.  Let alone hotel/VRBO/car rentals/land tours at that late date. 

 

We always book group prices (have done over 50 bookings with group fares).  After the AI introduction, they are not available on every sailing.  Anecdotal evidence that "several posters" have found such bookings does not make it universal and definitely not always in our case.

 

But, in the final analysis, all is good.  No hard feelings with =X= after 30+ great sailings with them.

 

We have lots of bookings in the hopper (if any actually go 😉) and have saved a ton of dough by going elsewhere.

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1 hour ago, ECCruise said:

 

We have lots of bookings in the hopper (if any actually go 😉) and have saved a ton of dough by going elsewhere.

It's all about choices, no judgement here either way.

I just think back to my first few cruises on Carnival & NCL, at the end of the cruise, trying to tally up all the slips i signed for....mostly bar tabs, complaining why this isn't all included??????

LOL

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I understand the industry is unfairly bleeding money. The airlines can pack the planes, but the cruise ship have to jump through a million hoops. 

 

X has cut out so many perks over the years and their profits showed it by soaring. We love to cruise and had to lift and shift 2 our ours until next year. With the new pricing, both would cost twice as much as what we are paying. Would would not be going on either of them at the new prices. 

 

We will see what happens next. We won't be sailing at the current prices.

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15 hours ago, Keys Kathy said:

 

 

X has cut out so many perks over the years and their profits showed it by soaring.

I may be a little naive here, but what many perks are you referring to?

But the again, most here have many more sailings than myself, as I am still a lowly elite member.

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35 minutes ago, highway180 said:

I may be a little naive here, but what many perks are you referring to?

But the again, most here have many more sailings than myself, as I am still a lowly elite member.

Ahh, the good old days. I am also an Elite member, when we first started sailing there was so much more going on.  You did not have to be Elite to enjoy them.

 

There were high quality speakers. A couple of my favorites were the NASA speaker who talked about all the things that NASA's research brought into our lives, such as velcro. There was also a speaker who talked about the gold standard and how people became "worth their weight in gold".  Celebrity enriched your mind. 

 

They have done away with the crafts, I learned counted cross stitch, how to make a lanyard and more. 

 

They no longer bring on the Mariachi Band and dancers in Cozumel, no more A Capella groups.

 

Concierge class. No more q-tip / cotton ball container, now you have to fight with packaging in a box, no more lip balm or face spray in Aqua class. We get cheap, flimsy bags in all the rooms. They used to be so much nicer.

 

They put out a fabulous cookbook,  but they no longer serve much in it such as the JVC meatballs.

 

Ahh, the good ol' days. We used to be able to get a balcony cabin for $100 per night PP. 

 

I hope this answered you question!

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2 hours ago, highway180 said:

I may be a little naive here, but what many perks are you referring to?

But the again, most here have many more sailings than myself, as I am still a lowly elite member.

Welcome to the club...

Not to worry, yet!

 

bon voyage

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1 minute ago, Orator said:

 How long do you think once X starts cruising do you think AI as a strategy will be abandoned?

IMHO their average cruise price per day might fluctuate driven by supply and demand issues once the pandemic is fully in the rearview mirror, but I think for most part AI is here to stay. Adding gratuities and unlimited internet as well as the classic beverage package (including gratuities), which includes water, soda and juices, just made good business sense.

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25 minutes ago, Orator said:

 How long do you think once X starts cruising do you think AI as a strategy will be abandoned?

Hopefully no longer than the witless Kobe beef burger idea.  

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I hypothesized that AI was tied to the sale of Azamara, with the idea that the corporation wanted a three-tier system for their brands: Royal as the mass-market brand, Silversea as the luxury brand, and Celebrity as the mid-tier (semi-luxury? "better than average" doesn't quite cut it, I think). Without Azamara, the Celebrity brand needs to move a bit up-scale to make a well-defined distinction among the three and fill what could be perceived as a gap. Hence, some of the formerly added-cost items are incorporated into the bookings to give that impression.

 

Always difficult to reposition an established brand in the minds of the consumer, although it has been done successfully on occasion. To me, that means that AI will stick around long enough to see if the brand distinctions sort themselves out.

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36 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

IMHO their average cruise price per day might fluctuate driven by supply and demand issues once the pandemic is fully in the rearview mirror, but I think for most part AI is here to stay. Adding gratuities and unlimited internet as well as the classic beverage package (including gratuities), which includes water, soda and juices, just made good business sense.

I tend to agree. the biggest hurdle for stability financially for X and us as a consumer, will the the usage of hundreds of millions of dollars in FCC's. Until those are used up, I fear pricing will remain on the high side. from their view point, AI is an easy "gimme". they know that people who don't drink...Won't, We all pay gratuities or should. Providing internet really has very little cost to X. They are banking on the fact that the drinking crowd, will upgrade to Premium bev pkg, and at $30/day, this is were they recoup a large portion of the AI costs. Example: 15 night TA, upgrade for 2, $900.

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26 minutes ago, highway180 said:

I tend to agree. the biggest hurdle for stability financially for X and us as a consumer, will the the usage of hundreds of millions of dollars in FCC's. Until those are used up, I fear pricing will remain on the high side. from their view point, AI is an easy "gimme". they know that people who don't drink...Won't, We all pay gratuities or should. Providing internet really has very little cost to X. They are banking on the fact that the drinking crowd, will upgrade to Premium bev pkg, and at $30/day, this is were they recoup a large portion of the AI costs. Example: 15 night TA, upgrade for 2, $900.

The cost to upgrade just the beverage  package isn’t $30 pp pp day.  Within 90 days of sailing you can upgrade for the  old $10 difference and Elite  and above now get 10% discount on the  upgrade. 15 night cruise would be $135pp and  if they still add the 20% gratuity then $162 per person.  So either $270 or $324 if the additional grats are charged.
 

To get your $900 cost you would have to chose or add Elevate at $30 pp per day which gets the  PBP and $200 pp OBC .  So that package for a $15 night cruise costs more than what you get.

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11 minutes ago, jelayne said:


 

To get your $900 cost you would have to chose or add Elevate at $30 pp per day which gets the  PBP and $200 pp OBC .  So that package for a $15 night cruise costs more than what you get.

You are correct, as i mistakenly left out the word Elevate in the description. For arguments sake, not all things are what they seem, as the old pricing has changed....many different drink packages. There is no way to upgrade online when booking a cruise with AI to just premium, you are forced to go with Elevate or Indulge. The 10% Elite discount does not appear to be applicable at least on my last booking.

 

Gratuities of 20% are always included.

 

i do agree that in the past we were offered great deals onboard to upgrade, time will tell.

 

If you do manage to book a cruise without AI, which I have done, the Premium beverage package is still going at the $69/ day + grats/ person, which for a 7 night Holiday cruise will run me and my wife $1159.20 , total, all in pricing.

Needless to say, I'm fine with AI

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2 hours ago, Orator said:

 How long do you think once X starts cruising do you think AI as a strategy will be abandoned?

As soon as they realize that the elusive customer they are chasing is also being chased by every travel venue on the planet.

And that potential customer is the most fickle target audience in decades.  And in the pretty extensive research the one approach that frequently raises it's head?  

Developing loyalty.

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Yes when booking you can’t upgrade just the beverage package.  However within 90 days of sailing you can upgrade the included Classic to Premium at the figures in my example   We recently booked 2 cruises for late 2022 and didn’t elect Elevate, we will call before the and upgrade the beverage to Premium just as we did previously.

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