If you asked me this question 5 years ago, I answered with confidence: all mass market cruise lines include basic meals, accommodation, entertainment, kids programs, and taxes. Premium and luxury brands have a lot of extras and it depends on the cruise brand.
No more simple answers for this question in 2015. Right now, I will answer with, “everything depends on the brand and current promotions they run.”
Mass market or ‘contemporary’ cruise lines are slowly moving into a premium and luxury brands executing: all-inclusiveness.
This means more confusions for consumers while shopping for the cruise. Price is a not a primarily factor to take into consideration as a main focus point. ‘Value for your money’ is the new motto. This is similar as shopping for the air ticket: don’t look at the price, take a calculator and summarize all add-ons for luggage, seat selection, even snacks and water during flight.
The cruise industry is moving into the same direction. Some cruise lines are a little bit ahead of others, others testing waters and see what works the best.
I am planning my personal cruise with MSC Divina in a suite in Yacht Club. MSC itself in most situations is the lowest of the lowest product from a price point of view. What they include into reasonable price for my suite:
Luxury secluded private club with swimming pool, whirlpool baths, sun deck and bar for Yacht Club guests
- 24-hour butler service
- Dedicated restaurant for suite guests only
- Complimentary mini bar
- All drinks and beverages
I plan to write a post on that when I return.
Royal Caribbean International is moving into the same direction. As you know, they announced a new program for suite guests on Oasis and Quantum class ships that starts in May 2016. I am in the process of wring a book about suites on Royal Caribbean International where I describe all amenities for each particular suite. I expect this book will be available on Amazon in December 2015.
Celebrity Cruises, sister brand for Royal Caribbean International that belongs to the premium market runs Go Big, Go Better, Go Best program. You have to pick up from one to 4 perks that are included into price:
- Classic beverage package for two
- Prepaid Gratuities for two
- Unlimited Internet for two
- $150 per person to spend onboard for 1st and 2nd guest
Azamara, which is the top brand in Royal Caribbean holdings, is actually closer to all-inclusiveness in its price. It costs more compared to Royal Caribbean itself but fares include:
- Nonalcoholic and some alcoholic beverages
- One exclusive evening excursion per sailing
- Fitness classes
- Wine tasting
- Transfers to and from ship in all ports of call
- Onboard concierge
Bundling service into cruise fare creates a profitable business model for cruise lines by moving bookings into in-house or to travel partners away from the Internet booking engines. Cruise consultants become an essential part of the travel industry as value interpreters.
Yes, you can book your cruise on XXXX.com but are you sure of what are you doing? Do you know ALL of the options for your budget range? Grab a calculator and look at the true value.
Or, call Aurora Cruises and Travel at 772 777-1337.