Wade the Gringo

Friday, September 17, 2010




Are We Justified In Expecting Every Cruise To Be a Luxury Vacation?
The vast majority of people who go on cruises fill out their guest comment cards at the end of their cruise sending the cruise lines a message that they believe they received good or excellent value from their cruise vacation.
So, why is it then that we also see such a large number of posts and Blogs on the Internet complaining, and saying the opposite? Has the cruise community, including past passengers, as well as writers whose job it is to cover the industry, lost touch with the reality of what one can reasonably expect from their cruises?

The industry has certainly changed. Some say it has evolved; others say it has regressed. But, more and more it seems the case that cruisers are expecting every cruise, at every price point, should supply a luxury vacation.

On land there’s few who would expect a breakfast at an International House Pancakes to be the equal of the hottest new “breakfast boutique” in town, that charges twice the price. No one would expect a KIA to offer an equal ride and driving experience of a Mercedes, or even a Ford. No one would expect to buy clothing at Sears, to be as finely tailored, or have the long term wear ability of clothing purchased at Hugo Boss. It’s not that most of us don’t happily buy the lower costs and services. But we seem to do so with a better understanding of the resultant differences that come with the lower costs than we do when we purchase a cruise.

Far too many people think they can interchange the words cruise vacation and luxury vacation. We really do need to have a better understanding of justifiable expectations between a $49/day cruise; a $150/day cruise; a $250/day cruise, or a $500 – $1000/day cruise.

No doubt advertising and the image of cruising leads people to expect more than the resulting reality. But that is the case with many land based products as well. Yet it seems people are more willing to go through the thought process of sorting through those misconceptions to a better grasp of the reality than they are when addressing the topic of cruises.

For example, I frankly don’t “get it” when I see people complain comparing food on a cruise ship to food at, say Denny’s, when all too often they’ve paid the equivalent of Denny’s-like prices. Simply put; there’s nothing wrong with Denny’s food, particularly if that’s what you’re paying for.

For most people it’s probably easy to understand the differences one might expect between a $100/day cruise and a $500/day “luxury” cruise. But, to avoid disappointment we truly need to do a better job of understanding the “expectation differences” between the less drastic price level variances, as they can be (and fairly should be) quite significant.

On most cruises, even the inexpensive ones, one can expect to be treated “royally”, but depending on how much you pay, it’s difficult to expect that in all circumstances you’ll live like royalty (with accommodations and surroundings), or dine like royalty.

When spending $500, $600, or even $1000 for a cruise I’m telling you honestly you cannot expect a “luxury cruise experience”. Though I have no hesitancy at all in saying you can expect a fun time, and full value for your money from your cruise experience.

With a cruise (as with many things) expect to get what you paid for, and more often than not you’ll disembark as a happy cruiser

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