Why Luxury Cruises Offer More Value Than Bargain Cruises
Most of us already know that cheapest does not equate to the best value.
Last year I decided to take a cruise to the Baltics because it sounded like such a great deal even though I had been on many cruises of all types before and should have known better. The timing and ports worked with my schedule, so, in spite of my hesitation, I reserved a balcony spa stateroom on the cruise. My daughter and I chose the beverage package and specialty dining package that many such cruises offer. Most of the time on the “value” cruises you can get a few perks to entice you to take the plunge.
The first thing that we were charged for with the beverage package was the gratuities for the beverage service. It can vary but it’s around 20% of the average drink bill per day. That can add up and in our case cost around $265 per person for the “free” beverage package. If you seriously want to drink alcoholic beverages all the time, by all means select a beverage package to get your monies worth. But be aware that you will get upcharges for any premium wine, spirits and it does not cover water, soft drinks, juices, lattes or cappuccinos. So it can still add up to a huge surprise on your bill at the end of the cruise. Add to that the restaurant upcharges and gratuities and the value of these deals starts to deteriorate. Especially since all of this and more are included on upscale luxury cruises. Plus on “value” cruises you are still on a ship that has small dingey cabins, thousands of people and barely palatable food. Don’t even get me started on things like the the lack of cleanliness and poor service on the “value” lines.
It’s like staying at a Holiday Inn and eating at Denny’s everyday for a week of more. Some people do not mind that level of quality but why not cruise in a luxury outside cabin, get free business-class airfare, chef-prepared gourmet food, premium wine and spirits, expert led small group shore excursions, transfers, free Wi-Fi and so much more on a luxury cruise for less than you would pay on a “value” cruise? Here is a comparison chart of the cost of a “premium” cruise and a luxury cruise.
All of the extras really begin to add up and you get to spend 7 days with 5000+ people, eating mediocre food, on cattle-call excursions to the most touristy places, and being nickel and dimed to death for every conceivable amenity including water. Here are the complimentary benefits I am getting for my clients on luxury cruises that really add up to an amazing experience and the best value:
- Round trip air with business-class service on most cruises
- All beverages including wine and spirits
- Expert-led small group shore excursions
- Dining every night at gourmet restaurants
- Transfers from the airport to the ship and back
- Gratuities for the entire cruise
- Outside luxury staterooms
- Extra on-board credits
- Substantial discounts As you can clearly see, the “value” of “value” cruises cannot stack up to the superior experience or the cost of a luxury cruise.