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Why does anyone cruise - I don’t understand


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This is probably a really poor time to take one's first cruise.  Covid restrictions make cruising undesirable for even some of the most avid cruisers.  Couple that with a cruise line choice that probably wouldn't meet your expectations even in normal times and your disappointment is not a surprise (I love MSC Yacht Club, but would never book MSC otherwise). 

 

It may be that cruising is just not for you, but I'd suggest you wait a couple of years and give it another try on a more upscale cruise line.  That said, there's nothing wrong with resort vacations - I have one scheduled for December as the current state of cruising doesn't appeal to us.

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38 minutes ago, matamanoa said:

...We have mainly sailed on Princess, with a few cruises on Holland America and Royal Caribbean over the 25 years that we have chosen this way to travel.  They are not top of the line luxury cruises (which we cannot afford).....

We used to think that the Premium lines (i.e., Oceania and Azamara) were out of our financial reach until we actually did “bottom line” price comparisons to lines like Princess, HAL, Celebrity and Viking.

For example, while an O balcony cabin fare for any intercontinental itinerary may initially seem expensive for some folks, doing the real comparative math may surprise you. That O fare includes internet, beverages, all specialty restaurants and perk choice of booze or tours or SBC. And, perhaps most importantly, airfare is also included. Add to that the far better quality of food/service, smaller ships, etc. and the true value of premium cruise lines will quickly become apparent. 

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After many years of enjoying both land travel and cruises, I find myself convinced that the two aren't really comparable. Just looking at the dollar costs is difficult because people tend to do things on land tours that they don't do on cruises and vice versa. Perhaps All-Inclusive resorts are more similar; I couldn't really say as I've never had the desire to stay at one. And that last statement, I think, gets at the difference.

 

In other words:  some people just really enjoy "being on the ocean". It's hard to explain what that actually means, but some people enjoy it and others just don't.

 

On the other hand, maybe my response is colored by the fact that I don't really like to take vacations to just relax, or chill or party. My land vacations are usually like "city breaks" rather than "beach vacations". I travel to expand my horizons, learn things, use my brain, etc. I expect that's one reason why AIs don't appeal to me and neither do cruises with a lot of sea days. Yet I still enjoy cruising as a form of travel. 

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42 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

We used to think that the Premium lines (i.e., Oceania and Azamara) were out of our financial reach until we actually did “bottom line” price comparisons to lines like Princess, HAL, Celebrity and Viking.

For example, while an O balcony cabin fare for any intercontinental itinerary may initially seem expensive for some folks, doing the real comparative math may surprise you. That O fare includes internet, beverages, all specialty restaurants and perk choice of booze or tours or SBC. And, perhaps most importantly, airfare is also included. Add to that the far better quality of food/service, smaller ships, etc. and the true value of premium cruise lines will quickly become apparent. 

Thank you for the "O" ads

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@dedalus as others have suggested, it is unfortunate that your first experience cruising came about in a crazy time.  Rather than rushing to final judgement, I would simply wait COVID out until booking another cruise.  My first cruise is scheduled for next April and I am starting to get nervous about it with the eventuality of yet another COVID wave imminent.   

 

Regardless, look for high prices in all travel destinations as inflation comes back with a vengeance as governments look to inflate away their COVID spending debts. 

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Is this our first taste of CC arguments of the future? "My first cruise was post-COVID. Here is why cruising is terrible." There is no such thing as the perfect option for everyone in any scenario. Cruising is popular for many reasons. It is accessible, it is affordable, it is full of activities. 

 

Many people will be quick to tell you why their vacation option is superior and why. To many people, unlimited food and drink is the vacation. I tell you this, we have taken quite a few cruises that cost us no more than $1500 total for the pair of us (some far less). The room, entertainment, included food, relaxation, transportation to ports, etc is a damn deal and fun experience.

 

We have an upcoming Aruba trip that we are very excited for. I'm not here to draw my line in the sand that I will only do "X" type of trips. Aruba certainly has its pros vs cruising. However, $1500 doesn't even cover the room for the week. Let alone food and entertainment.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Right now, ten days in a top hotel (e.g., Grand Hyatt) on the island of Kauai will set you back at least $700-900/night (for 2 people). 

 

I've never paid anything over AU$450 per night on accommodation including an over water bungalow in French Polynesia😂. Land accommodation has far more options and what a suite might cost on a ship I normally find would be half that on land. Personally I think you can't really compare land and cruise vacations because you are usually after very different experiences that also adds an intangible value beyond cost. I look back at my French Polynesia trip and when I crunched the numbers the cruise side does come out cheaper by a bit, but what I was able to experience island hopping, things I could not have done if I had used a cruise added value to justify the cost. I loved both parts of my trip but to say which was better value, I could not possibly calculate that. Numbers don't always tell the whole story😉.

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On 7/19/2021 at 1:34 PM, dedalus said:

I’m currently on my first cruise (on MSC from Trieste) and I’m not sure why anyone would ever choose it. It took 3-4 hours to board much of that in the sun. Then you’re not allowed to leave the ship except with their own excursion, you can’t even buy water and definitely no souvenirs from a shop. To me at least one  charm of travel is to be able to wander and discover places. Last, they don’t seem at all concerned with fire safety as there are a couple of designated smoking areas but these are ignored by both staff and cruiser. I hope it doesn’t cause a disaster some day. So anyway, can someone tell me why they would choose this over flying to a resort, exploring the island and maybe taking a ferry or charter to another? It would certainly be cheaper, better value and less trouble.

I cannot understand why someone who has never cruised previously would choose the middle of a pandemic to take their first cruise. Obviously things are not going to be ‘normal’  !!!!!!!!!!

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18 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

We used to think that the Premium lines (i.e., Oceania and Azamara) were out of our financial reach until we actually did “bottom line” price comparisons to lines like Princess, HAL, Celebrity and Viking.

For example, while an O balcony cabin fare for any intercontinental itinerary may initially seem expensive for some folks, doing the real comparative math may surprise you. That O fare includes internet, beverages, all specialty restaurants and perk choice of booze or tours or SBC. And, perhaps most importantly, airfare is also included. Add to that the far better quality of food/service, smaller ships, etc. and the true value of premium cruise lines will quickly become apparent. 

Interesting.  I guess we should do the math.  Thanks for your observations.

 

Barb

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18 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

We used to think that the Premium lines (i.e., Oceania and Azamara) were out of our financial reach until we actually did “bottom line” price comparisons to lines like Princess, HAL, Celebrity and Viking.

For example, while an O balcony cabin fare for any intercontinental itinerary may initially seem expensive for some folks, doing the real comparative math may surprise you. That O fare includes internet, beverages, all specialty restaurants and perk choice of booze or tours or SBC. And, perhaps most importantly, airfare is also included. Add to that the far better quality of food/service, smaller ships, etc. and the true value of premium cruise lines will quickly become apparent. 

 

I don't know how much O pays you to sell for them, but I really disagree with your "bottom line" price comparison idea. For example, looking at the two cheapest fares I can find.

 

I can sail Oceania 10 days from Miami on Jan 4 and the cheapest "O" life fare is $5,598 for 2, not including port fees or taxes. As far as I can tell the O life fare gets me airfare, wifi, and EITHER 6 shore excursion, or $600 OBC, or the beverage package. It doesn't sound as if gratuities are included on Oceania so that's an additional expense. 

 

I can sail Celebrity 10 days from Ft. Lauderdale on Jan 2 and the cheapest "always included" fare is  $2,878 for 2, not including port fees or taxes.  This fare includes gratuities, and wifi, and the beverage package. So, all of an more what I would get with "O" life except the airfare. I can fly to Ft Lauderdale with my preferred airline for $329 pp. 

 

This makes Oceania $2,000 more for the same cruise as Celebrity. Celebrity is a very nice cruise line and I could do alot with an extra $2,000 on the cruise. 

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40 minutes ago, sanger727 said:

 

I don't know how much O pays you to sell for them, but I really disagree with your "bottom line" price comparison idea. For example, looking at the two cheapest fares I can find.

 

I can sail Oceania 10 days from Miami on Jan 4 and the cheapest "O" life fare is $5,598 for 2, not including port fees or taxes. As far as I can tell the O life fare gets me airfare, wifi, and EITHER 6 shore excursion, or $600 OBC, or the beverage package. It doesn't sound as if gratuities are included on Oceania so that's an additional expense. 

 

I can sail Celebrity 10 days from Ft. Lauderdale on Jan 2 and the cheapest "always included" fare is  $2,878 for 2, not including port fees or taxes.  This fare includes gratuities, and wifi, and the beverage package. So, all of an more what I would get with "O" life except the airfare. I can fly to Ft Lauderdale with my preferred airline for $329 pp. 

 

This makes Oceania $2,000 more for the same cruise as Celebrity. Celebrity is a very nice cruise line and I could do alot with an extra $2,000 on the cruise. 

Firstly, not an O employee. If I worked for any cruise line, I couldn’t afford to cruise.👀

 

Secondly, you may want to reread my post.
Where O’s best values comes is with intercontinental itineraries where the included economy airfare can be worth $2,000-3000+ per cabin. And, BTW, O’s published pricing is always inclusive of port taxes and fees.

 

As for the perks, O includes “beverages,” unlimited internet and all specialty restaurants (no limit - space available beyond initial allocation) even for the “cruise only” price. Booze is extra but “basic” is available as an O Life perk. And should you pick the tours option instead, the selections include tours up to twice the cost of the perk (at no additional charge).

 

After several cruises (even short ones) O includes gratuities. But, not to worry. Most of O’s preferred TAs cover gratuities for newer O passengers AND they share commissions at 5-10% of the cruise fare paid.

 

And then there’s the quality quotient. Are you aware that, except for 2-3 of the lux lines, Oceania spends more per passenger on food quality than any other cruise line? Mags like Saveur, Bon Appetite et al. agree that O food is the best at sea. Crew and space ratios for O passengers are among the best in the industry.

 

Blah Blah Blah. 

 

And, in any case, as thousands of former Celebrity passengers (who jumped ship for O and never looked back) will tell you, O is worth any perceived extra cost.
 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Celebrity doesn’t have a decent product or that folks won’t enjoy themselves there. But, to suggest that you’re getting the same quality on Celebrity as you would on ANY premium or luxury cruise line is ludicrous.

 

https://www.oceaniacruises.com/value

 

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17 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

But, to suggest that you’re getting the same quality on Celebrity as you would on ANY premium or luxury cruise line is ludicrous.

 

But you are the one promulgating the idea that one can sail on Oceania for the same "bottom line" cost as the likes of Princess, HAL and Celebrity.

 

You say this repeatedly as if it were universally true. However, a truer statement would be that, for the way YOU like to cruise and the value YOU put on having certain items included, Oceania's "bottom line" cost is, if not equivalent, at least a reasonable stretch for the value.

 

Perhaps you'd get less blowback if you'd state it that way. I've gotten tired of correcting you that, for solos, there is almost no way to justify Oceania's prices for what one gets. I've worked the numbers six ways to Monday and can never get there. Not with international cruises, not with top Oceania agents, not with or without O-Life.

 

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16 hours ago, Joebucks said:

Is this our first taste of CC arguments of the future? "My first cruise was post-COVID. Here is why cruising is terrible." There is no such thing as the perfect option for everyone in any scenario. Cruising is popular for many reasons. It is accessible, it is affordable, it is full of activities. 

 

Many people will be quick to tell you why their vacation option is superior and why. To many people, unlimited food and drink is the vacation. I tell you this, we have taken quite a few cruises that cost us no more than $1500 total for the pair of us (some far less). The room, entertainment, included food, relaxation, transportation to ports, etc is a damn deal and fun experience.

 

We have an upcoming Aruba trip that we are very excited for. I'm not here to draw my line in the sand that I will only do "X" type of trips. Aruba certainly has its pros vs cruising. However, $1500 doesn't even cover the room for the week. Let alone food and entertainment.

Aruba is akin to a Premium/Luxury cruise line. Those $1,500 cruises were likely not on a @Flatbush Flyer type of cruise line.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

But you are the one promulgating the idea that one can sail on Oceania for the same "bottom line" cost as the likes of Princess, HAL and Celebrity.

 

You say this repeatedly as if it were universally true. However, a truer statement would be that, for the way YOU like to cruise and the value YOU put on having certain items included, Oceania's "bottom line" cost is, if not equivalent, at least a reasonable stretch for the value.

 

Perhaps you'd get less blowback if you'd state it that way. I've gotten tired of correcting you that, for solos, there is almost no way to justify Oceania's prices for what one gets. I've worked the numbers six ways to Monday and can never get there. Not with international cruises, not with top Oceania agents, not with or without O-Life.

 

Of course, it’s “case by case,” which is why I always qualify that the price comparison is always best with intercontinental itineraries. 
Solo cruiser? Check out O’s newest ship, Vista. It will have some single cabins.

 

BTW- as to detailed $ comparisons, there have been occasional threads/posts on CC over the years comparing exact bottom lines for similar itineraries/dates between premium lines (Azamara and Oceania) with a variety of mass market lines showing a lower $ cost. Folks who need to find this detail can use the search feature.

 

In any case, the fact remains that many neophyte cruisers only compare cabin costs between lines and seldom do the real math. And even beyond that, they don’t take into consideration the quality of the product.
 

After all, the same situation applies to the entire tourism/hospitality industry: “You get what you pay for.”

Edited by Flatbush Flyer
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Posted (edited)

We do the 'real' math.   We have yet to find an Oceania cruise that is the same price as a mass market.   Probably for the last 15 or so cruises.  Europe, SA, etc.  And that included the so called 'free' air.  Really, there is no such thing as a free lunch.  We shop inside the final payment window and outside.  Oceana, Azamara, and others are on our list.

 

That does not mean we will not consider Oceania or any other premium product.  We typically buy on value, at least our perception of value.  We price down to the net net level and we compare pricing to other cruise opportunities and to land based travel opportunities.  We look at the usual suspects...HAL, Celebrity, Princess, etc and the other more upscale brands.

 

No doubt there is some great pricing from time to time on premium and luxury lines.   Especially these days when the mass market lines appear to be lining up to take advantage of those who brand loyal and  desperate to sail.  Lots of FCC's and discounted gift cards for the cruise lines to burn through.   

 

No doubt it comes down to timing, itinerary, and the supply/demand curve on a specific ship.

 

Shopping and comparing is the reason why we have never been, and will not be, loyal to any one cruise vendor.  The loyalty rewards don't come close to justifying  limiting ourselves to one cruise line.

Edited by iancal
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4 hours ago, Reina del Mar said:

I cannot understand why someone who has never cruised previously would choose the middle of a pandemic to take their first cruise. Obviously things are not going to be ‘normal’  !!!!!!!!!!

That's not obvious to a lot of folks.  

 

My sister and I were chatting today on all the negative reviews that she is seeing on people attending resorts and expecting things to be "normal" and complaining when it is not.  Things like their room beds not made, difficulty getting clean towels, having to make an appointment to use the pool, reservations for all meals...apparently there are long lists of covid restrictions that vacationers are complaining about.

 

I fully expect that the next coming months cruise critic will be littered with poor reviews from cruisers whose pandemic cruise experience (as let's face it, we are still in a pandemic) turned out to not meet their expectations.

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Posted (edited)

There appear to be some people who are living in their own little bubble. They appear to believe that covid no long exists, is not a health danger, or is on the way out.  

 

Not certain why this is.  The data certainly does not support this notion so I assume that desire wins out over facts for these people.

Edited by iancal
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4 hours ago, Reina del Mar said:

I cannot understand why someone who has never cruised previously would choose the middle of a pandemic to take their first cruise. Obviously things are not going to be ‘normal’  !!!!!!!!!!

 

13 minutes ago, cbr663 said:

That's not obvious to a lot of folks.  

 

My sister and I were chatting today on all the negative reviews that she is seeing on people attending resorts and expecting things to be "normal" and complaining when it is not. 

 

I fully expect that the next coming months cruise critic will be littered with poor reviews from cruisers whose pandemic cruise experience (as let's face it, we are still in a pandemic) turned out to not meet their expectations.

I think that if I were doing something for the first time, I might do a bit of research. There has been much hype in the media that things will not be ‘normal’  regarding hotels and all manor of holidays.

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1 hour ago, cbr663 said:

That's not obvious to a lot of folks.  

 

My sister and I were chatting today on all the negative reviews that she is seeing on people attending resorts and expecting things to be "normal" and complaining when it is not.  Things like their room beds not made, difficulty getting clean towels, having to make an appointment to use the pool, reservations for all meals...apparently there are long lists of covid restrictions that vacationers are complaining about.

 

I fully expect that the next coming months cruise critic will be littered with poor reviews from cruisers whose pandemic cruise experience (as let's face it, we are still in a pandemic) turned out to not meet their expectations.

Odd, we were in a hotel last week checking in Monday and out on Friday. It said the beds would be made every third day and after guests checked out. Also as hotel usually say, it recommended that you reuse towels and if you want them changed put them on the floor. This was not unexpected, but what was unexpected was that they did make the beds and change the linens and take the towels that we left hanging.

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37 minutes ago, ontheweb said:

Odd, we were in a hotel last week checking in Monday and out on Friday. It said the beds would be made every third day and after guests checked out. Also as hotel usually say, it recommended that you reuse towels and if you want them changed put them on the floor. This was not unexpected, but what was unexpected was that they did make the beds and change the linens and take the towels that we left hanging.

We just got back from South Dakota.  We stayed at two hotels, one in Deadwood and one in Keystone.  The hotel in Deadwood was housekeeping on demand.  We could get new towels anytime and didn't really miss them not making up the room since we straighten the bed and wipe down the sink anyway. The hotel in Keystone was housekeeping as always with the room made up and fresh towels.  The rest of vacation was without restrictions on any of the activities we did even in the national parks. The only noticeable thing was the lack of help in most restaurants.  We did fly to Rapid City because we had a voucher we needed to use.  That will be the last time we fly for a very long time.  

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4 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Of course, it’s “case by case,” which is why I always qualify that the price comparison is always best with intercontinental itineraries. 
Solo cruiser? Check out O’s newest ship, Vista. It will have some single cabins.

 

BTW- as to detailed $ comparisons, there have been occasional threads/posts on CC over the years comparing exact bottom lines for similar itineraries/dates between premium lines (Azamara and Oceania) with a variety of mass market lines showing a lower $ cost. Folks who need to find this detail can use the search feature.

 

In any case, the fact remains that many neophyte cruisers only compare cabin costs between lines and seldom do the real math. And even beyond that, they don’t take into consideration the quality of the product.
 

After all, the same situation applies to the entire tourism/hospitality industry: “You get what you pay for.”


not sure what you mean by not doing ‘the real math’. That’s exactly what I just did for the Oceania vs celebrity cost. Quality of the product is in the eye of the beholder. I’m willing to bet there are people on the Oceania forums right now complaining that quality is going down and the product is over priced.

 

The main comparison I’ve seen is a mass market suite compared to Oceania stateroom cost; and I don’t doubt those are comparable. I don’t cruise on suites on the mass market lines either, I don’t believe they are worth the cost. 
 

to be honest, when you post the way you do you do a dis-service to Oceania. I enjoy splurging on vacation, but also bring around ‘real people’ whose values are similar to mine. You enjoy dropping $100,000 a year on cruises and being a bit snobby about how much better YOUR cruise line is than the others on here. 

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5 minutes ago, sanger727 said:


not sure what you mean by not doing ‘the real math’. That’s exactly what I just did for the Oceania vs celebrity cost. Quality of the product is in the eye of the beholder. I’m willing to bet there are people on the Oceania forums right now complaining that quality is going down and the product is over priced.

 

The main comparison I’ve seen is a mass market suite compared to Oceania stateroom cost; and I don’t doubt those are comparable. I don’t cruise on suites on the mass market lines either, I don’t believe they are worth the cost. 
 

to be honest, when you post the way you do you do a dis-service to Oceania. I enjoy splurging on vacation, but also bring around ‘real people’ whose values are similar to mine. You enjoy dropping $100,000 a year on cruises and being a bit snobby about how much better YOUR cruise line is than the others on here. 

Quite the contrary- once I figured out that I could have better food and service on smaller ships for roughly the same total vacation cost, I had an “aha” experience. And I am passionate about sharing that info.

 

As for O,  I could care less about doing them a disservice. Each of us is a rounding error in their daily bottom line business. And I pay what everyone else does.

 

And as for my approach to posts, I know for a fact that many folks here and elsewhere enjoy getting their questions answered with correct, often well-researched answers. So, if you don’t like them, don’t read them.

 

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2 hours ago, sanger727 said:


not sure what you mean by not doing ‘the real math’. That’s exactly what I just did for the Oceania vs celebrity cost. Quality of the product is in the eye of the beholder. I’m willing to bet there are people on the Oceania forums right now complaining that quality is going down and the product is over priced.

 

The main comparison I’ve seen is a mass market suite compared to Oceania stateroom cost; and I don’t doubt those are comparable. I don’t cruise on suites on the mass market lines either, I don’t believe they are worth the cost. 
 

to be honest, when you post the way you do you do a dis-service to Oceania. I enjoy splurging on vacation, but also bring around ‘real people’ whose values are similar to mine. You enjoy dropping $100,000 a year on cruises and being a bit snobby about how much better YOUR cruise line is than the others on here. 

Agreed......  but what ever you say ,,, you will never win.....

Oceania. is simply expensive compered to main stream lines and that is that

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OP, catching up on this thread tonight has reminded me of one of the great reasons to LOVE cruising. 

 

On our cruises, because the internet is so bad and so expensive, I will stay away from social media and bb's which helps me avoid some really inane bb discussions.  

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