Fees of the Future? We Think of More Ways You Could Flush Your Money Down the Toilet on a Cruise Ship
We recently spotted a suggestion on the Facebook page of Carnival’s cruise director, John Heald, that caught our eye. A passenger, Brianna P, was upset because she wasn’t allocated a window seat in the main dining room and wrote to Heald: “I am willing to bet that if Carnival started charging a fee for window tables that many of your customers would be willing to pay.” Heald was quick to reply that Carnival was in no way thinking of charging for window tables.
That got us thinking.
The most cheapskate of the budget airlines are already charging extra for front row seats, emergency exit seats, even the right to get on the plane first and choose a seat. Basic snacks cost a few bucks, and blankets/pillows went the way of the dodo years go.
No surprise, then, that cruise lines are always looking for new ways to increase onboard revenue. Some schemes have been out-and-out failures, like the final wheeze of the now-defunct EasyCruise, which asked passengers to pay to have their cabins cleaned (guess what? People didn’t pay). And some have been more successful, like the late-disembarkation programs rolled out by Royal Caribbean and Azamara.
So are all the mass-market lines secretly admiring and envying Ryanair, which famously announced that it wanted to charge for using the loos on its flights? Or Spirit Airlines, which recently announced that it would be charging up to $100 for carry-ons?
We’ve hypothesized about what charges might someday be added to the onboard tab. Here’s how our fee nightmares play out:
Paying for window seats in the dining room could be the start. How about a supplement for a table for two?
Or what if, heaven forbid, the buffet was limited to one trip and one plate per person, like it is in down-market pizza restaurants with a salad bar?
We already pay for movies on demand in the cabin, so why not add a charge for movies in the ship’s theater, too?
Which leads to a supplement to see the shows. After all, it would still only be a fraction of what you pay on Broadway.
Poolside sunloungers could be a cash cow. Would you pay for one? Celebrity Cruises is doing a roaring trade in the cabanas on Celebrity Silhouette, so the demand for guaranteed seating on deck clearly exists.
Or perhaps this final horror will one day be a reality: limited baggage. The bigger the ship, and the more water it displaces, the more fuel it burns. Can you see a day in which luggage is weighed on all cruises at check-in and one posh frock too many incurs an excess-baggage supplement?
We may moan about paying for extras onboard, but maybe we haven’t got it so bad, after all.
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