Fees of the Future? We Think of More Ways You Could Flush Your Money Down the Toilet on a Cruise Ship

May 14, 2012 | By | 22 Comments

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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    22 Responses to “Fees of the Future? We Think of More Ways You Could Flush Your Money Down the Toilet on a Cruise Ship”

    1. Brian
      May 14th, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

      I have personally experienced the oppressive policies of EasyJet (similar to RyanAir and Spirit Airlines). If cruise lines were to go the way of these evil airlines, with their culture of bullying and shaming of passengers, I would be done with cruising.

    2. Bob
      May 15th, 2012 @ 11:35 am

      I am 100% with you. I only fly when I absolutely have to. If I can drive it, I will drive and not subject myself to the BS of air travel these days.
      The main reason I cruise is because of the perks average people get such as dining and shows (the almost all inclusive feel to them). I don’t mind them charging for drinks and such, but if they start nickel and diming, they will surely see a drop in passengers.

    3. jim
      May 15th, 2012 @ 11:43 am

      I not sure why you would even post such an
      Article or why you even give the cruise lines the ideas
      Mentioned. It is bad enough with all the hidden fees
      Let alone you helping them out.

    4. Bob S
      May 15th, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

      Shame, sue Bryant !!!
      The cruise lines get enough wacky ideas without us contributing to them.

      Oh – they already charge for those sunloungers – it is called “The Sanctuary”

    5. Rose Umo
      May 15th, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

      Agreed, Jim! Although I’m sure the cruiseship marketing dept. has already thought of these AND a few more. I enjoy my table for two (or four) by the window, and I would be upset if there was a charge associated with it. I spent LOTS of $ to get the preferred status with the cruiseline I frequent, and it would be a step in the wrong direction to start charging for things that I enjoy as part of my past-passenger-consideration.

    6. Patricia
      May 15th, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

      We already do pay for many of these perks — by booking a large suite. And as for the extra baggage displacing water and costing more: perhaps limiting the buffet trips might just help to decrease the increasingly apparent obesity on cruise ships.

    7. Rodney
      May 15th, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

      I agree! I think it would hurt the cruiselines to impose such fees upon the passengers, because the whole idea of cruising is to feel pampered and not have to worry about the simple extra’s. Cruising is the most wonderful way to vacation, why ruin due to greed, and thats exactly the way I see the extra fee’s! We shall see what happens!

    8. Janna
      May 15th, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

      They can do whatever they like and I can use my cruise money to invest in a small water craft and more land vacations. I like cruising but I’m not desperate.

    9. Ki Ananda
      May 18th, 2012 @ 6:13 am

      The pendulum will swing. When those lines saturate the market with their extra charges, there are always other clever marketers to offer “all inclusive”.
      Nothing to worry.

    10. LCDR Roberto Prinselaar, USCG (Ret)
      May 18th, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

      One of the hidden extra charges is the coffee card on Princess. If you happen to book a B2B cruise you are forced to buy 2 cards, and this is ridiculous.In the past if a portion of the card was not used, it was still good on a following cruise.

    11. Diane
      May 18th, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

      We have checked into which cruise lines sail out of Galveston, TX, which would be an easy drive to avoid air travel.

    12. PD
      May 19th, 2012 @ 3:25 am

      We took a Carnival cruise last December. They made us show our room key to get a towel at the pool and then told us that if we did not bring the towel and our room key back that they would charge us $25.00! We watched at the end of the day, the deck stewards must have picked up over 100 towels left on lounge chairs. Hidden Fee? You tell me!

    13. dbcrac
      May 19th, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

      WE though the same as Jim stated when reading your article. The cruise companies come up with enough fees. Nosense giving them any more food for thought. .

    14. MBrown
      May 25th, 2012 @ 12:50 am

      Having recently gone on a Viking River cruise where: I didn’t have any extra charges at checkout, we toured each stop & even went on a wine tasting, had wine with every lunch & dinner, was treated so attentively & personally by the crew. It makes an ocean cruise with all the extra charges much less appealing.

    15. bg mcqueen
      June 27th, 2012 @ 10:38 am

      i don’t see hidden fees, i just need to know in advance what to be prepared for and the choices i need to make…like knowing how crappy the coffee is, i being a good instant and use their hot water; i order a bottle of liquor before boarding and use their punch/leamonade and my soft drinks for mixers…and i have no use for the steakhouse…i can go that at home..don’t wan to pay for “all inclusives” which will include stuff i do not want and will not use..i like choice/pay as you go (like the photographs!)

    16. bg mcqueen
      June 27th, 2012 @ 10:41 am

      re: carnivals towel policy…the stewards pick up the towels, but those people who did not reeturn them, got charged for them…how is this “hidden” when they tell you the policy (i bring my own beach towel for home and believe me…i NEVER forget it!

    17. Nicole
      August 13th, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

      That is why we cruise not fly for our vacation…we already pay for the upgraded rooms, so they are getting their money back. We now have to pay for better coffee and dessert at the little shops. Plus $20 for one picture is alot…so they already do some of the crazy overcharging. NO MORE UPCHARGING!!! We love cruising…don’t make us start having to fly to destinations instead.

    18. Lois K
      August 13th, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

      Ok so no one reads the newspaper. In the Sun sentinal yesterday Carnival reports… priority embarkation,early cabin avaiability,express luggage delivery and other bennifits for a fee. The are going to try this with two of their ships sailing from Miami. The cost is $49.95 per cabin.

    19. Cruise Critic
      August 13th, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

      We were quoted in that piece, Lois!

    20. Loved Cruising
      August 13th, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

      I started cruising in 1992 and have seen how special we were treated back then and see how we are treated now. If I were a first time cruiser today I do not believe I find them so special and such a great bang for my buck. With the high cost of air and the nickel and diming us I just might start seeing the USA sites more. Right now I am booked on a RCCL in April and if they keep this up it might be my last.

    21. nestle
      August 13th, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

      I recently printed out my documents for a Carnival cruise next month. When I looked at the instructions for the luggage tags, I was stunned. Here’s what it says:
      “guests are encouraged to limit their checked baggage to two suitcases per person. Each suitcase should not weigh more than 50 pounds and not exceed 24″w x 16″h.”
      I can understand the 2 suitcases, but now you’re gonna weigh them? My only suitcase is 28″ wide… I’m certainly not going to buy a new one for this cruise. I better not get a fee!

    22. Vicenso
      August 13th, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

      Well, I have cruised Western and southern Caribbean, Hawai and Eastern Mediterranean. I would like to try Northern Europe and perhaps Alaska and Chile fiords. Stop. If cruise lines want to nickel and dime me, I just will look for other places.

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