...and on top of that you wind up paying full fare (forget AD75) for the airline tix. Oh, and let's not forget the port taxes! The only really inexpensive way is to babysit a group and then, depending on the group, it's usually "no rest for the wicked".
You sound like you are experienced in that area, yes I have escorted a couple of groups, on one of them I had 58 passengers going with me, Carnival did me right though, they put my cabin on starboard midship and the rest of the group was on port front of the ship. I wouldnt tell anyone what my cabin number was..it was no rest for the weary during the trip, if anyone saw me out and about it was either could I do something for them, or complaints..lol. I am escorting a group of 22 in November, they all have cabins on deck 8 I am on 10..not going to let them find me.
I agree with what Carol said about the TA perks. I am not a TA, but am a CCL agent. The reduced agent rates are often more than the rates everyone else can get. If one does not care when or where they are going on short notice it could work out on the stand by lists.
This has been an interesting read, and have learned some things from JasonG.
Carol, I agree with you. As family reunion cruises make up the bulk of my business, and I often escort, I seldom give out my cabin number. I sit at a table that's dedicated to my group, for several hours during the day, so everyone knows where to find me. And they usually all agree that I shouldn't be awakened at 2am because someone's air conditioning isn't working well, so they don't begrudge that they can't reach me 24/7.
The only exception: escorting my own family reunion!
Yes, my partner and I have been hosts - NOT dance hosts (heaven forbid)! I usually wind up playing LASSIE (like a sheepdog I walk in the rear of the group) to keep our charges from getting lost and/or not missing the bus, or lunch, or, or, or... The largest group we've ever co-hosted (4 of us) was 60+ (on a Radisson holiday sailing) but at the introductory cocktail party we taught them all to spell F-A-C-I-L-I-T-A-T-E. That's what we do - if you have a problem, we will tell you who YOU need to call.
Oh boy, I have to jump in here. I have been escorting groups my entire life and ChucksOK has got it right. I first started escorting travel agent fams in Hawaii for Aloha Airlines back in the early 1970s. The first group of agents I took neighbor island was a group of 44 to the (then) Kauai Surf. On return to the Lihue airport, I didnít want the agents to have to schlep their luggage from the motor coach to the check-in point. I had pre-checked the group so that they already had their boarding passes and bags tagged for the flight to Maui.
ďDonít worry about your bags, I will take care of themĒ I told them. ďJust relax and get a drinkĒ I advised them. I thought I was the best escort alive. Of course when it came time to carry about 100 bags from the coach to the check-in counter, I realized my mistake. When a number of the bags didnít make it to Maui, I really realized my mistake. It was then I changed my position about escorting groups.
In my opinion, an escort is there to FACILITATE results that are in the groupís best interest, give life enabling attention to group members should it become necessary, intercept problems and turn them into solutions and generally make the overall group experience a positive for all of the members.
Regarding getting stand-by bargains on cruise ships, I have done this before 9/11, but have not heard or seen it happen since. That is not to say that it hasnít, but it just doesnít seem likely at this point. The cruise lines have done everything possible to increase yields and encourage advance bookings (highest imbedded yield, not for up-front tariffs, but in the blended on-board yield performance) The cruise lines found out that when you sell cheap cruises on-line to fill the ship, what do you get? Cheap cruisers. They donít buy drinks, shore excursions, photos, trinkets or anything else. I suspect that stand-by cruisers may be of the same ilk. Hence, the cruise lines would be nuts to encourage last minute stand-bys.
The cruise lines found out that when you sell cheap cruises on-line to fill the ship, what do you get? Cheap cruisers. They donít buy drinks, shore excursions, photos, trinkets or anything else. I suspect that stand-by cruisers may be of the same ilk.
Ouch, if you weren't the "owner" of this board, you would be burned at the stake by the majority of the posters here! But, my hat's off to you for telling it like it is!
I think the biggest thing about escorting groups is everyone wants you to spend time with them. The group I am escorting in November have all requested to be at the same dining table as me. I have tried to explain that I have yet to see tables that hold 22. I tell them that all table will be together and they can have a piece of me then..lol...I will table hop. But I do love doing what I do. Wouldnt have it any other way. Oh by the way Sandy, your own family is the worse, they think because you are related to them they own you..lol.
[quote]Ouch, if you weren't the "owner" of this board, you would be burned at the stake by the majority of the posters here! quote]
It hasn't stopped folks before...VBG. The truth is that 9/11 changed the passenger loads overnight and saw a rapid reduction of onboard inclusions. In order to maintain profitability the cruise lines adapted to lower yields by increasing on-board sales, reducing inclusions and inventing new revenue streams.
Today, the ships are full and several cruise lines are romancing yield rather than load and are adding amenities to attract higher yields. I see the quality of passenger loads increasing and becoming more international supporting the higher yields.
After 9/11 I took several cruises but did not write reviews of them becaue the passenger loads were so bad. One cruise that Nancy Norris was also on was like being on a Jerry Springer show. I couldn't wait to get off the ship. That might make for an excellent discussion.
I just don't see cruise lines as being interested in marketing channels that do not lead to anything but higher yields at this point. Of course, that could change in a heartbeat given world events.
think the biggest thing about escorting groups is everyone wants you to spend time with them. The group I am escorting in November have all requested to be at the same dining table as me. I have tried to explain that I have yet to see tables that hold 22.
Carol, we always prepay the gratuities for a group and then get the Assistant Maitre d' in charge of our section to allow us to do a round robin within our assigned tables. This works out very well, as those that want to sit with you can make sure to join whatever table that you are sitting with. It also gives the group the opportunity to dine with those that they want to (and avoid those that they don't) We have never had a problem doing this on any cruise line. You could get two 8s and one 6 all right next to each other. It is first come, first served as far as table selection goes and like musical chairs, the last into the restaurant takes what is left.