Obviously cruise ship lines desire to fill the ship to capacity. I recently learned that some saavy cruise ship guests simply show up at the docking station with cash in hand and most often get on board for about 25-30% of the normal cost of the cruise. Like fast food restuarants, the ships make much of their revenue from tips and services. Much of the on-board staff are paid just pennies for their general wages and the rest is made up with your services fees and tips. The rooming fees really cover the operating expenses etc.
I just met some folks that say they have been doing this for several years. As a result of the reduced cost they are able to take 3-4 cruises per year.
Yes, I have heard this also. But it is not a new idea. If you can travel on a last minute's notice, then you can save money. BUT, don't expect to be able to do this on peek travel weeks (school breaks and holiday's) as the ships fill up fast for those sailings)
But, most of the cruise lines will offer specials on cruises that are not full, we get "past guest" special offers all the time that are great values, but we can not go because of schedules.
This pops up every so often. It has probably happened but is not a routine thing. Many of the stories are internet legends, and I'm sorry to say many of those who claim to do this all the time are simply shooting a line.
Questions to ask yourself: if this method of boarding a cruise ship was common, wouldn't we see and hear about hundreds of people showing up at every embarkation day looking for a bluelight special? Why is the story always "just one couple" who were wily and got on board for mere pennies? And if the the cruise lines routinely allowed this, don't you think it would undermine their normal booking process? Why would the public bother booking cruises for X dollars when they could just show up at the pier like it was a Greyhound Bus station and pay X-70% for their cruise? How is this big secret kept from getting blown wide open?
And then there is the security issues for providing passenger info to DHS. Wouldn't you suspect someone who suddenly showed up for a cruise? Sort of like the extra scrutiny given to air passengers who buy a ticket in cash on the day of the flight.
Don't get your hopes up, Jason. I'm not saying it never happens, but if it does it isn't as common as some people claim it is.
I agree to some extent. I do believe that the majority of the american public are not risk takers when it comes to vacation so they will not try something like this to avoid the unexpected hassles. I do believe that this couple routinely gets on cruise ships in this manner - I have known them for 25 years and will confirm this ( I actually knew about this years ago). I just spoke with Jake and he told me that the last 3 trips were handled in this manner. The last trip left Miami in late June; they boarded with a state room suite (pictures available) for $150 for the week. The time before was in April - 10 days for $325 and again in December '05 - 7 days for $120. Jake told me that he has used this method about 30 times and it only failed twice. The most they have paid was about $600 for a two week cruise.
As for identification, do you really think that the cruise industry cares? Jake said that they have only been asked to show a passport and maybe a credit card for services.
In the recent press there have been numerous articles about hotels and other hospitality industies being reprimanded for hiring illegal aliens. You and I go to a hotel with our children and our identity-laden laptops, files, etc and the hospitality industry gives your room key to a cleaning person who has a fake identity,unknown criminal record, who broke the law getting into this country. The US border is WIDE-OPEN. The cruise ship staff are from WHERE? Do you really think the cruise industry cares? I bet they don't!
The cruise lines do care about ID. It may be forced on them, but they can't function without Customs and Immigration letting them do so.
Many cruise lines keep lists of people who can cruise on short notice. If space is available they will contact these people. And it can be within days of the cruise. But this is different than someone waking up and saying "know what? I feel like a cruise. Let's run down to the dock and get us a suite." Sorry, but I'd have to see the documents and the date they were issued to believe it was that common.
Which cruise line(s) has Jake done this with? Same one each time or different ones?
They have used this method with several major cruise lines. The plan is that Jake and his wife book a flight to Miami with a listing of possible cruises and go to the docks with cash in hand - several hundred dollar bills so they look like big spenders. Now, I must admit that they always look and dress very respectable so few would question integrity based on their appearance. Jake negotiates a deal in 5 minutes -- if it doesn't work that trip they hop a plane to the out islands of the Bahamas - sip cocktails and bone fish. The process has only failed twice but Jake is a mean negotiator (ex-state senator, lawyer) and always insists upon the upgraded berth. Those "grand-daddy" eyes help him immensely.
Jake is quite an interesting character. He indicates that he has traveled a few times with a group of 10 or more people and they all were able to get aboard. Is this fair? I guess it is a grey area but as you say, they want to fill the ship an get the tips so they can pay their hard working crew.
I wonder when was the last time they did that?
Since 9/11 most cruiseline cut off booking 72 hours prior to departure. they must submit the passenger manifest to Homeland Security.
I cannot see showing up with 10 people in tow and getting aboard the day of sailing maybe pre 9/11.
Alexandr Pushkin, Carnival-Holiday, HAL-(old)Westerdam, Orient lines-Marco Polo, Royal Olympic-Olympic, NCL-Dream, Dawn-Princess, ACCL-Grande Caribe, Oceania-Insignia (3), Regatta(4) Marina (1) St Lawrence Cruise Lines-Canadian Empress
I too would like to see some of his receipts. Everyone has to pay port charges and government taxes. Depending what cruise line, those port & taxes alone can be $200 on a 7day cruise. So when he doesn't get on a ship he just hops on a last minute ticket to Bahamas at $25 and gets a last minutes hotel in Bahamas for $40???