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Old 01-05-2009, 07:55 AM
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After our 08/09/09 cruise we will have sailed 12 times with RCCL. Our first cruise was on Enchantment and it was wonderful experience. We have become less enchanted with each subsequent cruise. It started with a small thing, then another and another. Don't get me wrong, we still have a good time. But in our opinion the product has slowly changed.

There have been a couple of recent threads that turned up some very good insight and comment.

"RCL victim"

Quote:
Sandy wrote:

I'm sorry your cruise turned out so poorly for you. I've been on Royal Caribbean many times, as well as the other cruise lines in its price class, and Royal Caribbean does most things better than most. What this probably means is that either cruising at this price point is not for you, or cruising in general is not for you. You may, however, have a better impression of another cruise line, if you choose to cruise again.
Perhaps you would be happier with Princess, Carnival or Norwegian Cruise Line. I hope you try cruising again and have a better experience.
"Room Service Fee..."
Quote:
Dave Beers wrote:

That is the thing with all of these surcharges. They will inevitably increase in number as well as cost. Sooner or later, those of us who are fine with them now will get hit. And then you have a decision to make as to who will get your future cruise business. It probably isn't as hard for those who never cruised back when these things largely didn't exist. It is almost like a generational thing. Some don't have a problem with ala carte cruising. Some don't want to have to hand over their cruise card every time they turn around. I am somewhere in the middle right now.

But I am more and more convinced that at some point in the next few years I will have to decide if I will continue with mainstream cruising or if I will move to premium lines and simply not cruise as often.
We are considering a change to Azamara or to Oceania.

But do you move up to a Lincoln or switch to a Cadillac?

If we stay with the RCCL family and maintain the status it will require 11 more cruises on Celebrity for that status to be matched on Azamara. It seems that RCCL actually books by class, just not on the same ship. Sneaky, aren't they?

If we switch directly to Oceania or Azamara we will have no status. But at this price point maybe I shouldn't care.

I am Interested in your opinions since this forum seems to have some of the best advice around.
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
But at this price point maybe I shouldn't care.
That is my thinking. With a high-end line most if not all of those things people get with loyalty programs are rendered moot.

I've been thinking about this for a while and I believe our next RCI cruise will be our last 7 nighter with them for a while. My thinking is to relegate RCI to 4 and 5 night getaways and go upscale for 7 night or longer cruises. I'll make an exception for the Oasis.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:08 AM
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It seems that RCI has forgotten that a loyal customer is a customer that need not be attracted to your product. In their quest to attract new business they've started to chase their loyal customers away. One has to wonder what the ratio is (i.e. one loyal customer lost for every two customers attracted). I would expect that someone in corporate is paying attention to boards like this, but I wonder if they are really listening? Based on what I've read this is not limited to RCI. I want to sail on RCI and I guarentee that when I do I will be looking for something different than NCL, not NCL lite.
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:44 AM
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I like cruises on RCI. I want to make that clear. We always have a nice time and I recommend RCI all the time. I guess one could say the changes they have made over the years, the increasing ala carte style, is more my problem than it is the cruise line's. There must not be a lot of push-back, which means it is fine with their typical passenger these days.

I'd be a fool if I thought RCI spent a lot time fretting about how many repeaters were aboard any given cruise. A ship that is full is just that, whether they are first timers or diamond members.
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:25 AM
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They probably are making more money off the 1st timers. They tend to buy more things being their first cruise. It's new and exciting so they are buying all the pictures, shore excursions in the new ports they've never been to. They'll buy the cruise logo wear more, and souvenir drink cups. They'll buy several souvenir cups because they haven't learned yet you don't have to buy the cup.
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
With a high-end line most if not all of those things people get with loyalty programs are rendered moot.
Some luxury cruise lines have some rewards program in place. For example, Crystal Cruises gives discounts to past passengers. It's not a lot, but it's a little "thank you" from Crystal. The amount varies depending on the specific cruise and the category of room you're in. A 7 day cruise could be discounted between $100 - $600 per person, depending on your category.

Sandy
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:57 AM
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If we switch directly to Oceania or Azamara we will have no status.
I believe with Azamara you will be a CC Elite based on your 12 RCI cruise credits. I am CC Elite with Celebrity based on my diamond C&A status. I was just looking at the Azamara site and it seems they are using the Captain's Club program and don't have their own.
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:58 AM
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I'd be a fool if I thought RCI spent a lot time fretting about how many repeaters were aboard any given cruise. A ship that is full is just that, whether they are first timers or diamond members.
Cruise lines do like to keep track of that sort of thing. It's a double-edged sword for them. On one hand, they keep track of repeaters as one of their barometers of how they're doing. On the other hand, the life of any cruise line depends on attracting newbies to cruising. Depending on who you talk to, the statistics are that only between 7-11% of Americans have ever taken a cruise (although I did hear one statistic suggesting 30%, but no one agreed with that one). It's a huge untapped market for which cruise lines are already building increased capacity. The more ships they have, the harder it is for a ship to sail full without concentrating on attracting new business.

Demand has not yet come close to matching capacity, which is why cruise pricing is so low. If you adjust for inflation, cruise prices pretty much have not changed in 5-10 years.

Sandy
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Some luxury cruise lines have some rewards program in place.
I wasn't considering discounts but was thinking about the baubles, trinkets, and cocktail parties.

Oh look! Another lapel pin and tote bag!
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:09 PM
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Cruise lines do like to keep track of that sort of thing.
I'll bet the revenues from the "member cruises" pales to those from peak family vacation periods. I figured they tracked repeaters - if for no other reason than to know how many coupon books and cocktail parties to have. It didn't occur to me they would say "hmm, these cruises show a decline in repeat business. I wonder why?"
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