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Everything posted by tfred

  1. Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity - Hanlon's razor My guess on all of this RC, X and SSea all have their own database systems which don't easily communicate with each other. Probably needs a team of consultants to "harmonize" the data. That takes time and some fiddling. "I think we are good" was said more than once. I know it isn't the pax fault but it is what it is That data is not easily communicated to existing reservations to the ships so many pax didn't have their profile updated resulting in the usual champagne Along the way, SSea corporate has taken a look at "comped" grievances of both real and imagined slights on board. Those $50/100/250 comps really add up and affect profitability. Every comp has a cost center associated with it and it isn't just "well, they just have it onboard, so what does it matter?" SSea (and other lines) are going to become more like resort hotels where none of this activity would be allowed. SSea isnt going to ban anyone, they just assume you won't come back and they are OK with that. Businesses can "fire" customers as well.
  2. LL Bean used to VERY generous with returns for any reason for just about forever. That's over now People just abused the system and now it is a year - still reasonable
  3. somewhere in the Contract of Carriage is more than likely a clause that says SSea isnt responsible for anything no matter what is indicated due to "whatever" Probably limits their liability as well
  4. Menu looks good. Price in line with other a la carte venues on other cruise lines That said, wouldn't spend that money on board any ship.
  5. I can see why Muckerman is no longer there SSea is looking to overlay their ports to match the logistics of X and RC no matter where they are in the world. The funky itins with different starting points that change yearly will be gone especially in Asia and the Pacific. The Middle East conflict isnt helping since that effectively forces to go around Africa or back over the Pacific. They will be looking at shorter 7 day cruises like Explora and Ritz Carlton (mirroring X now ex Miami) since 45 year olds generally dont have work schedule for Tuesday start 9 day cruises Everyone wants customers that are longer term and attracting them (the 45-50 crowd) isn't a bad wish but it depends on what gets moved around on board to get them to stay Nothing inherently wrong with attracting X suite pax but SSea should retain its own personality. That also doesnt mean that it automatically discards long term customers The staffing remark is very weird. I have never seen anything like that in any industry It almost sounds like "service went down because there were too many people from a particular country" in one department.
  6. How would they be ruining the Z lunch with just more people? retreat lounge is technically off limits to crossovers but that has to be enforced the cost of the program has to be measured against the cost of existing pax drifting to non RCG lines. Time will tell. my concern (as in airline clubs) is over crowding with the DYKWIA crowd bulldozing their way into a small venue.
  7. I have a ton of miles (still, although retired) and use them for Biz flights overseas. The real value of loyalty and status for air and hotel is when things go south they will take care you. Rebooking cancelled flights, occasional seat upgrade, getting a room when sold out are what you can really use. It's more guest recovery than value added. Can't quite figure out what upper level gets you on cruise ships. Expedited on/off the ship and a few things are nice but not enough to actually chase status.
  8. good to hear. On X it can take 2 days
  9. every single activity on board ship has a cost associated with it. The cruise line decides if that expense really makes an impact on the end user experience to justify the cost There is also an overall budget for everything Midnight buffets are certainly one example. Everyone talked about it (and some still do with tears in their eyes) but they became a giant money hole for little gain. SSea is always evaluating maximizing pax experience and adjusting its offering One person's "have to have lux", is another's "pfft"
  10. that is true for the very high end hotels. They can stand on their own - most hotels can't Depending on which direction you are coming from the SSea product is certainly the next step up from X and probably lux for those folks. If you always been on SSea then you probably are wondering what is going on with these newbies on board? The newbies are looking for the same thing that everyone does - value for money. They are coming from suites on X and Royal and they ain't cheap - certainly equal price per day as SSea Most of these folks are not taking multiple cruises every year - they are just looking for a good vacation with the limited time they have while working - based on my limited chats in the suite area on X. They aren't inside cabin, beer swilling people looking for free everything SSea may not be as "exclusive" as before but without a pipeline of new customers they will be doomed. It cost money to find new customers, less so if you already know them. New builds, refits and maintaining what you have in place is expensive. Single digit margins don't cut it in any business I never got the points thing in cruises. You really have to do an incredible amount of cruises to get anything of value. That said, there are enough long term cruisers are X that would take a look at SSea for very little recognition - in this case free laundry
  11. There is a whole bunch of monied people that haven't cruised but are spending an equivalent amount of money at a land resort every year on a "big" vacation. Every cruise line wants them and there is a definite movement to cruises from land vacay folks There are many cruisers who are dropping big dollars in a suite on X or NCL (equal to what SSea costs) and are looking for interesting routes to be on They are familiar with the X product and just need a small push to try SSea (free laundry) Every hotel chain in the world has a loyalty program. Marriott has everything from Fairfield Inn to Ritz Carlton. If you are a regular Marriott member you can stay in a Ritz and get some benefits but not all. I am a top lifetime tier on Marriott and can only get some benefits since I am not a long term Ritz customer You know that NCL is looking at the success of this (and it will be ) and look to rollout their own version - NCL-Oceania -Regent. MSC is doing it with Explora Its a no brainer. The lux ships are not some private club that operates off referrals where people earn their stripes - they need new customers as any business does and it is natural they would look at their existing customer base SSea will work out the kinks of recognition in a few months and everyone will get some sort of $50 at retail French champagne in a bucket of ice and 99% of them will be very happy.
  12. Other than YC on MSC it is a head scratcher as to what MSC's mission statement is. They have been in the USA for at least 20 years and most would be hard pressed to ID the brand let alone describe the experience. YC seems to be well known but the rest of the ship generally gets mediocre reviews YC pax looking for a different route other than the Caribbean are a natural to entice. How do you get them to Explora without discounting ?
  13. the big issue here is the change of price at the spa. The price quoted is the price and should be easily honored. The champagne discussion is different. I am sure that the wine market is limited in production and gets substituted as supplies dwindle. Supplier contracts and prices also come into play. It happens now with X out of Miami, I can only imagine what happens in far flung ports. No one wants 10 cases of anything when 1000 was ordered. You will get something pretty good, maybe something better The champagne upgrade may be different for legacy VS against RCG status match and I am ok with that (as a status matcher myself) SSea should do a better job in making sure that the ships know what VS status match gets (its pretty limited anyway - basically laundry) The hub-hub over status match happens in every loyalty program - air, hotel, lounge. The problem is when the new folks take up physical space that was only allowed by actual "stays". That certainly isnt happening at SSea Other than free laundry, an upgraded champagne and future discounts there isnt anything that is being taken away from legacy SSea pax. BTW - you won't see a horde of X pax on board. SSea routes just dont conform to many peoples work schedules
  14. MDR isnt going to be a steakhouse anymore. What they serve is the standard issue Longhorn Steakhouse meat. Want the big juicy cuts? Fine Cut but you are going to pay for it. The service aspect that you experienced is unacceptable. I have eaten in most of the restaurants on X and found the food is pretty good. Luminae is excellent. That said, the menu is the menu and many people are "selective" eaters who only like what they like. Its not Cheesecake Factory with a 40 page menu
  15. Royal Caribbean Group has offered a pathway for their fleet - Royal/Celebrity/Silversea I think the idea is to keep "you" in the family as vacation needs change. Tired of Royal with a million kids? Get on Celebrity. Tired of same old itins? Silversea. RCG knows that people can drift away and many people don't know that SSea is part of RCG. Those people start looking at Regent, Seabourn et al for small ship, better service etc. Why not keep them in house. Sort of the old GM sales model - Chevrolet - Buick - Cadillac The status match from line to line isnt much. At the SSea level (I am elite on X) is free laundry, but for many people that might be enough acknowledgment of status where pretty much everything is included on SSea MSC should be advertising that they have a fun little next level cruise line that you should look at when you get bored of the 7 day South Florida routes. MSC YC sailings are easy to get to with repeatable schedules that fit into working peoples timeframes. Explora (and others) sailings are mostly 2 or 3 flight airports and returns from someplace else. Not the average MSC YC pax The issue is how do you get them to notice? Discounts are hard to stop once you start and you dont want customers there because of price. Depends on how the next level up finds the non mass market cruises. Is it TAs ? Travel magazines? I look at cruises a lot and I only stumbled upon Explora by some Google pop up
  16. well they have to get the word out which is probably the genesis of the influencer an TA route. That only gets you so far. I am no marketing expert but they need to get another way to showcase their product. How many people choose a cruise on their own and have a TA book it vs using a TA as a trusted advisor ? Dunno. If potential customers dont even know you then price doesnt matter
  17. most companies hate to start any discount program (OBC or off the top) because once you start then when it stops the crying starts X eliminated OBC from suites and then the yelling started they need to have some other value added concept - priority restaurant Rez, dedicated hot line, spa something
  18. Agree. I don't think that is systemic to SSea but rather ship management
  19. tfred

    Venice transfer

    I asked. Via water taxi only from the Marittime
  20. tfred

    Venice transfer

    I think this is correct. There doesnt appear to be any private and direct from Fusina to the hotel. There is a ferry that seems to run that runs every two hours to Venice, then we would have to make our way to Gritti the hotel does have its own taxi for hire from Marittima
  21. we are ending our cruise on SSea Moon in Venice, then spending 3 nights at the Gritti Palace. My question is the best way to get to the Gritti I don't see a transfer to direct transfer to Venice from SSea. The options seem to be bus from Fusina or water taxi from Fusina to the old cruise ship port Can a water taxi from Fusina take us to a specific hotel? Is there a long line for that ? should we take a water taxi or bus to the Maritime terminal and then a Gritti water launch to the hotel?
  22. My guess is that given the size of the balcony people were using the lounger as something to walk on instead of moving out of the way. Probably would make X nervous with someone falling over(board). Not a problem with a larger balcony such as a suite
  23. tfred

    Whisky selection

    the fluidity wouldn't surprise me these days. The top 10 might make it and those would be very familiar brands Down list would become murky with the "that's interesting" items not available. On X in the Retreat, they really cut back the list, especially the included list. Aberfeldy 12 was the best of the included list.
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