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View Full Version : RCL to start charging for Room Service after midnight - I know not DCL


jilljill
01-21-2009, 02:40 PM
I just saw this and found it interesting:

http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2009/01/21/royal-caribbean-says-your-foods-not-free-if-youre-hungry-at-ni/

Apparently, the days of all-inclusive cruises are coming to an end. Royal Caribbean, which enjoyed a public relations train wreck in October when it announced it would be charging $15 for its New York Strip Steak, has come up with another surcharge sure to annoy people who select cruises because they're easy. If you want room service between midnight and 5 am, you'll now have to pay another $4 for it. By this Friday, all its ships will have this new fee in place.

The fee only applies to food. Cruise Critic reports that $1.50 of the fee will go to tipping the person who brings it, but since drinks are not subject to the fee, does that mean the steward who brings you a Coke isn't getting paid for it? Undoubtedly, many passengers will double-tip their stewards, not knowing where the fee is going (although given the pathetic salaries cruise ship employees make, that's not such a bad thing.)

Royal Caribbean promises that there will always be somewhere on the ship you can go to get food without the wee-hours charge. But when you take a cruise, you pay for an all-inclusive experience (or at least you used to), minus booze. Ordering french fries after a night at the disco or having breakfast in the pre-dawn moonlight has always been one of the charms of cruising.

That's not a lot of money, but then again, if it's not a lot of money, why charge it? Well, partly because the cruise industry is quickly sliding into the tank. New bookings dropped off when Wall Street did, and vacationers are holding on to their money for the time being. So rather than put themselves in the poor market position of having the higher fare, cruise lines are taking a page from the airline playbook and pestering their customers with charges for things that, up to now, were free.

Right now, those charges are for things that not everyone will use (steak dinners, midnight munchies), which is what allows them to be slipped onto the bill with a minimum of fuss. But the many people who book cruises because they're convenient don't really want to be told that they need to be upcharged for it now. Unsurprisingly, Royal Caribbean's website does not directly disclose the amount of the fee, which is another sign that it would rather that the customer look the other way when these things are implemented.

Vegaslover
01-21-2009, 02:58 PM
Wow! that just doesn't seem right does it? Are they going to lower the price of their cruise? Part of the reason why people pay a little more for cruising is because it's all inclusive. I can see where they would think that most people tip a few dollars anyway, so what's $4? But, what makes me mad about it is the idea of it, and why would RC only give the server $1.50 out of the $4? Seems kinda cheap to me.

Andrew DEREK UK
01-21-2009, 03:06 PM
We might see a lot more of this, lower cruise prices, and to make up for it higher add ons, Palo increase?

MagicMe
01-21-2009, 03:29 PM
It's already annoying having the airlines nickel and diming us and now the cruise lines? One of the features I stress to anyone looking to go on a cruise is that practically everything is included and that except for the tips, you could virtually cruise without any extra montey. I personally never actually used the late night room service but I know those that have. I'd be just a wee bit ticked off if I found out that I'd have to pay. Okay $4 isn't that bad but 7x4 is $28 - and most people will forget that the tip is supposed to be included and considering I would normally tip at least $2 when food is brought - that's another $14.

mmackeymouse
01-21-2009, 03:42 PM
We might see a lot more of this, lower cruise prices, and to make up for it higher add ons, Palo increase?

Gosh, I hope not. Didn't Palo get a price increase pretty recently?

No one wants cruise lines to become some sort of lame ala carte replica of the airline industry.

Olga
01-21-2009, 03:46 PM
We might see a lot more of this, lower cruise prices, and to make up for it higher add ons, Palo increase?

Yes you are correct.
It's a sign of the times. Actually I think $4 is reasonable, it's an average tip to have a meal delivered to your room at 3am.

stsomewhere
01-21-2009, 03:50 PM
RC is only charging for NY strip in dining room if it from CHops or Portofinos.
At least that is whet someone on another board told me.

mmackeymouse
01-21-2009, 04:08 PM
Yes you are correct.
It's a sign of the times. Actually I think $4 is reasonable, it's an average tip to have a meal delivered to your room at 3am.

Is it reasonable? Maybe, maybe not.

I mean heck, if you think about it, $15 to check a bag is pretty reasonable, compared what it would cost to ship 50 lbs worth of clothing to a destination.

But, that is not the point. The point is nickling and diming loyal customers. They are losing out on the fuel surcharge, so they had to find something else to pad their wallets.

My concern is that Royal Caribbean seems to be the bellwether for the cruise industry, and that others may follow. How long till charges for desserts? Admission to the shows?

NancyIL
01-21-2009, 05:38 PM
I have never ordered from room service on any cruise ship - even though it has been free. I also don't drink alcoholic beverages or pop, so I don't care how much the cruise lines charge for that stuff.

msmayor
01-21-2009, 06:37 PM
I don't blame the cruise lines one bit. If folks didn't continue to insist on applying price drops to their already-booked cruises (booked, I might add, at a price they were willing to pay) then cruise lines wouldn't have to keep finding ways to keep their revenue stream constant.

Most folks understand the concept of airline fares and that there are only so many 'cheap' seats in a bucket before the price goes up. Why is it so hard to understand that the cruise lines are doing just what the airlines are...trying to fill 'seats'...when they drop prices?

I cruise on RCL's Freedom of the Seas in November. We never used room service; quite honestly it was plenty easy enough to get food on the Promenade in the wee hours of the night instead of eating in the staterooms. Quite frankly, folks who want someone to not only cook their food but also deliver it to their staterooms SHOULD have to pay something extra for the convenience.

eeyoregon
01-21-2009, 09:49 PM
Apparently, the days of all-inclusive cruises are coming to an end.

I never knew there were "all-inclusive" cruise lines :confused3 ??

EVERY line charges extra's for things. Booze, photo's, soda (on every ship but Disney), spa, bingo, specialty restaurants, shore excursions, etc. have always been an extra charge.

RCCL has been cranking out a new mega-ship almost every year in recent years = they gotta pay for those billion dollar floating cities somehow. I would pay extra for roomservice because I enjoy it that much.

kaseyC
01-22-2009, 06:50 AM
Yes you are correct.
It's a sign of the times. Actually I think $4 is reasonable, it's an average tip to have a meal delivered to your room at 3am.

I agree. This charge probably won't affect the average cruiser because most people are not ordering room service between Midnight and 5:00 am. Night Owls can avoid the charge as well by just dropping by one of the open food venues on their way back to the cabin.

Like Andrew posted earlier, I think we will see more of these types of charges as prices of cruise fares continue to drop.

SplashMountainManiac
01-22-2009, 09:34 AM
Royal Caribbean is so good at nickling and diming, it is one of the many reasons we sail Disney. I am very afraid of what is going to happen when Oasis of the Seas comes out. I'm betting half of that ship will be charging you extra. RCI has never really felt that all inclusive once you finish buying Johnny Rockets to avoid eating crappy dining room food, paying surcharges for some of the activities, buying soda cards (the dining room servers are slow to bring any free beverages besides water). The price sure looks great when you book, but our onboard account is always way higher on Royal than on Disney.

mmackeymouse
01-22-2009, 10:50 AM
I agree. This charge probably won't affect the average cruiser because most people are not ordering room service between Midnight and 5:00 am. Night Owls can avoid the charge as well by just dropping by one of the open food venues on their way back to the cabin.

Like Andrew posted earlier, I think we will see more of these types of charges as prices of cruise fares continue to drop.



I don't think it is the $4 for room service after mindnight that has people upset. I think it is more of the principle of it.

Where does it stop? It is a slippery slope, from reasonable charges to nickle and diming.

Hopefully, this is going to be an isolated situation, but I think everyone's real fear is that it may get out of hand as it has with the airlines.

Tink rules
01-22-2009, 09:09 PM
So I guess they should just start charging $4 for the midnight buffet too??? :confused3

I'm taking RCL to Alaska in June cause mom (who is 76) wants to do while she is healthy. I'm not expecting it to be Disney and I'm planning for extras as well...

msmayor
01-23-2009, 07:14 AM
So I guess they should just start charging $4 for the midnight buffet too??? :confused3

I'm taking RCL to Alaska in June cause mom (who is 76) wants to do while she is healthy. I'm not expecting it to be Disney and I'm planning for extras as well...

This makes it sound like RCL has their hands out at every turn....not true.

Yes, you pay for soda on RCL. But you don't HAVE to drink soda. There is lemonade and iced tea available.

Yes, on some ships there is a Johnny Rocket's hamburger place with a $5 cover charge...but you don't HAVE to eat there. The buffet has a very nice spread and is included with your fare.

Yes, some ships have Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream you pay extra for...but you don't HAVE to. There is self-serve ice cream available poolside that's included in the fare.

Yes, there is a fee for room service between midnight and 5am...but there ARE other food options available if you're willing to get up and walk to get it.

You pay for alcohol and pictures on RCL just like on Disney. Each has some type of specialty restaurant that you have to pay extra for. Bingo costs $$ on both lines.

What some see as 'nickle and diming' is really just providing additional choices. No one is forcing you to pay for the extras, and the cruise experience can still be just as wonderful with all that RCL includes in their fare price.

orlandothebeagle
01-23-2009, 07:30 AM
This makes it sound like RCL has their hands out at every turn....not true.

Yes, you pay for soda on RCL. But you don't HAVE to drink soda. There is lemonade and iced tea available.

Yes, on some ships there is a Johnny Rocket's hamburger place with a $5 cover charge...but you don't HAVE to eat there. The buffet has a very nice spread and is included with your fare.

Yes, some ships have Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream you pay extra for...but you don't HAVE to. There is self-serve ice cream available poolside that's included in the fare.

Yes, there is a fee for room service between midnight and 5am...but there ARE other food options available if you're willing to get up and walk to get it.

You pay for alcohol and pictures on RCL just like on Disney. Each has some type of specialty restaurant that you have to pay extra for. Bingo costs $$ on both lines.

What some see as 'nickle and diming' is really just providing additional choices. No one is forcing you to pay for the extras, and the cruise experience can still be just as wonderful with all that RCL includes in their fare price.

I do agree but when I save up for 2 years to take the family, I think that coke should be included, ok there are other choices, tell that to a 12 yo thats on vacation,oh sorry honey, no diet coke but you can have iced tea??!!. Ofcourse I am going to pay for the coke.Not the money, just the principal that bugs me,
That is only my humble opinion.
Thats why I like disney everybody is treated the same, not some kids with ben and jerrys and some kids with self serve ice cream.

kcashner
01-23-2009, 07:58 AM
Royal Caribbean is so good at nickling and diming, it is one of the many reasons we sail Disney. I am very afraid of what is going to happen when Oasis of the Seas comes out. I'm betting half of that ship will be charging you extra. RCI has never really felt that all inclusive once you finish buying Johnny Rockets to avoid eating crappy dining room food, paying surcharges for some of the activities, buying soda cards (the dining room servers are slow to bring any free beverages besides water). The price sure looks great when you book, but our onboard account is always way higher on Royal than on Disney.

This is one of the many reasons we love DCL. Sorry, but RCI charges extra for the very things that kids will bug their parents for--Johnny Rockets, soda, higher quality ice cream.

I do realize that nothing is completely "all inclusive." Yes, we make choices. But one of the things I enjoy about DCL is that my daughter can order steak every night if she chooses and I don't cringe. Paying for excursions is part of every line. Paying for bingo doesn't bother me because it is the only form of gambling available on DCL. The amount of the prizes is dependent upon the card sales--so if you choose to gamble in this way, that is your choice. Yes, doing a climbing wall or a movie is also a choice, but we specifically avoid the ships where you pay as you go for everything--I like knowing basically what my vacation will cost before I get there.

A DCL exec told me that it cost them one million dollars per year to do the unlimited sodas at the deck 9 drink station because nearly every guest bought the mug plan at least for their children. But this is one of the features that sets them apart.

Another problem with the late night room service is that one of the groups that uses it frequently is the teens. I know DD and her "group" order food almost every night--I learned this when she told me about waiting outside the room because they will only deliver room service to a stateroom. SO, they wait outside the room for the tray, show their KTTW to the server (to prove that it is their food), and then take it to deck 9 or wherever. Could this be a way to avoid the sometimes rowdy (not my kid!) teens who probably don't have tip money when they do this? The tip money is in the room and she doesn't want to wake me. Understand, there's nothing wrong with what the kids are doing--they just want a late night snack and are being considerate of the parent who doesn't stay up that late! She'll wake me when she comes in, and if I wake up after her curfew, she'd better be there. Until curfew, if she wants a midnight snack, go for it.

msmayor
01-23-2009, 08:01 AM
I do agree but when I save up for 2 years to take the family, I think that coke should be included, ok there are other choices, tell that to a 12 yo thats on vacation,oh sorry honey, no diet coke but you can have iced tea??!!. Ofcourse I am going to pay for the coke.Not the money, just the principal that bugs me,
That is only my humble opinion.
Thats why I like disney everybody is treated the same, not some kids with ben and jerrys and some kids with self serve ice cream.

That's but one reason why Disney is higher priced...because of what they include in their base fare.

My family priced out Disney for the same week we cruised RCL. Disney was nearly $1500 higher. Yes, I spent an extra $60 for soda cards for my two kids so they could get unlimited soda, and we bought Ben and Jerry's twice for the family for $20 and spent another $20 for a trip to Johnny Rockets. I was still $1400 ahead of the game.

To each his own. I realize there are folks who are die-hard Disney fans and are willing to pay their prices. That's wonderful. No different than those willing to pay Cunard's prices for the Queen Mary vs. an RCL ship. But there are those of us who still feel lines other than Disney give us great value and a wonderful vacation experience.

No, I didn't get characters. But I'm okay with that.

orlandothebeagle
01-23-2009, 11:33 AM
Of course, I am not a die hard disney fan, i totaly get what you are saying, I just dont want to think about that stuff while on vacation, I dont want some kids to have and some to not have.(even if my kids are in the have group)
Everybodys diff and I respect what you are saying totaly.

tvguy
01-23-2009, 10:46 PM
I agree. This charge probably won't affect the average cruiser because most people are not ordering room service between Midnight and 5:00 am. Night Owls can avoid the charge as well by just dropping by one of the open food venues on their way back to the cabin.

Like Andrew posted earlier, I think we will see more of these types of charges as prices of cruise fares continue to drop.

So I guess they should just start charging $4 for the midnight buffet too??? :confused3

I'm taking RCL to Alaska in June cause mom (who is 76) wants to do while she is healthy. I'm not expecting it to be Disney and I'm planning for extras as well...

What midnight buffet? Not on Disney, they had a nightly midnight buffet but dropped it after the first year. Smar move based on my Disney cruise experience....I have never been on a cruise where EVERYONE was in bed by 11 pm!! Well, except New Years eve...which is when we cruised....but I've never been to a New Years eve party before where everyone left and went to bed at 12:05 am!!! Like wise, I have never been on a cruise where so many people were up and making noise in the halls at 6 am...on a SEA DAY.
I hope they don't start charging, but Disney attracts a far different type of cruiser, an early to bed early to rise cruiser. So I don't think it would impact too many Disney cruisers if it did happen.

I should note that on our NCL Hawaii cruise, where the ship overnights in two ports......we actually saw people getting back on the ship from all night night clubbing at 7 am as we were heading out for an early morning excursion!!!:drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1

eeyoregon
01-23-2009, 11:49 PM
That's but one reason why Disney is higher priced...because of what they include in their base fare.

My family priced out Disney for the same week we cruised RCL. Disney was nearly $1500 higher. Yes, I spent an extra $60 for soda cards for my two kids so they could get unlimited soda, and we bought Ben and Jerry's twice for the family for $20 and spent another $20 for a trip to Johnny Rockets. I was still $1400 ahead of the game.



Exactly!!!

Don't get me wrong, I LOVED my DCL cruise. But for what I spent on that one cruise, I could have taken 2 cruises on the same itinerary on a different line.

So to say that RCCL is nickle and diming is ridiculous. There is no such thing as an all inclusive mainstream cruiseline. Never was, never will be. Each line chooses to charge for different things. The cost for soda has never bothered me because I always bring my own.

Tink rules
01-24-2009, 12:00 AM
With the way the economy is going right now... alot of the lines are going to have to try and make up for things in a big way - especially since RC and Carnival/Cunard, etc got warnings from Wall St. last week about new ships and such...

At least Disney has a main business behind them to absorb any losses and they will have to figure the prices better or people will move elsewhere or stay closer to home...

orlandothebeagle
01-24-2009, 04:32 AM
What midnight buffet? Not on Disney, they had a nightly midnight buffet but dropped it after the first year. Smar move based on my Disney cruise experience....I have never been on a cruise where EVERYONE was in bed by 11 pm!! Well, except New Years eve...which is when we cruised....but I've never been to a New Years eve party before where everyone left and went to bed at 12:05 am!!! Like wise, I have never been on a cruise where so many people were up and making noise in the halls at 6 am...on a SEA DAY.
I hope they don't start charging, but Disney attracts a far different type of cruiser, an early to bed early to rise cruiser. So I don't think it would impact too many Disney cruisers if it did happen.

I should note that on our NCL Hawaii cruise, where the ship overnights in two ports......we actually saw people getting back on the ship from all night night clubbing at 7 am as we were heading out for an early morning excursion!!!:drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1 :drinking1


They had a midnight dessert buffet in october.

brucechase
01-24-2009, 08:02 AM
Exactly!!!

Don't get me wrong, I LOVED my DCL cruise. But for what I spent on that one cruise, I could have taken 2 cruises on the same itinerary on a different line.



I looked at both RCCL and DCL for the beginning of June and DCL was several hundred dollars LESS expensive. I booked my second Disney cruise. So it is not always true that DCL is the more expensive line.

tvguy
01-24-2009, 12:43 PM
They had a midnight dessert buffet in october.

Just one night, correct? And just dessert? They did that on our cruise too. Most cruise lines do a full buffet dinner at Midnight every night of the cruise. Disney did that too for a short time, I am assuming they stopped it because so few Disney passengers stay up that late.

kcashner
01-24-2009, 01:19 PM
Just one night, correct? And just dessert? They did that on our cruise too. Most cruise lines do a full buffet dinner at Midnight every night of the cruise. Disney did that too for a short time, I am assuming they stopped it because so few Disney passengers stay up that late.

True. DCL also has munchies outside the nightclubs. While it isn't a full buffet, it's plenty of food

msmayor
01-24-2009, 02:09 PM
Just one night, correct? And just dessert? They did that on our cruise too. Most cruise lines do a full buffet dinner at Midnight every night of the cruise. Disney did that too for a short time, I am assuming they stopped it because so few Disney passengers stay up that late.

I don't think that's true anymore. Many of the newer ships have food venues open throughout the evening and in to late night, so those buffets are not really necessary anymore.

We did have a 'midnight' buffet on our Freedom of the Seas cruise, but it was more of a regular buffet (rather than an extravaganza-type deal) with music and dancing on the pool deck.

msmayor
01-24-2009, 02:12 PM
I looked at both RCCL and DCL for the beginning of June and DCL was several hundred dollars LESS expensive. I booked my second Disney cruise. So it is not always true that DCL is the more expensive line.

Very true. It all depends on time of year, itinerary and how well each is selling.

On the flip side, someone posted elsewhere here that they were stunned to see a Category 9 for 4 on DCL the week of April 4th (a Western) cost $9,000. I priced RCL's Liberty of the Seas out of Miami for that identical date, also a Western. A Large Oceanview for 4 is $5,155. That right there is a HUGE difference.