Friday, July 20, 2007

From the who really said that department:

In yesterday's Telegraph, writer Jane Archer went off on a rant about the "hidden" costs of cruising. Basically she was complaining about anything there is a charge for on a cruise.

Of course she says it's not the money, it's the principle. (The way she complains, she has me fooled.) She goes on to say cruise lines should be upfront about what's not included and how much those things cost, claiming she's struggled unsuccessfully to find out prices. (Has she actually asked a cruise line the price of a specific spa treatment, or the price of a bottle of Evian?) Never mind that if she's going to a resort at Disney World they don't have all those prices for extras published on their website either.

She doesn't stop to consider that no business tells you all the things not included with the purchase of their product; instead, they spell out exactly what is included. The Telegraph doesn't tell me, after all, that if I pay them to read their print edition, I have to pay for my own soap and water to get the ink off my fingers, or if I read it online for "free," I have to pay for my own internet access. It's just as silly.

But my main complaint with Ms. Archer's article is that at one point she asks, "So how does this fit with the idea that 'everything is included?'" That might be her idea of a cruise, but I don't think it's really the cruise lines'.

I also often see consumers say a cruise "is supposed to be all-inclusive." Ms. Archer even says, "Cruise lines tell us everything is included in the price of a holiday at sea," but she never cites any source for that claim.

Here's my question: Can anyone show me anything from recent history where a cruise line has actually said "everything is included?" I can't find any example, and I've looked.

Many years ago, I think cruise lines were giving the impression more, that most everything was included, but even then I don't remember them ever saying that everything was included, because it wasn't then, and it still isn't.