It’s one of the most common complaints among some cruisers, voiced every day on message boards, in Facebook groups and anywhere else that sea-faring folks gather to chat: Complaints that [insert cruise line name here] is nickle-and-diming customers to death. Whether it’s charging for room service or raising pre-paid gratuities, whenever an aspect of cruising sees its cost go up, the complaints rain down.
But is it a valid complaint?
According to Statista.com, cruise lines made an average of $184 in profit per passenger between 2011 and 2014. The numbers take into account the average ticket price and amount of money spent by passengers while on board and compare it to the cost of providing those services. Interestingly, while the resulting average remained largely the same in 2012 ($182), 2013 ($185) and 2014 ($184). However, in 2015, the number jumps up to, on average, $226. And while that may seem like a big jump, it’s worth noting that even that is only a 12.7 percent profit which, for most big businesses, is not a particularly large number.
There are, of course, all kinds of mitigating factors which vary from not only line to line but also cruise to cruise. For example, while some might protest when the cost of dining in a specialty restaurant goes up, that might well be countered by the fact that on the same cruise, one books a package which entitles them to a free drink package.
Do more options mean more expenses?
Another thing to consider is the ways in which cruising has changed over the years. In the past, many lines offered little in the way of specialty dining, whereas now, most offer numerous options. And while enjoying those alternate dining venues usually comes at a price, they are also easily avoidable. Much of what people complain about being “nickle-and-dimed” on actually involves discretionary items which can be replaced by free options (or skipped entirely).