According to a prominent investment analysis released earlier this year, too little differentiation between cruise lines and too much homogenization in the product make it difficult for consumers to pick the cruise that's right for them. Here's what they're doing to stand out amongst the crowd.
From Kathy Kapes: "We would like to see the most we can in Alaska in about ten days. Would anyone like to comment on a comparison of an Alaska cruise plus a few days on our own to an escorted cruise/tour to flying into Anchorage and using a rental car plus hotel stays for that length of time? Which is the best bargain? Has anyone used the Alaska Ferry System to see the glaciers, rather than from a cruise ship?"
From frankkathi: "We are a group of about 20 taking a cruise for the first time this December. We will be going on an 11-day cruise on Celebrity to the Mexican Rivera leaving from San Diego. I realize I have lots of questions, but I would love to have as much information as possible before we travel. I could look at some tour books, but I am not as interested in what the companies want to tell us, I want the opinions of real people that use the cruise lines."
From manuela jones: "I have bought a cruise two weeks ago over the phone but have not received any tickets yet. I have called the travel agent but he does not return any calls or e-mails. I have talked with someone from RCCL and he said that I am all set and should wait a bit longer. What is the normal time for tickets to arrive?"
From bradenagp: "As far as i can see, discussion has all been about larger cruise ships leaving places like Venice. We are more interested in small greek cruise ship from Athens or a Greek island & strictly cruising the islands. Found alphayachting.com & it looks like what we want. Anyone heard of it? How do you check out a company like that?"
From Babara Claiborne: "I went on a weeklong cruise out of Puerto Rico on Carnivals ship Jubilee with two other girlfriends. While docked in the Dominican Republic we signed up for a Carnival-sponsored tour of Santa Domingo. On this tour we were taken into a shop that speceilized in a light blue stone called "Lorimar." While we looked at the jewelry that was marked in pesos, the salesgirl had a small calculator that converted to dollars. I saw a bracelet that I liked and she said it was $148 and matching earrings for $41. I purchased them both with my Am Ex. When I returned to the states and got my bill, it seems that a couple of zeros were added to the pesos and I now owed almost $2,000!"