Cruises used to be billed as “all-inclusive” experiences. But as I report in my latest National Geographic Traveler column, some cruise lines seem enamored of the airline industry’s rich profits, derived almost exclusively from fees.
This weekend’s question is simple: Should they go “a-la-carte” with their fares?
(By “a-la-carte” I mean unbundling the cruise fare, and charging extra for meals and other amenities that used to be included in the price of the cruise.)
Incidentally, if you want to see how far this can be taken, check out the European cruise line EasyCruise, which charged you extra for almost everything (including towels and maid service, in its first year of operation).
In yet another sign that the Transportation Department is serious about protecting the rights of consumers, the government this morning fined US Airways $40,000 for failing to disclose the full price consumers must pay for air transportation.
“When consumers shop for air travel, they have a right to know how much they will have to pay,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a prepared statement, adding, “We will continue to ensure that airlines comply with our price advertising rules.”