DCL Pricing debate, who is right? Well everyone

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by cgolf, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. cgolf

    cgolf DIS Veteran

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    While on our latest cruise I thought of this analogy to represent both sides of the pricing debate.

    This is an example of a made up restaurant that a family initially loves.

    A family goes to a restaurant that allows you to bring in your own wine because they don't carry wine and will uncork and pour it for free. You get free breadsticks and they bring out a selection of veggies, dips, cottage cheese etc for free. The service and food are incredible and the prices are reasonable. For regulars the will sometimes throw in a drink or a free entree for you. This is the best place ever and you continue to visit them regularly.

    Well over time, they start to carry wine, so they no longer allow you to not bring in your own, not a deal breaker but you notice.

    Next the breadsticks and the veggie spread are still available but no longer free, still not a deal breaker but they have your attention now.

    To increase profits they cut back on staff so the service level declines and no longer give regulars freebies. At this point some regulars make stick it out and others will come less often.

    Well now that they have gotten rid of the freebies and the service isn't as good as it was before, they decide to almost double the price for the same menu items as before without raising the service level or adding any of the freebies back. While the food still tastes great, at this point many regulars will leave and complain about the decline in service and the diminishing value in what they receive. This is a valid argument.

    Now someone who has never been to the restaurant comes in and tries it, and thinks it is the best place ever. Also a valid argument.

    So who is right, both! I guess this stems from reading the pricing threads and seeing people trash each other, it truly is possible for everyone to be right:)
     
  2. Shanti

    Shanti Momketeer

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    Makes sense. When I go out to dinner my focus is on the main course (by the time I've munched on breadsticks, veggies, dip, and cottage cheese, I'm so full that I might as well go home), so maybe that's why I'm so happy with DCL. Metaphorically speaking.

    I will take issue with your comment about declining service & say that I've only had very good service on DCL. I've experienced a real decline in service over the past few years at WDW, but not on DCL.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
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  4. cgolf

    cgolf DIS Veteran

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    We definately have noticed it, over the years. It has even been different from the classics to the dream class. Many of the same crew followed us from the Magic post reimagining to the Fantasy 2 months later, and the same staff members were less friendly on the Fantasy vs the Magic. It sounded like they were scheduled to do more work on the Dream class vs the classics and that didn't give them much time to interact with us cruisers.

    For me the service seemed to decline slightly when the Dream came around. I am not saying it is bad by any means, just not as good as our first couple of cruises.

    Honestly though this illustrates my point. In the 9 years and 12 cruises with DCL this was something we noticed as it related to our family, different families may have had different results. I shouldn't have to defend that statement, and many times these are the points go out of control.

    Seeing your signature you started sailing DCL later than we did, our experiences will be different. I am just trying to say we don't need to pick apart everyone's comments good or bad about DCL:) This coming from a former DCL defender so I have been guilty of this for sure in the past:)
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
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  5. FigmentSpark

    FigmentSpark DIS Veteran

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    Before my mom went to see the Mona Lisa, she said everyone was telling her not to be disappointed, as it's small. She had an image of very small in her head and when she saw it, she thought it was much bigger than that. She was quite pleased, but noticed that the idea of big or small was all about expectation.

    DCL "value" is like that. It's all about your expectation. If you expect the moon and the stars to be set for your pleasure, you'll be disappointed. If you expect to just go and have fun and mind your own business, you may be pleasantly surprised at the friendliness and service. The same with the food. If most of your diet is normally fast food or family style food, you'll love the MDRs. But if you're a foodie that loves to splurge on good restaurants whenever you get the chance, the MDRs may not interest you at all.

    Expectation will reflect in the value you will perceive.
     
  6. cgolf

    cgolf DIS Veteran

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    Our expectations are always to go and have a good time, we are very laid back. We have just observed differences over the years. I feel there is a difference between expectations and value, especially related to the arguement above.

    For example when DCL dropped the extra onboard credit for gold and platinum cruisers, we missed out on an extra 250 per platinum trip and something extra for our gold trips. That to me is diminished value.

    Also believe it or not we actually like the MDR food on all of our cruises, we have only eaten one meal outside of the MDR, Palo, and regretted our choice.

    So for us we just compare the differences we noticed and they added up enough for us to switch for now but likely not forever.

    I will say that I sometimes think that for better or worse this board builds up people's expectations to the point that people will think they are getting less than they should be.

    I can honestly say that I have never had a bad cruise in the 14 I have done, some were definately better than others, but we got our monies worth in all of them.

    My point of the statement above was to base it on diminished value from a long time cruisers view, to a newbie thinking this is the best cruise line ever:)
     
  7. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    I like this analogy. I did notice that the biggest wow effect seem to affect mostly first time cruisers.

    I noticed that most of the time, among the cruisers who sailed with DCL after they sailed on other cruise lines opinions are a bit more scattered. A lot of them said they love it but find better value on other cruise lines. Some said they will add DCL to the list of potential cruise lines for a vacation. Some said DCL are not for them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  8. mcd2745

    mcd2745 These Mickey pretzels are making me thirsty!

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    I think it's a good analogy...and it can be true that everyone is correct. Generally, most of the people who take issue with DCL's pricing are not saying that DCL is an inferior product. Quite the contrary. Most would probably say that they still consider DCL the best and it would be their #1 choice if prices were the same across all lines. It's usually just a matter of, for twice the cost of the other lines, most don't see it as twice as good. A little better overall? Sure. Two times better? Not really.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
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  9. Sytrace

    Sytrace DIS Veteran

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    You have very valid points indeed :)
    We started sailing in November 2013 and with the exception of our most recent cruise on the Magic (1) in January, our experiences were on Fantasy (9 cruises) and Dream (6). I also sailed a long time ago in a far away land as a CM on the Magic in 1999.
    We prefer the larger ships and have made quite a few CM friends over the past few years who have worked on both Dream and Fantasy and in January saw several CM's we met originally on the Fantasy. The folks on Dream and Fantasy remember us (even before we got to know them more) but on the Magic, the CM's we met and saw just in September, looked right at us and had no idea who we were. We saw them many times during the cruise and each and every time there was no AH HA moment of recognition.
    There have definitely been policy and benefit changes that we miss though and yes, were a tad disappointed in when they happened.
    1. We sailed the cruise right before they changed the alcohol policy and we dealt with it when we could not bring our own whiskey on board (husband LOVES whiskey) no problem, just bought the beverage seminars and he had just as much fun for the amount he spent on the seminars.
    2. Then we were on the Fantasy in April 2017 and tried Palo brunch at the time of the Platinum/Gold reception on Easter Sunday. Had we known that would be the last G/P reception, I would have scheduled the brunch for later and enjoyed the reception. But as we all know that got removed as a "perk" as well.
    3. Food and shows HAVE gotten boring but the service is still top notch...well with ONE exception out of 16 cruises anyway...those are pretty good odds. And there are many food options that I would miss horribly if they were taken away even though it is the same cruise after cruise.

    All that being said, we are just thankful to be able to sail frequently and have accepted the changes and adapted to them as DCL knows folks will.
    If at any time though we start to get the point where we are not willing to spend the money to sail DCL then we will find other options.

    I agree that everyone can be right in this pricing debate...it just depends on what you are willing to overlook and accept when the changes happen and when/if you hit the break point.
     
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  10. kiford

    kiford DIS Veteran

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    Maybe another family didn't care to eat the free veggies or breadsticks. So when that disappeared, they didn't really care. Getting the occasional freebie was nice but not expected so it had no impact on their decision to go there. Maybe they also thought that the price was actually quite low to what they would expect to pay for something similar elsewhere so when prices increased they thought it was just a matter of time anyway. Maybe when the restaurant started offering their own wine, they were pleased about it because they no longer had to go to the hassle of bringing their own and now had access to more choices. Or maybe the criteria for choosing the restaurant was the location, the parking, the ambience, unique take on menu items, offering something no one else does.

    The fictional scenario put forward is presupposing that: (a) service and quality IS diminishing over time in a manner that can be quantified; (b) what was offered for the price initially was of equal value to everyone, so the elimination is important and noticeable; and (c) the primary driver for selection was the price/food-service ratio. IMO, this structures the scenario to fit a pre-made conclusion that only new people can see a good value proposition because the initial one was equally valued by all and thus all changes are bad. While I don't dismiss that there are people who feel that service and quality is diminishing on DCL, who feel that the price is too high for what they receive, or who may have had bad experiences, I do not feel nor share that sentiment. And while some things have been reduced, price-increased or eliminated, I either don't care or may well think that these things took away focus or spending on the things that are of value to me.

    Is it worth twice the price? First off, I have yet to find a cruise that meets my criteria that is half the price of Disney probably because of the things I value. For example, any cruise line that allows smoking indoors could cost $1 and it still would not be of value to me. A smaller room is not equivalent value to me so price comparisons must be done on a reasonably similar square footage basis. And I highly value my time. I have a limited ability to take vacation and when I do, I want to know that I'll enjoy myself. So if I find a cruise that is less expensive than Disney or which seems to offer more for the same price, I'm taking a certain risk that I won't enjoy it and will feel that I wasted my very valuable vacation days. Therefore avoiding that risk has value to me which has far more value than saving a few dollars.

    I actually agree with the OP who says that everyone is right. However, I think that you have to incorporate an added dimension of perceived value which is individual and may not alter even in the face of changes to what is on offer for the price.
     
  11. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    Good analogy. I haven't found a decline in service or freebies. I don't remember DCL every having freebies. I just know the price has doubled. I could sail concierge on another cruiseline for the same price. I haven't done it yet, but sometime in the near future I'm going to book that suite on Royal or NCL.
     
  12. tink1970

    tink1970 DCL Platinum

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    Exactly! Value is an inherently personal judgment and to have a consistently good experience with a known product is (almost) priceless to me.

    That said, I respect anyone who feels the value of DCL has decreased for them. Everyone is different and there is no one "right way" to vacation.
     
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  13. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    I've found just the opposite. Most first time DCL cruisers I've talked to onboard were one and done. It was something they could check off the bucket list. Some of them were disappointed. It's the Gold and Platinum cruisers I find that have an addiction to DCL. A lot of it's based on nostalgia, memories or just afraid to risk another cruise line.
     
  14. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    I base my judgment on DISboards only. I usually don't talk much to other cruisers.
     
  15. cgolf

    cgolf DIS Veteran

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    You are kind of making my point, everyone's point of leaving DCL is different, hence everyone is right. Up until last year we were DCL only cruisers. The example above loosely reflects changes we have noticed over the years and some from comments on the boards over the years.

    No need to pick the example apart, it was just that an example, there is no one size fits all answer. The whole point of it was to limit people picking apart each other's statements because they value different things, or perceive value differently. This was by no means an attack on the mouse. Had I written it like you said others would find holes in that too:)

    If you read my review on the Brilliance on the RCCL board you will see that we encountered service at the same level as DCL this year. Also the room sizes on the newer ships are similar and in some cases larger than DCLs. We chose to take a risk and for us it paid off, but that won't be true for everyone.
     
  16. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

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    Hey, this is the internet. Everyone being right is not allowed. :)

    (You are correct though)
     
  17. cgolf

    cgolf DIS Veteran

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    It was a huge leap for us to try RCCL, and up until we were on board I was second guessing myself based on all the reports that it would be way inferior to DCL in most ways and that we would be disappointed. That first cruise and especially this years has us feeling very good about our decision. Now each year when we price out cruises DCL is in the mix and if it fits the amount we budget, we will book it.
     
  18. mcd2745

    mcd2745 These Mickey pretzels are making me thirsty!

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    Problem with that is, on the whole, this is not the most objective group. So many are in the "Disney can do no wrong" camp that it is difficult to get a truly objective assessment.
     
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  19. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    It works that way.

    For me we’re pretty low maintenance and expectation. So while Disney is just fine, our first cruise was with Royal, so we already knew that we could get the same experience elsewhere. And we like cruising, just being on the ocean, so if we can do that MORE, with the same service (and Royal ships appeal to me more aesthetically), we’ll go with that line.

    But you have to have the knowledge or be willing to make that leap to find out.



    Celebrity is the only line with a casino that doesn’t allow smoking in it. In case you were interested in knowing that and maybe didn’t. :)

    IMO the only reason Disney doesn’t have smoking indoors is because they didn’t want a casino.


    Once you’ve been on other lines you might. Price that you can’t actually notice the smaller size of cabins. It’s one of those things you see on paper, but maybe not in person. Ship builders are amazing at creating spaces.

    Though I’ll also say that I tend to book interesting rooms on Royal, not anything even at a junior suite level, but the cool corner afts, or panoramic rooms, so doing that helps as well.
     
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  20. abuck75

    abuck75 Mouseketeer

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    Interesting that you didn't note any who said DCL would become their preferred cruise line. Essentially this comment implies that the best DCL can hope for with "veteran" cruisers from other lines is to be added to the "potential" list.
     
  21. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    I just noticed that there is too much stuff in my signature right now so the sentence: "*CAUTION: I'm french Canadian, therefore I might use the wrong words, or they might lack nuance... and most of the time my syntax sucks.* :blush:" does not appear.

    What I meant was (I'll try to rephrase it the best that I can and hopefully it's going to sound right): DCL is now among their first choices when it comes to choosing a vacation.

    But as a matter of fact, among experienced cruisers, I have not seen that much who put DCL as absolute No.1 ... But that doesn't mean it can't happen.

    Anyways... The point I was trying to make is that the opinions/reviews are more scattered vs the cruisers who started with DCL (I'm part of that group).
     
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