My Photo
Related Posts with Thumbnails

January 2017

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

« Barrel racing and pole bending at Kay El Bar Ranch in Arizona | Main | The President walks the streets of Washington »

January 15, 2009

Comments

Ted Marcus

I somehow got on the (snail) mailing list of a large travel agency that offers very tempting deals on cruises. They're usually but not always two-for-one offers. I usually throw the mailing in the recycle bin, but a Tahiti cruise looked sufficiently interesting for me to call them.

When I told the friendly agent that I wanted a solo booking, there was a rather long pause before she put me on hold. After a lengthy wait, she explained that the agency's agreement with the cruise line specifically excluded single-occupancy bookings. She could nonetheless book me, but the cost would be double the full standard brochure rate. That worked out to slightly more than three times the rate in the mailing. Then she suggested that I might be able to interest a friend in going with me by offering them a free cruise. Since that would qualify me for the two-for-one offer in the mailing, I'd come out way ahead that way. I told her that if I actually knew someone who was interested in going with me, I would not have asked about a solo booking.

About a year after that they had a similar offering, so just for giggles I called them again. The agent told me the same story about the agreement with the cruise line. But she said they now had a "waiting list" for single customers. You sign up, put down the deposit, and get paired up with the next single person who calls about the cruise, at the special rate. If a cabin-mate doesn't show up before the final payment date, you can either pay double the full standard brochure rate or get the deposit back. However, nearly all their single customers were women. But she'd be happy to take my deposit under those terms, and if another single man did happen to call about that cruise I'd be all set. I told her that I was glad to hear they were doing something to accommodate single customers, but I had no interest at all in sharing a cabin with a stranger.

I suspect that the storm clouds of the current economic disaster could have a silver lining for solo travelers-- at least for those who are securely employed and haven't lost their homes. If tour operators (and especially cruise lines) get desperate enough, they may warmly welcome single customers they previously spurned as "spoilage," with deals far more attractive than the usual "one for the price of two."

Ellen Perlman

Ted,

Interesting story. I'm wondering if whether even with the two-for-one, they stick the other person for high port fees, i.e., the only thing "free" is the basic price, but everything else is extra. If I were doing that deal, I'd be sure to ask those questions.

The comments to this entry are closed.