Intense competition between mainstream operators continues to keep fares down and ensure that cruises offer some of the best holiday value available.
It also encourages operators to find new ways to increase revenue. In the case of Norwegian Cruise Line , whose Norwegian Epic is now based year-round in the Mediterranean, that has resulted in a charge being made for room service.
The fee of up to $7.95 per order was introduced at the beginning of April on Breakaway and Getaway and to the rest of the fleet from the beginning of May.
So far, so good – nobody is forced to order room service, and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from on Norwegian ships. But the company’s latest move has caused uproar on internet forums such as Cruise Critic. Passengers have been banned from taking food to their cabins from the buffet restaurants.
Norwegian claims the move will improve hygiene by preventing spills and avoiding dirty plates being left in corridors.
In my case, it would mean that Mrs Greybeard will no longer be able to enjoy a morning lie-in while she waits for me to bring a plate of toast from the buffet.
On Royal, the daily rate for passengers in standard cabins is to rise from $12 to $12.95, while suite guests will pay $15.95 instead of $14.25.
The rates for standard cabins on Celebrity are the same, Concierge and Aqua class passengers face a rise from $12.50 to $13.45, and suite guests will pay $16.45 instead of $15.50. The changes take effect on June 1.
Norwegian raised its gratuities in February.