Some couples have expressed concerns they may be paying more for a ‘Lifestyle Cruise’ on the same ship they can pay less for the week in advance, or the week after a lifestyle-chartered cruise. We have been, for several months, exploring the possibility of chartering a ship (for the lifestyle) on our own and wanted to share this with the community. Explaining the charter process, the costs, the liabilities will really give you a new understanding of the process and the pricing. Chartering a ship that does not normally handle clothing-optional events is nothing like booking a group at a resort that caters to lifestyle couples on a daily basis.
First — Keep in mind the cruise in front of, and immediately after our lifestyle cruise is comprised of families and senior citizens with their clothes on, not partying, screaming kids and people playing checkers and reading books. Remember the last lifestyle cruise where there were 2000 naked people, pool parties, entertainment, contests and endless fun frolicking around the ship. Please put a vision in your heads of these two vacations …on the same ship … to the same port.
The Cost… OK, now the financial part. You understand the difference in the people and the fun, now what about the money. Why does the attendees change the amount of money the cruise costs?
To contract for a Clothing- Optional Take-Over cruise, the charter company must pay the cruise line on the day of signing the contract for the entire ship. Each and every cabin, port charges, taxes, everything, all up front and on the table. The contract for a cruise like this is more or less $1,500,000 ( one and half million dollars ) This is a huge financial risk for anyone to take unless they are totally confident the lifestyle community will rally around them and buy the cabins. The cruise charter company does not get paid any interest on this 1.5 mill and is losing about $75,000 in interest when they walk out the door leaving the money on the table!
Now to make matters worse, there are additional guarantees. The cruise line demands a $500,000 bar guarantee. That means if the guests do not drink much ( fat chance ) and they do not spend $500,000, the charter company must pay the difference. And, this might surprise some of you: they have to pay this guarantee up front. If they make their minimum, they will get a refund (sometime after the cruise get’s back), if they fall short, the cruise line will keep the difference and refund them the rest. So now, they are up to Two Million Dollars upfront! Good thing this is not a AA reunion group or they would b e in big trouble.
Now the great part for the customers is there is no way this boat is not sailing! It has been totally paid for, in full. This boat is sailing no matter how many people buy in, guaranteed. There is no way they are not going to sell enough cabins, cancel the trip and keep your money. Not going to happen. The boat is sailing with you on it if you are paid in full.
Back to the finances and liabilities…
Speaking of liabilities… Your liability for the next 10 months is just $50 per person. There is one huge liability on the charter company, and a huge amount of money in the hands of the cruise company not making the charter company a single dime of interest. All the charter company can hope for at this point is early registrations and deposits. Even with deposits, the cancellation time schedule is fair and gives you the opportunity to opt-out with a $50p/p penalty seven months before the ships sales.
Each cancellation is an unsold cabin and a $400 cruise ship penalty to the charter company. I hope your paying attention to this part: not only would the lifestyle travel agent not get the revenue for the unsold cabin, but they also have to pay a $400 p enalty for that unsold cabin.
If they were hosting a group on board the ship, there would be no penalty, but because they have a charter, that is the standard policy and now you know why they were giving away cabins at the last minute for the last cruise.
If the cruise line the week before sells only 60% of the ship … oh well …the ships sells with 60% and the cruise line has less profit for that specific cruise. If the charter company sells only 60% ( 600 couples ), they lose a lot of money as they have already paid for these cabins, AND they end up with $400 penalty for each unsold cabin!
I think you might be starting to get the idea now how risky this is and why you have not seen any total ship take-over lifestyle cruises before this time. Unless you are totally confident of the lifestyle and the dedication of the players to book your cruise, would you risk $1,500,000 ($2,000,000 with the revenue guarantee!)??
Charter Team — Here’s another tidbit you might find interesting: On every charter, the cruise line sends on a “Charter Team” to make sure everything goes smoothly for the booking agent. They are on board to help facilitate between the ship’s crew and the company that chartered the ship. Guess who pays for their 10 cabins? The company that chartered the ship! Yep, you heard that right, they take up regular cabins (not the ones the rest of the cruise staff use) and they charge the cabin, plus taxes, plus gratuities to the company chartering the ship.
Comps — When booking a regular group, there are all kinds of incentives that the cruise company gives travel agents. They can earn free cabins for specified amounts of cabins booked, free open bar receptions for groups, points that a travel agent can earn to raise their status and their commission rates and much more. All of this goes out the window with a full ship charter. Guess how many free cabins you earn when you charter a full ship with 1,100 cabins? None. That’s right, none!. You don’t get any points either, even though you are selling 100 times what some travel agents sell in a year.
Cruise ships look at charters differently than other cruises and here’s why: Only t wo types of people charter cruises: 1. Corporate (Fortune 500 companies) that don’t care about comps, points, etc… In fact, one Fortune 500 company recently chartered a full ship takeover (millions of dollars) and because the financial markets are being looked at closely, decided that it would be better to simply not go on the cruise after all. Of course, the ship was paid for, they couldn’t get a refund after they had already paid for the ship, but they didn’t care. They just told the cruise line: Nevermind. Imagine what it must be like to throw away millions of dollars rather than risk a little negative PR?
And #2. Gay cruises. Have you been online to see the prices of a gay cruise (www.AtlantisEvents.com)? If you think these prices are high, check out those cruises! There cruises are sometimes over double the rate of the same cruise. But, like this cruise, their production values are very high and it is a special niche market that they are working with. They are providing a very unique, onboard experience and the gay cruise market has simply exploded (O.K., bad pun) over the last 5 years.
So the rates may be higher than a normal cruise, but the theme, people, entertainment, everything is all different. If you are to compare prices, compare the prices to another currently operating lifestyle take-over ship and you will see the prices will be close to the same. Actually the last lifestyle cruise started at about the same prices and then drastically dropped just months before the cruise as that charter company saw the writing on the wall and calculated the potential losses, blowing out rooms. This will not happen on this cruise. The marketing is better, there is more lifestyle support as the organizers are actually part of the lifestyle community and the previous organizer was not.
Compare — If you really need to compare the price of the cruise to another lifestyle vacation, compare to Desire Resort and Hedonism Resort. A week vacation at either of these resorts will cost you very close to the same as the cruise. However, you will be exposed ( excuse the pun ) to 900 more couples than a full Desire Resort Take-Over at 110 rooms. Think about that, nine times larger than a Desire Resort take-over party. If you can’t find someone to play with 1,000 naked partying couples, maybe you should really think about staying home and going to the county fair.
We are all very lucky there is someone willing to invest over a million dollars and extended liabilities to provide to you a total-take-over cruise ship …at any cost. It is cool. There is nothing else like this out there. It is either worth the value for the entertainment for you …or it is not. But let’s not bad mouth the charter company for trying to make a profit while taking on such a huge risk while hoping that they don’t lose over a million dollars.
Bottom line is we all need to support anyone willing to take on this kind of liability for our enjoyment .. and they are entitled to make a profit! If we do not support them on this cruise, it will be the last one you see and that would be a shame because this is the perfect venue for a lifestyle event. No alcohol beverage control (ABC) people hassling us, no nipple police, naked and booze in the same place … you just need to contain the sex to the play rooms and your (or someone else’s) cabin!
See you on the cruise!