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Old 04-22-2007, 07:57 PM
Elaine Santangelo Elaine Santangelo is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 200

Hi Bruno and Franz,

You are both right in many ways even with your contradictions. I was going to avoid this too because I don't want to stir trouble. Also, I for one, cannot afford the boats but I had never heard of them when I could afford them prior to 2001. That says something about their marketing efforts way back when.

Prior to 2001, the success factor got diluted with the purchase of the Hawaiian boats and the expansion plans on the east coast. That is not saying either of those markets are wrong. The Pacific Northwest has also been struggling to be successful or it would not have had the changeover of owners in its history.

Yet, even if I cannot afford the cruises, I do tend to agree slightly more with Franz and his journalism world of what the facts really are. Making a profit on these boats is dependent on so many factors: retaining dedicated help that keeps a consistently good product, retaining passenger loyalty to encourage repeat passengers and evangelizing for new converts. These are just some of the things that need to be considered.

From a former crew member who loved her time aboard all three boats, I also feel that even if I wanted to get back on board as a crew member that I cannot afford to. This is especially true if I stuck to being a bartender. Something as simple as giving away the softdrinks cuts into the earnings for a bartender. Yet, from a marketing standpoint, it makes a lot of sense to do that.

The live entertainment was and is top notch. They are part of the "draw power" for the boats. You cannot tell me that listening to Phil, or Jazzou, or Jackie, or Annie, or Paul or any of the other performers (who will now beat me with a wet noodle for omitting them) are not the best that money can buy. They know the product well and they are extraordinarily talented. Do I think the band should have complete brass section?- hell yes. Same with banjo players and I am still too young to consider the banjo or the calliope for that matter to be great music. But it is to many people and I appreciate that.

I do think trying to consider a small percentage of the market is false thinking. Franz, how much has your board grown in 7 years? Come on- a person does a Google search and where do they land? But I also think that unifying those voices so that they are supporters and not just critics is crucial.

Recently, I was the featured topic of a journalism class on people with unusual occupations. The criticism or re-write was to include more facts about how many overnight steamboats there were and are on American rivers.

But in answer to Bruno's last question: "MAL needs to ask the question why was that, and what was different then that brought the bucks in?" Even our economy was different then. I think Majestic America Line is trying to cater to the people that they feel can afford the boats (ships)- that 45 year old empty nester or on the verge of an empty nest. I think they are also aiming at the affluent singles crowd although cutting a break for the single traveller might help on that.

But I too am willing to want to say let Majestic America Line try things their way. I wish them only success. Let's pray that we don't have more disasters like 9/11 or Katrina that had profound impacts on the boats and the economy.

My two cents. . .
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