Vallarta Living | Resort Lifestyles
For the first time ever, vacationers can combine the glamour of cruises with the flexibility of timeshare resort ownership.
Cruiseshares, a unique vacation ownership program, allows vacationers to purchase a segment of time aboard a Romantic Cruise Lines vessel and enjoy one of the world’s best vacation values. This revolutionary program, which offers different port-oriented cruises, allows owners to cruise each year during their selected time period.
"Based on the popularity of timeshares and cruising — the two most popular vacation activities of the last decade — we anticipate that Cruiseshares will become the new vacation trend," said Steven Priskie, president of Romantic Cruise Lines, the company that will operate and manage all the Cruiseshares vessels.
A Cruiseshare vacation can be purchased for a one-time payment that is lower than comparable real estate timeshare prices and with an annual maintenance fee that is a fraction of the cost of an equivalent traditional cruise vacation. Like land-based timeshares, Cruiseshares can be sold, transferred, rented or loaned. Additionally, owners have exchange privileges with a broad and varied selection of timeshare resort properties. And because of the all-inclusive nature of a Cruiseshare, a week on a Romantic Cruise Lines vessel may be traded for up to two weeks on land. Cruise periods can also be traded for voyages on other Romantic Cruise Lines vessels as they join the fleet.
VARYING PORTS OF CALL
Each Romantic Cruise Lines ship will offer owners a different type of cruise experience. These include cruises to the uncrowded islands of the Caribbean, the colorful Atlantic coastline of the Maritime Provinces, the ports of the Pacific Northwest not often visited by other cruise ships, and breathtaking Mediterranean ports with their timeless beauty and rich history. Itineraries depend on the size and purpose of each ship. When possible, itineraries may be scheduled to correspond with the interests of Cruiseshare owners. Itineraries are normally port oriented, allowing more time at each port as compared to most cruise lines. This allows time for passengers to enjoy destinations of interest and various recreational activities that would not otherwise be possible. Itineraries may vary each year and include ports that commercial cruise ships may not normally visit. The choice of geographic areas depends on the time of the year, e.g. the Caribbean in winter and the northern areas in summer. Cruiseshare owners may select a standard, deluxe or premium stateroom, with the price based on the accommodations. Along with the stateroom come gourmet meals, entertainment and a broad range of services and amenities not found in traditional, land-based timeshares. This includes complimentary refreshments, special dining options and 24-hour room service.
Personalized service is a top priority on all Romantic Cruise Lines ships. Cruiseshare owners will find the services, facilities and amenities on all vessels on a par with or better than those found on similar commercial cruiseships. Tipping is not permitted. Passengers are treated to attentive and personable staff members who are trained to anticipate passengers’ needs. Concierge service is provided to some staterooms that may be separated from other accommodations. Without diminishing the excellent service and enjoyment experienced by all passengers, this extra concierge service offers additional benefits similar to those provided by luxury hotels on designated floors with restricted access. Cruiseshare owners may request special services during their cruise. These include preferred beverages, special dietary requirements, reservations for activities at various ports—such as golf, tennis, scuba, tours— special health considerations, individual and group events, business meetings and other services not normally offered to all passengers on traditional cruise ships. Passengers are required to pay for some services and goods, such as the beauty salon, land tours, some alcoholic beverages and certain personal services. Cruiseshare ownership also includes all entertainment aboard the ship. Additionally, passengers have a selection of water sports, education programs and special events that vary according to the particular ship, its itinerary as well as the specific interests of the passengers. A long-term cost comparison, including the initial purchase price for Cruiseshares and timeshares, shows that the annual cost for similar commercial cruises and the price of equivalent timeshares can be more than twice the cost of a comparable Cruiseshares vacation.
WORLDWIDE EXCHANGE OPTIONS
Cruiseshare ownership provides a cruise vacation for seven days each year; however, owners can cruise at any time of the year by trading their time period for an alternative time on the same vessel or on other Cruiseshare ships. Romantic Cruise Lines administers these trades for a nominal fee. Cruiseshare owners may also exchange their Cruiseshare for a worldwide selection of land vacations through a timeshare exchange company. Because exchange companies rate Cruiseshares in the highest category, Cruiseshare owners receive the best of a wide selection of land vacations. Owners and members pay related fees and costs to the exchange company.
A Cruiseshare, like land-based timeshares, consists of an interest in a specific timeshare "unit." Owners have purchased the exclusive right to occupy a specific stateroom for a specific seven-day time period; full use of public areas; gourmet dining; shipboard entertainment; and other on-board amenities. There are 50 Cruiseshares for each stateroom with the remaining two weeks each year reserved for maintenance. As part of ownership, each Cruiseshare owner pays an annual maintenance fee for ship operations, repairs, owners’ association expenses and various passenger services: meals, entertainment, on-board recreation, some beverages of choice, and normal port charges. To assure owners that the low-cost annual maintenance fee remains reasonable, the developer is providing a contingency fund to cover any increases in the annual maintenance fee in excess of 3 percent per year. "Maintenance fees for two people at non-Cruiseshare timeshare resorts do not include gourmet meals, entertainment, 24-hour room service, stateroom stewards and other special amenities, not to mention they are usually much higher than Cruiseshares maintenance fees," Priskie said. "What’s more, the annual fee pays for most everything, including port charges, at a fraction of the cost of a typical cruise."
In addition to an extraordinary cruise experience, there are many other benefits for Cruiseshare owners. According to Priskie, high on the list are the economic efficiencies of purchasing a Cruiseshare as compared to a land-based timeshare. "The major difference is that a Cruiseshare entitles owners to an all-inclusive vacation. Onboard entertainment and gourmet food are included, unlike a traditional timeshare where owners must pay out-of-pocket for these activities," he said. "Cruises are the fastest growing segment of the vacation industry due to customer satisfaction. By purchasing a Cruiseshare, vacationers are assured of fixed prices for their favorite vacation, where they’ll enjoy world-class service plus new and different destinations - year after year."
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