Q – HavingSilverseas  Vietnam  B recently retired, and being terminally bored with nothing to do but hit the little ball in the hole, I’ve had time to do internet “research” on our next cruise. I am a former CFO for a major Fortune 500, but I confess to utter confusion about what is a real deal and which is absolute marketing hype, as you all describe it. Love to know what I am looking at in terms of the announcements about Silverseas spicing up the deal on their Asia cruises next year. Just found this site by accident and I’m still trying to find out if you’re legit. I can’t figure out how you make money. Are you guys broke?  Do you take donations for the site?

A – Well, best to break down your questions a bit. You’ve got quite a lot in here. You have actually stumbled on a “Real Deal” from Silverseas in conjunction with their excellent Asian itineraries aboard the Silver Shadow in 2016. These sailings have had a light response and Silverseas has created a package that includes two complimentary pre-cruise hotel nights, Free shore excursions, Free round-trip economy air, and Free Wi-Fi.

This all looks good in print but let’s break it down: The Free Wi-Fi assumes that users won’t get totally frustrated by the slow speed of internet at sea. In fact, “slow internet” is one of the top two complaints received by five-star cruise line management. Truly high-speed internet will be a reality in 24 months aboard all of the top lines. But thus far, the technology is limited to just a handful of ships. The Free air offer is nice but it applies to economy air to Asia. Most guests on Silversea have never seen the rear two-thirds of an aircraft and are generally unaware that every passenger does not receive flat bed turn-down service. That said, this is still an excellent offer on a cruise  line that is on an upward trajectory.

We do not take cash donations but you might want to send us some truffles to pass around in our offices. They must be from Elba. We’ve been in business for 30 years and we’re not quite broke. We operate our web sites in the consumer’s interest because that has always been our business strategy. We know that virtually every cruise review is either written by amateurs with little or no industry knowledge  or by a “journalist” who has received a free trip. That path will never lead you to the truth. Our clients are in seven countries and 47 States. We are busy enough that it is unnecessary for us to advertise or solicit. We accept new clients from our sites only when we feel there is a real compatibility of interests. We have absolutely no interest in soliciting those who enjoy a professional relationship with a travel consultant. As to whether or not we are “legit” – no not at all – in the traditional travel agency sense.