The @WTACruise Was a Ruse. Thank God Fans Shunned It.
WTA Legends Cruise Offered So Little for So Much
I’ve taken a few cruises in my life and I enjoyed them, but I have so many friends who think a Caribbean cruise is somehow a lower middle class way to travel. They bemoan the institutional-level food. They have nightmares of obese, hirsute travel companions who are too scared to even travel to Europe. My elitist East Coast friends are wrong and they need to get over it. And they would have been able to indulge their expensive tastes if the WTA’s outrageously-overpriced Legends Cruise had ever set sail.
Royal Carribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas may have looked like a pension-plan booster for WTA employees when it planned to disembark from Miami this November with four VIPS on board–Chris Evert, Lindsay Davenport, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Jen Capriati. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Shelby Rogers and Lucie Safarova were also scheduled on the the four night, five day adventure with exotic ports of call like Key West, Nassau and Royal Caribbean’s private isle, Coco Cay.
First, let’s talk about cruise hierarchy. This was a short cruise to relatively lame destinations. Some cruises take you to Aruba, Cayman, and Guadeloupe. The four night quick jaunt to the Bahamas and Key West was a cruise-lite. And Coco Cay is a commercialized little place where all the souvenirs and food on the island are provided by Royal Caribbean. The only locals you’d meet there are independent contractors of the cruise line who come to peddle their wares for you. Luckily for those independent contractors, there’s no competition amongst them, so that would’ve meant higher prices for you and no authentic local flavor. A complete cultural waste of a day in the Caribbean in my opinion. Yes, I’ve been there.
Because it’s a weak itinerary, you can score some great deals on a cruise like the WTA Legends junket if you still want to cruise. If you can wait a month, you can book the same luxury stateroom for 40% of the price of the WTA Legends Cruise. Stateroom 7136 on the Enchantment of the Seas, for example, is listed at $1838.80 for a family of three (mine) for a December voyage on Royal Caribbean’s website. It was $4,469.00 for November’s Legends Cruise. That’s would’ve been $2,630.00 more for the same stateroom just to hang out with Chrissy and Bethanie all week…or not.
For the bloated price of your cruise ticket, you would have been treated to an opening night show. All cruises have their little opening night show and they’re usually terrible. Throw in Chris Evert on the stage and this could have been an epic for the ages. So that would have been something.
You could’ve even watched the players play a little beach tennis on Corporate Cay, I mean, Coco Cay.
There would have been a Q&A session with the players and some kid’s quick play courts on deck. Wow.
Then there was the regular cruise ship itinerary repackaged to sound tennis-y.
A “WTA Fans Got Talent Show?” Oh, hell yeah!
Following that would have been a cocktail party, a “disco” party and the obligatory cruise ship belly-flop contest. If I thought the players would actually participate in the belly-flop contest, that would be impressive, but I highly doubt that they would.
So there must have been some other major extras, right? Right, but those extras cost majorly extra.
For example, you could hit with a pro, but no one currently inside the top 40, with up to 75 of your closest cruise-mates for two hours…for $299.00 per person.
You could have had dinner with your choice of Shelby, Jen, Arantxa, Lucie or Bethanie with five other guests who werer willing to shell out $399.00 per person to eat the food you already paid for with your cruise ticket.
But there is one thing that those inflated cruise prices wouldn’t get you: A freaking autograph. This is the part where I became incensed enough to take the time to write this post, and I believe that’s what killed this cruise.The WTA Legends Cruise had an “Autograph Policy.”
You were going to pay extra for this, so listen up.
If you wanted an autograph with one of the players, you’d have to buy a pass for $249.00 per person. That would have gotten you into an All-Access autograph session where you could procure ONE autograph of each player and they wouldn’t even let you pose for a photo. Don’t even think about trying to score one like you’ve been accustomed to at every tournament in the world, like asking for one for free.
The WTA was going to be watchin’ you, man.
Here’s the Cruise’s “Autograph Policy”:
“Outside of the structured autograph session, there will be no autographs given by players for the duration of the cruise. This will allow you to enjoy conversation, casual interaction, playful competition and photo opportunities with the players knowing that autographs have a time and a place.
All players will adhere to this policy, so we ask that you refrain from asking for autographs outside of the set autograph sessions.”
Yes, autographs have a time and place, like never in the middle of a match. This, my friends, was simply fan financial abuse.
Short advice would have been to skip this boondoggle of a WTA money-maker. The cruise was a ruse. Save yo’ money, honey—and you did by not booking a stateroom. You could have booked a cruise on the same ship, taken the $2,630.00 you saved and went to any tournament in the United States with that money and gotten all of the autographs you wanted. Hell, now you can even watch current players inside the top 40 competing in meaningful matches, including men!
Chris Evert is always running around the grounds of a tournament covered by ESPN, and she’s always happy to give autographs when not shackled by the handcuffs of the now-defunct WTA Legends Cruise’s protection racket.
—Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic