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April 1997 Vol. 12, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
What's this?

The Price of Solitude

Do you have to share quarters?

from the April, 1997 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Dear Editor:

It was my privilege to be a passenger on the Sun Dancer the week of December 15-22. A fine boat, and a terrific crew. That said, I was unhappy with the situation at the Palau Pacific Hotel on the final night of the trip. I traveled to Palau as a single diver. When I booked with the Sun Dancer's Coral Gables office, I was informed that I would, in all likelihood, be sharing the cabin on the boat. I expected this, and was willing to accept that situation. I was not, however, informed that this would be the situation at the hotel on the final night. I was only informed that a room at the Palau Pacific was included in the package price. After six days in a small cabin with a complete stranger, I had no interest in further contact with my cabin mate, but only upon my arrival at the Palau Pacific did I find out that we were booked into the same room. My only recourse for solitude was to pay for my own room at the full rack rate of $255 per night.

Jack Doll, APO

I, too, would have been surprised to reach the hotel and find that I still had a roommate. As a frequent single traveler on live-aboards, I'm accustomed to sharing quarters with strangers. That's life on a boat; if you want a cabin of your own, you can expect to pay one and one-half times the cost of the trip. But that shouldn't apply to your hotel room.

Even though the Sun Dancer's literature specifies "all prices per person on a shared basis. . . . Staterooms are double occupancy," I can easily understand how you were surprised to find yourself with a roommate at the Palau Pacific Resort.

I called the Aggressor fleet to see if you would have had to share a room if you had been traveling on the Palau Aggressor. You don't stay the last night at a hotel; you spend it aboard, with your roommate, of course.

Unfortunately, the norm in travel is that you suffer for traveling alone. Even though I think it could be more clearly stated in the pre-travel literature that the hotel is also based on double occupancy, the single traveler has to assume that everything is priced on a share basis unless clearly stated otherwise.

The burden has been placed on the consumer, the single traveler, to find out ahead of time the penalties of being an individual. I hope that after reading of your experience, other single divers will avoid having to face similar surprises.

One consolation: wasn't the diving on Palau great?

J. Q.

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