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About sparkmaster

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  1. sparkmaster

    LIVE Norwegian Bliss February 2-9, 2019

    On this ship as well. Driving over tomorrow from the gulf coast. Can't wait to get to the district.
  2. sparkmaster

    Not Happy with Liquor Up Charges

    Yes, you can use cruisenext with sailaway rates. Availiblilty looks to be anywhere from 6-12 months, probably dependent on whatever crazy algorithm they use to price cabins. Seriously, it's crazy.
  3. sparkmaster

    Not Happy with Liquor Up Charges

    Look at what NCL is doing, from the beginning. Back a few years ago they came out with this free UDP, just pay the gratuities. Every cabin category got the option of picking perks. Back in 2015 even studio cabins got 2. Then the sailaway rates come out, without the perks. Ostensibly these are last minute, heavily discounted rooms. In reality, they're what any other cruise line would call standard priced rooms, repackaged to think they're different. So now you have 2 classes of drinking passengers; those with free UBC (not really free, but w/e) and those without. Then NCL does two things. First, they widen the range between sailaway and standard (perks included) fare categories. Take a look at just about any cruise on NCL's website. Excepting last minute or otherwise strange voyages, there is a huge spread between standard and sailaway rates. Example: early march sailing on the Getaway, sailaway is $899 pp, standard is $1299pp. NCL is making $800 more from those two customers off the top. This doesn't count the gratuities (lord knows where those actually end up), which are another $277.20 from the same couple. Boom, NCL just generated an extra $1000+ of revenue for giving away a "free" perk. Now take a look at the other drinking demographic, the sail away non-UBPers. They want to have a drink or two at dinner, sure. A few frozen drinks, perhaps a mixed before dinner beverage, a glass of wine etc. NCL's core demographics are middle class folks who are somewhat price sensitive. So Mr. and Mrs. Sailaway take a peek at the drink menus and just about fall over. They want a drink, but paying for one glass of wine each is going to be almost (or over) $20. Even more for just about any sort of mixed drink. So they may pay for the drinks, or they may not. But they're surrounded by people who have the UBC and are having a fantastic time not giving one care about the price of most drinks. And here Mr. and Mrs. Sailaway are, nursing their one drink because they really really don't want to drop a jackson on another round. As they sit there, they do the math and see that 2 rounds of drinks a day will be more than the "charge" for the UBC (the explicit gratuity), and they remember that they're on a sailaway rate, which to them is a deeply discounted room. So next time, they know they want to do the UBC to save money and have more fun, not counting the near grand they're going to drop to "upgrade" to the higher fare class. The UBC perk makes money for NCL. It makes more money than people who pay for their drinks individually (or else why do it?). It promotes all day drinking (and the ancillary revenue that comes with this), and increases fun levels for most guests. They don't want people to count their pennies while they drink. By increasing drink prices across the board, they seek to increase the pain of those buying drinks individually, and drive them to fare categories that include perks. The big thing to look at here is the increasing price of certain mid and high level liquors outside of the UBP zone positions them for this new premium beverage package that includes everything. tl;dr, NCL making the UBP to seem more valuable than paying for individual drinks, making them more money and positioning their premium package for marketing
  4. sparkmaster

    Not Happy with Liquor Up Charges

    Simple. NCL doesn't want anyone drinking without the UBP.
  5. sparkmaster

    New UBP price list

    Some of the decisions made on the liquor list do strike me as quite peculiar. Rolling Johnnie Walker Black above the UBP threshold but moving Jameson Caskmates down to the included level? NCL is trying to be clever by inflating standard drink prices to move people onto their booking categories that include a perk, which usually ends up being the UBP. It's clever and original for the cruise market.
  6. sparkmaster

    Not Happy with Liquor Up Charges

    As a primarily beer and low end liquor drinker (I ascribe to the Joseph Stalin school of alcohol consumption), I have to wonder at what point they're going to start messing with specialty beer pricing. Only covering whats on tap etc.
  7. This is a truly awful thing. I am on the voyage departing tomorrow. I'm not sure how this is going to go. Between the late arrival and the potential for regulatory complications related to the govt shutdown, tomorrow could be interesting
  8. I think most of us agree that $100/day for a drink package is absurd, especially compared to the counterpart drink packages offered by competitors. I mean, we're talking about double the base cost (not including gratuities) compared to similar drink packages offered by other mainline companies. The big thing to consider is as of now, as long as free at sea remains in place, this is almost a purely academic discussion. With free at sea, our price goes from $17.80 to $19.80, which is still 1/3rd of the cost of other drink packages.
  9. So I just looked through the terms and conditions, and it only mentions cover charges (they will charge you the cover charge if you no show or cancel within 24hrs of the reservation). What it doesn't say is anything about a la carte dining venues. Someone upthread mentioned a $15pp cancellation fee, but I haven't seen that on NCL's website. A cancellation fee makes sense, but I haven't seen it documented.
  10. sparkmaster

    Noise Level in Getaway Solo Cabin aisles

    I've been in Getaway and Escape studios. All with connecting doors and on exterior hallways. Never once had an issue with noise.
  11. Where did you find that? I just dug through the dining T&C and the only reference I saw was for cover charges. This is a major change and I would love to see where NCL hid it.
  12. sparkmaster

    Studio Cabins

    Have only studio'd on the Getaway. NCL did a really good job of making the studio area seem like an exclusive/premium zone. Studio lounge has some solo specific stuff, and has snacks and a *real* coffeemaker (makes lattes and the whole shebang). Others said the cabins are small, and I agree. They are small, designed just for one person. I'm a fairly large person and I have no problems in the studios. No issues with the showers, toilets, bed, nothing. IMHO, perfect for one person. They're my go to room unless I can snag a great deal on a balcony. My only quibble would be storage. There is plenty of storage space in the studio, but the arrangement is such that there is lots of room for hanging garments, but comparatively little drawer space. Still, not nearly enough to ruin my vacation.
  13. sparkmaster

    Solo Cruiser's Roll Call

    I am so incredibly envious of you booking that cruise. Have a great time!
  14. sparkmaster

    Solo cruiser - Balcony or Studio

    I've done both. Ceteris paribus, take the balcony. You can still do the solo get togethers (which are oftentimes held in public areas after the first day), and the solo lounge isn't worth giving up a balcony. Plus the balcony stateroom itself is far larger.
  15. sparkmaster

    NCL Bliss Skipping Glacier Cruising

    Helicopters are unstable flying machines, especially dangerous when flown in the dead man's curve (which an ocean evacuation would require). Helicopters are normally used only when the risk to the patient outweighs the risk to machine and crew. Not to mention the other factors that may completely preclude helicopter use (weather etc.). Please let the professionals do their job, and go about your vacation, thankful you weren't the one evacuated.