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Everything posted by littlelulu01

  1. For Americans Some insurance policies have pre existing condition waiver if purchased by final payment. April cruise, Nationwide cruise insurance and CSS come to mind. I know op didn’t purchase a plan but coverage is pretty confusing so I see how one can end up in his situation. If you miss the purchase at initial deposit waiver window most plans have a look back period of typically 60-120 days from day of purchase. The waiver is nice to have even if you don’t have any preexisting condition upon purchase. For example a young healthy adult might think there’s no need. We take no medication and are healthy. I didn’t purchase a plan upon initial deposit. Shortly before final payment my husband messed up his knee and went to the doctor. I ended up going with April cruise insurance because they had the waiver at final payment. He was healed and able to travel the day I purchased the plan. My luck something might happen to his knee on the trip and if it did we wouldn’t be covered with pre existing condition plan. In any case who wants to mess with proving your health, providing records...for 60-120 days prior should a claim be necessary. I’ve purchased expensive policies in the past and ended up canceling the cruise prior to final payment. The insurance company let me take the unused premium and put it towards a replacement cruise but I think you need to request and it’s not guaranteed. I also recently discovered our primary insurance plans, through work, actually does cover us outside the country - something I assumed it wouldn’t. Not all plans do but mine has the same coverage outside the us as at home. No coverage for a med evacuation though and also no reimbursement of expenses should we cancel cruise but something to check into if going on an inexpensive sailing. Med evacuation only insurance can be purchased on an annual basis. Op- one thing that might be an option - do you have anyone willing to go in your place? Your pcc or ta potentially might let you swap out 2nd passenger and then first passenger. If someone else willing to go in your place at a big discount you might be able to get a little $ back. If not, ncl will refund your taxes and port fees, beverage package fees, dsc, specialty dining service charges... they just won’t refund the actual fare. Cancellation penalty schedule is on their website. It varies depending on initial payment.
  2. This sounds more reasonable than op’s claim that he won’t be covered should he decide to travel. There’s countless scenarios one could plug in regarding how frustration op has with ncl are misguided. I often purchase non refundable hotels online. Once done I am not able to call Expedia and say, I want to change dates. It’s a final purchase and non refundable. If I want refundable I pay for an insurance policy or purchase a refundable room and pay more $. If I want a refundable cruise I purchase cancel for any reason insurance and pay more for it. Cancel for any reason has limitations too. The only options I see are; Go on the cruise & have fun if medically able to travel or cancel and chalk it up to an expensive lesson learned.
  3. Op- I’m not familiar with Canadian policies but from what you are saying - Canadian cruise insurance policies will not cover a claim for anything that happens prior to commencement of vacation nor will it cover anything you ever previously had treated if reoccurrence during travel regardless of when you purchased the policy. In addition your primary insurance will also cover nothing for travel outside your province. Sounds pretty harsh but if true I’d definitely had purchased the 90% cancel for any reason with ncl if I was Canadian! Idk how Canadian’s can travel within their own country let alone outside with those exclusions! But fyi in your situation- had you been an American purchaser of Allianz and purchased said policy with a pre existing condition waiver- your situation, as an American, still wouldn’t be covered. You are wanting a refund for travel costs but are medically able to travel. That’s not a valid pre existing covered reason for cancellation. Cancel for medical reasons is only covered if you are not able to travel due to medical condition and a doctor certifies this. Pre existing condition or not you are not in a medical claim situation.
  4. Regarding ncl giving you credit - no cruise line will do what you are asking for. So it’s kinda a moot point when you didn’t purchase their cancellation insurance to now be asking for a refund. Regarding cruise insurance- if you purchase cruise insurance at the same time as the cruise or within the allotted days, they often include preexisting condition coverage. It sounds like you are both currently able to travel though so canceling your cruise because you “might” have a flair up isn’t a valid pre existing condition cancellation reason even if you had pre existing condition waiver. Check with your primary medical insurance to see about coverage. Sounds like your options at this point are either go on the cruise or cancel with penalty.
  5. Not necessarily true about the insurance. It depends on the plan and situation. Some plans with Nationwide and April have some unique compensation reimbursements depending on state of residence that would in essence make up for lost airfare or extra hotel on top of Ncl’s offer. According to cruise line’s contracts (not just NCL) they can cancel at any time for any reason and need only refund your money. That’s in the contract I sign off on anyways. Of course if corporations followed their cruise contracts to the letter when things go wrong, it would not be long before they had a terrible reputation and nobody would sail with them so they often go above and beyond such as ncl did in this case. Ncl has really stepped up their game in the last year or so and is now on par or better with any other reputable cruise line’s offer when stuff happens. The offer for both of these sailings is a gesture of good will and a very genuine attempt for the cruise line to make it up to those affected. They have made great strides by trial and error, now avoiding major dry dock work on revenue sailings, planning a little more ahead for charters, stepping up when things go wrong and avoiding bad press. Going on a cruise in another country without any back up plan, without any money, without any ability to make changes on the fly if necessary is a VERY, VERY bad idea. Passengers affected by the cancellations could just have easily had some other issue that affected their ability to sail that was not NCL’s fault. Cruise lines are not an airline with extra ships sitting around to trade out when something happens. Major disruptions in travel could just as easily been related to a Boeing 737 max, weather, an act of war…. In those cases it would not have been NCL giving any compensation and insurance might not be covering any expense either. These passengers are not drifting at sea on a broken ship, being airlifted off in rough seas. They are safe on land and have nice compensation to look forward to. With a minimum level of planning ability these vacations could be salvaged and then some. If that wasn’t possible the combined compensation from ncl should be enough to get home and pay for a future make up vacation. Disappointment certainly understandable. The compensation from NCL is about the best case scenario one can expect when a vacation is altered for whatever reason.
  6. Everyone has different circumstances and definitely see how a cancellation last minute is not fun! Some are large groups, various mobility issues, lots of luggage, little funds available, non refundable airfare... If travel had already commenced and coming back early was too expensive, there were many alternatives. Last week they had inexpensive alternative cruises. They had crown plaza Rome hotels for $89/night. That’s the 4* hotel ncl uses with swimming pool... larger groups could get an Airbnb or villa in country and plan day trips with those who wanted leaving grandma or whoever behind at the pool for the day. We’ve done trips such as this in Tuscany before and they are very inexpensive. August is the busy crazy month with little hotel availability but even in August we’ve easily found last minute hotels... large amounts of luggage can certainly turn to a ball and chain with land based travel. I’ll NEVER bring more than I can easily carry up and down stairs at a brisk pace. Luggage storage is available at train stations or simply stay put in one place with day trips is another option with too much luggage. Venturing out in countries with a language barrier can be a little scary at first but thousands of kids do it alone, without parents, when they study abroad. They learn quickly and find its very easy to make WiFi calls and use internet at cafes for free, purchase airfare, hotel... every week for the last minute trip to Budapest... our daughter’s school counseled parents on importance of leaving them to their own devices and not worrying. Gives me hope that those affected by the cancellations will have some type of skill and resources to make lemonade out of lemons. I guess id pick a land vacation any day over a situation like herdingmom had with the Star limping around for months and ending up afloat at sea. To me that sounds scary and potentially disastrous!
  7. Sometimes it’s less $ to throw away the original ticket and just purchase a new one. $150 change fee plus the cost difference of what you purchased originally to what fare is today. There’s some very inexpensive alternatives (likely much less than $150) to get from bcn to fco on budget airlines. Im sorry but I’m Perplexed by those claims of being “stranded.” What if those “stranded” had instead got sick, missed the ship in port, missed a connection flight and had hotel expenses? the insurance company wouldn’t be paying the affected upfront. I got sick on a Europe sailing and saw ship doctor. I had to pay upfront and seek reimbursement for expenses. It took several months. 100% refunds plus 100% towards a future cruise for July 5th and 50/50% for the sailing terminated eary? I’d be off having a great land based trip and excited to get home and have a nice chunk of change to plan my next adventure! Granted its its certainly a bummer that a big vacation for those affected but Ncl’s offers must be a welcome benefit to most.
  8. Regarding travel insurance- some plans cover missing ports of call. Nationwide has a good plan but that coverage isn’t available for all states. April cruise insurance has missed port coverage. I think it’s $200/missed port up to $600. Some plans will let you move the policy to a future trip for a small fee that sometimes can be waived. Had I been on the July 5th sailing and hadn’t commenced my trip yet I’d probably still go on a much less $ land based trip and pick up a less expensive medical only policy, take my expensive premium for the high priced cruise and move it to another similar priced future cruise. Cruise insurance reimburses you for covered expenses after you file claims and they approve. It doesn’t purchase plane tickets, pay the medical bills upfront for this sort of thing, so there’s always a possibility of needing access to upfront money. Most plans have concierge services to help with the logistics so they can be of assistance with rebooking flights, tracking down lost luggage, help finding a doctor, coordinating services...some plans will also wire you cash in an emergency but thats just a service- not money the insurance company is giving you. Really important to have access to funds if needed for this sort of scenario or any multitude of other issues that can arise while traveling. I know when daughter did study abroad we had to show notarized bank proof of 10 or 20k cash in bank earmarked for her in order to have visa approved. Her school tuition took care of medical insurance coverage and had a doc on campus in Florence but extra medical was coverage was also mandatory. Unexpected travel changes certainly no fun and I feel for those affected. Sounds like ncl is making everyone as whole as they reasonably can.
  9. Idk. they might be upping their quality and menu choices. They are giving the bigger ships something extra in exchange. As of right now I don’t see anything except extra charges for smaller ships with less specialty venues. Specialty dining might be going the way of the beverage packages. Use it if a perk and otherwise not bother. I’m pretty sure at this point I’m not willing willing to pay a few hundred extra per day for specialty dinners without a package and at $39 extra for a meal with a package, I’d certainly expect great food and service, no exceptions. When the meals weren’t much extra I let an over cooked steak or poor meal slide - not worth it to send back/complain. But at the price they’re now charging I won’t. We eat almost all dinners specialty when sailing ncl. Since the per meal costs decrease with increased number of meals purchased I’ll likely just move to sail away rates and forgot free at sea for my non suite rooms. there’s typically a $400 spread on fas pick a balcony over sail away rates. I don’t need the beverage package so I’m fine without fas and just purchase a dining pkg oop. A little tougher choice for those that benefit from beverage perk to switch to sail away.
  10. I read the new t&c’s and it does look as though they’re making specialty dinner packages more inclusive however their smaller ships that don’t have the added venues like Ocean Blue. Right now those ships seem to be out of luck. Perhaps they’ll surprise me and add back lobster as a specialty venue choice on ships that don’t have all the extra venues and ocean blue. I’m not going to rush to judgment just yet on the increases. It might play out nicely. It might just just be a loading issue with adding new prices but right now the 5 meal packages are $6 less than the 4 meal packages on my ncl. I currently have three cruises booked; Bliss, Gem and Jade 14-21 nights in range and the only $24 increase I’m seeing is on the 3 & 4 night packages. I did end up purchasing additional packages for our upcoming sailing last night so thanks to op I saved about $50.
  11. Congratulations! Now you can work on creating Haven at home, well minus the butler, housekeepers and cooks. But nothing will feel better than someday having a house paid for and extra money going towards vacations instead of rent. Life flies by and 15 or so years from now you will be pretty happy paying off that mortgage! A resourceful person such as yourself will likely be planning the next vacation pretty quickly so best of both worlds.
  12. Plus the dsc/double tips for the meals you don’t eat in inclusive venues. I know food is subjective but if any of the inclusive venues were stand alone restaurants in my town they wouldn’t stay in business. We like the specialty venues and just purchase the specialty package for every night. I honestly wouldn’t care much if they raised prices to offset better food offerings but I suspect that’s not happening. It’s more a product of take all five perks for everyone. It’s not so much the prices going up that bugs me. It’s the quality going down at the same time. The last few times we’ve eaten in cagney’s it’s not been that great- no comparison to a good land based steakhouse. It would be nice if instead of just looking at bottom dollar profits they tried to factor in better specialty meals alongside the price hikes. Would love it if they said here’s this years hefty increase but now you’re getting this better cut of steak and lobster is back. Instead it’s everybody gets pick all 5 and they’ll likely just further cut back the quality alongside the price hike to garner more $. Free at sea isn’t so fun anymore. The email every morning about how the fas ends at midnight or in 36 hours... simply doesn’t entice me to do anything except not open it and hit delete.
  13. Vacation costs don’t necessarily follow inflation. They’ll make hay while the sun shines. 2012 we were in a pretty big recession. I got a villa at the Fairmont Kea Lani for around $500/night in 2012. Today they’re $2500/night. Our first Haven 2 bedroom on the Pearl Alaska in 2013 was $4200. Disney vacation club was selling for half what it is today. Right now folks are traveling so companies are trying to get what they can. Alaska, Hawaii, Europe seems to be the most lucrative cruise markets. Something like a volcano erupting, hurricane, political unrest, war, terrorism... brings prices way down. The higher priced suites on ships, hotels... are often the rooms that see the deepest discounts in an economic downturn. Deals can can still be had. The Joy Alaska had some great rates on Haven Alaska this year. The Jade Europe had some Haven prices that verged on reasonable for this year. When they moved the Pearl to Europe for this year Haven suites were really high but I see the prices going down now and suspect many Haven suites on the Pearl will end up going to upgrade advantage whereas the Jade pretty much sold out the season at list prices. We paid more than I’d like for our Jade Haven this year but it wasn’t too far outside the comfort window. Last year i really wanted a haven suite on the bliss alaska but prices were insane. We ended up with a mini suite. Bid unsuccessful for Haven and ended up having a great time. I now know husband will have just as nice a vacation in non Haven so It’s no longer haven or nothing if traveling with him.
  14. I reread your question and see what you’re saying. I’ve not seen much difference in onboard prices to online pre cruise prices if you’re talking about what’s offered just prior to sailing vs onboard. The big fluctuations I’ve seen are more season to season. If sailing at beginning of a season then you might see a big change like I mentioned above but otherwise it’s typically about the same onboard. Sorry I thought you were talking about shore excursion perk. I’m pretty sure with the perk prebooking/paying onboard that the prices are honored at prices the day you booked vs what prices might be onboard.
  15. Most of my excursions have increased, some quite a bit. For example the GOT tour for Dubrovnik was $89 pp when booked however it’s $129 pp today. 12 ports could add several hundred $ If original booked prices not honored onboard. Should the original prices when I booked not be honored, I believe I can cancel the ship’s excursions 48 hours in advance. I do have screenshots for all excursions and I was assured the prices the day I booked would be what I am charged onboard however shore excursions rep was not able to send an invoice to include booked prices. The today prices are so inflated that even with the double shore excursion credit (distinctive voyage and fas), latitude discount and obc, it would be less $ to just diy. They were actually almost “free” when booked so hopefully that will hold true.
  16. I can’t remember. We usually don’t because our cc has insurance. I know price of car for the 24 hours was reasonable. There’s parking lots in town behind the big church that are free. Parking lot where ship docks is free. Outside of town it’s pretty rural driving. Same side of road. I think the only difference was the roundabouts might go the wrong way. Lots of roundabouts heading to golden circle route. The Europecar rep gave us a lowdown on the different road rules which were not many. We purchased a water package on the ship. Their prices were a fraction of cost on shore. There’s a nice gift shop, store place to get a coffee, something to eat if needed and public restrooms at Geyser. I think they had a restroom at godafoss too. We never made it to blue lagoon. I didn’t have much interest after reading reviews of swimming around with hair balls and the crowds. We did enjoy the town the first afternoon and then got to bed early and were in the car really early. We had plenty of time to gas up and get back to ship after the golden circle. I was planning on renting a car in Akureyri the following day and hit a geothermal spa but cancelled the rental and just walked to town from ship, ate, shopped and walked through the beautiful gardens.
  17. Europecar. You could see their green kiosk from the ship. They have the gps all preloaded with anything you’ll want to see including how to get back to the port. It was only a few dollars extra and so worth it to just push a button vs messing around with potential issues with internet/google maps. Plenty of easy parking at the ship for overnight which makes early am golden circle a breeze on 2nd day- nice to beat the crowds. They have a key drop box if they aren’t around when you turn in the car. They’re a large company in Europe. Best to book directly with their local office though for best prices. Fuel is REALLY expensive so we got a smaller vehicle which was just fine in rain/wind. https://www.holdur.is/en/services/protection_extras/locations
  18. Anytime I’v called shore excursions they are very friendly, knowledgeable and they will go over excursions in detail if you have questions. They have also given recommendations and will put me on hold/find out more and get right back to me if they aren’t sure. They’ll give you the running total with your latitude discount but yes, they don’t have ability to send invoices with prices. I also screenshot the excursions because some of mine have increased since I booked. I think sometimes you get lucky if shore excursions are bookable season ahead - end up with the prices from last season. Great way to book if you want to use obc.
  19. Can’t say they ever had a reputation for the most knowledgeable phone reps so not anything new. They have gotten better with their charter notifications, cancellations and alternative offers. Bottom line for me - I have been pretty disenchanted at times with changes, but in the end Ncl’s product has delivered once onboard. I’ve yet to have a bad ncl cruise. I’ve have had an excellent time in their suites. I’m ok giving them a chunk of vacation $, accepting that I’ll likely learn on cc of changes that will potentially affect my vacation. I’m certain I’ll never have my own private luxury yacht and crew but sailing in a gv for two weeks out of Venice was pretty close. When the Haven is within my price reach, I’m pretty confident that ncl is going to deliver. I’ve never sailed with them in the Caribbean and not sure I would want to. But for west coast, Alaska and Europe they have better itineraries and port times so that alone is worth it to me. Some think their food is fantastic. Imo their specialty venues have seen a series of declines with free at sea, but they always surprise me with some redemption.
  20. I don’t think most of the issues you referenced rise to a “pr disaster” level. Ncl, like most companies, battles balancing profits with customer satisfaction. Seems one arm is tasked with how to make an extra buck anyway possible and another arm to maintain reputation/customer satisfaction. It’s a fine line sometimes crossed but in this case they quickly realized how important it is to protect their Haven experience. I think they continue to have excellent, well compensated (for the industry) crew, and they are striving to provide customers a great vacation no matter the stateroom category. They do seem to listen to complaints and make changes. For example I see Ocean Blue on the Bliss now serves lobster. I’d like to think they listened to comments that not serving lobster on their premier ship, in their premier seafood venue just didn’t sit well with an image. Would love to see them add back ability to purchase lobster on their Jewel class too. Imo, They can tinker with beverage packages, perk values, fees... all they want and yes they’ll get gripes, but when they change a product with no ability for customers to get what they want, then their customers will not return and the reputation goes downhill. In this case they have averted the issue. Sure a few passengers sailed the Haven with the crowds, lines, decreased service ability... during the short period it was available, and they likely lost a few repeat customers, but they canceled this offer for “Haven passes” pretty quickly so I doubt they will have any long lasting brand damage. I know many who would otherwise not cruise mainstream lines or even contemplate a cruise at all, that are willing to try a Haven suite on Ncl just because they have such a great reputation with it. I think ncl knows that too and they are willing to make sure their Haven experience lives up to or exceeds expectations. Haven on some sailings is less than a balcony on some of their more expensive itineraries. On the really popular and expensive sailings where Haven is sold out over a year in advance I think they rightfully up their game a little with a notch better food... but all their Haven suites are sold/upsold with an intention to give a great vacation that passengers will rave about and be willing pay a premium to repeat.
  21. I wish it worked this way but unless they reverse this policy it’s more likely that Ncl sells 400 + extra Haven evenings at 20k + additional revenue. Then they sell your canceled room to someone else who, not knowing about the changes, thinks they’re booked in the Haven with dedicated dining venues, servers, tranquility, no lines... so an upfront win for ncl. It’s referred to as short term or short sighted management issues. Some corporations practice this despite all the evidence that there’s much greater value of long term thinking, strategy, and decision making. They obviously have have invested a great deal of resources over the years to develop the Haven concept. It would be so easy to make up those $ without trashing the Haven brand. They could make so much more $ just by offering a perk choice of soda or ubp. They could then sell the soda ultra premium upgrade for X $/ day to coffees, juices, waters. And the ubp upgrade at the current upgrade cost or whatever costs folks are willing to pay. That would capture just about the entire ship into a profitable beverage pkg. They’d also gain $ from more than 2 per stateroom. Basically if you want ultra premium, all in stateroom have to get it. So kids would also need the upgraded soda pkg. right now the ultra premium isn’t capturing any extra from the extra passenger soda pkgs because they don’t have any soda pkg upgrades. Extra costs like that don’t chase away their customers, especially their Haven customers.
  22. I know ncl reads these boards- especially after a big product change like this Haven dining for all. My suggestion that makes more $ and avoids losing Haven reputation? Make a non alcoholic ultra premium package available for non drinkers. Right now they capture most drinkers, even lite drinkers. The upgrade $34/day pkg Is likely not the cash cow they anticipated. But there’s a lot of folks who just don’t drink alcohol but would like a more inclusive pkg. give them a cabin choice to take a non alcoholic pkg that includes all the premium choices (soda, waters, coffees...minus the alcohol. They’ll make just as much on them as with the ubp. This will make ncl more $ than Haven dining for all (bad choice imo) and keeps the Haven reputation in tact. It also makes the beverage pkgs more competitive with other lines. I could see the current ubp OR the ultra premium non alcoholic beverage pkg available as a cabin choice. I’d think with those two perk choices most passengers would take one or the other.
  23. I think it was more likely 2014 when they tried that. It was pulled back really quickly. So was their short lived experiment to include the ‘s’ suites on Jewel class in Haven. It overcrowded the Haven and it wasn’t the product people thought they paid for. Ncl needs to do anything they can to protect their Haven product. It’s very easy to chase a few dollars and trash a product overnight in the process. I totally understand a concierge making individual decisions and offers to certain non Haven customers. By Ncl taking the decision to sell Haven access out of concierge discretion and turn into a spa pass type of sales opportunity, it shouldn’t be long for the Haven to become the Tommy Hillfinger of the cruise industry.
  24. There’s plenty of passengers, myself included, who are sometimes sailing in the least expensive sail away inside or balcony and sometimes splurging for the Haven experience. Speaking from my own experience, when I pay full price for a haven, I don’t think any differently about the guy next door who won a upgrade advantage nor the inside sail away last minute rate.
  25. It’s not about being a snob or the right to complain only if you paid full fare vs upgrade advantage. It’s about a product advertised as quiet, tranquil, dedicated... a person booked in a spa balcony often pays considerably more than the same balcony next door without spa access. They paid more because they were sold spa access with the assumption they had access to a tranquil low crowd area of the ship. In reality the spa will sell enough passes to potentially make the spa as crowded as the pool deck. Everyone who holds a spa pass no matter how it was purchased, has the assumption they’ll get a tranquil spa experience. I’ve had this type of typical experience but have also been in the spa when they had zero lockers available, the hot tubs were more packed than the outside free ones and they had zero place to sit. At those times I thought what a waste of $249 for a week of tranquil spa time but at least it was not a 10k + mistake. If I’d paid thousands more for an upgrade advantage I’d be just as upset as the passengers paying 10’s of thousands more for the Haven stateroom from the get go. Both would rightfully be a bit upset to have paid that money for the dedicated service, venues, low crowds, intimate experience only to receive something very different once onboard. That’s not being a snob. It’s more being a little too gullible when being sold a product that isn’t delivering what they sold. Ncl’s Haven stands out in the crowd. It’s a great product that folks are willing to try at really high prices. It’s up to ncl to protect that product but looks more like they have decided to forgo the brand for the sake of a few extra bucks per sailing. Seems short sighted but to each their own.
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