Why is NCL so much cheaper?

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#1
38 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Looking at a Northbound. The NCL Sun is about $2-300 cheaper than HAL and less than half of what Princess is. I would love Princess but could not justify paying twice as much. Both go to Glacier Bay. Any insight?
#2
Syracuse, New York
50,489 Posts
Joined May 2000
Supply and demand. Princess, will also be price dumping at some point. They have for YEARS. Depending when you are looking to go, you could hold a NCL cabin, and wait it out a little longer for any other fire sales.
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Happy Alaska travels

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#4
Northeast US
974 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
We did a cheap, early season NCL to Alaska. Main dining room was just awful in terms of organization, or, rather, lack thereof. Opening at noon for lunch; reaching port for at 1:30pm....impossible to get fed due to long lines. Food was not that good, either. If you go with the idea that you'll get every meal in the specialty restaurants (for extra $$), it would probably be better. Shore ex departures weren't well organized, either. The scenery was fabulous; we had a good time, but I will never sail NCL again. You get what you pay for, I guess. Some people love them, so, obviously, YMMV.

Additionally, being on a big ship run by a cruiseline wanting to open the casino in international waters, we sailed in the open ocean through a hellacious storm on the return rather than through the more-protected waters between Vancouver island and the mainland. Of course, that's a reason for not sailing on a big ship, which is why our next Alaska trip is on a small boat only in inland waterways.
#6
San Pedro, CA
313 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Also, NCL is bringing a 3rd Cruise Ship up this year so they may have lower prices to fill all 3 of the ships.
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We rest here while we can, but we hear the ocean calling in our dreams, and we know by morning, the wind will fill our sails to test the seams. A calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, for ships are safe at harbor, but that's not what ships are for. - Michael Lille
#7
Syracuse, New York
50,489 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by azevedan
We did a cheap, early season NCL to Alaska. Main dining room was just awful in terms of organization, or, rather, lack thereof. Opening at noon for lunch; reaching port for at 1:30pm....impossible to get fed due to long lines. Food was not that good, either. If you go with the idea that you'll get every meal in the specialty restaurants (for extra $$), it would probably be better. Shore ex departures weren't well organized, either. The scenery was fabulous; we had a good time, but I will never sail NCL again. You get what you pay for, I guess. Some people love them, so, obviously, YMMV.

Additionally, being on a big ship run by a cruiseline wanting to open the casino in international waters, we sailed in the open ocean through a hellacious storm on the return rather than through the more-protected waters between Vancouver island and the mainland. Of course, that's a reason for not sailing on a big ship, which is why our next Alaska trip is on a small boat only in inland waterways.
You have one "big" ship sailing in Alaska?? Your "casino" thinking is skewed- the casinos are fully open sailing inside Vancouver Island. It's interesting you fault the cruiseline for their routing- which was "open" ocean. It's great you found a cruise that you want, there are several to choose from, and certainly options for everyone.
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Happy Alaska travels

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#8
Lake Wylie S.C.
1,412 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by odyzander
Looking at a Northbound. The NCL Sun is about $2-300 cheaper than HAL and less than half of what Princess is. I would love Princess but could not justify paying twice as much. Both go to Glacier Bay. Any insight?
Ncl has ways to save on expenses by using less desireable piers for docking, slightly higher daily tip rate, higher cost for all types of drinks and other addons. The food quality on all cruiselines has deteriorated over the years as a way of saving dollars. Their ship excursions and port taxes are higher than many other cruiselines. We utilize the savings we receive toward the best excursions we can privately setup for each port. The staffing has been reduced so service in the dining room is not as attentative as in the past. We are sailing b2b on the Sun this summer due to the itinerary, costs, and our familiarity with the ship.
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#9
2,177 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
IMO all it takes is one cruise on NCL and then one on HAL or Princess and you you WILL know the difference.

Watch for price drops and choose what you really want.

The year we tried NCL, they cancelled Sitka as a port stop the first week of June (for the ENTIRE rest of the season) yet they kept "selling" the original itinerary. That, alone, let customers know the lack of honesty with NCL. People were more than angry to not go to Sitka; many had chosen this line because of the Sitka port.

I don't remember the year, but we were excited to be sailing from Seattle (where I grew up) and they had a good sale. After that, I learned about CC!

Just our opinion..................plus, the cabins were much smaller........than HAL's and even smaller than Princess'.......

BUT, if you get what you can afford, you WILL enjoy your cruise if you CHOOSE to enjoy it. HAVE FUN!
#10
Syracuse, New York
50,489 Posts
Joined May 2000
[quote=KAYEF;37633732]IMO all it takes is one cruise on NCL and then one on HAL or Princess and you you WILL know the difference.
QUOTE]

Wow, really? Well I guess I'm dense as I did sail all three last year- along with RCI. 5 cruises.

I'm an inside cabin sailor and found all those cabins to be darn similar.

Food has gone downhill on all the lines, but I don't go on any cruise for the "food".

I've been on 78 cruises and long past being impressed by any. But this number isn't that unusual, with plenty of high numbers of repeaters.

We are ALL different. I happen to like NCL very much and sail with them, to places I want to go. They absolutely have a winner with Hawaii, which I do every year.
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Happy Alaska travels

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#11
Portland Oregon
2,775 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
I don't remember NCL ever going to Sitka - unless it was before I started cruising - 11 yrs ago. I remember the Sun, Wind, and Sky sailing back it 02 we were on the Sky and did port stops at Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, and Haines (02) and the same three in 03. I believe that the Sun did a similar port stop but went to Glacier Bay instead of Tracy Arm/Sawyer Glacier. I don't recall where the Wind went - I do remember she sailed out of Vancouver while the Sun and Sky were out of Seattle. I also remember that for a few years they used Prince Rupert instead of Victoria as their Canada stopover. Back then we also sailed on the inside of Vancouver Island on the way up and on the outside on the way back. There were also about half of the ships as there are today.
#12
Portland Oregon
2,775 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
I couldn't edit my previous post - so I am posting again. I did some research and found that Sitka was indeed a port of call in 05 and then again in 10. In 05 the Dream had engine problems and it caused them to miss Sitka and Ketchikan on most of the sailings that season. In 08 they announced that in 2010 the Sun was going to hit Sitka on it's SB cruises.

Many pax felt that in 05 NCL could have done more to notify pax about the change - instead they informed them after they had boarded. In NCLs defense they were probably the last line to enter the electronic age and relied heavly on TAs to get the word out about the change.

We all know that stuff happens and ships miss ports. This was also when NCL was under Mr Vetch - I suspect that this would not happen today under Mr Sheehan.

As for food - I enjoy any meal I don't have to cook and I have never gone hungry on an NCL ship but then again I don't cruise for the food - I cruise for the destination.
#13
Midwest
5,432 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Originally posted by odyzander
Looking at a Northbound. The NCL Sun is about $2-300 cheaper than HAL and less than half of what Princess is. I would love Princess but could not justify paying twice as much. Both go to Glacier Bay. Any insight?
This is just my opinion, but I tire of the NCL bashing I see here. Yes you could pay twice the price for Princess, but what kind of bang for the buck are you getting for your money?

In my opinion, where NCL shines is that they are innovators in the cruise business, both in the Freestyle concept and in the entertainment options offered. For your reduced fare, I think you will find a bigger number of options both for dining and entertainment. Yes, some are for a fee, but it is good to have choices ( and you just saved 50% by booking NCL remember, so you can afford a few specialty dinners. )

I cruised Carnival, Celebrity, Princess, RCI, and HAL before trying NCL and being won over. I might sail the others again, for the right itinerary, but if an NCL ship is available, that is what I'll be on! I would rather pay a lower cruise fare and then spend the extra I would have spent up front with Princess on what I want to give me the cruise experience I desire, whether that might be upgrading to a suite, taking extra excursions, or eating in some very special venues. Never found bad customer service and love the relaxed atmosphere.
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Brenda
#14
Portland Oregon
2,775 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
If Princess was twice as much are you sure you were not looking at at cruise tour and not just a cruise - that sounds like way to much price difference. The last time I looked, most of the AK lines were charging about the same fare (with no discounting). It could be that some lines are indeed letting TAs do more discounting than others.

BTW Carnival has only two slots into Glacier Bay which they use on their first and last cruises of the season. NCL has two permits for each week of the season - Princess and HAL have the lions share of the remaining permits.
#17
43 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
I usually cruise on RCL, but went on my first cruise with NCL to Alaska last year on the Pearl. The food was ok, I especially like the chef's special each night in the main dining room. The main ingredient was Alaskan seafood. I enjoyed the cruise and would consider traveling with NCL again.
#18
France
549 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Thank you Rachelfran , after reading your comment about the spring sale I phoned Princess as I had booked with them directly and got 150 GBP pp off our price , a good result
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#19
Midwest
5,432 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Originally posted by Bill Steiner
I would pay a little more to go on HAL any day. Bill
They would almost have to pay ME to go on HAL again.. I would sail on Princess, Celebrity or RCI if the price or itinerary were right, but I see frequent comments on the NCL board from cruisers who are coming over due to price, especially Princess recently.
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Brenda
#20
Georgia
2,773 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by Bill Steiner
I would pay a little more to go on HAL any day. Bill
I would gladly pay more to NOT go on HAL
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Past Cruises:
Feb. 2017 - Navigator of the Seas (9), Sept. 2016 - Carnival Magic (7), Dec. 2015 - Freedom of the Seas (7), Oct. 2015 - Carnival Conquest (6),
Jan/Feb. 2015 - B2B - Carnival Liberty (8 + 7), Oct. 2014 - Enchantment of the Seas (4), Jan. 2014 - Celebrity Equinox (10),
May 2013 - Grand Princess (10 day Alaska from San Francisco), Feb. 2012 - Ryndam (7),
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