Free at Sea...really Free on NCL?

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#1
Danbury, CT
86 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
There is a charge of $249.00 for bartenders for the week added to our summary of
charges...plus we added the prepaid $189 grats (which if fine) does that sound right
Just saying....
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#2
Arizona
11,930 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by Lunchlady
There is a charge of $249.00 for bartenders for the week added to our summary of
charges...plus we added the prepaid $189 grats (which if fine) does that sound right
Just saying....
The UBP (beverage package) is free, it is the gratuities/service charge on that package that is not free.

If you don't think you would drink $249 worth during your cruise, then I wouldn't take the perk and just pay by the drink.
#3
Minnesota
54 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
We keep seeing you this "issue" pop up regularly, but it does baffle me. It seems NCL is pretty transparent about gratuity charges applying to their perks. Personally I always use their website to model the cruise I'm interested in and to see approximate charges, and then I talk with my TA to see how they come out. Those gratuity fees are pretty clear.

Of course everyone has to estimate their own anticipated intake and costs to see if they come out ahead or not. We enjoy our cocktails, so for us, the UBP is a great deal!

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#5
Central FL
4,902 Posts
Joined Mar 2015
When 3rd/4th are free, taxes, port fees, and DSC are still applicable.

When the UBP is free, a 20% (based on the UBP's price) service charge is automatically added.
When the SDP is free, a 20% (based on the SDP's online price) service charge is automatically added.
#6
Townsend Tennessee
160 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
I think you may have known the answer to your question before you asked because you already knew the charge was for the bartenders, ( just saying) .
#7
NYC
8,329 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
If you read the fine print aka the terms and conditions of the free at sea, it is clearly written in plan text:
Guest is responsible for 20% gratuities on the retail value of the Ultimate Beverage Package ($17.80 USD per person per day) and/or Soda Package ($1.50 USD per person per day) prior to cruise.
Guest is responsible for 20% gratuities on the retail value of the Specialty Dining Package prior to cruise.
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#8
Frozen Tundra
9,227 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
If you purchased the package, you would pay $623.00 per person for a 7 night cruise, plus $124.60 per person for the 20% gratuity on the package. So the package price is free ($623.00), and you just pay the gratuity.
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#9
Georgia
2,702 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
You can always go to the other lines where you pay the package +gratuity if you think that is a better deal.
#10
USA
248 Posts
Joined Sep 2014
It's up to you if you think it's worth paying the gratuity. It pays for itself after a few drinks, depending on what you get.

On my upcoming cruise, it works out to $17.77/day. Drinks are at least $5, IIRC, and a number of them are $10 or so. Of course, that cruise is port intensive and won't involve a lot of drinking, like some Caribbean ones would, but a beer or two during the day, wine at dinner, a cocktail or two in the evening...maybe more if you're partying, heh...I think it's worth it.

It also means you don't have to worry about it as you go along (which could also be bad!), like, "I'd like another drink, but eh...I'm going to have such a huge bill at the end of this...maybe I shouldn't."
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#12
39 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
For legal reasons, free should be completely free. If McDonalds offered you free fries with your burger, you get them free, you don't pay taxes or gratuity on them.

Instead of pre-paying gratuity which the NCL waiters NEVER see, just make drink packages completely free with the expectation that you must offer cash tip to the waiters for every single drink. That is more than fair.

NCL is just pocketing the pre-paid gratuity for extra profit like a typical corporation. Your drink package isn't free. It's paying for the Johnny Walker Black Label and coke you ordered.
#13
Frozen Tundra
9,227 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by Chris2018
For legal reasons, free should be completely free. If McDonalds offered you free fries with your burger, you get them free, you don't pay taxes or gratuity on them.

Instead of pre-paying gratuity which the NCL waiters NEVER see, just make drink packages completely free with the expectation that you must offer cash tip to the waiters for every single drink. That is more than fair.

NCL is just pocketing the pre-paid gratuity for extra profit like a typical corporation. Your drink package isn't free. It's paying for the Johnny Walker Black Label and coke you ordered.

And not one single person bats an eye or whines on a message forum when gratuities or service charges and port fees are charged on free passengers. Why? Because people can just be grateful, use their brains, and spot a bargain when given one. Well, most people.




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#14
DAYTON - AUS
11 Posts
Joined Nov 2014
Originally posted by Chris2018
For legal reasons, free should be completely free. If McDonalds offered you free fries with your burger, you get them free, you don't pay taxes or gratuity on them.

Instead of pre-paying gratuity which the NCL waiters NEVER see, just make drink packages completely free with the expectation that you must offer cash tip to the waiters for every single drink. That is more than fair.

NCL is just pocketing the pre-paid gratuity for extra profit like a typical corporation. Your drink package isn't free. It's paying for the Johnny Walker Black Label and coke you ordered.
Booking in Australia we don"t pay the 20%on the drink or specialty dinning package ,but we pay more for the cruise than the USA.
#15
Sydney, Australia
184 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by robdog55
Booking in Australia we don"t pay the 20%on the drink or specialty dinning package ,but we pay more for the cruise than the USA.
Agreed, nice not having to pay the service charges in Australia. Not sure about paying more for the cruise these days, its just currency conversion. And when you look at the average salary in Australia versus the US, we do ok.
#16
Central FL
4,902 Posts
Joined Mar 2015
Originally posted by LrgPizza
And not one single person bats an eye or whines on a message forum when gratuities or service charges and port fees are charged on free passengers.
Don't give them any ideas.
#17
USA
13,057 Posts
Joined Apr 2015
Originally posted by Chris2018
For legal reasons, free should be completely free. If McDonalds offered you free fries with your burger, you get them free, you don't pay taxes or gratuity on them.

Instead of pre-paying gratuity which the NCL waiters NEVER see, just make drink packages completely free with the expectation that you must offer cash tip to the waiters for every single drink. That is more than fair.

NCL is just pocketing the pre-paid gratuity for extra profit like a typical corporation. Your drink package isn't free. It's paying for the Johnny Walker Black Label and coke you ordered.
For legal reasons, some expenses are business expenses and some are write offs. And no public ally traded company wants write offs.
#18
Arizona
11,930 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by Chris2018
For legal reasons, free should be completely free. If McDonalds offered you free fries with your burger, you get them free, you don't pay taxes or gratuity on them.
If you get a coupon for a free meal at a restaurant, one usually leaves a tip.
#19
Macomb Twp. Michigan
1,309 Posts
Joined Apr 2015
I swear, if another person complains about the service charge for the UBP ......... Go on Royal or Carnival and pay $1000 for their week long drink package instead of a couple hundred for NCL's ...... Your complaining should subside.
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#20
Strollin' down the avenue that's known as A1A, FL
11,993 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
For what it's worth, if you were dining at a land-based establishment and had a coupon for a "free" anything, common sense dictates that your gratuity is still calculated on what you would have paid without the coupon/offer.

Way back in the day, Dear Abby (and others) would say "if you cannot afford the tip, stay home."
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