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NCL Ultimate Beverage Package


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I chose a free Ultimate Beverage Package as a new booking promotion. It was advertised as $54.00 per day. I was charged $68.02 service fee, which would be 18% of $378.00 had I purchased it. It was not exactly free. I hope this means that they will add more staff at the bars. Several reviews have complained about the long lines and slow service at the bars, largely due to drink packages overwhelming the staff.

 

I was worried about the slow service too due to the UBP. Turns out, I had worried about nothing. I did not have to wait any longer then normal, which was not long at all, at any of the bars I chose to get a drink from, from my UBP.

 

As for the taxes, I look at it as if I was on a game show and won money or a car. I would still have to pay taxes. Call it what you want, service fee, tax, what ever, it is still a great deal, and more likely the true amount it costs for an average guests bar bill cost to the cruise line in a week.

 

Again, don't worry about long waits. There was none for moi, and your on vacation! If it happens once or twice, don't let the little things get in the way of the big picture.. :)

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  • 1 month later...
The blackout only applies to people under 25

 

My girlfriend and I just booked a trip in mid-March 2016 on the Breakaway. As part of the Freestyle Choice promotion, we selected the UBP. We are sailing during this so-called blackout date, and we are 24 and 23. NCL obviously knows our ages, and they gave us no trouble/said nothing about an age restriction of 25 and up for cruises sailing during the spring break period. I've looked at the updated terms and conditions, http://www.ncl.com/terms/ultimate-beverage-package and they don't mention anything about an age restriction either. So can someone confirm whether this is true? I don't want to embark, try and get our stickers for the UBP, and be told no, even though we only purchased a balcony instead of an interior so that we could take advantage of the free UBP. Thank you in advanced for any help you all can provide us.

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There is no longer any Spring Break black-out period. Anyone over 21 can enjoy the UBP all year-round :)

 

Oh fantastic. I was on the Breakaway 2 years ago and they weren't offering UBP at all on that trip. Let's just say that when we booked again this time, we made sure UBP would be available...

 

It seems like NCL has gone through quite a few changes with the UBP, all of which appear to be positive changes. Anyone have any negative experiences with the new UBP?

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It seems like NCL has gone through quite a few changes with the UBP, all of which appear to be positive changes. Anyone have any negative experiences with the new UBP?

 

The upcoming price hike makes it IMO worst on seas (at least among major cruise lines) what comes to price vs included items (still no speciality coffees, canned sodas, smoothies or bottled waters).

 

Yes, the per drink price limit will also be the highest, but almost everything has been included within the price limit already as it is, so either there is no visible change for majority of passengers or NCL is actually planning to make even bigger price rises for bar prices (as already suggested earlier in this thread) than they already made this spring.

 

Yes, it might seem like a good deal for those only paying service charges on package retail value but as that is now the main method of obtaining UBP, I see that just another way of getting more money out of captive victi... sorry... happy customers without giving anything back to them - just like with several other things that have happened this year. At least so far customers booking through UK and EU offices have been exempted of those charges with promo UBP, so obiviously they need to get the pennies from somewhere.. ;)

 

Personally I don't see a single change within NCL this year that would have clearly been good for customers. On the opposite there have been more and more new charges, raised prices or new limitations without any improvements (double service charges for those using speciality dining, more limited speciality dining program, room service fee, upcoming change from fixed cover charge to a la carte in several speciality restaurants, etc, etc).

Edited by Demonyte
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The upcoming price hike makes it IMO worst on seas (at least among major cruise lines) what comes to price vs included items (still no speciality coffees, canned sodas, smoothies or bottled waters).

 

Yes, the per drink price limit will also be the highest, but almost everything has been included within the price limit already as it is, so either there is no visible change for majority of passengers or NCL is actually planning to make even bigger price rises for bar prices (as already suggested earlier in this thread) than they already made this spring.

 

Yes, it might seem like a good deal for those only paying service charges on package retail value but as that is now the main method of obtaining UBP, I see that just another way of getting more money out of captive victi... sorry... happy customers without giving anything back to them - just like with several other things that have happened this year. At least so far customers booking through UK and EU offices have been exempted of those charges so obiviously they need to get the pennies from somewhere.. ;)

 

Personally I don't see a single change within NCL this year that would have clearly been good for customers. On the opposite there have been more and more new charges, raised prices or new limitations without any improvements (double service charges for those using speciality dining, more limited speciality dining program, room service fee, etc, etc).

 

What's the upcoming price hike going to be? I'm not sure that's going to have a major effect, since most people are getting the UBP for free now thanks to Freestyle Choice. Personally, I don't need specialty coffees, smoothies, or bottled water- regular coffee and tap are fine with me (I'm a NYer after all). For me, all I buy on the ship is alcohol, and maybe one or two specialties. So the fact that they have expanded the availability of the UBP, offered it free as a promotion, and only charge tip, which I would have had to give anyway, is fantastic.

Edited by mylifeis24
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What's the upcoming price hike going to be?

 

They are getting rid of pre-purchase discount ($54pppd vs $59pppd onboard) and raising the price for both to $64pppd. Drink price limit will rise to $15.

 

So effectively they are going to be charging the same as RCCL and Celebrity do for their premium package and giving less than those two companies give for their $10pppd cheaper classic package.

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They are getting rid of pre-purchase discount ($54pppd vs $59pppd onboard) and raising the price for both to $64pppd. Drink price limit will rise to $15.

 

So effectively they are going to be charging the same as RCCL and Celebrity do for their premium package and giving less than those two companies give for their $10pppd cheaper classic package.

 

Interesting. Do you have a source for that information available? Quick google search didn't reveal much in the way of announced changes to the UBP by NCL.

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Interesting. Do you have a source for that information available? Quick google search didn't reveal much in the way of announced changes to the UBP by NCL.

 

It has not been announced publicly yet but the dollar changes are already publicly visible on UK and EU sites and there is a long thread here about it (see post #23 for a screencap of NCL's TA info letter):

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2263398

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It has not been announced publicly yet but the dollar changes are already publicly visible on UK and EU sites and there is a long thread here about it (see post #23 for a screencap of NCL's TA info letter):

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2263398

 

Interesting- glad I booked my cruise already then! Though I have only put down the deposit- haven't paid the full amount yet. I see the service charge for the UBP has already been placed on my bill at the current rate. You don't think, if this price hike is real, it will change in a couple of days right?

 

I get that the price hike sucks, especially if nothing more is really being included, but since most people will get the package free now, the only increase is a few dollars on the 18% service charge that the guest still has to pay on the Freestyle Choice promo.

 

Guess we will find out in 5 days how this all pans out!

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Personally I don't see a single change within NCL this year that would have clearly been good for customers. […] more limited speciality dining program

As far as the dining package does, I personally I find that the SDP is better than the UDP (for those who don't necessarily want to have specialty meals every day of their cruise, or several times a day), and if they ever offered a beverage package where you could pick and choose the days instead of buying it for the whole cruise, I think a lot of people would be interested in that, too.

 

I agree with you that the change from $11 to $15 is not going make a huge difference to most users of the UBP, but they are still not offering exactly the same product as before, only at a higher price, which is what happened with the individual drink prices, the specialty dining cover charges earlier this year (and with the DSC, twice :rolleyes:). So all in all I don't think people have a whole lot to complain about with NCL's UBP and how it has evolved. Personally, I was happy to pay for the UBP in 2013; I would be just as happy to pay for it now, except NCL keeps giving it to me for free.

 

I only follow a couple of other cruise lines, so I would turn the question back to you: What changes have other cruise lines made recently that have clearly been in the customer's favor?

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I disagree with the SDP being better than the UDP. Supposedly, the upcharges are included in the UDP and the free SDP that NCL is now offering is 3 days less than all the 7 day UDPs they gave away.

 

Personally, if the price of drinks outside of the package was $15, and I didn't get the UBP for free, I wouldn't bother even cruising on the ship. I think its obnoxious for a drink on a cruise to cost more than the same drink on land. And even on land I would only buy 1- or 2- $11 martinis (that's what happy hour is for).

 

Many land AI resorts feature speciality restaurants that are not even an uncharge and have most of the amenities of a cruise. I'm just going to enjoy my upcoming cruise and evaluate from there...

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I disagree with the SDP being better than the UDP. Supposedly, the upcharges are included in the UDP and the free SDP that NCL is now offering is 3 days less than all the 7 day UDPs they gave away.
Obviously, a promotion offering a free 7-day UDP is better than a promotion offering a free 4-meal SDP (and you still pay the gratuities). I was not talking about the promotions. I was talking about the flexibility of being able to pay for specialty dining for just a few nights of the cruise with the SDPs, instead of being forced to buy the UDP for the entire cruise.
Personally, if the price of drinks outside of the package was $15, and I didn't get the UBP for free, I wouldn't bother even cruising on the ship. I think its obnoxious for a drink on a cruise to cost more than the same drink on land.
Personally, I don't know of anything that costs $15 on board, but half that in a bar on land. Do you?
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After sailing twice with UDP, we'd decided we'd never do it again because we just didn't see the value, and missed the MDR. The SDP was introduced, and it is perfect for our needs. We are doing 4 specialties on our 10 night cruise, and that's just right. I think it's a great option that offers additional flexibility. Freestyle, baby!

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  • 2 months later...
What's the upcoming price hike going to be? I'm not sure that's going to have a major effect, since most people are getting the UBP for free now thanks to Freestyle Choice. Personally, I don't need specialty coffees, smoothies, or bottled water- regular coffee and tap are fine with me (I'm a NYer after all). For me, all I buy on the ship is alcohol, and maybe one or two specialties. So the fact that they have expanded the availability of the UBP, offered it free as a promotion, and only charge tip, which I would have had to give anyway, is fantastic.

 

 

This is exactly how I feel too. We sail as a family of four, kids 17 and 22, and have been sailing for 23 years. My dh and I only purchase alcohol. We would buy the package if wasnt offered. I have received the package on past sailings when we didnt pay the grat. and have an Aug Haven cruise booked and when we purchased still didnt have to pay grat on top of the drink or dining package. My upcoming Getaway cruise was recently booked a few months ago and I felt like it was a good booking getting both the UBP as well as four nights specialty and only paying the grat on those since we would do anyway. I wanted to sail NCL the Getaway trip so this worked for us.

 

ps...Maybe its a New York thing since Im a New Yorker too lol

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  • 5 months later...
I chose a free Ultimate Beverage Package as a new booking promotion. It was advertised as $54.00 per day. I was charged $68.02 service fee, which would be 18% of $378.00 had I purchased it. It was not exactly free. I hope this means that they will add more staff at the bars. Several reviews have complained about the long lines and slow service at the bars, largely due to drink packages overwhelming the staff.

 

I know this is an old post but I do hope I am misunderstanding this.

We have the ubp on our cruise in a few weeks time as a free perk. The way i am reading from the above makes it sound like we we still be charge 18% once on board as a service charge ontop of the 'free' perk?

I hope this is not the case. The only thing I am expecting to see on my on board account is the usual daily gratuities for table and cabin staff etc.

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Nobody pays the 18% gratuity on board if they have the package, however they get it.

 

With current promos. 18% of the value of the package is charged and paid with the cruise cost. However, and this is a very relevant point for you, we don't pay that 18% in the UK (and some other countries). For us, we pay nothing for the beverage package at all.

 

Most of the discussion in these threads is from people from the US, where the 18% is charged.

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I know this is an old post but I do hope I am misunderstanding this.

We have the ubp on our cruise in a few weeks time as a free perk. The way i am reading from the above makes it sound like we we still be charge 18% once on board as a service charge ontop of the 'free' perk?

I hope this is not the case. The only thing I am expecting to see on my on board account is the usual daily gratuities for table and cabin staff etc.

 

 

The terms and conditions I believe are different between the U.S. and Brit sites. Check out the T/C's on the site where you booked.

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I know this is an old post but I do hope I am misunderstanding this.

We have the ubp on our cruise in a few weeks time as a free perk. The way i am reading from the above makes it sound like we we still be charge 18% once on board as a service charge ontop of the 'free' perk?

I hope this is not the case. The only thing I am expecting to see on my on board account is the usual daily gratuities for table and cabin staff etc.

With the beverage package you still have to pay an extra service charge per person. 18% as mentioned above. When you added the beverage package, it should automatically be added to your total on the confirmation sheet you received. If you look at the charges for each person, you'll see "Bev Svc Charge" listed.

 

While not ideal, if you plan on having drinks you have to compare the cost of what you would spend on paying for drinks to what you are paying in service charges. More than likely you're better off paying the service charges and being able to order whatever you want to drink on your trip.

 

**I'm in the US, so as I'm reading it applies to different countries apparently?

Edited by rebeccacook
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