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Trying to Charge for Everything?


yuccaman
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Although I'm totally experienced in cruising with several lines since 1990, I'm a know-nothing about NCL, besides the fact that they pioneered Anytime Dining, etc.

I want to start investigating the line, however, I can tell you that the current reputation is that they are trying to charge for whatever they can- in what used to be considered included items/services.

Can someone with NCL and other line experience perhaps elaborate on this developing reputation?

 

PS: I'm not referring to the general industry reduction in service levels the last 20 years, but perhaps that which seems specific to NCL, lately? Thanks!

Edited by yuccaman
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I am in no way an expert on cruises. I prefer all inclusive hotels and I now know why. We recently booked NCL, travel agent quoted a price of approx $1340 pp. We are now at over $3100 total before we have stepped on the ship. The free unlimited drink package cost over $200 in taxes and gratuities. The free dining package cost over $120 in taxes and gratuities. The mandatory additional gratuities are almost $200.00. I in no way object to gratuities. I tip all inclusive staff to the point that they follow me around. What I don't understand is I have to pay upfront charges on free packages and then I have to pay gratuities again on top of the gratuities I paid in advance. Now I hear the grill near the pool has been converted to a SDP restaurant on our sailing. I think I am sticking to land after this.

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Here on the NCL forum, there are a few people who constantly complain about "nickel and diming." But, my experience is that you don't have to pay for anything you don't want to pay for. The only thing I can think of that you pay for on NCL that isn't charged for on the other lines I've sailed (Carnival and Princess) is room service. You can get continental breakfast between certain hours with no service charge, but there's a service charge of $7.95 the rest of the time. A recent policy change is that you can no longer carry on soda or bottled water, and the ship's bottled water is very expensive. Personally, I'm fine with the ship's water and I don't order room service so neither of those things impact me.

 

NCL has far more specialty restaurants than the others I've been on, and I love that. They do charge for the Cirque show (I think there's another dinner show that is charged for, but I haven't yet been on a ship that has anything other than the Cirque dinner show), but it's a dinner show so I believe that's the justification.

 

For me the bottom line is, I don't have to pay for anything I don't want to pay for. Since I've been sailing NCL, the only thing they charge for that used to be free is the room service charge. I got off my last cruise with a final bill of $109 (I had prepaid the DSC). I didn't have a drinks package as I don't drink much, so most of that was lattes and a glass of wine with dinner each evening.

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I am in no way an expert on cruises. I prefer all inclusive hotels and I now know why. We recently booked NCL, travel agent quoted a price of approx $1340 pp. We are now at over $3100 total before we have stepped on the ship. The free unlimited drink package cost over $200 in taxes and gratuities. The free dining package cost over $120 in taxes and gratuities. The mandatory additional gratuities are almost $200.00. I in no way object to gratuities. I tip all inclusive staff to the point that they follow me around. What I don't understand is I have to pay upfront charges on free packages and then I have to pay gratuities again on top of the gratuities I paid in advance. Now I hear the grill near the pool has been converted to a SDP restaurant on our sailing. I think I am sticking to land after this.

 

 

I would double check that gratuity on the SDP. I've never seen it that high! How many meals are on your plan? For my cruise next week, I chose SDP as one of my perks and the charge is $12.42 for the three-meal SDP. Even if you had SDP for all 7 nights (assuming you're on a 7-night cruise), it would still be less than $30pp, so that $120 can't be right...

 

I don't know what you mean by "I have to pay gratuities again on top of the gratuities I paid in advance." If you prepaid your DSC, you don't have tip another penny unless you decide you would like to...

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I am in no way an expert on cruises. I prefer all inclusive hotels and I now know why. We recently booked NCL, travel agent quoted a price of approx $1340 pp. We are now at over $3100 total before we have stepped on the ship. The free unlimited drink package cost over $200 in taxes and gratuities. The free dining package cost over $120 in taxes and gratuities. The mandatory additional gratuities are almost $200.00. I in no way object to gratuities. I tip all inclusive staff to the point that they follow me around. What I don't understand is I have to pay upfront charges on free packages and then I have to pay gratuities again on top of the gratuities I paid in advance. Now I hear the grill near the pool has been converted to a SDP restaurant on our sailing. I think I am sticking to land after this.
Didn't your travel agent advised you as to these charges on the dining and drink packages and let you know that you could choose others that don't include any taxes or gratuities?
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Here on the NCL forum, there are a few people who constantly complain about "nickel and diming." But, my experience is that you don't have to pay for anything you don't want to pay for.

 

...

 

First, it's more than a few people that are complaining. What is important is not that you don't have to pay for most of these new charges if you don't want to, it's that they used to be included and were taken away, most often costing money to replace. Things like raising the DSC twice you do have to pay. OP, I will not post "The list" here as it just generates a firestorm, If you do a search on takeaway and the list you eventually will find a large, 30+ item list of customer negative changes NCL has made in the last two years. Oh, and add no more ship pins to the last version I saw posted.

Edited by Até
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First, it's more than a few people that are complaining. What is important is not that you don't have to pay for most of these new charges if you don't want to, it's that they used to be included and were taken away, most often costing money to replace. Things like raising the DSC twice you do have to pay. OP, I will not post "The list" here as it just generates a firestorm, If you do a search on takeaway and the list you eventually will find a large, 30+ item list of customer negative changes NCL has made in the last two years. Oh, and add no more ship pins to the last version I saw posted.
I don't think you have to pay for any of the new charges, including the DSC, if you choose not to. Yes, things were included and now have a charge attached to them, you are not forced to pay for anything you don't choose to pay for...your choice. Not all the changes are negative to everyone. Edited by NLH Arizona
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First, it's more than a few people that are complaining. What is important is not that you don't have to pay for most of these new charges if you don't want to, it's that they used to be included and were taken away, most often costing money to replace. Things like raising the DSC twice you do have to pay. OP, I will not post "The list" here as it just generates a firestorm, If you do a search on takeaway and the list you eventually will find a large, 30+ item list of customer negative changes NCL has made in the last two years. Oh, and add no more ship pins to the last version I saw posted.

 

Well, I see the same people complaining over and over and over again. Which is fine--they're free to complain all they want--it's a public forum and they certainly have a right to their opinions. They're obviously really bothered by the changes. But, what other than room service used to be free that you now have to pay for? Since I've been cruising with NCL, that's the only thing that used to be free that you now pay for that I'm aware of. I guess you could say those who chose the UBP or SDP didn't used to have to pay the gratuities and they do now. I look at this way: when I had UDP on my first cruise with NCL, I didn't pay gratuities on the package, but I did leave a tip after each meal in a specialty restaurant. Now, I don't unless I decide the service was so good I want to leave more than what I've already paid. My next cruise will be the first time I've had UBP and I doubt I'll leave additional tips for drinks since I was charged for them already. But, if I hadn't been charged I would have tipped for every drink I ordered. Others may not see it this way, but this is how I look at it.

 

I've seen the list you're talking about. Very little of it applies to me so I'm not upset about it. I do understand that some people are very upset about it, which is their prerogative. I do get tired though of the constant complaining about it and posting of the list. But, I don't usually say anything about it unless someone says something directly to me about it, like you did by quoting my response. I just can't get my knickers in a twist about it. If that list impacted me the way it seems to impact some, I wouldn't continue sailing with NCL. JMO.

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I think NCL is the only line to charge gratuities on their "free" drinks and dining packages (USA only).

 

I think NCL is the only line to charge $7.95 for room service (except for continental breakfast). Granted, room service is a discretionary spend BUT it is indicative of a general trend.

Edited by SteveH2508
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...Granted, room service is a discretionary spend BUT it is indicative of a general trend.

 

Hafta agree with Steve. It IS indicative of a general trend although many lines are jumping 'on board'...please excuse the pun!

(Steve, glad to see my Gunners put in 3 against the Blues today...)...

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Other posters have raised some excellent points.

 

1) The promos like beverage package and dining package do come with gratuities based on the face value. For example if you only drink $35 a day of alcohol, you will still pay 18& of whatever the beverage package costs, something like $56 a day. This is something to factor into your bottom line price that you will pay, also what package you select.

 

2) True NCL has come out with some unpopular policies that don't allow bottled water being brought on board. If you drink tap water like us, this is not a problem. However, if you must have bottled water, then you might spend a few dollars buying from NCL.. Our daughter drinks only bottled water and for a seven day cruise paid about $25 for several bottles of water. Not a huge cost.

 

3) On our latest cruise, we didn't find the people on the NCL SUN were pushing extras. IF they did, we would just say no. We don't buy photograph. You don't have to eat in the specialty restaurants. The MDR was excellent on our recent Alaska cruise.

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Other posters have raised some excellent points.

 

1) The promos like beverage package and dining package do come with gratuities based on the face value. For example if you only drink $35 a day of alcohol, you will still pay 18& of whatever the beverage package costs, something like $56 a day. This is something to factor into your bottom line price that you will pay, also what package you select.

 

<snip>

 

The UBP is now $79 pppd:eek:. 18% of that is $14.22 pppd in gratuities.

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Hafta agree with Steve. It IS indicative of a general trend although many lines are jumping 'on board'...please excuse the pun!

(Steve, glad to see my Gunners put in 3 against the Blues today...)...

 

Despite where I live (and Chelsea FC are not in Chelsea BTW - they are just in Fulham), I am not really a soccer fan but, if I follow a team (apart from England), it is the Gunners:D.

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I have found that all cruise lines are finding innovative ways to reach a little deeper into your pockets and if it works for one the others are quick to follow.

 

Yes some may be more affected than others depending upon what your likes are (drinking , dinning, room service).

 

Ultimately the choice is always yours and we should all do our homework and compare and chose which cruise or vacation is the best value for you.

Eventually the ones that offer the least will either have to change or go out of business.

The choice is always yours to make. That is why I don't have any loyalty to any particular cruise line. I have just booked on the Getaway (first time with NCL) for February, 2017 because even with all the DSC and gratuities it still offered the best value as far as ports of call size of ship, packages etc...

It was not the lowest priced option, but still the best overall value for me.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Edited by csopi
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I applaud your self control, I assume you would then pay al a carte for drinks and spend less per day than the $14.22 gratuity would cost.

 

Happy cruising!

 

Of course I can't speak for Papa, but that's what I've done. Not much of a drinker--usually just a glass of wine with dinner. But, for Monday's cruise, I chose UBP as one of my booking promos and am looking forward to trying some drinks I wouldn't normally try. :D

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I am in no way an expert on cruises. I prefer all inclusive hotels and I now know why. We recently booked NCL, travel agent quoted a price of approx $1340 pp. We are now at over $3100 total before we have stepped on the ship. The free unlimited drink package cost over $200 in taxes and gratuities. The free dining package cost over $120 in taxes and gratuities. The mandatory additional gratuities are almost $200.00. I in no way object to gratuities. I tip all inclusive staff to the point that they follow me around. What I don't understand is I have to pay upfront charges on free packages and then I have to pay gratuities again on top of the gratuities I paid in advance. Now I hear the grill near the pool has been converted to a SDP restaurant on our sailing. I think I am sticking to land after this.

 

 

There are no mandatory additional gratuities.

 

It's a daily service charge and its discretionary meaning it can be removed...adjusted...etc

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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I applaud your self control, I assume you would then pay al a carte for drinks and spend less per day than the $14.22 gratuity would cost.

 

 

 

Happy cruising!

 

 

Actually you can have 5 drinks per day at $12 each plus your 18% on top of that and it will still be less than the $79 per day UDP

 

5x12=60+ 18% ($10.80) = $70.80

Edited by csopi
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The way I look at it is like this:

If the service was all-inclusive, the upfront cost of the cabin would be higher per person. So if you pay the inflated price and, for instance, don't utilize room service, you probably would be upset that you "had" to pay for a service you didn't use.

It works both ways.

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... What I don't understand is I have to pay upfront charges on free packages and then I have to pay gratuities again on top of the gratuities I paid in advance. ...

 

If I understand your statement correctly, I think I can explain why you had to pay "gratuities again" on top of the gratuities you paid in advance.

The gratuities for the UBP perk are distributed among all the bar staff personnel on the ship, even those that didn't serve you.

The gratuities for the SDP perk are distributed among all the dining staff personnel on the ship, even those behind the scenes.

The gratuities you pay "again" are distributed among the other personnel on the ship, like the housekeeping staff and others. This is called the Daily Service Charge. (Of course, if you didn't have the UBP or SDP, you'd pay gratuities per order, but those still just go to bar or dining.)

Edited by tiger-91
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Actually you can have 5 drinks per day at $12 each plus your 18% on top of that and it will still be less than the $79 per day UDP

 

5x12=60+ 18% ($10.80) = $70.80

 

I think the wandering two meant that the perk "cost" at $14.22 per day equates to less than two drinks. In other words the Open Bar (UBP) perk is cost beneficial to some, including the drinker in your example.

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The way I look at it is like this:

If the service was all-inclusive, the upfront cost of the cabin would be higher per person. So if you pay the inflated price and, for instance, don't utilize room service, you probably would be upset that you "had" to pay for a service you didn't use.

It works both ways.

You are correct. I also cruise on Crystal which is almost all inclusive. I pay a high upfront cost, because I like the overall Crystal experience, but I drink very little, don't use room service, etc., so I subsidize those that use the services. To me, NCL is kind of like an a la carte cruise line where some things like MDR/buffet, entertainment/activities, some drinks are included and most everything else is an additional cost. Both business models work well for me, because the experience on the two lines are totally different.
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