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Ultra Beverage Program is a Ripoff

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They talk about throwing in dining, beverages, internet, excursion, etc as a freebie or a choice of several.

But the beverage fee at $89/day, which they calculate service charges on, is a absolute joke. Well over $30/day more than what Carnival and Princess charge per day. plus they add 20% gratuity (other line add 18%) as a service charge. So in essence you pay $60/pp extra in gratuity/service fees for the bloated beverage per diem price. Sad thing is the program is no where near as inclusive as Carnivals.... As I've learned...nothing comes for free. Another example of Norwegian finding away to nickle/dime and over price their so called freebies!!

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[I]They talk about throwing in dining, beverages, internet, excursion, etc as a [B][COLOR=#ff0000]freebie[/COLOR][/B] or a choice of several.

But the beverage [B][COLOR=#ff0000]fee at $89/day[/COLOR][/B],[/I]
[I]
[/I]
If is a FREEBIE how do you say there is a FEE? Yes you pay the Gratuity but that is all; at 20% you would pay $17.80 a day. That is 3 drinks a day!!!!!

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The OP is talking about the full price. As they mention it being a freebie, I’m not sure why they are so concerned about what it does cost if purchased. I suppose because it increases the gratuity that they do pay.

I don’t think anyone would disagree with their view that full price is extremely expensive for what you get.

That fact is so well established around here that my response was just “yeah, we know, so what’s news?”. It’s so obvious that it doesn’t need saying.

As most people get it included the only relevance to them is the size of the gratuity (if charged). If you haven’t booked a promo rate and want the beverage package then it’s very relevant, but you probably made a mistake when booking in that case.


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[quote name='lcpagejr']They talk about throwing in dining, beverages, internet, excursion, etc as a freebie or a choice of several.

But the beverage fee at $89/day, which they calculate service charges on, is a absolute joke. Well over $30/day more than what Carnival and Princess charge per day. plus they add 20% gratuity (other line add 18%) as a service charge. So in essence you pay $60/pp extra in gratuity/service fees for the bloated beverage per diem price. Sad thing is the program is no where near as inclusive as Carnivals.... As I've learned...nothing comes for free. Another example of Norwegian finding away to nickle/dime and over price their so called freebies!![/quote]


If you would rather pay the full price for the package PLUS the auto gratuities then by all means do so. No one is forcingyou to get the package for free and only pay the gratuities.

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[I]Well over $30/day more than what Carnival and Princess charge per day[/I]

I have a Princess cruise booked and so have just looked at the cost per day. It is NZD96.59 per day which at today's exchange rate is USD66.45. So NCL's charge of USD89 is hardly "Well over $30/day more".


If you don't want all the grog you can drink for USD17.80 a day don't take the "Free" UBC you are offered.

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[quote name='lcpagejr']They talk about throwing in dining, beverages, internet, excursion, etc as a freebie or a choice of several.

But the beverage fee at $89/day, which they calculate service charges on, is a absolute joke. Well over $30/day more than what Carnival and Princess charge per day. plus they add 20% gratuity (other line add 18%) as a service charge. So in essence you pay $60/pp extra in gratuity/service fees for the bloated beverage per diem price. Sad thing is the program is no where near as inclusive as Carnivals.... As I've learned...nothing comes for free. Another example of Norwegian finding away to nickle/dime and over price their so called freebies!![/quote]
Your post is quite confusing. First you say it is a "freebie" then you say it is $89pp per day plus 20%gratuity.

As a "freebie" you do pay a 20% gratuity and that is it. A whole lot less than Carnival or Princess. They don't offer it like that. The only way you can get it on Carnival or Princess is to pay full price which is around $59pp per day or more (don't have the exact amount in front of me) plus 18% gratuity. Also, on Carnival there is a 15 drink limit and Princess there is a 12 drink per day limit. If you pay full price for the package on NCL there is no limit.

I doubt there is a large percent of people on NCL that pay full price for the package as most would get it for a promo. We switched to NCL and Celebrity because of the drink packages being included in the promos. Lots cheaper than paying $10 a drink on Carnival or Princess and there is no way I would pay $59pp per day plus gratuity on Carnival or Princess especially when we usually cruise for 21 days as a time.

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Well obviously your best option is don't get it. Go to another line and pay their full package cost + gratuity instead of only paying NCL's gratuity. I sure the math will work out for you.

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[quote name='lcpagejr']They talk about throwing in dining, beverages, internet, excursion, etc as a freebie or a choice of several.

But the beverage fee at $89/day, which they calculate service charges on, is a absolute joke. Well over $30/day more than what Carnival and Princess charge per day. plus they add 20% gratuity (other line add 18%) as a service charge. So in essence you pay $60/pp extra in gratuity/service fees for the bloated beverage per diem price. Sad thing is the program is no where near as inclusive as Carnivals.... As I've learned...nothing comes for free. Another example of Norwegian finding away to nickle/dime and over price their so called freebies!![/quote]no need to feel ripped off or nickel or dimed, just don't take the UBP or SDP and just pay as you have a drink or specialty restaurant dinner....issue solved.

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As others have said, don’t select the booze package if you won’t otherwise average $17.80/day for alcohol. How’s that confusing, a ripoff, or nickel and diming? For us, it’s a huge money saver.


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[quote name='lcpagejr']They talk about throwing in dining, beverages, internet, excursion, etc as a freebie or a choice of several.



But the beverage fee at $89/day, which they calculate service charges on, is a absolute joke. Well over $30/day more than what Carnival and Princess charge per day. plus they add 20% gratuity (other line add 18%) as a service charge. So in essence you pay $60/pp extra in gratuity/service fees for the bloated beverage per diem price. Sad thing is the program is no where near as inclusive as Carnivals.... As I've learned...nothing comes for free. Another example of Norwegian finding away to nickle/dime and over price their so called freebies!![/QUOTE]



It’s called Ultimate Beverage Package. And you obviously don’t know what nickel/dime means.


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[quote name='swedish weave']Many forgot to mention that you must pay a higher booking rate to qualify for the "FREEBIES".[/quote]
Have you compared prices of NCL to Carnival and Princess lately? Cheaper to sail on NCL to the Caribbean on MANY cruises.

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[quote name='ready2cruzagain']Have you compared prices of NCL to Carnival and Princess lately? Cheaper to sail on NCL to the Caribbean on MANY cruises.[/quote]

I have found better rates on HAL for the cruises I choose.

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Not true. If you drink more than $106.80 a day (though not more than $15 per drink) then you're ahead of the game!

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Terrible thread title.

It is not a rip-off.

Some people may feel it is too expensive, and that is a very valid opinion.

As to what Princess or Carnival charge.. huh? How about Seabourn - all drinks are free. No charge. No gratuity. Why not sail with them?

Rip off? Come on.

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What OP is trying to point out is that this "freebie" is not free at all. The service charges added are probably more than he would spend on drinks/day!

Considering that you pay a premium rate to get "the freebies" it truly is a rip-off.

IMHO the rate charged is more for the benefit of being able to pick your cabin than anything else.

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[quote name='April42749']What OP is trying to point out is that this "freebie" is not free at all. The service charges added are probably more than he would spend on drinks/day!

Considering that you pay a premium rate to get "the freebies" it truly is a rip-off.

IMHO the rate charged is more for the benefit of being able to pick your cabin than anything else.[/quote]
I disagree because OP is saying that Carnival and Princess's drink programs are cheaper than the UBP which they are not.

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[quote name='April42749']What OP is trying to point out is that this "freebie" is not free at all. The service charges added are probably more than he would spend on drinks/day!

Considering that you pay a premium rate to get "the freebies" it truly is a rip-off.

IMHO the rate charged is more for the benefit of being able to pick your cabin than anything else.[/quote]

When I made my reservation, I would have paid the same rate without the "freebies" as if I had taken them. I believe that OP is in part comparing the Sailaway Rate with the rate you get when you pick your own cabin. Apples and oranges comparison. I want my cabin in a certain location and not leave it up to NCL, if "freebies" are included, all the better! :cool:

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[quote name='Doug R.']When I made my reservation, I would have paid the same rate without the "freebies" as if I had taken them. I believe that OP is in part comparing the Sailaway Rate with the rate you get when you pick your own cabin. Apples and oranges comparison. I want my cabin in a certain location and not leave it up to NCL, if "freebies" are included, all the better! :cool:[/quote]

I get it...but my point (I guess off topic) is that the premium is just to pick the cabin. If you choose to pay that price...then yes...other things are freebies. But I don't think most people "pay the price" solely for the luxury of picking their location.


However, as a value shopper and gambler....I pay the least, and if the assignment is bad (happened once) I have the option to upgrade myself.

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[quote name='April42749']What OP is trying to point out is that this "freebie" is not free at all. The service charges added are probably more than he would spend on drinks/day!

Considering that you pay a premium rate to get "the freebies" it truly is a rip-off.

IMHO the rate charged is more for the benefit of being able to pick your cabin than anything else.[/quote]

When they started charging the gratuities for the drink package they made it optional. I looked at the cost of
the gratuities on the package and decided not to get it as I drink 2 soft drinks and one mixed drink (maybe) per day. This is in the US.

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Moderation is the key:

How much does one drink at home? Certainly not nearly $100.00 a day? (at least not in our house)

The prices charged on board ship for individual drinks without a package, are quite steep which may inadvertently lead passengers into believing that a drink package is to their benefit. (perhaps for some passengers it is)

A nearly $100.00 (approximately) a day drinking package (per passenger per day in the same stateroom), equals to about 6 or more alcoholic drinks a day for each of us. (that's quite a bit)

We understand one is on a cruise/holiday but why would anyone want to add an additional X number of $$$ to an already (mostly all inclusive cruise/holiday) ?

"Moderation is the key"

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I do NOT want to even be CLOSE to anybody who actually goes on a 7-night cruise and actually drinks 15 drinks every single day. I rather doubt the majority of people who either get the UBP as a perk or pay for it completely actually drink that much. They'll come here and swear they are getting their money's worth because they "like the specialty colored water" (aka coffee) and I'm sure the company loves them.

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I still wish they would just charge the gratuities for the drinks you actually consumed instead of 20% of whatever amount they decide the package is worth. That way even if you only drank 1 drink a day it would still be a worthwhile perk to take and nobody could complain that it’s “not really free”. There would definitely still be people complaining that there’s automatic tips added to their drinks though.

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[quote name='oldguysandgalls']Moderation is the key:

How much does one drink at home? Certainly not nearly $100.00 a day? (at least not in our house)[/quote]



I'm not at home.

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When I'm home, I usually drink 1 or 2 beers per day. However, when on a cruise, I drink cocktails, mixed drinks, and beer. Do I drink 12 or 15? No, but I'm on a cruise, and not driving. I want to enjoy myself without worrying about my final bill.At around $200.00 for 2 people, I believe that the package perk price is more than fair.As for drink prices, I live in Florida, and if you are in a decent restaurant, the prices are very comparable to cruise ship prices.

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[quote name='lcpagejr']They talk about throwing in dining, beverages, internet, excursion, etc as a freebie or a choice of several.

But the beverage fee at $89/day, which they calculate service charges on, is a absolute joke. Well over $30/day more than what Carnival and Princess charge per day. plus they add 20% gratuity (other line add 18%) as a service charge. So in essence you pay $60/pp extra in gratuity/service fees for the bloated beverage per diem price. Sad thing is the program is no where near as inclusive as Carnivals.... As I've learned...nothing comes for free. Another example of Norwegian finding away to nickle/dime and over price their so called freebies!![/quote]
just a couple of comments on your post: 1-it is $89 if it isn't part of the perks you are offered or promo whatever you call it. Yes it is free except for the gratuities And second you talk about one being more inclusive: Carnival might offer other things like coffee and water but they also have a limit of 15 drinks a day. That is a big difference when NCL and other lines have no limit. I do agree, it makes no sense NCL does not include specialty coffe. As for the free drinks, I can guarantee you since the UBP became a perk I final statement on disembakation day has dropped by about 75% and we are not heavy drinkers.

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[quote name='swedish weave']Many forgot to mention that you must pay a higher booking rate to qualify for the "FREEBIES".[/quote]
that is true, but that is where the choice comes in; do you want an all inclusive cruise or do you want to pay each item separately?

Oh and for those who, like the OP are saying the service charge or gratuity, whatever is 20% on NCL,don't kid yourself the other lines will raise theirs any day now.

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[quote name='ray98']I'm not at home.[/quote]

We'd rather be [U]at home[/U] planning our next cruise with the money we saved by NOT buying the drink package on our previous cruise .
:D :D

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[quote name='oldguysandgalls']We'd rather be [U]at home[/U] planning our next cruise with the money we saved by NOT buying the drink package on our previous cruise .
:D :D[/quote]


Congrats I guess. I am planning my next cruise and I enjoyed the drink package on the last cruise and will on the next.

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[quote name='ray98']Congrats I guess. I am planning my next cruise and I enjoyed the drink package on the last cruise and will on the next.[/quote]

We wish you many, many happy cruises.
Ship Ahoy!
;) ;)

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[quote name='adam_s_allen']I still wish they would just charge the gratuities for the drinks you actually consumed instead of 20% of whatever amount they decide the package is worth. That way even if you only drank 1 drink a day it would still be a worthwhile perk to take and nobody could complain that it’s “not really free”. There would definitely still be people complaining that there’s automatic tips added to their drinks though.[/quote]
Now THIS makes sense....even to a light drinker like me. However, the current promo is just a revenue maker.

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[quote name='adam_s_allen']I still wish they would just charge the gratuities for the drinks you actually consumed instead of 20% of whatever amount they decide the package is worth. That way even if you only drank 1 drink a day it would still be a worthwhile perk to take and nobody could complain that it’s “not really free”. There would definitely still be people complaining that there’s automatic tips added to their drinks though.[/quote]

There will always be complainers - I wish people would not select the beverage package -- they do offer other options so you don't have to select the beverage package. You can certainly order, pay the drink price and the gratuity for it as you go as you would on land. I don't understand why people balk at this -- the normal tip for servers on land is currently 20%. NCL also runs specials for free gratuities. We happen to like it and use it. I do think it should include at least water though.

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Something people need to realize. We know that many people take it as a free promo. Which means that NCL gets to write it off on taxes as marketing expenses. More the package costs? More writeoffs. Plus they can still increase the fare to boost revenue AND sell some for cash.

But its not a rip-off. The terms and conditions are clear and its not required.

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[quote name='adam_s_allen']I still wish they would just charge the gratuities for the drinks you actually consumed instead of 20% of whatever amount they decide the package is worth. That way even if you only drank 1 drink a day it would still be a worthwhile perk to take and nobody could complain that it’s “not really free”. There would definitely still be people complaining that there’s automatic tips added to their drinks though.[/quote]

If NCL did it that way, people would complain about the actual nickels and dimes being removed from their on-board account daily. Imagine seeing "-$1.99, -$2.39..." for every drink that you consume every day.

It's better to just pay the $124.60 before you board and not have to worry about anything being deducted from your account...unless you order something more than $15 or have to pay tax while in port.

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[quote name='Two Wheels Only']

It's better to just pay the $124.60 before you board and not have to worry about anything being deducted from your account...unless you order something more than $15 or have to pay tax while in port.[/quote]

It’s easier to just pay the 124.60 and not have to worry. It’s definitely not better for the people that don’t drink 90 dollars a day worth cost wise. I personally don’t care how they do it as long as I feel the overall value is worth it. I still think it makes more sense to pay the gratuities based on the services you actually use though.

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[quote name='swedish weave']Many forgot to mention that you must pay a higher booking rate to qualify for the "FREEBIES".[/quote]

Sometimes, it really depends on the ship. I'm on Epic next month and am spending a grand total of $141 dollars a day for unlimited food, beverages, entertainment, transportation, taxes, and gratuities. To me that is an amazing deal.

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As a person who has perhaps one glass of wine a month, the UDP is not worthwhile and especially costly to me as I usually only go on longer cruises (14 days+).I did the math for our next spring TA cruise and we decided to NOT take all of the freebies and just go with a GTY oceanview. The room was assigned within a few days and is a nice full window room in a good location and worth more than two times our GTY cost.

As a Platinum member, I get two free specialty dinners and a bottle of wine and a bottle of sparkling wine. So, I can have an occasional glass of wine if I want. A win-win for those of us who don't drink much.

Just do the math and know thyself.

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