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With service charge, is UBP worth it?

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Hey everyone,

 

So I know this is probably going to be more of a "Well, how much do you drink?" response. But I am trying to figure out if the package is really worth it.

The last cruise we took was 5 days in the Bahamas and we had the free UBP There were no at sea days, and we had our whole family (including our son) with us, so I don't know if that may change on this next cruise, but we barely drank on that cruise. I think I had about 2 glasses of wine, a pina colada, a mojto, and 2 cappuccinos. My husband probably had 2 drinks at most. When I calculate that, it's at the most $100 total. So, if we are taking a 10 day cruise, we could double, even triple that ($300) and it still comes out less than the service fees on the UBP. I know UBP is "free" but $178/person for service charges seems like a lot of money when we aren't really taking advantage of it.

What do you guys think? Are we better off paying out of pocket for the drinks or given we will be childless and have 4 at sea days, will we potentially use it more than we think?

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Hey everyone,

 

So I know this is probably going to be more of a "Well, how much do you drink?" response. But I am trying to figure out if the package is really worth it.

The last cruise we took was 5 days in the Bahamas and we had the free UBP There were no at sea days, and we had our whole family (including our son) with us, so I don't know if that may change on this next cruise, but we barely drank on that cruise. I think I had about 2 glasses of wine, a pina colada, a mojto, and 2 cappuccinos. My husband probably had 2 drinks at most. When I calculate that, it's at the most $100 total. So, if we are taking a 10 day cruise, we could double, even triple that ($300) and it still comes out less than the service fees on the UBP. I know UBP is "free" but $178/person for service charges seems like a lot of money when we aren't really taking advantage of it.

What do you guys think? Are we better off paying out of pocket for the drinks or given we will be childless and have 4 at sea days, will we potentially use it more than we think?

Well it does probably depend on how much you drink...but on a ten day cruise you will have more sea days and I personally like knowing its all taken care of plus you can try new things without worrying about wasting your money if you don't like it. I usually break even or come out a little ahead even on a port intensive cruise especially when it is really hot and I tend to drink more non alcoholic cocktails.

 

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The only thing with longer cruises is... usually by Day 6 or so, I don't want to have more than like one drink a day! Ha.

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The only way that the UBP makes sense to me is if it is one of the "free" perks. If you consider the daily amount for the service charge your only "cost" for drinks, I make money on it.

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The feeling of knowing that the drinks are paid vs. dealing with "...how much are we drinking/spending each day on drinks?..." makes the UBP promo worth it for me. If I want to drink more on Tuesday than on Thursday or vice versa, I will. Setting an amount and making sure that I don't go over it is not how I want to spend my vacation.

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The feeling of knowing that the drinks are paid vs. dealing with "...how much are we drinking/spending each day on drinks?..." makes the UBP promo worth it for me. If I want to drink more on Tuesday than on Thursday or vice versa, I will. Setting an amount and making sure that I don't go over it is not how I want to spend my vacation.

 

That's a good point....and I know I would be doing that. I'd be paranoid to get a $600 bill, all to save $300. -- Honestly, I don't drink much, but I know in the casino I like a drink...or a pina colada at the pool. And I definitely like wine and coffee at dinner, so I guess it could add up. I really didn't use it much on the Bahamas cruise, but I truly question what I'll be doing with 4 days at sea. It's a lot of "On board" time that I didn't have last time.

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The only thing with longer cruises is... usually by Day 6 or so, I don't want to have more than like one drink a day! Ha.
That's why I tend to lean towards the non alcoholic frozen drinks for the last half of the cruise!

 

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I calculate drinks (with $20 gratuity) at $11 for a standard mixed (rum & coke, vodka soda), $14 for a premium mixed (Kettle & soda, moscow mule, aviation, long island, rebellious fish), $19 for a super premium (espresso martini, dark & stormy), $13 glass of wine, $8 beer, $10 premium beer. Even if not 100% accurate, it will get me close enough to estimate.

 

Our drinking varies by the itinerary (drink less on port days), so I just do the math based on our usual habits. Nothing else plays in to my decision. For a port intensive cruise, the drink package isn't worth it for us. But if it's free, with us only paying the gratuity, it is 100% a great financial decision for us.

 

Example based on my normal cruise habits:

On any given sea day average of 3 beers, 3 premium beers, 2 cocktails, 2 premium cocktails per person ($104)

On any given port day average of 2 premium beers, 1 super premium cocktail, 1 glass wine ($49)

 

On a 4 port, 3 sea day cruise that's $508/pp. Not worth the $896 for me, but definitely worth the $150 gratuity on a free perk and definitely makes up for any price games they play with staterooms.

 

It's sort of nice to also have the "freedom" of the drink package, but that doesn't really factor in to my decision. It's all about the $$$ for me.

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Trust me it adds up. 2-3 sodas a day with your snacks and meals will bring you up to $10 alone.

 

Another $10 so for a beer including the service fee.

 

Wines you’re looking at about $12 with service fee.

 

The different in net cost for me, considering all the rebates I got was $247 US to add the drinks package. (Vs. A stateroom with no perks). Which is $36 US a day.

 

So that’s basically 3 pops, and two martinis or 2 glasses of wine...or 3 pops and 3 beers. So it was worth it in that instance for me. Also, I prefer to have lots of options because wine or beer don’t always agree with me, and the drynx package lets me sample drinks I might not have otherwise.

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Trust me it adds up. 2-3 sodas a day with your snacks and meals will bring you up to $10 alone.

 

Another $10 so for a beer including the service fee.

 

Wines you’re looking at about $12 with service fee.

 

The different in net cost for me, considering all the rebates I got was $247 US to add the drinks package. (Vs. A stateroom with no perks). Which is $36 US a day.

 

So that’s basically 3 pops, and two martinis or 2 glasses of wine...or 3 pops and 3 beers. So it was worth it in that instance for me. Also, I prefer to have lots of options because wine or beer don’t always agree with me, and the drynx package lets me sample drinks I might not have otherwise.

 

Agree, don't forget the high price for soda.

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Hey everyone,

 

So I know this is probably going to be more of a "Well, how much do you drink?" response. But I am trying to figure out if the package is really worth it.

The last cruise we took was 5 days in the Bahamas and we had the free UBP There were no at sea days, and we had our whole family (including our son) with us, so I don't know if that may change on this next cruise, but we barely drank on that cruise. I think I had about 2 glasses of wine, a pina colada, a mojto, and 2 cappuccinos. My husband probably had 2 drinks at most. When I calculate that, it's at the most $100 total. So, if we are taking a 10 day cruise, we could double, even triple that ($300) and it still comes out less than the service fees on the UBP. I know UBP is "free" but $178/person for service charges seems like a lot of money when we aren't really taking advantage of it.

What do you guys think? Are we better off paying out of pocket for the drinks or given we will be childless and have 4 at sea days, will we potentially use it more than we think?

 

The #178/person is the 18% service charge (tip) on each drink ordered. If you paid individually , you would have to buy about $800 is drinks.

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That's a good point....and I know I would be doing that. I'd be paranoid to get a $600 bill, all to save $300. -- Honestly, I don't drink much, but I know in the casino I like a drink...or a pina colada at the pool. And I definitely like wine and coffee at dinner, so I guess it could add up. I really didn't use it much on the Bahamas cruise, but I truly question what I'll be doing with 4 days at sea. It's a lot of "On board" time that I didn't have last time.
With sea days the casino is open basically all the time. So if you'd be on there a lot drinking that would up your count.

 

On sea days I drink a lot more. It's hot on the pool deck so I keep the frozen drinks coming and toss them if they get warm and get another.

 

I also get the best liquor I can with the package so the savings adds up faster.

 

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Well it does probably depend on how much you drink...but on a ten day cruise you will have more sea days and I personally like knowing its all taken care of plus you can try new things without worrying about wasting your money if you don't like it. I usually break even or come out a little ahead even on a port intensive cruise especially when it is really hot and I tend to drink more non alcoholic cocktails.

 

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Not always. We are booked on the Dawn this December for a 10 day cruise and we only have 1 day at sea which is the first full day on the ship.

 

After that we are in a different port every day from 8am to 5pm.:)

 

That being said I still opted for the drink package and we aren't big drinkers either.

 

 

Bill

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It adds up quickly... Our last cruise was the Escape, and hubby would have maybe 5 a day... mostly beer (our room was very close to the District)... and starting with one at lunch, it was easy to have 5 (one every two hours) by 10 pm (when we were usually heading for bed.) I am not a big drinker, and got my share of Virgin drinks too... and even though I expected to pay for dd’s nightly virgin lava flow or whatever (she was 13)... because you can “buy” two drinks at a time, I was never charged for any of her drinks. And the Virgin drinks are not cheap either. I know we got our money’s worth!

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.. and even though I expected to pay for dd’s nightly virgin lava flow or whatever (she was 13)... because you can “buy” two drinks at a time, I was never charged for any of her drinks. And the Virgin drinks are not cheap either. I know we got our money’s worth!

They were supposed to charge you for her drinks even though they didn't. Consider it a case of good luck.

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Our bill for drinks the one and only time we sailed NCL without the beverage package was over $1000. That was back when gratuities were only 15% and the drink prices were much less than they are now. The drink package is a no-brainer for us. It only takes a couple drinks per day to pay for itself if you get the package as a promo.

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They were supposed to charge you for her drinks even though they didn't. Consider it a case of good luck.

 

Possibly, but in large groups we were all taking turns “buying” for each other... they just stuck with the two drinks per bar visit and it didn’t seem to matter who the drinks were going to. Everyone was on the package... but it was pretty relaxed. I bought drinks for Dd and I at bars, at dinner, etc... didn’t seem to matter and never got charged.

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Possibly, but in large groups we were all taking turns “buying” for each other... they just stuck with the two drinks per bar visit and it didn’t seem to matter who the drinks were going to. Everyone was on the package... but it was pretty relaxed. I bought drinks for Dd and I at bars, at dinner, etc... didn’t seem to matter and never got charged.

The reason that it was "luck" was that it is against NCL policy to "share" a drink package with another guest. Obviously, they aren't going to monitor every drink and who drinks it.

 

However, if NCL did decide to enforce the policy, the UBP could/would have been rescinded without refund or in the case of a promo without refund of service charge. I wouldn't want people unfamiliar with NCL or the UBP to get the impression of "...sure, it's no problem to get drinks for others who don't have the package....NCL doesn't care..".

 

Getting a non-alcoholic beverage for your child is no big deal. NCL won't care about that but if others try to get drinks for their friends who don't have the UBP?.....it's not worth the risk. Just a warning to those who might try to press their luck with alcoholic beverages for others.

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The #178/person is the 18% service charge (tip) on each drink ordered. If you paid individually , you would have to buy about $800 is drinks.

The $178pp is actually the 20% service charge on the UBP for a 10 day cruise. The UBP (when purchased) is $89pp per day and the service charge per day is $17.80pp.

 

If a person will drink more than $17.80 worth per day on drinks, it's better to get the UBP promo and pay the service charge.

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When I have the drink package, I like to try different drinks each day. It is nice to be able to taste various drinks that I probably wouldn't pay for. I also enjoy a late morning bellini. They are delicious!

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I understand your dilemma, OP, because if we don't have a drinks package, we don't drink much either. Having said that, we now pretty much only cruise with a drinks package. We found having one just makes the cruise experience itself more free and fun. It's vacation enhancing. We don't get drunk, but we do end up trying different drinks, order different wines at dinner, etc. It's lovely to have a pina colada on a hot day, especially after a shore excursion. Overall, it's just not having to think about a bar bill that we love I think -- the benefit is probably more psychological for us than anything else, but it definitely does add to the experience.

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It adds up quickly... Our last cruise was the Escape, and hubby would have maybe 5 a day... mostly beer (our room was very close to the District...

 

Ha, ha! "Very close to the District" :'):')

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Agree, don't forget the high price for soda.

 

 

 

Looking at the demographics of ncl...there are a whole lot of pax that ain't watching their sugar intake and probably live on sugary soda lol and ncl knows they will pay whatever for it

 

I drink the unsweetened ice tea and it's perfect and free

 

I never understood the pax that eat and drink all day every day...and trust me I'm no twig...I just don't gorge myself nor drink like a slob on a cruise

 

 

 

 

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Looking at the demographics of ncl...there are a whole lot of pax that ain't watching their sugar intake and probably live on sugary soda lol and ncl knows they will pay whatever for it

 

I drink the unsweetened ice tea and it's perfect and free

 

I never understood the pax that eat and drink all day every day...and trust me I'm no twig...I just don't gorge myself nor drink like a slob on a cruise

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

You may not be a twig but you're certainly not afraid to label other people who make different choices!

 

I don't gorge myself nor do I "drink like a slob" however I always take the UBP. I hope I don't run into you when we cruise. It could get ugly!

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Looking at the demographics of ncl...there are a whole lot of pax that ain't watching their sugar intake and probably live on sugary soda lol and ncl knows they will pay whatever for it

 

I drink the unsweetened ice tea and it's perfect and free

 

I never understood the pax that eat and drink all day every day...and trust me I'm no twig...I just don't gorge myself nor drink like a slob on a cruise

 

 

 

LOL....Are you looking for an award or something?

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you mention coffee. basic coffee is free in buffet adn restaurants. fancy specialty coffee is not free with the UBP nor is bottled water. just keep that in mind.

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you mention coffee. basic coffee is free in buffet adn restaurants. fancy specialty coffee is not free with the UBP nor is bottled water. just keep that in mind.

 

 

 

Last cruise I was on was in 2015 and after dinner I would get a cappuccino. I believe those were free with UBP. Am I wrong on that?

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Last cruise I was on was in 2015 and after dinner I would get a cappuccino. I believe those were free with UBP. Am I wrong on that?

 

yes, this is not included, unless you are cruising on the UK premium all inclusive fare. You can get a standard coffee though.

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Hey everyone,

 

So I know this is probably going to be more of a "Well, how much do you drink?" response. But I am trying to figure out if the package is really worth it.

The last cruise we took was 5 days in the Bahamas and we had the free UBP There were no at sea days, and we had our whole family (including our son) with us, so I don't know if that may change on this next cruise, but we barely drank on that cruise. I think I had about 2 glasses of wine, a pina colada, a mojto, and 2 cappuccinos. My husband probably had 2 drinks at most. When I calculate that, it's at the most $100 total. So, if we are taking a 10 day cruise, we could double, even triple that ($300) and it still comes out less than the service fees on the UBP. I know UBP is "free" but $178/person for service charges seems like a lot of money when we aren't really taking advantage of it.

What do you guys think? Are we better off paying out of pocket for the drinks or given we will be childless and have 4 at sea days, will we potentially use it more than we think?

 

The answer to your question is different for everyone. It amounts to a simple math exercise.

 

 

If you believe that you will spend more on alcohol on your cruise than the cost of the gratuities that you have to pay on the UBP when given as a perk, or more than you would pay if you have to actually pay for the UBP, then it is worth it. If you are going to pay less then it i not worth it.

 

It's not a hard concept to grasp, though I do realize that it is a word problem and people often don't understand those activities.

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I always have a package because it's one less thing to think about. For NCL, I have one brief thought about the Service Charge, pay it, then have a care free, all inclusive cruise.

If you have to worry about getting you money's worth or think you're getting scammed, it's not for you, don't buy it.

Same reason I avoid the Dining Package, if there are better options, because the stress of burning 4 credits, especially on a 7 day cruise, it way too much.

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I think its pretty easy to have 7,8,9 drinks a day without getting drunk too. Start on sea days at the pool around 11:30-4, easily could have 3 frozen drinks without being drunk, especially with a lunch in there. Then maybe a pre-dinner cocktail, a couple drinks after dinner and depending how late you stay up. Or even throw in a couple of soda's in there. To me it would worth. Plus I don't need the wifi perk, or the excursion perk.

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When I have the drink package, I like to try different drinks each day. It is nice to be able to taste various drinks that I probably wouldn't pay for. I also enjoy a late morning bellini. They are delicious!

 

 

 

This is my plan too. I drink very little but I expect to get my money's worth out of the gratuity cost. I would never actually but the package at full price. I am looking forward to trying new drinks. I rarely ever have cocktails and I will be trying out new ones this trip.

 

I will also be drinking virgin cocktails.

 

 

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The feeling of knowing that the drinks are paid vs. dealing with "...how much are we drinking/spending each day on drinks?..." makes the UBP promo worth it for me. If I want to drink more on Tuesday than on Thursday or vice versa, I will. Setting an amount and making sure that I don't go over it is not how I want to spend my vacation.

Exactly.

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OP, my DH and I were on the Getaway last month with our 2 boys. We are not drinkers, but still feel we got our money's worth (note that we had the UBP so I'm only accounting for the gratuities for the two of us for the week).

 

We regularly got non-alcoholic smoothies at the pool bars, as well as a few sodas per day. DH and I would have a glass of wine with dinner. And then we had lots of club soda + cranberry juice. I usually would get a mojito as well, and sometimes we would visit Margaritaville and get a drink there. It was nice to not have to worry about paying for drinks.

 

And it was also nice not to have to go back to our room to get a can of something we brought on, as we did on Carnival. Thirsty? No problem. There's a bar nearby.

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With free perks I will drink so much more then normal. But then again on vacation everyone drinks more, so my final answer is u can’t go wrong with the drink package

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Hey everyone,

 

So I know this is probably going to be more of a "Well, how much do you drink?" response. But I am trying to figure out if the package is really worth it.

The last cruise we took was 5 days in the Bahamas and we had the free UBP There were no at sea days, and we had our whole family (including our son) with us, so I don't know if that may change on this next cruise, but we barely drank on that cruise. I think I had about 2 glasses of wine, a pina colada, a mojto, and 2 cappuccinos. My husband probably had 2 drinks at most. When I calculate that, it's at the most $100 total. So, if we are taking a 10 day cruise, we could double, even triple that ($300) and it still comes out less than the service fees on the UBP. I know UBP is "free" but $178/person for service charges seems like a lot of money when we aren't really taking advantage of it.

What do you guys think? Are we better off paying out of pocket for the drinks or given we will be childless and have 4 at sea days, will we potentially use it more than we think?

 

Define "worth it"... This is a question only you can answer for yourself.

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Here’s what happened with us. First cruise we didn’t take it and spent about $150 in alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks for us and our daughter. This was being conservative, we hardly drink. One drink I had with an expensive vodka ended up being $20 with tip. Wow! Second cruise we got the UBP and definitely drank more then the cost of the gratuities. It was nice trying new drinks and even getting 2 if the drink was weaker. I say go for it!

 

 

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Hey everyone,

 

So I know this is probably going to be more of a "Well, how much do you drink?" response. But I am trying to figure out if the package is really worth it.

The last cruise we took was 5 days in the Bahamas and we had the free UBP There were no at sea days, and we had our whole family (including our son) with us, so I don't know if that may change on this next cruise, but we barely drank on that cruise. I think I had about 2 glasses of wine, a pina colada, a mojto, and 2 cappuccinos. My husband probably had 2 drinks at most. When I calculate that, it's at the most $100 total. So, if we are taking a 10 day cruise, we could double, even triple that ($300) and it still comes out less than the service fees on the UBP. I know UBP is "free" but $178/person for service charges seems like a lot of money when we aren't really taking advantage of it.

What do you guys think? Are we better off paying out of pocket for the drinks or given we will be childless and have 4 at sea days, will we potentially use it more than we think?

This seems to be a question that comes up every few weeks or so. No one can tell you if it is a good deal. Yes, it depends on how much you drink, there is no other answer.

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As you said, no one here knows how much you’ll use it. I found that I used it more than I thought I would, though. Typically on a cruise I don’t drink much, due to the high prices. But with the UBP, we had a pre-dinner martini and at least 1 glass of wine with dinner every night; so broke even just with that. Add in the fact that I could grab a soda whenever I wanted and had some extra drinks by the pool - for me it was worthwhile. But if you don’t expect to have a drink every day, it may not be worthwhile to you.

 

 

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