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ayjayoh21

Where will my money go?

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Good evening all

 

First day as a member

First ever cruise in a couple of weeks

First post

First questions

 

I've read a lot of reports (on various websites) about the on-board efforts by NCL staff to lighten your wallet during your cruise.

 

I just wanted to know what it is that costs, any traps to avoid and how best to prevent a hefty bill at the end of the cruise.

 

Thanks in advance

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Welcome to CC.

 

You have booked an all inclusive vacation. Your room, all of your meals, all of your entertainment,,, are currently fully paid for. We are Platinum Plus members (lots of cruises under out belt). We have completed cruises with a zero balance at the end of a cruise.

 

So,,, going on a cruise is like going on a vacation. If you stop and continuously buy things, you will have a hefty bill at the end of your cruise. It's all up to you.

 

You can drink all of the free coffee you can hold. Or you can go to "starbucks" and buy foo foo coffee and part with lots of cash.

 

You can eat all of the food you can hold in complimentary restaurants for free (and it is wonderful). Or you can go to a specialty restaurant and part with lots of cash (it's the same food, you just have to pay for it).

 

You can go to the gift shop and get a key chain for $5. Or you can go to the jewelry shop and buy thousands of dollars worth of bling.

 

You can go and watch a craps table in the casino. Or you can go and donate a lot of money to the casino.

 

You can go at watch bingo. Or you can spend $45 for a set of bingo cards.

 

You can drink ice tea and lemonade. Or you can go to the bar and drop $5+ a drink.

 

If you room key never leaves you pocket, you will end up with a zero bill at the end.

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We have done 6 NCL cruises, 10 on Celebrity and 1 on RCI. Each cruise line is different regarding costs.

 

Some of my advice is based on my personal opinion, which may not work for you.

 

1) When you booked your cruise, you picked your cabin based on your budget and other preferences. Also, you probably picked some promos since NCL bundles its prices with promos like the drinks packages, internet, etc. Try to avoid diving into additional costs for your first cruise, until you get a handle on what you really need and the relative cost.

2) Avoid expensive photo packages. Take you own camera or cell phone for taking photos and you will remember your cruise without posing with the costumed dolphin or pirate that the NCL photographer shows. Also, say no to photos when you are dining.

3) Dine at the Main Dining Room and avoid the packages for the specialty restaurants. We usually dine at a couple of those restaurants on longer cruises, but are usually happy with the MDR food. Don't jump right in if they are pushing a sale.

4) If you didn't get the internet package with your promos when you booked, hold off on buying it, especially if you are on a port intensive cruise. If you need to communicate with someone on shore, find an internet cafe after you have toured the port.

5) Excursions from NCL are usually good, but come with 40 people in a large bus. Do some research and join your roll call on cruise critic to find private tours that are cheaper. Frequently, private tours are double or more the price of the NCL excursions. It least look at the excursions before you pick a tour. Every once in a while the NCL excursions is not so expensive and if you are going a long way from the ship, it may pay to stick with NCL, depending on the cost.

6) Booking other cruises on board. Better to do your research on land.

7) Research the ports where you stop and find out in advance what you want to see there. Pair that up with your research on tours.

 

Enjoy your cruise and generally just say no to onboard sales

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It depends what you want to do on board. There’s the option to not spend a single bean if you don’t want to.

 

If you don’t have the drinks package there’s free water, tea, coffee available . Loads of free places to eat so you’ll never starve. But if you want to eat at a speciality restaurant, or buy drinks, or play bingo, or bowl, or get a fancy coffee, or have a spa treatment then that’s all extra. The majority of the entertainment and activities are included, a few have a fee.

 

Plenty of people have a zero bill, like I said you can choose to pay for something if you want it.

 

I hope you have a fabulous trip and get hooked on cruising like most of us on these boards, you’ll get a hundred opinions, some grumps and some fun folk but I’m sure all of us want you to have a memorable adventure!

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Good evening all

 

First day as a member

First ever cruise in a couple of weeks

First post

First questions

 

I've read a lot of reports (on various websites) about the on-board efforts by NCL staff to lighten your wallet during your cruise.

 

I just wanted to know what it is that costs, any traps to avoid and how best to prevent a hefty bill at the end of the cruise.

 

Thanks in advance

welcome!

 

the cruise is all inclusive.

you dont need to spend another dime once you go on board.

 

food is free at the buffet, main dining rooms, and 24hr diner.

nightly shows in the main theater are free.

there's free activities lead by assistant cruise directors throughout the day. (altho some free activities are just infomercials to buy stuff and/or services. :mad: )

 

that being said, here's some advice on how to prevent NCL from lightening your wallet if you decide to spend more $:

1) if you're not a heavy drinker, dont get the alcohol promo.

mandatory tips on the alcohol package comes to $18/day per person, which is $36/day per cabin.

to break even, that's about 3 drinks a day per person, which is 6 drinks/day per cabin.

 

2) avoid on board activities that cost $, unless you really want to pay the premium to do them.

ie: photos, Spa, bingo, pull tabs they peddle before the theater show, $20 wine tastings, etc

 

3) cheaper to do 3rd party excursions than ncl sponsored excursions.

dont worry about coming back to the ship late.

the reputable 3rd party excursion companies will bring you back on time.

check the roll call forum for your cruise for suggestions.

 

4) ship casino

- Avoid slots/video poker/roulette

- Best games are $15 blackjack and $5 craps (3/4/5x odds).

- avoid $6 blackjack. it only pays 6:5 for blackjack.

 

5) you dont need the ship internet package

there's usually free Internet at the port and/or a starbucks within walking distance of the port.

again, the roll call for your cruise will have more specific advice on free internet.

 

 

if you plan on taking future NCL cruises, the CruiseNext certificates ARE worth it!

buy 2 because you get a bigger % discount than buying 1.

 

Enjoy your cruise!

Edited by fstuff1

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We have done 6 NCL cruises, 10 on Celebrity and 1 on RCI. Each cruise line is different regarding costs.

 

Some of my advice is based on my personal opinion, which may not work for you.

 

1) When you booked your cruise, you picked your cabin based on your budget and other preferences. Also, you probably picked some promos since NCL bundles its prices with promos like the drinks packages, internet, etc. Try to avoid diving into additional costs for your first cruise, until you get a handle on what you really need and the relative cost.

2) Avoid expensive photo packages. Take you own camera or cell phone for taking photos and you will remember your cruise without posing with the costumed dolphin or pirate that the NCL photographer shows. Also, say no to photos when you are dining.

3) Dine at the Main Dining Room and avoid the packages for the specialty restaurants. We usually dine at a couple of those restaurants on longer cruises, but are usually happy with the MDR food. Don't jump right in if they are pushing a sale.

4) If you didn't get the internet package with your promos when you booked, hold off on buying it, especially if you are on a port intensive cruise. If you need to communicate with someone on shore, find an internet cafe after you have toured the port.

5) Excursions from NCL are usually good, but come with 40 people in a large bus. Do some research and join your roll call on cruise critic to find private tours that are cheaper. Frequently, private tours are double or more the price of the NCL excursions. It least look at the excursions before you pick a tour. Every once in a while the NCL excursions is not so expensive and if you are going a long way from the ship, it may pay to stick with NCL, depending on the cost.

6) Booking other cruises on board. Better to do your research on land.

7) Research the ports where you stop and find out in advance what you want to see there. Pair that up with your research on tours.

 

Enjoy your cruise and generally just say no to onboard sales

 

That highlighted statement isn't true. USUALLY private tours/ excursions are at least HALF the price of Cruise Line tours/ excursions. I think the poster just mis-typed.

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1) if you're not a heavy drinker, dont get the alcohol promo.

mandatory tips on the alcohol package comes to $18/day per person, which is $36/day per cabin.

to break even, that's about 3 drinks a day per person, which is 6 drinks/day per cabin.

 

 

 

$18 dollars a day wouldn’t even get you 2 drinks! You’re really buying an unlimited drink package for only $125/pp, which really isn’t bad at all.

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NCL in no way forces you to buy anything. All you have to do is be an adult and stick to whatever your budget is.

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There is a DSC - it is $14.50 US per person, per day, instead of tipping. I think. I'm frightened to point it out to you, because now you'll receive a lot of advice about what to do about it. So I'll just say, this is added to your bill, unless you pre-pay it, so you will be looking at $203 US added on to your bill *unless* you "adjust" it, and there are a million threads you can read on the wisdom of doing that or not. I never do. But it's a personal decision. And that's all I'm gonna say.

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That highlighted statement isn't true. USUALLY private tours/ excursions are at least HALF the price of Cruise Line tours/ excursions. I think the poster just mis-typed.

Thank you. I did miss type. I meant to say that the ship's excursions are usually double of private tours.

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Most of the previous posters had good information, but you ask about any "traps". In the sense of scams or traps that you might come across in a City, I don't think you will run into any of those on the ship, at least I don't recall doing them. The daily event guide is going to show a $ or some other icon if there is an extra charge (which you might be floored by how much it is).

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Good evening all

 

First day as a member

First ever cruise in a couple of weeks

First post

First questions

 

I've read a lot of reports (on various websites) about the on-board efforts by NCL staff to lighten your wallet during your cruise.

 

I just wanted to know what it is that costs, any traps to avoid and how best to prevent a hefty bill at the end of the cruise.

 

Thanks in advance

Where is goes is simply up to you. Other than the DSC (gratuities) you do not have to spend a single penny. If you have pre paid your gratuities you won't even have that to worry about. Now, the things you can expect to be added: 1-drinks, both soda and booze unless you have the UBP. the same with specialty dining unless you have the dining package. Of course thinks like spa treatments, tours, gambling etc will add up, but this is all up to you. Some leave the ship with no or almost no additional charges, others leave with huge amounts on their CC. Last cruise we did have a $200 on board credit and our gratuities were paid in advance. We had a UDP and UBP. The only charges we had was a total of $2.27 for stuff we purchased in the gift shop. Even without the OBC our bill would have been only $227.27.

Let me also add, addition charges on NCL are not any different than on any other line. All have places where you can spend your entire pay check if you so choose. Those comments you read are normally posted because someone has an axe to grind or was not prepared and informed about additional charges that are a choice one makes.

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Lots of great info has been provided in posts/responses above. My wife and I always get the ultimate beverage package because we don't like any surprises at the end of the cruise. It depends on what you drink and how much. For the most part, the food is all free except for specialty restaurants, the entertainment is free unless its something really special, in most ports you can walk to a lot of great places. We have gone on a number of cruises and have enjoyed every one thoroughly. In fact, we are booked for three more this year if that tells you anything. I consider it the perfect vacation. Your "hotel" has a number of restaurants - there is always something good to choose from in many of them, whether free or added cost ... your hotel has a theater ... your hotel has a shopping center ... your hotel has a number of swimming pools and activities ... your hotel has a spa, a library, and 24 hour free food if you get the munchies (O'Sheehans or it's replacement The Local on Bliss) ... From our point of view ... You really can't loose unless you are a chronic complainer who can't be satisfied with anything ... you know the type ... Give them a hundred, they want a thousand ... give them a thousand they want ten thousand ... etc!! Enjoy the cruise!!!

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Don't go to the onboard medical center. Pack a medicine/first aid kit.

good idea, but if you have to use the medical center our experience has been our insurance will pick up part of the cost. Last time I needed a couple of band aids they just gave them to me, no charge

 

Bird Travels: OP could be a TROLL trying to get a heated debate going on the nickle and diming topic.

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Bird Travels: OP could be a TROLL trying to get a heated debate going on the nickle and diming topic.

 

He is either enjoying a long weekend or he is a sad and lonely soul.:kiss-mark:

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Good tips and answers on this post. Just a little addition. I love the casino (yes I know it's a donation :)) that is what I like to do early in the AM when open as I get up about 4 AM. Now just a tip if you enjoy the casino. Use cash only do not charge to your cabin. If you use cash (I have a limit) you control what you spend. Charging to the cabin is so easy and painless until you get the bill. Very easy to blow lots of money here. Just know from my sisters error. She was thinking just another 20 I can keep track, when I cash out I'll pay it on my account. Wrong she blew just under 400 bucks. Needless to say hubby wasn't happy (he did the same thing). Stick with cash or keep track by viewing your account it adds up real fast.

Just my thought on what not to do to add to your on-board account.

Do what makes the cruise what you want, it's your vacation and your money.

We cruise twice a year (most years) and love it.

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good idea, but if you have to use the medical center our experience has been our insurance will pick up part of the cost. Last time I needed a couple of band aids they just gave them to me, no charge

 

Bird Travels: OP could be a TROLL trying to get a heated debate going on the nickle and diming topic.

 

Good points!

 

Sometimes these threads are good reminders to those who cruise more often. I always pack a first aid kit though I have great insurance both medical and health but sometimes like you said you just need a band-aid.

 

I finally used my last Cruise Next certificate for my DD's birthday cruise next month. I felt the certificates turned out to be a good deal especially if there is a deal you want and decide to book earlier than you thought.

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Good tips and answers on this post. Just a little addition.

I love the casino (yes I know it's a donation :)) that is what I like to do early in the AM when open as I get up about 4 AM.

 

Now just a tip if you enjoy the casino.

Use cash only do not charge to your cabin.

If you use cash (I have a limit) you control what you spend.

 

Charging to the cabin is so easy and painless until you get the bill. Very easy to blow lots of money here. Just know from my sisters error. She was thinking just another 20 I can keep track, when I cash out I'll pay it on my account. Wrong she blew just under 400 bucks. Needless to say hubby wasn't happy (he did the same thing). Stick with cash or keep track by viewing your account it adds up real fast.

 

 

Just my thought on what not to do to add to your on-board account.

charging casino to your on-board acct also adds a 3% fee, unless you're a high tier level.

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my tips:

 

if you're going to drink, get the UBP promo. I cost myself hundreds booking my first ncl cruise on sail away cost.

 

I actually love the specialty dining. I paid for 3 on my first ncl, Escape. last time on Sky i skipped it. but I find the MDR and buffet more than acceptable.

 

be reasonable with souvenirs. my fist overall cruise, Carnival, I bought a half dozen t-shirts for family. none wear them, ha!

 

don't penny pinch, you are on vacation.

 

it's ok to quarter pinch, however.

 

avoid the casino. it's a donation. no one wins at machines unlike regular land based casinos.

 

I overtip staff. I'm amazed how wonderful they always are, without fail.

 

do research on trip advisor forums for ports of call. the cruise line excursions often are mediocre in comparison.

 

try to spend some time each day enjoying the sound of the ocean. I can't do it back home so I do that 1-2x a day. (morning, night) Serenity now!!!

 

avoid the political channels on cabin tv. drives me to drink!!!

 

Sent from my SM-G955U using Forums mobile app

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Or you can go to a specialty restaurant and part with lots of cash (it's the same food, you just have to pay for it).

That is just one person's opinion.

 

It's been years since I've had a meal in the MDR of any cruise line that is anywhere near as good as the meals in Le Bistro or Cagneys. If they really were "the same food", you wouldn't need to make reservations because no one would be paying the upcharge to go in.

 

If you do decide you want a treat, a truly good meal, the specialty restaurants are worth it. In my opinion.

Edited by PATRLR
get rid of green font.

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He is either enjoying a long weekend or he is a sad and lonely soul.:kiss-mark:

 

He was on a long (UK Bank Holiday) weekend. Thanks. Sometimes sad but never lonely.

 

Strange that the OP has never come back with any questions or responses.

 

I'm back, and would like to thank everybody for their valued input.

 

Bird Travels: OP could be a TROLL trying to get a heated debate going on the nickle and diming topic.

 

not a troll, haven't read the nickel & Diming thread so can't comment.

 

Don't go to the onboard medical center. Pack a medicine/first aid kit.

 

I will pack a first aid kit. Thanks.

 

 

Thanks again to everybody who has offered me some constructive advice.

 

We do have UBP (we like a drink)

We have paid DSC (gratuities)

I've done my research and don't think we'll need any NCL excursions

We will eat at the speciality restaurants. Just not every night. (might look at Speciality Dining Package once on board)

I won't buy photos

I will use the casino occasionally - cash only.

 

:D

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