Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
gmbhardy

Not Happy with Liquor Up Charges

Recommended Posts

I You fully don’t understand the concept of getting “nickeled and dimed” until it punches you in the gut. I’ve posted a number of comments on this topic on two threads that are running concurrently concerning the new liquor pricing and the UBP. To reiterate, I sailed on the Biss January 12 to 19. We chose to be in the Observation Lounge for sail away as the views from that vantage point are stunning. Most of the time my wife and I choose a champagne substitute (prosecco) to toast the start of the cruise but for some reason I decided to order Grand Marnier, my favourite drink, instead. I was shocked when the bartender told me there was now an up charge for Grand Marnier (17.95). I said “since when” (I sailed on the Bliss in November) he said “starting today there is a new liquor menu in effect” and handed me one. Before even looking at it i saked him “what about Grey Goose” and he said “yes also an up charge” (19.95). I was stunned to say the least but collected myself and ordered two proseccos instead. They didn’t have any as their stock for the week had not been replenished yet. This cruise was not getting off to a very good start. Later in the week I attended the Latitudes reception so I could vent my dissatisfaction with the food and beverage manager. I asked him if NCL monitors CC discussions and he said of course they did. So then I said you must know then that the number one complaint about NCL is it’s “nickel and dime” approach to gouging customers. He didn’t quite know how to respond to that comment but instead told me about a new premium beverage package that will soon be available for an additional $28.00/day. I then told him I had six future cruises book with NCL with three being in the Haven and given what I’m paying to stay in the Haven, I can’t fathom having to pay extra for semi premium alcohol. I think our conversation ended at that point. I also noticed a few other new bar policies during the week. With virtually nobody ordering Grey Goose with the $6.00 up charge ($5 + $1 service charge) Tito’s appeared to be the vodka of choice. In the evening if a bar ran of Tito’s they made no effort to get another bottle. I’ve seen resorts in Mexico have limited inventory on some of their premium selections so unless you got there early your chance of getting some was limited. I always considered cruising to be a step above all inclusives resorts, but with changes like this it makes you wonder. Could I afford to pay a little extra for Grand Marnier? Sure I could, but I don’t feel I should have to given the price of cruising, especially in the Haven. The other issue that really bothers me is how they are able to change their product after you purchase it. The travel and tourism industry is notorious for bait and switch tactics and they continue to get away with it. Most businesses would grandfather changes like this but not the travel industry. I have been a loyal NCL customer and in all probability will continue to purchase their products, but in my opinion the NCL brand is starting to deteriorate. When you have the highest priced booze package in the industry and exclude semi premium items from it,  a lot of customers are going to be extremely unhappy. FYI I have attached photos of the new menu. Thanks for letting me vent!

8089A0D8-31DE-4123-938B-5B8C1FB32AE5.jpeg

1E18B7B6-07D6-49FE-A9D2-DA1563F4177D.jpeg

9BF9F015-93FB-4692-95EF-938D59B559E1.jpeg

F60A4963-AE1E-4D2C-BA65-DFC19CA70170.jpeg

53A87A97-C446-4554-B385-B284FAC5AF65.jpeg

9996A736-31B9-44AC-A166-DE23E8B6E6ED.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Curious what OP mixes his Grey Goose with?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't drink a lot but I can't imagine having to pay the amount their charge for alcohol.

 

You are so right with comparing to an all inclusive. We're doing an all inclusive for March Break and will have no extra charges at all.

 

When we cruise in July I know we'll have extra charges. I hate having to budget for something that I don't actually know the price.

 

I am also shocked at how expensive cruising is. When I look up the different cabin prices for the cruise I'm on I can't believe it. How do people even afford that? The Haven is a third of my yearly salary for goodness sake!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I couldn't agree more with the OP.  I just got off the Getaway today.   This is not what I was "given" as a perk when I booked this past cruise and three future cruises all with 10 or more people.  It feels like a bit of a bait and switch.  The first day, I ordered a Grey Goose and was told it was no longer included.  I was told my Vodka choices were Kettle One, Tito's, Stoli, and Absolut.  While I was not pleased, I thought I could deal with it.  That was until throughout the cruise you would go to a bar and ask for Kettle One or Tito's and was told sorry we are out of that. 

 

The reality is that it is not a free perk to begin with.  At $20 per day service charge they are still making money.  I do not believe that all of the service charge actually goes to the bartenders.   Comparing the final prices of similar cabins on NCL with the "free" UBP  to the RCCL big ships and purchasing their beverage package ends up about the same.  Or for an even better value, similar cabins on Celebrity with their free beverage package and OBC seems to be a bit cheaper.  In addition, with Celebrity I can get decent coffee and a bottle of water if I want. 

 

I can't remember the last change on NCL that actually made the cruise experience better.  Every change made is to increase the bottom line.  I understand that is the purpose of a business, but I wonder at what point the bottom line will drop from people "jumping ship".  Maybe the masses don't care or don't know any better.  Time will tell. 

Edited by pitz0005

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, You Remember Clackers said:

If you do not like the price that or anything else is being sold at, just do not buy it!

 

 

The problem is when you do not actually get what you bought.  The deal changed AFTER I bought it.  Had I known, I could have made the decision.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, zqvol said:

Curious what OP mixes his Grey Goose with?

 

My wife likes Black Russians (vodka and Khalhua)  You can really taste the difference when it’s made with Grey Goose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, if the OP has two concurrent threads, does he expect the results to be different by starting a third thread???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He has comments in other threads but started this one as his thoughts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, BirdTravels said:

So, if the OP has two concurrent threads, does he expect the results to be different by starting a third thread???

 

Thanks for the helpful insight.  I don't know about all the threads, but I'm sure the mods can figure that out.  I'm with the OP.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, BirdTravels said:

So, if the OP has two concurrent threads, does he expect the results to be different by starting a third thread???

 

I don’t have two concurrent threads. I commented on two threads. I think this is an important topic. I hope this thread consolidates some of the comments.

Edited by gmbhardy
Spelling mistake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sad...no scotch for me this trip.  LOL Chivas 17.95 a shot.  Pay for the whole bottle with 2 or 3 shots. And that's assuming they pay retail....they don't btw.   Nice markup.   Not a cheerleader for NCL, don't hate them, don't love them.  Something else to consider now when selecting a cruise. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two other things I noticed.

 

I normally ordered Kettle One, but of course they would be out. Second choice, Tito's.  Several times I was told that Tito's was an upcharge.  I feel bad for the bar staff, but it did get a bit old.  

 

Second, when I ordered a drink, almost every bartender would ring up two drinks.  I could see the screen $34.xx.  I assume they get some benefit based on the number of drink they sell?  Their share of the service charges?  I can assure you the books are nowhere near accurate.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, pitz0005 said:

 

The problem is when you do not actually get what you bought.  The deal changed AFTER I bought it.  Had I known, I could have made the decision.  

 

This is typical for NCL. They move the goalposts constantly. And they do this with those little words at the bottom of the terms and conditions saying something about everything being subject to change at NCL's discretion.

 

It really is pitiful.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I typically stay under the $15 limit for my drinks, I am truly shocked at the pricing increases. What they are charging for Grey Goose or Woodford Reserve or (insert any other $23 a drink alcohol here), I can buy a bottle for. Sure, I can pay the overage, but a) I shouldn't have to, and b) the pricing is madness. That sparkling rosé that they want $30 (!!!!) a glass for, was included on Epic last month. (Of course, no bar actually had it, but it was included.) Again, I can buy a bottle of that rosé for what they want for a glass. I've been a huge NCL fan since my first sailing with them in 2013, but between the alcohol increases and Haven increases, they may have priced me out as far as value goes. We'll see how it goes on Epic next month. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel like NCL should either give an open bar as a perk or not. They seem to be trying very hard to both offer UBP for “free” and make money off of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't care who you are, this is pretty awful and indeed another case of being nickel and dimed to death on NCL. Their price to upgrade is absurd, go figure. I booked the Celebrity Silhouette for 12 days for next year. Their promo came with two classic drink packages as well. It was only $8.25 pp to upgrade to a premium package, not the $28 NCL has proposed. Sad .......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP

 

Couple points.  The deterioration isn't new, it started en masse early 2016.

 

I get venting to onboard staff as many here say to  do, but this is really something they are caught in the middle of too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said on one of the other threads on this topic, the prices are actually higher for Champagne and Grey Goose,and probably the other $27+ wines, than they are in the American Bar in the Savoy Hotel, London - consistently voted one of the top bars in the world. The same champage was $12.50 on Holland America in November and included in the $15 Elite pakage limit. $29.95 for a glass of basic champagne is truly unbelievable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has the $28 been confirmed?  Or is it still third hand info that someone gathered from a conversation with an employee?  It could very well be that, but it does seem high for what you are getting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, BirdTravels said:

So, if the OP has two concurrent threads, does he expect the results to be different by starting a third thread???

thank you.. I think he has made his point very clear. None of us are jumping with joy over this news but enough is enough. I just hope he feels better before he posts another thread about the increase I happen to believe, regardless of what we drink, we can usually find a substitute that will work. I told hubby about the increase, knowing his scotch would be higher. He said the same, there are other decent brands out there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I realize that no one is forcing me to book a cruise.  And yes, pricing the actual bottom line total cost is how it should be considered, as to value or not.  However, all the "free" things are getting ridiculous whether it's the air package, drinks, specialty restaurants, etc.  The service charges have gone up and up to the extent that they alone make the "free" stuff an actual profit for NCL, the drink prices continue to increase above the minimum the package provides, the "free" Platinum dinners come with clearly stated specific restrictions on what you can order and how much you may order.   But then, 27 million persons cruised last year and cruising has increased about 65% since 2005.  So, guess they know what they are doing.   It's up to me to look at the total cost bottom line and decide with that, value or not.  The way it is being done now is psychologically uncomfortable and insulting to the guest though.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello.  Its just not alcohol.  Apparently there was another round at NCL headquarters "what can we cut, what can we increase"

To some its trivial.  Personally I could never taste the difference in a drink made of Tito's vodka or Grey Goose vodka.  But maybe the headache the next day could shed some light :classic_tongue:

 

There have been other things people have reported on that I feel are more significant.  The beverage package with NCL was always the worst of any cruise line so making it a bit worse is funny IMHO.

 

Someone reported Margaritaville is no longer free for suite guests on embarkation day

Someone reported the Platinum dinner had been reduced by $3

Someone reported sailing in an owners suite for 5 nights they were not given 3 bottles of alcohol

Is Food Republic still 50% for suite guests the first night?

 

BTW, to put the drink prices in perspective.  The cost of the beer and most of the drinks is what you would pay for in a restaurant in Miami.  There was a time NCL undersold their drinks.  I was like, wow the drinks are less at sea than what I would pay for in Miami.  Go figure.

 

Edited by david_sobe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, david_sobe said:

 

Someone reported Margaritaville is no longer free for suite guests on embarkation day

 

 

It was not offered on my December Breakaway cruise, but others have reported that it was offered to them on their December and January cruises on some ships.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...