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gmbhardy

Not Happy with Liquor Up Charges

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2 hours ago, erdoran said:

 

I was a very loyal NCL customer.  Hubby LOVES the Haven product!  "he who hates to travel" actually asked me to book us a Haven cruise last year, which was WONDERFUL, and we have another one booked in late April.  Never felt the need to look elsewhere - this is pricey, but we rummage for the still-to-be-found deals on Haven sailings, given that we are flexible with dates & itineraries.

 

Having said that, the talk about MSC's Yacht Club product and my own angst about what I perceive as "bait and switch" motivated me to get off my ever-growing rear and check out MSC, and it is definitely worth a looksee to me.  Their website is really difficult to navigate, but with the help of the folks on the MSC board I'm at least figuring out which ships I might be interested in, and will explore/price from there.  I'll reserve judgment until I see how this plays out.  

 

We have been very happy with our NCL experience overall and would really like to think that this is just "normal" price increases- but here's another dilemna.  We were considering maybe sharing a GV with other family members but - the price of the drink pkg is totally prohibitive for everyone other than the first two, and as has been pointed out on this thread, the price of individual drinks is also really high and getting higher.  And - if we share a GV, who gets the UBP perk (DH drinks enough that we NEED it) and who doesn't?  

 

I do NOT like being treated as if I am stupid.  I have no objection to paying for value received, or paying the "going price" for something I want to buy.  I do have a problem with a business becoming overconfident about customer loyalty and "rewarding" their most loyal customers by gouging, or by taking advantage of newbies who don't know what's legit and reasonable. 

 

The other thing that caused me concern is in the first thread (sorry, I don't have the link) where OP talked about a letter to NCL customer service, she talked about charging tax on drinks.  OK, I get it that while in territorial waters we are subject to tax BUT - she stated that tax was being charged FOR A FEW HOURS WHILE IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS.!  How did she know?  Because the casino and duty-free shops were open - yet she was being charged tax on drinks.  It's trivial $ and utterly petty, but if true, it's dishonest and shows an inappropriately-greedy mindset.  Nothing wrong with making a legit profit; I don't think it's fair to charge us tax on drinks but if NCL gets charged, I suppose that's legit - but if NCL surcharges "tax" and then KEEPS the $$, that is dishonest.  Can't quite believe they can do that, though - I'd assume the charge of "tax" flows to the "pay tax to the jurisdiction" acct, but who knows...

as has been mentioned here several times, the tax on drinks is a law, not something that is a profit for NCL or any other line that charges it. Also remember, it is very little and how many of us have much to drink prior to sailing. The rest of what you say has merit. 

 

As for  all the talk about MSC. it is wise to remember they are doing all they can to bring new cruisers to their product. Give them another 5 or 10 years and see it they still offer so much for little. I will be anxious to see how they do and what direction they go in.

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Well I see MSC prices going up after they lure people in but guess what that is what NCL did back around 2014 I was getting 7 days special dining free and drink package free with no supposed extra tips and tax for it. Back then They were not charging tax to the customer at port.

This is cause NCL was loosing footing in the cruise market to RCL and Carnival. And all the cheerleaders on here started cruising NCL from Carnival and RCL back then cause they were getting there drinks free and special dinning free. You remember this right? 

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This is just like switching insurance company s or cable company's just go to who has the best deal.

Cruising has now come to this we need to accept it everything is now mediocre at best and you just have to pick the Line that offers the best bang for your buck. NCL is not looking like the best deal right now after comparing cruises .

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14 minutes ago, detroitlions said:

This is just like switching insurance company s or cable company's just go to who has the best deal.

Cruising has now come to this we need to accept it everything is now mediocre at best and you just have to pick the Line that offers the best bang for your buck. NCL is not looking like the best deal right now after comparing cruises .

My friends are currently trying to find their new "perfect fit" cruise line.  They cruised Royal Caribbean for many years and have now felt they are not really a good fit anymore.  They are not a fan of NCL and don't want to try it, so they tried MSC and were sorely disappointed with both the service and the food, so they are still on the search.  I've tried to get them to try Celebrity, but have not been successful yet.

Edited by NLH Arizona

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40 minutes ago, zuzka61 said:

Let's say, I want the Grand Marnier,  can't I just pay the difference from the $15 credit on the Ultimate Package to their cost of the Grand Marnier?

 

Yes, if you have the UBP Grand Marnier will cost you $2.95 plus the 20% gratuity. In total $3.54. Not a big deal, but when you pay $10,000 to stay in the Haven it’s the principle of the thing. If I want cheap booze I’ll go to a 3 star Mexican all inclusive.

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39 minutes ago, tallnthensome said:

I'll take whatever cruise line that wants to give the best deals one year at a time. Last year it was MSC and the Seaside. 

 

This.

 

My wife and I love Norwegian. We have the Gem booked in March and the Escape in September but their recent decisions have us looking at other options for next year...

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20 minutes ago, gmbhardy said:

 

Yes, if you have the UBP Grand Marnier will cost you $2.95 plus the 20% gratuity. In total $3.54. Not a big deal, but when you pay $10,000 to stay in the Haven it’s the principle of the thing. If I want cheap booze I’ll go to a 3 star Mexican all inclusive.

 

Although we've never cruised in the Haven, I agree with this... Kind of a slap in the face for folks dishing out the big bucks to stay in the Haven...

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27 minutes ago, NLH Arizona said:

My friends are currently trying to find their new "perfect fit" cruise line.  They cruised Royal Caribbean for many years and have now felt they are not really a good fit anymore.  They are not a fan of NCL and don't want to try it, so they tried MSC and were sorely disappointed with both the service and the food, so they are still on the search.  I've tried to get them to try Celebrity, but have not been successful yet.

 

My wife and I are contemplating trying out RC for the first time next year. Could you please elaborate why your friends think it's not the right fit for them? Thanks!

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10 minutes ago, YankeeFan4Ever said:

 

My wife and I are contemplating trying out RC for the first time next year. Could you please elaborate why your friends think it's not the right fit for them? Thanks!

They just didn't enjoy their last few cruises with them.  They thought the food has gone downhill and had some service issues.  I think sometimes people just need a change, that is why I cruise with three different lines.

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Does anyone have any more detail on what the new package will include or not included on the HIGH END?

 

The menu's posted I could not see them?

 

So 2 years ago I would order 18 year old Glenlivet or Glenfiddich, don't remember which or maybe both.

 

They would pour me a double and it was around $6.50 with tip included!

 

It was well worth paying the extra if you like really good Scotch in a reasonable price range.

 

Based on the new prices for 12 year old. What is it going to cost? $40.00 for a double?

 

Thanks in advance. I will be on the Breakaway in a couple weeks.

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4 hours ago, mwolever said:

Unfortunately, this paired with higher prices, less for your money, less included, and the obvious disregard for customer satisfaction does make you think...time to check out RCL or MSC?? Next week will be my 5th NCL and 18th cruise overall. I'm only 32 so I have A LOT of cruising years left. And I tend to bring new cruisers with me every time; friends, family, my now spouse, etc. I LOVED NCL at first because it was a wonderful experience at a great value. Now I'm disappointed with their service, so this will probably be my last. It's really too bad that they are trying to skimp as much as possible. 

I have to agree with you. My May Alaska trip (outside of cancelation period) will be my 4th with NCL.I had a 5th booked and was already looking at 2020 cruises for Europe.  I just started cruising with NCL instead of Carnival 2 years ago as at that time I felt their product combined with the drink package was comparable.  Now I  have an 11 day Hawai booked in October and with this change and zero notice on NCL's part I feel like that is just bad customer service (I know the terms say they can do this). I am in the cancellation window for my October cruise so I guess its time to try out another line. I have been searching RCL and Celebrity pricing for a similar itinerary. 

For what its worth this drink package change does not directly affect my choice of alcohol as of now, but I don't like the idea of purchasing a product and finding out at the time of delivery is has been changed. 

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Looks like the tipping will suffer? Personally cruise lines like P&O charge that normal pub prices will get my business, no need for UBP

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NCL really dropped the ball on this one.  Whoever made this decision should be fired.  If you want to make more money off the drink package, it's simple: 

 

Instead of raising the drink prices, lower the threshold for drinks.  Make everything $10 and under 'free' and price your drinks in a somewhat normal range.  Make the Tito's/Kettle One $9 (just under) and all bar rail mixes and beers under. 

 

THEN you can charge $12-13 for a Grey Goose and other premium booze. 

 

You can still sell your 'premium' booze package.  

 

As it stands now, who in their right mind (that doesn't have a drink package) is going to pay upwards of $20 for a Grey Goose?  No one.  The only people who are going to do it are those who will pay the up charge. 

 

It's just terrible marketing strategy.  You're pissing off the people who have the UBP and your making your prices so ridiculous that no one without it will purchase any of the high-end booze.  

 

People would still be pissed off if they lowered the threshold for UBP, but if the drink prices were lowered accordingly, they would be far less pissed off than they are now.  It makes NCL look like idiots to be charging so much when you could just lower everything and get the same results (and likely sell more to those who don't have the package).  

Edited by Charliebox

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Just to add, they overthought this.  

 

They probably said, "people will be pissed if we lower the UBP" and then tried to figure out a way around lowering it.  So instead, they raise the prices, and make it blatantly obvious why they are doing it.  

 

Now people are more pissed because you've lowered their purchasing power with the UBP all the same AND you've treated everyone as if they are idiots, thinking they wouldn't see right through it.  

 

And as I've said above, you've make your high-end drinks so expensive that no one without the package will buy them.  

 

Sometimes the simple solutions are the right ones.  

Edited by Charliebox

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We were just on the Bliss in September and I wish I had thought to take drink menu photos so I could compare with the ones that are apparently out now with the new prices.  The difference just between 4 months ago and now would be interesting to see side by side.

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9 minutes ago, Charliebox said:

NCL really dropped the ball on this one.  Whoever made this decision should be fired.  If you want to make more money off the drink package, it's simple: 

 

Instead of raising the drink prices, lower the threshold for drinks.  Make everything $10 and under 'free' and price your drinks in a somewhat normal range.  Make the Tito's/Kettle One $9 (just under) and all bar rail mixes and beers under. 

 

THEN you can charge $12-13 for a Grey Goose and other premium booze. 

 

You can still sell your 'premium' booze package.  

 

As it stands now, who in their right mind (that doesn't have a drink package) is going to pay upwards of $20 for a Grey Goose?  No one.  The only people who are going to do it are those who will pay the up charge. 

 

It's just terrible marketing strategy.  You're pissing off the people who have the UBP and your making your prices so ridiculous that no one without it will purchase any of the high-end booze.  

 

People would still be pissed off if they lowered the threshold for UBP, but if the drink prices were lowered accordingly, they would be far less pissed off than they are now.  It makes NCL look like idiots to be charging so much when you could just lower everything and get the same results (and likely sell more to those who don't have the package).  

 

5 minutes ago, Charliebox said:

Just to add, they overthought this.  

 

They probably said, "people will be pissed if we lower the UBP" and then tried to figure out a way around lower it.  So instead, they raise the prices, and make it blatantly obvious why they are doing it.  

 

Now people are more pissed because you've lowered their purchasing power with the UBP all the same AND you've treated everyone as if they are idiots, thinking they wouldn't see right through it.  

 

And as I've said above, you've make your high-end drinks so expensive that no one without the package will buy them.  

 

Sometimes the simple solutions are the right ones.  

 

It will, of course, be very easy to see if your assessment is accurate or completely off the mark...

 

As NCL is a publicly traded company, they release their financials every quarter. All we have to do is watch those drink sales numbers to see whether sales go up or down. If your assessment is correct, we should see sales plummet.

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Just now, SeaShark said:

 

 

It will, of course, be very easy to see if your assessment is accurate or completely off the mark...

 

As NCL is a publicly traded company, they release their financials every quarter. All we have to do is watch those drink sales numbers to see whether sales go up or down. If your assessment is correct, we should see sales plummet.

SeaShark, not at all.  My prediction is in the short term drink sales will remain stable; longer term IF people vote with their wallets instead of their mouths/fingers, there will be a decrease in overall revenue based on cancellations and fewer new bookings - but I think there may well be people who will stick with an existing booking because of the cost to change hotel & air, and just live with the new UBP, so really, it will hit their bottom line based on new bookings.

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4 minutes ago, SeaShark said:

 

 

It will, of course, be very easy to see if your assessment is accurate or completely off the mark...

 

As NCL is a publicly traded company, they release their financials every quarter. All we have to do is watch those drink sales numbers to see whether sales go up or down. If your assessment is correct, we should see sales plummet.

It would be more their drink margins than sales.  

 

If you overprice premium, more people are going to turn to lower end booze, which carries a lower margin.  You may sell mroe drinks overall, but your margins will be worse.  Absolut at $7 carries a much lower margin than Grey Goose at $12-13. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Charliebox said:

It would be more their drink margins than sales.  

 

If you overprice premium, more people are going to turn to lower end booze, which carries a lower margin.  You may sell mroe drinks overall, but your margins will be worse.  Absolut at $7 carries a much lower margin than Grey Goose at $12-13. 

 

 

Regardless...it is the profit that matters to the shareholders. It is, after all, THEIR company. We can easily watch to see if the stories here are true or are just conjecture.

 

The numbers don't lie.

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10 minutes ago, erdoran said:

SeaShark, not at all.  My prediction is in the short term drink sales will remain stable; longer term IF people vote with their wallets instead of their mouths/fingers, there will be a decrease in overall revenue based on cancellations and fewer new bookings - but I think there may well be people who will stick with an existing booking because of the cost to change hotel & air, and just live with the new UBP, so really, it will hit their bottom line based on new bookings.

 

Pick a number, any number...or all of them. In each case we will have the opportunity to watch and see if they rise, fall, or stay the same. The truth will be borne in the financials.

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Just now, SeaShark said:

 

Regardless...it is the profit that matters to the shareholders. It is, after all, THEIR company. We can easily watch to see if the stories here are true or are just conjecture.

 

The numbers don't lie.

Margins is profit...... 

 

Drink sales may go up, but if the profits off the drinks goes down, (ie they make less off each one of them) then they are losing even while selling more volume.  

 

It will take at least a year for this decision to be felt, financially.  People who have their cruises booked are not going cancel over this, but many will choose not to book again in the future.  Also, those who are cruising this year will likely still splurge and spend the extra on the drinks they want.  It is a vacation after all.  But they will certainly re-evaluate before choosing NCL again.  

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1 minute ago, Charliebox said:

Margins is profit...... 

 

Drink sales may go up, but if the profits off the drinks goes down, (ie they make less off each one of them) then they are losing even while selling more volume.  

 

It will take at least a year for this decision to be felt, financially.  People who have their cruises booked are not going cancel over this, but many will choose not to book again in the future.  Also, those who are cruising this year will likely still splurge and spend the extra on the drinks they want.  It is a vacation after all.  But they will certainly re-evaluate before choosing NCL again.  

 

We'll wait however long it takes and we will compare the numbers. Bookmark the tread and bring it back up when you can show the diminished ________ that proves the point. Easy to do. 

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1 hour ago, gmbhardy said:

 

Yes, if you have the UBP Grand Marnier will cost you $2.95 plus the 20% gratuity. In total $3.54. Not a big deal, but when you pay $10,000 to stay in the Haven it’s the principle of the thing. If I want cheap booze I’ll go to a 3 star Mexican all inclusive.

For anyone who doesn’t benefit from the ubp ie doesn’t drink or doesn’t drink much, Ncl’s been charging them in such a manner for sometime now.  I seriously don’t think they are worried about losing customers over the up charging on the ubp.  I don’t drink alcohol, usually sail in suites, and ever since they instituted the fee on the free perk we have paid oop for all drinks we consume onboard.  No ability to switch out the ubp for a soda perk and just pay fee on soda pkg, no ability to switch out the 6 bottles of hard alcohol in gv in exchange for a free bottle of water at dinner.... it’s pretty cheap to be sailing in a garden villa and have the choice of byob of water from the room to dinner for free or be charged the $ if ordered with the meal. If anything other than owners suite or higher, the byob to a meal isn’t even a work around option.  I’ve wanted a non alcoholic beverage package for years.  Instead we get yet another option that is pointless for an non alcoholic beverage or minimal alcohol drinker.

 

This pkg is for the couple that saves a great deal by spending over $100/day on a “free” perk. I’m sorry but it’s a red flag when spending over $100/day on drinks is an enormous savings over what the non discount per day charge is otherwise. The oop pkg cost on this new pkg is more than current Haven fares.  This isn’t nickel and dimes, it’s more like charging everyone onboard Haven rates. They can ask whatever they want for their packages but people at some point are not going to spend that kind of $ just to “save” or just for the convenience. They’ll just not drink the koolaid ncl is selling them at a “discount”

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