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gmbhardy

Not Happy with Liquor Up Charges

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5 hours ago, Shidah said:

So with the sky and sun, the unlimited choice is marketed as one of the free at sea options.  If the reason they are going to this is because of how well it worked on those two ships, my feeling is that eventually it will become a free at sea option on other ships.  Could be wrong. Just my thoughts.  But it would take the cost down to just the gratuity. That would make sense.

 

You have to remember that prior to this, they marketed the Sun and Sky as "FREE open bar," which really ended up with inflated prices of 3 and 4 day itineraries on older, smaller ships. This premium perk was added so that they could make some more money on these ships, because while it's FREE, now you have to pay to get the drinks you actually want. By including it as a perk, pax still think it's free because they're only paying the extra gratuity on the value (~$5/day) but choosing premium beverage as a perk also means not choosing a different perk, like SDP or wifi, so in the end NCL still comes out ahead  making more money and having to provide fewer free goods.

 

TL;DR

For this new package to be a perk on all other non-free open bar ships, they would have to offer it as a second perk to the UBP. So if they do add it as a perk option, if you normally get 2 perks in a balcony cabin and choose UBP and SDP and now you choose UBP and the premium upgrade, NCL still wins in two ways: 1) If you pay for a meal at a specialty restaurant, and 2) If you don't pay, they're still not giving you one for free.

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34 minutes ago, mwolever said:

Wine is really my huge disappointment; that's our traditional go-to. They've taken all wines WAY over an inflated price threshold, made it so the most heavily-consumed wines are over the $15 and left only bottles that would go for $6 at the grocery as covered. That sucks, to put it eloquently. 

Mine, too.  Have we seen a complete updated wine list (and one for bottles too, like from Cagney's or Le Bistro)?  I'm not opposed to paying for better wine (I already pay restaurant markups on dry land), but I would want to know if they are even  going to stock "better" wine, or if we are now just paying for the same old wine that used to be under $15 a glass and now is over-inflated.

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3 hours ago, dexddd said:

Often Long Islands are pre mixed sitting in large containers at bar.  No taste at all.

We have only been on the Epic and searched out the bars that didn't have the premix.

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1 hour ago, CruisinHarvey said:

Yep. there's a rollout schedule. Hits the Epic February 16th, although prices have already gone up. 

 

 

Where is this roll out schedule?  I'd like to see when the Escape will be changing over to these new prices.  I sail on Escpae in March

 

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4 minutes ago, ksmcdonald said:

 

Where is this roll out schedule?  I'd like to see when the Escape will be changing over to these new prices.  I sail on Escpae in March

 

It’s already changed. 

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1 hour ago, Lionkingrichard said:

We have only been on the Epic and searched out the bars that didn't have the premix.

Epic served long island's on tap.up on the pool deck last week.

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25 minutes ago, blcruising said:

Epic served long island's on tap.up on the pool deck last week.

I always find a great bartender in different venues and tip $20 and request hand made drinks not vat mix, so far it has worked for us.

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4 minutes ago, cheersforbeers said:

I always find a great bartender in different venues and tip $20 and request hand made drinks not vat mix, so far it has worked for us.

I see. Yes, I would imagine that would provide a high level of service.

 

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2 hours ago, CruisinHarvey said:

Yep. there's a rollout schedule. Hits the Epic February 16th, although prices have already gone up. 

 

So the prices have already gone up but the new package isn't available for purchase yet? I sail this Sunday.

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1 minute ago, blcruising said:

I see. Yes, I would imagine that would provide a high level of service.

 

Bl, I should expand that lasts for the entire cruise, not just one time.  

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1 hour ago, marazad16 said:

So the prices have already gone up but the new package isn't available for purchase yet? I sail this Sunday.

Also my concern. well..... one of them

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I think this latest increase is ridiculous also.  Luckily for my wife and I, our drinks of choice are still under the $15 each.  

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10 hours ago, SNJCruisers said:

Make sure that your TA fully explains the difference between Bella, Fantastica, Aurea and Yacht Club.  For instance, if you like the freestyle dining concept, you need to book either Aurea or Yacht Club.  Fantastica gives you early or late sitting and with Bella, you could even be designated to a sit down area of the buffet.  I kid you not.

Thanks for the tip.    I think the confusing pricing structure and the impossible website is what has kept me away from MSC so far, but  I do like the idea of a well priced cruise - but the freestyle dining concept is so us!!

 

As to the prices of drinks, I have just looked up the price of Hendricks gin - I think we could buy a whole bottle in the local supermarket for the price of one on NCL.  I will get used to Gordon's then.  

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2 minutes ago, ollienbertsmum said:

 

 

As to the prices of drinks, I have just looked up the price of Hendricks gin - I think we could buy a whole bottle in the local supermarket for the price of one on NCL.  I will get used to Gordon's then.  

Bombay Sapphire would be the best alternative still covered by the UBP, IMHO.

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3 minutes ago, SNJCruisers said:

Bombay Sapphire would be the best alternative still covered by the UBP, IMHO.

Haha we could discuss all evening, but I once did a gin tasting and we all rated Gordon's highly.  I just feel a cheapskate when I order it!!  Hendricks is my top  favourite - and if the bartender tries to put more than a splash of tonic I get cross.  

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On 1/24/2019 at 11:19 AM, YVRBassElectric said:

I canceled a cruise in the DOS, the $19,000 + 2 drink packages $2100 was outrageous enough + $1260 if anyone wants premium alcohol was the tipping point (this is based on a 30% exchange rate, it might be higher in January)

I'm on the fence about doing the same.   We booked a haven 2BR for next summer and paying extra on top the fare, service charges and everything else is beyond irritating.   

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As a primarily beer and low end liquor drinker (I ascribe to the Joseph Stalin school of alcohol consumption), I have to wonder at what point they're going to start messing with specialty beer pricing. Only covering whats on tap etc.

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Just sent in a scathing post cruise complaint form. I hope everyone who disagrees with the new price structure does the same.

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So now we pay $280 per couple for "Taxes & Tips" on the overpriced drinks and they want to up charge for almost anything but bottom shelf? To beat it all they run out of the few that won't make you sick when you drink them? I'm done with their beverage package after this next cruise. I almost didn't take the "perk" this time due to the $280 since we don't drink that much. Finding out they run out of the liquor I can drink without getting sick, then try to charge for a decent replacement. has done it for me. No future cruise credit and booking for me. I'm glad I used my last cruise certificate on my February cruise. Back to Celebrity, Holland and RCCL. 

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Don't ***** about my numbers, they are examples. I don't drink enough to justify even the "free" UBP. 

 

My assumption is that someone in marketing assumes passengers are forgetful.

 

You pay for your cruise and the UBP "free perk" and it's due 120 days before sailing. So, you've paid $120 or so for "free drinks." You paid $120 and thought, "Wow. This is a good deal because the real price is $900." 

 

You get on the ship, and order a drink. The bartender says, "That's $9.00, please." You don't think, "*****? I already paid $120 for this - and they said it really costs $900!", you think, "Wow $9 for Patron is not bad." If you forgot you already paid for drinks once, then paying for a drink seems reasonable. I think marketing may have underestimated the intelligence of their customers. 

 

I use Patron as an example because we're traveling with someone who drinks Patron. Only Patron. Between the time we all booked and the time we sail, the three types of Patron available onboard went from within the "free" price range to an upcharge for each drink - assuming the new pricing is on the Bliss in a few weeks. 

 

We got the UBP for the Bliss because we're traveling with friends who will frequent the bar, so it's easier to get ripped off a bit beforehand than to try to pay for each individual drink. I did the math based on our last cruise when we were with family (which should have caused more drinking) and our bar tab was close to the "free" cost of the UBP. My wife really doesn't drink much, but we're in the same cabin, so we had to get it for both. 

 

We're in the Yacht Club for Christmas because it really wasn't much more than a balcony on Norwegian which finally got my wife (the ultimate Norwegian cheerleader) to stop and think about pricing and gouging. 

 

We canceled our Alaska cruise on the Joy because the free items drove the price above the unreasonable base rate to the point of intolerance. We went to Alaska on the Bliss last year and it was magical, but it was also expensive. Really expensive. I didn't think Alaska was a "once in a lifetime" cruise, but on Norwegian, it is. 

 

I'm disappointed that Norwegian seems to think so little of their passengers, but it's the trend across industries. 

 

We'll be shopping across brands now, not just across ships. 

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Does this new pricing mean that if I order the Signature Mai Tai at 9.95 and want Bacardi rum instead of the bottom shelf rum it comes  with I would be charged 8.95 on top of the 9.95? 

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2 minutes ago, holdon216 said:

Does this new pricing mean that if I order the Signature Mai Tai at 9.95 and want Bacardi rum instead of the bottom shelf rum it comes  with I would be charged 8.95 on top of the 9.95? 

Nope. If you special order it, then it's not the signature drink.

 

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NCL needs to rethink this price increase and their highly inflated price of their beverage packages compared to their competition.  Holland America's comparable beverage package is $44.95 per day (if you purchase prior to boarding) vs NCL's $99.00 per day.  NCL's $99.00 per day cost doesn't include bottled water or any type of coffee beverage or higher end call brands that much of the competition considers standard - Grey Goose as an example.  NCL's package price is more than $50 a day higher than some of the competition and they can't include a bottle of water that would probably cost them less .25 cents?  Both Holland's and Celebrity's beverage packages include bottled water and coffee beverages.  Additionally, Celebrity doesn't require both occupants to purchase the beverage package if one in the cabin selects and their daily price is significantly lower than NCL's daily rate. 

 

I booked my upcoming November NCL cruise solely for the itinerary.  I understand the need for a company to be profitable and I don't begrudge a company or corporation making changes to improve their bottom line or trying to make an extra buck.  But the customer must be kept in mind.  What NCL is currently doing on both the individual drink pricing and their beverage package pricing is ridiculous and I believe the extent to which they have gone will ultimately drive customers away.  Its clearly an overreach.  

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