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gmbhardy

Not Happy with Liquor Up Charges

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On 1/22/2019 at 6:55 PM, xakeridi said:

That does sound drastic but if you only have one drink a day that's still cheaper than the package. You have to consider your usage. 

Are you for real with justifying this?

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I'm sailing the Breakaway 12 days from now, and as much as I would hate to fork out $348 more for decent liquor, I had decided to just bite the bullet... Well, I just now spoke with customer service at NCL, and this new "premium plus package" will not go into affect on the BA until the sailing following mine. Looks like I'll be forced to pay al la carte up charges (plus 20% gratuity, of course) for every nice adult beverage I choose. Thus far, I have no future bookings with NCL, and this new increase is likely to drive me into sailing other lines. Hopefully this whole debacle comes back to bite them in the a$$, and they'll reconsider, but that does me no good for now......

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On 1/24/2019 at 8:15 AM, SeaShark said:

 

Lots and lots of unsupported assumptions in this thread. (Nothing new for Cruise Critic, amiright?)

 

Maybe they do purchase on a pallet basis, and maybe they don't. Maybe that gives them a discount, and maybe it doesn't. Maybe it is a large discount, and maybe it isn't. We have no verifiable facts, only conjecture. 

 

Are we also to believe that they buy liquor in a country because of a lower tax rate (that would be sales tax which most places don't charge when you are buying stuff for resale, btw) and then they are shipping (importing) that liquor to the US to be transported to the port and loaded on the Cruise Ships each week? Are they also paying for warehouse space to store all of this liquor? And they do this just to have a lower tax rate?

 

Even pretzels aren't this twisted.

 

Given the volume of purchases across the cruise line - they most assuredly buy at wholesale prices from the manufacturer in large volumes, also given that they are in fact a ship and dock into ports with cargo operations if they could take delivery in one port and pay lower taxes they would indeed take advantage.

 

its also fair to presume that the ships operating costs are covered by the fare. Alcohol sales are the “gravy” part of the operation.

 

the cruise line probably does not warehouse liquor - their warehouse is the ship itself, their suppliers warehouse and deliver to port when needed.

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43 minutes ago, sid_9169 said:

I'm sailing the Breakaway 12 days from now, and as much as I would hate to fork out $348 more for decent liquor, I had decided to just bite the bullet... Well, I just now spoke with customer service at NCL, and this new "premium plus package" will not go into affect on the BA until the sailing following mine. Looks like I'll be forced to pay al la carte up charges (plus 20% gratuity, of course) for every nice adult beverage I choose. Thus far, I have no future bookings with NCL, and this new increase is likely to drive me into sailing other lines. Hopefully this whole debacle comes back to bite them in the a$$, and they'll reconsider, but that does me no good for now......

Forgive me if this has been answered before.  Did anyone get notice about this change?  Sid... did you?  I did not.  Is anyone "grandfathered" in based on when they purchased at the time of their "perks"?  I am assuming no and no to the above questions.

 

When/where was NCL gonna inform passengers (on booked cruises) on new Prices???

 

 

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7 minutes ago, OceanBlueWaters said:

When/where was NCL gonna inform passengers (on booked cruises) on new Prices???

 

 

When you sign your drink receipt on board and saw it was $4.00 above the UBP max ........ That's when they'll tell us probably.  

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10 minutes ago, tallnthensome said:

When you sign your drink receipt on board and saw it was $4.00 above the UBP max ........ That's when they'll tell us probably.  

LOL!  That's what I thought, but had to ask stupid question...

🙂

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53 minutes ago, bbnjcruiser said:

 

Given the volume of purchases across the cruise line - they most assuredly buy at wholesale prices from the manufacturer in large volumes, also given that they are in fact a ship and dock into ports with cargo operations if they could take delivery in one port and pay lower taxes they would indeed take advantage.

 

I'm not sure it works that way, but maybe someone here in the beverage industry really knows. I know that here in California a restaurant must buy it's booze from a licensed distributor and cannot buy from Costco or BevMo, and they often pay more than you would per bottle because of that.

I suspect there are laws dictating where they can buy based on the origin port, or something like that. I thought when the beverage packages started being such a "good deal" that it was only a matter of time before they raised prices to get the "net-net" back to their old revenue numbers. When people tell you they were happy not to have $2,000 bar bills and loved paying a tenth of that for a drink package then you know it's only temporary.

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26 minutes ago, OceanBlueWaters said:

Forgive me if this has been answered before.  Did anyone get notice about this change?  Sid... did you?  I did not.  Is anyone "grandfathered" in based on when they purchased at the time of their "perks"?  I am assuming no and no to the above questions.

 

When/where was NCL gonna inform passengers (on booked cruises) on new Prices???

 

 

No, there was no communication whatsoever... I assume that this is just one of those things covered by the "cruise contract" where they can basically change anything at anytime and by checking that box, we have already agreed to it...

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1 hour ago, sid_9169 said:

I'm sailing the Breakaway 12 days from now, and as much as I would hate to fork out $348 more for decent liquor, I had decided to just bite the bullet... Well, I just now spoke with customer service at NCL, and this new "premium plus package" will not go into affect on the BA until the sailing following mine. Looks like I'll be forced to pay al la carte up charges (plus 20% gratuity, of course) for every nice adult beverage I choose. Thus far, I have no future bookings with NCL, and this new increase is likely to drive me into sailing other lines. Hopefully this whole debacle comes back to bite them in the a$$, and they'll reconsider, but that does me no good for now......

Wait...so did the prices already increase BUT the "premium plus" package won't be available for your cruise????

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2 minutes ago, sid_9169 said:

No, there was no communication whatsoever... I assume that this is just one of those things covered by the "cruise contract" where they can basically change anything at anytime and by checking that box, we have already agreed to it...

Got it.  Good to know...

Tks 🙂

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On 1/25/2019 at 9:50 AM, Alegeeter said:

 

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.

True, but in the Haven you get all 4, 5, 6 whatever is being offered at the time, so you would get all.  Not saying this is what NCL is doing, but it would make sense after looking at the Sun and Sky since someone mentioned they went this route due to  it being popular on those two ships.  So it makes booking a higher class of cabin more attractive.  Or booking when they offer all perks for lower classes, like balconies currently.

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How do we find out when it will be available for each ship?  The drinks I drink are still all covered.  But now I feel I am missing out on something.  I’m going out tonight to buy a bottle of Grand Marinier to see if I even like it.  I”m sure I’ve had it in drinks and just didn’t know.

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27 minutes ago, Shidah said:

How do we find out when it will be available for each ship?  The drinks I drink are still all covered.  But now I feel I am missing out on something.  I’m going out tonight to buy a bottle of Grand Marinier to see if I even like it.  I”m sure I’ve had it in drinks and just didn’t know.

 

You will love it ❤️

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1 hour ago, Shidah said:

How do we find out when it will be available for each ship?  The drinks I drink are still all covered.  But now I feel I am missing out on something.  I’m going out tonight to buy a bottle of Grand Marinier to see if I even like it.  I”m sure I’ve had it in drinks and just didn’t know.

Grand Marnier is used in high end or Cadillac type margaritas on the rocks sometimes.

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1 hour ago, kfnesq said:

Wait...so did the prices already increase BUT the "premium plus" package won't be available for your cruise????

That's absolutely correct... Not really happy about this either. I would be willing to pay the absurd amount of extra money, but the package won't be available until after I cruise...

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Margaritaville on the Bliss was still floating Grand Marnier on top of their Uptown/ Top shelf Margaritas with no up charge.

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1 hour ago, kfnesq said:

Wait...so did the prices already increase BUT the "premium plus" package won't be available for your cruise????

 

That's the rumor. I'm sailing on Epic this weekend, and the "premium plus" package isn't available until a week after we return. And reportedly the prices have increased. Guess I'll find out for sure on Saturday. 😕 Either way, I'm pretty happy that I didn't buy any Cruise Next certificates on Epic last month - I doubt I'll be seeking out any NCL cruises in the near future due to these increases.

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It must be a logistical nightmare for the bartenders who have to deliver this news to pax.  So not fair to them.  NCL could have had the Ball$ and sent out email to pax giving a heads up of price increase and changes.  Good grief...

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15 minutes ago, OceanBlueWaters said:

It must be a logistical nightmare for the bartenders who have to deliver this news to pax.  So not fair to them.  NCL could have had the Ball$ and sent out email to pax giving a heads up of price increase and changes.  Good grief...

 

You’re right. Most bartenders were embarrassed to be the bearer of bad news.

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1 hour ago, gmbhardy said:

 

You will love it ❤️

B52's  we always had a shot or two before dinner.  Kahlua and Baileys minus the Grand Marnier 😞

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51 minutes ago, sid_9169 said:

That's absolutely correct... Not really happy about this either. I would be willing to pay the absurd amount of extra money, but the package won't be available until after I cruise...

yeahhhh….that's BS. I will be curious to know how that goes and I'm sure you will report back.  I also may be willing to pay the extra money so as not to drink crappy booze/wine.  We cruise on the Jade April 1, at which point from what I have read the premium plus WILL be rolled out.  I don't know, I'm certainly curious to read reports from upcoming cruises to see how this all shakes out.

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18 minutes ago, gmbhardy said:

 

You’re right. Most bartenders were embarrassed to be the bearer of bad news.

I’d say this situation is what turns my stomach, they raise drink prices and gratuity percentage, make these front line employees take the heat and then present a fantasy to the passengers that the bartender is being tipped when in fact the cruise line keeps nearly all of the gratuity for itself. It makes me feel dirty to be a customer here. 

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16 minutes ago, gmbhardy said:

 

You’re right. Most bartenders were embarrassed to be the bearer of bad news.

That is not fair to the employees nor passengers.  I mostly feel for the employees, since the passengers will always be rude.  NCL changed UBP Policy (pricing), and it should have been disclosed to all including their employees?  Correct?  Where can I find that?  Is it in the fine print I need to read everday?

Did I mention I have 2 Cruise Next Certs to sell?

JMO 🙂

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I like others have decided to consider other cruise lines for my next cruise, and no longer consider NCL my favorite line.  I Wonder if NCL really thought this through.    Let's say they see the negative impact this change has made down the road, so they back track somewhat to improve things (whatever that might be).  Do they really think guests who have left and discovered other cruise lines will cancel their other cruises and come back to NCL.  I highly doubt it.  You would have to wonder if you returned if they again would make a negative change before your cruise.  Do you trust them?  Then there's also the loss of income from a decline in future cruise next certificates for NCL.  This could also impact a customer's decision not to book because they don't have a stockpile of certificates to use anymore.  I think it will take years before they see the final outcome from just this one change.

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Someone in one of the first posts in one of these threads mentioned that the package had to be purchased while on board.  So maybe it is not offered in advance when calling in for the Breakaway, but available when you board, and will be available online etc in a few weeks? I don’t know but it wouldn’t make sense for NCL to roll something out and not take your money.

 

 Also, yeah Grand Marnier..... just found out, not good straight, reminds me of black licorice.  I’ll try mixing it with some things tonight.  Glad I bought the mid size bottle and not the really big one.  It is pricey too.

 

 Shopping in the liquor store I started to look at some of the stuff mentioned on this thread, and started to see NCL’s side a little.  Some of this stuff is expensive.  Since NCL’s package was unlimited (no 15 limit per day or time between drinks) and they allow 2 drinks per card which I personally thinks encourages people to purchase drinks for those without the package, I can see where costs might get out of control.  Also, I’ve read on here that people encourage their families to try different drinks on cruises, since if they don’t like it, just get another.  So there is also waste.  Personally, I never waste alcohol, would be a sin!  So maybe changes are needed, but the transition into those changes could have been better communicated and executed.

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