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gmbhardy

Not Happy with Liquor Up Charges

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4 hours ago, NLH Arizona said:

I don't cruise with Carnival and never would, but wonder if they give their beverage package as a perk as often as NCL does?

Carnival, just like Royal, has never had to give away perks to fill their cabins.  Celebrity started the drinks package thing years ago and NCL just copied it.  On a positive note, NCL gives it as a perk for inside and solo cabins, wheras you need an OV or above to get it on Celebrity.  Celebrity has also always included the gratuities with it, whereas NCL initially included them, but of course now does not. 

This has turned into a multi layered nickel and dime situation to add additional monies to the coffers for NCL.  Ask for 300 or more to get the perk, start charging 15%, then 18%, and now 20% for "gratuities". And also increasing those gratuities by substantially increasing the cost of the program multiple times to an absurd 99.00 per day and now to an even more absurd 128.00 per day in order to get higher end liquors as well as making it more all inclusive by including bottled water and espresso based drinks.

Here is a bottom line comparison between NCL and Carnival.  On NCL, you'll pay 19.80 for the 20% gratuity on the UBP, plus 29 for the new upgrade and 5.80 for the grat on the upgrade.  This is 54.60 per day.  If you choose a 7 day cruise, it's 382.20.  Carnival charges 51.95 a day for their program, plus 18% grat for 61.30 per day times 7 days equals 429.10.  You pay 46.90 more on Carnival, but you pay a minimum of 300 more on NCL for the perk.  So, bottom line is you're paying a minimum of over 250 bucks more on NCL.

Edited by SNJCruisers

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2 hours ago, Shidah said:

 I threw in a bunch of orange juice and it was drinkable at least. I have a bottle to drink now to acquire a taste for it.

Combine the Grand Marnier with fresh lime juice that can be gotten at the grocery store and an adequate tequila like Patron silver, add ice and you have a nice margarita. Easiest way to polish off your bottle of Grand Marnier.

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It makes sense now that NCL has had this plan all along since going big on the so called "free UBP" perk.  It was just a matter of time. And as one poster mentioned,  their beverage price per drink is way above the other cruise lines which makes it hard not to purchase the package if you plan to drink 4 or 5 drinks a day.  Just a shame on that price level that they take some of the brands above the $15 mark.   And really they shouldn't call it a free perk,  just discounted... and just my opinion.

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9 minutes ago, SNJCruisers said:

Carnival, just like Royal, has never had to give away perks to fill their cabins.  Celebrity started the drinks package thing years ago and NCL just copied it.  On a positive note, NCL gives it as a perk for inside and solo cabins, wheras you need an OV or above to get it on Celebrity.  Celebrity has also always included the gratuities with it, whereas NCL initially included them, but of course now does not. 

This has turned into a multi layered nickel and dime situation to add additional monies to the coffers for NCL.  Ask for 300 or more to get the perk, start charging 15%, then 18%, and now 20% for "gratuities". And also increasing those gratuities by substantially increasing the cost of the program multiple times to an absurd 99.00 per day and now to an even more absurd 128.00 per day in order to get higher end liquors as well as making it more all inclusive by including bottled water and espresso based drinks.

Here is a bottom line comparison between NCL and Carnival.  On NCL, you'll pay 19.80 for the 20% gratuity on the UBP, plus 29 for the new upgrade and 5.80 for the grat on the upgrade.  This is 54.60 per day.  If you choose a 7 day cruise, it's 382.20.  Carnival charges 51.95 a day for their program, plus 18% grat for 61.30 per day times 7 days equals 429.10.  You pay 46.90 more on Carnival, but you pay a minimum of 300 more on NCL for the perk.  So, bottom line is you're paying a minimum of over 250 bucks more on NCL.

 

Not all rates are at a minimum of 300 more... one I am booked on right now is actually the same price for the  sailaway rate as it is for the IF. And I have seen some less then the 300 mark to get a perk.

Carinival also number of drinks a day as well right?  Norwegian doesn’t, it seems like  each cruise line has quirks with the packages that makes it up to all of us to decide what works best for each one of us. 

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37 minutes ago, SNJCruisers said:

Carnival, just like Royal, has never had to give away perks to fill their cabins.  Celebrity started the drinks package thing years ago and NCL just copied it.  On a positive note, NCL gives it as a perk for inside and solo cabins, wheras you need an OV or above to get it on Celebrity.  Celebrity has also always included the gratuities with it, whereas NCL initially included them, but of course now does not. 

This has turned into a multi layered nickel and dime situation to add additional monies to the coffers for NCL.  Ask for 300 or more to get the perk, start charging 15%, then 18%, and now 20% for "gratuities". And also increasing those gratuities by substantially increasing the cost of the program multiple times to an absurd 99.00 per day and now to an even more absurd 128.00 per day in order to get higher end liquors as well as making it more all inclusive by including bottled water and espresso based drinks.

Here is a bottom line comparison between NCL and Carnival.  On NCL, you'll pay 19.80 for the 20% gratuity on the UBP, plus 29 for the new upgrade and 5.80 for the grat on the upgrade.  This is 54.60 per day.  If you choose a 7 day cruise, it's 382.20.  Carnival charges 51.95 a day for their program, plus 18% grat for 61.30 per day times 7 days equals 429.10.  You pay 46.90 more on Carnival, but you pay a minimum of 300 more on NCL for the perk.  So, bottom line is you're paying a minimum of over 250 bucks more on NCL.

I asked the simple question, if Carnival gave their beverage package as a perk, but thank you for schooling me on NCL and Celebrity, but I cruise on both, so I'm fully aware of how they work.

 

As I said, I have no skin in this game, since NCL starting charging suite passengers the gratuity on the UBP, because I don't drink enough.   Since I didn't pay the gratuity on the UBP, I've alway cash tipped for all my drinks, just as I would in a casino when I get free drinks.  As far as Carnival goes, they could give their drinks away free and I would never cruise with them...some people love them and that's cool.

 

I

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2 hours ago, samiam0403 said:

 

I've never seen Carnival give their beverage package as a perk, but buying their package outright pre-cruise is approximately the same cost (if not less) as NCL's "free" UBP and Premium Plus combined. 

Thanks.

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1 hour ago, SNJCruisers said:

Combine the Grand Marnier with fresh lime juice that can be gotten at the grocery store and an adequate tequila like Patron silver, add ice and you have a nice margarita. Easiest way to polish off your bottle of Grand Marnier.

Thanks, i’ll try that.  I like margaritas.  Before the weekend is over I will have spent $100 on alcohol to see if the premium package is worth it for me to buy in March.  But it’s been fun!

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On 1/20/2019 at 10:43 PM, gmbhardy said:

 

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

Vodka is a neutral spirit,  I find it hard to believe that someone could taste the difference when it' made with Grey Goose in a Black Russian.

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17 minutes ago, rascaldog said:

Vodka is a neutral spirit,  I find it hard to believe that someone could taste the difference when it' made with Grey Goose in a Black Russian.

 

Make four Black Russians with four different kinds of vodka and my wife will be able to tell the one made with Grey Goose. Believe!

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7 minutes ago, gmbhardy said:

 

Make four Black Russians with four different kinds of vodka and my wife will be able to tell the one made with Grey Goose. Believe!

Snap.

 

I could even tell you which vodka was used in each glass. 

 

My preference is Belvedere over GG but each to their own.

 

Annie

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56 minutes ago, rascaldog said:

Vodka is a neutral spirit,  I find it hard to believe that someone could taste the difference when it' made with Grey Goose in a Black Russian.

I could tell in a second if it was Grey Goose or something else. 

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2 hours ago, gmbhardy said:

 

If life is a stage let me play the fool.

The only fools in this game are those cruisers who are blindly loyal to their line of choice even when they don't realize that they are being taken advantage of.  The educated consumer who takes off the blinders and research's options that are available is truly ahead of the game.  But there will always be those myopic few who wave their banner of choice and never deviate.

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The rub for me is we typically book the haven knowing most things will be taken care of. To show up to your cruise and then get hit with a bill for something that was to have been covered is offensive. And NCL’s tactics have a way that keeps reminding you that you are paying with bill after bill after bill rather than letting you pay and enjoy a weeks of indulgence - it ruins the experience. 

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I now don’t understand the charge for Grey Goose.  At the liquor store buying Patron, Grey Goose was 22.99 and Tito’s was 19.99.  Grey Goose doesn’t seem high end at all.  By the way whoever gave the suggestion, my margarita is delicious.  But I couldn’t find fresh lime juice, went to 3 supermarkets.  Made my own concoction with lime concentrate in the little green plastic lime and limeade.  Supermarkets here are not the best.  What I would give to have a Wegman’s nearby.....

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16 hours ago, SNJCruisers said:

Combine the Grand Marnier with fresh lime juice that can be gotten at the grocery store and an adequate tequila like Patron silver, add ice and you have a nice margarita. Easiest way to polish off your bottle of Grand Marnier.

Excellent suggestion! It is also really good in coffee.

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12 hours ago, bbnjcruiser said:

The rub for me is we typically book the haven knowing most things will be taken care of. To show up to your cruise and then get hit with a bill for something that was to have been covered is offensive. And NCL’s tactics have a way that keeps reminding you that you are paying with bill after bill after bill rather than letting you pay and enjoy a weeks of indulgence - it ruins the experience. 

I absolutely agree with this. Haven guests have spent a small fortune for their cabins. In my opinion, there should be no other charges other than tips. Thermal spa, shows, bottles of water, etc. should all be included. It is an insult to nickel and dime them on top of the rate that they pay.

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17 hours ago, SNJCruisers said:

Combine the Grand Marnier with fresh lime juice that can be gotten at the grocery store and an adequate tequila like Patron silver, add ice and you have a nice margarita. Easiest way to polish off your bottle of Grand Marnier.

don't like the new pricing and think other lines have better deals, don't cruise NCL. It is as simple as that. And btw, I don't think adding perks had anything to do with needing to just to fill the ships. We all make choices in life. No one is forcing anyone to cruise a particular line. Who knows, maybe if they start losing business they will find a way to compensate for the price increase in the over the top booze prices. 

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1 hour ago, newmexicoNita said:

don't like the new pricing and think other lines have better deals, don't cruise NCL. It is as simple as that. And btw, I don't think adding perks had anything to do with needing to just to fill the ships. We all make choices in life. No one is forcing anyone to cruise a particular line. Who knows, maybe if they start losing business they will find a way to compensate for the price increase in the over the top booze prices. 

LOL Nita!  But - let me add to Nita's tongue in cheek advice - if you decide not to cruise NCL, please do let them know why if it's something under their control - e.g.

 

I was a loyal NCL cruiser for xx years/yyy cruises.  I've decided to stop sailing NCL because of xxxx

 

BE SPECIFIC on xxxx.  "employee x's bad attitude, you didn't give me comp for xx incident" doesn't cut it. 

 

What DOES is "Your haven pricing has risen too high for me.  For example, on NCL I can get xxx cruise for yy/day; I just booked a cruise on Cruiseline xx for $xxx/day (but be sure it's a true "ship within a ship" and same/comparable itinerary and cruise length) and in addition, for no upcharge I also get xxx whereas on NCL those items are all upcharges.  To sail the same itinerary on NCL after upcharges would cost total of $xxxx; my total for my new cruise is $yyy." 

 

Upcharges includes gratuity on UBP; if the new cruiseline's beverage plan has the equivalent of the premium pkg included (or available for purchase AND you'd buy it)  then be sure to add that in to your NCL total; also include DSC total for both.

 

But then, walk the talk and really do book that cruise you re comparing.   Vote with your wallet, not with just your mouth.

 

I think too many times businesses lose customers and don't know why.  Perhaps if those who have already decided to take their business elsewhere let NCL know why, that may (or may not) have an impact.   Can't hurt!

Edited by erdoran

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5 minutes ago, erdoran said:

LOL Nita!  But - let me add to Nita's tongue in cheek advice - if you decide not to cruise NCL, please do let them know why if it's something under their control - e.g.

 

I was a loyal NCL cruiser for xx years/yyy cruises.  I've decided to stop sailing NCL because of xxxx

 

BE SPECIFIC on xxxx.  "employee x's bad attitude, you didn't give me comp for xx incident" doesn't cut it. 

 

What DOES is "Your haven pricing has risen too high for me.  For example, on NCL I can get xxx cruise for yy/day; I just booked a cruise on Cruiseline xx for $xxx/day (but be sure it's a true "ship within a ship" and same/comparable itinerary and cruise length) and in addition, for no upcharge I also get xxx whereas on NCL those items are all upcharges.  To sail the same itinerary on NCL after upcharges would cost total of $xxxx; my total for my new cruise is $yyy." 

 

Upcharges includes gratuity on UBP; if the new cruiseline's beverage plan has the equivalent of the premium pkg included (or available for purchase AND you'd buy it)  then be sure to add that in to your NCL total; also include DSC total for both.

 

But then, walk the talk and really do book that cruise you re comparing.   Vote with your wallet, not with just your mouth.

 

I think too many times businesses lose customers and don't know why.  Perhaps if those who have already decided to take their business elsewhere let NCL know why, that may (or may not) have an impact.   Can't hurt!

 

We have a cruise in 12 days that will be our last with NCL, unless they change. As platinum plus cruisers, we've seen nothing but cuts for past few years, with the new management.  But, I'm not compelled to write them about anything. I'll go where I think I get the best value for my vacation dollar. It's not NCL now, so we'll go elsewhere. No big deal. Every cruise, I check prices and benefits. We cruise other lines already.  If NCL changes back to being a value, then I'd cruise them again. It's not like we've lost a friend, or something. 

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As for letting a company know why you no longer use their product, it doesn't hurt but quite often doesn't help either. The company wants to know what they can do to make you happy. If you have informed them you are using their product anymore, they have no reason to think you will come back. What they want to hear is something like: we are loyal to your brand, want to continue to use it but thus and so has made us wonder if there isn't a better option. and be specific but do not fill a letter with too many complaints. 

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I am to tempted to request the form to lower my DSC by the extra cost the increased drink charges cost me over and above the UBP.  If my drink of choice was previously under the $15 level and now it is over, I will simply deduct the total overages from my DSC.  That way NCL does not get extra cash out of me that they had no right to because they increased the cost of the cruise after I booked it and paid in full.

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There s a live from the Dawn review currently underway, this is a link to day 2 of the schedule. Lower left side has the details of the new and improved (scarcasm) premium beverage package...hope this works...

Well, sort of, its post 49

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44 minutes ago, newmexicoNita said:

As for letting a company know why you no longer use their product, it doesn't hurt but quite often doesn't help either. The company wants to know what they can do to make you happy. If you have informed them you are using their product anymore, they have no reason to think you will come back. What they want to hear is something like: we are loyal to your brand, want to continue to use it but thus and so has made us wonder if there isn't a better option. and be specific but do not fill a letter with too many complaints. 

I would not even bother letting NCL know why your not booking with them at all. It is a waste of time. I like others will shop around and book with another line. 

They already know people will leave. I have heard one thing on this tread I do not agree with, folks think here on CC were a very small portion of cruisers and nothing will change when we complain. This is not totally true its all metrics if all of us are making negative comments about this particular issue other folks that cruise NCL will be too. Those folks will be the ones that will be complaining at guest services or to bar managers.

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Sailing on Sky on 2/8/19 with 5 other couples - think we will be one of the first Sky guests to see the new premium plus beverage package -- not happy at all about it but not much we can do .  My crew likes top shelf liquor & wine so I'm sure we will all be purchasing it 😞   Understand this new pricing was rolled out 1/12/19 for Sky (and of course we have rec'd no notice - I found out about it by chance on CC) -- anyone have any copies of the new sky drink & wine menus?  Want to let my friends know what they will be getting for $34.50 per day!  Also first time NCL - premium plus package says you can get bottles of wine for 40% off -- does anyone know if this is covers their entire wine menu?  Tried calling NCL to find out and they just gave me the run around . We are big Veuve fans and trying to figure out if it worth purchasing a case or 2 in Miami & paying the $15 per bottle fee...

I really appreciate any input!

THANKS!

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4 hours ago, newmexicoNita said:

don't like the new pricing and think other lines have better deals, don't cruise NCL. It is as simple as that. And btw, I don't think adding perks had anything to do with needing to just to fill the ships. We all make choices in life. No one is forcing anyone to cruise a particular line. Who knows, maybe if they start losing business they will find a way to compensate for the price increase in the over the top booze prices. 

What does this response have to do with my example as to a way to use up a bottle of Grand Marnier by making margaritas?

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