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gmbhardy

Not Happy with Liquor Up Charges

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2 hours ago, _Mr.G_ said:

 

"Mr. and Mrs. Sailaway" :classic_laugh: This will be us for the next 10 day NCL cruise!

 

And it is exactly like you say: We just compared the total price for a room with UBP vs. without UBP. The price difference is 470

Even if we would spend 900 USD on drinks on board (which we won't do), we just save some money over the UBP.

"Mr. and Mrs. Sailaway"  - I like that ! Us too . 

2 hours ago, blcruising said:

 

If NCL is preying on first timers for a one time boost to revenue, then have it and good luck sustaining that in the long run.  Many experienced cruisers and comparative shoppers can quickly see that there is little value to perks marketed as "free". I guess time will tell.

 

 

2 hours ago, blcruising said:

 Plus, have a few drinks in port or do a day pass at a resort. You'll still get to enjoy your favorite beverage and not feel ripped off. In the process. Win-win situation.

We certainly will be ahead by not getting the drink plan . We have booked 2 resort day passes , will get the free "champagne" , and will happily purchase a few beers and wine on board . Or may pay the $15 fee to bring on a bottle or two of wine . 

 

This will be my second NCL cruise and the second time they have changed the "deal" after we booked, after the cancellation date . The last time was bringing non-alcoholic beverages onboard . Doubting there will be a third time . 

 

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On my Jade 14 day TA in late April:

Inside sailaway $779     cheapest with perks $1129      $700 difference for two

Oceanview    $849                                               $1279      $860 difference for two

balcony         $1299                                             $1729       $860 

Minisuite      $1499                                              $1879      $760

 

So the price of the perks BEFORE the fake gratuities (and yes, the UBP is fake because NCL clearly states it is "beverage service charge AND gratuity) seems to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 for two.

 

Add $560 for UBP gratuities

probably about $30 for SDP (a bargain I think)

 

for the total out of pocket for the "Free" perks

 

This is just one cruise, as others have said, YMMV may vary depending on sail date.  

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7 minutes ago, erdoran said:

On my Jade 14 day TA in late April:

Inside sailaway $779     cheapest with perks $1129      $700 difference for two

Oceanview    $849                                               $1279      $860 difference for two

balcony         $1299                                             $1729       $860 

Minisuite      $1499                                              $1879      $760

 

So the price of the perks BEFORE the fake gratuities (and yes, the UBP is fake because NCL clearly states it is "beverage service charge AND gratuity) seems to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 for two.

 

Add $560 for UBP gratuities

probably about $30 for SDP (a bargain I think)

 

for the total out of pocket for the "Free" perks

 

This is just one cruise, as others have said, YMMV may vary depending on sail date.  

I pointed this out on a different thread about a month ago, the difference in pricing has gotten worse in most cases in the last year.  The difference is staggering...and now with drinks costing what they do out of pocket to buy just a few without the UBP....wow,  I suppose if the market will bear it, more power to NCL.  I'm trying MSC and Celebrity this year because of it, and I'm sitting on two Cruise Next Certs. 

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5 hours ago, blcruising said:

I think that NCL's customers are smart. They can recognize the lack of value in paying $1,077 per couple, $535 each using your example sailing, to drink on a seven day cruise. That is $75 per day which is a high cost for a basic beverage package that is quite restrictive compared to the competition. If they want top shelf, coffee, water, now they have the "opportunity" to add another $35 per person per day. So now we are at an industry leading $110 per  person!! This is the cost per person per day of getting a cabin assignment and premium beverage package for the sailing you referenced, in addition to the base fare, taxes, etc.

 

If NCL is preying on first timers for a one time boost to revenue, then have it and good luck sustaining that in the long run.  Many experienced cruisers and comparative shoppers can quickly see that there is little value to perks marketed as "free". I guess time will tell.

 

Fortunately for NCL's CEO Frank Del Rio, many NCL customers are math challenged.  If I had a dollar everytime I read someone posting here or social media about the "free drink package" I'd be cruising year-round in the Haven.  Del Rio is the master of marketing. 

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People are afraid that with a sail-away rate they will get the worst possible cabin in that category . That is a possibility but certainly not  guaranteed . We got as good a regular balcony cabin as you can get . 

I think they rely on peoples fear to push them away from taking advantage of sail-away rates . Sort of like they do to push people toward booking ship excursions instead of booking on their own because of the fear of you never know ...

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3 minutes ago, richstowe said:

People are afraid that with a sail-away rate they will get the worst possible cabin in that category . That is a possibility but certainly not  guaranteed . We got as good a regular balcony cabin as you can get . 

I think they rely on peoples fear to push them away from taking advantage of sail-away rates . Sort of like they do to push people toward booking ship excursions instead of booking on their own because of the fear of you never know ...

You are correct.  There is no way I would ever let a cruise line pick my cabin, as I want a specific area and cabin on the ship.

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1 hour ago, erdoran said:

On my Jade 14 day TA in late April:

Inside sailaway $779     cheapest with perks $1129      $700 difference for two

Oceanview    $849                                               $1279      $860 difference for two

balcony         $1299                                             $1729       $860 

Minisuite      $1499                                              $1879      $760

 

So the price of the perks BEFORE the fake gratuities (and yes, the UBP is fake because NCL clearly states it is "beverage service charge AND gratuity) seems to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 for two.

 

Add $560 for UBP gratuities

probably about $30 for SDP (a bargain I think)

 

for the total out of pocket for the "Free" perks

 

This is just one cruise, as others have said, YMMV may vary depending on sail date.  

 

I agree with your math so far but you forgot the other perks that come with the non-sailaway balcony.  At this pricing it comes with 4 additional perks:  SDP ($218 for two on a 14 day cruise), Wifi ($105), shore excursions ($350), and reduced airfare (I'll use $250 for 2 people to be conservative).  Total savings $923.  So non-sailaway couple pays $1,458 more (cabin $860 + UBP $554 + SDP $44) but saves $923 for a net higher cost of $535 or $38 a day for 2 people.  At $10 a drink that's about 4 drinks a day or 2 drinks a day per person to break even.

Edited by senseib

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4 hours ago, Meekofigaro said:

It all depends on the cruise, I have seen less of a difference to go from sailaway to a regular category on different cruises. 

My Greek isles cruise in October is actually the same price for sail away and the next step up for an inside, ocean view and balcony.

9FB1078C-22F6-4CB7-A646-29A14BD4CCAB.png

 

That pricing is very rare. Have never seen it before and I cruise several times a year. Nothing less than 10 days.

 

As a solo, the difference between Sail Away and the next cabin up to get the UBP have ranged from about $500 to $2,200. Just ridiculous prices.

 

In my case, cabin location is not an issue so Sail Away works every time. I also wait last minute to get the single supplement as low as possible. As for alcohol, I don't buy any. Between the complimentary bottle of wine at Cagney's and some at the Latitudes party, I am satisfied ship-wise. I give away my Latitudes bottle of champagne because I don't drink sparkling wine. In warm weather ports, I sometimes buy a cold one for about US$2. I guess it all comes down to what make for a happy cruise individually.

Edited by IrieBajan54
correction

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5 hours ago, Meekofigaro said:

It all depends on the cruise, I have seen less of a difference to go from sailaway to a regular category on different cruises. 

My Greek isles cruise in October is actually the same price for sail away and the next step up for an inside, ocean view and balcony.

9FB1078C-22F6-4CB7-A646-29A14BD4CCAB.png

Aww man, I think this qualifies as a SUPER Rip-Off for a 7 day run.

 

By way of comparison,

MSC Lyrica leaving Venice on October 11, $1,099 balcony, 7 days

Rhapsody of the Seas leaving Venice October 12, $1,599 balcony, 7 days

MSC Opera leaving Venice on October 13, $1,109 balcony, 7 days

Jewel of the Seas, Rome on October 12, $1,599 balcony, 9 days

 

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1 hour ago, IrieBajan54 said:

 

That pricing is very rare. Have never seen it before and I cruise several times a year. Nothing less than 10 days.

 

As a solo, the difference between Sail Away and the next cabin up to get the UBP have ranged from about $500 to $2,200. Just ridiculous prices.

 

In my case, cabin location is not an issue so Sail Away works every time. I also wait last minute to get the single supplement as low as possible. As for alcohol, I don't buy any. Between the complimentary bottle of wine at Cagney's and some at the Latitudes party, I am satisfied ship-wise. I give away my Latitudes bottle of champagne because I don't drink sparkling wine. In warm weather ports, I sometimes buy a cold one for about US$2. I guess it all comes down to what make for a happy cruise individually.

You used to be able to swap the sparkling wine for regular wine, worth asking....

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1 hour ago, senseib said:

 

I agree with your math so far but you forgot the other perks that come with the non-sailaway balcony.  At this pricing it comes with 4 additional perks:  SDP ($218 for two on a 14 day cruise), Wifi ($105), shore excursions ($350), and reduced airfare (I'll use $250 for 2 people to be conservative).  Total savings $923.  So non-sailaway couple pays $1,458 more (cabin $860 + UBP $554 + SDP $44) but saves $923 for a net higher cost of $535 or $38 a day for 2 people.  At $10 a drink that's about 4 drinks a day or 2 drinks a day per person to break even.

NICE financial analysis.  I'd nitpick the shore excursions, depending on cruise length - I think mine is 5 shore excursions for a TA, plus debarkations; other 14 day cruises are many more.  The free airfare is variable, some say it is a good savings, others not so much.  There are a LOT of variables here, and what you've done is so useful for cruisers who want to do their own analysis.  Every sailing is different, the price differential changes sailing to sailing, and even from one day to the next.

 

Also variable is the value someone puts on NCL excursions vs private.  Does the $50/excursion bring it down to the price of a third party?  Does the cruiser value the security of the NCL excursion and would buy it even without the $50 credit, or would they otherwise do a third party offering?

 

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16 minutes ago, erdoran said:

You used to be able to swap the sparkling wine for regular wine, worth asking....

 

Not anymore. That was discontinued about 2 years ago. I once asked for a bottle of water instead and was told "no." But it's no biggie. I usually take the bottle to a group breakfast so table-mates can drink it mixed with orange juice.

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When do the sailaway rates start showing on a sailing typically?  After final payment date?  Can  you use cruisenext gift certificates for sailaway rate cabins?

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1 hour ago, SAmome said:

When do the sailaway rates start showing on a sailing typically?  After final payment date?  Can  you use cruisenext gift certificates for sailaway rate cabins?

 

Yes, you can use cruisenext with sailaway rates. Availiblilty looks to be anywhere from 6-12 months, probably dependent on whatever crazy algorithm they use to price cabins.

 

Seriously, it's crazy. 

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10 hours ago, IrieBajan54 said:

I guess it all comes down to what make for a happy cruise individually.

 

This is the point.

 

I keep saying this on here, but everybody has different priorities etc. For many people, especially those who drink little and are happy with a standard cabin allocation sailaway prices will make a lot of sense.

 

For others, for example people who have specific cabin requirements and who make full use of the perks, it makes much more sense to pay the extra. Depending on which cabin you are after sailaway may not even be an option.

 

Everyone is different, and they will come up with different conclusions as to how to spend their money. The implication from what some people above have made is that anyone who pays the non sailaway rate, or who carries on sailing with NCL is afraid or math challenged are missing the point completely. Maybe that is the case for some people, but certainly not all.

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30 minutes ago, KeithJenner said:

 

This is the point.

 

I keep saying this on here, but everybody has different priorities etc. For many people, especially those who drink little and are happy with a standard cabin allocation sailaway prices will make a lot of sense.

 

For others, for example people who have specific cabin requirements and who make full use of the perks, it makes much more sense to pay the extra. Depending on which cabin you are after sailaway may not even be an option.

 

Everyone is different, and they will come up with different conclusions as to how to spend their money. The implication from what some people above have made is that anyone who pays the non sailaway rate, or who carries on sailing with NCL is afraid or math challenged are missing the point completely. Maybe that is the case for some people, but certainly not all.

 

When I spoke about math challenged people I was referring only to those who say they are getting "free drinks."  They are not free.  Thus why the cabin that includes UBP is more expensive than those who booked the Sail Away rates. 

 

I suppose if it makes someone feel better they could convince themselves that NCL is giving away free drinks, but charging $600-$1000+ for the privilege of choosing their cabin.  #Semantics. 

 

I'm not making a judgement as to the folks who choose to book cabins at the higher cost.  (After crunching the numbers and seeing real value I've been known to book the more expensive cabin rate.)  
 

But to agree with your point, there are many times where booking a cabin at the more expensive rate makes sense.  A few examples: 

 

If you're a heavy drinker, the more expensive cabin rate usually makes sense.   

 

If cabin location is critical to you, the more expensive cabin rate makes sense.   

 

If you're a light drinker, wealthy and/or maximizing value isn't important to you, then the more expensive rate is: "easy come, easy go."  

 

Depending on the number of included perks in the current promotion, if you plan to maximize the drinks, specialty dining, wifi, shore excursions etc,  the more expensive rate cabin could make sense. 

 

The point I'm trying to make is I just wish people would stop erroneously telling newbies there's "free drinks" on NCL ships.   It's not free. 

 

Choosing a cabin rate is an individual choice as to what make sense for you.  Hopefully people do the math and make an informed decision.  NCL is masterful at creating perceived value.  I like to see people get tangible value.    

 

   

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2 hours ago, mianmike said:

 

When I spoke about math challenged people I was referring only to those who say they are getting "free drinks."  They are not free.  Thus why the cabin that includes UBP is more expensive than those who booked the Sail Away rates. 

 

I suppose if it makes someone feel better they could convince themselves that NCL is giving away free drinks, but charging $600-$1000+ for the privilege of choosing their cabin.  #Semantics. 

 

I'm not making a judgement as to the folks who choose to book cabins at the higher cost.  (After crunching the numbers and seeing real value I've been known to book the more expensive cabin rate.)  
 

But to agree with your point, there are many times where booking a cabin at the more expensive rate makes sense.  A few examples: 

 

If you're a heavy drinker, the more expensive cabin rate usually makes sense.   

 

If cabin location is critical to you, the more expensive cabin rate makes sense.   

 

If you're a light drinker, wealthy and/or maximizing value isn't important to you, then the more expensive rate is: "easy come, easy go."  

 

Depending on the number of included perks in the current promotion, if you plan to maximize the drinks, specialty dining, wifi, shore excursions etc,  the more expensive rate cabin could make sense. 

 

The point I'm trying to make is I just wish people would stop erroneously telling newbies there's "free drinks" on NCL ships.   It's not free. 

 

Choosing a cabin rate is an individual choice as to what make sense for you.  Hopefully people do the math and make an informed decision.  NCL is masterful at creating perceived value.  I like to see people get tangible value.    

 

   

Not many people really think they are getting free drinks. They simply fell it is worth the extra to have no limit on how much they drink and knowing it is paid for in advance. For us, it is a blessing to have the package, for others, it is best to go sail away. there is no right answer for everyone and all the griping in the world is not going to change the decision management has made on this. The only problem I can see is: I believe the additional charges for drinks is over the top and I wish there was a way to grandfather all who had the drinks as part of their perks prior to the change but I think that might be a little complicated. 

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On 1/28/2019 at 4:28 AM, KateQ22003 said:

Excellent suggestion! It is also really good in coffee.

At work?

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On 1/28/2019 at 7:27 AM, CruisinHarvey said:

 

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. 

Perfectly written.

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Just priced Breakaway cruise for Oct.

 

2A1C Balcony

 

Sail away $2536

 

BD with Drinks, 6 meals, Wifi, 3 Ports, 3rd passenger free, $100. $3245 Tips included for free extras.

 

$710 Difference

 

6 meals $200

Wifi $125

3 ports $150

Child soda $50

$100

Equals $625

 

$85 for the wife and myself to drink all week including tips? Take away the ports and still not bad?

 

Edited by Lionkingrichard

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1 hour ago, Lionkingrichard said:

Just priced Breakaway cruise for Oct.

 

2A1C Balcony

 

Sail away $2536

 

BD with Drinks, 6 meals, Wifi, 3 Ports, 3rd passenger free, $100. $3245 Tips included for free extras.

 

$710 Difference

 

6 meals $200

Wifi $125

3 ports $150

Child soda $50

$100

Equals $625

 

$85 for the wife and myself to drink all week including tips? Take away the ports and still not bad?

 

No, not bad unless you're a Grey Goose drinker and then have to add $34/day x 2 to that.

Let's bring this back on track - the thread is about dissatisfaction with the new premium beverage pricing, not the overall cost/benefit of UBP. 

 

I think overall, knowledgeable CruiseCritic members know that UBP is not "free" but in many cruisers situations it is stil la good deal. But there's no arguing that this new premium package and menu price changes significantly devalues the standard UBP. And if it was worth it for you before, it may not be worth it now.

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Who spends $99 per day on alcohol?  The difference between a sailaway rate and one including perks was about $900 when I booked my latest cruise.  This was about the price of the drinks package before it went up!  Still wish NCL prices were the same for everyone not just US citizens, especially if you are booking a Mediterranean cruise!  We don't get to bid etc  Is this inequality NCL?  Same price, rules and deals for everyone please!

Edited by Happy2b@sea

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7 hours ago, newmexicoNita said:

I wish there was a way to grandfather all who had the drinks as part of their perks prior to the change but I think that might be a little complicated. 

Not really.  If NCL can differentiate those who have the all inclusive from the UK, then all they need is a different code for those who would be grandfathered under the old alcohol prices.

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2 minutes ago, SNJCruisers said:

Not really.  If NCL can differentiate those who have the all inclusive from the UK, then all they need is a different code for those who would be grandfathered under the old alcohol prices.

 

Exactly. It would be a pretty simple task for NCL to implement a grandfathering policy for people who booked under the old price structure.

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40 minutes ago, gmbhardy said:

 

Exactly. It would be a pretty simple task for NCL to implement a grandfathering policy for people who booked under the old price structure.

Actually it is not quite as straightforward as you might think to grandfather this in. The algorithm would need several pieces of information to determine the correct charge for a drink purchase.

 

They need to know:

·         When the booking was made

·         What terms and conditions applied at the time of said booking

·         Nationality (or which country the booking was made under)

·         The price list appertaining at the time of booking

These all involve hitting various databases each time a purchase is made. Multiply that by the number of transactions being made and you have a significant increase in network traffic and database queries (maybe a five-fold increase).

 

Then there is the extra coding and extra database maintenance to be considered.

Considering the number of times NCL mess about with T&Cs and prices, this would provide employment for several programmers and DBAs (at an associated cost).

 

I do not see that happening I'm afraid (though it would cut down the number of times they mess with the promo which would be a good thing).

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