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Pricing with the pick 5 seems very high

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I haven't price shopped for a while but the current pick 5 promo prices seem very high.  I am thinking they are adding a premium for the included airfare.  I do not want the airfare so plan to wait to see what happens when we get back to a pick 2 promo.. just wondered if anyone had experience with how this is running.

 

 

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The “free” airfare isn’t free for many people, unfortunately. For example, I booked the 1/12/20 Encore 7 day Eastern Caribbean recently. If I was willing to drive to Chicago, my flight would be free, but to fly directly out of Indianapolis would cost $149/pp. Still a pretty cheap ticket, but I opted out of that perk. I’d rather book my own and have control. 

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Yes the prices have been inflated for years now they have run these "free" promos.  They never end because NCL is upselling drink packages, dinner packages, internet packages, etc.

You could book a sail away rate if you want to avoid all the "free" stuff.

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Gotta be flexible and book last minute sail away rates on NCL if you want a bargain. Pick 5, 6, free at sea are routinely overpriced. Or like you said you can price shop on a competing line that doesn't bundle things and advertise them as "free".

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3 hours ago, Phaedrus78 said:

The “free” airfare isn’t free for many people, unfortunately. For example, I booked the 1/12/20 Encore 7 day Eastern Caribbean recently. If I was willing to drive to Chicago, my flight would be free, but to fly directly out of Indianapolis would cost $149/pp. Still a pretty cheap ticket, but I opted out of that perk. I’d rather book my own and have control. 

The promo is actually free or reduced airfare. I assume you are flying to Florida. You'll likely be hard pressed to find a $149rt airfare to Florida in January, no matter the city pair.

 

We are flying from Newark to Barcelona for $399pp, that's quite a deal and I'll drive a couple of hours to get it. Last year we couldn't make this cruise work because airfare to Europe and the cruise fare were budget busters. We have booked a balcony and accepted all the perks except we won't have a 3rd person free. NCL's policy says a max of one connection, exactly what I would book on my own. We won't get flight info until June/July but we'll make it work. We arrive the day of departure and return flight will be on the final day of the cruise. No hotel expense and no extra days at the destination.

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2 minutes ago, Nola26 said:

The promo is actually free or reduced airfare. I assume you are flying to Florida. You'll likely be hard pressed to find a $149rt airfare to Florida in January, no matter the city pair.

 

Oh yeah totally understood about the reduced fare. 

 

$149/pp is pretty good for sure. But when you factor in bag fees, I can probably get pretty close to it flying Southwest out of Indy (no bag fees with them) and have the ability to fly in the night before. 

 

$400 to Barcelona I’d snatch up in a hot second though. 

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The old saying "Caveat Emptor" is so true with NCL.  Read very carefully the T&C and do the maths.  Then start again and check both.  Finally when you have done it a third time and you are certain what you are getting for your money book the cruise with whatever perks you are willing to pay for!!

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I don't see the "Free airfare" promotion ending anytime soon.  According to Frank Del Rio people who take advantage of the "Free airfare" promo tend to spend more than "short haul dry customers".

 

From the 3rd quarter investor conference call:  

"the offerings strategically focuses on capturing more long haul, flight crews guests, reinforcing our strategy of sourcing the highest quality guests as long haul guests tend to be higher paying consumers both in ticket purchase and in onboard spend versus short haul dry cruise customers." 

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10 hours ago, Nola26 said:

The promo is actually free or reduced airfare. I assume you are flying to Florida. You'll likely be hard pressed to find a $149rt airfare to Florida in January, no matter the city pair.

 

We are flying from Newark to Barcelona for $399pp, that's quite a deal and I'll drive a couple of hours to get it. Last year we couldn't make this cruise work because airfare to Europe and the cruise fare were budget busters. We have booked a balcony and accepted all the perks except we won't have a 3rd person free. NCL's policy says a max of one connection, exactly what I would book on my own. We won't get flight info until June/July but we'll make it work. We arrive the day of departure and return flight will be on the final day of the cruise. No hotel expense and no extra days at the destination.

 

While not everyone can get $149 airfare on their own there’s plenty of deals out there at or around that price and you get to pick your times and airline. If you buy your flights months in advance you can easily find tickets to Florida for that price.

 

For example: A round trip ticket from NY to Orlando leaving this Saturday (only 4 days away) and returning the following Saturday is only $146 on Frontier. 

 

Also, your ticket to Barcelona may seem cheap but there’s regularly tickets available from the NY area to Barcelona for even less than $399.

 

Prices for EWR-BCN:

 

Feb 23rd - $333 per person

Mar 2nd - $319 per person

Mar 23rd - $259 per person

April 6th - $169 per person

May 18th - $279 per person

Jun 15th - $319 per person

Any Friday/Saturday in July - $309-319 per person

 

it really pays to do some research. In most of the cases NCL is making money even off of your airfare.

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14 hours ago, david_sobe said:

Yes the prices have been inflated for years now they have run these "free" promos.  They never end because NCL is upselling drink packages, dinner packages, internet packages, etc.

You could book a sail away rate if you want to avoid all the "free" stuff.

Correct! NCL charges you 30-60% more for a fare that includes the “free” perks and people think they’re getting the perks for free from NCL. It’s almost impossible to find a 7 night in a balcony for under $1,000 per person. In most cases it’s at least $1,300–1,500 just for the cruise fare. But hey...as long as there’s gullible people out there then NCL will keep making money.

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2 hours ago, DaCruiseBug said:

 

While not everyone can get $149 airfare on their own there’s plenty of deals out there at or around that price and you get to pick your times and airline. If you buy your flights months in advance you can easily find tickets to Florida for that price.

 

For example: A round trip ticket from NY to Orlando leaving this Saturday (only 4 days away) and returning the following Saturday is only $146 on Frontier. 

 

Also, your ticket to Barcelona may seem cheap but there’s regularly tickets available from the NY area to Barcelona for even less than $399.

 

Prices for EWR-BCN:

 

Feb 23rd - $333 per person

Mar 2nd - $319 per person

Mar 23rd - $259 per person

April 6th - $169 per person

May 18th - $279 per person

Jun 15th - $319 per person

Any Friday/Saturday in July - $309-319 per person

 

it really pays to do some research. In most of the cases NCL is making money even off of your airfare.

You make excellent points with data to back it up, well done.

 

NCL offers us enough value and peace of mind so we are delighted with our deal. We will experience all but the ShoreX perk for the first time and are excited for a different cruising experience. We can definitely save by declining beverage and dining packs, but are happy to try them as perks this time. 

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11 hours ago, DaCruiseBug said:

Correct! NCL charges you 30-60% more for a fare that includes the “free” perks and people think they’re getting the perks for free from NCL. It’s almost impossible to find a 7 night in a balcony for under $1,000 per person. In most cases it’s at least $1,300–1,500 just for the cruise fare. But hey...as long as there’s gullible people out there then NCL will keep making money.

Plus, you have to understand the fare code associated with the "free air". Often times, the free air is not able to be used on code share flights and contains significantly more restrictions in the event of mechanical or weather delay, flight cancellation, etc. I always recommend understanding the fare code you are booking and the terms and conditions associated with it. There is a great message board labeled "cruise air" right here on cruise critic. I prefer to forego the airfare marketed as "free". I usually do quite well booking directly with the airlines directly.

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Have to say that I agree that prices have increased.

 

We paid $4900 total for 3 people for a 13 night cruise on the Norwegian Jewel in January this year.

That was in a regular balcony cabin (deck 10) and included the drinks package for 2, $100 OBC, Unlimited free WiFi and 250 mins free ship to shore phone calls.  We thought it was a great deal.

 

We loved the cruise so much we decided we would like to go back on the Jewel next January from Sydney to NZ.  For a 10 night cruise in the same category balcony cabin with similar free at see inclusions it is going to cost us just over $8000.  That is an increase of approx $3100 or 63% for a cruise that is 3 nights less than what we paid $4900 for in January this year.

 

We found a Celebrity cruise on the Solstice to the South Pacific at the same time for the same number of nights (10) in a balcony cabin with a drinks package and $300 OBC for $6800 (over $1200) cheaper than the Norwegian Jewel), so we booked it with a $60 deposit special.

 

We love the Jewel but cannot justify paying $1200 more than what Celebrity are offering for a cruise of the same number of nights in a similar cabin category with similar inclusions albeit we reckon the Norwegian drinks package is superior to the Celebrity one but not worth paying $1200 more for.

 

My 2c worth.

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We have friends that booked in July last year on Epic our of Barcelona in Balcony B6 for $1,400/pp with OBC, now same cabin goes for almost $1,900 with the new "reduced" air promotion. It appears that if you do not know what the cost is/was before the new promotions you may not realize how much they are inflating the cabin cost to offset the air that some people are not even taking because depending on your departure city, the reduced air is not that reduced.

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