Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Fragile-Beauty

First Timer on NCL - DIfferent from what I am use to

Recommended Posts

Hi

I am a 3 star Marnier on Holland and an elite on Princess - SO I have cruised a lot.  However, NCL has really thrown me for a loop on their way of doing things.  I am not saying that it might not be good --it is just different from what we are use to. I look forward to experiencing it. 

 

I picked a 21 day cruise- Jade- with the best itinerary ever.  That is why I am booking it.

 

I am not used to having all the dinner choices and payments for dinners like I am seeing with NCL.  I did get a choice of 3 offers.

We choose 5 meals (package) which I paid gratuities on so I hope that means I can pick what I want to eat????  '

 

We took the Wi-Fi package - 250 minutes for 21 days.

 

I  originally picked package with free drinks but there was a pre-payment of over $800 total for both my husband and myself.  I cancelled that immediately as we are not big drinkers and that is crazy.  On Princess, Holland free means FREE. 

 

I took the $50 cabin shore excursion but probably will not use their shore excursions, plus $25 per person is not that great when you are looking a long drives and expensive excursions.  Sure wish I could either trade it for 5 more dinner's or OBC.  

 

I could have done the sail away price but we are a family of 4 and would like to be at least on the same deck and that is not always possible with a unknown cabin assignments.  My TA said If I booked a ocean view cabin category OB , her company would give free tips(gratuities) which is almost $600 on 21 days---- awesome. 

 

November can't get here fast enough as we are really excited. 

 

If you can think of anything else or other surprises that I might not be use to please let me know so I can budget accordingly. 

Thank you

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IF you drink 2 or so alcoholic drinks a day each, you'll be better off with the drinks package...if not, you made the right choice.  

 

My Inlaws, who are 80 and 77, very active, just got off the Jade just after Thanksgiving, 11 day to the Canal and back to Miami, they really enjoyed it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

                      Dinners in specialty restaurants:  You will get to order off the menu in all but the Brazilian style restaurant (Moderno).  We have never made our specialty dinner reservations in advance, and have never had a problem getting a table, but we are OK with eating late some nights.  If eating at a set time is important to you, you are going to want to make reservations either beforehand or as soon as you get on board for your specialty restaurants.

                When not eating in the specialty restaurants, you will have quite a few options.  The large formal dining room in the aft of the boat and a smaller dining room that is a little more casual offer the same menu.  Menu is half things that don’t change during the cruise and half things that do.  Not sure if it will repeat on a 21 day cruise or not.

                The main aft dining room is available for lunch on the day you board and for breakfast on sea days and is a very relaxing place to have a meal.

                Lots of reviews talk about slow service in the dining room: either we have been really lucky or we are too busy talking and drinking to care, but it has never been a problem for me.

                There is also an Asian-themed complimentary restaurant and a pub-style 24-hour restaurant that provide table service.

                Then there are the buffets: the main buffet, which is a bit of a mad house, and then they set up different buffets pool side and in the great outdoors.  On some sailings, the poolside buffet has been strictly burger sandwich type fare, but on others, it has been paella or barbecued brisket.   On warmer sailings, the Great Oudoors is a great place for an outside breakfast.

                Internet: you can use your free minutes as a payment toward the more useful unlimited plan.  Unlimited data is single user: but we have always shared the same user across multiple devices.  We can’t both be on the internet the same time, but we make do.

                Without the drink package, there are a couple of ways to keep your liquor costs down.  We buy my mom a bottle of red and a bottle of white wine, and they give us a claim check.  They’ll bring the wine to where ever we are dining and pour her a glass, then cork it back up and store it again.  The per bottle cost is a lot less than the per glass cost.   There will be a drink of the day offered at a discount each day…that drink will repeat every 7 days, and doesn’t seem to change relative to itinerary, so you’ll have three chances to drink cheap Rebellious Fish or Bahama Mamas.

                There will be a couple of bag specials for laundry where you can get everything you can stuff in a bag cleaned for $10.00 or so.  The bag holds a lot, and they do a good job, so take advantage of that.

                I wish you all the best on your cruise!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are wine drinkers you bring your own wine and they charge a fee for corkage, I think it is $15.00 per bottle, and that may be way less than the ship's price. There is always a special drink of the day and that price is discounted, but may not be made to the same standards as when its full price.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You mentioned you could apply your 250 minutes free internet to a better package, how much more $ for a 7 day cruise?

 

Thanks, 

 

Laura

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, bobswife91 said:

You mentioned you could apply your 250 minutes free internet to a better package, how much more $ for a 7 day cruise?

 

Thanks, 

 

Laura

It depends on the package.  The unlimited wi fi (not as fast as the premium wi-fi, but has always worked for us) is $25/per d ay before you board and  $30/per day once you board.  So figure 210 for a week.  The 250 minutes costs I think $125.  So you could upgrade to unlimited for about $85.00.  You can do it on day two, too, and I think it is even less.  You can do it when you log in the first time or you can do it at the internet cafe.

 

Hope this helps!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, FitchburgWIFamily said:

                    Not sure if it will repeat on a 21 day cruise or not.

               

We did a 12 day Transatlantic on Breakaway last year.  During that time period, we had a different menu every night.  21 days might be  stretch, but I also might remember what the menu WAS two weeks ago!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We also are 3 stars on Holland, Elite on Princess and Celebrity.  The Amsterdam is our all over favorite ship on Holland....The Grand Princess and on Celebrity The "Connie"  Our freebies on Princess doesn't come close to anything anywhere else...we once did a 33 day TA with $1200 OBC etc....

We have sailed NCL for years Plat. on them....Ncl has great schedules ...we sail them for the ports.  We also pick the FRee dining packages...don't drink enough 😃  You will find differences on the ships...but remember in your favorite lines the ships have differences....I remember our first Celebrity cruise..it was from Vancouver to San Diego  2 weeks....hated the ship, Captain, food etc...Couldn't wait to get to San Diego and board a Princess...we went from a mini suite to an inside and loved the Princess hands down !!!  Said never again to Celebrity but a few months later we were on a Celebrity doing New England /Canada for 13 days...loved the food, the ship, the Capt. etc...and sailed on THAT SHIP several times since all over Europe....The Holland  NOrdam 2 week circle the caribbean out of Tampa was a great ship ...we were on her several times...even with black smoke coming out of her engine room early in the morning..she was replaced with the New Nordam and we hated that ship...same line....🤗

Bottom line is IF you have a not so great cruise...give the line another chance.  We have friends that just came off of MSC we recommended MSC to them because we like that line.  One couple couldn't stop raving about it..the other had more complaints ...so Just think of the 3 blind mice and the elephant......

Edited by myjillian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if it just NCL, but I was surprised at end of our cruise (my first) that there was a daily Discretionary Service Charge automatically charged to our cabin.....didn't expect that one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Beer Belly said:

Not sure if it just NCL, but I was surprised at end of our cruise (my first) that there was a daily Discretionary Service Charge automatically charged to our cabin.....didn't expect that one.

It is though out the cruise industry. Did you not expect to be tipping in some form? That is what the DSC amounts to, a daily tip some call it. I guess being your first cruise you would not  have known this, but I also would think somewhere along the way it would occur to you tips needed to be paid somehow. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, newmexicoNita said:

It is though out the cruise industry. Did you not expect to be tipping in some form? That is what the DSC amounts to, a daily tip some call it. I guess being your first cruise you would not  have known this, but I also would think somewhere along the way it would occur to you tips needed to be paid somehow. 

I gave out generous tips to everyone I interacted with, did not expect the charge at the end of the cruise.....of course, I left it in place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Beer Belly said:

I gave out generous tips to everyone I interacted with, did not expect the charge at the end of the cruise.....of course, I left it in place.

Glad you left it in place but am sorry you hadn't done research so you could have saved yourself some money. As I mentioned the dSC is industry wide, not just NCL> The reason it is different from land resorts has to do with the way the money is split up. Some goes to those we do not see working behind the scenes. Plus with open dining and the likelyhood you will not have the same wait staff more than once or twice, either you are over tipping or not tipping enough. Now, the next time you cruise, regardless of the ship you will have a better understanding on how the system works. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, newmexicoNita said:

Glad you left it in place but am sorry you hadn't done research so you could have saved yourself some money. As I mentioned the dSC is industry wide, not just NCL> The reason it is different from land resorts has to do with the way the money is split up. Some goes to those we do not see working behind the scenes. Plus with open dining and the likelyhood you will not have the same wait staff more than once or twice, either you are over tipping or not tipping enough. Now, the next time you cruise, regardless of the ship you will have a better understanding on how the system works. 

Likely over tipping. First time at any Bar, $5.....after that $2 here and there....move on to the next Bar, we start over. Restaurants, regardless of 20% added to the bill....still leave 20% cash tip....cash is best. Boss Lady would fill in at her Dad's restaurant, and I saw how hard the work actually was, I have a lot of respect for those in the industry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/6/2019 at 3:40 PM, Fragile-Beauty said:

Hi

I am a 3 star Marnier on Holland and an elite on Princess - SO I have cruised a lot.  However, NCL has really thrown me for a loop on their way of doing things.  I am not saying that it might not be good --it is just different from what we are use to. I look forward to experiencing it. 

 

I picked a 21 day cruise- Jade- with the best itinerary ever.  That is why I am booking it.

 

I am not used to having all the dinner choices and payments for dinners like I am seeing with NCL.  I did get a choice of 3 offers.

We choose 5 meals (package) which I paid gratuities on so I hope that means I can pick what I want to eat????  '

 

We took the Wi-Fi package - 250 minutes for 21 days.

 

I  originally picked package with free drinks but there was a pre-payment of over $800 total for both my husband and myself.  I cancelled that immediately as we are not big drinkers and that is crazy.  On Princess, Holland free means FREE. 

 

I took the $50 cabin shore excursion but probably will not use their shore excursions, plus $25 per person is not that great when you are looking a long drives and expensive excursions.  Sure wish I could either trade it for 5 more dinner's or OBC.  

 

I could have done the sail away price but we are a family of 4 and would like to be at least on the same deck and that is not always possible with a unknown cabin assignments.  My TA said If I booked a ocean view cabin category OB , her company would give free tips(gratuities) which is almost $600 on 21 days---- awesome. 

 

November can't get here fast enough as we are really excited. 

 

If you can think of anything else or other surprises that I might not be use to please let me know so I can budget accordingly. 

Thank you

 

 

 

 

We’re similar to you. We’ve enjoyed many Princess Cruise to the elite level. Diamond On RCL and Elite on Celebrity separately. We’ve enjoyed Ncl Dawn 4 times, Spirit 2, and Epic. Ncl has great parties at night. Used to be a White out party but may have been renamed. Excellent. They used to have blue lagoon for round the clock comfort food. The chicken wings are great. Now they offer the same in O’Sheans pub or similar name.

Sctv was there comedy improv but that’s done now. The shows are great. 

Food and service are good and sometimes great. NCL has always offered many wonderful singers. 

I’m in total agreement on FREE drinks package. With the drinks tips and up charge for the same room it’s like $1,000 extra per cabin vs sale away rate. My wife doesn’t drink. So we’ve been loyal to Royal and diamond gets ya free drinks 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm every night in the diamond lounge plus 3 drinks per diamond member during that time in bars. Celebrity elite has Elite lounge similar plus 2 bags laundry. I don’t know of any other loyal Program with same. We will return to Ncl when we see a great deal for ports we love.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Beer Belly said:

Likely over tipping. First time at any Bar, $5.....after that $2 here and there....move on to the next Bar, we start over. Restaurants, regardless of 20% added to the bill....still leave 20% cash tip....cash is best. Boss Lady would fill in at her Dad's restaurant, and I saw how hard the work actually was, I have a lot of respect for those in the industry.

I totally agree: I was a car hot summers when in college; our daughter was a wait person all through college and even after college and so was our grandson in law. They do work hard. I don't think most of us realize how hard some people do work or what they have to put up with dealing with the public. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/7/2019 at 4:11 AM, Beer Belly said:

Not sure if it just NCL, but I was surprised at end of our cruise (my first) that there was a daily Discretionary Service Charge automatically charged to our cabin.....didn't expect that one.

 

It does get some first time cruisers. The pricing is obscured and difficult, with differences from line to line. The biggest one that irks me is the price quoting "per person, double occupancy" ... you cannot buy a cruise for the price they quote. It is at least double the price quoted. NCL, Carnival, and RCL are all similar in this price obfuscation tactic.

 

There are some lines that include all daily service charges like the premium lines and the upcoming Virgin Voyages, which is more reasonably priced than Regent Seven Seas or Crystal Cruises.  Both Virgin and Disney quote the price per cabin instead of "per person, double occupancy" and include the port taxes and fees in the price. Disney still adds on gratuities at the end of the cruise, but they are earmarked for specific people instead of pooled like on NCL, and they are a smaller amount per day. 

 

Even NCL has an "all inclusive" rate in the UK and Europe that includes the daily service charge. You really have to watch for new wrinkles in the pricing each time you book a cruise because change in pricing, "free" offers, and what's included can change at any time.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/6/2019 at 4:09 PM, PTC DAWG said:

IF you drink 2 or so alcoholic drinks a day each, you'll be better off with the drinks package...if not, you made the right choice.  

 

My Inlaws, who are 80 and 77, very active, just got off the Jade just after Thanksgiving, 11 day to the Canal and back to Miami, they really enjoyed it.

 

I'm also new to NCL -- haven't yet booked, but if we do it'll be on the Breakaway for next year.  I'm curious about this drink package they're offering right now.  The "value" of the package is (according to a web search) $99/day/person.  You're saying (above) that if you drink 2 drinks a day the package is worth it.  I'm confused.  I was also shocked to see their package costs $99/person/day when other lines aren't that much. 

 

I'm scouring the boards today because if I want to take advantage of these offers right now, the sale ends tonight.  So i'm trying to decide.  I'm usually a Royal Caribbean cruiser, but I'm really intrigued by NCL's offer and, in particular, the Breakaway ship.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Sherri914 said:

I'm also new to NCL -- haven't yet booked, but if we do it'll be on the Breakaway for next year.  I'm curious about this drink package they're offering right now.  The "value" of the package is (according to a web search) $99/day/person.  You're saying (above) that if you drink 2 drinks a day the package is worth it.  I'm confused.  I was also shocked to see their package costs $99/person/day when other lines aren't that much. 

 

I'm scouring the boards today because if I want to take advantage of these offers right now, the sale ends tonight.  So i'm trying to decide.  I'm usually a Royal Caribbean cruiser, but I'm really intrigued by NCL's offer and, in particular, the Breakaway ship.  

 

People that say “if you drink  2 per day the drink package is worth it” have no clue what they’re talking about. 

 

NCL has increased the beverage package price to an absurd level because they charge you 20% on that “price”. The higher the price, the more they get to pocket of your hard earned money. So it’s roughly $140 per person per week in those charges. On top of that, you’re paying $300-400 more per person per week because you can’t select the cheapest cruise fare...you have to select a fare that includes the “free” perks. Usually you get a dining package or something else as well but...at the end of the day you’re paying $400-500 for that beverage package and you can’t even get bottled water.

 

Its an NCL marketing gimmick, that’s all. Look at the overall cost of the cruise with the options you want and compare that to other cruise lines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, DaCruiseBug said:

People that say “if you drink  2 per day the drink package is worth it” have no clue what they’re talking about. 

 

NCL has increased the beverage package price to an absurd level because they charge you 20% on that “price”. The higher the price, the more they get to pocket of your hard earned money. So it’s roughly $140 per person per week in those charges. On top of that, you’re paying $300-400 more per person per week because you can’t select the cheapest cruise fare...you have to select a fare that includes the “free” perks. Usually you get a dining package or something else as well but...at the end of the day you’re paying $400-500 for that beverage package and you can’t even get bottled water.

 

Its an NCL marketing gimmick, that’s all. Look at the overall cost of the cruise with the options you want and compare that to other cruise lines.

Thank you.  That's exactly what I'm doing today.  I have my options narrowed to two specific cruises.  One option is RCL's Harmony of the Seas; the other option is NCL's Breakaway.  I've done RCL many times -- never NCL.  I tend to take ridiculously high or ridiculously low comments with a grain of salt because in the end, opinions are just that.  It all depends on what you are looking for in a cruise vacation.

 

We've always been happy with RCL.  I'm simply intrigued with the offer NCL has thru today where you can pick your perks - one being the drinks package.  When I go to compare apples to apples, it's difficult because I don't know NCL's line - so I'm relying on what I'm reading.  (for example, NCL nickels and dimes you to death with surcharges and extra fees, the service is slow, etc).  I don't know how much of that is true.   

 

UGH!  Why is this so difficult.  In the end, i'm sure whichever we decide on will be great.  Thank you for the feedback!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you got the package free, you still have to pay the $20.00 per day in gratuities.  So at a minimum, you have to drink 2 drinks every day just to equal the cost of the gratuities.  If you buy the package, you have to drink about 10 drinks a day to make it worthwhile, and that doesn't cover liver damage.🙂 

 

The package is never really free to choose it as a free perk, you pay extra for your cabin.  It is definitely a marketing gimmick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really do not understand why everyone gets so crazy about this perk. We love going on NCL - when they offer the drink perk we take it and we are not huge drinkers but we do not lose on the perk when paying a gratuity that you will pay on ship with every drink anyway. But you also have the option not to use that perk. If you take the cheapest rate for your cruise (sail-away) then you get no perk and pay less but you cannot pick your cabin If you pick a guarantee room you may not get your room until a few days before the cruise but you get perks. It all really is what best suits your needs and what you feel your willing to pay. Most of all - enjoy your cruise!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, DaCruiseBug said:

Look at the overall cost of the cruise with the options you want and compare that to other cruise lines. 

 

If everyone did that, the forum would be boring.:classic_tongue:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Two Wheels Only said:

 

If everyone did that, the forum would be boring.:classic_tongue:

But the discourse would be much more civilized.  Which would be nice.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Sherri914 said:

Thank you.  That's exactly what I'm doing today.  I have my options narrowed to two specific cruises.  One option is RCL's Harmony of the Seas; the other option is NCL's Breakaway.  I've done RCL many times -- never NCL.  I tend to take ridiculously high or ridiculously low comments with a grain of salt because in the end, opinions are just that.  It all depends on what you are looking for in a cruise vacation.

 

We've always been happy with RCL.  I'm simply intrigued with the offer NCL has thru today where you can pick your perks - one being the drinks package.  When I go to compare apples to apples, it's difficult because I don't know NCL's line - so I'm relying on what I'm reading.  (for example, NCL nickels and dimes you to death with surcharges and extra fees, the service is slow, etc).  I don't know how much of that is true.   

 

UGH!  Why is this so difficult.  In the end, i'm sure whichever we decide on will be great.  Thank you for the feedback!

 

NCL has been running the "free perk" special for years. Never goes away. It's not something unique they do.

 

The Breakaway is 9 years old versus the Harmony which is 3 years old. Also, RCL usually discounts their drink package and even if you don't get one...the drink prices are reasonable. Drinks on NCL are 20-50% more expensive than on other cruise lines.

 

If you find some great deal on NCL try it out, they actually have a decent product. What bothers me (and many others) is their corporate culture of trying to scam customers with all their fees, surcharges, and inflated drink prices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...