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Why the Joy failed in China


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14 hours ago, blcruising said:

I heard this too on a recent behind the scenes tour. I have no first hand knowledge, but I interpreted it as the clientele was defacing the ship. Maybe defacing is too strong of a word, but it sounded like after a year or two more, the ship was going to require major maintenance.

There was also a LOT of food waste.

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14 hours ago, blcruising said:

I heard this too on a recent behind the scenes tour. I have no first hand knowledge, but I interpreted it as the clientele was defacing the ship. Maybe defacing is too strong of a word, but it sounded like after a year or two more, the ship was going to require major maintenance.

Is this typical of the Chinese market? Did NCL not know this going in? I find it bizarre that in Asia people are willing to wear respirator masks to curb the spread of disease but will then spit on a cruise ship...

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Interesting comments, it touched upon a # of factors affecting the cruiseline's success, and, lack of it - not just for NCLA but for other lines with a mainland presence for a decade plus.   Pennies for thoughts, for what it's worth, or not ... 

 

For the affluent and upper middle-class Chinese households with disposable income and attracted to cruising, mainland "residents" (just like non-Chinese cruisers ... to/from Shanghai) can take HST (300 km/hr train) and/or fly to other Asia destinations to experience a different & longer itinerary.  These clusters of "new" cruisers had been spotted & sailing out of Europe and the Americas ... in significant #'s but not overwhelming the rest of the passengers.  Seen them & had them on our recent NY-based cruises, a popular land destinations where they are known to shop, eat and splurge - not always making a big scene but can be annoying and a pain just to watch.  Retirees in China, starting at age 50 to 55, can afford to cruise and spend, but not everyone else, including working adults and children/pre-schoolers ... Major vacations are often tied to public national holidays with extended time-off, i.e. Lunar New Year, May 1 and October 1 - many flocked and jammed the roads & means of transportation, going elsewhere.  Undoubtly, very easy for their T/A to fill up the berths on a ship, to lifeboat capacity isn't a problem - individual booking isn't an option.  

 

The rest of the time, NCL probably has problems like others, filling up the remaining, unsold 5% to 15% cabins - hence, releasing the excessive capacity to the rests of the world.  Maybe dumping cabins cheaply & then, count on "Upgrade Advantage" to bid up & capture more revenue ... a concept new to China and for some of their "virgin" passengers to bid, especially when most tickets were bundled & booked by designated domestic T/A on the mainland.  We have connections in Hong Kong and when locals & T/A are staying away, avoiding the Joy when shopping for a cruise ... one just know.  They much rather sailed RCL and Princess instead, and Gentling for those looking for a casino ship.  

 

Only NCL knows the particulars, but I can speculate, they aren't having good days when they can't fill up their Teppanyaki, LeBistro & Cagney's on sea days (from a # of YT video reviews posted.)  Don't think they did well with high end duty-free shopping, UBP and soda packages either to turn profits - casino gaming revenues probably did "smokingly" well, but unlikely for go-karts and laser tags to make or break their overall revenue targets.  Unknown was their pricey shorex bundles but ...  Last but not least, if NCLA sticks to their auto 20% fees for almost every add-on products "sold" - very unlikely to help win friends when it isn't customary in that region to tip anything at all, except maybe "loose" changes and/or 10% max.  

 

Go to Youtube (better yet, if you can "Baido" or search "WeChat") for videos about these passengers on the Joy, you'll get an idea of how they behaved.  NCLA got taken, IMHO, for a wild ride by their chosen marketing partner(s) and whoever they hired for the top posts in the region, selecting a younger 39 years old Chinese pop star/singer as the godfather to christen the ship when many cruisers are of the older generation, was not a smart move to promote the new Joy in that market.  

 

FDR & Andy S. follow-through on this but correct me, plans were inked under O'Sheehan.  NCL isn't going to acknowledge a defeat pulling out of the China market after 2 years.  Meanwhile, they still got their "older" ships transversing seasonally the Asia Pacific region.  A multitude of factors & elements probably helped to push it over the edge, not just poor buffet manners, cutting the lines (queues) or other single "reasons" for not working out.  

 

We are looking at our Asia options for 2020 but I can safely conclude, we aren't interested in NCL's products in that region, even if it is for the "smaller" ship class - with their giving pricing bundles.  

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50 minutes ago, tomservo said:

Is this typical of the Chinese market? Did NCL not know this going in? I find it bizarre that in Asia people are willing to wear respirator masks to curb the spread of disease but will then spit on a cruise ship...

It does seem bizarre. In other news I was on a cruise and went on a day pass to one of the resorts

in the ABC islands. I was wondering what the heck all the shoe prints on the toilet seats were.

The resort was full of Chinese tourists who I was told needed to use the facilities as if they

were squat toilets. The world is very culturally different and good or bad that is just the way it is.

 

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Squat toilets aren't just the "norm" in China these days, still used in other parts of the world ... what do we "Americans" know until we go outside our comfort zones ... and don't understand why toilet papers aren't a given either.  It might sound gross. 

 

We're in Shanghai (could be any cities in China) - ran into a long line for the loo, for the squat toilets.  Look to other stalls and there was no line whatsoever, turned out it was the "western" sitting ones - apparently, many locals don't like them - prefer the "natural" posture for #1 and #2.  

 

Washy Washy, Happy Happy. 

Edited by mking8288
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16 hours ago, blcruising said:

I think they pulled it because it didn't succeed there. The ship was purpose-built for the market, with signage in Mandarin etc. This was a pretty big failure for NCL as they had made significant investment in the market. I forget what the cost is for NCL as they are now refitting Joy for Alaska. 

NCL could learn from Princess cruises.  It send a brand new Majestic Princess to Asian market and it did not work out too well now most of her sailing would be from Australia/New Zealand.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Perhaps this costly experiment failed because this market didn't understand that free at sea isn't . 

More seriously it must have been a colossal failure as expectations were very high especially for the gambling profits . To spend tens of millions to retrofit an essentially  new ship is an embarrassing and costly error . Wonder if heads rolled .  

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On March 8, 2019 at 10:07 AM, fstuff1 said:

 

yup, i agree.

 

i see them making the same mistake for alaska.

2 mega ships and a small ship for this year's alaska season?

from what i've read, they werent close to sold out with 2 small ships and the Bliss last year.

 

maybe they're gambling that people really want to sail the Joy because it's new?

hm.. Joy also has lots of non-Haven double bedroom cabins, which would look attractive for families with kids especially during summer when school's out.

and you keep the Jewel in Alaska because some places the larger cruise ship cant get to.

And the Bliss was built specifically for Alaska...

 

 

Although I've heard the Joy has 2 bedroom inside cabins, I've looked all over the specs and deck plans for the Joy and cannot find where they exist. Do you know which category I should be looking for?  TIA

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On ‎3‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 9:00 AM, ceilidh1 said:

Slightly off topic, but I keep reading about how the Bliss was built for Alaska. Aside from the observation deck (which is, indeed, amazing) what feature make Bliss perfect for Alaska? I sailed her on a coastal last year and will go again this year but I'm not sure I would want to do Alaska on Bliss.

 

Bliss is a beautiful ship but, what made her more special, were the many outside features - the slides, the go karts, the waterfront, the lazer tag. Do these really get much use in Alaska? I have been to Alaska more times than I care to count and, honestly, Alaska is more about itinerary and scenery than ship. Our best cruise there was a on a small ship (Tahitian Princess) that was able to get to many ports that big ships can't get to and was able to get up close and personal for glacier viewing.

 

Again, sorry it's off topic, but just curious what others think about the "Alaska" marketing as Joy is a sister ship and will have many of the same features I assume?

 

The Bliss was specially designed for use on Alaska cruises. Based on the environmental regulations in that destination the ship is equipped with scrubbers and a new environmental friendly generations of engines. The whole engineering process was dominated by the idea of improving the energy efficiency via Heat Recovery Systems, LED Lights, better hydro dynamic as to reduce the fuel consumption and emissions.

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59 minutes ago, jakesnana said:

 

Although I've heard the Joy has 2 bedroom inside cabins, I've looked all over the specs and deck plans for the Joy and cannot find where they exist. Do you know which category I should be looking for?  TIA

Concierge category

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