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cdnsteelman

Just off Pearl: wines by the glass under $15 update

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Well wine drinkers, the news is not good in my opinion. The new beverage package fared quite well from my perspective EXCEPT in the space of wines by the glass under $15. My iPhone is crap so my menu photos aren't good enough to post but I've extracted a list of what's available by the glass under $15... I'm a red drinker so I'll not comment on the quality of whites but every red I tried was somewhere between having notes of propane and battery acid to a barely passable substandard at best. I know this is harsh and others may have different opinions but as I've taken the time to create the list, it comes with my opinion as well ;)

 

Reds by the glass under $15

 

Estancia Monterey County pinot noir $9.95

Hogue Merlot $8.95

Gerard Bertrand reserve speciale organic Cab Sauv $8.95

Bolla Chianti sangiovese $7.95

Torres Altos Ibéricos Crianza tempranillo $10.95

Norwegian North & South proprietary red blend $9.95

Bodega Monteviejo festivo malbec $8.95

Recanati kosher cab sauv $9.95

 

There is not one single full-intensity red available anywhere near $15. As an example Emblem cab sauv (a passable red at USD ~$40 for the bottle at bevmo on dry land) is a staggering $31.95 by the glass. Given that you get a 4oz pour on NCL, that's an unconscionable 5.75 X markup when you include the 20 per cent grat. The Bertrand organic cab sauv listed above for $8.95 is a light-to-medium intensity wine best suited to stripping paint so don't be fooled by the name - it is not a proper cab sauv if that's your red of choice.

 

Whites by the glass under $15

 

Romio extra dry prosecco $10.95

Voga Provincia di Pavia moscato $9.95

Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi white zin $7.95

SA Prum Essence Riesling $9.95

Le Rime Banfi pinot grigio $9.95

North & South Norwegian Sauv Blanc $9.95

Gran Araucaria reserva DO Sauv Blanc $7.95

Santa Alba Valle de Curico rose $7.95

Recanati kosher chardonnay $9.95

Chateau Ste. Michelle chardonnay $8.95

Spellbound chardonnay $9.95

 

FYI that Romio prosecco above sells for about USD $8 / bottle in stores on dry land.

 

The numbers speak for themselves. Your opinions of quality, of course, are every bot as valid as mine.

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Agreed, I doubt any mainstream cruise with what you pay is going to serve fine Bordeaux or Napa Valley wines. There are higher end cruise lines who focus on food and wine pairings. 

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I get the feeling the majority of cruisers are not wine people, or aren't too picky when they do have it. I drink wine at dinner and I don't like crap wine. I also don't care if it's great wine. So since my beverage package was the promo, if I really want something nicer I will just pay a few dollars for it. If I had paid for the full package, though, I'd be annoyed for sure.

 

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To be clear - my point was that there used to be a number of reasonable wines in the $8-12 per glass range but those have all shifted out of the sub-$15 range now and have been replaced with poor options. Yes you can pay $19.95 or $21.95 for some passable plonk now so need to add $5-7 / glass plus a 20% gratuity on top of your basic beverage package coverage to get something drinkable and if you don't have a drink package and want a reasonable glass of wine with a meal - look out!

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Never compare what a bottle costs at your local store. Have you ever gone to a decent to higher end restaurant? A 20.00 bottle of wine could easily run 70.00 to 80.00. You also have to remember that wine sold by the glass has to be high because if the entire bottle isn't used within a certain time it does go bad.

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The best value for wine at dinner on NCL is always to order a bottle and have them tag and store the unfinished portion for you. It doesn't take all that long for a server to retrieve it, even if you were in another dining room or restaurant at the time. For example, the Louis Jadot pinor noir, from Burgundy, is better than the Estancia, and a bottle is a lot expensive than five separate glasses.

 

The only negative I've found to this is that, having initially chosen a wine to complement the main course, I tend to choose the next night's main course to complement the wine.

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Only problem with that is bottles are not included in any drink package. 

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15 minutes ago, phillyguy31 said:

Never compare what a bottle costs at your local store. Have you ever gone to a decent to higher end restaurant? A 20.00 bottle of wine could easily run 70.00 to 80.00. You also have to remember that wine sold by the glass has to be high because if the entire bottle isn't used within a certain time it does go bad.

Why are you comparing prices at a higher end restaurant to NCL, a mass market cruise line? If we are going to compare, wouldn't a better comparison be NCL to other mass market cruise lines?

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I didn't the OP did " As an example Emblem cab sauv (a passable red at USD ~$40 for the bottle at bevmo on dry land) is a staggering $31.95 by the glass. "

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The problem with "buying up" if you like a sparkling wine is the next real champagne by they glass is about $35, nothing between the $8 junk and an extra $20 a glass over the package limit.

 

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I never get the beverage package option which is not "free" once they add the charges.  Since I only drink wine, I bring my wine aboard and pay the $15 per bottle corkage fee.  The math works in my favor. A bottle of wine that retails, sometimes on sale, for $40 a bottle costs around $100 on board plus 18% service charge.  So simply $118 minus $55 equals $63 in savings for a bottle that you probably couldn't buy on board anyway!  By the way, this really only works out well for those of us who travel to the ship from home without getting on an airplane (e.g. New York area). 

But I totally agree with you about the quality and availability of wines by the glass on board.  They used to have different wines available by the glass in the premium restaurants including Le Bistro and Cagney's but appear to have done away with that. 

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Just now, Surfsup2017 said:

I never get the beverage package option which is not "free" once they add the charges.  Since I only drink wine, I bring my wine aboard and pay the $15 per bottle corkage fee.  The math works in my favor. A bottle of wine that retails, sometimes on sale, for $40 a bottle costs around $100 on board plus 18% service charge.  So simply $118 minus $55 equals $63 in savings for a bottle that you probably couldn't buy on board anyway!  By the way, this really only works out well for those of us who travel to the ship from home without getting on an airplane (e.g. New York area). 

But I totally agree with you about the quality and availability of wines by the glass on board.  They used to have different wines available by the glass in the premium restaurants including Le Bistro and Cagney's but appear to have done away with that. 

Just a further note:  if NCL ever eliminated its corkage wine policy, I would also eliminate NCL as my "go to cruise line" and opt for another line that features better wine selections.

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is the list complete? do they not offer the german Riesling anymore? Or do they offer it only in Europe? Is the wine List in Europe different?

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A little off topic, but how extensive is the by the bottle selection in specialty restaurants? Above and beyond what you see on the normal drink menu, or still pretty limited?

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2 hours ago, phillyguy31 said:

Never compare what a bottle costs at your local store. Have you ever gone to a decent to higher end restaurant? A 20.00 bottle of wine could easily run 70.00 to 80.00. You also have to remember that wine sold by the glass has to be high because if the entire bottle isn't used within a certain time it does go bad.

You should ALWAYS do this to get a sense of how much an establishment marks up its wine by the bottle. 2.5-3x is pretty typical - 5.75x is ludicrous.

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1 hour ago, Steff79 said:

is the list complete? do they not offer the german Riesling anymore? Or do they offer it only in Europe? Is the wine List in Europe different?

The Riesling is on my list

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I guess I'd be ok with SA Prum Essence Riesling $9.95, Le Rime Banfi pinot grigio $9.95 but it's very limited comparatively speaking.  Might go back to not drinking... not much to choose from for sure. 

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I have seen lists in the past that show two sizes of wine glasses.  Does that no longer exist?  If it does, which size are you talking about here?

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6 hours ago, Surfsup2017 said:

I never get the beverage package option which is not "free" once they add the charges.  Since I only drink wine, I bring my wine aboard and pay the $15 per bottle corkage fee.  The math works in my favor. A bottle of wine that retails, sometimes on sale, for $40 a bottle costs around $100 on board plus 18% service charge.  So simply $118 minus $55 equals $63 in savings for a bottle that you probably couldn't buy on board anyway!  By the way, this really only works out well for those of us who travel to the ship from home without getting on an airplane (e.g. New York area). 

But I totally agree with you about the quality and availability of wines by the glass on board.  They used to have different wines available by the glass in the premium restaurants including Le Bistro and Cagney's but appear to have done away with that. 

This has me thinking that maybe we should bring our own wine for our upcoming cruise (we are driving to the port) and pay the corkage fee. Can you tell me how it works? Do we pay the corkage fee at embarkation, or at the restaurants as we consume the wine? Will they provide a corkscrew and glasses if we want to drink it on our balcony?

 

We do not have the beverage package for our upcoming cruise. Got a great deal on a balcony guarantee, the the beverage package does not include the three main things we drink, espresso drinks, bottled water and good, full-bodied red wine. 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, CarolinaMamma said:

This has me thinking that maybe we should bring our own wine for our upcoming cruise (we are driving to the port) and pay the corkage fee. Can you tell me how it works? Do we pay the corkage fee at embarkation, or at the restaurants as we consume the wine? Will they provide a corkscrew and glasses if we want to drink it on our balcony?

 

You pay the corkage fee at embarkation.  Just past the x-ray machines there is a table where you take the wine (be SURE you bring it as a carry-on) and they will charge you the $15 per bottle (assuming it is still that cost) and will tag the bottles with stickers that will allow you to take it anywhere on the ship, including dining rooms.  You can get glasses from any bar.  You may want to pack a travel corkscrew in your CHECKED bag (for airline purposes) for convenience, although you could probably get one one the ship. EDITED: I see you are DRIVING to the port so no worries about bringing a corkscrew with you in a carry on bag.

Edited by Ella2

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4 hours ago, pbenjamin said:

I have seen lists in the past that show two sizes of wine glasses.  Does that no longer exist?  If it does, which size are you talking about here?

There are not two glass sizes on the menu - this is main wine list you would get at any non-specialty restaurant. Wine is brought to your table in a single-serve wine carafe and the pour appears to be ~4oz. (i.e. 6 glasses per bottle)... could be a ~5oz pour (i.e. 5 glasses per bottle).

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8 hours ago, Greenpea2 said:

Only problem with that is bottles are not included in any drink package. 

"Feeling a little more decadent? Our Premium Plus Beverage Package includes all that plus bottled water (still and sparkling), energy drinks, specialty coffee, select wines by the bottle while dining, and more! Already have The Premium Beverage Package? You can always upgrade on board to our upgraded package."

 

Norwegian Cruise Line's Premium Beverage Package (formerly known as the Ultimate Beverage Package) includes a variety of spirits, cocktails, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer up to and including $15 USD and unlimited fountain soda and juices at all bars, lounges, restaurants and Great Stirrup Cay.

A 20% discount will be applied to all bottles of wine purchased on board. 

 

NCL gives options...

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34 minutes ago, cdnsteelman said:

There are not two glass sizes on the menu - this is main wine list you would get at any non-specialty restaurant. Wine is brought to your table in a single-serve wine carafe and the pour appears to be ~4oz. (i.e. 6 glasses per bottle)... could be a ~5oz pour (i.e. 5 glasses per bottle).

 

This is old but the sort of thing that I have seen in the past.

 

pn9E5aZJj

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5 minutes ago, pbenjamin said:

This is old but the sort of thing that I have seen in the past.

Understood - it wasn't that way on the Pearl last week. It's a poor quality photo but this is the menu.IMG_2330.thumb.JPG.158ca3091854ddb65b32bc8bec39f52e.JPG

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7 hours ago, Nola26 said:

"Feeling a little more decadent? Our Premium Plus Beverage Package includes all that plus bottled water (still and sparkling), energy drinks, specialty coffee, select wines by the bottle while dining, and more! Already have The Premium Beverage Package? You can always upgrade on board to our upgraded package."

 

Norwegian Cruise Line's Premium Beverage Package (formerly known as the Ultimate Beverage Package) includes a variety of spirits, cocktails, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer up to and including $15 USD and unlimited fountain soda and juices at all bars, lounges, restaurants and Great Stirrup Cay.

A 20% discount will be applied to all bottles of wine purchased on board. 

 

NCL gives options...

I should have been more specific. I was talking about the regular alcoholic beverage package not the Premium. I would NEVER pay for the premium, personally (or even the regular one--just as a promo), so was not thinking of that.

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