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14 minutes ago, NLH Arizona said:

Everytime you purchase a product from a company,  you are being forced to foot the company's employees' salaries.

 

Here is what I don't understand.  If someone's cruise is $1,000 plus the DSC of $100 or their cruise is $1,100 and no DSC, isn't it all the same.  Either way you are paying for the cruise and the crew's wages.   When NCL did the second option in the UK and the other countries, after folks have been posting here for years that it should be included in the fare, they still complained, not it was that the cruise fare was too expensive.  I can only surmise that the people that complained saying they wanted the crew to be paid a decent either don't understand how business works or they really don't give a rat's behind about the crew, it is just about saving them money.  I also wonder if these some folks fight with hotels about paying a resort fee, if not maybe NCL should start calling it a resort fee.

The problem isn't the DSC, it's trying to masquerade it as gratuities. It's not. It is a resort fee, and that's what they should call it. It would eliminate a lot of the confusion, and people would understand that the majority of the money goes into NCL's coffers, not the staff's pockets. That's why I make sure and tip with cash those that have made my trip memorable, and fill out a hero card as well. That way I know the money I leave makes it into their pockets, not NCL's.

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20 minutes ago, NLH Arizona said:

Everytime you purchase a product from a company,  you are being forced to foot the company's employees' salaries.

 

Here is what I don't understand.  If someone's cruise is $1,000 plus the DSC of $100 or their cruise is $1,100 and no DSC, isn't it all the same.  Either way you are paying for the cruise and the crew's wages.   When NCL did the second option in the UK and the other countries, after folks have been posting here for years that it should be included in the fare, they still complained, not it was that the cruise fare was too expensive.  I can only surmise that the people that complained saying they wanted the crew to be paid a decent either don't understand how business works or they really don't give a rat's behind about the crew, it is just about saving them money.  I also wonder if these some folks fight with hotels about paying a resort fee, if not maybe NCL should start calling it a resort fee.

 

It all boils down to: “I want the crew to be paid better wages as long as it doesn’t inconvenience me, or raise prices on what I’m paying for”

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11 minutes ago, KateQ22003 said:

The problem isn't the DSC, it's trying to masquerade it as gratuities. It's not. It is a resort fee, and that's what they should call it. It would eliminate a lot of the confusion, and people would understand that the majority of the money goes into NCL's coffers, not the staff's pockets. That's why I make sure and tip with cash those that have made my trip memorable, and fill out a hero card as well. That way I know the money I leave makes it into their pockets, not NCL's.

Kate, does anyone have any proof that any goes into NCL's coffers?  No one one does.  Now someone who worked for NCL said this:    The only thing that is "guaranteed" to a crew member is the minimum total compensation, which is currently $614/month for a 40 hour work week, plus overtime at 125% of the base wage for hours over 40/week. This totals out to about $1500/month. If the base wage, overtime, and DSC totals more than this, per their contract, they get that much, if the DSC is reduced, their wages can drop to the above minimum.

Now does it sound like anything goes to NCL's coffers?

 

Or does this saying that it goes to NCL's coffers or that they are masquerade it as gratuities?:

Why is there a service charge?
The reason there's a fixed service charge is an important one: Our Crew (as are the crew from other lines) is encouraged to work together as a team. Staff members including complimentary restaurant staff, stateroom stewards and behind-the-scenes support staff are compensated by a combination of salary and incentive programs that your service charge supports. 

 

If someone would just show real proof, other than my Room Steward told me or a disgruntled employee told me or my brother's best friend's sister told me, then we could put all these discussions to an end, but many have asked for proof and no one has it.  You believe what you believe and others will believe what they see in writing - it all just depends on where you sit on the DSC and removing it.

 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Kingkonig said:

 

It all boils down to: “I want the crew to be paid better wages as long as it doesn’t inconvenience me, or raise prices on what I’m paying for”

At least there was one poster who was honest enough to say that he/she removed it because he/she thought they paid enough for the cruise.

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6 minutes ago, NLH Arizona said:

At least there was one poster who was honest enough to say that he/she removed it because he/she thought they paid enough for the cruise.

 

Man I wish I could apply that logic to my mortgage “oh I’m not gonna pay interest, I pay enough every month anyways”

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1 hour ago, KateQ22003 said:

The problem isn't the DSC, it's trying to masquerade it as gratuities. It's not. It is a resort fee, and that's what they should call it. It would eliminate a lot of the confusion, and people would understand that the majority of the money goes into NCL's coffers, not the staff's pockets. That's why I make sure and tip with cash those that have made my trip memorable, and fill out a hero card as well. That way I know the money I leave makes it into their pockets, not NCL's.

....and how do you know this, again?

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All cruise lines should call this tipping policy a resort fee and be done with it. I would still tip those who went out of their way to make my vacation a great one.

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Several things to point out.

1. Most resorts that have a "resort fee" do not say you don't need to tip. NCL does say no tipping is required. As a matter of fact most resort personnel expect tips on top of you resort fee except for some of the all inclusives and even then they discretely have their hand out.  

2. Stop comparing drink prices on board ship to what you pay at a local bar. A fair comparison is either an upscale hotel bar or upscale resort/hotel. You can't say I can buy this bottle for $10.00 and I'm being charged $15.00 for a drink. It just doesn't work that way.

3. It really is none of our business what the employees compensation package is, if they are not happy they can just not sign up again. I have met many who have worked on NCL for years.

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I do remember the bartenders were not the happiest when people just gave them their cruise card with the drink package included. Mentioned they make more money from none drink package patrons, I guess they keep more of the tips if given directly? Why is it any different then if you book an all-inclusive vacation to the Caribbean, tips are also included in that package but people tip ontop of that all the time. Didn't see to many tippers after getting their drink at the bar with the drink package on the cruise so let's not degrade other cruisers who would rather tip seperatly. 

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On 6/18/2019 at 5:11 AM, Wedgie23 said:

Then the regular gratuity $210 per week for 2 people. I understand this doesn’t cover the room steward who I always tip separately.

IT DOES.

 

 Premium restaurants are tipped separately

NO THEY AREN'T.   YOU PAY A PREMIUM (COVER CHARGE) FOR THE FOOD, AMBIANCE, and HIGHER STAFF PER PASSENGER SERVICE LEVEL (not in tips - but helping the cruise line justify their room & board, etc.)

 

 Am I incorrect about who the tips go to? 

YES, BUT NOT FOR LONG.

 

On 6/18/2019 at 5:11 AM, Wedgie23 said:

 

 

On 6/18/2019 at 5:11 AM, Wedgie23 said:

 

I know you can remove the daily gratuity but I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ however I’m wondering if it would be better to just cary cash and tip every server appropriately and well.

NO.

 

 

On 6/18/2019 at 5:49 AM, KateQ22003 said:

Please note that the daily gratuity you mention is not a gratuity but a service charge. It doesn't go 100% to the staff; it supports their salaries and "incentive programs".

 

THIS IS TRUE, BUT TO THOSE NOT ON A BONUS/COMMISSION/Variable Compensation PLAN IT CAN BE MISLEADING.   Part of the DSC is apportioned according to the staff's responsibility and ranking/ratings from both guests & supervisors.  A portion subsidizes crew welfare (parties, events, etc.) and part of it funds incentives (commissions, SPIFFs, etc.)

 

 

On 6/18/2019 at 6:49 AM, Wedgie23 said:

Sorry I don't understand. I believed 'gratuity' and 'service charge' to be synonyms. The charge doesn't go directly to the staff working during your cruise? I am confused on exactly which ones and can't find clarity on the NCL website but I did believe it went directly to some members of the staff.

 

The DSC and the gratuities ensure that the people working on your cruise are compensated to a level at which they have agreed to perform their services.   Whether the charge is mandatory, a guideline, or an auto-gratuity is not the key...it's that either the crew are underpaid & leave, or the cruiseline over-charges & loses customers....or there's a happy medium where the crew are well-compensated, and the line operates profitably... and the way that mix is accomplished is through a variety of income levers.

 

 

 

On 6/18/2019 at 11:00 AM, Wedgie23 said:

... resort service fee, I'd assume it would have been paid for as part of the original booking like with all other resorts/higher end hotels I've stayed at.

MOST HIGHER END HOTELS CHARGE THEIR RESORT FEE AT TIME OF CHECKOUT. 

 

In your apple analogy, I expect to go to the store buy an apple for the price advertised pay the tax and leave. Not see the apples price, have a handling fee attached to it when I get to the register, taxed on a dozen apples instead of the amount I'm going to eat and then have a gratuity charge hit my card a week later. If that was to transpire I don't think anyone would be out of line to ask where it's all going. For cell phones, there are many added fees and taxes but you can pull it out and read each one, my company puts an explanation under each but all are ones you can easily google for an answer and an amount if you so choose. 

 

When you buy an apple, you pay for the whole apple, even if you take one bite & throw the rest away.   You pay for the privilege of consumption, not the actual consumption itself.  Same with the pricing / gratutities / service charges.   They entitle you to the services emanating from the charges, whether you consume them or not.   Just because the ship sails to Nassau, doesn't mean you must visit Nassau.  

 

On 6/18/2019 at 11:00 AM, Wedgie23 said:

 

As for the added gratuities for the UDP I'm even more confused. I'd much rather have thought the barstaff was getting gigantic tips from me than half what I paid for tips going to the ? fund. If we assume 1/2 passengers have the UDP and 1/2 of those drink similarly to myself for a big ship with 4K you're looking at $70,000 every week customers are charged being told it's being given to staff when it isn't because they didn't drink enough for the staff to get it all. 

 

Yes, you're definitely confused.   The PDP gratuities are split between the bar staff (and bar wait-staff).   You might only see the same person once, and the "gigantic" tip they got from you might be averaged-out by the next person who didn't tip at all...and if the 3rd doesn't tip at all either then they're in the hole.  Having a steady, projectable income is worth a lot. 

 

 

On 6/18/2019 at 11:00 AM, Wedgie23 said:

 

NCL has 18 ships I believe with an average capacity of 3K using the same assumptions as above that's approximately $945,000/week or $49.14 million per year in funds billed to the customers as gratuities for staff that are not being given to the staff.

 

Huh?  All of the DSC & the gratuities are spent on staffing-related items....either payroll, bonuses, incentives, or benefits.

 

On 6/18/2019 at 11:00 AM, Wedgie23 said:

 

Do you feel it to be acceptable for any other business owner to force a sky high auto gratuity charge on patrons for it's staff, then pocket half of it for themselves if that is in fact what is happening?

 

Just to clarify in case anyone knows, can the UPD gratuity charge be modified at the end of the week like the DSC can?

 

NO it cannot be modified.  Yes, it is acceptable.  There's a cost to provisioning the services, whether you consume them, or not.  You are paying for the availability of services.   If NCL was "pocketing" it  (and that would show up in their Annual Report), then they're offsetting other costs - because you can surmise they will intend to make the same revenue amounts, one way or another.   Why they would choose to allocate some portion of the corporate revenue stream to a mechanism that can be reduced/removed at the whim of a customer would be the dumbest management decision I've ever seen.   So I extrapolate that and deduce that any DSC shortfall must affect the crew, not the company.

 

 

Stephen

 

 

On 6/18/2019 at 11:00 AM, Wedgie23 said:

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, JustAPilot said:

I do remember the bartenders were not the happiest when people just gave them their cruise card with the drink package included. Mentioned they make more money from none drink package patrons, I guess they keep more of the tips if given directly? Why is it any different then if you book an all-inclusive vacation to the Caribbean, tips are also included in that package but people tip ontop of that all the time. Didn't see to many tippers after getting their drink at the bar with the drink package on the cruise so let's not degrade other cruisers who would rather tip seperatly. 

 

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We tipped bartenders before the UBP was a thing, when we paid for the UBP, and when we got it as a perk.

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12 hours ago, newmexicoNita said:

You are not 100% correct about other lines versus NCL. Were are you getting your information about only on NCL?  As for not drinking on NCL or any other ship, your choice, others disagree with you. 

I always purchase the drink package on most cruise ships when they are fairly reasonable such as Princess who is my favorite overall line. I also find my favorite bartender and tip him up front and as we move along. The rest of the cruise is always fabulous at the bar. NCL's premium drink package is around $140 pp/per day including tip. That's going way too far. I like to drink but even I can't drink that much. My advice to anyone who is on a cruise that stops almost every day or so at a new port is not to buy the card unless they offer you a deal. You are simply not on board to warrant the expense. I prefer transatlantic and transpacific cruises so there are at least 5 days at sea. Not it comes in handy. Note: Princess will allow you to purchase only 1 drink package if the other person in your cabin doesn't drink. It's an honor system and so far it appears to be working out for all parties. Way to go Princess!

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2 hours ago, rkelly21 said:

I always purchase the drink package on most cruise ships when they are fairly reasonable such as Princess who is my favorite overall line. I also find my favorite bartender and tip him up front and as we move along. The rest of the cruise is always fabulous at the bar. NCL's premium drink package is around $140 pp/per day including tip. That's going way too far. I like to drink but even I can't drink that much. My advice to anyone who is on a cruise that stops almost every day or so at a new port is not to buy the card unless they offer you a deal. You are simply not on board to warrant the expense. I prefer transatlantic and transpacific cruises so there are at least 5 days at sea. Not it comes in handy. Note: Princess will allow you to purchase only 1 drink package if the other person in your cabin doesn't drink. It's an honor system and so far it appears to be working out for all parties. Way to go Princess!

 

Well....NCL's drink package is almost always part of a "deal". So it ends up being about $20pp/day.  Or basically two drinks

 

Also, similarly to Princess, you CAN get a drink package for just one person, you just have to call and give reasoning (pregnant, can't drink for medical reasons, alcoholic, doesn't drink).

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5 hours ago, sjbdtz said:

 Why they would choose to allocate some portion of the corporate revenue stream to a mechanism that can be reduced/removed at the whim of a customer would be the dumbest management decision I've ever seen.   So I extrapolate that and deduce that any DSC shortfall must affect the crew, not the company.

New mega ships are being built every year.  The cruise industry is exploding.  Competition for experienced talented crew members is increasing.  Retention of quality employees should be paramount.  I would argue it would be a dumb management decision to essentially say to the crew: "Here are your targets.  If you meet said targets you will be rewarded via a monetary incentive package.*  UNLESS * Despite meeting and exceeding all your targets, if, through the whim of fickle cruisers,  DSC is reduced, you will not be rewarded for your hard work and meeting your incentive targets."   In other words, one high profile, low performing employee could cost you a lot of money and there's nothing you can do about it!  Very demoralizing.  

 

Doesn't seem like a company that treats its employees in such an callous manner will survive long in a competitive hiring market.  

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On 6/18/2019 at 10:36 PM, NLH Arizona said:

I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this, see my response in red

Thank you for having a different opinion but remaining civil towards me. 

On 6/18/2019 at 10:36 PM, NLH Arizona said:

Well no you might not get specific salary information but you usually do deserve to know if their compensation is commission based, tip based, if they are an independent contractor or an employee getting their compensation directly from the company. Knowing what is expected helps dictate how you do business.  You must work for a very different type of company than most people work for.  There is no way that most companies would tell you how an employye is paid.  It must be difficult dealing with businesses, if this is something you require in order to do business with them. 

I don't mean to infer it's companies telling people how or what their employees are paid. I mean in a common knowledge sense. As an example if someone were to post here and ask how much to expect to have to pay their TA you'd know what to tell them. Same if someone asked how much they should tip their dentist. We know from either first hand experience or just know, TAs are paid commission from the line there is zero expectation for the customer to pay them anything and we do not tip dentists. I don't believe it goes against the privacy of TAs or dentists to know from the customer stand point what is to be expected. 

 

It isn't my business to know how much the kind server who waited on me in the restaurant earns but it is my business to know if I am expected to leave them a tip or if I've already left them a tip via the DSC. DSC billed daily as it is, paid at the end and with the murky FAQ explanation led me to believe I was leaving $42 as a tip per encounter at the MDR, even when we just had nachos and wings. I don't think I could possibly be the only person who thought that so to me the lack of transparency on what the DSC is and who it goes to would just lead people to remove or reduce it. 

 

I do agree with other posters, they should call it a 'resort fee', charge it with the ticket price and be done with it. Then they can advertise like I believe it's Celebrity does 'New free at sea, all gratuities included perk'. 

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I apologize for the double post. I am not able to find a way that I can quote multiple people or different pages of the thread and reply to them in one post. 

6 hours ago, sjbdtz said:

Premium restaurants are tipped separately

NO THEY AREN'T.   YOU PAY A PREMIUM (COVER CHARGE) FOR THE FOOD, AMBIANCE, and HIGHER STAFF PER PASSENGER SERVICE LEVEL (not in tips - but helping the cruise line justify their room & board, etc.)

I believe you're incorrect about this. When you add the specialty dining perk it adds a $31.60 fee (for 2 people) that is called 'Free at Sea offer gratuities'. Gratuities are tips. 

 

This is the same verbiage as the fee that gets added when adding in the drink package as a perk. When you get the drink package and the dining package perks they are listed under the same 'Free at sea offer gratuities' section of the bill. 

 

That wording makes it clear to me that fee is a tip for the waitstaff at the specialty dining restaurants. Whether it goes directly to the specific server or gets split up among all servers like people have mentioned the drink package gratuity does I'd have no idea. 

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18 hours ago, blcruising said:

....and how do you know this, again?

I have been told by several current NCL staff. I don't think they have any reason to lie. They all say the same thing - the DSC does not go to the staff in entirety; they get pieces of it as incentive pay (hero cards being big).

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10 hours ago, Wedgie23 said:

Thank you for having a different opinion but remaining civil towards me. 

I don't mean to infer it's companies telling people how or what their employees are paid. I mean in a common knowledge sense. As an example if someone were to post here and ask how much to expect to have to pay their TA you'd know what to tell them. Same if someone asked how much they should tip their dentist. We know from either first hand experience or just know, TAs are paid commission from the line there is zero expectation for the customer to pay them anything and we do not tip dentists. I don't believe it goes against the privacy of TAs or dentists to know from the customer stand point what is to be expected. 

 

It isn't my business to know how much the kind server who waited on me in the restaurant earns but it is my business to know if I am expected to leave them a tip or if I've already left them a tip via the DSC. DSC billed daily as it is, paid at the end and with the murky FAQ explanation led me to believe I was leaving $42 as a tip per encounter at the MDR, even when we just had nachos and wings. I don't think I could possibly be the only person who thought that so to me the lack of transparency on what the DSC is and who it goes to would just lead people to remove or reduce it. 

 

I do agree with other posters, they should call it a 'resort fee', charge it with the ticket price and be done with it. Then they can advertise like I believe it's Celebrity does 'New free at sea, all gratuities included perk'. 

Sorry, but I feel your examples of a travel agent or a dentist are a totally different scenarios.

 

NCL clearly states that tipping is not required and that the staff is compensated by a combination of their salary and incentive programs that the DSC supports.  

 

No matter what NCL calls it or if they included it in the fare, folks are still going to complain and find a way to remove it or will just not cruise with NCL.  Just look what happened in the European countries where they deleted the DSC and included in their fares.  On here, they complained that their fares went up and were too high.  Now, did they expect for their fare to remain the same, when including the DSC in their fares?  For those posters who complained, IMHO, it was quite clear that, even though they said they wanted it included and asked that the crew got a fare wage, they really didn't care about the crew, they only cared about what they were paying and that was the bottom line for them when there was a DSC and they removed it.  They had a lot of reasons they removed it, but when it was included and their fares went up, they still had an issue.  I applaud the poster who was honest and said he/she removed it because he/she felt they had paid enough for their cruise, at least he didn't say something just as an excuse, he said the truth.  

 

I remember a poster saying that her child worked for NCL and hated sailing out of Southhampton, because so many passengers removed their DSC and they made less money and then reading this from someone who worked as an officer on NCL:  If the base wage, overtime, and DSC totals more than this, per their contract, they get that much, if the DSC is reduced, their wages can drop to the above minimum. I truly understood what she meant.

 

Everyone has to do what they feel is right, but they should never think that if they come to a public forum with any comments that they are not going to get folks that disagree with them.  What bothers me the most is that posters make up facts about where the DSC goes without having any proof to back up their statements, just because they don't want to pay it.

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11 hours ago, Wedgie23 said:

I apologize for the double post. I am not able to find a way that I can quote multiple people or different pages of the thread and reply to them in one post. 

I believe you're incorrect about this. When you add the specialty dining perk it adds a $31.60 fee (for 2 people) that is called 'Free at Sea offer gratuities'. Gratuities are tips. 

 

This is the same verbiage as the fee that gets added when adding in the drink package as a perk. When you get the drink package and the dining package perks they are listed under the same 'Free at sea offer gratuities' section of the bill. 

 

That wording makes it clear to me that fee is a tip for the waitstaff at the specialty dining restaurants. Whether it goes directly to the specific server or gets split up among all servers like people have mentioned the drink package gratuity does I'd have no idea. 

 

Two things:

 

1. To multi-quote, click the  + sign beside the word Quote.   You'll see the pending multi-quotes in the bottom right of the screen.

 

2. My apologies.  On this point you may be correct,  though it's also possible that the people SELLING the packages are getting those gratuities.    I was thinking of the Cover Charge era, before the dining package materialized. 

 

 

Stephen

 

 

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13 hours ago, mianmike said:

New mega ships are being built every year.  The cruise industry is exploding.  Competition for experienced talented crew members is increasing.  Retention of quality employees should be paramount.  I would argue it would be a dumb management decision to essentially say to the crew: "Here are your targets.  If you meet said targets you will be rewarded via a monetary incentive package.*  UNLESS * Despite meeting and exceeding all your targets, if, through the whim of fickle cruisers,  DSC is reduced, you will not be rewarded for your hard work and meeting your incentive targets."   In other words, one high profile, low performing employee could cost you a lot of money and there's nothing you can do about it!  Very demoralizing.  

 

Doesn't seem like a company that treats its employees in such an callous manner will survive long in a competitive hiring market.  

 

I hear what you're saying...but if you figure a DSC of $13 pp/pd x occupancy of 2500 people x 18 ships x 360 days (allowing 5 for PR/turnaround / breakdowns, etc.) then you have an annual revenue potential of  $210,600,000   That's $210 million in revenue.

 

Which may / may not happen, if people decide to pay/not pay the DSC.  

 

I would posit that there is a need for 1500 crew per ship, and another 1500 next year for the new ship, etc.    There are FAR more unemployed people in the world, than there are vacancies aboard the ships.

 

It would be easy enough to have to top-up the high performers to keep them satisfied, than to risk losing $200 million of predictable revenue per year. 

 

 

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I don't get this about NCL cancelling the inclusive DSC & the bookings dropped. We have various cruise lines here & Europe who include them & they are doing very well, Marella UK  have now included DSC on all their ships , and this has gone down very well.

Maybe NCL pitched their prices too high.

I think also , if I am not mistaken, North Americans get much better deals than cruises than here in the UK.

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6 minutes ago, liverpoollad said:

I don't get this about NCL cancelling the inclusive DSC & the bookings dropped. We have various cruise lines here & Europe who include them & they are doing very well, Marella UK  have now included DSC on all their ships , and this has gone down very well.

Maybe NCL pitched their prices too high.

I think also , if I am not mistaken, North Americans get much better deals than cruises than here in the UK.

I think it was because they were use to paying X and when NCL raised the prices to include the DSC, they didn't like that the fare price went up.

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18 minutes ago, liverpoollad said:

I don't get this about NCL cancelling the inclusive DSC & the bookings dropped. We have various cruise lines here & Europe who include them & they are doing very well, Marella UK  have now included DSC on all their ships , and this has gone down very well.

Maybe NCL pitched their prices too high.

I think also , if I am not mistaken, North Americans get much better deals than cruises than here in the UK.

I thought that NCL included everything when they made the change. So DSC, drinks, specialty restaurants etc were included in the price whether you wanted them or not you were still paying for it.

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Adam. They cancelled the DSC inclusive on their deals 7/8 weeks ago hence the confusion here in the UK.

I too thought the DSC was included when I booked, it was only when I went to "my cruise " on line that I discovered it.

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