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tomservo

RCCL vs NCL: Questions about suite pricing

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I'm posting this in both forums to get both perspectives.

 

I'm looking to compare the suite experience in the NCL Haven (Breakaway/Breakaway+ class) vs RCCL Royal Suite Class (Quantum/Oasis class). I'll start with some high level comparisons that most of you are probably familiar with:

 

Haven Perks

Priority Embarkation/Debarkation

Haven Bar/Restaurant/Lounge

Private pool/sundeck

Reserved seating for shows

Concierge

Butler

Free room service/snacks and canapes

Drink package/SDP/Wifi (not required to be in Haven, but Haven guests usually qualify for all the perks)

 

Haven Negatives

Haven restaurant menu doesn't change

Haven courtyard/hot tubs can be taken over by large groups/families

Butler service hit or miss

Must pay grats on drink package/SDP (again, not Haven specific, but including it for RCCL comparison purposes)

 

Royal Suite Class

 

Sea Class perks

Priority Embarkation

Coastal Kitchen (dinner only)

 

Sky Class perks (includes above)

Wifi

Concierge

Suite Lounge

Priority Debarkation

 

Star Class (includes above)

Genie

Complimentary DSC gratuities/Specialty Dining/Deluxe Beverage Package

 

RSC negatives

Competing against Pinnacles for Restaurant/Lounge/Sundeck

Less of a connected ship within a ship concept

 

Ok, now that we're caught up, I'm trying to understand how both companies price and value their suite products. Again, I'm not comparing ships, and I'm sure some will argue that you can't compare the 2 in a vacuum, and maybe you're right, but I'm still trying to do an apples to apples comparison of the suite offering. It seems that amenity-wise, the Haven should fit in somewhere between Sky and Star class, since you get more than the Sky class and some of the benefits of the Star class but not quite as good: 3-4 night SDP (plus grats) vs full Specialty Dining, grats on drink package vs being fully included, paying for the DSC vs having it paid for. However price-wise, it seems that cost of the Haven is closer to somewhere between Sea and Sky class for most rooms. Now that I know the rooms play into the price as well, but again trying to keep it as close to apples to apples as I can. My question is, when you compare the two, since the Haven offers much more than Sea Class suites, so if they are similarly priced, does that mean that the Haven is well priced for what you get, or that the Royal Junior suites are overpriced (which is what I'm leaning towards)? Just to give some pricing examples:

 

7 days, 4 guests, lowest price for a room in each class

 

Haven

Low end - 5-7k

Mid-range - 9k

High end - 15k-20k

 

Sea Class

Low end - 5-6k

Mid-range - 7k

High end - 9k-11k

 

Sky Class

Low end - 6-7k

Mid-range - 9k

High end - 12k-35k

 

Star Class

Low end - 10k

Mid-range - 17k

High end - 25k-70k

 

The least expensive Haven suites compare favorably to the least expensive Sea Class (usually Jr) suites, but the Haven offers far more than Sea Class. The mid range Haven prices compare favorably to the mid-range suites in Sky class, but again the Haven offers arguably more. Finally, the least expensive Star Class suites offer more suite perks and typically bigger rooms (the cheapest 4 person Haven room is usually the H8 and the cheapest Star class room is usually the A3 I think, and always on the older Oasis ships, but the A3 is probably 2-3 times the size of the H8 and sleeps 8). Are the differences worth twice the price? Would you rather do 2 cruises on the Bliss in an H7 or one in an A3 on the Allure? I have stayed in the Haven and would like to try out the suites on RCCL, but they always seem so expensive so I'm not sure how to justify the price difference. I'd like to try out a Jr Suite, but for a little more and I can save the splurge for the Haven. I also don't want to pay that much and find out that the suite lounge and restaurant are full of Pinnacles and I can't use them. I'm not trying to argue that one suite experience is better than the other, just trying to understand how you guys enjoyed them, if you felt they were worth it for the money, and if you've done both, which one you think gives you the best value dollar for dollar.

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31 minutes ago, Merion_Mom said:

head-explodes.jpg

 

HA! I know, I’m a lot. I was originally going to include suite pricing multipliers (ie X times standard balcony pricing) to better evaluate and compare the premium you’re paying for a suite, but I forgot. 

Edited by tomservo

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Pinnacle issue is way overblown. 

When are you sailing

 

A3 is not STAR

Edited by John&LaLa

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I LOVE the Haven and I think NCL does a better overall job making you feel special in a suite.  I have not cruised for a while in a suite on RCCL, but will be in a Crown Loft Suite in August and then able to give a more recent comparison.  But just looking at this with what I know, I would choose the Haven.  My favorite cruise lines are Celebrity, NCL, Royal Caribbean... I think in that order lol

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I thought when we were looking at Haven the drink package did not include 4 people, Star Class does.  I also feel, when we were very seriously looking at the Haven rooms, that Star Class was a better price and included more for the money. 

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2 hours ago, John&LaLa said:

Pinnacle issue is way overblown. 

When are you sailing

 

A3 is not STAR

You’re right, I meant A2.

 

I’m on the Oasis out of Bayonne in May. 

Edited by tomservo

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27 minutes ago, lovescats5 said:

I thought when we were looking at Haven the drink package did not include 4 people, Star Class does.  I also feel, when we were very seriously looking at the Haven rooms, that Star Class was a better price and included more for the money. 

 

You’re right, that is an important distinction, I forgot to mention that. I’m thinking about it from the perspective of 2 adults and 2 kids since I have small kids who don’t need a drink/SD package, but it is a big difference that everyone in the room gets all the packages and their DSC is paid. But even with that, one of the question still stands, is the RSC Star Class product in and of itself worth 2-3x the Haven product?

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7 minutes ago, tomservo said:

You’re right, I meant A2.

 

I’m on the Oasis out of Bayonne in May. 

 

I doubt there will be more than 20-30 Pinnacle 

Not that many for an Oasis ship

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I’ve done Haven (can’t remember the room- the big corner forward facing balcony) for a week and I’ve done Star Class (A1 on Oasis) for a week. Hands down Star Class is better. From the perks to the service to the ships... all of it. 

 

We have no plans to ever do another Haven cruise, but already have 2 more Star Class booked. And every Star Class Cruise is cheaper than the Haven cruise. 

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I think to get the information you need to compare all the included amenities.  For us, 3 adults and 1 teen, we found that Star Class was cheaper.  It included the drink package, all specialty restaurants, any and all reservations done for you, first on, first off, and anything else we could have requested.  You need to also look at which cabin you Sbooking.  One of the main reasons we even started with RCCL was the balcony size.  Except for the H1 or H2 the balconies are small and I spend a lot of time on the balcony.  As I stated, to be in the H1 with the size of the room and the huge 2 story balcony is a bucket list thing but the price is way more than we can afford.  So, even though we have not been in a Haven room I cannot see it would be better, overall, than Star Class.

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Can't do an apples to apples comparison. It's not possible. You really do need to compare the ships.  And also be aware the perks on NCL are not equivalent to the perks on RCI. They are very limited on NCL. And the perks often are related to the ship.... Priority seating at shows. Well, if the show is a turd (NCL), is that comparable to priority seating at a great show (RCI)? NCL doesn't have an aquatheater or ice shows, either.  All that needs to factor in. It's silly to only compare suite perks, especially since the two suite offerings are very different. 

 

Star class will be far superior but I don't think worth multiples more. If you really just want to lay around, reading, and be treated special in an exclusive area, then the Haven is great. If you are looking for a more well rounded experience with better shows, better ship, better perks, etc. Then Royal is better. 

 

We did the Haven once and wouldn't go back. The ship within a ship was not what we expected. It was overall kind of lame as the Haven areas are all enclosed, loud, and not that special, at least in our opinion. But the service was great and again, if just lounging around reading and having a waiter feet away is what you want to do, it's certainly good for that. 

 

If you are spa people, the spa haven suites with the insane thermal suite on NCL Escape may be a killer feature for you, too. 

 

Have you looked at MSC Yacht Club? They often have killer prices and it's more similar to Haven than RCI suites. 

Edited by BNBR

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Just re-reading the OP first posting and I will totally disagree on the average cost listed.  We booked our first Grand Loft Suite on Anthem for just over $10K (Star Class).  We have looked at booking an H1 and we could not get it for less than $25K.  I have not seen a Star Class suite for $70K but have seen the S1 for over $30K.  This is all considering there will be 4 people in the suite.  Also, the only suites on NCL with any size balcony is the H1 or S1.  All the others have much smaller balconies and if you want a nice balcony RCCL has them.

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for us the perfect cruise line would a royal oasis ship with the ncl production shows and NCL food

the specially restaurants on NCL are much better hands down to our family ,we still cruise both lines because we like different things from each line. we are like the OP and cruise with our kids so they are not getting the drink package.

and I am not sure I would want to share a suite with 4 adults 

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33 minutes ago, lovescats5 said:

 I have not seen a Star Class suite for $70K but have seen the S1 for over $30K. 

Check the price for cat. US (room 1733) on the Symphony OTS for a holiday cruise (if it is ever available; it books up fast even at those prices). 

Edited by actuarian

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Keep forgetting the Symphony has that huge family room that is so expensive, but it is not $50K more that an H1 on similar dates.  Any cabin is more expensive over holidays, so I was not factoring in the holiday cruises, probably should have apparently.  I still say the Haven is more expensive that the $20K listed in OP post, so if you are going to add the family suite on the Symphony into the mix then add in the H1 or S1.

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On 6/29/2019 at 12:20 AM, John&LaLa said:

 

I doubt there will be more than 20-30 Pinnacle 

Not that many for an Oasis ship

 

I'm not sure how often it happens, but from what I've read on here people have complained about Pinnacles in the lounge and restaurant. Maybe it's the NCL equivalent of a large family taking over the Haven courtyard lol

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On 6/29/2019 at 10:35 AM, lovescats5 said:

I think to get the information you need to compare all the included amenities.  For us, 3 adults and 1 teen, we found that Star Class was cheaper.  It included the drink package, all specialty restaurants, any and all reservations done for you, first on, first off, and anything else we could have requested.  You need to also look at which cabin you Sbooking.  One of the main reasons we even started with RCCL was the balcony size.  Except for the H1 or H2 the balconies are small and I spend a lot of time on the balcony.  As I stated, to be in the H1 with the size of the room and the huge 2 story balcony is a bucket list thing but the price is way more than we can afford.  So, even though we have not been in a Haven room I cannot see it would be better, overall, than Star Class.

 

You're right, there's a big difference between 4 adults in a Star Class room (where all 4 get drinks/dining/grats) and the Haven where only the first 2 get drinks and dining. I also agree that the Star Class rooms by and large are much bigger than even the higher end Haven suites. I was trying to an apples to apples comparison of the suite perks, purposefully excluding the room and ships, but as others have mentioned it's hard to do a comparison and not consider those 2 things.

 

That being said, when you mentioned the H1 and H2 suites, I think you meant the H2 and H3 suites, since I'm just considering the Breakaway/Breakaway+ class ships. There is an H1 (Garden Villa) on the older ships that is huge (4200 sqft), but often costs 25-35k or so. The H2 on the Bliss has a 500 sqft balcony, the H6 aft suites are up to 250 sqft, but most of the other cabins have much smaller balconies. I think part of the answer to my question is the suites are just much bigger in RSC, and maybe that's part of the extra cost.

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11 minutes ago, tomservo said:

 

I'm not sure how often it happens, but from what I've read on here people have complained about Pinnacles in the lounge and restaurant. Maybe it's the NCL equivalent of a large family taking over the Haven courtyard lol

 

Totally over rated. Someone got their feelings hurt. 😉

 

In my opinion....

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On 6/29/2019 at 10:47 AM, BNBR said:

Have you looked at MSC Yacht Club? They often have killer prices and it's more similar to Haven than RCI suites. 

 

I had a 10 night out of Miami on the Divina booked for less than 6k in a YC1, but then the cruise was partially chartered so I cancelled. All the other similar cruises were 8-9k, so it seems like they are raising the price of the YC as others have mentioned. Also the rooms don't seem very impressive to me - my only choices are a slightly nicer balcony room (YC1), a bigger suite-style room with separate living room but no balcony(YC2), or a much more expensive suite(Y3). The first two were non-starters for my wife, and the 3rd option is usually double the 2nd. They have some really nice rooms in the Aurea class, I wish they would use them as part of the YC class.

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5 minutes ago, John&LaLa said:

 

Totally over rated. Someone got their feelings hurt. 😉

 

In my opinion....

Good to know, like I said, I would hate to pay that much and not be able to pay for it because it's overrun. There's a term on here I've seen people use for them but I can't think of it, something like NSPM (non-suite Pinnacle Members?), something like that.

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On 6/29/2019 at 11:42 AM, ourfamilylovescruising said:

for us the perfect cruise line would a royal oasis ship with the ncl production shows and NCL food

the specially restaurants on NCL are much better hands down to our family ,we still cruise both lines because we like different things from each line. we are like the OP and cruise with our kids so they are not getting the drink package.

and I am not sure I would want to share a suite with 4 adults 

 

It's interesting how much of this is subjective, I was trying to leave out some of the more subjective parts out of the comparison (shows, specialty restaurants, etc), but I've seen this come up a few times about how the specialties are way better on one or the other. One surprising comparison was people saying the production shows on RCCL were better than NCL. I was always under the impression that NCL had the best production shows at sea (Million Dollar Quartet, Jersey Boys, Choir of Men, etc), and the RCCL was good and catching up, but overall not quite as good as NCL. But just goes to show you how subjective it is.

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On 6/29/2019 at 12:30 PM, lovescats5 said:

Keep forgetting the Symphony has that huge family room that is so expensive, but it is not $50K more that an H1 on similar dates.  Any cabin is more expensive over holidays, so I was not factoring in the holiday cruises, probably should have apparently.  I still say the Haven is more expensive that the $20K listed in OP post, so if you are going to add the family suite on the Symphony into the mix then add in the H1 or S1.

I'm not familiar with an S1 suite, and the H1 only exists as a 3 bedroom Garden Villa on the older ships (which can go up to 35k or so), which don't have a Haven in the same way as the newer ships, and I'm limiting this comparison to the newer class of ships on both - Breakaway/Breakaway+ vs Oasis class. Maybe you mean the H2/H3?

 

On 6/29/2019 at 11:24 AM, lovescats5 said:

I have not seen a Star Class suite for $70K

The most expensive Star Class suite I found was 73k, in a Star Loft suite over New Years. So not typical, but just an example of how high it can go. The next highest is the Harmony in a TL for 42k over Xmas, and after that they start getting into the 30's. Again, this is the lowest price in each category. The starting price for the most expensive Haven cruise I could find is the Joy and Bliss for Alaska sailings, they start at 20k (H4). The most expensive H2 I found on the Bliss was 24k, but this is not exhaustive since I lost the ability to search for Haven suites by cabin category. Most of the big H2 sailings (Xmas, New Years, etc) are already sold out. I did also see an H4 on the Encore over NYE for about 27k.

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On 6/29/2019 at 11:24 AM, lovescats5 said:

Just re-reading the OP first posting and I will totally disagree on the average cost listed.

I will gladly show my work and explain my methodology. My pricing ranges are the median ranges, not average. Here are the search parameters I used:

 

Haven

4 passengers

Breakaway/Breakaway+ class ships: Bliss, Breakaway, Encore, Escape, Getaway, Joy

Dates: all available

Itineraries: all available

Length: 7 Days

Cabin class: Haven


Link to search

 

Royal Suite Class

4 passengers

Oasis class ships: Allure, Harmony, Oasis, Symphony

Dates: all available

Itineraries: all available

Length: 7 Days

Cabin class: Star

 

Link to search

 

The above search results will return a row for each sailing. The price listed for each sailing is for the cheapest cabin in its respective category. I arrived at the numbers above by giving a range for the median prices. If I sort the results by Total Cabin Price, the low end is the range I see for some of the results on the first page, the mid range for the results on the middle of the range (ie page 15 of 30), and the high range from the last page. My methodology isn't perfect or scientific, it's not meant to be, but it does give a general feel for what the pricing is.

 

Also just wanted to give a quick shout out to cruiseplum for all my cruise pricing research!

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