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DaCruiseBug

Questionable NCL business practices

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11 minutes ago, DaCruiseBug said:

They ask $499 for airfare but the same exact flights if purchased directly from the airline are 60% cheaper.

In order to get you into the spa balcony cabin they have to cancel your entire booking, including airfare and rebook.  Their current airfare rate is $499 pp which as you pointed out, is not a savings bc you could book air yourself for much less.  I have no idea what pricing models NCL uses for air fare but clearly it wouldn't work in your favor to use this option (if you were a brand new booking).  Very frustrating but I do get the cancellation/rebooking rules and agree with others who have pointed out that because it looks the same on the surface, doesn't mean its actually the same.  Not what you want to hear but I agree with TwoWheels...just get the spa passes and be done with it.  The cabin size is the same.  The lesson here is just be sure you've got what you want when final payment rolls around and then quit looking at the the prices.  Also agree that it doesn't hurt to call again and get a second opinion.

Edited by Georgia_Peaches

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Oh for god’s sake. The OP wanted to upgrade. Same perks offered as original booking. They should have gotten the same perks as originally booked. Enough said.

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21 minutes ago, tallnthensome said:

Yea, that’s a bit goofy but they definitely must be doing yours as a rebook. Your inside 60 days. Their current pricing strategy shows lower cabin fares but they want to sneak in a backdoor profit deal on the flip by over charging for the airfare for unsuspecting shmucks that might never even bother to look on their own. They lower one thing and raise another. 

 

You're absolutely right. That's what they like to do. So my question is...isn't this considered false advertisement? In which was is this airfare considered free or reduced? It's a 60% markup. Maybe i'll submit a complaint with the FTC and see if they say anything.

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21 minutes ago, salty dingo said:

We have booked direct with the cruise line before but we always seem to come out better with a TA. That seems to be built into the business model so why not?

 

Never done a free airfare promo but I don't see how the cruise line can secure a better airfare than someone booking on their own. Until the cruise lines start buying airplanes (one of them actually did!) they have to get the airline tickets from the same places the rest of us do. Plus if you buy your own ticket the cruise line can't take it away from you if you upgrade!😉

 

They do actually get better than published rates. They just sign corporate contracts with the airlines that allows the airlines to basically choose the flights that have the lowest demand to get you there which reduces the possible revenue loss on their side and in exchange they give the cruise lines a discount on the fare. Very similar to what Priceline was doing before they got rid of the name your price for airfares.

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12 minutes ago, DaCruiseBug said:

 

You're absolutely right. That's what they like to do. So my question is...isn't this considered false advertisement? In which was is this airfare considered free or reduced? It's a 60% markup. Maybe i'll submit a complaint with the FTC and see if they say anything.

Years ago, I was going to go through a cruise line for airfare and hotel.  When I called, the airfare was more than double what I could get it for going direct with the airline.  When I asked why, the cruise line told me it was their contract rate, obviously I purchased the air myself.  Same with a hotel, the cruise line quoted me double what I could get the hotel for, saying the rate was per person and they had to double it.  

 

There is no legal issue, the airfare is either free or reduced at the cruise line's rate.  Now if they would have advertised that their free or reduced airfare is based on the airline's lowest rate, then you would have something to go to the FTC.

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I have a situation that's almost the opposite.  I originally booked a 21 day Panama Canal inside sailaway for April, 2020, back in May.  In September when they were running the Latitudes special for 20% off, I called my TA to now get a BD with all the perks and she confirmed that she changed it.

 

But upon reading another thread here on CC, I realized they didn't include the double points so I called the TA.  After several calls between her and NCL, they told us I wasn't eligible because my TA only upgraded me and did not make a new booking.  So my booking was still listed in May when the special was not offered then.

 

 

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31 minutes ago, hladygirl said:

Oh for god’s sake. The OP wanted to upgrade. Same perks offered as original booking. They should have gotten the same perks as originally booked. Enough said.

 

The problem is when they person they're talking to inputs it the perk is no longer $0 that OP got it for it's now $499. Much like if you upgraded after the beverage/ dining package promo charges increased you'd have to pay the increase charges when you upgrade. If the air promo was still priced at $0 for them they could upgrade. 

 

Whether someone will make an exception for this.... it seems not but maybe. 

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1 hour ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

In order to get you into the spa balcony cabin they have to cancel your entire booking, including airfare and rebook.  


How can it be “cancel and rebook” when you would pay a penalty to cancel at this stage of the game?  It’s a simple upgrade and the perks are the same.  Even if they list the “free and reduced airfare” perk at a higher rate than before because the sail date is close - the airfare is already booked and no changes are needed to anything other than the cabin number.  It just doesn’t make sense - especially since others on the same exact cruise upgraded without paying the airfare difference.  Another phone call is definitely in order.  

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35 minutes ago, orangeglitter said:

I am on this same cruise.I haven't got my airfare. When did you get yours?

 


Some get emails - but just check in online and print your edocs and they should be listed. 

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It seems if you had not picked the free airfare you could have likely got what you are asking for.  Not sure where you are flying from but every city I typed in was at least 499, some more.  It seems the airfare goes up after final payment, which sort of makes sense since that is when prices can, but not always,go down.  Can you make the change and drop the airfare benefit and just book your airfare on your own?

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39 minutes ago, Shidah said:

It seems if you had not picked the free airfare you could have likely got what you are asking for.  Not sure where you are flying from but every city I typed in was at least 499, some more.  It seems the airfare goes up after final payment, which sort of makes sense since that is when prices can, but not always,go down.  Can you make the change and drop the airfare benefit and just book your airfare on your own?

 

Every major city I’ve looked at is under $499 by quite a bit. Houston, Dallas, Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Atlanta etc.

 

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2 hours ago, DeBlonde1 said:


How can it be “cancel and rebook” when you would pay a penalty to cancel at this stage of the game?  It’s a simple upgrade and the perks are the same.  Even if they list the “free and reduced airfare” perk at a higher rate than before because the sail date is close - the airfare is already booked and no changes are needed to anything other than the cabin number.  It just doesn’t make sense - especially since others on the same exact cruise upgraded without paying the airfare difference.  Another phone call is definitely in order.  

Well I didn’t coin the terminology but that’s what the cruise lines say they do when a cabin category is changed. The cancel one booking and rebook the new one. No penalty is imposed if you are rebooking. At least that’s how it’s been explained to me.  Industry term, not mine. 

Edited by Georgia_Peaches

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5 hours ago, DaCruiseBug said:


Do you have the free airfare? When did you upgrade to the minisuite?

I do not have the free air (we live one hour from port). I upgraded to the mini suite at lease 2-3 weeks after final payment.  With what i had paid for balcony, mini suite was only 20.00 pp more so they let is pay that it took about a week to get new cabin assignment.

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4 hours ago, hladygirl said:

Oh for god’s sake. The OP wanted to upgrade. Same perks offered as original booking. They should have gotten the same perks as originally booked. Enough said.

But they weren’t offering the same perks at the time of rebooking. Their air fare offer went from free to $499. They were willing to let the Op upgrade. That wasn’t the issue as I understood it. I don’t disagree with you but from NCLs perspective they are following the policy the OP agreed to. It sucks and I would feel the same way as the OP. OP wanted to vent about possible unquestionable practices and in the process got info about what some might call the seedy underbelly of cruise line marketing practices. If nothing else, this thread may serve as a PSA for others to learn from. 

OP many of us empathize with you and hope that you can get past it and enjoy your cruise. 

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So now it still offers the “free or reduced air” as a promo but when I put in the city it says no flights available from my city for that sailing. Time to call NCL back...

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I mean, NCL can decide that it won't include certain cities on certain dates. It's not like they are required to offer free air fare from every airport...

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33 minutes ago, DaCruiseBug said:

So now it still offers the “free or reduced air” as a promo but when I put in the city it says no flights available from my city for that sailing. Time to call NCL back...

Same issue with my December sailing.  I checked through quite a few options and didn't find any cities that were available.  My guess is that they are pulling the free air promo for some (or all) 2019 cruises and from a programming perspective, it may be easier to block the flight info than to adjust the promo offers on the web site.  My 2020 cruises still have the flight promo.

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23 minutes ago, smplybcause said:

I mean, NCL can decide that it won't include certain cities on certain dates. It's not like they are required to offer free air fare from every airport...

 

The free or reduced air promo is still available to that booking...but no city is available when you select it. Looked at all major cities and all say the same thing.

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33 minutes ago, DaCruiseBug said:

 

The free or reduced air promo is still available to that booking...but no city is available when you select it. Looked at all major cities and all say the same thing.

 

My bet is they've gotten rid of the promo for that sailing, but turning off availability is quicker to do than switching all the other pages to reflect that. 

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6 minutes ago, smplybcause said:

 

My bet is they've gotten rid of the promo for that sailing, but turning off availability is quicker to do than switching all the other pages to reflect that. 

 

So they’re misleading their customers by saying free or reduced airfare is a perk they get...

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8 minutes ago, DaCruiseBug said:

 

So they’re misleading their customers by saying free or reduced airfare is a perk they get...

 For Pete's sake - changes to websites cannot be made instantaneous. They show it as unavailable before you get to the point of payment. 

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3 minutes ago, smplybcause said:

 For Pete's sake - changes to websites cannot be made instantaneous. They show it as unavailable before you get to the point of payment. 

 

Don’t they have to make a change to the website to show that no flights are available? NCL has an IT Department...it doesn’t take but 15 minutes to change the promo on a specific sailing. For Pete’s sake...quit trying to justify the actions of a multi billion dollar corporation. This isn’t some mom and pop shop...jeez.

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3 minutes ago, DaCruiseBug said:

 

Don’t they have to make a change to the website to show that no flights are available? NCL has an IT Department...it doesn’t take but 15 minutes to change the promo on a specific sailing. For Pete’s sake...quit trying to justify the actions of a multi billion dollar corporation. This isn’t some mom and pop shop...jeez.

Read my earlier message.  Depending on their system it is most likely much easier to change the back-up data than it is to change all the affected web pages, especially since some cruises have different perks depending on the sail date.

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1 minute ago, DaCruiseBug said:

 

Don’t they have to make a change to the website to show that no flights are available? NCL has an IT Department...it doesn’t take but 15 minutes to change the promo on a specific sailing. For Pete’s sake...quit trying to justify the actions of a multi billion dollar corporation. This isn’t some mom and pop shop...jeez.

 

Exactly - it's non a mom and pop shop with a website that only has 10 lines of code. Do you work in IT? Depending on how they code the website some things are easier to switch on and off than others. When I contact IT at my company there's some things they can impact immediately and others that take time and some have to go through approval channels. I'm not justifying anything, I'm just aware how multi billion dollar corporations work since I work for one. 

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