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NCL-bait and switch?


billdadm
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21 minutes ago, All-ready2cruise said:

Wow, all these cruises, all the days on NCL and now I feel I've been missing something.  Happy Hour, when, where, what NCL ship(s).  

Not that it would have any impact on me anyway but I didn't realized NCL had a HH. 

 

I'm pretty sure happy hour on a cruise is from 6:00 am to 2:00 am the next day.

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8 hours ago, SpainAlien said:

I like the way it is sold in EU/UK, you pay 99€ per person for Free at Sea, that includes the gratuities, you clearly sea what you are paying and what you are getting

 

I know exactly what I am paying and getting when I book a free at sea in the US.  Why wouldn't I?

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31 minutes ago, ChiefMateJRK said:

I know exactly what I am paying and getting when I book a free at sea in the US.  Why wouldn't I?

The OP feels like he/she is being hood winked by the additional charge of grats on the beverage and dining packages

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40 minutes ago, SpainAlien said:

The OP feels like he/she is being hood winked by the additional charge of grats on the beverage and dining packages

I don't believe that the OP's opinions are shared by the masses.  Not referring to the OP, but we have a small minority here (ON an NCL forum) who seem to consistently present a case that NCL is some evil corporation trying to cheat them out of their money.  They complain about a five minute wait for a scenic gondola ride.  They complain about waiting a few minutes for a free scenic ride into town. They complain about....  Well, you get the picture.

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Not sure why everyone gets so hung up on the NCL drink package. For a 7 day cruise, it works out to about 3 drinks per day to break even, depending on your adult beverage of choice. Less than $40/day. For my upcoming RCC cruise at the end of this month, I'm getting charged $59/day.

 

When I'm on vacation I like the freedom to drink whatever I want, whenever I want. I tend to stick to cocktails as I'm too lazy to make them myself at home - who has time to keep fresh mixers and fruits and herbs and everything else? Not me. I get to try liquors I either don't have at home or have and don't know what to do with. I get to try something I normally wouldn't go for because if I don't like it - I don't have to finish it.

 

If you're a strictly bud light type of guy/gal, first off I need to introduce you to better beer. Secondly - stick to paying as you go. Or if you're mainly 1-2 glasses of wine with dinner and that's it - again, pay as you go. But if you like to dabble and experiment and not have to think about how much you're getting charged or whether you truly want that mimosa with breakfast, it's worth every penny.

 

As silly as it sounds, the thing that really irked me on my most recent cruise was the $3.95 activation fee for the "free internet". I'm more pissed off about a $4 charge for internet than I am about anything related to their drink package.

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9 minutes ago, Sailing12Away said:

Not sure why everyone gets so hung up on the NCL drink package.

 

Because it's marketed as "free", without making it clear that in this case, free means unencumbered - not 'without cost' 

 

And, if you even notice the fine print, you don't realize that it's 20% of what is probably the highest cost per-day drink package at sea

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Sinbadssailors said:

 

Because it's marketed as "free", without making it clear that in this case, free means unencumbered - not 'without cost' 

 

And, if you even notice the fine print, you don't realize that it's 20% of what is probably the highest cost per-day drink package at sea

 

 

 

 

It is marketed as free, which I agree they should reword, but it is not hidden.  The mock booking clearly gives the option to remove and you see the full price in the summary so you know what you are getting.

 

 

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On 9/11/2021 at 11:50 AM, billdadm said:

I am a platinum member of NCL and called to take advantage of the labor day sale. I was informed that I would get the "Cruise First" deal. Pay $250.00 and get the same in credit for a down payment. We did so on the 3rd. By the 9th our circumstances had changed. I called to cancel and get my $250.00 back. Nope," you now have a $500.00 credit to use by 2024. Not my idea of a good business practice.

  Also "Free at Sea" right. Drink package, hmn free except for a 7 day cruise it's $277.20 service charge for the drinks.

Don't know if I'll go with NCL again.

I mean no disrespect by my post.  You are a platinum member of NCL.  That is a lot of cruises.  How could you not understand how their drink package perk works.  This has been a common topic for years now.  Also, as a platinum member, only investing $250.00 to get $500.00 are you saying you are not going to cruise NCL again for the next few years.  

 

I understand you might be frustrated.  To leave a brand that you have cruised so much for this and right this post just seems, well, a little over the top.  I would be upset also but after the last two years, their are a whole lot more things I can really be upset about then this.  Just my two cents.

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4 hours ago, SpainAlien said:

The OP feels like he/she is being hood winked by the additional charge of grats on the beverage and dining packages

 

Not really. To be honest, the OP decided to cancel his booking and get his money back on the CruiseFirst. Once the OP realized that there is no refund on a CruiseFirst, instead of just accepting the consequences of the decision to cancel, the OP decided to "blame" NCL by accusing them of bait-and-switch.

 

 

2 hours ago, Sinbadssailors said:

 

Because it's marketed as "free", without making it clear that in this case, free means unencumbered - not 'without cost' 

 

And, if you even notice the fine print, you don't realize that it's 20% of what is probably the highest cost per-day drink package at sea

 

 

 

 

 

NCL does advertise the Drink Package

PBP.jpg.ec63c415a06ac08b3eb5d275a35ef165.jpg

 

The gratuity is mentioned TWICE and the first mention is not in "fine print".

 

When you buy a drink package, you are charged for: a) the cost of the drink package, and b) the cost of the gratuity. NCL advertises the drink package for free, the don't advertise the gratuities for free. They cover the cost of one, you cover the cost of the other.

 

Always remember, when someone complains about "fine print" they really mean "It was there, but I didn't bother to read it. (If I claim "fine print", then it isn't my fault, right?)"

 

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On 9/11/2021 at 9:50 AM, billdadm said:

I am a platinum member of NCL and called to take advantage of the labor day sale. I was informed that I would get the "Cruise First" deal. Pay $250.00 and get the same in credit for a down payment. We did so on the 3rd. By the 9th our circumstances had changed. I called to cancel and get my $250.00 back. Nope," you now have a $500.00 credit to use by 2024. Not my idea of a good business practice.

  Also "Free at Sea" right. Drink package, hmn free except for a 7 day cruise it's $277.20 service charge for the drinks.

Don't know if I'll go with NCL again.

You do know that you have the ability to opt out of the beverage package?? Just saying. 

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14 hours ago, SpainAlien said:

If you are booking through EU you pay 99€ for Free at Sea, this includes your gratuities for the beverage and dining packages. In US the grats are extra

 

We do well on that but not on the deposit, when we cancel our deposit is lost so the OP would not have got their $250 back nor the $500 FCC it would have been all lost in Europe.

NCL giveth and NCL taketh away!

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6 hours ago, Sinbadssailors said:

 

Because it's marketed as "free", without making it clear that in this case, free means unencumbered - not 'without cost' 

 

And, if you even notice the fine print, you don't realize that it's 20% of what is probably the highest cost per-day drink package at sea

When you get your price before booking, it is clearly listed as a free at sea gratuity fee before you hand over any money. You know the cost at the time of agreeing to it and before giving them any money for your trip.


Whereas with the "free" internet, you only see the $3.95 charge at the time you go and try to actually use the internet. That's more bait & switch than the drink package gratuities IMO, but since it's only $4 I guess they're able to get away with it without folks getting their knickers in a twist. 

IMG_20210903_082104.jpg

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2 hours ago, Sailing12Away said:

When you get your price before booking, it is clearly listed as a free at sea gratuity fee before you hand over any money. You know the cost at the time of agreeing to it and before giving them any money for your trip.


Whereas with the "free" internet, you only see the $3.95 charge at the time you go and try to actually use the internet. That's more bait & switch than the drink package gratuities IMO, but since it's only $4 I guess they're able to get away with it without folks getting their knickers in a twist. 

IMG_20210903_082104.jpg

 

Not sure what you are referencing, but this is not the Free @ Sea wifi offer.

 

From the Free @ Sea terms and conditions:

int.jpg.99f0e9c167d752866fbec7f3b213c1a5.jpg

 

 

I have NEVER been charged an activation fee for either the Free @ Sea wifi OR for the internet minutes you get from being Platinum or above.

 

 

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23 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Here you go: one week/balcony Oceania Marina (Venice to Rome) $2400/person w/o air. But you still get unlimited internet, no charge beverages or specialty restaurants, et al. (and far better food and service than NCL). The right TA will add your gratuities and share  commissions, which on this cruise might put $250-500 in your pocket.

https://www.oceaniacruises.com/mediterranean-cruises/venice-to-rome-MNA220414/?sr=%2Fcruise-finder%2F%23duration%3D*-7%26sort%3Dfeatured%3Adesc%26page%3D1%26pageSize%3D10

 

BTW: Caribbean would be even less expensive.

@Flatbush FlyerThanks for the info.  You can get a huge suite, much nicer than standard Haven, for approx. $5000.00 each, that is a GREAT DEAL.  With Airfare, 6 bottle stocked bar with soft drinks and waters, FREE drinks or excursions and many others perks... Regular Balcony in the $2500 -3500, on a Luxury Ship! WOW!

 

Have thought of O;  But we maybe a tad young for the crowd (40's).  We like a nice Gym with Spa and a Promenade, so a larger ship (NOT MEGA) fits us well.  We do like Celebrity also, but they do not have as many European itineraries. 

 

Checked at Site:  Is Riviera or Nautica the better Ship?  Why is Marina not as highly rated??

 

Any insight much appreciated.

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4 hours ago, Gen X Life said:

 

 

Checked at Site:  Is Riviera or Nautica the better Ship?  Why is Marina not as highly rated??

 

Any insight much appreciated.

In my opinion the Riviera and Marina (O)are really beautiful ships.

Nautica/Regatta/Sirena/Insignia (R) are smaller and older. That said I do have two booked on an R ship as the size (also) means they can go to fantastic places.

Have you checked out the Vista? Out of this world but do hurry booking starts 15th September.

Rosalyn

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6 hours ago, SeaShark said:

 

Not sure what you are referencing, but this is not the Free @ Sea wifi offer.

 

From the Free @ Sea terms and conditions:

int.jpg.99f0e9c167d752866fbec7f3b213c1a5.jpg

 

 

I have NEVER been charged an activation fee for either the Free @ Sea wifi OR for the internet minutes you get from being Platinum or above.

 

 

I assure you, this was the free at sea wifi offer as that was the only thing I had. Hence why it says $0.00 charge and 250 minutes remaining, and why I took a photo of my laptop when I saw that comment about the $3.95 activation fee.

 

My bill had been so messed up the entire trip and I was already on my 3rd visit to the Haven concierge to fix the other (more expensive) mix-ups that I didn't bother when I got that message on the last sea day to go back again over a measly $4. It's the principle, not the amount that got me.

 

Both my Icy Straight Point and Ketchikan excursions had been cancelled and rebooked (by NCL). But when they rebooked them for me, they billed me at the higher rate without the Lattitudes or shore excursion discounts applied. So instead of walking onto the ship with a negative balance from my OBC, we owed them another several hundred dollars on day 1. Plus, I still haven't seen the refund from those cancelled excursions - so they double billed me and now I have to keep watching my credit card for the refund in the next ~2 billing cycles. If we were talking about $150, no big deal. But to be double billed twice (and at the higher, wrong price for one of them) for the $725 Ketchikan Hummer tour - that hurts your wallet when you're not expecting it.

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8 hours ago, Gen X Life said:

@Flatbush FlyerThanks for the info.  You can get a huge suite, much nicer than standard Haven, for approx. $5000.00 each, that is a GREAT DEAL.  With Airfare, 6 bottle stocked bar with soft drinks and waters, FREE drinks or excursions and many others perks... Regular Balcony in the $2500 -3500, on a Luxury Ship! WOW!

 

Have thought of O;  But we maybe a tad young for the crowd (40's).  We like a nice Gym with Spa and a Promenade, so a larger ship (NOT MEGA) fits us well.  We do like Celebrity also, but they do not have as many European itineraries. 

 

Checked at Site:  Is Riviera or Nautica the better Ship?  Why is Marina not as highly rated??

 

Any insight much appreciated.

I have been on Oceania and recently on Crystal. It seems, yes there are some fantastic situations out there.  I learned something which was interesting.  It was a very different cruising experience.  Somethings were much better.  Other things were boring.  Yet the truth was that on Oceania which is a Premium Plus and Crystal which is a luxury the fare was much more all-inclusive and actually lower then the Haven. 

 

When I compared the experience to Haven Trips and my personal likes and dislikes this was my assessment.  I like the bigger ships better.  Even though when you leave the Haven the service and food is not quite as good.  What is much better is the shows, music and excitement.  With Oceania and Crystal, the entire ship is the Haven.  Everyone gets treated the same.  But you miss the action and yes the crowds tend to be older and I am 64.  

 

If you want a mix of quiet, classy and reserved experience.  Go on Oceania and Crystal, it is a great experience.  If you want a Blended experience of quiet, classy, lively and entertaining experience.  Go in a Haven on one of NCL's larger ships.  Money is an issue but both have their pros and cons.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Gen X Life said:

@Flatbush FlyerThanks for the info.  You can get a huge suite, much nicer than standard Haven, for approx. $5000.00 each, that is a GREAT DEAL.  With Airfare, 6 bottle stocked bar with soft drinks and waters, FREE drinks or excursions and many others perks... Regular Balcony in the $2500 -3500, on a Luxury Ship! WOW!

 

Have thought of O;  But we maybe a tad young for the crowd (40's).  We like a nice Gym with Spa and a Promenade, so a larger ship (NOT MEGA) fits us well.  We do like Celebrity also, but they do not have as many European itineraries. 

 

Checked at Site:  Is Riviera or Nautica the better Ship?  Why is Marina not as highly rated??

 

Any insight much appreciated.

Unclear about your post regarding which ship’s suite. But it doesn’t matter. There’s no comparing NCL to its cousins Oceania or Regent. My earlier post about the O cabin prices (as well as the “net daily rate” math) was to clearly demonstrate that the value/quality quotient on O is far better than what many mAs market cruisers may realize.

Ratings? Marina is the twin of Riviera - both were custom built for O and carry <1200 passengers. Nautica is one of four R (Regatta class) ships - all subject to the recent Oceania NEXT total makeover. BTW, one of the Rs (Sirena) was formerly the Ocean Princess. Purchased from Princess about 5 years ago, it took O $40 million in refurbishment to bring it up to O standards.

Regarding demographics: O is famous for long itineraries (5-8 weeks) and on them you’ll find mostly retired folks. But, the short cruises of 10-18 days are extremely popular with University alumni clubs and younger professional where you’ll find many in your age bracket. On summer Med/Alaska cruises, you’ll even find some families with kids.

Edited by Flatbush Flyer
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13 minutes ago, Sthrngary said:

I have been on Oceania and recently on Crystal. It seems, yes there are some fantastic situations out there.  I learned something which was interesting.  It was a very different cruising experience.  Somethings were much better.  Other things were boring.  Yet the truth was that on Oceania which is a Premium Plus and Crystal which is a luxury the fare was much more all-inclusive and actually lower then the Haven. 

 

When I compared the experience to Haven Trips and my personal likes and dislikes this was my assessment.  I like the bigger ships better.  Even though when you leave the Haven the service and food is not quite as good.  What is much better is the shows, music and excitement.  With Oceania and Crystal, the entire ship is the Haven.  Everyone gets treated the same.  But you miss the action and yes the crowds tend to be older and I am 64.  

 

If you want a mix of quiet, classy and reserved experience.  Go on Oceania and Crystal, it is a great experience.  If you want a Blended experience of quiet, classy, lively and entertaining experience.  Go in a Haven on one of NCL's larger ships.  Money is an issue but both have their pros and cons.

 

 

FWIW: Since the formation of NCLH several years ago, Oceania and Regent use the same talent agency as NCL. Of course, the size of the ships (and their show rooms) limit the nature/size of productions. But, other than the size issue for attempts at “the big show”, it’s all the same small acts across three brands.
 

But, I think many O regulars will agree: if you want a “production” show, just book a cruise with NYC at either end and see the real things on Broadway during a several day land stay.

 

When FDR started Oceania, he had a very specific niche market in mind and the formula still works today.  

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12 hours ago, Sailing12Away said:

When you get your price before booking, it is clearly listed as a free at sea gratuity fee before you hand over any money. You know the cost at the time of agreeing to it and before giving them any money for your trip.


Whereas with the "free" internet, you only see the $3.95 charge at the time you go and try to actually use the internet. That's more bait & switch than the drink package gratuities IMO, but since it's only $4 I guess they're able to get away with it without folks getting their knickers in a twist. 

IMG_20210903_082104.jpg

I can clearly see the activation fee of $3.95 in your screen shot.  1 time fee.  

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24 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

FWIW: Since the formation of NCLH several years ago, Oceania and Regent use the same talent agency as NCL. Of course, the size of the ships (and their show rooms) limit the nature/size of productions. But, other than the size issue for attempts at “the big show”, it’s all the same small acts across three brands.
 

But, I think many O regulars will agree: if you want a “production” show, just book a cruise with NYC at either end and see the real things on Broadway during a several day land stay.

 

When FDR started Oceania, he had a very specific niche market in mind and the formula still works today.  

I think the turn this topic is taking is a good one.  Thanks for the information.  My point is, there is a difference between Mainstream (even in the Haven), Ultra Premium Oceania and Luxury Crystal or Regents.  A guest chooses the experience they want and they can achieve it.  Were many guest say one way is the only way to go.  I say, depends on your vacation objectives because they are all fantastic for different reasons.

  

My resent Crystal Cruises experience taught me about Luxury Cruising.  It was fantastic yet more different then I expected.  It actually gave me a new appreciation for the NCL Haven Experience.  Just nice to have choices and be at a time in my life where occasionally I can pamper my family.  That is the best part of it all.  The Memories regardless of Brand, Itinerary and Cabin. 

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1 minute ago, PTC DAWG said:

I can clearly see the activation fee of $3.95 in your screen shot.  1 time fee.  

Which is what they were pointing out - that the "free" internet has a $4 activation fee, which you don't know until you set it up, which is what the screenshot is.

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Thanks, OK the Venetian one definitely looks like a good deal (except for the fact that we've already got a Japan cruise booked for the same time period, and that the cheapest cabins on Oceania are already on a waitlist, and that 3 of the ports were on the same itinerary we just sailed two weeks ago). Nonetheless, I see your point, and I appreciate that there are some Oceania cruises that would fit our budget. What we've seen in the past is that cruises on Oceania that we've shown an interest in, have been vastly more expensive than the mainstream cruise lines. It's true that, as in the example you gave (and I also looked at some Caribbean itineraries for 2022), there are good deals to be had with them, but the challenge is finding something that isn't just a repeat of cruises we've already done. That being said, we will certainly consider Oceania in the future. They send us at least 2-3 brochures a WEEK, and I often joke to my wife that they could reduce their prices if they stopped printing and sending full-color brochures all the time! We have a stack of them that's about 1 foot high, and I'm not exaggerating. My dad did a British Isles cruise with Oceania a few years ago and really liked it, however unlike me, he's retired and well-off, so it's not a fair comparison. My wife started a new job a few months ago after an extended period of unemployment, and she gets no benefits, and we have lots of expenses so we have to be careful not to overextend ourselves. We tend to budget and plan our vacations pretty carefully. One year we might decide to splurge and do just 1 pricey cruise, and Oceania may well be it. However, that won't be in 2022, our vacation schedule is already full. But one day!

 

PS this message was in reply to @Flatbush Flyer, it took me more than an hour to post it because CC kept crashing on me, then my computer crashed on me and I had to restart, then I had a doctor's appointment, and then CC still was acting up. I hope my reply gets posted THIS TIME. FFS....

 

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