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Not Happy with Liquor Up Charges

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You know, there is a lot of uproar on this topic.  If everyone who feels strongly about this wrote NCL a customer service email complaining, contacted them thru social media, or both, perhaps that would grab their attention a bit more than grousing to other like-minded folks....

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26 minutes ago, vicnsue said:

Correct, but also keep in mind NCL buys liquor by the pallet, and I would suspect in a country that has a lower tax rate then the US. 

 

Lots and lots of unsupported assumptions in this thread. (Nothing new for Cruise Critic, amiright?)

 

Maybe they do purchase on a pallet basis, and maybe they don't. Maybe that gives them a discount, and maybe it doesn't. Maybe it is a large discount, and maybe it isn't. We have no verifiable facts, only conjecture. 

 

Are we also to believe that they buy liquor in a country because of a lower tax rate (that would be sales tax which most places don't charge when you are buying stuff for resale, btw) and then they are shipping (importing) that liquor to the US to be transported to the port and loaded on the Cruise Ships each week? Are they also paying for warehouse space to store all of this liquor? And they do this just to have a lower tax rate?

 

Even pretzels aren't this twisted.

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2 minutes ago, erdoran said:

You know, there is a lot of uproar on this topic.  If everyone who feels strongly about this wrote NCL a customer service email complaining, contacted them thru social media, or both, perhaps that would grab their attention a bit more than grousing to other like-minded folks....

This a good start. I had a respectful, 15 minute conversation with their resolutions desk. My sense is they are receiving negative feedback about it. Obviously, the resolutions desk isn't making the policy. The logical next step is to take your business elsewhere.

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Just now, blcruising said:

This a good start. I had a respectful, 15 minute conversation with their resolutions desk. My sense is they are receiving negative feedback about it. Obviously, the resolutions desk isn't making the policy. The logical next step is to take your business elsewhere.

Unfortunately, this paired with higher prices, less for your money, less included, and the obvious disregard for customer satisfaction does make you think...time to check out RCL or MSC?? Next week will be my 5th NCL and 18th cruise overall. I'm only 32 so I have A LOT of cruising years left. And I tend to bring new cruisers with me every time; friends, family, my now spouse, etc. I LOVED NCL at first because it was a wonderful experience at a great value. Now I'm disappointed with their service, so this will probably be my last. It's really too bad that they are trying to skimp as much as possible. 

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6 hours ago, SNJCruisers said:

Vibe passes went from 99 to 129......Prohibition Show went from 19.95 to 29.95 (plus 20%)

I've got no skin in this game, as I won't take the UBP as a perk (took it when the service charge/gratuity was free to suite passengers , because even at the old price, I don't drink enough to make the service charge/gratuity economical sense for me.  Nor do I purchase enough alcohol for the recent price increase to have any affect on my cruising.

 

With all these add ons, including the beverage package, dining package, etc., as long as people are willing to purchase them (or taking them as a perk and paying the service charge/gratuity), the prices will continue to go up until they go past that sweet spot and then they will bring it back down to that sweet spot, where both the consumer and company are satisfied.  Have they gone over that sweet spot with this change, I guess we will have to wait and see.

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8 minutes ago, erdoran said:

You know, there is a lot of uproar on this topic.  If everyone who feels strongly about this wrote NCL a customer service email complaining, contacted them thru social media, or both, perhaps that would grab their attention a bit more than grousing to other like-minded folks....

 

Or better yet - do as we did.

 

Cancel a previously booked sailing and explain at time of cancellation the reason for your dissatisfaction.

 

Vote with your wallet, not your keyboard!

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6 minutes ago, SeaShark said:

 

Lots and lots of unsupported assumptions in this thread. (Nothing new for Cruise Critic, amiright?)

 

Maybe they do purchase on a pallet basis, and maybe they don't. Maybe that gives them a discount, and maybe it doesn't. Maybe it is a large discount, and maybe it isn't. We have no verifiable facts, only conjecture. 

 

Are we also to believe that they buy liquor in a country because of a lower tax rate (that would be sales tax which most places don't charge when you are buying stuff for resale, btw) and then they are shipping (importing) that liquor to the US to be transported to the port and loaded on the Cruise Ships each week? Are they also paying for warehouse space to store all of this liquor? And they do this just to have a lower tax rate?

 

Even pretzels aren't this twisted.

Right, I generally approach it in a simpler way. I just do a relatively quick comparison to their competition , whose operations and logistics are not terribly dissimilar. In a message board setting such as this, I don't think you will find a high amount of critical analysis such as the detailed one presented above. Most people take a quick look at the stated cost and either decide to accept or reject it.

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11 minutes ago, blcruising said:

 

 

Under your theory, there would have  been an across the board price increase. This was a selective, deliberate, and targeted effort to exempt previously included liquors from the base liquor package so that consumers would have to pay more for their already non- free perk. If you don't buy a beverage  package, you basically can't even afford to pay as  you go anymore. It's called a money grab by a greedy corporation. 

 

To address your specific cost analysis, the $10 price point for wine at the land based store is intended to cover the cost of inventory, among other things such as store labor, rent, utilities, etc. so it was a totally fair and even comparison

 

Many specific spirits have seen price increases at 30-40%. The best is the US produced Tito's at 14.95, and a previously under $15 glass of wine to $21.95. many fair-thinking people call this what it is....price gouging and consumer rip off to the highest degree. I choose not to support companies that gouge and rip off their customers. I could financially afford to pay these prices, but it is a matter of principal for me. I get more benefit from donating  $100 to a local charity than paying $100 for four glasses of liquor on a cruise. My body will thank me for it, too.

 

Not my cost analysis...the numbers came from the person I quoted, not from me.

 

Yes, $10 covers the store labor, rent, utilities, etc, but you still can't compare the costs required to run a land-based liquor store with the costs required to build, run, and maintain a billion-dollar cruise ship (much less a fleet of them). No way this is a totally fair and even comparison. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, mwolever said:

Unfortunately, this paired with higher prices, less for your money, less included, and the obvious disregard for customer satisfaction does make you think...time to check out RCL or MSC?? Next week will be my 5th NCL and 18th cruise overall. I'm only 32 so I have A LOT of cruising years left. And I tend to bring new cruisers with me every time; friends, family, my now spouse, etc. I LOVED NCL at first because it was a wonderful experience at a great value. Now I'm disappointed with their service, so this will probably be my last. It's really too bad that they are trying to skimp as much as possible. 

Yep, me too. I have achieved platinum status, spent two months on NCL ships over the past two years. Enjoy the product, but don't like to be ripped off. Just completedy first NCL cruise of 2019. It was the first time I did not purchase a cruise next certificate. I am tempted to try MSC. Have heard good and bad, but the status match is intriguing.

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10 minutes ago, SeaShark said:

 

Lots and lots of unsupported assumptions in this thread. (Nothing new for Cruise Critic, amiright?)

 

Maybe they do purchase on a pallet basis, and maybe they don't. Maybe that gives them a discount, and maybe it doesn't. Maybe it is a large discount, and maybe it isn't. We have no verifiable facts, only conjecture. 

 

Are we also to believe that they buy liquor in a country because of a lower tax rate (that would be sales tax which most places don't charge when you are buying stuff for resale, btw) and then they are shipping (importing) that liquor to the US to be transported to the port and loaded on the Cruise Ships each week? Are they also paying for warehouse space to store all of this liquor? And they do this just to have a lower tax rate?

 

Even pretzels aren't this twisted.

So true about assumptions, and of course I don’t know how the supply chain of the cruise industry works. My assumption on the tax issue was the US’s high liquor tax not the sales tax. 

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2 minutes ago, SeaShark said:

 

Not my cost analysis...the numbers came from the person I quoted, not from me.

 

Yes, $10 covers the store labor, rent, utilities, etc, but you still can't compare the costs required to run a land-based liquor store with the costs required to build, run, and maintain a billion-dollar cruise ship (much less a fleet of them). No way this is a totally fair and even comparison. 

 

 

Ok. My bad. Sorry for the misquote.

 

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2 minutes ago, blcruising said:

Yep, me too. I have achieved platinum status, spent two months on NCL ships over the past two years. Enjoy the product, but don't like to be ripped off. Just completed my first NCL cruise of 2019. It was the first time I did not purchase a cruise next certificate. I am tempted to try MSC. Have heard good and bad, but the status match is intriguing. Plus virgin voyages coming online soon. Competition is generally a good thing for consumers.

 

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1 minute ago, vicnsue said:

So true about assumptions, and of course I don’t know how the supply chain of the cruise industry works. My assumption on the tax issue was the US’s high liquor tax not the sales tax. 

 

Yeah, but once NCL would import that liquor into the US to load it on their ships, they would have to pay that tax.

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40 minutes ago, erdoran said:

You know, there is a lot of uproar on this topic.  If everyone who feels strongly about this wrote NCL a customer service email complaining, contacted them thru social media, or both, perhaps that would grab their attention a bit more than grousing to other like-minded folks....

 

I'm having trouble finding the customer service email for NCL.  Is there anyway you can share that address?

 

 

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2 minutes ago, SeaShark said:

 

Yeah, but once NCL would import that liquor into the US to load it on their ships, they would have to pay that tax.

 

3 minutes ago, SeaShark said:

 

Yeah, but once NCL would import that liquor into the US to load it on their ships, they would have to pay that tax.

Correct again! Bottom line for us, our TA in April is are last NCL cruise.

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32 minutes ago, mwolever said:

Unfortunately, this paired with higher prices, less for your money, less included, and the obvious disregard for customer satisfaction does make you think...time to check out RCL or MSC?? Next week will be my 5th NCL and 18th cruise overall. I'm only 32 so I have A LOT of cruising years left. And I tend to bring new cruisers with me every time; friends, family, my now spouse, etc. I LOVED NCL at first because it was a wonderful experience at a great value. Now I'm disappointed with their service, so this will probably be my last. It's really too bad that they are trying to skimp as much as possible. 

 

 

I totally feel the same way!  I used to talk NCL up to all my friends and family, saying what a great value it was for a vacation.  NCL is defintely going to lose my business with these changes they are making. 

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6 minutes ago, ksmcdonald said:

 

I'm having trouble finding the customer service email for NCL.  Is there anyway you can share that address?

 

 

https://www.ncl.com/about/contact-us

Here's the contact us page.  I think the OP in a different thread who started a big discussion had sent a snail mail letter.

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8 minutes ago, ksmcdonald said:

 

 

I totally feel the same way!  I used to talk NCL up to all my friends and family, saying what a great value it was for a vacation.  NCL is defintely going to lose my business with these changes they are making. 

 

I was a very loyal NCL customer.  Hubby LOVES the Haven product!  "he who hates to travel" actually asked me to book us a Haven cruise last year, which was WONDERFUL, and we have another one booked in late April.  Never felt the need to look elsewhere - this is pricey, but we rummage for the still-to-be-found deals on Haven sailings, given that we are flexible with dates & itineraries.

 

Having said that, the talk about MSC's Yacht Club product and my own angst about what I perceive as "bait and switch" motivated me to get off my ever-growing rear and check out MSC, and it is definitely worth a looksee to me.  Their website is really difficult to navigate, but with the help of the folks on the MSC board I'm at least figuring out which ships I might be interested in, and will explore/price from there.  I'll reserve judgment until I see how this plays out.  

 

We have been very happy with our NCL experience overall and would really like to think that this is just "normal" price increases- but here's another dilemna.  We were considering maybe sharing a GV with other family members but - the price of the drink pkg is totally prohibitive for everyone other than the first two, and as has been pointed out on this thread, the price of individual drinks is also really high and getting higher.  And - if we share a GV, who gets the UBP perk (DH drinks enough that we NEED it) and who doesn't?  

 

I do NOT like being treated as if I am stupid.  I have no objection to paying for value received, or paying the "going price" for something I want to buy.  I do have a problem with a business becoming overconfident about customer loyalty and "rewarding" their most loyal customers by gouging, or by taking advantage of newbies who don't know what's legit and reasonable. 

 

The other thing that caused me concern is in the first thread (sorry, I don't have the link) where OP talked about a letter to NCL customer service, she talked about charging tax on drinks.  OK, I get it that while in territorial waters we are subject to tax BUT - she stated that tax was being charged FOR A FEW HOURS WHILE IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS.!  How did she know?  Because the casino and duty-free shops were open - yet she was being charged tax on drinks.  It's trivial $ and utterly petty, but if true, it's dishonest and shows an inappropriately-greedy mindset.  Nothing wrong with making a legit profit; I don't think it's fair to charge us tax on drinks but if NCL gets charged, I suppose that's legit - but if NCL surcharges "tax" and then KEEPS the $$, that is dishonest.  Can't quite believe they can do that, though - I'd assume the charge of "tax" flows to the "pay tax to the jurisdiction" acct, but who knows...

Edited by erdoran

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OK NCL, in the past 4 cruises we've taken with you, here are just a few of the cutbacks/increases that were noticed by us (I'm sure there are more that didn't effect me like Vibe passes etc.  These are just the ones we've experienced.)

 

* No more lobster in the main dining room.  This was some years ago but I still miss that when cruising.

 

* Because of that I would treat myself and splurge for the specialty dining to get my lobster at Cagney's.  I can live with that.  Next  NCL cruise, guess what,  no more lobster in Cagney's.

 

* My husband always got the  Tomahawk steak at Cagney's.  Next cruise we take, they've taken that off the menu.  

 

*Next cruise we had to settle for rib eye.  Next cruise we take on the Breakaway, no rib eyes at Cagney's!  They've taken it off the menu!  Really, a steakhouse with no rib eye?  

 

* At some point, they started charging an up charge at certain specialty restaurants.  Really?  I was just getting used to paying extra for any food!  If you want better quality food than the MDR, then pay for a specialty restaurant, if you want better food than the specialty restaurant, then pay an up charge of $15 and you can eat at a more expensive specialty restaurant.  So now it cost an specialty dining credit plus extra up charge to get my lobster at Ocean Blue.

 

*Now I have to pay an outrageous price for my Grey Goose and soda when I cruise in March?  Even though I have the UBP?  Unless I want to fork over another $29 a day to get my Grey Goose included in my drink package?

 

If I wasn't past my final payment I would definitely cancel this cruise.  I've had enough of this price gouging.  I feel bad now because I've always been NCL's biggest cheerleader.  I've always told people, you can't beat their price when you add in the beverage  package etc.  Just booked a Carnival 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal for this May.  Even purchasing their Cheers drink package, (which, by the way, includes everything, water, specialty coffees, spiked milkshakes, juices and Gatorade, Red Bull etc.) it is still less money than NCL's 14 day Panama with their so call-ed FREE DRINK package.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, erdoran said:

 

 

 

We have been very happy with our NCL experience overall and would really like to think that this is just "normal" price increases- but here's another dilemna.  We were considering maybe sharing a GV with other family members but - the price of the drink pkg is totally prohibitive for everyone other than the first two, and as has been pointed out on this thread, the price of individual drinks is also really high and getting higher.  And - if we share a GV, who gets the UBP perk (DH drinks enough that we NEED it) and who doesn't?  

 

 

Good point!

 

I never thought about the 3rd and 4th person in a room!  NCL's argument is that if you don't like the individual drink prices, pick the FREE UBP perk, which 90% of people do.  But what about the 3rd and 4th person in a cabin that has to pay for each individual drink or pay $128 a day for the overpriced package?  They've basically just out priced anyone that doesn't qualify for the FREE perks.  There say 3rd and 4th is sometimes a perk to sail FREE, but then they rip you off on the drink package!  

 

GRRR!  The more I think about this the madder I get!

 

 

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24 minutes ago, erdoran said:

 

 

I do NOT like being treated as if I am stupid.  I have no objection to paying for value received, or paying the "going price" for something I want to buy.  I do have a problem with a business becoming overconfident about customer loyalty and "rewarding" their most loyal customers by gouging, or by taking advantage of newbies who don't know what's legit and reasonable. 

 

 

^^^^^^ This is exactly it. Apparently they believe people are both rich and stupid. They will indeed try to spin all of this like its some great deal. I also feel any advantage or deal I would get by choosing NCL is all but gone..... Nickel and dimed all the way out the door .....

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Let's say, I want the Grand Marnier,  can't I just pay the difference from the $15 credit on the Ultimate Package to their cost of the Grand Marnier?

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1 minute ago, zuzka61 said:

Let's say, I want the Grand Marnier,  can't I just pay the difference from the $15 credit on the Ultimate Package to their cost of the Grand Marnier?

 

Yes just the difference plus 20% grats. 

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2 hours ago, erdoran said:

 

I was a very loyal NCL customer.  Hubby LOVES the Haven product!  "he who hates to travel" actually asked me to book us a Haven cruise last year, which was WONDERFUL, and we have another one booked in late April.  Never felt the need to look elsewhere - this is pricey, but we rummage for the still-to-be-found deals on Haven sailings, given that we are flexible with dates & itineraries.

 

Having said that, the talk about MSC's Yacht Club product and my own angst about what I perceive as "bait and switch" motivated me to get off my ever-growing rear and check out MSC, and it is definitely worth a looksee to me.  Their website is really difficult to navigate, but with the help of the folks on the MSC board I'm at least figuring out which ships I might be interested in, and will explore/price from there.  I'll reserve judgment until I see how this plays out.  

 

We have been very happy with our NCL experience overall and would really like to think that this is just "normal" price increases- but here's another dilemna.  We were considering maybe sharing a GV with other family members but - the price of the drink pkg is totally prohibitive for everyone other than the first two, and as has been pointed out on this thread, the price of individual drinks is also really high and getting higher.  And - if we share a GV, who gets the UBP perk (DH drinks enough that we NEED it) and who doesn't?  

 

I do NOT like being treated as if I am stupid.  I have no objection to paying for value received, or paying the "going price" for something I want to buy.  I do have a problem with a business becoming overconfident about customer loyalty and "rewarding" their most loyal customers by gouging, or by taking advantage of newbies who don't know what's legit and reasonable. 

 

The other thing that caused me concern is in the first thread (sorry, I don't have the link) where OP talked about a letter to NCL customer service, she talked about charging tax on drinks.  OK, I get it that while in territorial waters we are subject to tax BUT - she stated that tax was being charged FOR A FEW HOURS WHILE IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS.!  How did she know?  Because the casino and duty-free shops were open - yet she was being charged tax on drinks.  It's trivial $ and utterly petty, but if true, it's dishonest and shows an inappropriately-greedy mindset.  Nothing wrong with making a legit profit; I don't think it's fair to charge us tax on drinks but if NCL gets charged, I suppose that's legit - but if NCL surcharges "tax" and then KEEPS the $$, that is dishonest.  Can't quite believe they can do that, though - I'd assume the charge of "tax" flows to the "pay tax to the jurisdiction" acct, but who knows...

MSC just revamped their whole Drink pkg as well and really upped the pricing 🙈

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3 minutes ago, LaCal said:

MSC just revamped their whole Drink pkg as well and really upped the pricing 🙈

From my reading, Yacht Club automatically gets the highest end drink package included at no additional charge.  Is that correct?  I'm not addressing the "retail" purchase of drink pkgs, just considering what I would do.

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