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iggyc

Why do we want it both ways

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Cracks me up that there are posts about what a great deal a cruise was booked for and then there are posts about declining food and services.  Typical of us to want everything at the lowest price possible but at the highest level of quality. Let’s face it we can’t have it both ways. I have travelled the world and have learned that focusing on the positive and ignoring the few negatives is the best way to go. Enjoy the journey and be thankful that you are one of the few In This world that can afford to travel

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Cool story! I disagree with your assessment.

 

Generally speaking, fares, fees and service charges have been steadily on the rise while services have been removed or significantly reduced. With NCL, the examples are too numerous to mention and are well known and understood by anyone regularly cruising the line.

 

There are always deals to be had, sure, but mostly it has been prices UP, services DOWN across the industry.

Edited by Outerdog

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8 minutes ago, iggyc said:

Cracks me up that there are posts about what a great deal a cruise was booked for and then there are posts about declining food and services.  Typical of us to want everything at the lowest price possible but at the highest level of quality. Let’s face it we can’t have it both ways. I have travelled the world and have learned that focusing on the positive and ignoring the few negatives is the best way to go. Enjoy the journey and be thankful that you are one of the few In This world that can afford to travel

 

I have found that most people that talk about how cheap they booked a cruise do not add in all the costs such as port fees, taxes, drink package gratuities, etc.  I have also found they are the first to complain.  If I can find an inside cabin for two with the drink package gratuities, port charges and taxes for less than $225 a day then I grab it.  I have seen such bad reviews about things then I will go on the exact same ship and have no complaints.  We think we are very lucky to be able to cruise at least 3 weeks a year.  Between this week and next December we have 9 weeks of cruising booked! I am very thankful that we can do this and I find very little to complain about.

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What deals are to be had? The only deals I see are the weekend or short booze cruise options going to the Bahamas. And even then unless you can get really cheap flights to Florida or live near the port it no longer becomes a deal. 

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2 hours ago, Outerdog said:

Generally speaking, fares, fees and service charges have been steadily on the rise while services have been removed or significantly reduced.

 

Statistics disagree with your assessment that fares have been steadily on the rise. Here is a chart from carnival from 2002 (for example). I don't know if I am allowed to share the site but if you google cruise prices have fallen over the years, you will find it.

 

I do recall prices much higher in the 90's when I first was cruising

carnival.JPG

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44 minutes ago, hftmrock said:

Statistics disagree with your assessment that fares have been steadily on the rise. Here is a chart from carnival from 2002 (for example). I don't know if I am allowed to share the site but if you google cruise prices have fallen over the years, you will find it.

 

I do recall prices much higher in the 90's when I first was cruising

 

 

You should actually read the page where you ripped off that graph.

 

https://www.cruzely.com/cruise-prices-have-fallen-for-years-heres-how-much/

 

The chart you cited shows "Revenue per guest" and it even says right above it that "...this isn't the price of cruise fare".   Then right below the chart it says, "...at some point however, the rising number of passengers will likely lead to rising prices, if it hasn’t started already." 

 

Ignoring that Cruzly blog-type site, it may be more interesting to read NCLH 2018 Annual Report, which shows record revenues for 2018 of $6.1 Billion USD. Or Carnival Corporation's 2018 Annual Report, which shows revenues at $18.8 Billion USD up from $15 Billion in 2014. Carnival goes on to report that "Cruise passenger ticket revenues made up 74% of our 2018 total revenues. Cruise passenger ticket revenues increased by $986 million, or 7.6%, to $13.9 billion in 2018 from $12.9 billion in 2017."

 

It should be noted that Carnival Cooperation also reported Net Income of $3.0 Billion in 2018 up from $1.5 Billion in 2014.

 

I stand by my assessment that generally speaking, cruise prices, fees, and services charges have increased while services provided have been eliminated or reduced (I'm not going to cite those). If the financial reports don't do it for you, this forum is full of anecdotal evidence of both price increases and dropped services. 

Edited by Outerdog

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I think we all want to get the best value for our money.  You are right, however, that sometimes we need to recognize that a cheaper price means a cheaper product. 

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1 hour ago, Gershep said:

When I pay for something even if it's a good deal I still expect food and service to be good.

You get what you pay for. 
 

With NCL, you’re not booking a luxury cruise. You’re booking a lower-middle of the road cruise. You get a lower crew to passenger ratio. 
 

We’ve cruised where we had a dedicated table in the dining room assigned to use for the duration of the cruise. Cruises where you are presented with the dinner menu at breakfast and if you find the options not to your linking, you can order anything available on the ship to be prepared for you. Cruises where the restaurant maitre d will come and prepare your main course table side at your request. Where your room steward watches for you to leave your room and has it made up or turned down within 10 minutes of your departure.  Where the crew to passenger ratio is very high. But that will cost you a lot more than NCL. 

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Agree with the OP, the cost of cruising has not increased with inflation, and when you factor in inflation, has actually gone down.  Compare the cost of a cruise now with one 20-30 years ago.  Compare the experience with the so called hey day of cruising that gave a much more luxury experience.  The luxury experience continues to diminish because the majority of passengers don’t want it ie. evening ball downs, tuxedos, etc.  Also, the average passenger is looking for the best deal, at least on NCL.  There are luxury lines that cost more that still offer that experience for those that want it.  

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I think I always want to find the best bang for the buck since I rarely have a set timeframe to sail, usually we are flexible.  I certainly don't want the cheapest. 

 

I find ncl to be ahead of the other two lines I've sailed.  

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We have sailed Carnival, Royal, NCL, Princess, Holland, and MSC. We aren’t overly picky overall about anything or everything. NCL gives us the best overall experience for the money. This includes ship, decent food, drink package, destination, and entertainment. When I put this bundle together to cross comparison shop, NCL has the best pricing. I agree that some people leave out other expenses. We usually spend money on spa passes, arcade packages, and take the better tours in port. Since we cruise with our 10 and 12 year olds it’s easier for us to accept a lesser experience then it was when it was just my wife and I sailing to Egypt on Princess years back. My kids are easily please and if they are having fun then it’s easier for us to be satisfied with the cost ........ 

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I think it helps to adjust your expectations when cruising a mass market line with a thousand or more other passengers.  There are certain  accomodations that everyone expects to be met, such as working plumbing, heat/AC, a clean stateroom, etc.  Other things that people often complain about (food, unfriendly cabin steward, crowded venues) are subjective.  I personally don't care if my cabin steward is chatty as long as he/she cleans my room.  I set my food expectations very low for cruises, knowing of course that I won't starve.  I am usually pleasantly surprised at how much I like the food.  Some of the complaints I read on here make me think that those posters just aren't a good fit for the mass-market lines.

 

Like most on CC, I have been cruising for many years, across 3 or 4 mass-market lines, from balcony to suite-level - I haven't experienced a decline in basic service or friendliness of the crew across any of the lines.

 

What I DO think has changed is the cruise industry's master plan to get consumers to pay a premium to upgrade their experience.  Beginning with offering specialty dining at an additional cost, to the Haven experience, Vibe, laser tag & go-carts (and over at RCI, charging $500-$2,000+ for several hours in a cabana and $$ for waterpark passes, the Key program).  There doesn't appear to be any ceiling on the additional charges, nor a shortage in people willing to pay the inflated costs.  I think that when people factor in how much extra they've had to pay to get the exact cruise experience they want, we see an uptick in complaints when everything doesn't go just right.

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15 hours ago, iggyc said:

Cracks me up that there are posts about what a great deal a cruise was booked for and then there are posts about declining food and services.  Typical of us to want everything at the lowest price possible but at the highest level of quality. Let’s face it we can’t have it both ways. I have travelled the world and have learned that focusing on the positive and ignoring the few negatives is the best way to go. Enjoy the journey and be thankful that you are one of the few In This world that can afford to travel

Thank you so much: I have seen so many negatives, not just on the NCL board but others as well. Very few are truly issued that call for being negative about. Most are minor inconveniences or dealing with agents on the phone that are not well enough informed or are trying to help but the complainer is only telling us his/her side of the story. We have all had bad experiences in life. We have had a couple of bad experiences on ships and felt they were handled poorly. We have had food that has been disappointing. Our last cruise the specialty dining rooms were a mixed bag to be honest. Did this ruin our cruise? Of course not. Was it our very best cruise? Heck no, but we still got away from the hussle bussle of daily life and enjoyed ourselves. 

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13 hours ago, Gershep said:

When I pay for something even if it's a good deal I still expect food and service to be good.

Food is very subjective, not to mention you are still going to get what you pay for. If I have gotten a good deal on anything, especially travel I know there is a chance the pluses we used to expect may ot be there. If I go to Burger King and get a whopper I don't expect it to be like going to our favorite sports bar where we pay $8 or more for a hamburger. 

For those who mention the prices keep going up and the quality going down: take into consideration the cost based on inflation. NO, overall costs have not gone up. I remember what we paid for our first cruise back in the mid 80s compared to now: I also remember the service and the food. All things change, cruising isn't what it used to be, but in some ways it is better. 

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Yes, poor little NCLH.  They are just giving away cabins on their ships and we expect more service.  The reality is high prices and less service and it is reflected in their income statement.  Look at the net income from 2015 and forward.  All those things that have been cut from your cruise experience has certainly made a difference in their income.  The numbers below are in thousands.

 

image.png.95ab860a469a314660b0f5038b1dd7a1.png

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3 minutes ago, Oakman58 said:

Yes, poor little NCLH.  They are just giving away cabins on their ships and we expect more service.  The reality is high prices and less service and it is reflected in their income statement.  Look at the net income from 2015 and forward.  All those things that have been cut from your cruise experience has certainly made a difference in their income.  The numbers below are in thousands.

 

image.png.95ab860a469a314660b0f5038b1dd7a1.png

and if so many are so disappointed in food and service why is the cruise line making money? If people are unhappy than the ships would not be going out full or close, stock would drop and there would have to be adjustments made. 

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5 minutes ago, newmexicoNita said:

and if so many are so disappointed in food and service why is the cruise line making money? If people are unhappy than the ships would not be going out full or close, stock would drop and there would have to be adjustments made. 

It’s because all the major lines are doing the same thing and there isn’t an option that everyone can run to that fills what NCL is lacking or charging. We as cruisers are pretty much stuck with whatever the lines give us for our money as a whole.

Edited by tallnthensome

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I said this in other threads, NCL no longer offers the cruise experience that I desire.   Keep in mind that I'm 74 years old and I don't need rope courses, rock climbing walls, etc.  My Alaskan cruise on the Holland Westerdam knocked my socks off.  Very attentive cabin stewards, excellent service in the dining room, and all of the employees I encountered were much friendlier than what I've experienced on recent NCL cruises.  Also 24/7 free room service, a welcome gift in our cabin on embarkation day, and a Mariners lunch which included another free gift.  That Mainers lunch beat a Latitudes party (Cruise Next sales pitch) hands down.  There were too many other little things, including chocolates on the pillow, to mention or remember.  My cruise with Holland reminded me of how special a cruise can be.  NCL has become nothing more than a floating 3 star hotel.  The one area where NCL still excels is theater entertainment.  Just my opinion.

 

After my cruise on the Epic in January I will be cruising with other lines in the future.  I already have another cruise booked with Holland in May.   If I book another cruise with NCL it will be because it visits ports that are unique to the line.

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Very interesting thread.

 

There are, of course, two sides to this coin...the cruisers and the cruise lines.

 

The cruisers are looking for the best bang for their buck. Spend any amount of time reading Cruise Critic and you can easily see that this desire rises to the level of obsession for many people.

 

The cruise lines also want the best bang for their buck, although they refer to it as return on investment. Not just cruise lines, this is how any business operates.

 

 

We, as cruises, look at the cruise lines wanting a good return on investment and we label it "nickel and diming".

 

Makes you wonder what the cruise lines use as a label for the cruisers constant obsession with getting the best bang for their buck.

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My first NCL cruise is 364 days away. I have previously sailed Princess, Disney and Celebrity. When i searched for a fall transatlantic, I looked at price and a drink package. The Epic's November 2020 fits the bill. So, I've hear the beds are short and my husband is 6'3" . It's OK, he says, it's hard to find a bed that fits. The bathroom is kinda weird, they say. Forewarned is forearmed -- bring some Glade spray. The food isn't as good as it used to be -- food that I don't have to plan, shop for, cook, clean up and then do it all again the next day. Trust me, I'm gonna love it. And I'm gonna enjoy that drink package. 

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4 minutes ago, texasgirl29 said:

My first NCL cruise is 364 days away. I have previously sailed Princess, Disney and Celebrity. When i searched for a fall transatlantic, I looked at price and a drink package. The Epic's November 2020 fits the bill. So, I've hear the beds are short and my husband is 6'3" . It's OK, he says, it's hard to find a bed that fits. The bathroom is kinda weird, they say. Forewarned is forearmed -- bring some Glade spray. The food isn't as good as it used to be -- food that I don't have to plan, shop for, cook, clean up and then do it all again the next day. Trust me, I'm gonna love it. And I'm gonna enjoy that drink package. 

 

Hint: you can pull the bed out from under the headboard and gain a few more inches.

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2 hours ago, Oakman58 said:

Yes, poor little NCLH.  They are just giving away cabins on their ships and we expect more service.  The reality is high prices and less service and it is reflected in their income statement.  Look at the net income from 2015 and forward.  All those things that have been cut from your cruise experience has certainly made a difference in their income.  The numbers below are in thousands.

 

image.png.95ab860a469a314660b0f5038b1dd7a1.png

So without getting in to the various sides of the debate, I will say that - to be of any use - data must be properly interpreted. On the surface this chart shows growth on gross profit and net income. Of course when you add the capacity of three large ships over that time you would expect these things to go up. It is a flawed assumption that these increases are driven simply by apples-to-apples comparisons over any given time period.

 

On a personal note I have seen many changes in base offering since my first NCL sailing in 2007, some I consider a "loss" and some I consider a "gain". I'm my own experience only (and I loosely track my per night cost of cruising over the years) I am not experiencing a wildly fluctuating inflation-adjusted cost. I still find cruising enjoyable and relatively cost-comparable way of vacationing.

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25 minutes ago, texasgirl29 said:

My first NCL cruise is 364 days away. I have previously sailed Princess, Disney and Celebrity. When i searched for a fall transatlantic, I looked at price and a drink package. The Epic's November 2020 fits the bill. So, I've hear the beds are short and my husband is 6'3" . It's OK, he says, it's hard to find a bed that fits. The bathroom is kinda weird, they say. Forewarned is forearmed -- bring some Glade spray. The food isn't as good as it used to be -- food that I don't have to plan, shop for, cook, clean up and then do it all again the next day. Trust me, I'm gonna love it. And I'm gonna enjoy that drink package. 

 

The Epic is our favorite ship and been on over 40 cruises!  Have fun and enjoy it!

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I am with those who count their blessings (in fact, I just made a comment as such on the thread where there is moaning about no good food on the ships anymore - which I call bull on) We are very thankful that we can afford the luxury of cruising on our vacations, and will always feel that way. I pray I don't ever end up posting as a lot of these people do, complaining about every little detail!  I am glad we don't have to live with those types of folks. I am with the *let's look at the glass half full* crowd! If I am on a cruise ship - It's a GREAT day! Kudos to those of you who have and share their positive outlook!

 

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