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mikegw2

The market reality behind Encore’s design

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4 hours ago, SeaShark said:

 

I haven't been on the Encore so I'm curious as to what is behind that statement.

 

Could you elaborate as to why this is? What do they force you to pay for on the Encore that is free on other ships? What free items has NCL taken away on the Encore?

 

Op said family ship, escape has free rope course, Minigolf, climb Wall?, basketball court. Your kids can play there for free. At the same area encore has things to pay extra. And yes you don‘t have to spend money. But with kids for example they want to ( if they are old enough). 
same with vibe. Sure you don‘t have to buy a ticket. But at encore it is the only quit sun deck. At as escape you has h2o and a forward quite sun deck with front view inclusive. 
sure you don‘t have to spend money extra. But ncl cut more and more inclusive things. 
But sure, the observation lounge is inclusive and great. But other things are bad in my Opinion. 

 

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5 hours ago, mikegw2 said:

I do a lot of customer and market research in my job and I agree with you that a lot of what gets published is flawed or total garbage.  I used only data from investment analysts and cruise industry trade groups, and none of this is from NCL.  It really applies to all companies in the cruise industry.

 

I cruise NCL now, but I've also cruised Carnival, Princess and Celebrity in the past and liked a lot about their product.  I also own stock in RCL, Carnival and NCL so I don't really don't have any bias as long as the whole industry does well. Bias would also suggest I have a bent or hidden agenda towards my preference and that's clearly not the case.  I'm 64 years old and don't use any of the family-oriented features they are putting on cruise ships, so why would I argue against my own position with false or biased data?

I was talking about the type of statistics you quoted, descriptive statistics are always looked at with a bias in the analysis. Marketing research especially. If you base your opinion on this type of research analysis, there is bias inherent in the analysis.

Sorry for the confusion. ☺

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5 hours ago, SeaShark said:

 

When we cruise, we are all given a sign and sail card to charge purchases, unlock our cabin door, and for use as ID in leaving the ship. These cards are necessary and they are included. IF the cruise line were to tell you at check in that there was now a $5 fee to get your card...which you HAVE to pay because you HAVE to have a card...that fee would be nickel and diming as it is NOT an option.

 

Please don't give NCL any more ideas! 😮

 

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15 hours ago, mikegw2 said:

When 11,000+ cruise purchasers were asked in a 2018 survey what was important or very important in selecting a cruise ship and destination, here’s what they said (the survey excluded passengers on high-end luxury lines):

 

Do you have a link to the survey?  I'm curious about the methods used, sample makeup, question formatting, etc.  Seeing such a discrepancy between certain items raises some questions in my mind.

 

I definitely agree with you industry data is more important than personal observations or discussions on a message board, but I want to make sure I fully understand the data.  

 

15 hours ago, mikegw2 said:

First, NCL would have been stupid to build Encore with the same features that they offer on other ships sailing the same waters at the same time.  Anyone who understands marketing strategy knows that you drive growth through differentiation and appeal to a wide range of market segments. No company grows by being the same or staying the same.

 

Marketing strategy can focus on expanding to other segments or trying to grab more share from a specific target segment.  The former generally requires more radical change than the latter, but you are right that stagnation is never a sustainable growth strategy.  You can, of course, compete on price rather than differentiation, but NCL has made it clear that is not the strategy the wish to embrace.  Each BA/BA+ ship has added something that increases revenue, attracts customers, or both.  NCL also has a portfolio of brands to cater to other market segments, including those who may be displaced as NCL continues to refine its focus.

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1 hour ago, mianmike said:

 

I hear what you're saying and agree with you in part, but I don't believe you can't be nickle and dimed if it's possible avoid the charge. 

 

Nickle and dime: "put a financial strain on (someone) by charging small amounts for many minor services."

 

An extreme comical example to make my point:  Let's say NCL decided to make hallways "toll hallways". They include 6 free hallway passes and free room service.  After you have used your 6 free hallway passes you are charged a 5 cent hallway conveyance convenience fee every time you leave your cabin and walk the hallway.  You have a choice, you could stay in your cabin and not walk the hallway.  Therefore under your argument it's not nickle and diming.   

 

My point is NCL keeps removing more and more free areas and services, to the point where it's getting harder and harder to avoid the fees and still enjoy a variety of non-pay options.  Limiting your non-pay choices is way to push people into pay services and areas.   

 

I apologize in advance if Frank Del Rio reads Cruise Critic and sees this post and decides hallway tolls are a great idea.     

 

 

 

That is just bad logic. You could simply choose not to go on the cruise, therefore there could never be nickel and diming.

 

However, that wasn't the point. Your definition says "put a financial strain on"...it can't be a financial strain if I can opt-out. Nickel and diming is forced charges above and beyond the required payment...not optional charges.

 

NCL hasn't removed free services...what you got on a cruise in 2002 for free is still available for free today...along with an increased number of OPTIONAL items.

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16 hours ago, mikegw2 said:

with 100% of the growth coming from families headed by millennials and GenX’rs

 

Um... there is an entirely new cruise line that is 100% NOT targeted at families, so those ships are sailing empty?

 

Also, in the past 2 years, I began cruising, my parents began cruising, my sister and her husband began cruising, and my brother and his girlfriend began cruising. Not a single one of those couples has young children. My parents' children are obviously adults now. My sister and her husband's children are also all grown. My brother and I have no children. So "100%" seems like maybe a bit of an overestimation of the growth in the cruising market. Unless by "family" you are including families of adults, because in that sense, I suppose my "family" has contributed to the 100% of growth to which you are referring.

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50 minutes ago, SeaShark said:

 

That is just bad logic. You could simply choose not to go on the cruise, therefore there could never be nickel and diming.

 

However, that wasn't the point. Your definition says "put a financial strain on"...it can't be a financial strain if I can opt-out. Nickel and diming is forced charges above and beyond the required payment...not optional charges.

 

NCL hasn't removed free services...what you got on a cruise in 2002 for free is still available for free today...along with an increased number of OPTIONAL items.

 

Obviously I disagree and I'm fairly certain I'm not going to change your mind  but . . .  

 

NCL has removed free services.   I used to be able to order full room service for free, not anymore. 

 

Before the advent of FDR's: "we are going to double profits before 2020" remark, there were more opportunities to participate in non-pay activities that now charge a fee or "gratuity".   

 

I can see your argument in terms of absolutes, but life is not absolute.  A more tangential way to look at this:  Let's say there are 2000 passengers who don't want to pay for activities.  At noon they look at the daily planner and see the only free activities are a fruit and vegetable carving demonstration in the atrium and a best legs competition at the pool.  Everything else requires a fee of some sort.  They show up at the atrium and it's packed and there's no room.  They go to the pool and it's packed.  They want to do something fun, they are on vacation after all. There's room in the fee venues.  You're right, they have a choice, do nothing or pay a fee.  They choose to pay the fee.  Now it was they're choice to pay the fee, but it's designed to not be much of a choice.  For lack of a better term I call that nickle and diming.   

 

I know you disagree so we can agree to disagree.         

 

 

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1 hour ago, JamieLogical said:

 

Um... there is an entirely new cruise line that is 100% NOT targeted at families, so those ships are sailing empty?

 

Also, in the past 2 years, I began cruising, my parents began cruising, my sister and her husband began cruising, and my brother and his girlfriend began cruising. Not a single one of those couples has young children. My parents' children are obviously adults now. My sister and her husband's children are also all grown. My brother and I have no children. So "100%" seems like maybe a bit of an overestimation of the growth in the cruising market. Unless by "family" you are including families of adults, because in that sense, I suppose my "family" has contributed to the 100% of growth to which you are referring.

The fact that there is a new cruise line that caters strictly to adults may have nothing to do with net growth in the market segment. That new company may simply see an opportunity to pull customers away from other cruise lines who aren’t happy with changes or who aren’t loyal to one cruise line. If the company is new, it’s not likely that they have the financial resources to be all things to all people—they just need pick one segment and run with it.

 

Also, the addition of new cruisers to the market may have nothing to do with net growth in various segments. For example, lets go back 10 years and say the cruise market was made up of baby boomers like myself, older GenX’rs who’s kids were grown, a few younger GenX families with kids under 18, and young single people.  The total market was 100 people.  Ten years goes by and all the baby boomers have died, the younger GenXr’s kids are grown so they start cruising without kids, several of the cruisers stop cruising and start taking other types of vacations, and the young single party crowd ages out.  Almost every person in the market could be new from 10 years ago, but the total group size is still 100 people – so you have zero growth.

 

Now let’s say it 10 years later and the total cruise market has grown to 150 people and the only difference is that the number of people in the group with kids under age 18 has increased from 6 people to 56 people. 100% of the growth has come from people with kids under 18.  The other 100 people may be new to cruising, but they simply replaced someone else in a group that has zero net growth.  This seems to be what the cruise industry is saying about their business.

Edited by mikegw2

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So many on here comparing the Encore to the Escape.   Its pretty clear from that article that NCL is targeting first time cruisers and newby cruisers.    Not experienced cruisers and the return customer crowd like most of us!    It makes sense now.    

 

NCL really doesn't want us and they are making it more and more difficult for the returning cruiser, those of us that return 15-20 times to keep with NCL.    The OP's survey, I'm not contesting at all but it's clear that what returning customers want isn't what the first time cruiser wants.    I can't imagine the family that has been on 5-10 cruises even would say they care a lot about the water slides and ropes courses.   My kids knew better on about cruise 3 or 4 not to give a crap about the mediocre water slides, even kids aren't fooled after experiencing a lot of the gimmicks.  

 

I liked the Escape, I like the outdoor bar/deck level but it is very small for the number of passengers.    My main complaint about the Escape is the lack of outdoor space.   Pool deck space, outdoor public decks and indoor venues with views.    Even with the one deck of open restaurants and bars (sorry can't remember the name of that deck) but even with that, for the number of passengers on the Escape, the amount of outdoor space is very minimal.   A returning cruiser sees that right away!

 

This is why, after many, many NCL cruises Ive gone back to the smaller ships where there is respect for outdoor space and respect for indoor venues with views.   The Jade, the Gem, the Pearl all are so much more attractive to me than the bigger ships that have prioritized gimmicks and cabins for public outdoor and indoor spaces.      I understand to a new NCL cruiser what they *think* they want, looking at a brochure or watching a commercial on tv.......race tracks,  ropes courses, mediocre water slides, that is appealing to the customer who's never cruised.    Once you've cruise a time or two, you realize how quickly these things get tired.   You take your kids down the mediocre water slide twice and they're all done with that.    You do the ropes course once and that's all anyone wants of that crap.    

 

NCL is clearly telling us they don't want return cruisers.   They're giving us statistics and surveys and justifying their marketing and focus.   It's not us!    So where do we go?   Where do the experienced cruisers go that caters to great outdoor spaces, great indoor venues with views, great entertainment, good food and a vacation casual feel?    NCL is telling us its not them.   Who wants the return cruisers money?

 

 

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1 minute ago, Vyhanek said:

So many on here comparing the Encore to the Escape.   Its pretty clear from that article that NCL is targeting first time cruisers and newby cruisers.    Not experienced cruisers and the return customer crowd like most of us!    It makes sense now.    

 

NCL really doesn't want us and they are making it more and more difficult for the returning cruiser, those of us that return 15-20 times to keep with NCL.    The OP's survey, I'm not contesting at all but it's clear that what returning customers want isn't what the first time cruiser wants.    I can't imagine the family that has been on 5-10 cruises even would say they care a lot about the water slides and ropes courses.   My kids knew better on about cruise 3 or 4 not to give a crap about the mediocre water slides, even kids aren't fooled after experiencing a lot of the gimmicks.  

 

I liked the Escape, I like the outdoor bar/deck level but it is very small for the number of passengers.    My main complaint about the Escape is the lack of outdoor space.   Pool deck space, outdoor public decks and indoor venues with views.    Even with the one deck of open restaurants and bars (sorry can't remember the name of that deck) but even with that, for the number of passengers on the Escape, the amount of outdoor space is very minimal.   A returning cruiser sees that right away!

 

This is why, after many, many NCL cruises Ive gone back to the smaller ships where there is respect for outdoor space and respect for indoor venues with views.   The Jade, the Gem, the Pearl all are so much more attractive to me than the bigger ships that have prioritized gimmicks and cabins for public outdoor and indoor spaces.      I understand to a new NCL cruiser what they *think* they want, looking at a brochure or watching a commercial on tv.......race tracks,  ropes courses, mediocre water slides, that is appealing to the customer who's never cruised.    Once you've cruise a time or two, you realize how quickly these things get tired.   You take your kids down the mediocre water slide twice and they're all done with that.    You do the ropes course once and that's all anyone wants of that crap.    

 

NCL is clearly telling us they don't want return cruisers.   They're giving us statistics and surveys and justifying their marketing and focus.   It's not us!    So where do we go?   Where do the experienced cruisers go that caters to great outdoor spaces, great indoor venues with views, great entertainment, good food and a vacation casual feel?    NCL is telling us its not them.   Who wants the return cruisers money?

 

 

This is exactly right. It's just what Carnival does quite honestly...they thrive off of 1st time cruises in the US/North American market. Their itineraries are same old, same old to repeat guests and their new ships are floating playgrounds with movie theaters, roller coasters, ropes courses, etc. I'm actually the highest loyalty level on Carnival, but haven't stepped aboard one of their ships for 5 years because I was tired of sailing to Cozumel and Nassau.

 

What is different with NCL in my opinion is the variety of destinations. You just don't get as many families sailing to the Baltics or Canada in the fall. So, at what point does the supply of staterooms exceed the demand from 1st time cruises? That is when you see the deep, last minute discounts. Look at Australia, Canada/New England, Greek Isles. This is the main reason I've been able to cruise NCL as much as I have. They offer great destinations, ridiculously low last minute rates, and an average onboard experience for the price paid....all attractive options for veteran cruisers....and they get the opportunity to fill a cabin that would otherwise go unsold.

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I, for one, am super pumped about sailing on the Encore on Feb 2!!! I know there will be things I like and dislike about the ship but I’ve prepared myself and know what to expect. I already know I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get a lounger on the top deck! Lol Now if someone could fix the weather forecast of rain and more rain  for the 2 days prior to sailing in Miami, I would be extremely happy!! 😅

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My concern about the lack of deck space on the Encore is that I have sailed the Bliss twice now and I know what it is like on poor-weather days. When the pool deck is unusable, all of the other interior public spaces are way overcrowded. So my worry is that, with less public deck space, the interior spaces on the Encore will be overcrowded all the time.

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3 hours ago, Cruisercl said:

I was talking about the type of statistics you quoted, descriptive statistics are always looked at with a bias in the analysis. Marketing research especially. If you base your opinion on this type of research analysis, there is bias inherent in the analysis.

Sorry for the confusion. ☺

Thank you for the clarification and my apologies for coming off defensively.  The article from CLIA didn’t get into methodology, but I’m sure the flaws are many.  However flawed, I believe the results represent the kind of data on macro trends driving some cruise company decisions and it answers the question “what the heck was NCL thinking when they built Encore…”

If Encore comes out of its first drydock and the racetrack is gone, the laser tag is gone, VIBE is cut back and a Spice H20 pops up then we’ll know the family-oriented market has been way-overstated.

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1 hour ago, mianmike said:

 

Obviously I disagree and I'm fairly certain I'm not going to change your mind  but . . .  

 

NCL has removed free services.   I used to be able to order full room service for free, not anymore. 

 

Before the advent of FDR's: "we are going to double profits before 2020" remark, there were more opportunities to participate in non-pay activities that now charge a fee or "gratuity".   

 

I can see your argument in terms of absolutes, but life is not absolute.  A more tangential way to look at this:  Let's say there are 2000 passengers who don't want to pay for activities.  At noon they look at the daily planner and see the only free activities are a fruit and vegetable carving demonstration in the atrium and a best legs competition at the pool.  Everything else requires a fee of some sort.  They show up at the atrium and it's packed and there's no room.  They go to the pool and it's packed.  They want to do something fun, they are on vacation after all. There's room in the fee venues.  You're right, they have a choice, do nothing or pay a fee.  They choose to pay the fee.  Now it was they're choice to pay the fee, but it's designed to not be much of a choice.  For lack of a better term I call that nickle and diming.   

 

I know you disagree so we can agree to disagree.         

 

 

I assume you realize that FDR is not the CEO of NCL. Andy was/Harry is the President and CEO of NCL. 

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9 hours ago, RedwingHockeyFan said:

 

I can't speak for Steff but from what I have seen is that compared to the Escape, Encore has removed the ropes course and min-golf which were free and replaced them with the race track and laser tag which are not.  And they removed Spice which was free and expanded Vibe which is not.

Oh - thanks for that update regarding Spice/Vibe.  I was going to comment on ropes course vs. go-karts/laser tag.  Havent been on Encore but have been on Bliss which has similar issues.  Spice H20 and Vibe were much smaller on Bliss - we don't have children.  We will probably not sail on Bliss/Encore/Joy again unless it's an Alaska cruise. 

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14 hours ago, Steff79 said:

 

have you a source how much people liken nickeland dime on board? The encore is the queen of nickel and dime. 

 

 

Explain?

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1 hour ago, BirdTravels said:

I assume you realize that FDR is not the CEO of NCL. Andy was/Harry is the President and CEO of NCL. 

But fdr say what you are doing, look at encore. Hull art from the favorite painter of del rio, race track because this was a idear of his grandson. 

Edited by Steff79

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5 minutes ago, fstuff1 said:

 

 

Explain?

Name me a ship what has more nickel 

and dime then encore.

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11 hours ago, SeaShark said:

 

I haven't been on the Encore so I'm curious as to what is behind that statement.

 

Could you elaborate as to why this is? What do they force you to pay for on the Encore that is free on other ships? What free items has NCL taken away on the Encore?

 

Taken away H2o and inclusive activities and top deck space. Free is nothing at a cruise you paid for it with your cruise price or pay for it on top. 

Edited by Steff79

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3 minutes ago, Steff79 said:

Name me a ship what has more nickel 

and dime then encore.

No idea since I've haven't been on encore.

 

Thus my reply of explain why you think encore is Queen of Nickle and dime?

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Just now, fstuff1 said:

No idea since I've haven't been on encore.

 

Thus my reply of explain why you think encore is Queen of Nickle and dime?

Read the post before. Tell me a ship what has more things to pay extra for then encore. If you can’t encore is the queen.

 

i like ncl very much, the staff, the entertainment and so much more.  But the new way under del rio is nothing what I like. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, JamieLogical said:

My concern about the lack of deck space on the Encore is that I have sailed the Bliss twice now and I know what it is like on poor-weather days. When the pool deck is unusable, all of the other interior public spaces are way overcrowded. So my worry is that, with less public deck space, the interior spaces on the Encore will be overcrowded all the time.

Good point. I have have come the to same conclusion. 

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1 hour ago, BirdTravels said:

I assume you realize that FDR is not the CEO of NCL. Andy was/Harry is the President and CEO of NCL. 

 

BirdTravels, we've gone over this before.  Please pay attention.  

 

FDR is CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.  He IS the boss.

 

http://www.nclhltd.com/corporate-governance/leadership-team

 

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3 hours ago, Steff79 said:

Read the post before. Tell me a ship what has more things to pay extra for then encore. If you can’t encore is the queen.

 

i like ncl very much, the staff, the entertainment and so much more.  But the new way under del rio is nothing what I like. 

 

 

 

Try it this way...tell me the ship where something is free and you have to pay for that same thing on Encore.

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28 minutes ago, SeaShark said:

 

Try it this way...tell me the ship where something is free and you have to pay for that same thing on Encore.

Every ship. Adult only deck space.

Edited by mkmaj

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