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Service expectations on ncl?


djasinsk
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Even though there is nothing unreasonable about asking the Stewart to clean my room next,, or at least soon, I have to understand that maybe several other guests have asked the same thing. Which could be the reason for a "no, unfortunately I can't do that".

I use the red/green  "signals" a lot and most of the time my room is done at a good time for me.  Not that there is much to do there so it's no big deal if I come back to it and it's not done yet. 

 

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Like others we always tip daily.  We tip daily by paying the DSC, the 20% drink package tip, and the specialty dinners gratuities at the end of the cruise.  On a 7 day cruise this amounts to over $700 for the two of us.  

 

Normal tipping is provided for by this process and we do not see the need to tip more unless the waiter, steward or other NCL crew member really comes through and does something over and above our expectations.

 

Our upcoming cruise in about 2 weeks will be the first time since they have changed the policy from two room services per day down to one.  Our plan is to meet our steward and get a general idea of what time of day he/she will be servicing our cabin.  Afterwards we will just roll with the flow.  

 

 

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@djasinsk The service level on all the mass market lines has gone down dramatically through the years, but, especially so post Covid.  I have no experience with the lines you say you are used to, so, can't compare.  I do wonder how recent your experiences have been with those other lines, if not very recent, you might find their service levels have also gone down.  

Understanding the current situation with cabin steward's workloads, I agree that it is no longer reasonable to expect the stewards to be able to respond to your request to be "next".  Yes, there was a time when we certainly could expect that, but, those days are gone from NCL and I suspect most of the rest of the mass market lines.  

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6 hours ago, ready2cruzagain said:

I do not believe it to be unreasonable if I were to ask the cabin steward to clean the cabin or at least leave towels when we are not in the cabin considering how little we are there. I am not saying that one should "demand" it be cleaned next but I see nothing wrong with telling the steward the few hours that we are in the cabin and asking for it to be done at a different time.

 

I am sure I will get a lot of flack for stating this but I just can't believe how often people say the cabin steward works hard, it is okay if they don't get to the cabin or they are so busy. That just blows my mind. Do you honestly say that about everyone in the service departments? I can't imagine going to a restaurant and tipping a lousy waiter and saying "oh well". Is it so customary now to tip no matter what? Just asking.

 

I have sailed with NCL quite a bit post-pandemic, including 3 cruises since they went to the 1x/day cleaning routine.  On those 3 cruises, I had 1 terrible steward, 1 excellent one, and 1 average.  I always use the "make-up-room" marker and that seems to work well with respect to getting my room taken care of at a time when I was out - my cabin was never missed, nor was I ever disturbed when I had the do-not-disturb sign out. (be careful with the DND if you are expecting to have anything delivered, like your laundry tho!).

I don't think people are saying it's OK to skip your cabin. Just a little unreasonable to expect your cabin to be cleaned on demand.

Or that you have to tip. I do usually tip my steward (even the lousy ones but to a lesser degree) but at the end of the cruise, not in advance and certainly not daily. I tip on the last full day of the cruise, since there is always the possibility that your steward is leaving and wouldn't get tips left in your cabin.

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A little common sense and courtesy go a long way.  It’s not going to make a hill of beans difference to me whether my cabin is cleaned at 8:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m.  The cabin stewards are among the hardest working crew on the ship.  I give them as much leeway as possible to let them do their job as easily and efficiently as possible.

 

Further,  I don’t find it reasonable to ask for fine wine in the Buffet or at a pool bar.  That just makes no sense.  It’s no different than me going into a dive sports bar expecting to find Louis XIII brandy!

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Sadly, service levels have been cutback on NCL and, indeed, most cruise lines over the last year.  I managed my expectations downward on my last cruise.  While my steward was great and exceeded my expectations, it was clear he had a LOT to do.  I once accidentally left my DND on one morning, though my "occupied" light was off.  When I came back, early afternoon, he flagged me down to explain why my room wasn't done.  He (correctly) thought I left the light on in error but I guess they're not allowed to clean if the DND light is on, period, which is understandable. 

 

I apologized for screwing up his routine and he told me he'd clean it as soon as he got back from lunch; he was literally heading out when we passed.  I thought that was more than accommodating.  I'm usually out early but never actually requested an earlier service so I can't say whether it would have been honored or not.  As others have stated, with their recently doubled room load, it may be asking a lot to move things around.  He did accommodate some other minor requests (fridge cleanout, towel animals, etc.)  I usually tip on Day 1 and, if service was good, again on Day 7.  Not sure whether that impacted his attentiveness 🙂

 

Personally, I'd pay a bit extra to have the 2x daily service and other cuts added back but I guess they're concerned that would impact bookings which they'd then have to discount later anyway, so I get it.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, All-ready2cruise said:

Wonder if the next thing we see will be a "Premium Room Service"  offer for those who do want the twice a day service? I wouldn't pay it but, for some it might be a good idea. 

 

I would not pay for it either.  Safe to say there is a good portion of CC members on here that would.  NCL if you are paying attention get er done.  To each his own.  The more choices we have the better.  

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1 minute ago, seemoreroyals said:

Then after that NCL can implement the move to the front of the line drink pass.  For X amount of dollars you get to elbow everybody else out of the way to get your favorite drink at the bar of your choice.  

LOL, I'm sure that would please some too. Good thought, I like the way you think.  

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On 11/26/2023 at 9:20 AM, djasinsk said:

I want to ask the brain trust here what is a reasonable service expectation.  

Well, you asked the brain trust and many have already weighed in. Regarding the request for the steward to do your room next, I'm with the rest of those saying that's unreasonable, on a cruise ship, where the steward has likely been assigned 20 rooms to do every day. (That was the case on our cruise earlier this month, on the Breakaway) The stewards have to take breaks and such. We messed up a couple of times by forgetting to turn off the "do not disturb" light and came back to a dirty room. That was 100% on us. We didn't ask the steward to come back, but we did learn to turn that thing off when we left. Your comment about the wine is a good one, though. It IS sort of annoying that you have to figure out which bars have what in stock. I was irritated that different bars make different drinks, so you can't get fancy martinis at the Whiskey Bar or Topsiders. That forces you to go only to the bar that serves your drink, hope they're open, and hope there aren't 20 people in line waiting for drinks being served by the 1 lowly bartender. I agree that service has slipped. We are used to bar servers strolling through the Garden Café taking drink orders. Now they just tell you to get them yourself. Disappointing. I made that clear when I took my post-cruise survey.

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20 hours ago, Liljo22 said:

Are they stocking the premium wines in restaurants and the bar outside the MDRs?  That is where I usually have gone for wine.  

I did find out what the deal is with wine. None of the premium selections are kept at the bars open during daytime except in the sit down restaurants.  The night club etc does have them. 
and the bartenders are instructed not to get it if customer requests it. 
 

so basically if you are at the pool for the afternoon and want a decent glass of Chardonnay their rules don’t allow you to have it. 
 

The whole reason we bought the package was because the standard wine they serve is the kind that retails for 5-8 bucks a bottle.  Some people may like that and that’s fine, but we typically drink wine that is more like 15-20 a bottle and that is premium on ncl.  

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7 minutes ago, djasinsk said:

I did find out what the deal is with wine. None of the premium selections are kept at the bars open during daytime except in the sit down restaurants.  The night club etc does have them. 
and the bartenders are instructed not to get it if customer requests it. 
 

so basically if you are at the pool for the afternoon and want a decent glass of Chardonnay their rules don’t allow you to have it. 
 

The whole reason we bought the package was because the standard wine they serve is the kind that retails for 5-8 bucks a bottle.  Some people may like that and that’s fine, but we typically drink wine that is more like 15-20 a bottle and that is premium on ncl.  

I agree.  The wine included with the unlimited package are not great so we usually find a couple we like on the premium plus list and pay the difference.  We usually only drink wine as a before dinner drink and then another glass at dinner.  

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22 hours ago, PATRLR said:

@djasinsk The service level on all the mass market lines has gone down dramatically through the years, but, especially so post Covid.  I have no experience with the lines you say you are used to, so, can't compare.  I do wonder how recent your experiences have been with those other lines, if not very recent, you might find their service levels have also gone down.  

Understanding the current situation with cabin steward's workloads, I agree that it is no longer reasonable to expect the stewards to be able to respond to your request to be "next".  Yes, there was a time when we certainly could expect that, but, those days are gone from NCL and I suspect most of the rest of the mass market lines.  

It's not just cruise lines,  it's the entire service industry. 

 

I've stayed in plenty of "full service " hotels in the past year that no longer do daily housekeeping "due to Covid-19 ".  And amazingly,  their rates are up by 50%+.

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Towels, towels, towels!

That was our only real concern when sailing Joy this past July after they switched from twice a day to once a day cleaning.

I shower after working out in the morning and again before setting out for the evening and I don't like using wet towels. It's not that they get dirty after one use.

Very simple fix.

I had a note prepared before sailing with a few minor requests and that included extra towels.

Since I saw my steward within minutes of getting to my cabin, I handed it to him, along with a $20 bill.

I had extra towels placed on my couch that afternoon and the steward only had to switch out the used towels on a daily basis and we always had dry towels.

We had a very good steward this sailing, as we usually do, and I believe he would have provided the extra towels without any incentive.

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31 minutes ago, djasinsk said:

I did find out what the deal is with wine. None of the premium selections are kept at the bars open during daytime except in the sit down restaurants.  The night club etc does have them. 
and the bartenders are instructed not to get it if customer requests it. 
 

so basically if you are at the pool for the afternoon and want a decent glass of Chardonnay their rules don’t allow you to have it. 
 

The whole reason we bought the package was because the standard wine they serve is the kind that retails for 5-8 bucks a bottle.  Some people may like that and that’s fine, but we typically drink wine that is more like 15-20 a bottle and that is premium on ncl.  

I agree with you. We decided for a variety of factors that the Premium+ wasn't worth it. My wife doesn't really drink, and I gravitate more to cocktails and wine, but my tastes aren't as sophisticated as yours, so NCL's standard offerings are fine for us.

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24 minutes ago, DCGuy64 said:

I agree with you. We decided for a variety of factors that the Premium+ wasn't worth it. My wife doesn't really drink, and I gravitate more to cocktails and wine, but my tastes aren't as sophisticated as yours, so NCL's standard offerings are fine for us.

Our tastes are the same...particularly with Bourbon. 😉Admittedly, I know wines are red, white and pink.  That's the extent of my knowledge.  Bourbon?  Different story.  Personally, the FAS package has all the liquors I normally drink.  Buffalo Trace, 1792, gins like Tangurey, vodka like Titos....all good to me.  FAS+ drink package offers some other spirits I might like to try.  But, I don't see any that I'd be willing to pay extra for when I can get what I like on the regular package.

 

Internet upgrade would be nice as I usually do live reviews that I post here.  But, I can buy that a la carte.

 

So, nothing would make me shell out the big uncharge for the FAS+.  

 

I view cabin service like a hotel.  They don't give me 2X room cleaning at my hotels.  Doesn't matter to me if they do it for my cabin.

 

As far as "paying" to have 2x/day room cleaning, you can.  It's called the Haven.  Want drink service for wines and liquors by the Haven Pool?  They got that too.  Want a lounger in a private area?  Haven!  Want upgraded food and restaurant service?  Haven Restaurant!  Want bartenders to fix you crazy good drinks (like smoky Manhattans)?  Haven Bar.  Want fancy linens and soaps?  Want white linen in suite specialty dinner service?   Butlers, Concierges, staff that falls all over themselves to serve you?  

 

You can get all that.  It's just you have to upgrade to the Haven to get it.

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16 minutes ago, graphicguy said:

Our tastes are the same...particularly with Bourbon. 😉Admittedly, I know wines are red, white and pink.  That's the extent of my knowledge.  Bourbon?  Different story.  Personally, the FAS package has all the liquors I normally drink.  Buffalo Trace, 1792, gins like Tangurey, vodka like Titos....all good to me.  FAS+ drink package offers some other spirits I might like to try.  But, I don't see any that I'd be willing to pay extra for when I can get what I like on the regular package.

 

Internet upgrade would be nice as I usually do live reviews that I post here.  But, I can buy that a la carte.

 

So, nothing would make me shell out the big uncharge for the FAS+.  

 

I view cabin service like a hotel.  They don't give me 2X room cleaning at my hotels.  Doesn't matter to me if they do it for my cabin.

 

As far as "paying" to have 2x/day room cleaning, you can.  It's called the Haven.  Want drink service for wines and liquors by the Haven Pool?  They got that too.  Want a lounger in a private area?  Haven!  Want upgraded food and restaurant service?  Haven Restaurant!  Want bartenders to fix you crazy good drinks (like smoky Manhattans)?  Haven Bar.  Want fancy linens and soaps?  Want white linen in suite specialty dinner service?   Butlers, Concierges, staff that falls all over themselves to serve you?  

 

You can get all that.  It's just you have to upgrade to the Haven to get it.

I ended up upgrading to FAS+.  Was already planning to upgrade my internet and probably another just so I don't come home to a $600 phone bill again.  Already had three specialty dining booked and planned on buying a couple of excursions that were priced the same with NCL as private.  This all made the price to upgrade the drink package workable.  

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2 minutes ago, Liljo22 said:

I ended up upgrading to FAS+.  Was already planning to upgrade my internet and probably another just so I don't come home to a $600 phone bill again.  Already had three specialty dining booked and planned on buying a couple of excursions that were priced the same with NCL as private.  This all made the price to upgrade the drink package workable.  

Totally understand that.  If you WANT the upgraded drinks, it makes sense.  I'm more than happy with the FAS drinks offered and only want the internet.  So, for me it makes no sense to upgrade to FAS+.

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2 minutes ago, graphicguy said:

Totally understand that.  If you WANT the upgraded drinks, it makes sense.  I'm more than happy with the FAS drinks offered and only want the internet.  So, for me it makes no sense to upgrade to FAS+.

I don't need the upgraded drinks but I will take advantage of it with better wines for my wife and high end whiskeys for me.  

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I don’t think it’s reasonable to have on demand cabin cleaning but I DO think it’s reasonable to expect one’s cabin to be cleaned whilst one is out for most of the day. On Bliss earlier this month we spent 7.30am -2.30pm in Ensenada and came back to a dirty room only to have our steward knock on the door at 3pm asking to clean when we were there relaxing. With only once per day service we felt pressured to leave so he could clean or else risk having no cleaning that day and thus no new towels, etc.  After two trips with Holland America this year where they still have twice daily service it was a disappointment for sure. Other lines DO still offer twice daily service. HAL and Disney do. I believe Princess and Celebrity as well.  Carnival is down to once per day but they also didn’t raise their daily tips to $20pp like NCL did. 

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6 minutes ago, Bostonjetset said:

I don’t think it’s reasonable to have on demand cabin cleaning but I DO think it’s reasonable to expect one’s cabin to be cleaned whilst one is out for most of the day. On Bliss earlier this month we spent 7.30am -2.30pm in Ensenada and came back to a dirty room only to have our steward knock on the door at 3pm asking to clean when we were there relaxing. With only once per day service we felt pressured to leave so he could clean or else risk having no cleaning that day and thus no new towels, etc.  After two trips with Holland America this year where they still have twice daily service it was a disappointment for sure. Other lines DO still offer twice daily service. HAL and Disney do. I believe Princess and Celebrity as well.  Carnival is down to once per day but they also didn’t raise their daily tips to $20pp like NCL did. 

MSC still has twice daily service and their Daily Service Charge is $16.00 pp per day unless you are in the Yacht Club then it is more.

Edited by ready2cruzagain
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8 hours ago, seemoreroyals said:

Then after that NCL can implement the move to the front of the line drink pass.  For X amount of dollars you get to elbow everybody else out of the way to get your favorite drink at the bar of your choice.  

 

I might be willing to do this for a Mango Meltdown at the poolside bar...🤣

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On 11/26/2023 at 6:45 PM, laudergayle said:

We get AWESOME service.  We tip daily with a kind note.  First day usually asks for some minor things (breakfast hang tags, extra hangers, etc).  But then every day after it is some version of “Thanks…hope you have a great day”. 
 

I believe they look forward to servicing our room.  Plus, I typically do a quick pre-service. Towels all together on the floor, bed partway made, bar glasses and cups emptied and grouped together.  
 

When he/she sees us in the corridor, we are always addressed by name and thanked.  Our cabins are typically cleaned between 8 am -11 am while we’re out for the morning.


 

That’s a good point.  I try to keep my room relatively neat.  I don’t throw my clothes around or leave towels in every corner of the room.  I leave room for the stewards to work and leave my luggage under the bed when I’m not in the cabin.  I don’t leave drinking glasses strewn everywhere.

 

I think it helps them a little and it doesn’t affect me in the least to be at least a little neat.

 

Whenever I get a passing glimpse of other cabins when their door is open I sometimes gasp at what slobs some can be.  My first thought is always …”poor steward”!

 

Regarding other cruise lines, I compare cruises in total not just a single item which one or the other may or may not do better.  Personally, HAL just doesn’t float my boat, regardless of how many times they’d service my cabin.  Disney, same way….don’t want to pay for cartoon characters being around me all the time (OK…maybe Jiminy Cricket…I liked him when I was 6 years old).

 

Carnival…I‘ll sail them if it’s a really good fare.

 

Overall, NCL “fits” me and my personality.  But, that’s why there are choices.  Pick what you want.

 

 

Edited by graphicguy
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