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cvil88

Why this was probably our last NCL cruise

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2 hours ago, cvil88 said:

Just got off the NCL Getaway on a 9 day cruise. My wife and I have done 30+ cruises on multiple cruise lines but more NCL cruises recently. Here are a few beefs regarding NCL:

-very disappointed with food quality in main dining room   (It can vary.)

-the $99 (plus gratuity) Beverage Package doesn't include water or cappuccino  (Agreed.  Many others include this)

-no longer allowed to bring water on board or wine (corkage fee)  (many lines allow 2 bottles of wine and water, or at least look the other way on water).  It does stink given that the beverage package does not include water

-they chose to tender to their private island in Harvest Caye that offers no food or do not allow you to use your beverage package (if they docked, most people would go back to ship for lunch and drinks, so your stuck paying on their property)

-they tell you it's a 5 minute tender to the island then load you on a tender that holds 500 people, so by the time you board and disembark, you've wasted half hour or more (and once on the tender the first thing you hear is a request for a tip)  Loading and unloading tenders always takes up time.  I assume that the 5 minutes was the travel time from dock to ship.

-the specialty restaurants were excellent but the up charges were excessive (it was emphasized by our waitress at Le Bistro that you only get one appetizer, one entree and one desert. So when I asked about ordering the soup and a salad, she told me their would be an up charge)  (another confusing scam.  You should be able to order an appy, soup and salad.

We enjoyed the entertainment on the cruise and the ports but we will probably be looking at Royal Caribbean or Celebrity in the future. 

Would like to hear if others feel like we do or are we being too critical. Thanks!

I agree with many of your feelings. (see the comments above in red)  NCL does seem to be the champion of fine print, upcharges, and inflated "prices" for "free" stuff to inflate the gratuities.  In fact, gratuities are included for "free" beverage packages on many other lines.  You do need to know the ever changing rules of the game before booking and check them again before boarding.  It becomes quite tiring.

 

It's up to you if it is enough for you to move on.  It hasn't made me leave completely, but it has made us look more closely at other lines.  

 

 

Edited by davy jones

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2 hours ago, JamieLogical said:

You mentioned that most of your recent cruises have been with NCL, so the limitations of the drink package and the inability to bring wine/water on board shouldn't be new to you. I've only been cruising for the last two years, but those things have been the case since I began and I was under the impression they had been the case for a while before that.

 

It's my understanding that, while NCL owns Harvest Caye, the vendors there are local business owners operating their own private businesses, which is why it differs from the experience at Great Stirrup Cay.

 

You were misinformed by your server at Le Bistro. You can have unlimited apps and desserts with the SDP. You are only limited to one entree.

Odd we had the dining package for family members (6 of them) on the Dawn a few years back. We were celebrating our Aunt's 88th birthday. She was told (and embarrassed by our waiter) no she couldn't have both soup and salad unless she paid for it. I did call him over and sternly informed him I would cover any overages at the table. Not something we would forget and have always asked up front going forward.

We will ask in June if we change to get the package for the 3 boys, still hedging on that for now.

We do get the platinum dinners but not huge eaters so never an issue. App, main, desert, and done.

Thanks for the information.

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Yeah, it is ok to be critical. The Harvest Caye tender issue is temporary. I view Harvest Caye as an ordinary port call instead of a private island. Yes, the free food has taken a sharp decline over the past 6 months. As you stated, you've done 30 or so cruises in the past and have come to expect a certain standard and quality. Like me, I suppose your expectations are greater than turkey, chicken, bratwurst, pasta, ghoulash, coalfish, bluefish and little neck clams. Fair complaint, there.

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Two 9n cruises late last year and quite a few times different restaurants we got the line "one of each on the dining package" 

 

Just say that's not what the T&C say and order what we wanted never got the surcharge. 

 

On Platinum dinner in Le Bistro order the lamb($36) you will get charged the $1 with 20c gratuity as it is over the $35 limit. 

 

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1 hour ago, PortFees45 said:

She's absolutely wrong about that. If you sail NCL again and another waiter gives you that line, inform them that's not what the Dining Package T&C states and that if he/she is going to insist on applying restrictions that are totally inapplicable you need to talk their supervisor. If the supervisor digs in say NCL's arbitrary creation and application of restrictions on dining package guests that aren't stated anywhere in the T&C is a longstanding, tacky and inappropriate process, and that your next call will be to the General Manager. 

And keep a screenshot of that section of the T&C's on your phone.

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I think the over all problem is you are just tired of NCL's particular brand of crap. Cruise on another line for awhile until you get sick of their brand of crap. It is why we try really hard to not do consecutive cruises on any particular cruise line.

 

Except for Harvest Cay.

 

Everyone should boycott Harvest Cay. It isn't Belize. It is a deal between NCL and the Belize government. The people from Belize lost big on the Harvest Cay scam. What is even worse is unless you have an excursion on the mainland purchased thru NCL you have to pay extra to get to the mainland and only are allowed on if and when there is room on the tender that goes from Harvest Cay to the mainland. 

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2 minutes ago, HalfHand said:

I think the over all problem is you are just tired of NCL's particular brand of crap. Cruise on another line for awhile until you get sick of their brand of crap. It is why we try really hard to not do consecutive cruises on any particular cruise line.

 

Except for Harvest Cay.

 

Everyone should boycott Harvest Cay. It isn't Belize. It is a deal between NCL and the Belize government. The people from Belize lost big on the Harvest Cay scam. What is even worse is unless you have an excursion on the mainland purchased thru NCL you have to pay extra to get to the mainland and only are allowed on if and when there is room on the tender that goes from Harvest Cay to the mainland. 

 

I've seen the Belize mainland.  I prefer Harvest Caye.

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16 minutes ago, HalfHand said:

Everyone should boycott Harvest Cay. It isn't Belize. It is a deal between NCL and the Belize government. The people from Belize lost big on the Harvest Cay scam. What is even worse is unless you have an excursion on the mainland purchased thru NCL you have to pay extra to get to the mainland and only are allowed on if and when there is room on the tender that goes from Harvest Cay to the mainland. 

 

That's interesting...no idea that was the case.  We do not plan to visit the mainland, but good to know.  

 

Based on several responses to the OP, looks like they posted some fair thoughts / insights.  Certainly not trolling or inappropriate.  I guess not exactly "bye Felicia".  

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, HalfHand said:

I think the over all problem is you are just tired of NCL's particular brand of crap. Cruise on another line for awhile until you get sick of their brand of crap. It is why we try really hard to not do consecutive cruises on any particular cruise line.

 

Except for Harvest Cay.

 

Everyone should boycott Harvest Cay. It isn't Belize. It is a deal between NCL and the Belize government. The people from Belize lost big on the Harvest Cay scam. What is even worse is unless you have an excursion on the mainland purchased thru NCL you have to pay extra to get to the mainland and only are allowed on if and when there is room on the tender that goes from Harvest Cay to the mainland. 

This is an interesting viewpoint.  When we were there, we had a poolside cabana.  The wonderful server that took care of us was telling us that her village on the main land had improved dramatically since the opening of HC.  She said that she, personally, was able to get a new home for her, her mother and her two children due to the money she makes on HC.  She also said her children's school showed great improvement.  And she said it was all due to the money that HC brought into the region.

Based on her assessment, it sounds like her part of Belize gained from HC.

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5 hours ago, ColeThornton said:

Water hasn't been allowed to be brought on board for four years now.   You should have known that if you have sailed NCL recently.   Hope you find a line that meets your needs.  Bye.

Didn't say it was news to him, said he had a beef, probably for 4 years now, sailed NCL anyway, has had enough.

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2 hours ago, tef43 said:

 

I've seen the Belize mainland.  I prefer Harvest Caye.

 

Belize City was my least favorite and that includes Ocho Rios.  They force you through the excursion hall and everyone attacks you with high pressure tactics even if you tell them you already have an excursion booked.  Our driver took us to his house to show us how poor he was so we would feel bad and give him a bigger tip.  The ships have to tender beyond the coral reef which makes it a long trip in rough seas.  If our cruise coming up was going to BC again, I would probably have passed or at least not gotten off the ship.  

 

I was looking forward to just being able to relax by the pool or beach without having to purchase an excursion.  I am disappointed that we probably are going to have to tender if the pier is not fixed in the next couple of weeks but it won't ruin the day.  

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3 hours ago, insidecabin said:

Two 9n cruises late last year and quite a few times different restaurants we got the line "one of each on the dining package" 

 

Just say that's not what the T&C say and order what we wanted never got the surcharge. 

 

On Platinum dinner in Le Bistro order the lamb($36) you will get charged the $1 with 20c gratuity as it is over the $35 limit. 

 

I only eat in Le Bistro with a voucher and actually really like the lamb, but I never order it anymore because dammit even for only $1.20 I refuse to pay out like that. NCL squeezing their most loyal customers over a dollar (with 20 cents added for your convenience). You should be able to order anything off the menu. 

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500 people on a tender? That is not a tender - that is a small cruise ship.

Ship tenders generally hold about 150 pax max.

I smell hyperbole and BS.

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3 hours ago, GA Dave said:

And keep a screenshot of that section of the T&C's on your phone.

Great advice

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1 hour ago, SteveH2508 said:

500 people on a tender? That is not a tender - that is a small cruise ship.

Ship tenders generally hold about 150 pax max.

I smell hyperbole and BS.

no, these are very large double hull ships and 500 pax may be credible, I was there and felt the same way about tendering, though they did make prior announcement that pier was damaged and tendering would be used.

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4 hours ago, tef43 said:

 

I've seen the Belize mainland.  I prefer Harvest Caye.

I went to HC and since I had shorex credit I decided to take the ferry to Placencia, just on a lark. Very underused ferry from HC, and a very nice boat, huge covered center console style with 3 very big Yamaha(250HP?) 4 cycle outboards. Glad I went, it was a really cool village, great beach, concrete boardwalk winding thru very cute village, electric golf carts scooting all over. Nice people, no begging. Google it and see the reviews. Will go again if given opportunity.

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9 hours ago, mjkacmom said:

Do people actually pay the $99 a day for the UBP?

 

No.  But when they artificially inflate the price of the UBP, they are able to create more revenue from their 20% gratuities.  So 20% of $99 is more revenue than 20% of $49.   

 

We average maybe two drinks a day, so we barely break even by selecting the UBP.  

Edited by Lou33

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8 hours ago, Bushmaster225 said:

I agree with almost everything sbt518 said.  Celebrity Drink package is way better, they don't charge gratuity and it includes water.   Celebrity food I believe is better, and I think the service is a little better. 

 

We don't gamble and I hate the smoke while walking around the casino on NCL.  I think the shows are better on NCL, and I really hate signing out towels like I'm a child.  Although, I do act like a child on NCL water rides, which Celebrity doesn't have.  At 50 I feel 20 on Celebrity because of the average age of the passengers .   I think I'll be trying RCL, next.

 

  

 

Celebrity and NCL are way too different to really compare.  Anyone who cruises somewhat regularly should try both lines, as some will prefer one or the other.  NCL has a much more "fun" vibe, Celebrity more relaxed.  Celebrity is better in almost every way other than the vibe and feel, if you prefer more family/fun.  No slides or any of that stuff on X.

 

We think of a nice Celebrity ship (like Reflection) as quite similar to the Haven experience, but the whole ship, and way better.  But you don't get to "leave" that experience.  For people who just want to sit in the Haven all day, I'd totally recommend just sailing an upmarket brand like Celebrity.  Way cheaper and better in that case.

Edited by BNBR

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5 hours ago, SteveH2508 said:

500 people on a tender? That is not a tender - that is a small cruise ship.

Ship tenders generally hold about 150 pax max.

I smell hyperbole and BS.

I stand by that number. I've never been on a tender that accommodated any where near what this one did. It took forever to load and offload.

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3 hours ago, cvil88 said:

I stand by that number. I've never been on a tender that accommodated any where near what this one did. It took forever to load and offload.

 

NCL is not using its life boats as tenders ? - contracting (charter) a local private firm with a large vessel.

Perhaps great that they are using one with 2 and half times the capacity of NCL life boats although taking time to load

and unload. If waiting for a second or third life boat of NCL time is a wasting here.

500 guests is 1/8th the guest capacity on the GETAWAY 1 charter load or 3 NCL life boats ?

 

While private island port calls are unique - I just don't like being a captive audience to what is and only offered.

I would rather have my cup of tea tendering at say Bar Harbor Maine and deal with that.

Of course not dealing with the same cruise port calls oranges apples mangos and bananas - or even pine cones.

 

You know that you don't have to get off the ship at HC !

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17 hours ago, cvil88 said:

Just got off the NCL Getaway on a 9 day cruise. My wife and I have done 30+ cruises on multiple cruise lines but more NCL cruises recently. Here are a few beefs regarding NCL:

-very disappointed with food quality in main dining room

-the $99 (plus gratuity) Beverage Package doesn't include water or cappuccino

-no longer allowed to bring water on board or wine (corkage fee)

-they chose to tender to their private island in Harvest Caye that offers no food or do not allow you to use your beverage package (if they docked, most people would go back to ship for lunch and drinks, so your stuck paying on their property)

-they tell you it's a 5 minute tender to the island then load you on a tender that holds 500 people, so by the time you board and disembark, you've wasted half hour or more (and once on the tender the first thing you hear is a request for a tip)

-the specialty restaurants were excellent but the up charges were excessive (it was emphasized by our waitress at Le Bistro that you only get one appetizer, one entree and one desert. So when I asked about ordering the soup and a salad, she told me their would be an up charge)

We enjoyed the entertainment on the cruise and the ports but we will probably be looking at Royal Caribbean or Celebrity in the future. 

Would like to hear if others feel like we do or are we being too critical. Thanks!

We came back from a 21 day cruise on the NCL Gem and completely agree.  We too noticed the decline in the quality of the food on board as well as the service.  Everywhere we went there was the constant sales pitch.  The giant screen in the atrium kept running an advertising loop. Half of the available TV stations were for NCL promotions.  We kept throwing away the same ads each day that were inserted in the daily.  The “art” gallery and that outfit is wasted space.   Without a dining package the prices in the specialty restaurants are comparable to land based restaurants.  Apparently lobsters have gone extinct, and shrimp are endangered.   We’re Platinum with NCL but are now looking at competitors in the same price class.

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Agree. Food is a big part of a cruise to many veteran cruisers and maybe even for newer cruisers. What they've done to the main dining room food quality and variety is very obvious. Very repetitive, unimaginative, and average selections, at best.  And you are right, you won't find a shrimp dish offering in the MDR regardless of cruise length. But some nights you can choose from three chicken dishes on the same night. I recall one night there was a chicken dish on the every day feature, plus two chicken dishes on the daily selection. And then one night we had pork chop on the left side and pork chop on the right side....the new MDR menus compare poorly to the menus offered by the competition, in my opinion.

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Food is definitely subjective.  Have also heard good reports re: Celebrity's MDR so DW & I may also give them a try at some point again.  It's been almost 20 years since we were last on Celebrity... Water, corkage fees, etc. as other posters have previously stated are "old news"... am also surprised since your recent cruises have been on NCL that you weren't aware of them...

 

One observation; you state in your post that, "My wife and I have done 30+ cruises on multiple cruise lines but more NCL cruises recently..."  Yet for ALL those other cruises you've only had 14 posts here on CC?  Just sayin' !

 

In any event, hope your next cruise is a better experience for you.

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2 minutes ago, tomk3212 said:

One observation; you state in your post that, "My wife and I have done 30+ cruises on multiple cruise lines but more NCL cruises recently..."  Yet for ALL those other cruises you've only had 14 posts here on CC?  Just sayin' !

I had been on at least 10+ cruises before I found CC in 2015.  Actually wish I had found it sooner because I've learned so much since becoming a CC member from reading/lurking in threads.

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@Georgia_Peaches if you noticed the OP has been a member since 2009...yet in all that time they've only done 14 posts and, in their own words,  "have sailed on 30+ cruises..."  That just struck me as rather strange...

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