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Think twice before choosing NCL!

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Kwilson51

Guest
#1
My family and I just returned from an Alaskan cruise on the NCL Star. The sights were lovely, the ports interesting but that's about all the positive things I can say about our NCL cruise. This is our 15th cruise and believe it or not the 1st was on the NCL Norway in 1981. It was a wonderful cruise and since we have sailed many NCL ships.

This was the first time however, we sailed a "freestyle" ship. And may I say never will again for MANY reasons. We were a party of 15 so trying to make a "reservation" each night for dinner together was very stressful and most difficult. Not even in the main dinning rooms were we able to set a time/tables for the week. So much for the "all inclusive" idea. Most of the restraunts had what I considered to be a very unreasonable fee for dinning in them, as much as $20.00 p/p, especially if you have a large family. It could add hundreds to your bill. Now lets talk gratuity or service charge or what ever you want to call it. We were charged from day one, a $10.00 p/p "fee" on our account. This was apparently to cover "gratuities" for dinning staff and room staff. But remember for most of the dinning rooms, there was already an additonal charge that was called a "gratuity". Most of our meals were eaten in the buffet as we had such a hard time getting reservations at the FREE dinning rooms. So where were my tips going?

I asked and was told "it's a very complicated issue and we can't say exactly how the fee is distributed". Well now, I suggested (not so kindly) that they remove the fee from my account and that I would "tip" accordingly. After much discussion they obliged and we tiped our room staff, and servers in the dinning room as we did eat there twice.

In our paper today there is a large artical on NCL making this "fee" policy on all there ships and it will be non-refundable. Just think, I would have had an additional bill of $150.00 per day X 7 = $1,050.00.

Service is severly lacking and food has been on the decline as well. Maybe the staff are not providing the same service as before beacause they have no need to "impress" the passanger to ensure a large tip. We have always looked at the dinning experience as one of the best parts of our cruise....not this time and not again with NCL.

Just a friendly warning, be sure you know what and how much your NCL cruise is really costing you!
 
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newmexicoNita

Guest
#2
WE have talked to others who have cruised with families that large, like a regular land restaurant it is very difficult to seat that many. Others who have had groups of more than 10 have suggested you make your plans for the large group before you ever sail or on embarkation day and of course you won't have the option of eating when and where you want without a long wait. Freestyle isn't designed for that large of a group. On Celebrity last November we got to know 2 large parties and both said they found it necessary to split for dinner. One party was 12, the other about 18 I beleive. As for the food, well food is a very subjective issue we all know. What one finds excellant another will find unacceptable. The $10 per day, service charge starts next May. Be assured, just like the no discount policy RCI, Celebrity and Carnival are just starting if it works all lines will do this. Your figures still come to $10 a day whether there are 4 of you or 50. $10 a day is very cheap and I would imagine most of us will add to that amount instead of being upset by it. This subject is almost a dead issue as it has been hashed over for weeks now on all boards. Everyone who has traveled to Europe, Asai or Bahamas knows a 10 to 15% service charge is always added and is not adjusted. We too have cruised 15 times, with the 16th coming up soon. there is only 1 mass marketed line we haven't hit. Food in general is on the decline. Look at the price of cruising now compared to 20 years ago. Considering inflation the prices have dropped and the cost of everything has increased. Have you priced steak in your super market lately? If we are lucky we can get a fair one on sale for about $5 per lbs, many are $10 and up a lb. The ships must be paying more as well. What about crab legs? On sale this week, previously frozen so you can imagine how wonderful they were not: $8.99 a lb. I think I have made my point. NMNita
 
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newmexicoNita

Guest
#3
WE have talked to others who have cruised with families that large, like a regular land restaurant it is very difficult to seat that many. Others who have had groups of more than 10 have suggested you make your plans for the large group before you ever sail or on embarkation day and of course you won't have the option of eating when and where you want without a long wait. Freestyle isn't designed for that large of a group. On Celebrity last November we got to know 2 large parties and both said they found it necessary to split for dinner. One party was 12, the other about 18 I beleive. As for the food, well food is a very subjective issue we all know. What one finds excellant another will find unacceptable. The $10 per day, service charge starts next May. Be assured, just like the no discount policy RCI, Celebrity and Carnival are just starting if it works all lines will do this. Your figures still come to $10 a day whether there are 4 of you or 50. $10 a day is very cheap and I would imagine most of us will add to that amount instead of being upset by it. This subject is almost a dead issue as it has been hashed over for weeks now on all boards. Everyone who has traveled to Europe, Asai or Bahamas knows a 10 to 15% service charge is always added and is not adjusted. We too have cruised 15 times, with the 16th coming up soon. there is only 1 mass marketed line we haven't hit. Food in general is on the decline. Look at the price of cruising now compared to 20 years ago. Considering inflation the prices have dropped and the cost of everything has increased. Have you priced steak in your super market lately? If we are lucky we can get a fair one on sale for about $5 per lbs, many are $10 and up a lb. The ships must be paying more as well. What about crab legs? On sale this week, previously frozen so you can imagine how wonderful they were not: $8.99 a lb. I think I have made my point. NMNita
 
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nimiq

Guest
#4
HI Kwilson51 !

I am very sorry to here the bad experience you had with NCL as that was the 1st company I ever cruised on and thought the were fabulous. Actually we are going back on NCL in november.

As for freestyle I have to agree with you it is very difficult to get a table if you are moire than 10. As for the charges for so other dinning option well welcome to the 2004 era as all the cruise line have these premium restaurant that u have to pay for.

Also for you comment on the 10,00 on the account other cruise line use the same system as well such as Carnival .
`We were charged from day one, a $10.00 p/p "fee" on our account`

For me I actually prefer that as i dont have to go around looking for U.S. dollars to pay all these people.

One thing I would like to see change is actually when paying for the cruise that all is included in the price just give me the whole price.

sea ya
ERIC
 
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newmexicoNita

Guest
#5
Eric, at one point I didn't want the price of tipping or service charge, whatever added to my cruise price but I am quickly changing my mind. It's just like the all inclusive resorts. Just give me what I will be paying aside from incidentals and specialty restaurants things like that. It would be so much simpler. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\NMNita
 
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cmitch9999

Guest
#7
We just returned from the 8/8 Norwegian Crown. Since we had a group of 10, we ended up getting a set table and dining time for us. We had to choose between 5:30 or 9PM... it was worth it to bypass the long lines for freestyle and we did have an excellent wait staff. Sorry that that was not an option on the Star. On our other NCL cruises we have had only 4-6 in a group so we were able to enjoy that flexibilty more tho we always eat on the early side before 6PM to prevent long waits for a table. Star should have had some reservation only restaurants that didn't require the extra service fee. Sorry you were so disappointed with the Star...we were on the Star Princess last Aug to Alaska and also had some major issues with Princess and how they handled situations on the ship. But once you see those awesome pictures of Alaska, those will be the memories that remain.

Chris Mitchell