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NCL losing their way

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    NCL losing their way

    As a regular UK traveller holding Platinum status I now feel compelled to put in writing just how disappointed and embarrassed I am in the way NCL have in my opinion lost their way. Friends and family know that for me NCL was outstanding and the only cruise line I would use. I have lost count of how many friends I converted to NCL in recent years.

    That was until the last 18 months in which time I and others are astounded by the way all your cruise prices have gone through the roof. I even noticed in today’s Cruise 1st Brochure NCL doesn’t even get a mention!

    The thing that gets me the most is that you blatantly lured travellers into travelling with you with a superb drinks package and now they are having to pay for it. Like me I worked my way up staying loyal getting to Platinum and then you introduced a new level Platinum Plus. We bought CRUISENEXT deposits thinking with newer ships it can only get better when in fact you are pricing yourselves out the market. Three months ago I spoke to one of your American sales Team and let him know my displeasure and he assured me he would pass it on, as yet I have not even received a follow up phone call. I even pointed out to him that it is blindingly obvious that you really don’t care about the UK market. I could give you at least 5 different outside agencies, Cruise 1st, Cruise Nation, Ahoy, Adore, & www.CRUISE.co.uk, who without trying will come up with a package that includes the flights, transfers and hotel stops way under than NCL can. Every time you try to add flights the price goes up at least £1000 pp so why would anyone in their right mind book direct with NCL. To prove the point I asked your Salesmen to quote me for the Bliss through the Panama Canal in March 19 ... he came up with an inside cabin priced at over £4000pp.. Ridicules no matter how good the ship is. It annoys me the number of American travellers who tell me every cruise that they have been contacted several times since booking to be upgraded on this, then the dining package weeks later etc etc, is this really fair. No once have I ever been offered an upgrade from the time I have booked and I have never a single UK traveller who has yet either! This year (Mar) travelling on the Sun with 8 friends from Chile to Argentina the ship was half full. Surely if you have reached Platinum it should count for something.

    I also have to add having recently travelled on the Gem, Jade and Sun the level of entertainment is getting worse, unless you travel on one of the new bigger ships you get mediocre. Why is it that on the smaller ship in two weeks the entertainment is ok at best then on the penultimate day they without fail put on a show that is Outstanding Quality being part of the NCL Family yet where have these people been for the last 12 days!!!

    I am sorry to say I have now lost faith as have many of my dear friends. I take on average 2 to 3 cruises a year ok not in the Haven as I simply can’t afford it but I feel you have let us down. I currently have over £700 in deposits the first of which needs to be used by Aug 2020 unless things change I will not be back. My friends and I have all drifted away to other lines and MSC have even given me Black Status (Their top grade) for the 3 week Suez trip from Dubai to Venice on the Lirica in Mar 19 and 2 weeks on the Meraviglia (Soton to New York) in Sep 19.

    I do hope that NCL take heed as scores of unsatisfied UK customers are out there and I can assure you with Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean & MSC etc offering such good deals you are on a hiding to nothing.

    Welcome to the forum.

    Is this a copy of a letter you have sent to NCL?...Carol


    • ShaunRJ, York
      ShaunRJ, York commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes and to be honest they were not interested. A simple e-mail not even addressing the main points I made.

    Great first post. Hope you stick around to share and debate it with us, rather than hoping NCL will read it here.
    Welcome to the forum!


      NIce rant

      I have been struggling to find a decent deal on NCL for a while UK or US pricing , just book something else.

      Any one that does find something they want to book and wants a cruisenext I have spare they are transferable.

      NCL UK have never been that good for flights.
      Last edited by Topdeck, London; 28th January 2019, 04:40 PM.


        Welcome aboard ShaunRJ.

        I have enjoyed NCL and enjoyed the NCL 'difference', but I do not consider them to be any better than other mass-market products such as RCI.

        The major American lines ARE focussed on the America market, due to the number of potential passengers available to them. The UK often gets the "crumbs for the table", such as older der ships visiting our shores.

        There was a period just a coupe of years ago where the mass market lines were unable to raise fares, they were similar levels to a few years before - so effectively cheaper. However by including extras such as 'drinks packages' etc. in the fares they have managed to up them, suggesting that the customer is getting so much more for their money. (Their is of course no such thing as a free lunch!)

        I always though that NCL were the 'masters' of the on-board surcharge. No ships had more alternative dining options, for extra fees, at the time. NCL generated more on-board spend that most. Although many other lines are now catching up. However now NCL have raised their fares and clearly want it both way.

        Price rises won't hold, if the public won't pay. Prices will always find a balance between profitability and affordability. I can only assume that the American market is happy to pay through the nose.

        Although you have written an excellent letter, it will not make any difference if passengers keep paying NCL's prices. Just vote with your Wallet.

        There are plenty of alternatives to NCL: RCI's new 'Quantum' class vessels are pretty similar to the newer NCL ships. The 'Oasis' class are impressive. Princess and Celebrity offer good products.

        I have no loyalty!
        Last edited by Malcolm, Essex; 28th January 2019, 02:26 PM.
        See my cruise blog: HERE


          Hi, Welcome to the Forum

          It's so annoying when you have enjoyed a product and they then decide to change it, or make it far to expensive.

          I hope you find and enjoy sailing on some alternatives, and may-be NCL will become a bit more affordable in the future! ...................................Carol


            NCL haven't had many favourable reviews lately on a cruising app I use on my smartphone. It seems a few cruisers feel the same.
            It's nearly ten years since we had a full cruise with NCL so I can't comment on what's happening now though I understand drinks prices have shot up and the entertainment isn't so full of pizzazz
            BIG SHIPS, little ships, small world


              We went on the Epic, May 2018... Had booked it about 14 months before, 5 adults, 2 children. Consisted of 2 X balcony cabins, (one of them for 2 adults, 2 children) and one inside cabin, a lovely spacious cabin, big enough for two people.. .. We were totally happy with the price. Just over £9k.... All drinks included... We sure got our money's worth, children really enjoyed it! X
              Last edited by Tracey, East Yorkshire; 28th January 2019, 10:46 PM. Reason: spelling...


                On a positive note, NCL's Epic, 'Breakaway' and 'Breakaway Plus' ships are VERY impressive in a mass-market way!
                See my cruise blog: HERE


                  I think I am right in saying that NCL is an American company. If so, the £ has fallen quite a bit against the US $ since the Brexit vote nearly three years ago. Unless they put up the prices they will get lower profits. Every company wants to make as much money as possible and clearly would-be passengers are prepared to pay what is being asked, otherwise the price would be reduced by NCL.

                  I went with NCL 20 years ago and again in 2014. I must say that the cruise in 1998 was better and so was the food, but in 1998 cruise lines had not hit on the idea of extracting more money from our pockets with premium dining.


                    The $ pricing is through the roof for NCL as well.

                    ​​​​​​I expect the premium AI packaging will be changed in Europe it makes prices very high.

                    when headline low rates are for just cruise which is GTY only people stop their enquiries.


                      The simple answer is vote with your feet and wallet. I have no problems with finding cruises with Ncl at prices that are comparable or cheaper than any other lines except MSC and that's for a reason. Anybody who books a package directly with NCL is mad, the cruise agents are always more competitive. Although I can normally beat their offering on flights and hotels as well.


                        There have been some good prices since they changed the free at sea to pick any 2 at fixed cost based on cruise length as you can do it on the GTY.

                        £100ppd with drinks, dinners, tips, some in balcony is decent enough.

                        ​​​​​​UK TA discounts don't always knock enough off to lose direct control of the booking.

                        The late discounts are being managed through the upgrade bidding process which keeps them hidden.


                          This is where putting all your faith and loyalty into one cruise line creates bitterness and frustration when you feel you’ve been let down or side-lined by a company’s changing pricing policy or loyalty schemes.

                          I learnt years ago that loyalty counts for nothing for the vast majority of we cruisers, having climbed the ladder of loyalty points with a number of cruise lines over the years, I no longer care or bother who I cruise with as long as the itinerary and price is right.

                          When it comes the major mass market lines there is very little difference in reality to what they offer, and no matter how good a reputation any one cruise line achieves, I have yet to experience consistency in food and entertainment across the whole of the large fleet owners.

                          I have cruised with NCL on a number of occasions with a mixed bag of experiences, some good, some not so good, but none in recent years due to their pricing policies. When they change their prices I will possibly look again, but I certainly won’t be upset if they don’t.

                          Thanks for posting, it’s always good to see new folk on the forum…………Wilba

                          Last edited by Wilba; 12th September 2019, 09:36 AM.


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