We just tried NCL… NEVER again.

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We did the Pride of America cruise last year and it was great. We spent most of the time on shore though - this is THE ship to sail if you want Hawaii.
Food was fine, never waited to be sat, plenty of available seats for the shows, no problem getting soda at the bars since they have so many. The staff was super nice, our steward was great and very helpful.

We have also sailed the Breakaway and the shows were amazing. Balcony rooms have the partition that does not come down (we had connecting cabins). Waited one night for the MDR just because we did not go on our appointed time.

NCL is getting the Freestyle Coke machines, thought they all had them by now.
The diner is free except for the shakes.
Continental breakfast room service is included but anything else is an extra charge.
Did not watch any movies except when getting ready for the evening so did not even see what they had as pay per view.
Someone mentioned the library being open only for an hour in the morning - I went to the library several times at night, and a couple of times during the day on sea day. They were closed when in port.
 
We did the Pride of America cruise last year and it was great. We spent most of the time on shore though - this is THE ship to sail if you want Hawaii.
Isn't it also the only ship to sail Hawaii?

NCL is getting the Freestyle Coke machines, thought they all had them by now.
I wonder if they'll use some kind of RFID chips like Disney does at the resorts to prevent guests without a drink package from using the machines.
 
A quick google search and a better understanding of economics and how corporations work would give you that answer.

I will agree my anecdote was a bit of an exaggeration but just to make a point. Lower end mass market lines make approx 1/3rd of their revenue onboard. Overall Profit margins run in the 15-20% range. Gambling , booze , I would imagine are a big part of that , and if you want to argue that go right ahead. Take away these things, the business case erodes. Profitable ? Maybe. Worth investing billions in? Not so sure

Economics aside , you can say the product is just a commodity and the same across cruise lines but many of us would disagree. Rooms, included meals, port excursions, etc yes. Shopping mall sales, belly flop contests, loud pop music, casino, and the nighttime entertainment offered vs DCL, for us, is a different product. Different strokes.
 
So?

I wrote that DCL isn't usually twice as expensive as NCL. I also wrote that the cost difference is more likely to be that large when you're traveling with more than two people in a room. You went and found exactly that situation to somehow counter what I wrote? I don't understand the logic there. What I said remains true. The price difference is usually a lot less than double.

Let's stop pretending that "Free at Sea" is in any way free, though. You get an excursion credit, but NCL charges more for excursions. The "free" drinks are only worth it if you drink enough alcohol. From what I've read here, the "free" specialty restaurants aren't much better than normal DCL food and normal NCL food is a fair bit worse. I guess the two hours of slow WiFi is free!

(Just for fun, I checked out NCL's "free air" promotion. It's actually only "free" for the second person. For the first person, they wanted to charge me $884 for a round trip flight that usually costs me about $250-350. And, they don't book the flight until 30 days before departure and you don't get to choose the time, route, or airline. What nonsense!)
NCL and other cruise lines charge for the 3rd and 4th passenger unless they’re running a special like kids sail free (we are a family of 7 who has never cruised off peak so never had freebies). The air promo can be an excellent deal saving thousands on overseas travel, most who take it price out what they can get on their own. Yes, it’s a gamble that many are willing to take for the price (knowing flights might not be ideal). The free drinks is really a great deal, $21 a day for all you can drink. We really enjoyed that. I’ve found the specialty restaurants on NCL better than dcl’s included restaurants.
 


I've only cruised NCL once, but most of the stuff you complained about you would have known with some research prior to the cruise.

As far as laundry Royal gives you a laundry stuff bag. As much as you can stuff in for 35 bucks. I've read that NCL does the same. I honestly loved it. DCL actually had a similar deal on our European cruise, but not quite as good 25 items for 20 dollars or something like that. I was thrilled to see DCL offer something. The laundry rooms are a nightmare on long European cruises. Carnival, Princess, and DCL are the only cruise lines with self-serve laundry. If that's important stick with those.

I've only had good internet on Royal.

DCL's sofa beds do not have bed rails. Maybe they do if they ask, but I've never seen them.

DCL is the only cruise line I know of with free room service. Of course, you are paying a lot more for your cruise so it's all relative.
NCL also has the fill the bag special, $30 I believe. Most main stream cruise lines have a charge for room service (not for the actual food, but a service charge). RCL and Carnival are down to once a day cabin servicing. NCL stopped allowing balcony dividers to be opened years ago, but used to allow it. When my kids were in the 9 - 12 range, they all disliked DCL and NCL clubs, they liked both of their younger clubs, and loved NCL’s teen club (although I think they just liked to meet others to hang with). We’ve never made a MDR reservation on NCL and never waited for a table, but never sailed a peak holiday either. We’d just go to the larger MDR. NCL usually has a specialty restaurant open as overflow from the buffet, that’s where we eat breakfast. H and I always get spa passes, I hate crowded pool decks and have never entered the pools on any cruise on deck. I don’t think room service will bring beverages that are from a package free on any cruise line, you have to pay (obviously not charged on DCL because they are included in the fare).
 
We have also sailed the Breakaway and the shows were amazing. Balcony rooms have the partition that does not come down (we had connecting cabins). Waited one night for the MDR just because we did not go on our appointed time.
Continental breakfast room service is included but anything else is an extra charge.
Did not watch any movies except when getting ready for the evening so did not even see what they had as pay per view.
Someone mentioned the library being open only for an hour in the morning - I went to the library several times at night, and a couple of times during the day on sea day. They were closed when in port.
Continental breakfast is NOT included from room service. It may have been before covid but it isn’t now. Nothing is. Coming from HAL where all room service is still included it was a bummer (not a deal breaker but definitely sucked on the port mornings).

In regards to the library, the room was open all day but the cases were locked except for one shelf of passenger exchange paperbacks which could be taken/left as one pleased.

I’ve yet to sail DCL but have a cruise in the works for March 2025 so am here collecting info. I HAVE sailed NCL, Carnival, Royal, Holland America, Cunard, and Princess though I can say without a doubt (at least in my experience) that NCL is by far the most nickel-and-dime-y of the lot. They include the least and have the most up charges. They also have the highest daily tips of any mass market line even though they reduced cabin service to once per day the same month they increased said tips to $20pp per day. HAL and Princess still service cabins twice per day.

They do some things right and I’ll give them credit where due though. Their Broadway style shows are wonderful. We saw Six the Musical on the Bliss last month and it was amazing. Of course they are starting to remove some of those shows and replace with game shows rumor has it. And their older smaller ships don’t have those kinds of shows at all, only the mega ships.
 
Isn't it also the only ship to sail Hawaii?
NCL Hawaii used to have two ships sail around the islands but cut back to one. They're the only U.S. flagged ship cruising the islands, so they don't have to include a foreign port, which gives them a monopoly of sorts.

We were on the inaugural Disney Hawaii cruise -- a lot of fun but it was round trip from Los Angeles and DH got tired of all the days at sea. Now they begin or end in Hawaii but still have to include a foreign port (Ensenada).

We've also cruised on American Hawaii which was also U.S. flagged (so they didn't have to visit a foreign port) but was forced out of business after 911 because tourists just weren't traveling. They had two older ships, and one was the ship that was the film set of "An Affair to Remember."
 


I will agree my anecdote was a bit of an exaggeration but just to make a point. Lower end mass market lines make approx 1/3rd of their revenue onboard. Overall Profit margins run in the 15-20% range. Gambling , booze , I would imagine are a big part of that , and if you want to argue that go right ahead. Take away these things, the business case erodes. Profitable ? Maybe. Worth investing billions in? Not so sure

Economics aside , you can say the product is just a commodity and the same across cruise lines but many of us would disagree. Rooms, included meals, port excursions, etc yes. Shopping mall sales, belly flop contests, loud pop music, casino, and the nighttime entertainment offered vs DCL, for us, is a different product. Different strokes.
At least you admitted it was a bit of exaggeration that's a start.
 
People will pay it but it doesn't change the fact that Disney uses a pricing model that is different to the mass market lines. Disney doesn't have nearly the options to spend on board that the other lines have. Because Disney is already leaving port at a profit. Whereas other lines sometimes don't. Carnival especially is known to sail away at a loss and come back with a profit. Onboard spending is a major difference and where the other lines make their money. Disney uses the ultra-luxury pricing model. High upfront cost, lower to no onboard spend.

The casinos wouldn't be on board if they are not taking 100k or more a night. Dealers are expensive, the additional security and government issues is expensive. The major lines wouldn't be giving out 'free' cruises to known gamblers if it wasn't profitable to do so.
I have never gone on a DCL cruise and have had no onboard spending. Who are these people?

I see hoards of people playing bingo, the bars are packed, excursions are sold out, Palo is full, alcohol tastings always sell out, the spa is full, people are buying internet, and the merchandise stores are full of people walking out with big bags of overpriced Mickey gear. Not too sure about that theory.
 
I have never gone on a DCL cruise and have had no onboard spending. Who are these people?
Me? It depends on the cruise. On my first DCL cruise, I spent less than $100 onboard. I bought a few coffee drinks and my partner bought a drink at dinner each night. We bought a couple of small souvenirs from the shop. That's it. Easily less than $100. That was a 4-night cruise, though.

On other cruises, I've spent a lot more with Palo, excursions, and so on. But the excursion money mostly goes to vendors. Disney only keeps a small bit of it. So, they're still not getting much from me after the initial cost of the cruise itself.
 
Me? It depends on the cruise. On my first DCL cruise, I spent less than $100 onboard. I bought a few coffee drinks and my partner bought a drink at dinner each night. We bought a couple of small souvenirs from the shop. That's it. Easily less than $100. That was a 4-night cruise, though.

On other cruises, I've spent a lot more with Palo, excursions, and so on. But the excursion money mostly goes to vendors. Disney only keeps a small bit of it. So, they're still not getting much from me after the initial cost of the cruise itself.
Don’t you think that theory applies to all ships. No one has to spend money on any ship. It’s always a choice. You could easily go any ship on any cruise line and only spend 100 dollars. Most of us choose to enhance the vacation and spend more.

Some people act like DCL is all inclusive. It certainly is nothing of the sort.
 
People will pay it but it doesn't change the fact that Disney uses a pricing model that is different to the mass market lines. Disney doesn't have nearly the options to spend on board that the other lines have. Because Disney is already leaving port at a profit. Whereas other lines sometimes don't. Carnival especially is known to sail away at a loss and come back with a profit. Onboard spending is a major difference and where the other lines make their money. Disney uses the ultra-luxury pricing model. High upfront cost, lower to no onboard spend.

The casinos wouldn't be on board if they are not taking 100k or more a night. Dealers are expensive, the additional security and government issues is expensive. The major lines wouldn't be giving out 'free' cruises to known gamblers if it wasn't profitable to do so.
I disagree that Disney uses an ultra luxury pricing model. Disney is not an ultra luxury cruise line with little to no onboard spending. There was literally a thread a few days ago asking people what they spend onboard DCL and some it was less than 100 but some it was thousands. That’s true with any cruise line. On our last NCL cruise we spent less than 100 onboard for the week. Our last DCL 4 day was 750-1000.

Ultra luxury lines like Regent Seven Seas include everything—excursions, tips, Wi-Fi, drinks, no upcharge restaurant,airport transfers, sometimes even pre cruise hotel, etc. DCL doesnt even remotely follow that pricing model.

Also don’t agree that Disney has less onboard spending options. DCL has a higher upfront cost but still wants people to spend onboard. DCL still has tons of spending options onboard—drinks, tastings, Palo/Remy/Enchante, spa treatments and day passes, bingo, haircuts/men’s barbershop, kids princess and pirate makeovers (which other lines don’t have). Beside a casino (but still has bingo which is always full) and some thrill options like go karts or zip lines, DCL has the standard spending options. I would argue people are crazier about Disney merchandise onboard than other lines—I don’t think anyone is clamoring for Royal Caribbean merchandise like Disney stuff.

DCL charges more because they are the only line that has Disney IP. That’s their ace and that’s why they can charge more.
 
I spend very little onboard my NCL cruises. I set aside $20 a day to play in the slots for fun and that's about it. All my drinks and food is already paid for in my fare and we do most excursions on our own. I will book an ship's excursion usually only when my DH wants to go diving. I stay on the top of the water and I want to make sure that I'll get back onboard when I go off alone, so I book a ship's excursion. I also usually manage to find a deal with free gratuities and I get $300-$400 of OBC.
 
Don’t you think that theory applies to all ships. No one has to spend money on any ship. It’s always a choice. You could easily go any ship on any cruise line and only spend 100 dollars. Most of us choose to enhance the vacation and spend more.

Some people act like DCL is all inclusive. It certainly is nothing of the sort.
Well, sort of. I'm sure that I wouldn't be spending much more on NCL. I'd have to buy something to drink all day or else stick with water, but otherwise my costs probably wouldn't change too much. Their drinks do seem to cost a bit more, though, and they charge more for excursions.

But so what? The point here is that NCL makes money through casino gambling and that DCL doesn't. The money that NCL (and others) make from the casinos is significant and certainly allows them to be more competitive with their basic prices. I'm not really sure why anyone is disputing that. It's the same model that casinos use all over the world and it's been very successful.
 
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I disagree that Disney uses an ultra luxury pricing model. Disney is not an ultra luxury cruise line with little to no onboard spending. There was literally a thread a few days ago asking people what they spend onboard DCL and some it was less than 100 but some it was thousands. That’s true with any cruise line. On our last NCL cruise we spent less than 100 onboard for the week. Our last DCL 4 day was 750-1000.

Ultra luxury lines like Regent Seven Seas include everything—excursions, tips, Wi-Fi, drinks, no upcharge restaurant,airport transfers, sometimes even pre cruise hotel, etc. DCL doesnt even remotely follow that pricing model.

Also don’t agree that Disney has less onboard spending options. DCL has a higher upfront cost but still wants people to spend onboard. DCL still has tons of spending options onboard—drinks, tastings, Palo/Remy/Enchante, spa treatments and day passes, bingo, haircuts/men’s barbershop, kids princess and pirate makeovers (which other lines don’t have). Beside a casino (but still has bingo which is always full) and some thrill options like go karts or zip lines, DCL has the standard spending options. I would argue people are crazier about Disney merchandise onboard than other lines—I don’t think anyone is clamoring for Royal Caribbean merchandise like Disney stuff.

DCL charges more because they are the only line that has Disney IP. That’s their ace and that’s why they can charge more.
I was looking at River cruises that’s another example of what I would consider all inclusive. A company will charge whatever people are willing to pay. Why wouldn’t they? It’s all very simple.

It will be interesting to see if the Disney brand can continue to withstand the test of time. They seem to be failing on a lot of fronts right now. I’m not sure gen z and alpha will have the same attachment that previous generations had.
 
Well, sort of. I'm sure that I wouldn't be spending much more on NCL. I'd have to buy something to drink all day or else stick with water, but otherwise my costs probably wouldn't change too much. Their drinks do seem to cost a bit more, though, and they charge more for excursions.

But so what? The point here is that NCL makes money through casino gambling and that DCL doesn't. The money that NCL (and others) make from the casinos is significant and certainly allows them to be more competitive with their basic prices. I'm not really sure why anyone is disputing that. It's the same model that casinos use all over the world and it's been very successful.
You really think people go on cruises and spend thousands of dollars gambling. Cruise ships are not floating casinos.
Disney charges what they do because people like yourself and others are willing to pay it, If cruise doesn’t sell Disney lowers the price. I’ve gotten some pretty good discounts on DCL. No different than any other cruise lines. Price is always driven by demand.
 
You really think people go on cruises and spend thousands of dollars gambling. Cruise ships are not floating casinos.
Disney charges what they do because people like yourself and others are willing to pay it, If cruise doesn’t sell Disney lowers the price. I’ve gotten some pretty good discounts on DCL. No different than any other cruise lines. Price is always driven by demand.
Does Disney comp rooms for high stakes bingo players? lol
 
You really think people go on cruises and spend thousands of dollars gambling. Cruise ships are not floating casinos.
Disney charges what they do because people like yourself and others are willing to pay it, If cruise doesn’t sell Disney lowers the price. I’ve gotten some pretty good discounts on DCL. No different than any other cruise lines. Price is always driven by demand.
Seriously? Of course they do! For one example, my sister does. The casino is one of her favorite things about cruising. Some people just sit in there all day playing slots. Have you never been to a casino?
 
Seriously? Of course they do! For one example, my sister does. The casino is one of her favorite things about cruising. Some people just sit in there all day playing slots. Have you never been to a casino?
Free rooms , free drinks , on board credit, dining , VIP seating at shows - it certainly does exist. Pretty sure all of the major lines have some sort of gamblers club , just like Las Vegas
 
Your sister spends thousands of dollars in casinos? That’s pretty sad.
Lots of people do. On my first Celebrity cruise I met a couple that lived on the ship--the husband owned his own business and worked remotely during the day while the wife home-schooled their two elementary school-aged kids, then during the evening the husband played $3,000 per hand Blackjack (I think--it was whatever the table maximum was). They were comp'd 2-bedroom Penthouse Suites (or better) on every sailing. That's an extreme, but for ships that have casinos it's pretty rare that I'm on a semi-premium cruise line and don't see at least a few people playing $150+ per hand blackjack and $25+ per spin slots. But for many people, being up or down $5,000 at a time isn't really all that much money anyway. Aside from the occasional whale the casinos tend to be pretty full during the evenings (probably at least partially because a lot of cruise lines have dialed back on evening entertainment options).

Even so, I think DISers tend to overestimate the impact that the casino has on ship revenue. It's meaningful, but it's nowhere enough to justify the Disney price difference. (Not to mention that Disney has bingo, which is probably the biggest gambling rip-off of them all.)
 
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