The current issue of Cruise Travel has an interesting letter to the editor. In it, the writer claims an 18% gratuity was added to the bill for a passengers medical services. They didn't mention the line but given the 18% I assume it is NCL.
I've never used the ship's medical services. Anyone ever heard of them tipping the doctor? So much for being a licensed pro!
Dave, you speculated it may be NCL, that would not surprise me at all. NCL is stepping way out there with their fees, going well beyond what the rest of the industry is doing. When everyone else added the $5. per day, pp fuel S/C they made theirs $7. and were the only line charging for 3rd and 4th pax. Then when others added another $2. to $3. they took theirs up to $9. and still add $3. for add'l pax. While the rest of the industry still has guidelines for tips/gratuities, they just call theirs a service fee and make it manditory. Even if you recieve poor service and try to get it resolved, no matter how many complaints or issues or whether they actually resolve any of them, I've never heard a single case where they waived this fee. Then they stopped offering premium cuts of beef at the dining choices that are included in the cruise fare. Want a ribeye, prime rib or just a sirloin? Gotta go to the optional, add'l cost, resteraunts. You can still get round steak or tip steak in the regular places, who wants round steak in the dining room? My wife is an animal lover and our two dogs eat that well on occasion. What will be next as a revenue source? Will there be cover charges for the theatre and lounges?
I have nothing against NCL in general but thier system seems to be broken and they're going about generating income in some ways I don't care much for. Why not just increase the cruise rates and offer reasonable services and fees without hiding the real cost of their cruises? Its beginning to result in some pretty nasty reports from people exiting their ships. That can't possibly be good for business. Unhappy clients reflect on more than the cruiseline, those booking the cruises get an earfull too. I provide lots of disclaimers when booking anyone on any of there ships now. I'm certain others are doing the same. Without such words of warning we get slammed along with the line for not warning them what to expect. As a result my NCL bookings are way down. Hope they get the hint at some point or they're going to need another infusion of cash from another major investment firm.