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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-04-2006, 08:30 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 3
Having crusied several times in the past on various cruise lines we have never been challenged or questioned with carrying aboard, at the first point of embarcation, a 750ml spirits bottle for pre-dinner cocktails in our room. Single bottle, not cases of stuff, for personal consumption. Is this an issue for your line.
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 03-15-2006, 09:34 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 12
I think there are a lot of people asking the same question! So far, I have established:

if you bring wine, you pay corkage 15USD

hard liquor is not allowed, therefore transfer to plastic water bottles and use nail varish to reseal the bottles (just in case)

they scan for glass bottles, so plastic bottles is the way forward. Realistically, they cant open and sniff every single bottle that boards the ship.

watch out for when you return from a excursion, they scan for bottles (so bad news for Tequila lovers on the Western Caribbean cruise)

Finally - have a ball and enjoy your room drinkies!

  #3 (permalink)  
Old 03-15-2006, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,043
I think you are worrying about this far more than need be. When coming back from a port you can bring liquor. However, the ship could take it and put it in storage and return it to you on the last day. If you bought only one bottle in port they might not even notice it. Sometimes if a large crowd and line is coming back at the same time, they might be too busy to pay attention. Yes, sometimes the drink prices seem high. But it is that way everywhere. Do you take your own bottle into a fine restaurant at home? I'm not saying you shouldn't be able to bring a small bottle for a drink on the balcony, or before dinner. But some people really sound overboard in what they try to sneak on. Everyone wants to criticize the cruise lines for their policies on liquor. But think of it this way. There is a lot of liabilty if everyone would bring on as much booze as they wanted. The cruise lines have enough problems with the media stories about the "lost at sea" people who got drunk and fell overboard. Imagine if there was no control at all.
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 03-15-2006, 03:06 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 105
Originally posted by Cruise Fanatic:
When coming back from a port you can bring liquor. However, the ship could take it and put it in storage and return it to you on the last day. If you bought only one bottle in port they might not even notice it.
You can bring back all the liquor you want. It WILL be held until the last evening. They WILL pay attention.
Originally posted by Cruise Fanatic: Do you take your own bottle into a fine restaurant at home?
No, but this isn't a fine restaurant we're talking about.
Originally posted by Cruise Fanatic:There is a lot of liabilty if everyone would bring on as much booze as they wanted... Imagine if there was no control at all.
I don't think it has anything to do with control - it's all about profit. After all, the ship allows 18 year olds to drink, with parent permission. If it really were control or liability they were worried about, they would not have a policy allowing teens to drink. I see no "control" on that last night when the liquor is released to be taken back to the rooms!

FWIW - I never had a single alcoholic drink onboard, nor did I bring any alcohol. And we sailed with 150 or so college students...
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 03-15-2006, 06:46 PM
Ron Clark's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 912
Yes, it's all about profits. All corporations wish to make a profit. So how rich is NCL, and how much profits did they make last year?

Here's their latest press release:


Take some time to read it well.

Gross revenues last year was $1.6 billion.
So NCL must be rich! WRONG!
Net revenues last year was only $19.2 million.

Expenses was almost as high as revenues last year at $1.581 billion.

NCL's net profit was only a mere 1.2% of total revenues. Expenses were 98.8% of total revenues.

NCL's business stragedy is to fill its ships with cheap fares and nickle and dime you to a profit. It could change it by increasing fares for everyone which probably will mean sailing with half empty ships. But with that policy fewer people could afford to cruise on NCL ships.

Yes, alchol prices and shore excursion prices are high. But even with high prices on these items, NCL barely squeaks by with a profit worthy of the investment it has placed in ships and labor.

Considering by late 2007 NCL would have spent or borrowed between $400 to $500 million per ship for ten ships, using the smaller number, about $4 billion, a return of less than $20 million per year isn't much to brag about.

That's like buying a good, any good, for 98.8 cents and selling it at $1. I know of few corportations that suceed long term with a 1.2% profit........
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 03-16-2006, 05:03 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 12
I hear what you say Ron but if a company manages to increase revenues by 20.8% in a year yet sustains poor profitability, they need to focus on their cost base. Indeed, they can increase reveneues annually but with insufficient control over costs, of course the company is going to report poor profits.

Revenues increase by 20.8% yet operating costs increase 18.9%, yet the company reports an overall occupancy percentage 106.1%. It would be interesting to find out what is included in "other" expenses as this is 25% of total operating expenses.

NCL is a rich corporation, its balance sheet is worth over $4 billion, of that they have $60m cash, it generates $1.9 billion turnover, yet it cant control its costs, yet. Generally, the corporation is in good shape when reviewing the the balance sheet.

Therefore, hitting the passenger with expensive drink bills, over inflated excursion prices is not the answer. The potential profitability base is there, they are just not exploiting it yet.

Indeed a profit of $20m on $1.9 bn is not favourable, but it is encouraging considering they made a loss last year. (Even though their profit was bolstered by a EUR/USD FX translation gain).

I like to research my holiday - but this is taking it a bit far (ha ha)!!! Now, I'd better get back to my day job.

Cheers Ron, take care.
ps hope you have a vacation lined up - think you deserve it.
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 03-16-2006, 06:38 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 105
I would never deny a company profits; what's the point of being in business if not to make a profit? I believe there are better ways to do this as far as the passengers are concerned though. It looks like a good portion of their higher costs are associated with the Hawaii venture, a newer operation for them. So those of us on other trips are making up for the higher costs in Hawaii? Hmm...

There are better ways. Like the soda program, since we were talking about that. Soda is a relatively inexpensive item in the long run. A great profit potential - one can turn a 10 cent glass of fountain soda into quite a profit maker by charging $1.00 for the glass. I'd suggest two options. Include soda, and hike the price of the cruise up $10 per person. That would cover all the soda anyone could drink, especially when you consider how many people don't drink it. It would also make NCL look more attractive to people by reducing one of their extra costs on board. If that doesn't seem fair, then adopt a WalMart type policy. A small amount of profit per item rather than a large, selling more of the item at the lower price to make up the difference. Rather than charge an adult $50 for a soda program and having the vast majority choose to skip the program because of the price, drop it down to something reasonable. Say $20. At $20 I would have paid for a soda program rather than pack soda to bring. I'm sure many others would purchase it as well at a reasonable price. Few of us would drink as much soda as would be required to break even or lose money, considering their costs for soda, and they'd end up with a program that more people would purchase, with an overall higher profit margin.

Other things. I only bought one picture, of my daughter. $8.99 for a 5 x 7 is not a good price. How many photos are taken and discarded at the end of the cruise because the prices are just so high? Drop photo prices down. Say $4 for a picture. Results? More pictures sold, not disposed of. Higher profit margin. 3 pictures for $10? I probably would have bought the 20 or so they took of us. End result; they would sell more, there might even be a demand for them, fewer would be thrown away (no profit there at all), and passengers would appreciate it. Who hasn't noticed the thousands of 'unclaimed' pictures that remain at the end of the voyage? Imagine if they made even a $1 profit on each of those rather than tossing them.

Water. We had two bottles in our cabin that were offered to us, at $4.50 per bottle. We didn't touch them. It was the same on port days. The line at the juice bar to fill personal containers with water to take off the ship rather than pay those prices for a bottle when leaving the ship. Now, if the water was $2 a bottle we would most likely have purchased many. Again, a reasonable price and profit margin per item translates to an increase in overall sales, and an increase in overall profits.

Instead of trying to overcharge passengers for each little item above and beyond the 'normal' cruise inclusions, make those items attractive enough that passengers don't mind paying a mark-up. Think fast food. The major companies out there dropped many prices, creating a dollar menu. Sales soared. Profits rose.

There are many ways to make a profit, and trying to squeeze every possible penny out of a passenger by offering grossly inflated prices on the little things isn't the best way. It's nickel and diming them to death. What's next - an automatic meter on the soap dispensers in the cabins, which will charge us at the end depending on how many pumps of soap we used?
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 03-16-2006, 07:10 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 105
PS- here's another one. The "service fee". OK, despite the claims that this can be adjusted, etc., basically it's a fixed fee. They don't even call it a gratuity or a tip. It's a FEE. Here's an idea. Why not include that as an expense right up front? Have that added to the total cost of the cruise. Keep the 'option' to have it adjusted at the end of the cruise available, so it doesn't sound so harsh. Let me pay for it when I pay for the cruise. Then I don't walk aboard with a couple hundred dollars already on my shipboard account! The basics are paid for up front. Then the money I bring is mine to spend as I please, I'm not in the hole the minute I board. Face it, it's a fee. An amount decided by the cruise line and billed to me. Why can't it be billed in the beginning then? And if I have a real problem with the service they can adjust it later as they claim they will. The whole idea of 'resolving' a problem at the end is a joke. Resolve how? If my steward doesn't clean my room well during the cruise, how will that be resolved on the last day? A nice thorough cleaning to appease me? Too late. Let me board with everything I am required to pay taken care of in the beginning.
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 03-16-2006, 03:40 PM
Ron Clark's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 912
I prefer the pay as you buy policy at NCL.

Since I rarely drink alcohol, I prefer having cheaper fares at the start, then charge me as I want more.

The only cruise lines with all inclusive fares from the beginning are the small, luxurious lines like Seabourn.

Here's an example of their fares vs NCL.

On November 11, a 7 day cruise on the Seabourn Pride with the itinerary below cost
Balcony Suite $4,936 Suite $2,986 per person, double occupancy.
Sat Nov 11 Fort Lauderdale, FL 5:00pm
Sun Nov 12 At Sea
Mon Nov 13 At Sea
Tue Nov 14 St. John, US Virgin Islands 5:00pm Midnight
Wed Nov 15 Virgin Gorda, British V.I. 8:00am 5:00pm
Thu Nov 16 Gustavia, Guadeloupe 8:00am 5:30pm
Fri Nov 17 At Sea
Sat Nov 18 Barbados 7:00am

A 7 day cruise on the NCL Jewel with the following itinerary costs
Inside $579, Oceanview $649, Balcony $889, Suite $1,049.
Sun Nov 12 Miami, FL 4:00pm
Mon Nov 13 At Sea
Tue Nov 14 San Juan, Puerto Rico 12:30pm 8:00pm
Wed Nov 15 Antigua 10:00am 7:00pm
Thu Nov 16 St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands 8:00am 4:00pm
Fri Nov 17 At Sea
Sat Nov 18 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas 9:00am 4:00pm
Sun Nov 19 Miami, FL 6:00am

Much higher fares for all inclusive cruises, why?

Since there's no other sources for revenues, the Seabourn fares must be significantly higher to make a profit. With NCL, they can lose money with the fares, fill the ship, then make their profits on the high profit extras.
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 03-16-2006, 04:58 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 105
I agree with you on the alcohol part; I was referring to items other than alcohol. Pay as you go is just fine for the extras, but there's no need to have each extra cost quite so much.

As for the itineraries and prices you posted, they don't seem like a fair comparison.

Seabourn -
208 passengers
Suite -277 sq ft
Pure luxury
4 real ports other than Florida.

Jewel -
2,376 passengers
smallest suite lists for $1,236 on their site at 224 sq ft.
Medium quality, not luxury
3 ports and the little island

You are comparing a small, luxurious and intimate ship with a giant sized basic quality one. A Mercedes compared with a Ford.

Yes, all inclusive costs a lot more. I wasn't thinking of all inclusive. Just more realistic pricing.
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alcohol, cruise, liquor, margin, profit, ships

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