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My view on drinks package

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WhiteSoxFan - If you find that you have leftover OBC that you need to use or lose, just go to the casino and get chips at a table for whatever amount you need to spend. Example....if you have $100 of OBC left unused, go to a table at the casino and as for $100 on your seapass. Now, they WILL charge you a 5% "convenience fee" (so there will be a charge on your account for $105) but you can turn right around and get cash for those chips at the cashier's cage if you don't want to use them to gamble. Sure...it will cost you $5 but at least you won't lose the $100 OBC.

Good idea but how long are they going to keep doing that before they catch on..I heard princess cruises don't let you use your onboard credit at the casinos so it will probably happen for royal carribean as well..

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We are sailing on the NCL Getaway in October and got the UBP with our booking promotion... I am interested in seeing how it works for us there. On our Enchantment sailing last year I think we would have been better of not getting the package.

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WhiteSoxFan - If you find that you have leftover OBC that you need to use or lose, just go to the casino and get chips at a table for whatever amount you need to spend. Example....if you have $100 of OBC left unused, go to a table at the casino and as for $100 on your seapass. Now, they WILL charge you a 5% "convenience fee" (so there will be a charge on your account for $105) but you can turn right around and get cash for those chips at the cashier's cage if you don't want to use them to gamble. Sure...it will cost you $5 but at least you won't lose the $100 OBC.

Thanks, I knew about this but since they've raised Chops to $39 and they've raised the drink prices I don't think I should have any problem. 

 

I wonder what, if any, backlash they are going to see from raising the drink prices.  I thought they were a little high before but you figure you're a captive audience and your on vacation but now it's just flat out expensive. If drinks go up 25% they can still absorb a 20% dropoff on purchases before they see a dip in revenues.

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Time will tell. Personally, I don't think the casual drinker will be drawn to the drink packages and they're also the ones who would likely give up an overpriced drink. They'd likely just get they're drink in port and/or stop at one when they'd otherwise have two. The quarterly earnings report might shed some light on onboard revenue over the next year.

 

I do think this will encourage more attempts to smuggle booze onboard. I actually think they'd make more money in terms of volume by lowering prices, including those for photos. Remember when VHS tapes were $75 for movies? Nobody bought them. However, when they dropped to under $20, people started buying movies in mass rather than pirating them. A similar situation occured with the music industry.

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Definitely lowered my on board drinking last week, with 5 port days on a 7 night cruise the drink package absolutely did not make sense and at $12 plus tip a pop I was much more likely to skip the extra round before dinner whereas in the past I would probably not have thought about it.

 

Probably doesn't affect RCI bottom line much since they made more profit on my one round of drinks but impacted my satisfaction level quite significantly as I was "thinking about it" rather than just relaxing and enjoying myself.

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Chopps is up to $39 PP now ??? My goodness that is outrageous ! I quit going when they went up to $35. The upcharge restaurants were originally supposed to be a place where you could go and pay a nominal extra fee for an extra nice meal. Now, with the prices they are charging, you are basically paying outside fine dining restaurant prices. I refuse.

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I booked online for a July cruise. I mainly did it to secure the price as I can always cancel later. I'm thinking they're going to raise prices across the board, so I prepurchased the soda package for my wife and the Royal Replenish package for me. While I'm still on the fence about it, I know I can cancel anytime before sailing or even on the first day as my wife did on the Jewel.

 

To be honest, I actually don't like prepaying for the dinners as I have had issue on both Celebrity and Royal for not getting the first night discount refund, being double-charged for the dinners, etc. Also, on a 12 night cruise, I'm guessing availability won't be a problem, which is why I only booked for the first and last night, which is our tradition.

 

On the Jewel in January, there were only two other tables occupied in Chops on the first night and every night after that both Chops and Portofino with less than half full. As a result, one of the servers from Chops was roaming the main dining room and the Windjammer hawking the restaraunt.

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Definitely lowered my on board drinking last week, with 5 port days on a 7 night cruise the drink package absolutely did not make sense and at $12 plus tip a pop I was much more likely to skip the extra round before dinner whereas in the past I would probably not have thought about it.

 

Just got off Jewel last week.  Drinks were a breathtaking $12 plus tip - but buying a drinks package on a cruise that only had one day at sea didn't make any sense to me.

 

The good news is it saved me a TON of money - I barely drank anything at all.  And the Pool Bar was practically empty most of the time....

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The good news is it saved me a TON of money - I barely drank anything at all. And the Pool Bar was practically empty most of the time....

Do you think the vacant bar was a result of a la carte pricing or just a coincidence? Also did you hear much talk about the ship about this?

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Do you think the vacant bar was a result of a la carte pricing or just a coincidence? Also did you hear much talk about the ship about this?

 

Lots of (fairly angry) talk.  I was in a group of 14 people on this cruise (4 children though), and 8 of them said they'd never cruise RC again due to the drink prices.  We were on a port intensive itinerary, so the drink packages didn't make any sense since we weren't back onboard until after 5pm.  One couple in our group ordered a first round of drinks before dinner on day one - the tab was over $26, and that wound up being their last drink onboard.  

 

I watched a couple on day two ask for the price of a Pina Colada in the solarium.  $12.  They walked away shaking their heads and commenting about how this wasn't the experience they were sold.

 

I don't think the pool bar was coincidental, it was spring break week and the ship was packed.  There was rarely 3-4 people there, even at the height of the day.    Not the lines 2-3 rows deep you see on other cruises.

 

We were planning on taking advantage of the onboard booking incentives for one of the longer Serenade cruises this November but cancelled those plans after being hit with these crazy drink prices.  For the first time in 15 years and 12 cruises I'm now considering other cruise lines.   A couple - my closest friend and his wife - went with us on this cruise and called me this morning to let us know that they booked another line for this November instead. We may follow their lead.

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Well I do hope they change course, I'd hate to see anyone lose the Royal fever over this. I suspect if anger over this was that high on one ship that they will see substantially reduced drink profits and change course pretty abruptly. I also suspect with reduced drink consumption will come frustration from bartenders that should also help change the course.

 

In short I believe now is the time to voice concern to Royal directly as well as document what is being seen and heard onboard. In doing this I do believe there will be a DD style reverse of course so long as pressure is applied(constructively).

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That brings up a good question. What IS the best way to "voice your concern to Royal directly" ? I always hear people saying that they are writing Adam Goldstein personally (how ?? really ???) and chatter like that. I think most of that kind of talk is just Concierge Lounge babble - people trying to make themselves sound important....but I do not know how to really make them HEAR what we are saying....if they even care, and I have to believe that they DO care - especially those of us like bcarney who are truly old timers who have just about HAD it !

 

I guess I should have asked, what is the most EFFECTIVE way to voice your concerns directly to Royal ?

 

I'm sure their "people" read these kinds of blogs from time-to-time but I don't know how truly effective complaining here will really is.

 

Any suggestions ?

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That brings up a good question. What IS the best way to "voice your concern to Royal directly" ? I always hear people saying that they are writing Adam Goldstein personally (how ?? really ???) and chatter like that. I think most of that kind of talk is just Concierge Lounge babble - people trying to make themselves sound important....but I do not know how to really make them HEAR what we are saying....if they even care, and I have to believe that they DO care - especially those of us like bcarney who are truly old timers who have just about HAD it !I guess I should have asked, what is the most EFFECTIVE way to voice your concerns directly to Royal ?I'm sure their "people" read these kinds of blogs from time-to-time but I don't know how truly effective complaining here will really is.Any suggestions ?

I have gone through entire Royal Caribbean VP list & can't fine one listed on social media - have sent inquires or comments to @royalcaribbean Twitter and never got reply! Unfortunate they are not accessible! Try message to sister line execs @dondreCel, @LarryPimentel,@Dsclifton ; or competitor lines @jeffherzfeld, @msccruisesusa, @kenmuskat, @rickcazzell and you will usually get an answer before the sun goes down and often witin minutes or hours - whether you are Concierge or Inside, Diamond or 1st time cruiser. It is impressive. Try it, you'll like it and ask, so what's up with Royal? If they remain unresponsive, I think other Royal Loyalists will join me in enjoying the reception from the competition. And by the way, the problem is much deeper than drink prices - overall quality and service level is suffering from profiteering - drastic crew reduction is probably great for the bottom line, but isn't good for the Royal Caribbean experience. Maybe an approach is to invite them to read Matt's blog!

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Don, I hear ya. I have really resisted making the "jump". I know that what you are saying about being "welcomed" by the competition is true. I was given a "free" cruise on NCL after just 1 cruise with them. They have continued to pursue us fairly aggressively. They truly WANT our business and may soon get it.

 

I just HATE to think about starting over somewhere else. I have spent SO much time and money to get to Diamond Plus.

 

I also agree that it is much more than higher drink prices. I have noticed the same reduction in service quality and one by one the benefits that we have been getting are slipping away...and what I HATE is that they are so sneaky about it. When they introduced the "new and improved" paperless coupons they took away a lot of things we had been getting (mostly associated with the casino...which is what we would notice). One thing that I have NEVER forgiven them for is taking away the personalized luggage tags. I still get them when we book a "gold card suite" but other than that, only the Pinnacle Club members get them now. That was a completely unforced error on their part, IMO. How much could personalized, pre-printed luggage tags really cost the cruise line ? $10 ? $15 PP ? Ok. Just charge me for them. I'd pay it. But no....they just took them away from us yet still offer them to the BIG BUCKS suites and the thousand-year-old Pinnacle Club members. And when I mentioned this before, I get back the excuse, "...they are trying to appeal to a younger crowd". Really ? It sounds to me like they are only catering the old farts that are getting everything for free now anyway ! I truly do not think they care about my business at all ! I think they see the green in the orient and are putting all of their efforts over there.

 

I am not familiar with any of the names that you included above. I guess I will have to research to find out who they are and what lines they represent.

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If the executives are not on social media, one option is the company's face on social media like facebook and twitter. Many companies have changed their mind on policy when large masses of people voice concerns or discontent on these sites. It's really quite amazing,and in ways alarming, the power social media sites can bring to bear.

I can almost guarantee when they see a mass influx of complaints SOMEONE is gonna walk up to the CEO and say "uhh, sir, we have a problem."

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Don, I hear ya. I have really resisted making the "jump". I know that what you are saying about being "welcomed" by the competition is true. I was given a "free" cruise on NCL after just 1 cruise with them. They have continued to pursue us fairly aggressively. They truly WANT our business and may soon get it.I just HATE to think about starting over somewhere else. I have spent SO much time and money to get to Diamond Plus.I also agree that it is much more than higher drink prices. I have noticed the same reduction in service quality and one by one the benefits that we have been getting are slipping away...and what I HATE is that they are so sneaky about it. When they introduced the "new and improved" paperless coupons they took away a lot of things we had been getting (mostly associated with the casino...which is what we would notice). One thing that I have NEVER forgiven them for is taking away the personalized luggage tags. I still get them when we book a "gold card suite" but other than that, only the Pinnacle Club members get them now. That was a completely unforced error on their part, IMO. How much could personalized, pre-printed luggage tags really cost the cruise line ? $10 ? $15 PP ? Ok. Just charge me for them. I'd pay it. But no....they just took them away from us yet still offer them to the BIG BUCKS suites and the thousand-year-old Pinnacle Club members. And when I mentioned this before, I get back the excuse, "...they are trying to appeal to a younger crowd". Really ? It sounds to me like they are only catering the old farts that are getting everything for free now anyway ! I truly do not think they care about my business at all ! I think they see the green in the orient and are putting all of their efforts over there.I am not familiar with any of the names that you included above. I guess I will have to research to find out who they are and what lines they represent.

They are VPs with Celebrity, Azumura, & MSC -- suspect you would find others with most cruise lines.

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If the executives are not on social media, one option is the company's face on social media like facebook and twitter. Many companies have changed their mind on policy when large masses of people voice concerns or discontent on these sites. It's really quite amazing,and in ways alarming, the power social media sites can bring to bear.

I can almost guarantee when they see a mass influx of complaints SOMEONE is gonna walk up to the CEO and say "uhh, sir, we have a problem."

I agree with the social media light up!

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Hmmm...for reasons far too complicated to get into here, I do not participate in social media. I have neither a Facebook nor Twitter account and do not intend to ever have one. I guess I will have to leave it to others to voice displeasure using those tools. I will have to come up with something else. Great idea though.

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Don, how was your transition from RC to Celeb ? I know they are supposed to honor your equivalent loyalty levels. Did you find that to be the case ? I also know that they will NOT honor my D+ balcony cruise discount, which kinda sucks...but it's a small price to pay for a short while, I guess.

 

Do you know whether Celeb has a VIP casino program ? If I could find some parity there it might be of more benefit to me than the D+ discount anyway.

 

Have you found the Celeb service to be more reminiscent of the old RC service ? Any drawbacks or regrets for going with another line ?

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Just got off Jewel last week.  Drinks were a breathtaking $12 plus tip - but buying a drinks package on a cruise that only had one day at sea didn't make any sense to me.

 

The good news is it saved me a TON of money - I barely drank anything at all.  And the Pool Bar was practically empty most of the time....

 

 

Do you think the vacant bar was a result of a la carte pricing or just a coincidence? Also did you hear much talk about the ship about this?

 

We experienced the same think at the end of January. Hardly any pool service but an empty pool bar.   This was before the big price bump though. I attributed it to the fact that there were a crazy number of multi -week guest onboard. 

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I've been reading through this thread and have some questions.. so I've read that mixed alcoholic drinks are averaging $12 each. What about beer or wine? Also, what about soda?

 

I have an upcoming cruise in July and am trying to decide whether or not to opt for any packages. The unlimited soda package is only $6.50 pp/day. Is that a good deal?

 

Also, my wife is pregnant so she won't drink any alcohol. Are they strict about "sharing" packages? I mean I'll use the package for alcoholic drinks for myself and I'll give her the soda cup. Would that work?

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