My Bias For Super Big Cruise Ships
Everyone has their own preference for cruise ship size. My wife and I love the new super huge cruise ships, the bigger the better. A lot of other people like the smaller more intimate cruise ships. The advantage of the smaller cruise ships as they are able to get into a lot of the smaller ports and cruise up some of the smaller tributaries that are not large or deep enough for the larger cruise ships.
My wife and I love jazz as well as classic rock and other music venues. We have found that the smaller cruise ships are not able to offer as many live music venues because of their smaller size. We did the British Isles cruise on Oceania Cruise Line, but there is a good change that we will never cruise on Oceania again. The smaller size of the ship meant they had far fewer live music venus than the mega cruise ships. The cost of a cruise on Oceania is also many times greater than on Carnival and other lower cost cruise lines. The only thing we really found superior on Oceania was they had many excellent wine tasting and spirit tasting events and they offered much more gourmet food. My wife and I are not really into gourmet food, so the extra cost for that experience was really a waste on us. We did enjoy all the wine and spirit tastings, but that wasn't worth paying over $6,000 per person for the same cruise that other providers might only charge $2,000 per person. The mega cruise ships are so big that they usually offer many simultaneous live music venues as well as a large number of dining options. The mega cruise ships also usually have a great selection of on board shopping. My wife and I really like having a lot of options for live music, dining, and shopping, so the mega cruise ships are ideal for us.
Both Carnival and Norwegian have some of the newest and largest ships in existence. We were on the first transatlantic cruise of the Carnival Horizon and loved it. We haven't yet been on any of the new Norwegian mega cruise ships but are looking forward to one day giving them a try.
I'm including these comments in the "Comments" page rather than the "Suggestions" page as I have no suggestions to Norwegian Cruise Lines or any other cruise lines about this.
I have heard that if you take a cruise and purchase absolutely nothing on your cruise, the cruise line is losing money on your trip. I really don't doubt this is true on many of the lower price cruise lines such as Carnival and maybe many others. It is not hard to obtain a very inexpensive price for a cruise which includes your accomodations and all meals. Most passengers spend quite a bit of money on board in drinks, gambling, spa treatments, shopping, etc. and this is where the cruise lines make their profit.
One of my pet peeves is I really don't understand the drinks packages. I've already run into at least a half dozen people on this cruise that have told me they don't worry about paying for drinks as they have the Norwegian Ultimate Beverage Package. All cruise lines offer some sort of similar beverage package. We've analyzed them for every one of our cruises and they have never made any sense to us.
Let us take the Norwegian "Ultimate Beverage Package" for example. It costs $89 USD per day plus 20% gratuity plus service charge and must be purchased for every adult in your stateroom for the entire cruise. Since we have 3 people in our stateroom and the cruise was 14 days, that would have been about $300 per day or $4,200 for the entire trip. Most people travel as couples rather than three somes, so lets give Norwegian the benefit of the doubt and just calculate it for 2 people which would have been $200 per day or $2800 for the entire 14 day trip.
This "Ultimate Beverage Package" (UBP) permits you an unlimited number of spirits, wine and soft drinks provided each drink costs less than $15 per drink. Already I'm in trouble because my favorite drink on this ship is the Espresso Martini which is almost $20 per drink. Thus even with the UBP, I'd still be paying an additional $5 out of pocket for each drink. My wife and I have attended a number of the wine and spirit tasting events. The UBP doesn't even cover those. All it does is give you a 20% discount from the normal price.
My wife and I are mostly wine drinkers. Most of the wines in the bars are between $27 and $33 per bottle. We rarely drink more than one bottle in a single day. On rare occassions maybe we would drink 2 bottles in the same day. That is pretty heavy for us, but since we are not driving anywhere, we've done that once or twice on our 14 day cruise. But even at 2 bottles in the same day, that still only adds up to $66 at most. Add the 20% gratuity and service charge, then maybe $90 for wine in a single day. That still doesn't come close to the $200 per day that we'd be paying if we signed up for the Ultimate Beverage Package.
There were some days that we'd purchase cocktails instead of or in addition to wine, and that would not be one of those days where we also purchased two bottles of wine. There is just no way we could drink more than two cocktails on the same day. Even if both of those cocktails were $15 each, that would add up to a maximum of $60 for the two of us. Maybe $80 including 20% gratuity and service charge. Plus $40 for a bottle of wine including gratuity and service charge. That is still only $100 for the two of us. Drinking that much would be an extremely rare day for us. So we just don't see how the two of us could ever spend much more than $100 on beverages in a single day, and that would be a rare day to spend that much on beverages. Going with the Ultimate Beverage Package we'd be spending a minimum of $200 every day regardless of how much or how little we drank.
We just don't see how that makes any sense for us. We really have a hard time seeing how it makes any sense for anyone unless they are packing away at least 4 cocktails of $15 each for every person in their room every day. Do most people who buy the "Ulimate Beverage Package" really drink that much on a cruise? Out of 3,000 passengers I've only seen a couple of people intoxicated to the point of being obnoxious ever. I'm really wondering if most people are just attracted by the packaging of having "Unlimited Beverages" but actually end up spending way more for the package than they would if they paid for each beverage individually. I know that we save hundreds, probably thousands of dollars, by NOT buying the "Ultimate Beverage Package".
But, I don't fault Norwegian or any other cruise line for their marketing of these packages. They have to make their money somewhere if they are not making it on the base price of the cruise. The more people that opt for these expensive packages, the more cruise lines are able to offer me lower base price cruise fares!