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Old September 10th, 2010, 05:56 PM
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Default Would You Pay a Small Fee for NCL Shows?

It appears that the price of the Cirque Dreams and Dinner has gone up to double, $30 and $20. on Norwegian Epic according to an Arizona Republic article I just read...

Should NCL Charge for Shows?

David Beers, editor of our sister site CruiseReviews, posted a daring blog about Norwegian Epic this week. He argues that the design of the ship makes it the antithesis of "Freestyle Cruising," at least in the entertainment realm.

Freestyle entertainment implies that guests can see any show any night, but the small venues and clunky reservation system means Epic guests are barely "free" to see any show any night - 80% of the seats are pre-reserved as many as 45 days in advance.The largest theater onboard barely holds 15% of the ship's average passenger load.


Basically the venues are too small, which means seating for every show is extremely limited on any given night, so if you want to "Freestyle" your entertainment (see a show on a whim without a reservation) you have to be satisfied with the remaining 20% of the worst seats in the house - after spending up to an hour in the "stand-by" line just to make sure you get in.

Furthermore, even with a reservation you are still only guaranteed to get in the theater. Most cruisers coming back from Epic are reporting that even after waiting in line for up to an hour that there is jostling for the front rows when the doors open. Further complicating matters, suite guests with reservations are seated by the concierge before the doors open for regular guests - another reason regular guests must wait for the doors to open.

So here is my suggestion: Reserved assigned seating would allow guests to take their seats at anytime; even just 10 minutes before showtime, and they would still be guaranteed good seats. They would not have to wait for the suite guests to be seated in their reserved seats first. This would eliminate lines completely.

But let's take this a step further. NCL was the first cruise line to have an alternative restaurant charging a surcharge, Le Bistro. Today you are hard pressed to find any cruise ship that does not have several alternative dining spots with a surcharge. Guests expect to pay for a premium experience.

So,should NCL take the bold step of offering premium assigned theater seating for a small service fee like you pay to TicketMaster? For $5 per person you can be assured a premium seat just like the suite guests.

So - would you pay a small fee to get a reserved seat for a REALLY good show? Please go here and vote...

Would You Pay a Small Fee for NCL Shows?
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Old September 10th, 2010, 07:20 PM
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This sounds similar to the complaints people once had with the premium restaurants, They had trouble getting reservations in the more high demand restaurants and it was really difficult on the first several NCL cruises we went on. Then came the economic downturn and the prices went up. On our last two cruises it was very easy to get reservations and also we found the quality of the food in the main dining rooms was much improved from previous cruises, so basically that issue seemed to resolve itself.

I am disappointed to hear this report about the size of the theatre and the fact that people are wasting their precious cruise time standing in line for an hour to see a show "on a whim". It certainly doesn't appear to be a very positive "freestyle" experience.

On other Norwegian ships I recall a section that was reserved for Suite Passengers and everything else was open seating. That seemed to work well for those ships. However, on a ship the size of Epic with a minimally sized theatre, it would certainly present an issue accomodating the large number of guests on any given night.

I don't think I would be too thrilled to pay extra for a cruise ship show and that along with all the extra expenses involved with NCL might sway me toward a different cruise line or an all inclusive vacation instead. Unless it was really engaging, I can't see paying extra for a show. On a positive note, on our Jewel repo last November, the entire two weeks was packed with excellent entertainment and it was all fantastic. I probably attended more shows on that cruise than on any other. But it easily would have added up to $280 for our family of four to attend the shows each night, and I would have had an issue with that, especially if we found ourselves in the nosebleed section.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 05:10 AM
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I don't plan to sail on NCL. However I certainly hope that the BS of paying for shows does not catch on.

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Old September 11th, 2010, 10:28 AM
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Beenie said:
Quote:
I am disappointed to hear this report about the size of the theatre and the fact that people are wasting their precious cruise time standing in line for an hour to see a show "on a whim".
Not just the people on a whim, even people with reservations start lining up an hour early to get the best seats. On most ships you can just walk in and sit down. They usually open the doors to reserved people about 20 minutes pre-showtime, but not until after the suite guests are seated.

I think they would be better off just roping the front rows off for up to 15 minutes before show time and telling suite guests they need to be there early for the front seats.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 12:07 PM
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I allways tell people that a cruise vacation is the best value. Now if you have to pay extra to see a show and for dinner as well, I would start to lean toward a land vacation.

Last time I was in Vegas, we got comped for half the cost of our room and they do have great shows there.

Many new ships are coming out. If the people in charge of running the cruiselines are not savy, they will wind up with a lot of empty cabins.

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Old September 11th, 2010, 01:16 PM
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what NCL is doing is testing the water..if folks balk and don't pay it , it will die a quick and quiet natural death..if they do, then NCL will push it up until they hit resistance..if they are successful other cruise lines will follow

one of the advantages of doing a CruiseMate cruise on the NCL Epic is that we will be able to receive valid honest feedback about various systems on the ship..one can then adjust his/her budget to reflect what they will/won't pay for
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Old September 11th, 2010, 02:46 PM
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Well NCL is not doing it yet. This is just a poll to ask people if they would pay. I expect some people are upset I would even ask. But I am curious really. I think $5 charge for good seats no waiting is a great idea.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
Beenie said:

Not just the people on a whim, even people with reservations start lining up an hour early to get the best seats. On most ships you can just walk in and sit down. They usually open the doors to reserved people about 20 minutes pre-showtime, but not until after the suite guests are seated.

I think they would be better off just roping the front rows off for up to 15 minutes before show time and telling suite guests they need to be there early for the front seats.
I agree! I think if they are going to build a ship that accommodates a large number of passengers, they need to build a theatre large enough to accommodate them.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 03:12 PM
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I will not cruise on a ship where I have to pay extra for a show or where some of the passengers get reserved seats!
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Old September 11th, 2010, 10:37 PM
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A warning to all the cruiselines.

If you don't stop this pay extra here, pay extra there, you will cruise with a lot of empty cabins.

There are many new ships coming out in the next couple of yeras.

Where do you think that the cruisers are going to come from to fill all those ships?

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Old September 12th, 2010, 12:06 AM
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In 2002 on the NCL Star they were charging $10 to attend the show - Marty Allen was the headliner...it was boycotted by many. We haven't done a NCL cruise since and probably never will again. As it turned out we saw him a couple years ago, eating breakfast a table a way. His show was fabulous! BUT we won't pay additional $ so see one.
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Old September 12th, 2010, 12:02 PM
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I remember when NCL did try to charge for a few shows on a ship way back in the early 2000s. The experiment lasted about a week; they never publicized it, repeated it or mentioned it again.

I was wondering if someone would bring it up, and I am glad you did.
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Old September 12th, 2010, 02:29 PM
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I rest my case:-) you can't get mad at the cruise lines for trying
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