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NCL issue

Nov 21, 2018
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I recently sailed on NCL with $100 OBC. NCL Agent assured me I could used this towards the gratuities. I then pre-paid for the internet $84+ prior to the cruise. NCL charged me at the end of the cruise for the gratuities ($198). I sent 3 emails to customer service all resulting in a form letter saying "too bad", you can't use OBC for gratuities. I then requested at least a refund of the internet then that would have been covered had I been given the correct information.
The third letter offered me $50 OBC. I am not sailing anytime in the future, and probably never on NCL. What recourse do I have now, I don't want a 4th form letter and they won't talk to me on the phone.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
2,416
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Maui Hawaii
I recently sailed on NCL with $100 OBC. NCL Agent assured me I could use this towards the gratuities. I then pre-paid for the internet $84+ prior to the cruise. NCL charged me at the end of the cruise for the gratuities ($198). I sent 3 emails to customer service all resulting in a form letter saying "too bad", you can't use OBC for gratuities. I then requested at least a refund of the internet then that would have been covered had I been given the correct information.
The third letter offered me $50 OBC. I am not sailing anytime in the future, and probably never on NCL. What recourse do I have now, I don't want a 4th form letter and they won't talk to me on the phone.
Calling is a waste of time even if they will talk to you, witness the incorrect information you have already received.
Email customer service: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/norwegian-cruise-line-ncl/
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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Did the rep tell you in writing? And did the rep say gratuities or DSC? NCL differentiates between the two - DSC (or Daily Service Charge) is the daily $15 fee automatically applied to your account. NCL calls gratuities anything besides the DSC (or the automatic 20% on purchases) to a NCL employee. The DSC cannot be paid with non-refundable OBC (which is anything given by NCL. What a travel agent gives you may or may not be refundable.) However, you can use non-refundable to pay for gratuities to employees - as well as almost any on board purchase.

The $198 charge is DSC and not gratuities so it cannot be paid for with non-refundable OBC.

I realize this can be confusing for someone not familiar with NCL. Policies regarding non-refundable OBC vary by cruise line. I personally have learned most of this knowledge from frequenting Cruise Critic vs hunting around NCL's website. A good rule of thumb on any cruise line is to check your on board account throughout the cruise. Not only does this catch any errors before the last day when everyone is lining up at guest services - but it also shows a running total of what you owe, including any OBC factored in. In your case you would see the DSC charges were flowing through to the bottom line on your account and the OBC was not counting towards it.

I'm not sure NCL will be willing to refund you. If you have it in writing from the rep that you were talking about the daily $15 that might strengthen your case.
 
May 1, 2018
331
785
93
Did the rep tell you in writing? And did the rep say gratuities or DSC? NCL differentiates between the two - DSC (or Daily Service Charge) is the daily $15 fee automatically applied to your account. NCL calls gratuities anything besides the DSC (or the automatic 20% on purchases) to a NCL employee. The DSC cannot be paid with non-refundable OBC (which is anything given by NCL. What a travel agent gives you may or may not be refundable.) However, you can use non-refundable to pay for gratuities to employees - as well as almost any on board purchase.

The $198 charge is DSC and not gratuities so it cannot be paid for with non-refundable OBC.

I realize this can be confusing for someone not familiar with NCL. Policies regarding non-refundable OBC vary by cruise line. I personally have learned most of this knowledge from frequenting Cruise Critic vs hunting around NCL's website. A good rule of thumb on any cruise line is to check your on board account throughout the cruise. Not only does this catch any errors before the last day when everyone is lining up at guest services - but it also shows a running total of what you owe, including any OBC factored in. In your case you would see the DSC charges were flowing through to the bottom line on your account and the OBC was not counting towards it.

I'm not sure NCL will be willing to refund you. If you have it in writing from the rep that you were talking about the daily $15 that might strengthen your case.
I believe this hits the nail on the head. While other lines like Royal and Carnival do refer to the forced daily tip as "gratuities", Norwegian does not. So when an NCL agent says you can use OBC to pay gratuities they are referencing to the 20% tip that gets tacked on to incidental on board purchases. They are correct in the strictest sense, but they communication could use some work since it's ambiguous.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
3,912
4,004
113
I just got off an NCL ship last week. We had considerable OBC and every line item said whether it was “Refundable or Non Refundable” the Refundable came from my TA and I could have taken those funds as cash at guest services and applied them anywhere I wanted. The Non Refundable OBC came directly from NCL and they specified restrictions and DSC was one of the restrictions.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,039
9,725
113
San Francisco
Another sad story about not doing the proper research to make things work your way. I'm impressed that NCL offered you a future credit. By all means start a letter-writing campaign to move the OBC to your internet purchase. You never know.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
3,912
4,004
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What surprises me is that Non Refundable OBC is applied first to any cabin charges with the exception of DSC. Did our OP not gave ANY other items on his bill. The OBC are used 1St!!! Heck with 10 people on that ship we burned thru the NCL OBC in the first hour on board as we booked activities for the children. Who knew cruise ships had Lazor Tag and Race cars on a track :O
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
What surprises me is that Non Refundable OBC is applied first to any cabin charges with the exception of DSC. Did our OP not gave ANY other items on his bill. The OBC are used 1St!!! Heck with 10 people on that ship we burned thru the NCL OBC in the first hour on board as we booked activities for the children. Who knew cruise ships had Lazor Tag and Race cars on a track :O
Were you on the Escape?
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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Were you on the Escape?
Laser tag and go karts is Bliss, Joy, and Encore. Though there's one or two people talking on cruise critic that Escape is getting rid of the ropes course for a track during her upcoming dry dock. I hope not, but maybe early 30s traveler isn't their target market!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Laser tag and go karts is Bliss, Joy, and Encore. Though there's one or two people talking on cruise critic that Escape is getting rid of the ropes course for a track during her upcoming dry dock. I hope not, but maybe early 30s traveler isn't their target market!
Of those E names! We were actually on the Encore and I hate to say we enjoyed it...
 
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JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
3,912
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Of those E names! We were actually on the Encore and I hate to say we enjoyed it...
Oh man never again, too big, too many people (ya ya it was a Christmas week sailing and knew what I was getting into) needed reservations for everything and getting reservations was impossible!
Gorgeous cabin and as an NCL Stockholder they gave me $100 OBC non-refundable :)
The kids all loved it!
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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4,182
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the United States
@justlisa has outlined the OBC usage very well, and I searched for and found the description on the NCL site:


where it says:
  • Using your onboard credit on dining can also be a risk-free way to try a new culinary experience you might not otherwise consider.
  • Onboard credit has no monetary value and is non-transferable. It may not be used toward onboard service charges or pre-purchased activities. Restrictions may apply.
Since it specifies dining, I assume that includes "gratuities" for that experience. But it clearly prohibits the "SDC" as @justlisa indicated, which is what you are referring to by the $198 charge at the end of the cruise.

Regrettably, you received what they offered: $84 credit toward a qualifying purchase, which you used for internet. They really design the OBC for "extras".
 
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BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
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Oh man never again, too big, too many people (ya ya it was a Christmas week sailing and knew what I was getting into) needed reservations for everything and getting reservations was impossible!
Gorgeous cabin and as an NCL Stockholder they gave me $100 OBC non-refundable :)
The kids all loved it!
You are the coolest grandma! Admitedly, I probably wouldn't have considered such a trip when my own children were young, but I foresee myself doing it if i am lucky enough to have grandkids!
 
May 1, 2018
331
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No the Joy in Mexico. Remind me to NEVER agree to get on a Mega ship for any reason. Good thing I love my grandkids! I’m going back to Regent, lovely and small!
I also just completed a cruise on the Joy. I've done other mega ships (including RCCL Oasis class ships) and this one definitely felt the most overcrowded and uncontrolled of all. I don't remember spending so much time waiting in lines for absolutely everything.

Crowd control does not seem to be NCL's strong suit. In my opinion, they didn't do a good job of scheduling activities in such a way that it broke up passengers into manageable groups based on interest. To me, it felt like everyone wanted to all the same things at all the same times.
 
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justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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Of those E names! We were actually on the Encore and I hate to say we enjoyed it...
That's good to know, I'm still very iffy on booking Encore. On Cruise Critic the reviews have been mostly favorable, even though a lot weren't happy with the laser tag taking over where Spice H20 (the free adult only area) and the expanded Vibe (the fee adult only area) expanded. Though my friend's friend was on it for New Years and said the loungers on the pool deck were a battle zone - leave your seat for more than 15 mins and someone has taken it. I usually spend a good chunk of my days in Spice so I'm wary to go on a large ship without it, but my asthma lungs do love the way they handle smoking on Encore.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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That’s because the pool area is so small. NCL seems to be shrinking the pools and it’s because they make no money when people are in the pool- no one is drinking in the pool. They are adding more and more revenue streams but there is Vibe that’s adults only.
The VR games were fun. And don’t bother with laser tag during the day- you can’t see what you are hitting.