It’s a small change, but one that parents will want to know as it could cost them a few extra dollars. Checks of Norwegian Cruise Line’s website appear to show an adjustment to the lineup of soda drink packages.
Before NCL offered soda packages at two levels — the “Adult & Teen Soda Program” for passengers 13 and older and the “Children’s Soda Program” for those 12 and under. Prices were $7.95 per day for the adult package and $5.95 per day for the child package (plus 20% gratuity). Both packages offered the same lineup of soda, including Pepsi, Sierra Mist, Ginger Ale and more.
Now the cruise line’s website no longer shows the children’s version of the package available. Instead, there is only a single soda package at the higher $7.95 per day cost.
In other words, kids 12 and under apparently no longer have the less-expensive package option. Instead, there is only one soda package available, no matter a passenger’s age.
While the difference is only $2 per day between the previous price of the kid’s package and the soda package now shown, that can add up. On a weeklong cruise, the extra cost would mean an extra $14, and there is also a 20% gratuity added on to the cost.
As for other drink packages, there has been no change there. The Premium Beverage Package, which includes most alcohol, is still $99 per person, per day, plus gratuity.
However, this change comes on the heels of another recent price increase from NCL.
Just a few days ago we shared that the cruise line is bumping up the price of its onboard service charges. Starting in April, the price of gratuities on most cabins is bumping up slightly from $15.50 to $16.00. Rooms in The Haven (NCL’s premium area on the ship) and suites see an increase from $18.50 to $20.00 per person, per day.
Slightly Higher Prices Unlikely to Deter Strong Demand
While some people may question anything that potentially increases the cost of cruising — no matter how slight — given the turmoil seen in the industry due to the health crisis, there are signs that NCL has pricing power.
During a recent quarterly call with investors, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio pointed out that he thinks 2023 could be a record-breaking for the company.
“I believe that 2023, based on the numbers that I have on the books right now — both load factor and pricing — and further based on the assumption that we will not see another major Delta or Omicron-type surge, 2023 can get the industry and certainly our company back to pre-pandemic levels,” said Del Rio.
“At this stage, and again, not because I think… I’m giving you what the numbers are showing, 2023 could be — assuming that no other major variants arrives on the scene — could be a fabulous year. [It] could be a record year,” he later added.
As just one specific example, the company’s newest ship, Norwegian Prima, saw record bookings on its first day and week of sales back in May 2021, months before cruises had even returned.
No doubt that anyone with the ability to take a cruise can handle a small change like removing a kid’s soda package. However, between that, increased gratuities, rising prices on land, and strong demand for travel, it does make you wonder if higher prices might become a trend in cruising.