Subj: NCL Hell
Date: 8/14/99 8:16:58 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (hypatia)
I would love to say that your
story was impossible, but I know all too well. I'm a travel
agent in Florida. My husband and I have been on around 35 cruises.
In 1997 I had a group booked
on the Majesty. Everything was wonderful. So last year I booked the
group on the Crown to go to Bermuda. I was told if I booked enough cabins NCL would pay for a bus
to Port Canaveral. I booked more than a bus full (several passengers were flying in from out of state).
Then NCL told me "Oh, we changed our policy...
We won't pay for a bus, but
we will be happy to book a bus for your group for $1,800. "Needless to
say I went thru everyone I could find to get the bus. Finally I personally paid $1,400 out of my own pocket
for a bus. I couldn't go back to the customers as they had worked so hard to get enough people to go in order
to receive the bus. My husband & I were supposed to go with the group. But, we aren't rich or agency
owners, so we cancelled our cruise, took a loss of $500 cancellation fee and put that money down on the
cost of the bus.
Ah... but I must say that even
those of us who have been screwed by NCL don't always learn. This past
April my husband came to me with the NCL Latitudes flyer and a special on the Norway. While the ship
is old and the rooms are small, the price was too great to pass up. $449 minus $75 for Latitudes members
for a Cat. N (which is an inside with upper & lower.) $374, plus a free bus, plus $100 to spend onboard.
We figured for $274 for 7 nights, so what if the room is under 70 sq. ft, We were also told that we would
be upgraded. It sounded so good that our brother-in-law called and booked also. (He calls then tells the
cruise line that his travel agent will call to take over the booking & give his credit card.) I called to
reconfirm what he was told. Everything looked great. But in the glee of the moment I forgot that this was NCL...
Our tickets came. We were upgraded
to Cat. M an outside cabin but still uppers & lowers. The free
bus was mentioned also. Looked great. Haa! I called to ask how they would be working our onboard
credit of $200 for the cabin. Each person I spoke to said the same old NCL phrase ..."what credit?"
I had the person's name and extension number... but I guess I forgot to get his blood type! So I started
an email campaign. 1 and 1/2 weeks later I was told this. You booked a Cat. M at $599 and received $200
off of the price. You can't have both specials. We will send each of you $50 onboard certificates to make
up for your problem...
1. We never booked Cat. M we
booked Cat. N
2. $559 - $200 is $399 dah!
3. We only received $75 off and the shaft.
4. The $50 certificates just arrived today. Buy one drink get one free. Spend $50 here and
get $5 off, Spend $150 there and get $10 off, etc. I kept looking for the coupon that
said spend a million $'s and we''ll give you a big surprise!
We are supposed to leave on
the 28th of August. My husband wants to get a tee shirt made up which says
"Ask me how NCL screwed me out of $200" While I'm probably not going to get anywhere, I plan to email
the following top people if only to make my blood pressure decrease.: Art Sbarsky and Geir Aune, president
and Ceo. We also plan to write to the Federal Trade Commission. My brother-in-law plans to contact customer
service Monday and the FTC.
I will never place another
customer on NCL or sail ourselves on their ships. You would have probably
enjoyed Carnival. In 9 years they have never lied to me! A lot of large new ships, lots to do, great shows,
and we see rates of $599 for 7 nights on a 1 year old ship. Take care...Lori Ledgerwood email@example.com
Subj: NCL Experience
Date: 8/20/99 8:40:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Here is a copy of the letter
I sent to NCL Cruise Line. The battle has just begun. I received a
letter from them on Thursday 8/19 99 and I am sure you know how it goes. Too bad ... got your money!
Mr.Getr Aune, President, CEO
Norwegian Cruise Line
7665 Corporate Center Drive
Miami, Florida 33126
Dear Mr. Aune:
Subject: Norwegian Majesty
I am writing you today to express
my displeasure with a recent cruise my wife and I took
on the Majesty on June 13, 1999 to Bermuda. We found the overall rating of this cruise to
be extremely poor. The mechanical condition of this particular ship, as well as the crew's lack
of expertise, and professionalism was inexcusable. We experienced problems with elevators not
working; vibrations in the starboard prop, (which did warrant a diver to enter the water in Bar Harbor),
and the toilet in our stateroom (room 876) failed to work on three different occasions. I even got the
opportunity to shower in brown water, not rusty, but completely nasty, brown colored water.
Our dining experience was poor
as compared with what we had experienced on past cruises with NCL.
The variety of the menu and quality of food served needs major improvement. On one evening at dinner,
my wife found nothing on the menu appealing to her and inquired if there was something else that she could
order. She was told by the waiter (Angel, in the Four Seasons) and then later by the maitre d', that what
appeared on the menu was all she was to be offered. She was instructed, to read the menu outside the
restaurant before sitting down to dinner. I asked if it was at all possible that she could get grilled shrimp
and a baked potato. I was told shrimp was not available. The busboy for my table in the Four Seasons then
appeared with a plate of shrimp for my wife's dinner; he apologized and said he did not see what the problem
was since there were shrimp sitting out in the kitchen. Later that evening we ran into the busboy,
(Kevin from Jamaica), and he showed us the written warning that he had received for doing this for my wife.
What ever happened to trying to accommodate the customer. We also on another evening requested a second
entrées and our waiter became quite aggravated by this request. We found the midnight buffets to be very
basic and not as elegant as we were accustomed to in the past. If NCL can not continue the high quality buffet
that they have been recognized for in the past they should be discontinued altogether. We found the bar staff
to be very pushy and if you did not order cocktails, you would not receive any service for anything else such
as ice water.
The itinerary was changed on
this cruise also. On Monday afternoon, the Captain announced we would only
spending one day in Bermuda (6 hrs.) and would be sailing on to Bar Harbor, Maine and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Two beautiful ports I am sure in the fall, not for when you have packed clothes for 80-degree weather. Bar
Harbor was in the low 60's and Halifax in the low 60's and raining. Getting off the ship in Bar Harbor took
forever. Going ashore tickets, were available at noon to leave the ship and they did not call our numbers 845,846
until after 3:00 PM. The three tender operators did not appear to have the experience in docking next to the
gangway; you put your life on the line just trying to get in the tender safely. I understand that NCL can not
control the weather but I would like to had seen the Captain make better choices in ports, warm weather ports
should be substituted with warm weather ports. We were not ready for the type of cold, rainy weather he
brought us to. We did not save our hard-earned money just to waste it on something like this.
Last, but certainly not least,
I would like to voice my concern with the medical staff of the Norwegian
I feel that this staff needs emergency training in order to remain on board and handle medical situations. I upon
leaving the vessel on Sunday morning with my wife witnessed a woman frantically coming out of the ladies room on
deck five, just outside of the Seven Seas restaurant, seeking help. I was told that there was a lady that just
collapsed and bleeding badly inside the ladies room. With my prior experience and training in CPR and first aid,
I responded immediately. What I found was a lady that appeared to be in her sixties unconscious on the floor,
bleeding from the back of the head, in a seizure and not breathing. I immediately went to her aide, cleared the
airway, restored her breathing and had someone run for the ships doctor. This lady was still unconscious and
needed immediate medical attention by a qualified professional. Someone from the ships Medical Department did
eventually respond. I briefed her on what I knew thus far, and assisted her at that time in retrieving an oxygen
tank from their office in place of the pony bottle she brought with her when responding. After obtaining supplies
and relaying messages to another member of the Medical Staff in the office. I notified the ships Purser to call an
ambulance; the ships Doctor finally arrived on the scene. I assisted the ships Medical Staff at the scene the entire
time after that. I witnessed the treatment or lack there of, that this poor lady received, and actions taken by the
Medical Staff. I will say again at this time THIS MEDICAL STAFF NEEDS TO BE BETTER TRAINED IN
I witnessed the Ships Doctor
and what I assumed to be a Registered Nurse's inability to give an IV,
neither one had done it for so long by there own admission. They never did administer the IV to the patient
and one of the EMTs who arrived took the bag-less needle out of the patient's arm and just threw it at them.
I also witnessed equipment failure and lack of knowledge on such equipment, (a defibrillator/heart monitor).
There is much more to the story but not knowing whether I may be called upon to testify later, I do not wish
to continue. I will say during this dreadful ordeal I was exposed to the deceased woman's blood and bodily
fluids, this has bothered me a great deal. I responded to the person in need first, and did not consider my
personal safety at the time. I will be contacting the husband of the deceased later this week to inquire whether
or not his wife ever had any blood diseases that I should be aware of.
This in particular is what
really bothers me! With the other deaths and medical emergencies that have
on the Majesty, the Medical Staff is still unprepared and ill trained for this sort of emergency. NCL claims to have
had the passengers and ships safety weigh heavy in the decision making process. With the described mechanical
problems with this ship; and the incompetence of some essential crew members along with complaints from
passengers who sailed in the past, can you explain to me why this ship is still operating? To date the only
compensation that NCL has offered my wife and I was a letter from the Captain offering a 25 percent cruise
credit on our next voyage. I am sorry but this little token does nothing for the pain and aggravation that we
endured that week. I would expect a full refund. If this is an indication in the direction that NCL has taken
their operation, I can assure you, we as Latitudes Club members are done with Norwegian Cruise Line.
Charles R. Sancranti Jr.
cc: Mr. Art Sbarsky
Executive Vice President
Norwegian Cruise Line
Mr. Hans Meeg
m/s Norwegian Majesty
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Sea Cruise in Review
I thought I might give
a review of our (my wife, brothers and sisters, six of us
in all) trip with Norwegian Sea's Texaribbean cruise!
I wanted to write this
not only as a review for others, but as a diary so that
years later I can look back and remember all that happened.
Our cruise took place
June 20 to the 27, 1999. We had cabin 2030. It was
small but that was to be expected on a cruise. Our cabin steward was Carlos
Lopez and even though we never saw him, our room was made two times a
The Norwegian Sea left
Houston, TX and visited ports of call such as Cancun,
Cozumel and Roatan Islands (a.k.a. Bay Islands), Honduras. I feel that there
were too many problems on this cruise. These problems out-weighed the
pleasures of the trip. Note: some of these problems may not have happened
since the cruise was filled to capacity, this left for a very crowded cruise! You
may say that these problems are typical for a cruise, but this was not our first
cruise. Between us we have cruised 4 times! Some cruises left from
Philadelphia, most others from Miami. When we departed the Norwegian Sea
for home we knew that we would cruise again but definitely not with
Norwegian Cruise Line.
We arrived on the Norwegian
Sea after a long day with numerous layovers and
delays. After dinner that night we went to the first night show and were
pleasantly surprised and had good time. We then turned in early. The next
morning we attended a lecture on Cancun given by the shore excursion
department of the ship. Having been to Cancun, I was familiar with the
surroundings and figured the lecture would be boring. I went to the lecture
with others in my party who had never been to Cancun, hoping to explain
some of the finer details that the talk might bring up. I figured that the lecture
would be informative for the others. It wasn't. The lecture was a 1.5 hour
lecture about shopping. The lecturer talked about which shops were the best
to shop in Cancun. These shops were owned by friends of the lecturer. The
lecturer lives in Cozumel and kept promoting the stores that his friends owned
in Cancun and Cozumel so that we could get the "best discount". When I
asked him about what I believe were important things we were given one word
answers. For instance the lecturer told us to drink the water in Mexico since
Cancun and Cozumel are resorts and their water has to be clean! I have been
to Cancun several times and I have found this not to be true!
After our lecture we
decided to sign up for shore excursions. When we arrived
at the desk we were informed that all snorkeling (Dive-In programs) were filled
and that I could sign up for a wait list, which we did. I was mad. One of the
great things about a Caribbean cruise is the snorkeling! I didn't even get an
apology for the overbooking just a "you should have come earlier and sign up"
from the Dive-In supervisor. How rude! We signed up for the Tobyana Beach
package ($38.00) on Roatan Island just in case something should happen and
that excursion would overbook. A note of warning to other voyagers; sign up
early for excursions. They fill up even before the first day is over (such as the
dolphin encounter excursions). Other activities such as massages and hair
cuts also fill up quickly (We were too slow to sign up for any of these
It was also at this time
when I asked about the ship's advertised volleyball
games/program. I was shocked to find out that there was no interest in
volleyball on the cruise and that function was discontinued. That was
interesting since on Thursday I played volleyball with other passengers on the
beach during the Tobyana excursion!
Monday is our first day
out at sea and the pool area was crowded with all
deck chairs being rounded up by 10 am. But we found a deck patio table
and a mismatch of chairs to sit in the shade. This was a smart thing to do
since the heat was approaching unbearable.
Dinner was pleasant.
We now have met our waiter. A pleasant fellow named
Luis. The great thing about him was the "Oh-Yea!" he would keep repeating
over and over again. We also liked our bus boy Armondo. He was the nicest
guy we could have. We couldn't be mad at him even when we were missing
glassware or when the glassware was left over from the previous seating (we
had the late seating). A note about dressing appropriate for the dinners:
There are several formal seatings, semi-formal seatings and informal seatings
for dinner. We had anticipated this when we left our homes with the
appropriate suits, ties, dresses and shoes. When we arrived at dinner it was
common place to find diners with jeans, sneekers, ball caps and sometimes
shorts. I can understand that some people might have lost their luggage. I
could sympathize with these unfortunate people. But we felt that at the
dinning rooms or night clubs 30 - 40 people all couldn't have lost their
luggage! It was insulting when we would go to Boomer's the night club or to
the midnight buffets and there would be posted signs saying no shorts and
shoes were required and people would still enter wearing shorts, ball caps or
sneekers. The Maitre d' wouldn't even inquire about their lack of attire at
Another problem we had
with our dinners was with our wine steward. Now our
table was young with ages varying from 20 to 30. We believe that our wine
steward on the first night sized us up as non-wine drinkers. He ignored us
until Wednesday night. Wednesday was when I informed our Maitre d' about
our lack of service. Our busboy would apologize for the wine steward as did
the Maitre d'. It wasn't until my complaint to the Maitre d' that we saw a wine
steward. By this time we weren't going to order anything from him and had to
ask for another wine steward. I understand, we aren't big wine drinkers. We
weren't going to buy bottles and bottles of wine. But we would have had beer
and soda for dinner and this surely would have earned him some tips.
Tuesday before our departure
for Cancun we had another lecture this time
about Cozumel and Roatan Islands. Since I had never been to Cozumel or
Roatan I was hoping for some valuable information, maybe better information
than what was given the previous day about Cancun. I was hoping for more
information about Roatan since the amount of information available on the
Internet was sparse. But again another lecture about which shops to visit,
which shops had the best silver, tee shirts and best diamonds. Barely a
mention about beaches, taxis or sights. When I asked the lecturer about
Roatan the lecturer replied, "There are no stores in Roatan, so get your
shopping done in Cozumel!"
Later (after a one hour
wait) we left the ship at 2:00. (The information in the
brochures about the time arriving in a port is misleading. The ship arrives at
its destination at the time posted in the brochures, in the case of
Cancun,1:00. The time that a passenger can depart varies up to 2 hours after
that!) We soon found our that the stores mentioned in the lectures were in
the "Plaza by the Sea" and were very tacky. We quickly left the stores and
went to the stores in the Mayfair Plaza which were cleaner and nicer. No
pushy salesmen/women and no efforts to cheat us out of money! While we
were in Cancun we also visited a must for anybody, Senior Frogs.
Wednesday left us high
and dry since the wait list never panned out. We
were forced to go with a trip out of Fodors travel guide. We went to
Chankannab Park. We took a taxi and were soon at the park. (Taxi $6 and
Park entrance $7). We were soon on the beach and renting snorkeling
equipment ($8 for the whole day). (Note: we paid $22 for a whole day
snorkeling. The boat was going to charge us anywhere from $35 to $50). The
snorkeling was great and the beach nice. It also wasn't crowded! Soon
though we ran into a problem. My sister cut her foot on a rock. The cut was
deep and it cut our time short at the park. The cut wasn't life threatening but
we felt that a doctor or a nurse should look at it. We went back to the ship.
As soon as we got back our temporary bandages couldn't stop the bleeding
so we decided to call the doctor. No answer. We called twice, still no
answer. Maybe we are taking the wrong approach so we dial 911. When we
explained the situation to the person on the other end they informed us that it
wasn't an emergency and to go to the doctors office. We trudged down there
to only find a nurse (why she didn't answer the phone we still don't know).
The nurse informs us that to look at the injury will be at least $50. $50! The
injury just needed a good alcohol cleaning and some gauze pads, we told
her. Sorry, she said, $50. We left the office with no service but with
waterproof Band-Aids since that was all they could dispense without a
payment. Now I feel that maybe if we had the doctor look at the cut we would
have been reimbursed by our health insurance, but I don't know. So we took
it upon ourselves to clean the foot the best we could (we did have alcohol
strips and the Band-Aids). But there are some problems here. We called the
doctor and received no reply. The emergency 911 system is diagnosing
problems over the phone. And before any medical assistance can be
rendered your cabin will be billed. I would have hated to see if one of us really
got hurt or sick.
After this episode we
were really annoyed with the cruise. We started
noticing things that might have not bothered us before. Some are noted here.
My brother had to set
up his on board account three times. Each time the
paper work was lost. On the third try Office Whim did not even apologize. He
just gave us a look like we were trying to avoid paying our bill.
Tobyana Beach gave us
another experience. Some of which maybe the ship
couldn't control. The transfers from the ship to the beach were by mini bus.
We did know that Roatan was still developing as a tourist attraction. Well, we
were to find out that the roads weren't even paved. That wasn't as bad as
when the bus almost went over the side of a cliff. The whole ride to the beach
we kept nervously joking about the headlines, "Tourist bus careens over edge
of cliff! 20 die!" thank God that never happened, but it easily could.
Friday and Saturday we
spent in the lounges drinking and playing Clue. We
tried to play cards but the gift shop was sold out of them. Also the gift shop
sold out of a lot of items such as Vodka, and shot glasses, just to name a
few. Also another item of interest to note about the gift shop: I tried to buy a
Lladro (porcelain statue) for my wife as a secret Christmas gift at the gift
shop. I went into the gift shop and picked out the statue. As I displayed my
credit card for the $200 purchase the sales lady said, "I am sorry but we
cannot accept credit cards for purchase." I asked how should I pay for this?
She said to put it on my room's bill and pay for it as you leave the ship. But
this is a secret present for my wife I explained, if it is on my bill she will
know! She said that I could buy it then quickly go down to the purser and pay
for and the purser could remove it from my bill. I then explained that it was
Saturday and the office was only opened in the morning and they won't be
open until Sunday when we depart to take care of final room balances. She
then shrugged her shoulders and lost my $200 purchase.
We then left the ship on Sunday glad for this learning experience to be over.
Why am I writing this?
I am writing this as a warning. Not every cruise is the
best. Not every vacation is the best. In looking back at the trip I constantly
remind myself that not every trip is perfect. I can't expect everything to be
perfect. And certainty not everything was. It rained in Cancun. There was a
minor forest fire in Roatan that gave a haze and stench to the island. These
things I can account for and compensate for. But I feel that things like a rude
cruise photographer on the dock in Cozumel, the rude purser who couldn't say
thank you or apologize for the lost credit application, the lack of medical
personnel on call, the lack of excursions, the rude wine steward, these things
could have been averted. The lectures should have had at least some detail
on the destination beside which shops sell the cheapest merchandise. These
things I blame Norwegian for. My experience could have been better if I didn't
have to deal with these problems.
In summary we will cruise
again, though not with Norwegian. We will also tell
our friends that are looking to cruise not to take Norwegian Cruise Lines.
as found on about.com
Sailing: October 1998
There have been numerous
complaints about cruises originating from Miami
on the SS Leeward, which is a Norwegian Cruise Line ship. On our trip in
October 1998, our room was so noisy from a bad engine we had to switch
from a stateroom with a queen size bed and a window with a water view to
and inside cabin sporting two twin beds and no view whatsoever.
The staff was rude, our
waiter smelled (stunk), and we didn't stop at an island
as promised, instead we were shuttled to Freeport Bahamas (the scourge of
the Atlantic). We wrote NCL about the problems and they insulted us by
sending us a coupon for 25% off another three day cruise. In December 1998,
articles have been written in local newspapers and reports have been
investigated by area television stations where NCL sold five day cruises to
Mexico and instead they took everyone to the Bahama Islands.
They refused to refund
money to the passengers stating that they could do
whatever they wanted as per the ticket agreement. The trip to the Bahamas
was supposed to have been "unforeseen", they sited trouble with the engines.
But, our letter to NCL about our cruise in October was specific in pointing out
that we noted trouble with the engine on the port side of the vessel, and we
believed that is why our room was so noisy and vibrated so bad. Avoid NCL.
They are a poor cruise line who took money from people knowing the vessel
wasn't up to snuff and offered them nothing. They hold all the cards and are
ripping off the public.
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