I was told not to put this in letter form but just an FYI a letter was written to two people at NCL and sent on 07/23 and neither saw fit to respond as of this date (now that was really disappointing to say the least. What upset me most was the fact that we were WALKED in ot TWICE. It is in a paragraph almost at the bottom....the rest of the incidents were bad enough but that was totally not good or right. Sorry to those that love this cruise line and I see some had similar experiences with food, etc. but I just found this site. I HATE starting out sour grapes but some of these issues are IMHO important enough that others should at least know in an effort to help them make an informed decision
My wife and I recently took a cruise on the "Norwegian Jewel."
It was our anniversary cruise after over 40 years of marriage. The body more or less went as below.
A couple of weeks have passed and I have now "settled down" some and got
caught up from the trip. I feel I need to make you aware of a number of
issues we encountered on this cruise and why I hope this was all just an aberration and hope this is not indicative of the cruise industry of today.
I was not a "happy camper (or cruiser)."
First off please note that we totally enjoyed the trip to Alaska and would go back given the chance. We had a great time on all the shore excursions and each port and we even enjoyed the ship we were on. We also enjoyed the bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries sent our cabin and thank you. However, it was a lot of little things that made this NOT a customer-friendly trip.
First off this cruise served as my wife and my anniversary gift to each other after over 40 years. I will save the worst for last. I really had hoped things would go differently. Day one started out with a disastrous
attempt at getting signed in.
1. We stood in line for hours, in a SINGLE line. After the first hour
and a piece as it neared around 2:30 p.m. or so it came over the intercom that your company was having computer issues and "sorry for the delay, etc."
It was not so much as standing in line that really upset me, it was the fact as I learned from having own my own business that when there is a problem the true worth of a company shines. In this case, not. It was apparent there was absolutely NO WAY everyone was going to get boarded to sail on time and everyone sort of figured it out as time dragged on. I based this on the time we stood in line before the announcement and how many folks were behind us that were in the building. It was obvious some were going to be boarded w/o going through the boarding process or left behind if we were to leave on time and was borne out by the fact that the next day over the intercom it was indicated where such people should go to complete their boarding process. I even had to go to the Purser's desk to "link" a credit card to our account. NCL apparently chose to do things the way they had always done when there were no issues except for the single line which in itself made NO sense.
When we finally entered the terminal a kind gentleman asked if we had sailed on NCL before and showed us the "short, reserved line" for previous NCL cruisers. Although we had previously been on at least six cruises over the years, we simply could not remember so we opted to say, "No." We were then shuttled into the single long line. As time went by we saw a few thirtysomethings enter the other line as they apparently said, "Yes" when they were asked if they cruise with NCL before. In the same line as we were in were a number of older folks, even older than we are (67 and 62), who were having a very difficult time standing on their feet for so long in the heat generated by so many people in such close proximity to one another.
Some of them were using canes. Some of them were verbally and physically agitated.
At the very least the "older" folks should have been shown the respect due them at their station in life and (in view of security) could have been "patted down" and should have been allowed to board and complete the process at a later time. Or, NCL should have directed these folks to the line the thirtysomethings were in. Or, they should have been allowed to sit down and NCL could have sent one or two of the 20 or so folks behind the counter out to personally take care of them. Any of those alternatives would have at least shown a bit of class and would have shown that NCL really cared for ALL of their passengers. My father was a vet and served in WWII and was shot down, I am a vet from the Nam era, my son and daughter in law are currently serving and both have served overseas. Everyone including Cruise lines now shows concern and caring for our vets by way of special fares, etc. and this is a good thing.however, who takes care of the "old folk?
They are just as valuable a resource and is even more valuable in my opinion.
2. After we did get onboard and into our room and waited for our
luggage to arrive we found we could hear nothing broadcasted over the room speaker with messages. Even after reporting it, the speaker was never fixed throughout the whole cruise. We were however directed to the channel on TV by our very pleasant and courteous room steward and was told the information also was conveyed this way. Thing is we didn't want and nor did we have the TV on 24/7 and a lot of messages went unheard no matter how important.
3. Once the luggage arrived my wife started unpacking and as she was
putting things in the closet she said, "John!" I asked her what was wrong and as I turned to look at her I saw she was holding some women's underwear.
Thing is, it wasn't hers. She found it in the bottom of the closet on the floor. I tried to make a joke out of it telling her how lucky I was this was our first day and we never left each other's sight but by this time her mood was almost like mine.hoping things would go better. Well, you take it from there.
4. Now with all that and done unpacking we decided to relax on our
very lovely and quite adequate balcony and just relax for a while and have a drink from the minibar. I wanted a scotch and she wanted water. I looked at the price list for the minibar and was totally amazed. To be quite frank I found the prices to be airport prices or high end restaurant prices.
Seven dollars for an ounce and a half of scotch? To me that is restaurant prices but the thing is we go out to eat a couple of times a month so that is not so bad, but this was a week straight on a cruise ship. Well to me the prices were sadly high to outrageous. To charge $5.25 for a liter of water is again way beyond not customer friendly almost to the point of gouging for the almighty buck. I truly understand profit having owned a full service gas station but we never charged book prices for labor and we always treated the customers fairly. You could have still doubled your money charging half that. To boot I never saw a liter of water in the room much less in the minibar and I doubt a liter would even fit in the minibar.
That was just our first day.on the second day we had NO heat in our room that evening. Unlike the speaker issue however, it did get fixed.
Other issues I would like for you to know about that sort of agitated me (and a few of my fellow passengers) were the facts that:
5. The buffet was FAR from convenient or customer friendly. It was a
sad attempt versus other cruises we have been on. What is more if anyone took any of the longer shore trips and came back and wanted lunch at the buffet, forget it. The hours were terrible. I can full well understand shutting down a table or two at a time during changeover but to shut them all down and leave a small, very small one open in another room with little options was not so good. Any other cruise had a real 24-hour buffet. Heck, even when the outside buffets were supposed to be open, they were not. At least one side was always closed and the lines were long and the other side opened "late." To top everything else off we were told to go to the Blue Lagoon if we wanted. Thing about that was.no one was there???? I later found out when they were there you had to order from a menu???? In addition, one night they completely closed the whole buffet for "chocolate night???????!!!!" I am a diabetic. Why would close the main buffet? Why not close one of your boutique restaurants for one night or the Tzar's restaurant and set up there for those that like that sort of thing. The buffet should have remained a place to eat dinner. To boot, I think it even opened at 7 p.m.?
6. The whole washy-washy, happy-happy thing was an affront and if it
is meant to keep the germs away, well let us say there is definitely no issue with the stationary hand cleaner there for folks who wish to take advantage of it but to have someone stand there (when they were there) and spray the back of your hand or miss and spray your pants leg or arm or whatever they could hit.when I get out of the shower in the morning I am supposedly clean. I do not need nor want to be sprayed. I am adult fare-paying customer, not a child that needs washy-washy. If I wanted to "sanitize" again I could have used the one placed there on a stand. Again, sometimes they were there, sometimes not.
7. It is very interesting that the room steward keeping banker's hours
only on a split shift. We would come to our room after shopping or whatever and would want to get a drink or some ice. Most times what little ice was left in the bucket before she left was already melted and when we went to get some no steward was found anywhere. At least if you are not going to have a steward available please consider putting an ice machine somewhere on each level where a passenger could get ice. Out of curiosity what do they do the other 16 hours? NOTE: I am saying anything bad about our steward.
She was wonderful, polite, and attentive when she was there. No complaints re her job, just the inaccessibility and again not very customer friendly.
We had to call room service for ice.
8. Why is it necessary to send folks to the purser's desk to get a
copy of their room charges when even hotel rooms (and from past cruises) have a channel on the TV you can go to and get those charges displayed.
Never mind. I probably already know the answer. Linking a credit card to a room is one thing and understandable due to the problems onshore but I should have had easy access to what charges were put on my card and to make sure mistakes were fixed and there were indeed mistakes.
9. There were a few other incidents like trying to talk us out of a
bottle of sake after we had agreed on their price and the room service menu not showing prices on "everything" that would be charged for like water, etc. and little things like that.
Since this is already long, I am going to stop with the final, most egregious two incidents. TWO times we were walked in on, TWICE. The first time was our room steward.my wife was in the room alone napping. She heard a tap-tap on the door, the door opened, and she heard a "hello, hello" and turned and there she was. The second time we were sitting on the balcony watching time and sea pass. , again, when my wife heard, "hello, hello." I turned around and there in the room by the bathroom stood a man. I asked him what he wanted and he told me he was from maintenance. I was shocked he came in like that. After the initially shock wore off I asked if he was going to fix the speaker (he knew nothing about it) and he said "no" he was there to look at the toilet seat that was broken and was turned in. Neither my wife nor I knew what he was talking about. Anyway he said he would replace it "as soon as we get one in supply." Thing is, our seat was not broken to both our visual inspection and to our knowledge it too was never fixed. If there was no seat in stock, why even come at all?
This is so very not good. Unless the "make up room" sign is out a room
should NOT be entered unless you can be certain the room is vacant. Use
your imagination and think if it was a young honeymoon couple!!!.again, on past cruised the stewards knew when we left as there was ALWAYS a steward close by. It was like a genie whether the room was already made up or not, they did something to freshen it up. At the very least a phone call should have been made. When someone is sitting on the balcony they most assuredly
cannot hear a tap, tap on the door and can barely hear a hello, hello.
To boot, I am deaf in one ear and most seniors do lack hearing to some degree. I know this because my wife is in the healthcare industry and sees it on a day-to-day basis.
I am sorry for the length. I truly did not mean for it to be a b..ch session and apologize because it most certainly is but I feel somewhat better now and it is off my chest. Will we cruise Norwegian again? I will not say never because I do believe in second chances (turn the other cheek).
I just hope the whole industry (including NCL) has not adopted the "show me the money" doctrine and the "attitude" towards the general population that we felt on this cruise when we were on board. I truly hope this was an aberration.