What was supposed to be a vacation I would remember fondly forever, is something that I only wish to forget and I wish that I had worked rather than been on an NCL ship. I had prepared for and looked forward to this trip for quite some time.
This ship was ridiculously crowded. If I wanted to go to crowded mall during rush hour, I would have gone to a crowded mall during rush hour. This was supposed to be a rejuvenating experience. It was more stress than my regular life.
Upon our arrival, I saw that our cabin had not been cleaned properly. There were greasy fingerprints on the television, a piece of candywrapper on the couch, a missing cup from the bathroom, and the carpet did not appear to have been vacuumed. I called housekeeping about these things, and requested that the missing cup from the bathroom be replaced. That was never done, nor was any effort made to correct the fact that the room was not completely clean.
'Room service' - when someone actually answered the phone, which usually took an average of 3 or more calls, took a minimum of 45 minutes to actually be brought to the room. On 3 separate occasions, I attempted to get room service - I needed green apples which I could not even get for myself in the Garden Cafe. The first two times I called for green apples, it took 45 to 60 minutes for them to arrive. I routinely had to call several times to get an answer - - and the same was true for the guest services line. I heard this from other guests as well, who did not even bother to try to use room service. On the third occasion that I called for room service, I needed green apples during one of the worst weather days. Guest services took 90 minutes to bring the apples, and they were not even green, they were yellow, brown and very bruised. I told them to take them back.
95% of the staff were rude, impatient, indifferent, did not listen to what I was requesting or asking, or just barely spoke English, did not do what I had asked, and/or need to be repeatedly asked. There was no real 'service' provided, just 8 days of attitudes. There were a FEW people who were actually nice and personable and professional. Mary-Grace and Fiorella in Ocean Blue were really nice. There were just a few others.
We would routinely sit down at a bar and be COMPLETELY ignored. We would routinely sit in a restaurant and not be greeted at our table, when we had finally been seated, for a good 20 minutes. The only good service we got was at Ocean Blue Restaurant.
About the photography shop;
I had requested photos without the hideous borders you have to put on everything. The prints were re-done as requested, but the digital files were still cut off with the borders, (the ugly borders that you put on the photos cut nearly 2 inches off of the outer edge of the photo), so the high-res quality photos that I paid $20 each for (an absolutely obscene price) were not given as asked. It was a TOTAL disregard for my wishes - - which were clearly written on the order sheet.
Also one photographer, (who had taken a very good photo of me on NYEve when I had requested to be shot with no background), had suggested that he also take a few photos of me in the Saree I had brought with me - in a similar fashion as he shot me in my NYEve gown, but then when I asked when he wanted to do so, and how, he told me that I should call his manager and request him specifically. Absurd. I did call several times, but he was never available. When I went back to the photography shop later to tell that I had made several calls as he had told me to do, he was not there, and other staff were there, who basically had me standing there waiting for them with no sense of urgency or concern for the fact that I had already gone through quite a bit of trouble about this. I finally left the photo area in frustration.
After I had dressed in my Saree, I went back AGAIN to the photo area to see Kharlo, who was there again, told him that I had already made several attempts, including going to look for him in the photo shop, but he showed ZERO concern or sense of responsibility for what he had offered to me previously, and just flippantly informed me that he was on duty in the shop, and I would have to just go down to the other photographer to take a photo. Those photos that the other photographer took were absolutely terrible. They were washed out - - the photographer did not properly help me to get a good shot. He just did not care, and no else did either. Needless to say, I have no nice photos of me in that Saree I was wearing.
Lastly, it is APPALLING that you would charge $20 for USB drive that is only 2Gb !!!!!! I can get a 8 Gb drive for $10!!!! It is disgusting. This on TOP of charging $20 per photo!!!!! Disgusting.
This was the general theme for 95% of the staff I encountered on the ship. They were outright surly and rude, or just simply did not care, did not want to be bothered with requests, and were simply not engaged in any quality of service. They were snotty, curt, and rude most of the time when I asked questions or requested something.
Other examples of this behaviour:
Circumstance: I don't drink. I have been sober for 23 years. It should not be an issue for any bartender on the ship to make any drink as a virgin. I felt discriminated against, and am appalled at the level of ignorance and rudeness. I was down at the Atrium bar and asked for a virgin brown turkey. The bartender snottily and rudely replied that "We don't do that". I had to actually press the issue to have him just simply put the drink together making a version that was alchohol-free. It was humiliating and embarrassing and I was made to feel like an annoying person who should just shut up. I encountered this repeatedly throughout the ship. The ship has meetings on it, but the ignorance of the staff about sobriety is truly appalling. Sober people like to have fun too, we like to have nice drinks too. I don't want some juvenile sugar soda or juice. I am a discriminating woman with good taste who wishes to enjoy something that is grown-up. I want something sophisticated and nice. I was made to feel like a pariah because I was asking for that. I heard from multiple guests on the ship that this was an issue for them.
I will never sail with Norwegian again.
One of our dinners was at 'Le Bistro'. The waiter barely spoke english, I had to request over and over and over - - and repeat several times that I wanted a VIRGIN mango mohito. He brought a regular drink which I took a drink of thinking it was alchohol-free. I got mostly rum in that sip. It is fortunate for me that I was not susceptible at that moment to the effect of that experience to the degree that I would just lose my sobriety, but not all are so strong. Give a drink with alchohol in it to someone who has requested it to be virgin, and it could be truly disastrous for them and all that they had worked for up until that day. I know this first hand, as it has happened to friends of mine.
We did talk to the Assistant Maitre'D of Le Bistro who was on duty that evening, and as we understand from him, he was putting this in his report.
I made repeated requests of the housekeeping staff for water, towels, etc. I would either not receive the items, and have to go get them myself, or I would have to make repeated requests, and wait for hours.
When I brought these issues to guest services - as early as the first day on the ship, I was met with BLATANT disregard - and antagonism - - I had to give exact times and names to "prove" my case. It is beyond imagining. I was offered cheap wine (useless to me, but could have been nice for my travelling companion if it was any good) and "chocolate covered strawberries" - - the chocolate was sweating on the strawberries and my travelling companion said the wine was a joke - - absolutely undrinkable - - not even suitable for cooking.
I need to add here that on one of the occasions I had gone to guest 'services' to try to get some sort of correction to the problems, the associate asked me what he could offer me to try to compensate for some of the problems. I thought for a moment, and then told him that I was planning on getting a pedicure on the ship, and he could give me that. He hastily replied by saying that that was impossible, and the only thing he could offer was wine and strawberries. Then why ask ???!!!!!!! I was so disgusted I just walked away. All I wanted to do at that point is get off of the ship and cancel the whole thing.
Starting on the first day, my cabin key did not work and had to be replaced 3 times. I had to wait and wait and wait on a line to get a working key card. The person whose job it was to fix the keys was not on duty, so we had to stand and wait on a line. When he arrived, he seemed to be unaware that his task was to fix/replace non-functional key cards. ????!!!!!! For $1300 per person ????!!! REALLY ????!!!!!
I get WAY more value for my dollar with Celebrity, and I will never EVER sail with NCL again.
We were really disgusted with being nickeled and dimed on EVERY SINGLE thing. I also heard this complaint from other guests.
Each passenger should be given a liter of water at no charge EVERY SINGLE DAY. THIS SHOULD NOT BE A CHARGE, AND IT SHOULD NOT BE AN OPPORTUNITY TO RAPE GUESTS' WALLETS. When guests need additional liters of water, they should be charged only the lowest price - - NO MORE than $2 per liter - - which is already outrageous. Water is essential for life, as are bathrooms and shelter. NCL is using this as an opportunity to rape its guests wallets, and it is a disgusting and reprehensible practice. I also heard this same dissatisfaction from other guests.
My experience at the medical clinic was also an absolute offense. We had EXTREMELY rough waters during the voyage, and on the worst day I was in tears and in absolutely pitiful condition and in need of a shot to relieve my sea-sickness, as the meclezine was not working. Finally after hours of misery, I went down to the infirmary, (on my way, a guest was so concerned about me that she grabbed my arm to help me get there), and discovered that in order to get a shot, I would have to pay a minimum of $150. The person who informed me of this could not have been more indifferent to my obvious plight. This is disgusting. On a day as bad as it was, I should be given the shot that I needed, no questions asked, and no charges. It is not the fault of the ship and staff that we had bad weather, but while we are on the ship, we are in its care, and this should never EVER be an opportunity to rape guests' wallets. I was treated as a lamb for slaughter, and I am appalled at the level of disregard. I had to totter out of the infirmary and suffer in agony for the rest of the day. It was a wasted vacation day, and it was not because of anything I had done other than have the misfortune to be on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship.
Non-smoker rooms should be FAR from smoker rooms. The guests to our left smoked and we could not enjoy the balcony because they were constantly smoking and the smoke was flowing into our room - - starting at 7AM. I wanted to be able to enjoy tea in the morning and afternoon, and just sit out on the balcony during the day, but every time I was out there, the neighbors were too, and it meant I had to either suck their second-hand smoke, or just be trapped in the room with the door closed. I had called guest services to talk about this - - first asking whether smoking is allowed in rooms, and they told me that it is allowed on balconies, but not inside rooms. When I told her that that is unfortunate as we are trapped breathing disgusting cigarette smoke, she could not have cared LESS!
Regarding the tender situation at Great Stirrup Cay - - it was reprehensible. We chose to just stay on the ship because we were not about to be waiting for hours for some dumb tender to the island, and we also really could care less about an NCL stupid private island. GIVE PROPER VALUE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS FOR THEIR DOLLAR!
Though we bought our fares knowing that there was only one port that we really cared about, it really detracted from what would have been the real value of the voyage, which was to spend the 3 dock days on different islands in or close to the Bahamas. An attractive aspect of this cruise was that it was sailing out of NYC, but that was quickly overshadowed by all of the other negatives. The ship should have sailed DIRECTLY to the Bahamas, not taken a slow crawl down the coast, and we should have had 3 days in the Bahamas on PUBLIC islands either Bahamian or perhaps Trinidad and Tobago or other nearby islands, not some useless private island.
It seems obvious to us that the only reason NCL stopped on their private island for one day was to save themselves port fees. We are so glad that you were able to increase your profit margin at our expense. It is as if NCL thinks its customers are just stupid.
We were willing to tolerate this hoping that NCL would compensate for the fact that we had very little time in the tropics, but we were sorely disappointed.
About the parties DJ;
DJ Franco was one of the WORST DJs I have ever experienced. My business is music. I am a musician, composer, producer, arranger, singer, and dancer. I was also a DJ for many years for many high-profile live events. I know how to play to a group and make them happy. DJ Franco was a joke. He barely played a song for 2 minutes. He offered no variety or imagination to the crowd. Latin Night should have been a wonderful musical journey. Instead it was a peurile regurgitation of a bunch of Bachata and Merengue tracks for MOST of the night with a few Salsas thrown in. We eventually just gave up and left. He played no Samba, nothing other than Bachata and Merengue. That is NOT the extent of Latin Music!!!!!
The White Party was just as bad - - just a replay of the crap that top 40 radio plays. I got dressed for the white party, I was looking forward to it. It should have been a really fun, cool, Long Island summer party vibe dancing all night to a broad range of great dance music. Instead it was just another stupid re-pounding of the crap DJ Franco played on NYEve.
80's night was as bad the others. No imagination, he didn't stay on a song for more than 2 minutes. I left in disgust.
DJ Franco should be fired and replaced with someone who actually understands and loves a broad range of music. You should have someone in the job who has imagination and a real passion for music - preferably someone who IS a musician - - Someone who loves to dance, and who understands others who really love to dance.
Additional "Service" Charges. WHAHAAT ???
The tacked on daily surprise $12 per person per day 'service' charge is UNACCEPTABLE! We were informed of this only after we have boarded the ship and read it on one of the sheets. The price is the price is the price UP FRONT. THAT SHOULD BE IT. You also tack on additional 'service' charges to specialty restaurants. Unacceptable. Tips Are Discretionary. THEY ARE NOT MANDATORY. If the prices of dishes at the specialty restaurants are not enough to cover operating costs and profit margin, then you need to state the prices that ARE covering those costs UP FRONT. Every second on the ship we were literally being shafted, baited-and-switched. Celebrity does not do this. As I have stated previously, we got way more value for our dollars on Celebrity.
The last time that I went to the guest services desk to bring issues to their attention, I was met again with the usual indifference. When I threw my hands up in disgust and told the representative that I would have to write a letter to management, she responded defiantly, "Ok!"
I needed this vacation to really uplift me and be a very positive memory. It was something that I will try to forget, and it was an absolute waste of money. I could have stayed at home, spent my money elsewhere, and been better off.