To be brief, there were four major issues that need to be addressed.
1. The first is the fire/burning odor that occurred on the 3rd night of the cruise. Our room was on the 10th floor aft, and we were awoken late in the evening to a horrible burning smell and immediately attempted to call the front desk. However. after letting the phone ring endlessly without anyone picking up and calling multiple times, my wife had to get dressed and go down to the front desk. The counter lady had zero concern and zero sense of urgency at the matter, regardless of the fact we were not the only ones standing there reporting this matter. Please understand that people do have huge phobias of fire, especially when they are contained on a ship out in the ocean with nowhere to go. After about 30 minutes, a security officer appeared and began by trying to tell us that it “May not be a fire. I think it is that they are burning all the excess plastic waste and may be accidentally venting it through your room.” That made us feel much better – NOT!. The boat isn’t burning, but instead it is piping toxic gas into our room. He then began looking in various storage doors up and down the halls on the 9th and 10th floors and radioed to people about the strength of the burning odor. Another 20 minutes later a second officer appeared, and this time he pulled us aside and said “I think it’s somebody smoking some really bad dope.” and the he turned to my wife and said “You know the difference between good dope and bad dope and how awful the bad dope smells...” Seriously? Not only was he minimizing the issue, he was all but accusing my wife of being a drug user. After a third officer arrived and another 15 minutes went by, we were informed that there was indeed an overheated rubber fan belt in the A/C unit that caught fire and was causing the odor. We were assured it was being taken care of and that the smell would dissipate shortly. That was about 2 hours later before we were able to go back to sleep. We ended up having to go to the Sports Bar for a while before being able to return to our room. All this while still having to get up early in the morning.
2. The second issue was the absolutely horrible excursion you had charged us for in Guatemala. After speaking with NCL representatives over the phone prior to the trip and reviewing your website, we were talked into going to the Amatique Bay Resort for the BBQ. We signed up online well before the cruise left. It was a 100% waste of money.
They listed the following with pictures of a full pool and the blue water. NOTE: this is now listed as no longer available. Wonder why.
Amatique Beach Break & Bbq
Depart by boat from the pier for a 30-minute ride to the beauty of Amatique Bay Resort, complete with its large pool area, landscaped grounds, wet bar and water-slides for children and the young at heart. The brown-sand beach is ideal for tanning and playing. Local artisans come to the resort to offer visitors colorful handicrafts. This is an excellent experience for everyone in the family. A barbecue-style buffet lunch is included.
We took our own pictures which reflect that the main pool isn’t even FULL. It was so low that it was more than 18 inches below the filters. There were people on the sides with nets trying to keep the pool clean. The kid pool was filthy and with the exception of a couple of locals, parents were keeping their kids clear.
Moving on, there were not enough lounge chairs, and we were forced to lay on the uneven tiled concrete ground until a porter was able to round up a few extra lounges. Further the “BBQ” was about 6 bins of cheap food: Rice, beans, burgers, some chicken pieces. The point is that if we wanted to swim - we could have stayed on the boat, that pool was better - and free. If we wanted to sunbathe, we could have stayed on the boat and had nice lounge chairs and a place to sit - and that was free. And if we wanted lunch, we could have just eaten at the Garden Cafe, the food was better, both in quality and variety - and free! How you can charge us for this, or put the NCL name on this is ridiculous. When we first brought this to the excursion desk’s attention, they immediately agreed, said we were by no means the first to mention this, and offered us ½ of our money back. That isn’t sufficient. We wasted a full day here when we could have simply stayed on the boat for free. We are very glad you no longer are offering this trip. It is completely unworthy of NCL.
3. The third item was the SECOND evening with the burning odor in our room. Once again it occurred in the middle of the night and woke us up. Once again we were forced to get out of bed, get dressed and vacate our room until the smell dissipated – as it was making us nausious. And once again, we would have liked to been sleeping as we had to get up early in the morning.
4. The final item is the lack of response to our request that the TV in our room be repaired or replaced. The brightness was broken and turned all the way down. If there was a light image on the screen it appeared very dark, and if the image on the screen was dark, then the screen looked black - like the TV was off entirely. We called this in on day 3 and again a couple of days later and nothing was ever done. Granted, we did not spend a lot of time in the room, but while we were getting dressed for dinners or the evening it would have been nice to be able to watch TV at that time. Again, the lack of urgency/care was completely unacceptable from NCL. We got a card on our door on April 21, 2011 (after having complained twice) asking us to call them regarding maintenance. Just go in there and replace the TV for God’s sake. We are on vacation and are not going to stay in a room for a maintenance call.
Finally, there were other minor issues - such as a THIRD fire, one that kept our cruise from getting underway for a couple of hours - that kept this from being as enjoyable a vacation as we expected, especially when compared to previous cruises, both on NCL and other cruise lines.
Other than the above, the food was great. The dining room and other service was great. Room steward was great.