This cruise was one of the worst experiences of my life. I never felt so un-welcomed and isolated in my life. The cruise itself was great. The scenery was awesome. The relaxing atmosphere was wonderful. The other tourists on the boat were ... Read More
This cruise was one of the worst experiences of my life. I never felt so un-welcomed and isolated in my life. The cruise itself was great. The scenery was awesome. The relaxing atmosphere was wonderful. The other tourists on the boat were friendly. The staff, however, were a nightmare. Particularly one of the receptionists and the cruise director.
I took the 7- day cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes this past July 2015. By the fourth night I was crying every night. I traveled alone and this was my first cruise. When I asked questions I left feeling terrible. Getting answers to questions like, “What are the check out procedures for tomorrow?” or “Do I need to show my receipt for the excursions I booked?” were a battle. The crew spoke perfect English, but getting answers…My words were often played with, twisted so that the answer I got didn’t answer my question. I was spoken to very condescendingly. No matter how much I would re-phrase my simple question, it ended up being a game of words. Exhausting. I also got answers given in a smart-aleck way. Also not answering my question directly, but I understood the answer. I tried to laugh the smart-aleck answers off, but after a couple days of this they began to feel insulting. It felt horrible.
Please make sure you are clear with the boarding and docking times. They WILL leave you, as they did me. I was a single woman left stranded in Alesund, a foreign country, with no money, id, or phone. Just my camera. My plan was just to walk off the boat and take pictures for a few minutes and get back on the boat. As this was my first docking experience, I did not want to get left. Didn’t want to take any chances.
I think I was still jet lagged from my flight from the US because on that day I took a long nap in the mid afternoon. I woke up close to 7p.m. I noticed we were docked so I grabbed my camera. I went to reception to ask about getting on and off the boat. I made a light joke about the importance of being back on the boat on time. I saw the time of 19:00 posted at the exit. “Ok,” I thought. “We just docked so I definitely have time to take a few quick pictures.” I spent about 15 minutes off the boat. When I came back the boat was gone! It was my misunderstanding about the timing. 19:00 was the time the boat was to leave, not arrive! But it would have been nice if the receptionist told me that, instead of watching me walk off the boat at 19:00. The person who scanned out my cruise card could have said something like, “Hey, where are you going? We are getting ready to leave.”
I paid about $350 for a cab and ferry ride to catch up to the boat at their next stop. I was mortified, but the staff didn’t make it any easier. I was determined to enjoy this cruise since I paid so much money for it. Everything was lovely except that the staff wore me down by the fourth day. I paid for two excursions that I did not go on. One was the day after I got left on the boat. I was still so horrified about getting left, I was scared to get off the boat again! The other one was viewing the Russian border. Because of my flight arrangements, leaving at noon, I was not able to go on that excursion. No refunds…
Getting off that boat at Kirkenes to go home was like getting out of jail.
My Norwegian friend said that their behavior was probably due to racism or the fact that I'm American. Who really knows?
If you must go, don’t go alone. And if my friend is correct, especially is you are a person of color or an American. Read Less