Freestyle? More like Give-Us-All-of-Your-Money-Style!
The best thing about cruising is usually excellent customer service. People go on cruises to be pampered. If this is your idea of a great cruise, stay away from Norwegian!! The staff is very unhelpful. "No" was the most common answer we got from staff. If you are in the hot tub or lying by the pool and ask a beverage server for water or iced tea (the only two free beverages on the ship) you are told to go into the buffet and get it yourself. They will only bring you drinks that cost money b/c of the automatic gratuity, I guess. When asking for something from a staff member and getting the standard "no", it was usually followed with "it is the policy, I only work here". This response was received from the beverage servers, staff in the hallway, front desk staff, and managers alike. What do they care? They are not working for tips! The gratuity is placed on your bill automatically ($10 per person per day) so there is no personal service at all. We had all of these gratuities removed and tipped as we went along, based on the service we received. Remember, in addition to the $10/person/day, you are also automatically paying gratuity for every soda, alcoholic beverage, and spa service! When we asked the cabin steward for more towels because there were 4 of us in the cabin, 2 of whom were women, the response was, "I can give you 5 towels". Ha!
The biggest customer service gaffe was with the dress code. We were unaware of the dress code because of NCL's "Freestyle", come-as-you-are marketing campaign. It is certainly not advertised on NCL's website b/c I read every page of it and saw nothing in black-and-white on what is acceptable dress for dinner. Even literature in our room for formal night stated: "Dress formally...or not!" When we were rejected from the Windows restaurant because of wearing shorts (nice shorts, mind you - clean, pressed, with a nice button down shirt), we questioned the front desk staff and were told there was nothing they could do, they just worked there, it was policy, and they were "sorry to hear" we were upset. This was the response from THREE managers! So, during the Port Canaveral port stop the next day we spent $40 in cab fare to get to a mall and buy dress pants, only to find out later that day that the staff WAS letting people into the other main restaurant, the Garden Room, in shorts!! Not only that, but come to find out later in the week that the gift shop sells men's dress pants! We were livid!!! The front desk staff and three managers we spoke with did not suggest any of these options to us! They stated that without dress pants we were relegated to the buffet all week. So frustrating!!
Our travel agent hooked us up with a handicapped room so we had plenty of room for four people; as cabins go it was not bad at all.