We had planned for quite some time to take a Panama Canal cruise with four siblings and their spouse's. The Norwegian Sun had the itinerary (full transit from Miami to Los Angeles) that we wanted at a good time of the year. Once on board (with no prior notification) we discovered that the ship was in route to a 15 day dry dock. We soon discovered construction equipment and materials were stored across several passenger decks and discovered that construction was commencing immediately, not waiting for the dry-dock. Over the next 15 days we were subjected to the noise, dust and fumes of a construction site. We discovered that some of the materials being used were toxic in nature. Lifeboat roster stations were blocked off for construction and several restaurants / bars were not available due to "renovation".
NCL management and the Captain could have cared less, in fact the Captain walked out of a passenger called meeting after 3 minutes stating it wasn't his issue.
Due to the upcoming dry-dock we discovered what appeared to be a high level of the staff were getting off in LA, and they appeared to be trunkie to say the least. Dining service was at the best spotty. 2 1/2 hours for dinner in Cagney's - without desert! (35 minutes until they took our order). Same with our room steward - although he kept our room clean you could tell he was ready to get off the ship.
Perhaps because the ship was going to be out of commission for 2 weeks after our cruise the food selection was marginal. Breakfast was the same EVERY day, variety at lunch was only the results of the prior evenings left overs and dinner selection was no where near what we've come to expect on Princess or HAL cruises. For example Shrimp Cocktail was only available in Cagney's at an $8 charge; and none of the meals you would expect on a cruise - an occasional lobster or crab or, shrimp, beef wellington, escargot, etc. Not even Baked Alaska! By the end of the cruise even the bar selection became spotty as bar tenders told us they were instructed not to open new bottles of top shelf spirits.
The only reason this cruise was not given an overall "Terrible" rating was the Cruise Director Staff. Jasper, Jaime and their team tried their best, but they were limited.
NCL used this cruise, at the passengers expense to reduce their dry dock expense by limiting the time the ship was not producing revenue. SHAME ON THEM!!!
After the initial out roar by passengers we received a letter in our room that NCL would offer a 25% fare credit on a future cruise within the next 12 months. After this cruise made national news NCL changed their offer to a 100% fare credit; but reading the fine print this does not include port charges, taxes, insurance, required "service charge" or any other "nickel and dime" expense that NCL could think of. With NCL's increased fares in 2019, taking this same trip with their "100% fare credit" would still cost each passenger close to $2000!!!
We won't cruise with NCL again, and will recommend to our friends and family other lines that care more for their customers.
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