Let’s start with embankment; the computers were down and it took 4 hours of standing in line before we could board. I work in customer service so in these situations I try and be patient, but the staff relayed ZERO information to anyone as to what is happening, other than “You cannot leave this building”! When the computers came back online the staff did not try to maintain any lines so it was a frenzy of angry people trying to rush to make it to get on board. Strike one for Norwegians organizational skills.
Now let’s get on board, as we finally make it on we are STARVING; after all we’ve been on lock down in embankment for at least 4 hours. So we make our way up to the buffet, grab a plate of food and sit down. My party I’m with all get about 3 bites of food on us before a staff member comes over and rudely announces “You cannot be eating right now, stop what you are doing immediately and go to your muster station.” Then proceeds to stare at us until we clear out, but not before making us chug our sodas because they “Cannot go with you, leave them and go!!” Now I understand the importance of a Muster drill, but let’s take into account that we were STILL BOARDING. As I hungrily make my way to the muster station (Station D, so I can see people STILL BOARDING while the drill is happening!) Never at any point do I have any staff member instruct me who to pay attention to, or attempt to lead our group in any kind of example on life vests. I still do not know where I should have gone or what I should have done had something happened to our ship.
Now after all that I’m pretty on edge, and a bit tired so I head to my stateroom fling open the door and see two twin beds, even though I had requested it be converted to a queen. No big deal right? This should be an easy fix! I pop my head out into the hallway and see a young woman handling luggage; now as a first time cruiser I do not know if she is my steward or not so I simply ask “Excuse me ma’am, but could you tell me who to talk to about getting my beds fixed? I’m supposed to have a queen.” To which I get the retort, “I don’t know, go ask your stewardess or something!” Horrified by the attitude I’ve been given I decide to call guest services to see if they can help me. After five minutes on hold I relay my request for my bed to be fixed, am assured it will be in under an hour and I head to the bar. Now let’s fast forward a bit to 10pm when I am standing at guest services for what is now the 6th time of requesting help on this. It took 6 trips or calls to guest services and 5 hours to get my twin beds converted to a queen. Strike 2 for Norwegians organizational skills.
The next day we arrive in Key West and for the first time there is some semblance of organization as we walk right off the ship. Had a wonderful afternoon in key west until we take the trolley back and after they drop us off there isn’t a single staff member in sight. There just 30ish of us standing there outside a gate trying to figure out what to do, a more experienced cruiser moves the gate and leads us all to the embarkment point. Strike three for Norwegians organizational. At this point in the chaos the ENTIRE group of thirty people begin to mock the “organization” of Norwegian as a whole because it has been such a JOKE so far along.
Now let’s talk about the photographers; I sincerely wish I had gotten the name of the man who took our family photos but this boy needs FIRED. Every picture taken he posed us so much the end shots made us look like an awkward robot family. Then when my parents stepped aside so my wife and I could get some couple shots he had us pose in these weird back to back thing that made us look like awkward siblings and not a lesbian couple. We tried to get into a more ‘romantic’ pose and I kissed her cheek, only to have him move us and go back to the friend zone. This man clearly had no idea what to do with a lesbian couple, and the photos were proof. (We bought NONE taken by him by the way) We had to go a different night and wait in a line for a different photographer just to get a couple decent shots. Oh and while we’re on the subject we were NEVER offered embarkment photos. My entire family wore matching outfits specifically for the occasion, and they never brought the screen with the ship on it out, once boarded and had removed it from port before it was our time to embark.
The rest of the cruise I have no major complaints for other than being disappointed that for my first cruise ever I never once got to experience a towel animal. That has always in my mind been a trademark of the cruising industry and it was disappointing to not have it offered to us.
In the end this cruise has taught me that cruising can be a delightful and laid back way to enjoy your vacation, but NEVER in my life will I return to Norwegian. There are too many options out there for me to ever return to a company with so little organizational skills, and the inability to speak to a guest politely.
Decent cabin, bigger than expected.
Computers were down for about 6 hours. 5 hours in they offered some people juice and water. They wouldn’t let anyone leave the terminal. It was terrible.
We walked around and went to the lighthouse, you can see the whole island from on top. Worth the $12 admission price.
Our bus driver into Freeport was wonderful and educational, plus it was a double decker bus! The catamaran staff was friendly and informative, short ride out to a beautiful reef. Lots of fish to be seen, would definitely repeat this excursion!View All 100 Snorkeling Reviews