I would like to tell you about mine and my wife's experience taking cruise on Norwegian Jewel January 9th January 18th, 2009 (Stateroom #9019, which we bought, but don't lived, and stateroom #5564 where we lived, but didn't buy).
Our troubles began when we arrived in Miami from Minneapolis, took transfer bus from airport to cruise terminal.
Terminal crew didn't allow us to go to the ship, with explanation that our booking is not in the system for this cruise. I showed them printed copy of all documents, as confirmation that we bought this cruise, but it wasn't enough. They told us that somebody canceled our cruise, and we should call to our agent in Minneapolis and talk with her. They asked us about colors of our suitcases, to pull them out of the ship. We were sitting at terminal for about 3 hours, before they finally let us know that it wasn't our error. We spent about an hour after that waiting for ship access. It was total 4 hours waiting time. We left home at 5a.m, and at 5p.m we finally went to the ship. All that time we were without food and water. Can you imagine what kind of feeling we had during these 4 hours?
Officer from the ship came to us with "sorry", and suggested us to upgrade our stateroom on another one with window and on the 5th floor. We didn't have choice at that time. We had a choice to go home or take that room. We took it.
Let me explain why our room without window on the 9th floor was better than the new one with window on the floor#5. We bought 9th floor intentionally because it is close to upper floor (12th), where pools, buffet, and all activities take place. I prefer room without window, because it is vacation time, and I don't want to know is it day or night outside my room.
So, our compensation for 4 hours of humiliation due to cruise's error was room with window, bottle of wine, and invitation to visit restaurant without cover fee ($15-$20 per person). I can't express it with a different word than humiliation, because when you spend your money to buy service, and then without reason get rejected of such service without reasonable explanation - it is humiliation.
In the middle of the cruise time our stateroom #5564 was flooded. Crew installed fan in the room to provide extra ventilation to get rid of water on the floor. Fan was noisy, and since it wasn't effective, we used towels to take extra water from the floor. Management gave us complimentary dinner in one of the restaurants for such inconvenience. There are about 5 restaurants on the ship, which had cover charge between $15 and $25 per person. They gave us choice to pick up one of them with the cheapest entrance fee $15. We came to restaurant, ordered food, and discovered that we are eligible to order only certain meals, not all of them, which we saw in the menu. O.k. let it be! We understood that we are not the prime customers, who paid cover charge, but we are people, who received free complimentary dinner. In about 5-10 minutes, manager of restaurant came to us, said "sorry", and gave us free bottle of wine. A bottle of wine did not improve our moods.
I would like to compare this experience with my recent cruise experience with Grand and Golden Princess ships. On these ships you may go everywhere at any time. All decks and all seats in the theatre are for common use. On Norwegian Jewel it is private area in the middle of the ship on the upper deck, and certain seats areas in the theatre, which only privileged people can use. I understand privacy in the staterooms, privacy, when you book restaurant for event (because it is temporary). I have a hard time understanding the privacy on the ship deck, or seats privacy in the theatre. All of us are passengers, and all common areas should be for everybody. With such privacy, which i saw on Norwegian Jewel, I felt like a second class citizen.
At the end of our trip, I decided to eat ice cream, and bring it to my wife. Buffet at aft area, where I was at that time, was out of ice cream cups. Waiter suggested me to use coffee cup instead. Since I only allow myself to eat ice cream couple times per year, I decided that eating it from a coffee cup was not an option for me. I went to the front of the ship, found my wife and told her that there are no ice cream cups on the ship. She didn't believe me. We went to the buffet at the front of the ship and found cups there next to an ice machine with a person who served ice cream. When we asked for one of them kinds on the menu, waiter told us that machine is out of such type and suggested to take different type. We took ice cream, which was available at that time, not the one that we wanted to eat.
Another time my wife couldn't find salt on our table, but there were 3 jars with pepper.
Now it is time to tell something positive. I like that everywhere on the ship you have hand sanitizers. I like hospitality of the crew members. They are hard working people doing everything to make us happy.
Thank you for your attention.