This was our 5th time on the same cruise, which we love because of the convenience of leaving from NYC and not having to fly to get to the departure port. Boarding was an absolute breeze and we were on board by 11:30am. The mini suite we ... Read More
This was our 5th time on the same cruise, which we love because of the convenience of leaving from NYC and not having to fly to get to the departure port. Boarding was an absolute breeze and we were on board by 11:30am. The mini suite we were in was fine, and we selected it because it was on the 11th floor, just 3 doors from the Thermal Spa, which we had purchased the week long pass.
The dinners in the Venetian Main Dining room were fabulous, with great selections every night. We also did 3 nights in the specialty restaurants (Moderno, Cagney's and Le Bistro), which were also wonderful, with great service and selections. Lunch was generally at the buffet, which was adequate, but better than the main dining room which had the same menu every day for lunch. Breakfasts at the Venetian were outstanding, but the service for breakfast was generally slow and it took a long time, which was ok most mornings as we were in no rush.
Entertainment was generally good. The aerialists and the magician were exceptional, but the singers and the comic were just ok.
We did the therapy spa package for the week, which was nice, but there were several times we had to complain to the front desk that people in the spa were obnoxiously load and there were no signs that it was supposed to be a "quiet" zone. Spa staff apologized to us but I don't think they did anything about it. The spa on the Gem was much nicer with a much better use of space.
First day of cruise was fine, but on the 2nd day I began having heart palpitations, which was not something new for me, but they usually end quickly within a few minutes. This time they lasted for over 24 hours, so on Monday 7/22 when we were due to dock in Cape Canaveral, I finally broke down and went to the medical center on board. After the doctor did an EKG he determined I had Atrial Fibrulation (AFib), but within 1/2 hour of my arrival in the medical center the palpitations ended and my EKG was normal.
The doctor demanded that I remain in the treatment room and they connected me to an IV glucose drip and did a lot of blood work, chest xray etc. My partner and I were both asking how long I would need to stay there and the doctor pulled my partner aside and told him he didn't understand the magnitude of the situation. The doctor then informed my partner that he needed to go pack all of our bags and collect our passports because we were to be evacuated from the ship by ambulance to the nearest ER as soon as we arrived in Port Canaveral. We both questioned the need for such extreme measures, but the doctor on the ship was determined that we were to leave the ship and would not be returning for the remainder of the cruise.
Having no other recourse, my partner packed all of our bags and got our passports and the ambulance came to the port and loaded me up. As the EMTs were taking me off the boat on the stretcher, we were stopped at the gangway by NCL staff who had to swipe our cruise cards. They came up to me on the stretched and told me I had a credit on my account and needed to take care of it before I could leave the ship. The charges thus far for the medical care I received on board were $3800 and they wanted there money immediately! For at least 5 minutes, while I was supposedly in such great need of immediate medical attention, the EMTs were not allowed to remove me from the ship until NCL was certain they would get paid. They already had my credit card account set up at the time we checked in on 7/20, so the charges were already on my credit card. We also found out the there was a mandatory $800/person fee required to end the cruise early, regardless of the reason or circumstances, which NCL already charged on my partner's charge card, prior to our leaving the ship.
They finally let the EMTs remove me and take me to the Cocoa Beach Hospital ER. The service at the ER was superb and I was taken in and seen by a doctor within 10 minutes of my arrival. after being there about 4 hours, and after several more EKGs, bloodwork and another chest xray, the doctor came in again and basically questioned why I was even there. We explained everything to him, and ultimately he gave me 2 prescription for my newly diagnosed AFib and released me. I told him the doctor on the ship specifically stated that he would NOT allow us back on board without a written medical clearance from a doctor at the hospital. The ER doctor wrote me a note of clearance to travel, and we were on our way in time to get back to the ship by around 6;30p. The ship set sail at 8p and passengers had to be on board an hour early, so we just made it in time.
This whole day in Cape Canaveral was supposed to have been a pleasant day with our family who were driving up from Ft Lauderdale (4hrs each way) to meet us and then go with us to Kennedy Space Center. They ended up spending the day with us in the ER and then driving us back and forth from our ship and to 2 area pharmacies for my prescriptions.
My real issue was that the physician on the ship couldn't wait to get me off the ship and remove any liability they might have for my health etc. If it truly was such an emergency then how can they possibly explain why we were literally held on board the ship and the EMTs were not allowed to remove me by stretcher until they had my account settled?
The ER staff ultimately determined that my medical condition was not urgent enough to terminate my cruise, so thankfully we were allowed to return to our ship and they did remove the fee of $800/person for early termination of our cruise.
NCL needs to seriously look at their policies in terms of both customer service and their medical policies.
I would advise anyone who books a cruise on any cruise line to strongly consider buying the trip/medical insurance policies. They would cover the $800 per person fees for ending your cruise early and they would also cover many of the emergency expenses. We will never travel again without trip insurance. I truly hope this helps someone avoid going through what we went through.... Read Less