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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 25th, 2005, 08:35 AM
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Default NCL Norwegian Sea Cruises (Negative)

Good day fellow cruisers! Attached is my October 30th adventure on board NCL Norwegian Sea, a dinghy in dire need of retirement.

I have cruised on other lines, and this is our first complaint letter. My travel agent also received numerous complaints along the same line as my own. Understandably, an old ship like the Sea will have a few idiosyncrasies that might need to be ignored, but it seemed almost like the ship was on its last leg at any given moment. Broken safety hardware, power failures and the inability to get the ship running again after a motor failure, are only a small selection of problems that occurred. All of which are serious and completely ignored by NCL, not only on the ship itself, but also in their response. On board, fellow passengers left and right complained constantly, especially about food service, as we ate with them at community tables. To confirm, the food was fine, the service was not, Mr. Fernandez (who replied) misunderstood that point.

Feel free to form your own opinions on this matter. It is unlikely that we will cruise with NCL again, though we definitely will not cruise on the NCL Sea.

First, our letter. We began composing it at 3am on the trip back, when the motor was vibrating so bad that it shook items off our side table and sleeping was no longer an option. I would like to note that the third floor, stern to port (back left) seemed to be the worst.

Colin Veitch, President and CEO of NCL Group: cveitch@ncl.com
Bill Hamlin, SVP Hotel Operations, NCL Group: bhamlin@ncl.com
Robert Kritzman, Managing Director NCL America: rkritzman@ncl.com

Care of:
Latitudes Customer Service
P.O. Box 149075
Coral Gables, FL 33114 - 9075

As repeat cruisers we love a good cruise. Sadly, our October 30th 2004 cruise with NCL from Houston on the Seaward was not. Having been on ships owned by other cruise companies, we feel that we've built a fairly reasonable expectation of how a cruise liner should operate.

Since NCL has let us, and the rest of the passengers down, these significant issues should be brought to your attention for resolution.

A.) Skipping Cancun Port: According to our travel agent the Sea has skipped a port six times in a row. This should be included in the paperwork sent by NCL before the cruise and other options should have been given. Calica, Playa Del Carmen and other ports are nearby and capable of short-notice docking. Perhaps returning to previous port of calls would be an option rather than slowing the ship to make it back to Houston "on time". The port of Cancun was one of the reasons we chose this cruise.

B.) General Atmosphere: Due to the lack of stabilizers on the ship and the choppy ride, I fell over and grabbed a handrail. Two handrail brackets were not attached to the wall allowing me to fall to the hallway deck. While certainly dangerous, this example is only one of many areas of poor maintenance. Additionally, the heavy lavatory vent fell down due to constant 3rd deck vibrations. Had the vent hit a head rather than a toilet seat, it would have been a bloody wound. All around the ship, smells, rust, stained carpet, visible mold and thick dust on open surfaces were also glaring examples. The three hour power failure and lack of functioning air conditioning for nearly a full day are yet other examples.

C.) Dining Services: After receiving bitterly inattentive service on our first formal dining (such as, but not exclusively, sitting for over 20 minutes while our waiter laughed with other employees rather than bringing our incorrect and now-cold items from the preparatory station) we decided to use the buffet. We found the food to be cold, after asking for eggs to be reheated we were told no by three different service staff until a cook overheard us and reheated the item. For the remainder of the trip we alternated between the buffet and the dining areas and found the service to remain bad the duration of the cruise.

The ports, atmosphere and dining are the three most important aspects of a quality cruise and NCL has dramatically failed on all three. We've left out other negatives as these are universally in need of attention. The cruise market is far too competitive to allow valuable customers to develop a negative impression of your carefully created brand.


And now the NCL response, nearly 3 months later...

Dear [Removed]

Thank you for your recent e-mail to Colin Veitech which was forwarded to Customer Relations for review. We appreciate the opportunity to review your comments and concerns regarding your voyage aboard the M/S Norwegian Sea on October 30, 2004.

We are sorry to learn of your dissatisfaction with the change of itinerary during your voyage due to poor sea conditions and high winds in Cancun. Please be assured that the decision not to dock in Cancun was determined for the safety of our passengers. As we explain in the terms and conditions of our Contract of Passage, we do reserve the right to alter our itinerary. While every effort is made to adhere to the published schedule, there are those instances that necessitate change. In reviewing the voyage report for this sailing, our records indicate that a complimentary rum punch party was held from 4pm-5pm and government taxes and fees in the amount of $12.25 were refunded to all passengers onboard.

The M/S Norwegian Sea joined the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet in 1988, and from previous correspondence received, most passengers seem to appreciate the unique charm of this particular sailing vessel. We continually renovate and refurbish all of our ships, and we regret our efforts did not meet your expectations. We have forwarded your comments regarding the conditions you encountered to our Hotel Operations department for any necessary action and apologize for any discomfort you encountered. We regret your disappointment with the quality of the food during the voyage. While a review of the passenger comment cards indicates this was not a common complaint, we have forwarded your observations to our executive chef, so he may be aware of your impressions.

Once again, thank you for joining us onboard. When your plans to sail with us again are firm, please contact Customer Relations, so that we may arrange "welcome aboard" amenities in your stateroom. We look forward to welcoming you back.

Daniel Fernandez
Customer Relations

Attached are also shots of the actual letters:

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old January 26th, 2005, 10:33 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Palmer, Massachusetts
Posts: 12,716
Default Re: NCL Norwegian Sea Cruises (Negative)

Very nice sugar coated response.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old February 7th, 2005, 04:55 PM
Le Anne
Posts: n/a
Default Re: NCL Norwegian Sea Cruises (Negative)

We have been on the Sea 5 times and have booked again this Feb. We agree the stabilizers cause excessive vibration but have had a great time onboard. My only knock is that service has declined now that tipping is pooled. I would urge NCL to reconsider this policy. We don't expect a new ship - just a great time and have not been disappointed.
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