Unfortunately NCL has been operating on a poor level for several years. I was on the NOrway 3 years ago. I was on the FRANCE & wanted to see the changes. Well it was a Memorial Day week cruise & the ship full to capacity.
The public restrooms were filthy all week, there obviously was a leak of sorts near or in Club International - the room smelled of mildew, food & garbage was stored outside on deck near the "Great Outdoor Restaurant" left to rot in the 85-90 degree heat. The food inthe diningroom was terrible & there wasn't enough staff to cover everyone. The ship was barely kept up & the least amount of repair done when necessary.
It is too bad for the France / Norway - but NCL needed a cash cow - they had financial difficulties in the past- and they basically raped the ship & let her fall into disrepair.
It is also sad for all of us who love the great liners - not these floating malls that the lines pull out. This is the last regular cruise for the Norway out of Miami. Yes they did rescue the France 20 years a go but then ruined her profile to add 2 more decks. She is a great ship that fell into the wrong hands. Purely out of financial reasons she is being pulled out of service & sent to who knows where. Most times than not these shipsare" lost" as they head to the East or to scrappers.
I will go down to the Hudson River on September 5 & watch her sail off - never to return. Against the backdrop of Manhattan & off to Europe - its fitting that these will be amoung her last ports - this is where she was intended to be. Oh how I wish that she would be rescued as was the Queen Mary in Long Beach. What ever her fate she will be always known & loved by those who appreciate exquisite tastes & experiences in life that are rare & oh so beautiful.
When I sailed on the Norway, one morning I went & had breakfast in the old First Class Dining room. It was late & few people were there. For a few moments I drifted back to 1972 on a beautiful May sailing & remembered what it all was once like - so French & unhurried. Striking design & unimaginable service. The beautiful art surrounding the dining room & spectacular stars twinking above - it all was so special & surreal. I sat ther holding on to that thought for as long as I could. I still carry that memory - its how I will remember the FRANCE.
Boy those complaints were not part of our cruise we took in July we had a great time, and reasonably priced. I thought that the ship was pretty well maintained given the fact that thousands upon thousand have cruised on this ship for well over forty years.
Had you been in the group that was cancelled due to the Coast Guard not allowing the ship to sail due to the numerous repairs needed on the sprinkler system you might not disagree. NCL is a dog and will be eaten eventually.
Its interesting to see the different experiences passengers have on cruises these days. You need to remember that the cruise product is made of 2 components - one man made the other provided by nature.
The man made portion is the same as a land based hotel - there are Days Inns & there are Four Seasons. The product is completely different & for the most part the clientele will vary greatly. NCL provides a Days Inn type of experience(although its not fair to compare the lack of hygene on the Norway with Days Inn. I have never stayed in a Days Inn but would give it the benefit of doubt). The revenue produced on NCL ships is extremely important due to low rates charged for the cruise ticket. The food quality is less than what I prefer but it seems many Americans are happy with quantity.
I see most people on these "boards" are interested in a Carnival or NCL experience - whether it be taste or economics. But if you ever try the better lines I believe( & hope ) they will change their minds. Even Celebrity - a middle class, mass market line is very priced for what they sell.
As far as the nature part of the cruise - any ship would allow you to see a sunset/rise, the stars at night, the roll of the ship. But to pick the right ship is important also - The Princess ships are high density & I found it difficut to find a quiet / private place on the Regal & Crown Princess. Even though designed by renzo Piano - it seems he missed the purpose of being at sea. The Island Princess was much smaller yet aboard her it was a free feeling & wonderful without feeling like passengers were on top of one another. Holland America (though owned by Canival)had maintained smaller ships with excellent service - yet now that is changing also - the ships are larger & in an effort to bring down passenger ages it is losing some of its better attributes.
So although I love the sea & oceanliners I find it more & more difficult finding the right combination. I hope that the passenger s & cruiseline wakeup to the idea that quality is more important than quantity. Make it special, go the extra step in dressing, be interested & interesting & the sea will give back tenfold!
Very true, however, NCL's prices are very close to the other lines. In some instances they are far more expensive. Their product falls very short of the value provided by other similarly priced lines. True, cruises are becoming more crowded these days and thats as much the fault of the cruise lines as anyone. NCL as well as other lines overbook their sailings. We have seen people travel to Miami from all over the US expecting to leave on a cruise vacation only to be left on the pier due to overbooking policies. Would'nt that leave a sour taste in ones mouth? As for the food on NCL, we have experienced their "menu" and not being big eaters we go for quality over quantity. Having a menu that does not change on a cruise ship is very boring, true, one or two entrees changed nightly, but the appitizers and desserts did not change. Soggy calimari and week old cheesecake get old fast. When it was suggested that we should try Le Bistro, I had to laugh. Paying an additional fee to get the quality service and food that should already be provided is crass. We spoke to some who did that and they were less than impressed. NCL has a LONG way to go before they can match the other lines in quality and value for price. The golden days of cruising are gone, replaced by floating megamalls.
HELP..Cruisenut,Please,,tell me morea bout the overbooking,,if I fly to SanJuan,,and I get bumped,,I will,,raise H@ll...I am on Celebirty,,NO way would I cruise on NCL....what would one do if they overbooked,,just fly home mad,,or get a free cruise,,? BYEBYE Suzan
Old Wive's Tales!!!
They do not "overbook" as you suggest, the idea is ludicrous! I would like details on the "people you've seen fly in from all over the country and get left on the dock" HOGWASH!
I have sailed 17 times, 6 on NCL and have always enjoyed my cruises. I have never seen or heard of a passenger not having a cabin when they arrive at the ship. There have been occurrences with a few lines that were publicized where there have been booking errors, and were resolved months in advance of the sailing date. I have seen Carnival Bashers, who have never sailed Carnival, and I guess you are a new breed of NCL Bashers, and you had a bad experience because of maintenence on a 40 yr old ship. I am currently booked on the NCL SKY, and looking forward to my 18th cruise.
Oh yes they DO overbook too. We met one couple who arrived at the pier, were told that their cabin had been booked previously and that they would be offered another cruise at a later date. They raised a fuss, naturally, and were then given another cabin number. Then they find that there was no such cabin number and it was back to the pursers desk. Finally there was a cancellation found and they were given a cabin, much smaler than they had paid for. Cruise lines DO overbook, as do airlines. To think not is to be very uninformed. On our last NCL cruise, 8, yes 8 couples were left at the pier, sure, they were offered free cruises at a later date, but what compensation is that for a ruined vacation? We dined with a single male traveler who had the same problem. He was offered a free cruise departing the next day to give up his cabin to one of those left behind. He refused since NCL would not find him a hotel room for the night in Miami. They asked him 3 times and offered on board credits and such, but without somewhere to stay for the night he steadfastly refused. Cruise lines will do anything to fill every cabin, and gambling on late minute cancellations is a sure fire way to fill a ship up, of course someone loses in every gamble and often it is the paying customer. If anyone thinks that NCL is above that practice, think again.
How insane is that? How would you possibly know that there were people left on the pier, let alone how many if you were onboard? To suggest that this is a standard business practice is beyond my realm of understanding, and quite impossible. Virtually every cabin number is allocated in advance, and then there are a number of guarantees, which do not get assigned numbers until a week out from sailing. Yes, I had one Carnival cruise where I was not assigned a cabin untill I arrived at the pier, but, on the documents the prospective cabin was listed. And it was the one I was assigned. To also suggest that NCL would offer a free cruise, and not make a reservation for a one night hotel stay is equally rediculous! I suggest that you have created this scenario in order to write something bad about a company that YOU don't particularly like.
I find it interesting that some people are very defensive on this matter. I find it offensive that some cruise lines market a product that they do not deliver on. I can afford the additional service fee in the Bistro( I went once) but having exceptionally poor service & veal that was as tough as shoe leather is unacceptable!
The Mexican Nite in the diningroom was a joke - It was Taco Bell goes to sea. Public restrooms that were filthy - no excuse. The Great Outdoor restaurant was worse than a b grade cafeteria. The fact that the ship is 40 years old is no reason for any of this. NCL puts out a substandard product & if people don't wake up to that it will continue as such. For me the Norway was the catch - I won't sail on NCL again.
If you enjoyed the experience - well good for you & we have different tastes / lifestyles. But I would encourage you try another line & compare. Many years ago there was a French Line, Italian Line, Cunard & Greek Line. The Greek line was known for poor food & dirty ships. The other lines continued to sail & have repeat business - the Greek Line went out of business in the U.S. I imagine one day the same will be of NCL.
I've sailed Norway 9 times over the last 18 years. Not once was there a Mexican night in the dining room.
As for overbooking. Yes - ALL cruiselines overbook, but they don't sell the same cabin twice. They may overbook guarantees because statistically, a certain percentage cancel when the final payment due date arrives two months prior to sailing. THAT's when they start calling and offering incentives to rebook. By sailing day, they know exactly who is in what cabin and everyone is accounted for.
The premise of this thread is questionable.
Warren <-- boarding Norway next Wednesday in NYC and fully expects to occupy his assigned cabin.
Exactly, crusielines DO overbook, and some people DO fall through the cracks of beauracracy. To suggest otherwise is "insane." However, I do fully agree that dirty public areas and bad food are a problem on NCL. Their product pales in comparison with other lines. Maybe it was not that way before Star Lines bought them out, but it certainly is now. I guess Star is sucking every penny out of NCL that they can, while they can. As for me, I will never sail them again, went twice, had a pretty good time, but too many problems to ever endure that again. As for anyone sailing with NCL, enjoy.
The premise of this posting is that I am a well travelled 43 year old consumer that is distressed at the state of cruise line products such as NCL. I too thought of sailing on 5 September but would be heartbroken to see the France in its current state. The pricing certainly shows that it won't be a caviar & Lobster farewell.
As far as Star Cruises taking NCL over - sometimes there are good results from consolidation. Lower costs may bring better quality due to bulk pricing. But NCL was/ is a lower class product. But taking Norway & turning into a gambling ship will only result in a rape of the finer qualities onboard. So if you want on sail Norway again you probably will be able for $99!
Yes the Greek Line did evolve into Celebrity / RCCL - only before being run into a state of disrepair.
There certainly was a Mexican themed menu & I can assure that this is a real consumer. Enjoy your transatlantic voyage. I am sure we will never meet onboard as we surely have different tastes / lifestyles.
You are correct, I am a well traveled 41 year old, (31 countries and counting) and I have travelled in every sort of conveyance known to man. NCL is a cut-rate line and what they have done to the France/Norway is a shame. Shoddy maintenance aside, one can only hope that she will end up with a true cruise line that will return her to her former glory. I seriously doubt that will happen as cruises are now taken on floating malls catered by McDonalds. Gone are the days of gentle days and evenings at sea. They have been replaced by crass, cynical Las Vegas style productions that can be found on the seedy side of any large city today. I for one lament the loss of the uniqueness that a cruise once represented.
You really shouldnt take offense - I was just stating an opinion & observations of experiences I have had with NCL. Your experience is obviously different. But to question the authenticity of my posting is ridiculous. So i do not see the need for your bullishness in a matter as such. I ususlly do not surround myself with people who exhibit that type of behavior.
This is not avenue for personal attacks nor petty insults. So I wish you good bye Warren & a smooth sea on the Norway's final Transatlantic crossing.
I took a cruise with my daughter on Chandris many years ago. It was unfortunately over spring break, but my daughter could only travel then. It was horrendously bad. Vomit all over the ship, noise like you wouldn't believe and we couldn't use the pool because it was full of broken glass the drunken kids would throw into it. Although we violated the passenger services act, sacrified our cruise fares and were fined $200 per person we got off the next day in Key West. Had to go through customs too and it was plenty tough.It was worth it. They can dump me off ships in Miami if they want to give me freebees. I live 5 minutes from the Port of Miami and come to think of it, about 35 minutes from Port Everglades. I have heard of passengers being begged to change their booking with all kinds of upgrades and goodies given, but I have never heard of anyone left at the pier. That shouldn't be a problem since they pretty much know two months in advance who's going and who isn't. Interestingly enough, Celebrity (pre RCI) was a favorite cruiseline. I haven't sailed them since they were bought. I'll sail Summit next year in Alaska and decide for myself how much I like the new product.
I was on the ill-fated May 27 cruise, and found the ship to be well maintained despite it's age. I did not see any of the bad things that you suggest, my family found the food to be good, plentiful and served attractively. The staff was helpful, ddspite the angry, rude and upset people who were bombarding them with questions, screams and threats.
We returned on the August 12 sailing and had the best vacation we have ever had. Again, the crew, staff, food, service, entertainment and ambience were great. Maintainance was being taken care of everywhere we turned.
The only 'problem' we encountered was having to ask the information desk 5 times for a remote control for our TV. We then asked our cabin steward one time, and he obtained one for us within 15 minutes.
We were reimbursed our expenses for the May 27 cruise with no problem and booking our return cruise was a breeze. Even got the same cabin.
All in all, I can say we had a good experience on the Norway.
I think the purpose of my posting was lost somewhere along the way. Yes NCL (IN MY OPINION) did an injustice to the France/ Norway , & my experience with NCL has brought about a decision(FOR MYSELF) that the product they sell is not to my liking / tastes.
But alas it was with fond memories of the FRANCE that I posted this message at first. As today Norway will be in NYC my wish is that for those who enjoy the experience to try something more akin to what I experienced. Perhaps the specialty dining room onboard the Panamax ships of Celbrity Cruises will stir the same ambiance(themes of great liners - the Olympic, United States & Normandie). The Pacific Princess to Bermuda is a small, world travelled ship that cruises to Bermuda for one last season in 2002( this trip is one of the greats - 3 days at sea onboard a smaller ship & Bermuda - one of the most beautiful islands).
Or perhaps a transatlantic crossing onthe QE2, a contemporary of the FRANCE. though not as spectacular as the FRANCE, the QE2 offers a crossing that is unlike all other "cruises". If you want to fall in love again with your partner, nap in a deck chair bundled up with enough fresh air to rejuvenate even the most nature starved city dweller, dress to the nines & have cocktails while a harp is played before dinner then QE2 is here now.
The spirit of a cruise(FOR ME) is the ship at sea , meeting interesting people & a bit of fantasy as I star gaze & "dance" across the sea.
Wherever you find your cruise experience - smooth seas & full moon!
Just spent all this time reading all these posts..Especially those of CRUSIENUT.
Cruise lines sell block space. It is called yield management....the same concept that airlines use. The rare overbooking is a result of historic data bases that track the "%" of space that will sell from block space, group space, etc. The overbooking is truly a rarity. Cruisenut, rant all you want, it is a rarity and has NOTHING to do with the quality or lack of quality of a particular cruise line.
NCL was in serious financial trouble, Star Cruise Lines's purchase bailed them out. They are NOT letting their ships deteriorate, they have begun a refurb program and a new ship program. As for the NORWAY, we were on her on her first Caribbean sailing and just returned. She is 40+ years old! Her condition has deteriorated, I bet you wouldn't look so hot if you had spent the last 21 years in the Caribbean! There has never been an ocean liner that lasted anywhere near
her record stay in service.
NCL's product has been altered by the marketplace. When cruising was considered an "upsacle" vacation, the quality of the product was high. If you look at 90% of the postings on thee boards, ALL ANYONE WANTS TODAY is a LOW PRICE!!!
Every sailing has one topic.."What did you pay?"
NCL competes with Carnival for the budget market. If you seek the lowest price, you will get a lesser product. RCI was once way superior to both NCL and Carnival, today, RCI is only marginally better.
NCL still offers a very, very high bang for the buck. I recommend that cruisenut only sail on the Silversea from now on.