Allow me to tell you the events that took place on my first and last cruise with NCL. We sailed aboard the Leeward, which was booked for a four day cruise to Cancun and then to Key West. I was looking into going on a vacation to an all inclusive resort but my travel agent talked me into going on a cruise because there would be more activities and I would have more to do, or so she said. I found the ship to be in utter need of repair upon boarding, the carpets were worn and faded and the rooms had a smell which much resembled a backed up toilet. I allowed these things not to bother me as I figured I would not be spending much time in the room.
The first night at sea was extremely rocky, and the only activity was a comedy show. I was soon introduced to the high cost of the cruise ship beverages. A mixed drink was $8.00, a beer was $4.00, and a can of soda cost $1.50. Even though I felt the drinks were very overpriced, I did not let it dampen my mood as I was determined to enjoy myself on this cruise and money was not an object. I was rather disappointed at the lack of activities that were planned and I found myself going to sit in the smelly room because there was nothing really going on. The 13" television provided me with a limited amount of entertainment, I learned that the television would only be broadcasting 5 different movies, and I had already seen 4 of those. I decided to turn in early due to the rocking of the boat and of boredom. I awoke the second morning looking forward to the ship's day at sea and excited as to what would be going on that day. The breakfast was very pleasant, and the food was not the best, but it was not bad either. After breakfast I learned that the next activity the ship had planned was lunch. I decided that it would be a good time to book my shore excursion. I signed my girlfriend and I up for an activity in Cancun that was pretty much a four hour booze cruise. It was a boat ride on a sailboat that looked to be exciting and it included all the alcohol you could consume while on the sailboat. The cost seemed reasonable at $48.00 per person. I figured that the 4 hour ride would still allow plenty of time for my girlfriend and I to see Cancun, as neither of us had ever been. I went and sat by the pool for a little while and then returned to the room as I found it difficult to relax among the never-ending screams of small children, which were all hanging around the pool because I later learned the ship did not really plan that many activities for the children onboard. I changed my clothes for lunch and had a wonderful meal in the ships dining room. After lunch we were invited to gamble in the ship's casino, which was really the only thing to do. Dinner was nice, my girlfriend and I found the people sitting at our table to be very pleasant. They had the Captain's cocktail party that night and we were introduced to the ship's crew. After the party we stayed around the casino and the bar talking with newly met friends. We were all going to go to the midnight buffet. When it came time for the midnight buffet I could not believe the line. It reached out of the Sport's Bar and ran half way into the casino. I could not imagine myself standing in that line so I decided to go to bed and just get food in the morning.
I awoke in the morning to the sound of the captain's voice over the intercom system in the hall, it was hard to make out what he was saying but I did hear him say we would be unable to dock in Cancun due to weather reasons, but we would be able to dock in Cozumel. All shore excursion had been canceled and if we went to the shore excursion desk we could pick up a new form and try and book new ones. I ran down to the desk only to stand in line another twenty minutes to get a form. I found they were not offering near the variety in selection as they were for Cancun, but nevertheless, my girlfriend and I decided to book a 1 hour snorkeling tour for $37.00 per person. The day at Cozumel was enjoyable and the snorkeling was very entertaining. The town itself was run down and their were dead rats and lizards on the sidewalks. We boarded the boat at 4:00 to depart. While we were eating dinner at about 7:00 the captain made an announcement that we were turning around and heading back to Cozumel due to an "emergency evacuation." My heart dropped into my stomach and I immediately had visions of fires and the last scene of Titanic. I was even more concerned because I had noticed the water had become even more rocky and the spray from the waves were now splashing onto the fifth deck. I found that I could no longer eat and retired to the room because my girlfriend was feeling sick. We later learn that a passenger onboard had suffered a heart attack and the Coast Guard did not want to approach the boat with the sea as unsteady as it was. I felt better and laughed at the captains choice in words. I decided to go to the casino and have a few drinks with the people in the cabin next to ours. I suppose the captain had sped up the ship to full speed in order to get back to Cozumel faster. The casino was a mess, people could literally not walk around without holding onto the wall. I witnesses several people fall down due to the rocking of the ship. I decided to stumble back to the room as for I felt I had lost enough money in the casino and I could not even imagine drinking with the ship as rocky as it was.
The next morning I awoke to yet another announcement, this one informing us that we would be unable to go to Key West due to the 6 hour delay we had in turning around. I was upset at this point, we had not been to either of the two ports on our itinerary. I decided to go down to the main desk to have a little chat. I was not that surprised when I found there to be a line of passengers even more upset then me. One woman was yelling because her and her husband had been saving for 3 years to take their daughter on a cruise for her 17th birthday and this is what they got stuck with. Another passenger had her luggage left at the port in Miami by the crew, so what did they do? They flew it to Cancun, but we never made it there, so they flew it to Key West, now we weren't going there, and what had the cruise line given her for leaving her with nothing but the clothes on her back (literally)? They had given her a $50.00 credit to use in the cruise gift shop. You have to understand in this gift shop a T-shirt cost $24.95 and a sweatshirt cost $49.95, I suppose you can understand why she was so upset. Another woman near me I was chatting with was hopefull because she had been on many cruises and each time they had missed a port the cruise line had given her 50% off her next cruise. She was wondering what they would do if they missed both ports. The people at the desk were very rude and basically started ignoring everyone. A woman came out and asked a few of the passengers to come into her office and the rest of us were told to return to our rooms. The rest of the day was spent with most of the passengers in a bad mood. I was forced to buy many people's gifts in the ship's gift shop because I had planned half of my purchases for Key West. I was upset at the very high prices on everything, not only that but of the poor quality. The glassware had the letters coming off where they had been rubbed together and the shirts seemed poorly made. The rest of the day was spent making the cruise line even more rich. Since we were supposed to be in Key West that day, no activities had been planned. There were two things to do, drink or gamble. Both of which were getting more and more expensive than I had thought. After dinner we returned to our rooms to find a letter on a bed explaining that due to what a horrible cruise it had been, everyone was going to be given a $50.00 credit on their account. I found this to be insulting. I had spent MUCH more than $50.00 that day, and I could not believe that a cruise line that had made so much money off of these events was going to give $50.00 and expect everyone to just forget about it. I had spent over $1800.00 (we were on deck 6) on this cruise from hell and I am supposed to be a satisfied customer? Well, I won't be a repeat customer!
I hope everyone that reads this will realize that Norwegian Cruise Lines is not a customer oriented company and they are only after one thing, your money. They don't care if you have a good time or not, they don't care if you are unhappy or not, they just care that they have your money and they can screw you over because they are a big company and what difference are you going to make to them.
Just finished reading your horror story and boy does it hit home; excuse me does it hit the SHIP! Our experience with the LEEWARD took place this past July 4th. My wife and I are REALTORS and decided to take advantage of a quick getaway which started with a miserable cabin (obstructed view) could only see the lifeboat and we agree the cabin was tired as was the whole ship when it comes to ambiance. We always do first sitting and where assigned to the CAPTAINS TABLE, which we thought would be a treat but guess what we never saw the Captain or even another ships officer at any of the meals. The food was average, the waiter was good but the busboy was an idiot. The last night out I was served a green salad that still had dirt in it. I asked the waiter to replace it which he did only to have the second serving come to me with dirt in as well.
After each evening show I made use of the one restroom just off the casino only to make the observation that the same beer bottle was in the same location for three evenings; guess the crew needs eyeglasses!
The LEEWARD was our 13th cruise and our 3rd with NCL; the others where the NORWAY, a fantastic piece of history, and the SEAWARD, now the NORWEGIAN SEA. Since we have sailed with NCL before, we where invited to the LATITUDES CLUB MEMBERS cocktail party where we learned that the LEEWARD was a ship that was leased and was ending its service period and was going back overseas. In fact an interesting note it is the only liner in service that is actually has the ability to be an ICEBREAKER.
Aside from the last comment, which is in no way meant to be a defense for NCL, my wife and I shared our comments with NCL, the first time we have ever had to do that and received the same $50.00, TOKEN CREDIT VOUCHER which could be used on a future NCL cruise. We returned the VOUCHER and told NCL that they "needed it more than we did".
If this was your first cruise don't be discouraged there are great cruise lines and ships out there; i.e. PRINCESS, CELEBRITY, HOLLAND AMERICA and ROYAL CARIBBBEAN.
Hi just wanted to say thanks for not backing down. I was planning on taking an NCL Cruise but now that I have read these and your story I'll stick with Royal Caibbean. They are a little more expensive but from what I can tell from you and others it is worth the money. Our RCCL cruise was the best vacation my husband or I have ever been on the food was great, room was big even though we book the smallest they offered, and there were a ton of things to do every day. I didn't think cruise lines could be that diffrent but I guess they can.
Thanks for taking the time to keep others from making the same vacation mistake,
Thanks for the warning. We are currently in the process of arranging a cruise in May. Initially, we discussed taking an NCL cruise from New York to Bahamas. After reading so many unfortunate experiences like yours, we have decided to make other plans.
Thanks for the info. My family and I are taking a cruise in the next several weeks. We have a reasonable deal on Royal Caribbean (we have cruised them before and loved it). I was debating trying NCL as their special with no airfare looked real appealing. After reading the stories on this site, we will stay with Royal Caribbean. Thanks again.
Let me start by saying I haven't sailed NCL yet. I actually avoided them for a variety of reasons pertaining to what I'd heard about their onboard product, and to be honest, will still likely avoid their older ships.
However, alot of Stanley's complaints would likely have occurred on most cruise lines, had the situation been the same.
Cruise line DO miss ports of call if sea or weather conditions make it dangerous to stop there. And the norm, if that situation arises is to try and find another port to visit. If that's not possible, and it turns into another sea day, they normally just refund the port charges. On some occassions, the Captain might also offer some happy hour drink specials, but I've never heard of anyone getting 50% off a cruise because of a missed port!!!
Unfortunately Stanley also encountered a medical emergency onboard. It was obviously a serious situation, and someone's life was likely in danger. AGAIN, any cruise line would have reacted in the same way.
No question, it was a set of unfortunate circumstances that led to this cruise having to skip both Cancun and Key West, but with the circumstances described, it would have happened on ANY cruise line!
As for Cozumel. It is a VERY popular cruise port ( which I happen to enjoy alot as well).
I think it's important for first time cruisers to research thouroughly before they book a cruise. With all the cruise information available here at CruiseMates, and other cruise related Internet sites, if they do so, they'll be alot more prepared when they encounter situations like this.
I've been hearing very good reports on the new NCL Star (other than her first few sailings) and the new NCL Sun. NCL hasn't had a new build program for some time!!!!
It seems that with the new owner, Star Cruises, they are beginning to update the features and amenities to realistically compete with the other cruise lines.
WHAT YEAR DID YOU TAKE THIS CRUISE ON THE LEEWARD??/ SINCE IT HAS NOT BEEN IN THE CARRIBBEAN FOR AT LEAST THE LAST 2 YEARS?? WE HAVE HAVE ALWAYS HAD A GOOD E XPERIENCE WITH NCL AND REGARDING LOST LUGGAGE WE RECEIVED A 100.00 VOUCHER FOR THE GIFT SHOP WITH WHICH I WAS ABLE TO BUY DINNER CLOTHES AND STILL HAVE SOME CASH LEFT OVER!!! THIS WAS ON THE NORWEGIAN WIND SAILING FROM VANCOUVER TO ALASKA WE PICKED UP OUR LUGGAGE IN JUNEAU. AND I HAVE NEVER SEEN DEAD RATS IN COZEMEL AND WE HAVE BEEN THERE 4 TIMES... WE HAVE DONE 9 CRUISES OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS THE ONLY BAD ONE WAS ON CELEBRITY AND THAT WAS JUST A HEAD WAITER WHO YELLED AT OUR WAITER AT THE DINNER TABLE WHILE WE WERE HAVING DINNER AND IT WAS NOT EVEN OUR WAITER'S FAULT THAT HE GOT YELLED AT, MY HUSBAND MADE SURE THT HE WAS APOLOGIZED TO BY HIS HEAD WAITER.
We are booked on NCL Sky Seattle to Alaska 5/26. We chose this initially because it ws the only one sailing from Seattle & we had free airfare from USAIR & they don't fly to Vancouver & since my brother lives in Seattle it seemed like a great idea. Now with all these negative comments I'm getting a little nervous..especially since now I think there are other lines which depart from Seattle & it's too late for me to do anything about it. We just were on the DISNEY WONDER last wk & althougth we had good time we are looking forward to better entertainment on the SKY & the freeystyle dining sounds like it would suit our needs..as long as the food is not really mediocre.
Any advice on shore excursions..or any advice at all..thanks
Why do people blame a particular cruise for a bad cruise? NCL has gotten a lot of bad press. I'm glad I didn't listen to all the negative remarks about the NCL M ajesty. We got the best deal we ever got on a cruise and it was one of the best cruises we have been on. The service was excellant and even minor problems were dealt with immediately. We are booked on the Dream for Nov. and we are looking forward to it. Carnival is the K-Mart of cruises, not NCL.
maybe because others like myself had cruised on other lines and expected the same quality out of NCL. Unfortunately we learned otherwise. Maybe you like a cut-rate experience at comparable prices to the better lines, but most of us do not.
We've cruised NCL, RCCL and Princess (each 3 times) and like all 3 cruiselines. We've had minor problems on each of these cruiselines along with many, many good times. Missing a port is not the cruiseline's fault! A medical emergency is not the cruiseline's fault! Bad weather is not the cruiseline's fault! And I have never paid $8.00 for a drink on any cruiseline.
I still find cruising to be the BEST vacation ever!
John It's sounds like you don't like cruising and wouldn't be satisfied with any cruise line. We have been on 15 cruises. We have been on Crystal, Princess, Holland, Celebrity, RCCL. NCL, and Carnival. So, don't try to insult me my intelligence. The only bad experience was on Carnival.
Debbie, I have been on many cruises and travelled to 31 countries so far. also I have lived outside the U.S. for 6 years. I know a thing or two about the world. I also know poor customer service when I see it. I have had some bad experiences on other lines, but they took the trouble to remedy the situation. NCL just blamed me for the problem and did nothing to try and fix it. Their poor service and customer relations must have SOMETHING to do with all the complaints, don't you think, or is everyone who gripes about them crazy?
Warren - sounds reasonable to me. Also, all the people that indicate, that because of this thread, they are not going to go on NCL sounds a little fishy too. Why let a couple of unfortunate situations make that decision for you. As Kuki said, any line would have done what NCL "did" in the original "situation". We were on the Sky last summer and had a WONDERFUL cruise. We've been on 4 lines so far and I would only not return to Carnival, but that is due to their target audience, and their food - hot dogs on the buffet just didn't cut it for us.
I've sailed with RCCL, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess twice and most recently NCL. The Carnival sip I was on was NOT the K-Mart of cruising - I thought NCL's Majesty was it. My cabin on the Inspiration was a designated single; the lowest category on the ship. That cabin had more storage space, more electrical outlets and a bigger bathroom than my Category F did on the Majesty. I thought the entertainment was also better on the Inspiration. I will say that it was NOT such a horrible trip that I won't do NCL or the Majesty again. I will hesitate to do either again, but, I would go if I got a great rate in an even better category cabin. I did like the itinerary and the cabin steward I had was the best I've ever had.
I can understand that different people like different lines. Why do others have such a hard time with that? I like NCL. If you like one of the others, go hang out on their boards and gush about how much you love them! Life is short, get over your bad experience no matter what line it was on.
If we all had the same tastes, we would all be driving Fords right now. Personally, you could not give me one. But I don't berate the drivers of Fords for wanting to drive one!
Spend your money on whatever line you want, but please ***** somewhere else!
Being a veteran of 15+ cruises, and knowing that the Leeward's lease expired 2 years ago, this thread is full of...
My last cruise was on the Sky in january and it was wonderful. My main complaint would be that I thought the entertainment was lacking. I have sailed every major line and a number of smaller ones as well. I am NOT rushing to sail again on Costa or Royal Carribean (maybe never again!). My favorite line is still Princess and I truly hope that RCI does not get control of this wonderful line and ruin it as they did to Celebrity!
Sorry to hear how you got screwed over on your cruise ad I'm glad you posted this experience because we've been planning a cruise with NCL to Hawaii and Alaska for 2002. Your story is giving me second thoughts on dealing with such a company.
My husband and I booked an Alaskan cruise on the SKY for this September. At the time, NCL was offering a free Carribbean cruise when you booked an Alaskan cruise. We went to Cozamel, Ocho Rhios, and Grand Cayman the first of March for free on the Sky. The only reason that we booked our Alaskan cruise with NCL was because of the free cruise offer. We had both read the various messages on these message boards and thought that we would just make the best of our vacation. The Sky was GREAT! We had so much fun. I am sure that some people have legitimate complaints but after that cruise we are convinced that some people are just cranks. I have never seen so many rude people in my whole life. I really wanted to apologize to some of the wait staff. One jack$#% actually showed up in the dining room with a T shirt on (granted it was tucked in but it was still a T shirt) and the hostess told him he had to have a collar. He started to argue with her. What kind of slob goes on a cruise without a shirt with a collar? I am only 28 years old so it's not like I was brought up in a different generation and I was mortified!! What a slacker! Some people have no class and they prove that with their manners.
Our room was more than adequate. Yes, it was small, but you are on a cruise for goodness sakes. What did you expect? We had a balcony and I don't know if I will ever cruise again without one. We got room service every morning so we could sit on the balcony and watch the sun come up. The breakfast room service menu was great. Toast, bagels, muffins, fruits, cereal, tea, and coffee to name a few. The breakfast buffett was huge. Overall I would say that the food is impressive. I am not a huge buffett fan so I am not the best judge on the buffetts; however, the dinner food was much better than anything else you could get on vacation. In fact, we did not have one fried thing the whole trip. I always had a salad at dinner and lunch and there was never a piece of nasty lettuce. Wonderful salad dressings. We tried Horizon's restuarant for an extra $10 per peson. The Ceasar salad was unbelievable!!! We were tempted to go back just for salad. The dinner was ho hum considering we paid extra for it. The best part of that meal was the chocolate hazelnut cake--it was awesome!!! The selection of food was unreal. They had oriental, indian, american, pizza, etc. etc. etc. everyday for lunch. From 3-5 they had an ice cream bar set up. (They also sel Hagen Daas ice cream bars for $3 by the pool). We could not believe how cheap the drinks were. $1.50 for a coke on a cruise??? I know I paid more at Disney world. $4 for Bailey's Irish Cream on the rocks--I paid $6.50 a pop in Hawiaii. The wine was extremely reasonable--one night we asked our wine stweard to recommend something and she brought a great bottle of wine--my husband couldn't believe it when we got the bill and it was only $17. (And yes, I am not nieve when it comes to wine)--we honestly thought that bottles would have started at $30. I was not a huge fan of the entertainment--however, we live in a large city and have had a chance to see a good bit of "good" quality entertainment so I really wasn't expecting much--which was good because I would have been disappointed.
The only thing that went "wrong" was our fault. We book an excursion to the Tuluma ruins in Cozamel. The night before the excursion I look at the paper again and realized that the ruins are not on Cozamel (which is an island) and that we would have to take a Ferry to the main land. The brochure even mentioned that the sea was rough that time of year. That ferry ride was nothing but sheer hell! People were getting sick. It was soooooooooo much worse than an amusement park ride because you didn't know when to anticipate the waves! Then on the way back they put us on a smaller ferry--which took longer (1 hour 15 minutes vs. 45 minutes) HOWEVER it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it was all open air--I think only 1 person got sick. That was completely our fault. The cruise line warned us but I was so exicted that I didn't bother to read all the information--apparently other people did either!
NCL did such a good job with the tender tickets. In Grand Cayman we were supposed to anchor at about 11:00--they had the tenders up and running by 10:15--they had just started handing out the tender tickets--very organized. We did not get tender tickets because we weren't in a rush and I think we were off the boat by Noon--trust me it could have been sooner but we lolly gagged around. We should have gotten tender tickets for the private island because when we finally go to the island all the chairs were taken--the food at the private island was barbaque style and buffett--needless to say, we went back to the ship and shared the pool and deck with about 20 other people.
This was the best vacation!! For $3900 (excluding air) we got 2 cruises (one coming up this summer!). We really felt like this was dirt cheap for what we got. We decided that we might want to try Crystal cruises because everybody says that they are top of the line. Then we thought about it--we had fun on NCL. We splet well, saw neat places, ate good food, and drank like fish. Why spend more and risk not having such a good time? I really don't see how it could top this vacation.
I was great. I am looking forward to Alaska. If anyone goes on the Alaska cruise I would be very interested in your comments concerning the shore excursions.
I am in the process of looking for a cruise line job and want to thank you for posting your letter. I do not think that I will be seeking employment from NCL and have you to thank for that. I am looking forward to finding a job on a customer orientated company. Thanks Again!
Jenna, your RCI cruise, the greatest? Was that a 4 day or 7 day? Big difference. I have take 2 4 dayers on RCI, one we had fun but the ship sucked, the second was one of eht worst I have had. 4 day cruises are not the same in any way to 7 day cruises. Even though I did not enjoy RCI I would never say I hated them cause I need to try a 7 dayer first. I think all of us need to stop comaring apples and oranges.........Nita
Sandy, I thought about what you said about how long since in water, but it went over my senior head. Sometimes I think the same people are using varies Email info to base complaints. If you try to pin them down they back off. Nita
If you noticed, the recent diluge of complaints has been from mostly the same ISP. Then there are usually 4 or 5 followups from the same ISP using almost the same exact wording saying thanks for the post, now I'm not going to book NCL.
I'm inclined to believe it is one or two people TROLLING. For instance I've been on the Norway so many times that the inconsistencies and the details that I know for a fact just aren't true about the ship are a giveaway.