Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we just got finished on the Crown after a 2 week cruise 3/22/04-4/4/04 to the Caribbean (Nassau, Jamaica, Aruba, St. Thomas and Bermuda). The following is a letter which I have sent to NCL and the CDC/VSP as well as some links for you to read after the letter.
VSP, MSF164770 Buford Highway N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30341
Re: Norwegian Crown Cruise 3/22/04-4/4/04
Dear Commander Vaughan,
I have just completed a cruise with NCL Crown (3/22/04-4/4/04). I have spoken today, 4/5/04, with Susan Perez, at your agency. She instructed me to put everything we spoke about, in writing to you.
My husband and I were never informed of, nor given any written notification of, the previous gastrointestinal problems aboard the previous cruise. That notification states "We do believe this stomach flu should not be an issue during this cruise but if you would rather not take this voyage we will issue you a cruise credit certificate for a future cruise equal to the value that you paid for this cruise". Two days before my cruise I received an e-mail from NCL looking forward to welcoming us aboard. At that time they knew about this problem and the previous cruise and I would have appreciated them notifying me of this in that e-mail before I made it down to the Miami Port. Once passengers get that far, how many people will back out of the cruise. I found out about this problem from one of the passengers days before the end of our cruise. We were also aware of numerous people taking ill on our cruise by speaking to some who had taken sick and these people were also aware of others taken ill as well. Speaking to many other passengers, we found out that they too had not received this letter nor were they made aware of any problems.
There were numerous hand sanitizing stations at all restaurants and upon boarding and leaving the ship at ports. There was one exception at a poolside BBQ Buffet one night. There was no sanitizing station. When inquiring about these on the first day, we were told it was standard procedure. No crew members ever asked us if we had gotten the 3/22/04 letter upon arrival.
During the cruise, a few doors down from our cabin (4108) in the corridor, there was a terrible odor of sewer/feces. There was also a strong odor of fuel/disel in our cabin at various times, coming through the air vents. This odor was nauseating.
Some of the crew in the dining room (Seven Seas Restaurant) wore plastic gloves, but there were many who didn't. Couldn't understand the inconsistency in this procedure. One server in the dining room who was holding a tray with utensils was not wearing gloves and I observed him touching his nose with his hands and then he proceeded to pick his nose. He then placed utensils on a table with that same hand.
At the ice cream service stand, the condiments (sprinkle, etc.) were not served by the server. You had to put on your own toppings and there were no serving utensils for this process. It was observed that one passenger reached in with his own hand, grabbed some sprinkles for his ice cream and then proceeded to sprinkle the remainder back into the serving bowl.
The day before vessel inspection in St. Thomas, crew members were all over the ship with antiseptic spray bottles spraying everything, tables, chairs, railings, etc. Also cleaning of the cabins was more extensive and intensive. Cabin Stewards were using bleach and ammonia (as noted by the smell) and were on their hands and knees scrubbing bathroom floors. Before and after this inspection, this procedure was nonexistent.
The temperature of the foods in the Buffet Dining Room (Yacht Club) was unacceptable. Hot foods were cool or cold and cold foods were warm. Sandwiches at the tea time never tasted fresh. They usually were lunch meats, tuna fish, cheeses, mayo, and cream cheese sandwiches. Breakfast foods such as scrambled eggs, french toast, pancakes, sausages and bacon were cold. Many a breakfast in the Yacht Club was left uneaten. The food in the Seven Seas Dining Room was inconsistent. Some foods were at appropriate temperatures and then you'd get others that were not. On the last day at breakfast I was served scrambled eggs in the Dining Room that had an odor and upon tasting them they also had a funny taste and were cold. I left them uneaten.
Many of the drains/traps all around the edge of the ship had dirty water sloshing around and stuff stuck in and around the drain areas.
There were times when serving utensils, cups, napkins, etc. were left around and not disposed of near and around the pool area, under and around lounges and chairs.
On the evening of the first day in Bermuda (2-1/2 days before the end of the cruise) the pool had turned green. It was left like that. The day before reaching Bermuda (Day at sea), I and others were in the pool. We were surprised and concerned that the pool had turned green that fast.
Referring back to the letter dated 3/22/04 we should have received upon embarkation, I approached the Reception Desk onboard on 4/2/04, upon hearing about this letter from another passenger. I was given, what the girl at reception thought was, the 3/22/04 letter. Upon examination of it I noted the letter was dated 4/4/04 which hadn't happened yet. I confronted her with this discrepency and she proceeded to tell me that that letter was for the next cruise after ours. She wanted it back, but I wouldn't give it back to her. I told her that it also had listed 3% of the passengers on our cruise had taken sick, which was also the percentage listed in the 3/22/04 letter (as told to me by another passenger who had the 3/22/04 letter). I subsequently asked how could they determine how many people had taken sick on this cuise when it wasn't over yet. She then said that "well it's almost over, we only have 2 more days left". Again I reiterated that the letter was predated 4/4/04 and today was 4/2/04. I did obtain the 3/22/04 letter from another passenger and found it to be an exact duplicate of the 4/4/04 letter and both state 3% passenger illness. Your website states differently for the cruise before 3/22/04, as well as what was reported as of 4/1/04 for my cruise. I am concerned about how they determined that only 3% on our cruise took ill 2 days before the letter dated 4/4/04 for the next cruise. I have both letters in my posession.
Upon complaining verbally and in writing about our concerns at Reception, and reducing our gratuity charge, I was told that an NCL representative would contact me before the end of the cruise. That never did happen.
I've written this letter in hopes that these deceptive practices are stopped and to protect future passengers aboard cruise ships.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Thanking you in advance for your attention to this matter.
40 Shindagen Road
Carmel, New York 10512
cc: Norwegian Cruise Line