NCL has taken seriously all the complaints about the $10 per person, per day service charge levied on Song Of America. Here's a statement from the cruise line, issued today:
"In recognition of the shortcomings of Pride of Aloha's past cruises, the company is
refunding all guests who have sailed on Pride of Aloha 50 percent of their service charge as well as issuing cruise credit certificates for future cruises, both of which they will receive in the next few weeks. The cruise credit certificates will be 20% of
the value of the cruise only portion of their recent Pride of Aloha
I don't know if this will satisfy people who have experienced major service glitches aboard the ship. Feedback?
The embarrasment that my wife and I suffered, as we had basically acted as travel agent for our group of 9, is pretty substantial. This is a start at fixing it, but I must say that I am pretty dang steamed at NCL still.
All we heard the whole trip from our friends was how terribly horrible the cruise was compared to other cruises they had been on. This, after we worked our tails off arranging things to be nice for everyone.
I very much doubt that we will ever set foot on an NCL ship EVER AGAIN. Actually, I doubt I will ever cruise on ANY cruise line again as this was such a rotten experience for my wife and I on our 25th anniversary dream turned nightmare cruise!
The management of NCL can take their 20% for a future cruise and stick it in the runny eggs at their Buffet.
My only hope is that NCL management is FORCED to take THEIR family and friends on the Pride of Aloha and suffer the embarrassment we suffered!!! Wouldn't that be the day!
If this proves to be true, it will go a long way to satisfying me. I was a little annoyed when they started refunding 50% of the service charge the week after I sailed when my week also experienced problems with service, but decided it would just add to my aggravation to fight it. I would consider giving NCL another chance if the cruise credit is attractive enough, but I don't think I would go on NCLA again.
I suspect there is more to this POA situation then what meets the eye..the parent company that purchased NCL has a bigger agenda to play out so that they can become a power broker in the American cruise market...I think they are "testing" the waters to see how many actually "bite" on the 20% future cruise credit and the refunding of 1/2 of the service charge is an attempt on spin control. What would be more meaningful is for NCL to tell both past guest,current upcoming guest and long range future potential guest and the travel agent community what they are doing to fix the problem
The parent company (and it's holding company) are located in the far east and do business based upon a long term strategic plan where understanding the American cruise market is key. How do you think they came up with the 20% discount on future cruises and 1/2 service charge refund ? Why didn't they give a 100% service charge refund and 50% credit towards a future cruise ? In following the recent postings on this board about POA one of the major complaints was that NCL was not responding to letters, phone calls, e-mails etc regarding the POA situation. I think that was part of their plan
The sad part about this is that Hawaii is such a special place and people who paid their hard earn money (and for many maybe only a once in a lifetime trip) were disappointed in NCL's product delivery. NCL should do more because people will remember this trip for a long time and will tell at least 20 people about it for years to come
watch how this plays out over the next 12-18 months. FYI I am a big NCL fan and miss the Norway
A step in the right direction!
Admitting to its shortcommings concerning the POA is deffinetely a good step towards apeasing the mass of angry cruisers who have sailed on the POA....unfortunately I don't think that a '20% -off-next-cruise' will do much for passengers who are aprehensive about the treatment they recieved aboard the POA and how that reflects on the NCA/NCL trademark. IMHO getting 20%-off-next-cruise is still paying 80% too much for substandard service.
Never experiencing what most of you have I can't judge whether 20% plus the 50% refund on the service charge will satisfy the unhappy cruisers, but it does seem like a step in the right direction. For those who are not satisfied, what would you want, 50% discount on your next cruise or maybe more? It does seem to me 20% is generous, but if I was totally bummed out I don't know what I would expect. Of course the 20% may not sound like that much when you consider it is only on the cruise portion and most of us know much of the cruise pricing anymore is taxes and the high port charges the ship has no control over.
Nita, only thing that would satisfy me would be some sort of money back from my recently concluded cruise. In my opinion, NCL did not deliver on a promise of a good cruise experience. Why would I pay more money to NCL when I wasn't satisfied the first time. It makes no sense. And I'm sure that since we got the $100 onboard credit, that we will get nothing else from NCL. Watch and see, our group has gotten all they are going to get from this two-bit cruise line. I'll let you know if I'm wrong.
My problem is not that the offer is for 20% of the cruise portion, but that the only way to get this is to give NCL more money and cruise with them again. I can understand that some people may have had a bad experience and not want to go on NCL again but does that mean that they don't deserve some compensation for the fact that they did not really get what they paid for on this cruise?
To me passengers should be given back some of the money that they paid for this substandard cruise straight out, as a partial cash refund, not some kind of future credit.
Oops sorry one other quick point. Where will these credits be applicable? To NCL as a whole or only on NCLA cruises?
I ask because I know some people seem to feel that NCLA is a totally different company than NCL and the actions of NCLA should not reflect on NCL as a whole. So ,I'm wondering how this fits in with that view.
in reading the "weekend cruise news" segment on this site..it indicated that the cruise credit is on Pride of Aloha or Pride of America and if you are booked on a future 2004 sailing on POA you will be offered a reduced rate equal to the 2003 published fare..if that is in fact correct that would make sense because the goal is to get customers back on that specific segment but not heavily dilute future higher yield revenue.
I spoke with a good friend who just came off the POA and he indicated that the issue is staffing, the staff is trying to do a good job, there is just not enough of them. This cannot be solved in the traditional approach where you bring experience crews from other ships to support the staff (due to contractual obligations), so I would reduce the passenger count by up to 25% over the next 2-3 months (by offering perhaps a land package so people don't lose their air fare to Hawaii, tourism is down in Hawaii which means there is excess hotel inventory), which would give the ship and staff some time to work thru the situation and be able to meet cruisers expectations. Then providing the 20% future cruise credit will give people reason to try NCL again. For those who have sailed, I still content that a 20% credit may not be enough for them to try NCL again. A two for one applicable to an outside and above cabin might do it.
Americans are known for giving a business a second chance (it helps to have a financial incentive) when the business admits it failed to live up to it's product. I think NCL is in a situation that is unique in the market place, they got a heck of a deal on these ships but they came with some strings attached. I think they will work thru these issues given time. The worse case is that people use the 20% credit, NCL hasn't fix their problem and they have another less than positive experience. To retain business they have to figure out a way to get people who had a negative cruise back on that ship. If they refund a large percentage, people won't come back IMHO
" I would reduce the passenger count by up to 25% over the next 2-3 months (by offering perhaps a land package so people don't lose their air fare to Hawaii, tourism is down in Hawaii which means there is excess hotel inventory), which would give the ship and staff some time to work thru the situation and be able to meet cruisers expectations."
I think that is a great idea. Do you think anyone at NCL will actually have the good sense to do something like that?
Originally posted by venice;
"To retain business they have to figure out a way to get people who had a negative cruise back on that ship. If they refund a large percentage, people won't come back IMHO"
I agree that is probably what NCL is worried about, but I don't think it addresses the concerns of the passengers. I know I am already not an NCL fan so am maybe harder about this than many, but making me jump through hoops to get some compensation ( having to spend more of my money to cruise with them again) would not make me a happy customer. Maybe this one time NCL needs to do something that gives the impression that they are actually putting the needs of their customers first.
I understand wanting a cash rebate and I would also if it were me, but how often when we get poor service do we actually get cash back? I don't think I ever have. By giving cash back there is no incentive to try a product again, by offering a discount some may. While a TA often, when things didn't go according to plans companies, especially cruise lines gave certificates for discounts, but never refunds to my knowledge. I remember a couple of Carnival disasters and one RCL. In all cases the buy out was about $150 credit on the next cruise. Of course if I experienced what some of you have and had never cruised NCL or whatever line previously I don't think I would be interested in 20% off, I wouldn't want to sail them again period. If I had sailed the line previously and had good experiences I would jump at the 20%. Good luck to all of you regardless.
Nita, the situation on POA is unlike anything that has happened on a cruise ship. I think NCL should accommodate us like a cruise line has never done before. IMHO this cruise line should give people an opportunity to cancel without penalty if the want to do so. Many people are simply stuck now, knowing they will have a lousy cruise and not being able to do anything about it. If you board a ship and the unexpected happens, then that's the luck of the draw. But when I boarded the ship I knew what I was going to get and couldn't do anything about it. Plus, all those people who had faith in NCL when Pride of America sank and did not cancel when they had an opportunity should be rewarded now with an opportunity to cancel. It's the right thing to do. But NCL isn't really concerned about the right thing. They are doing this PR sweep right now because the media is just about to latch onto the story. I know for certain that is what is happening. I've been in the media for nearly 29 years and, trust me, this will continue to grow. That's the only way NCL will ever do anything about this.
there is a bigger issue coming into play...NCL is introducing a second ship in this market in the near term and they don't want to introduce it under the same set of conditions as the first..there are lots of current and future jobs at stake in an industry that has been in decline in America for a very long time..plus our tax dollars are at play here because the government had to make certain gurantees when the company that was building the ships went into bankruptcy in Mississippi..therefore it's in all of our best interest to see this experiment work.
That said, I believe the "psyche" of cruisers (and we are a unique breed) is that if I sailed on the POA and experienced the disappointment that they did, because it is a U.S. flag ship and offering Americans jobs, I would give them another try but it would cost NCL big time (two for one with free air fair to Hawaii). Hawaii is such a special place that if this problem occurred in the caribbean, no one would blink about the mess because there are lots of options and it's not Hawaii.
The CEO of NCL should make a video/dvd and send it to each of the guest that have sailed on the POA and give a sincere apology, explain why it happen and share what he is going to do to fix it. Then he should invite each customer to come back and try the ship again in a series of "special invitation only cruises" over the period of 1-2 years , that he would be on so he can look at his guest face to face and say yes we had a problem, but we fixed it and you are important to our company.
If NCCL did that, they would have customer loyalty for life. We are a nation that forgives service failures if the company is sincere in their apology and provides meaningful incentives to give them a second chance
I not only feel sorry for the guest, I feel sorry for the crew
DAlwhitt, cancelling without penalty sounds like a more than reasonable solution for those who would rather do anything other than cruise POA right now. I think the bigger concern is for those who have already cruised. I don't think NCL can do much more than what they have offered so far. Of course it's a PR sweep right now. As for Venice's suggestion it's sounds wonderful but it's a bit too much to ask of any company to go quite that far.
I am sailing on this cruise Oct. 24 and am a travel agent. I also saw the recent e-mail from Norwegian about the rebates. I am traveling with a client on that cruise and am already gritting my teeth after reading reviews of this cruise.
To me, if I received a rebate on a cruise that was this bad, I would not want to accept a certificate for another cruise on the same line. All it takes is one bad experience for not only a traveler to never use that cruise line again, but they will repeat their poor experience to 10 more people who may be inclined to stay away from the line in the future.
As far as the rebate of 50% of the service charge it would be acceptable to me. I believe part of the problem with this ship is the fact that by charging everyone $10 a day, these people who provide poor service will get paid the same amount of money for lousy service that they will for good service.
NCL should think about getting rid of the mandatory charge and letting people tip for the service they receive. But from the sounds of the problems on this ship, they'd lose even more staff because of the poor tips they would receive.