Our 25 yr anniversary was a disaster because of NCL's Pride of Aloha. Is anyone considering a class action suit? Has anyone been compensated by NCL?
Here is our story:
NCL Sept. 13, 2004
7665 Corporate Center Drive
Miami, Florida 33126
This letter is in regards to the cruise that my wife and I booked through Costco Travel with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) from August 22-29, 2004 on the “Pride of Aloha.”
My wife and I were planning our celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in Hawaii. We are a one income family, and so we began saving for our 25th wedding anniversary quite some time ago. Our honeymoon started in Hawaii 25 years ago, so we thought a cruise to the Hawaiian Islands where our marriage started would be very special. Please understand that up to this point in our marriage we have not been able to take a vacation alone as a couple, nor had we ever taken a cruise.
We came across an advertisement in the Costco Connection magazine mentioning that NCL was offering a Hawaiian Islands cruise on a new cruise liner, (please see enclosure 1). Based upon what Costco was advertising and what we had heard of NCL’s quality, we contacted Costco Travel and booked a cruise aboard the “Pride of American” for our 25th Wedding Anniversary.
In July we contacted NCL because we had not yet received any booking information for our cruise on the “Pride of America.” The NCL contact told us that the “Pride of America,” had taken on water during construction, and would not be ready to sail. The NCL representative went on to say that their other new ship called the “Pride of Aloha” would be replacing the “Pride of American,” and that our reservation had been transferred to the “Pride of Aloha. We were not alarmed because Costco had put their name behind NCL and their Hawaiian cruise.
We arrived at the Pride of Aloha in Honolulu on Sunday August 22, 2004. The first thing we realized was that the Pride of Aloha was reconditioned, not new as advertised. As we walked down the hallway to our room we noticed that the carpet was soiled and not vacuumed. When we entered our room it had not yet been cleaned, and the bathroom smelled like urine. We immediately went to the Front Office Manger (Roland Boudreau) and told him that this cruise liner was not the new cruise liner that we had paid for, and we mentioned our unclean room. We then asked Mr. Boudreau for a full refund so that we could get off the ship. Mr. Boudreau told us that a refund was not possible at the time. He then went on to say that the first day of a cruise is always a little rough but things would be getting better.
Sunday evening we proceeded to the buffet for dinner, and what we saw was unbelievable. No one was maintaining the buffet; the separate food containers had spilled food from adjoining containers. Food had spilled onto the carpet and no one was cleaning it up. Used food trays with plates were stacked on top of each other, and were sitting on all the tables which were not being bussed. We wish we would have taken a picture. What we saw turned our stomach so we did not eat at the buffet.
On Monday morning (8/23) we went down for breakfast to one of their two restaurants open for breakfast. My wife was served scrambled eggs and bacon which was floating in raw scrambled egg. Again our stomachs were turned. As we walked around the boat we could see that there was not enough staff to keep the boat clean, and the staff was so new that they could not answer questions. In addition, we noticed that everyone we talked with, were very upset with the poor service they were receiving.
At this point we called Costco Travel and they informed us that other Costco travelers who had already taken a cruise on the “Pride of Aloha” had called Costco Travel, and complained about their cruise. Costco Travel went on to say that we should continue to try and work with NCL management on the ship to see what they might do for us.
On Monday afternoon we again talked with Roland Boudreau (Front Office Manager) once again, and explained to him that things were not improving as he had said they would. We asked him to refund us 50% of our cruise so that we could eat off the ship because we were nauseated with their poor food service. He contacted NCL corporate office and they refused our request.
The problems on the Pride of Aloha became such an issue with all the guests that NCL was forced to write two apology letters to their customers on the ship to try and explain why NCL was having problems on the cruise. Their two letters mention the poor “quality of service” . . . “they recognized that the quality of service was not up to the standards” . . . “the cruise is not as good as we want it to be” . . . and the “shortcomings of the cruise.” They then offered token gestures to try and appease the guests, which only added insult to injury. I have enclosed copies of both letters for your records (please see enclosures 2 and 3).
To make a reservation in their specialty restaurants for dinner we had to get up and wait in line at 7:00AM, because they were all booked by 8:00 AM. We were told by room service that we couldn’t have coffee in the morning because they had run out. So after great disappointment, and many failed attempts to try and work out a fair compromise with NCL, we disembarked the Pride of Aloha on Kona, Thursday morning, (August 26) 4 days before the cruise was over) and flew to Honolulu at our own expense. We might add that after notifying Roland Boudreau (Front Office Manager) the night before we left the ship; and then going to the front desk two times Thursday morning and requesting help with our luggage. No one showed up to help us with our luggage, and when we called one more time, the response we got was, “our staff is to busy, and we don’t have time to send someone up to get your bags.”
Because so many of the guests were using their cell phones to complain about what was happening to them. When we arrived in Honolulu, we were contacted by NBC news and were interviewed on Thurs. (8/26) and on Sat. (8/28) about our terrible experience aboard the Pride of Aloha. Both of our interviews were aired on Aug. 26th and Aug 28th by NBC in Honolulu. To view our interviews you can contact Steven Florin (NBC producer) at 808 847-1112. NBC told us that they would be contacting us in a month to see what NCL would be doing for us, and they will be airing the findings. In addition to our TV interviews by NBC, other passengers aboard the Pride of Aloha complained to the news media about the terrible experiences that they were having on the ship. The results of their interviews were put on the front pages of the Pacific Business News on 8/27, and the Honolulu Advertiser on 8/28. We have enclosed copies of both newspaper articles validating all of our concerns of the poor quality provided by NCL (please see enclosures 4 and 5).
Our dream of a once in a life time cruise was ruined as the result of NCL: misleading advertising; unclean rooms; lack of qualified staff; unsanitary food conditions; long unreasonable lines to get into restaurants; and unwilling management to work with us.
Based upon the information that we have provided in this letter and enclosures, we are asking NCL to reimburse us $4,664.81 (cruise-$3,024.20, round trip airfare-$1099.22, airfare for island hop from Kona to Honolulu-$187.20, meals after leaving the ship-$354.19, (please see enclosure 6 which are receipts).
We understand that Costco will be canceling their contract with NCL until such time as NCL compensates past customers and fixes the problems aboard the “Pride of Aloha.” If NCL settles with us, we will then contact Costco Travel and inform them of the settlement.
After NCL has had time to review our letter, we ask that NCL contact us in writing. If NCL does not resolve this issue to our satisfaction, we will be taking further action.
Dean and Robin Huibregtse
519 Dawn Drive
Grangeville, Idaho 83530