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  #1 (permalink)  
Old September 15th, 2004, 01:54 PM
Dean & Robin Huibregt
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Default Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

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
Resolution Department
7665 Corporate Center Drive
Miami, Florida 33126

Dear NCL:

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.

Sincerely,



Dean and Robin Huibregtse
519 Dawn Drive
Grangeville, Idaho 83530


Enclosures-6
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old September 15th, 2004, 07:24 PM
pata
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

I must have missed the earlier posts. Sounds like a very structured and serious complaint.
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Old September 15th, 2004, 07:26 PM
buchie614
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

So Paul, does this mean since Mr. Huibregtse's poa experience is not "new", he should not have posted? Perhaps he did not have time to post earlier. Personally, I am glad that he did post his experience.
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Old September 15th, 2004, 07:53 PM
Anothercrwmember
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

When NCL America was first getting started, the project was officially called "Project America". But after hiring and trying out the first few hundred crew, it was unofficially renamed "Rejects of America" by the crew.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old September 15th, 2004, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

I probably shoudn't step in here, but of course I'm going to.

The experience isn't new, but I think Mr. Huibregtse's letter to NCL is (it appears to be dated Sept 13,2004.)
I think the purpose of Mr Huibregtse's post is more to let us know what one person is doing to try to address the issue with NCL, rather than merely to re-iterate the same complaints we have already heard from many other cruisers. I, for one, would be interested in being kept informed of any response NCL makes in regard to this letter, if Mr. Huibregtse is willing to share that information.
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Old September 15th, 2004, 09:07 PM
AlohaInsider
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Default Rejects of America

Real classy way to refer to your shipmates, Anothercrwmember. In case anybody is wondering why moral is low, this is one reason. Anothercrwmember has done nothing but bash everybody, and for some reason is still on the ship. Get lost!
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old September 15th, 2004, 09:46 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha


"These are not "new" accounts. The same comments were posted in this board several weeks ago."

Several weeks ago? He got off the ship two and a half weeks ago.

Thanks Mr. & Mrs. Huibregtse. I wouldn't be surprised if your post was deleted.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old September 16th, 2004, 02:15 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

I was on the POA on Aug 8-15. The week I returned I sent a letter of complaint to NCL and went to my travel agent (liberty travel)to give them the same letter. Next week will be one month and still no response. Also the 20% we are supposed to get from NCL (even though I will never use it) still has not arrived. I know Paul hates people posting who haven't been on the boat in a long time, but personally I think anyone who wants to post they should be allowed to. This was a terrible experience that some people who have not been on the ship still don't realize how bad it was. I hope to keep hearing from people commenting about POA whether good or bad, new or old.

Paul,
Maybe when someone get's a response from NCL these posting's will end, until then it should continue.
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Old September 16th, 2004, 06:10 PM
newmexicoNita
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

I have to wonder about those who do not get any response from NCL. I only wrote to them on one occassion but got a response within a few weeks. I did write about concerns I had, but also let them know overall I was satisfied and would sail them again. If letters imply the writer will not sail the line again, all too wordy or filled with nothing but negatives most likely you will not get an answer. Right or wrong, that's the way it is.

NMNita
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Old September 16th, 2004, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

If NCL released a statement that <all> passengers will be receiving a 20% discount, I don't think the tone should matter. I'm thinking it's more like there are too many letters to read and they are backlogged. This is an instance where a good ta going to bat for you comes in handy.
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Old September 16th, 2004, 07:18 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

I am wondering why, when NCL publicly stated that travelers would get a 20% discount on futur cruises and half of the service charges refunded that the Huibregtse's were not in fact reimbursed for this. If NCL clearly announced it (and as a travel agent, I received a sirect e-ail from them tellin g me about the compensation) why have they not in fact honored it?
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Old September 16th, 2004, 09:02 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

Its clear that they had a VERY bad experience and should receive some compensation from NCL for this... however I am struck by the following quote:

"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."

I was booked on the August 25th Pride of America cruise and was contacted by my TA regarding the sinking. After some consideration I elected to cancel and take a pre-xmas cruise on the NCL Star because I knew from my TA that the Pride of Aloha was going to be a tighter cabins and not a new ship.

I guess my point here is that Costco was the TA and apparently didn't give the service one would expect from a full service travel agency and IMHO they bear allot of the responsibility for not informing their clients of the ship change.

later

Rick
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Old September 16th, 2004, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

When our Hawaii cruise on the Star was cancelled last May, we too were supposed to recieve a voucher for 20% of the value of that cruise, to be applied to a future cruise. We never received anything from NCL either.
I did hear that a few people from our roll call did call NCL and chase them about it and at least one of them did, finally, get the credit applied to another cruise.

It seems that NCL makes these announcements but unless you follow it up aggressively and keep after them you don't really get it.
It didn't make a big difference to me, because I wouldn't have used it anyway, but I do think it would have been appropriate for them to mail out something like a coupon or voucher, or a letter to explain the value of the credit and how you should go about applying it.
In my mind this is just another example of NCL's lack of respect or concern for their customers.

As another poster mentioned earlier this week, I too just recieved my nice glossy
Latitudes magazine. I chuckled a little as I filed it immediately in the big round file.
NCL could have saved the $2 (or whatever it cost them to send that to me) and used the money to buy a banana or something for one of the POA passengers.


Post Edited (09-16-04 21:17)
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Old September 16th, 2004, 09:58 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

It's strange there seems to be no rhyme or reason to when my Lattitudes magazine arrives. I didn't get any for over a year (honestly I forgot about it) but I have received the last two quarterlies.

Post Edited (09-16-04 21:59)
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Old September 17th, 2004, 09:09 AM
David Starkey
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

I wonder why the Costco travel didn't advise the Huibregtse's that POA was simply a "reconditioned" NCL ship. Anyone following the cruise market was aware of this or had to be incompitent.
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Old September 17th, 2004, 01:07 PM
newmexicoNita
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha

I wish all letters were answered, but they are not: this isn't just NCL or cruiselines (believe me, I know many cruise lines that do not answer all their mail) this relates to many companies. As I said, it may not be right, but I am guessing many companies feel there will be nothing gained by answering totally negative mail. While still in the hotel business I remember attending a conference where our speaker for the 3 days gave us many good ideas. One thing she stressed was the negative versus the positive: a complain letter that has a mixture of negative and positive is saying (accoding to her) "I want to do business with you, but am unhappy right now, how can you fix the problem" Most companies will jump at this situation. The totally negative letter which inplies "I will never do business with you" gets little if any response. My husband wrote one about 2 years ago to a oil company. We had a terrible experience and wanted them to know. We did get a brief letter; answer "not our problem, we only lease our name" end of letter. Which would you rather get, none or one like that? Both are pretty sad.

NMNita
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Old September 17th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha should be called the Shame of Aloha


"We did get a brief letter; answer "not our problem, we only lease our name" end of letter. Which would you rather get, none or one like that? Both are pretty sad. "


I would rather at least get an acknowledgement that they received my letter even if it wasn't the answer I wanted.

"a complain letter that has a mixture of negative and positive is saying (accoding to her) "I want to do business with you, but am unhappy right now, how can you fix the problem" Most companies will jump at this situation."

Maybe that speaker should get in touch with NCL and tell them that.
When I first contacted NCL that pretty much sumed up my attitude. " I realize this situation is a problem for you too, this is my problem, this is what I would like, what can you do to help."
NCL's response was first to give me mis-information ( what I would call a lie). Then to tell me tough, No attempt to work out anything or keep me as a customer.
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