As an experienced, certified cruise counselor, I want to advise all of you who book cruises on NCL. You do it on your own. Make sure you're going - because they have a reputation of NOT giving refunds. Make sure, if you've promised an upgrade, you get it in writing. Make sure you get the room you're promised. Beware of onboard sales, sometimes NCL doesn't honor their own sales flyers, etc.
Currently, my agency is owed thousands on co-op fees, commissions and other things. NCL has NEVER kept their word on anything they've promised.
Before booking NCL, call several travel agencies in your area and ask if they do business with them. I bet some will tell you no. I know, I did. My survey surprised me with the numbers who refused to deal with them - or offer waivers when they do!!
I am sorry that your dealings with NCL have been unsatisfactory. But I have been on 2 cruises with them and have yet to encounter major difficulties (and this includes dealing with customer service).
I just returned from my last cruise. I was able to purchase an upgrade from an inside GTY to a superior outside for just $50. My travel agent's wholesaler seemed to have more trouble dealing with them about the upgrade than I did. Quite frankly I was NOT impressed with the wholesale company. My agent even admitted that the problem seemed to be with the wholesaler rather than NCL. There was some confusion about which cabins were available for the upgrade (probably due to third hand communication - me to my travel agent, agent to NCL and wholesaler to NCL). As soon as I personally called NCL, the confusion was instantly and satisfactorily resolved. My cabin was immediately upgraded ONLINE - so I could confirm it then and there. One should ALWAYS get everything in writing. This is simple common sense. I screen printed my registration form showing the new cabin number and I had my travel agent invoice me in writing for the $50 stating exactly which cabin I had paid to upgrade to.
As for refunds: I always plan vacations with the intent of only cancelling in case of emergency - so I get insurance that covers that eventuality. I really don't see why other people don't do this. No company can stay in business if it refunds customers who cancel plans for frivilous reasons.
I am not a certified cruise counselor or anything like it, just a humble cruiser; but I have been trying to warn people for a while now that NCL is a company which cannot be taken at their word.
Their customer service reps will say anything they want to you, on the phone, make any promises that they feel like, at the moment, then just tell you later, " Sorry but we're not doing that." The company has no qualms whatsoever about going back on their word and leaving their customers stuck and out of pocket. It doesn't even seem to embarrass them to be caught in a lie. They just the just say, "Oh well, we might have said we were going to do that but now we're not, too bad."
Any information obtained from their customer service department is totally unreliable. An old joke circulating on another board was that if you had a question you should call customer service three times and ask the same question, then average the results ,because you could never depend on any one answer being correct.
I too have tried to tell people that they should get everything in writing from NCL but I have heard back that they were told by a customer service rep that NCL has a policy of not confirming their policies in writing. I wonder why?
As far as brochures flyers etc. being inaccurate. I have heard this before also.
For those of you who have sailed with NCL and had no problems, I am happy for you. I hope you continue to have such good luck. If you do run into future problems however, tread carefully, and don't say you are surprised or you haven't been warned.
Nile Romance Nile River 5/90
QE2 Transatlantic 8/95
Norwegian Crown Western Caribbean 4/97
Celebrity Zenith Panama Canal 04/98
Carnival Jubilee Southern Caribbean 03/99
Renaissance R3 Tahiti 11/99
Dawn Princess back to back Southern Caribbean 04/00
Norwegian Majesty Bermuda 09/00
Norwegian Wind Western Caribbean 12/03
Norwegian Sprit Southern Caribbean 12/03/04
I hope your goodluck continues and you have many more wonderful cruises with NCL or whatever other cruiseline you choose.
I have booked on NCL only twice. The first time everything went well and I had a wonderful time. The second time, we encountered a problem ( the problem was on NCL's side not mine) which their customer service, by inept handling, turned into a major headache for me. It was not only customer service's ineptitude but also their attitude of complete lack of concern or responsibility for their mess up, that turned me off.
Putting that experience together with similar reports from other customers, on a couple of cruise boards, has lead me to my opinion of NCL. I appreciate your input about your experience. You got lucky 16 and 5 times respectively, I was unlucky on my second trip with them. I guess we can let other cruisers decide if they want to take a chance.
First of all you don't get "lucky" 16 times. People spend a lot of money on cruises without doing any kind of research about cruises and they get upset when things don't go as they thought they should. There really isn't anything the cruise line does for me except assign my room. I do all my own travel, hotels and transportation. I understand cruise lines do make mistakes and cause problems but not as many as the customers do. The reason this caught my eye was I used to use a TA who was terrific and she taught me a lot about picking the right cruises etc. She called me one day to tell me one of her clients had called and wanted a refund on her cruise. Her reason was the cruise they went on was for their anniversary and the band didn't know their wedding song.
"People spend a lot of money on cruises without doing any kind of research about cruises and they get upset when things don't go as they thought they should. There really isn't anything the cruise line does for me except assign my room"
I'm sure some people do spend money on cruises without doing research; however, I am not one of them. I didn't get upset when things 'didn't go as I thought they should'.
I got upset when NCL made an agreement with me and then went back on it ,causing me a lot of trouble and leaving me out of pocket.
The fact that there may be some loopy customer who wants a refund for some ridiculous reason, does not mean that every customer who experiences problems is an idiot with ridiculous demands.
There have been instances where crew members on cruise ships have been arrested for smuggling illicit substances, does that mean that you assume every crew member on every ship is trafficing in drugs? Why then would you assume because a few passengers act in an unreasonable manner anyone who complains about anything is being unreasonable?
You have cruised with NCL 16 times? Did you ever have one of those cruises cancelled by NCL a month before your departure date?
If so I'd like to hear about your experience, if not ,you DID get lucky 16 times.
My second attempt to cruise with NCL lead to just such a cancellation. That was an unfortunate occurance but is not what upset me with NCL, things like that do happen sometimes and I accept that. What did upset me was the totally inept way NCL handled the situation. If you have cruised 16 times and not run into a situation like that then, in my book you have been lucky 16 times.
I have booked my third cruise on NCL. The first cruise I booked an inside cabin on the third deck and got upgraded to an outside on the fourth deck at no additional cost. The second, again booked an inside cabin on the third deck and got upgraded to an outside on the eighth deck at no additional cost. The cruise coming up, we booked an outside cabin on the fourth deck and got upgraded to a BALCONY on the ninth deck at no additional cost. I have NO complaints at all. I know it is not a premium line, that it is more or less a bargain type of cruise and we book with that in mind. If I wanted to be waited on hand and foot, I would book another line but I would rather cruise more often than have the luxury furnished by some of the higher priced lines. My wife and I are on a fixed income, so we have to be a little careful with the little money we have, We have been married a little over four years, and have booked cruise number six and seven, three of them with NCL, three with Royal Caribbean, and one with Princess.
First of all, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season.
Last spring I called the Triple A, travel service about NCL cruises. The person to whom I spoke told me that the only NCL ship that they'll book is the Majesty. This was the ship that we were interested in------------Boston to Bermuda.
We did book this cruise, through another agency, and had a fabulous time. We enjoyed the Majesty, her friendly & attentive crew, decent food & entertainment, and especially the Island of Bermuda.