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Old April 30th, 2007, 07:39 PM
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Default Worst Cruise Ever

My husband and I just got of a week on the Pride of Aloha. This is the worst cruise we have been on. We have been on 7 previous cruises with different lines so we are not novice cruisers.
The Pride of Aloha is dirty and black mold was in everybody's showers and even in the liquid soap in the showers.
The food was horrible!!!! These young American student type waiters could not serve a peanut butter sandwich correctly. The breakfast line had no commom sense in regards to organization or logical flow thru the buffet. We waited in long lines and the food was always cold.
The public bathrooms were not kept up so their was no toliet tissue and the bowls were never clean.
Ventilation was awful with sewage smell. I had to go to the doctor with brochitis which I never had until on this ship. People were quarantined to their cabins because of gastrointestinal illness. Two people were taken off the ship by ambulance.
I do not care how reasonable this cruise is it is not worth one cent. Please read all these messages about ship before you make reservations. Mary and Bill
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Old April 30th, 2007, 08:35 PM
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We were on P.O.A. the week of April 1st. Your impressions were very much like ours. I wrote a review about a week ago. It should be up on the boards very soon.

Out of 30+ cruises for David and I, this was our least favorable experience. I was glad to end my cruise and get off the ship for the very first time in my life.

What a sad thing to have to say.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 03:53 PM
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SADLY NCL has a real problem with their NCL America division (the ships sailing in Hawaii).

By law they MUST hire almost entirely U.S. citizens (or green card holders), and they are finding it very difficult to get them working to acceptable "cruise ship standards".

I believe that's a major factor in their decision to move Pride of Hawaii (a beautiful ship) over to the regular NCL division to sail elsewhere.

Fact is these US workers are simply not willing to work as hard as the international staff of other cruise lines or NCL's other divisions.

NCL has tried their darndest, building an elaborate training facility in NJ.... but it seems they are fighting a losing battle with their Hawaii ships.
Sadly I'm not sure what they can do to remedy the situation.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki
SADLY NCL has a real problem with their NCL America division (the ships sailing in Hawaii).

By law they MUST hire almost entirely U.S. citizens (or green card holders), and they are finding it very difficult to get them working to acceptable "cruise ship standards".

I believe that's a major factor in their decision to move Pride of Hawaii (a beautiful ship) over to the regular NCL division to sail elsewhere.

Fact is these US workers are simply not willing to work as hard as the international staff of other cruise lines or NCL's other divisions.

NCL has tried their darndest, building an elaborate training facility in NJ.... but it seems they are fighting a losing battle with their Hawaii ships.
Sadly I'm not sure what they can do to remedy the situation.
Kuki, someone suggested quite awhile ago, the only way an American flagged ship is going to make it in Hawaii is a luxury yatch type of cruise, small, pricey and with top employees. It makes good sense to me. We do hear from time to time about those who do the Hawaiian itinerary coming back quite satisfied. I have had many clients fall into that catagory, but they have 2 things going for them:1-total knowledge of the situation and 2-understanding cruising on an American flagged ship is a very different experience. Not being a lover of the islands and visited them more than once I am not certain I would ever do a Hawaiian cruise, but when I have clients who want one I totally prepare them for the experience. So far, so good; best cruises they have ever taken? Absolutely not. Yet most have agreed they could never see so much of Hawaii without doing it by ship. NMNita
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Old May 1st, 2007, 09:48 PM
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That's why I always sail the Newest Built ships rather than older or renamed ships.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 06:46 AM
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I recommend those who wants to cruise around the Hawaiian Islands to take a cruise with the longer itinerary which also take the passengers to Fanning Island, that cruise is NOT a part of NCL America.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki
Sadly I'm not sure what they can do to remedy the situation.
Sounds like they might wind up having to hire help shoreside. Since NCLA sails through the Hawaiian islands, there really is no reason their help has to sail with the ship. If they hired shore-based help ... and brought them on just for the day ... keeping only a skeleton crew living onboard the ship ... they could hire MORE help and that should raise the service levels on the ship.

The problem with cruise ships, as I see it, as that EVERYONE hired onboard has no choice but to work long hours. The ship can only accommodate so many crew members, and thus no department will be adequately staffed to allow for days off and a more "normal" working environment. Americans are not used to working that hard. It's not in our "blood," so to speak. So, trying to change the culture and get American workers to put in 12 to 14 hour days, seven days a week ... well, put simply, you're dreaming. Not gonna happen.

So I say since NCLA sails only within the Hawaiian Islands, there should be no reason help can't be brought on for the day ... in each port ... maybe college students looking for a day or two wages twice a week ... and then these people could put in more of what would be considered a normal workday. The onboard staff ... the ones berthed on the ship ... would have some much needed relief so that they, too, could work a more "normal" work schedule.

Might be the only solution. Either that or reflag the ships so that foreign workers could be hired ... and then have to comply with the Jones Act, effectively cutting out the inter-Hawaiian Islands sailings.

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old May 14th, 2007, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
It makes good sense to me. We do hear from time to time about those who do the Hawaiian itinerary coming back quite satisfied. I have had many clients fall into that catagory, but they have 2 things going for them:1-total knowledge of the situation and 2-understanding cruising on an American flagged ship is a very different experience.
To me, sailing an NCL ship around the Hawaiian islands would be nothing more than an alternative to staying in a pricey hotel. Hotel prices in Hawaii are generally through the roof, and being onboard an NCL ship ... using it as nothing more than a floating hotel room ... would be a great alternative. But if you're looking for a fancy cruise experience at the same time, well ... I just don't think NCL is capable of delivering that in Hawaii.

Now what might work is to adopt the EasyCruise model with these NCL ships ... a berth for seven nights ... for a set price. No frills, no special services, etc. You get all those things on land. You just use your cabin as a place to hang your hat that is far cheaper than hotel accommodations on the islands. You get to see four islands, with no need for inter-island flights, for a reasonable price.

With this EasyCruise type model, you have effectively lowered passenger expectations. They know they are sailing a "no frills" ship, and they are doing so at a price far more attractive than staying on land and flying between the islands. They won't be looking for great service. Hell, they'll be thrilled just to get a buffet breakfast in the morning. Less staff will be required and less effort will be necessary to deliver the bare bones kind of service necessary. Less stewards will be needed in the dining room since dinner will probably incur an extra charge. Fewer people will bother eating there. Cabin service will be minimal, thus reducing the need for cabin stewards to work such unGodly hours.

Frankly, I'm surprised EasyCruise hasn't gone into the Hawaii market yet and given NCLA some competition.

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old May 14th, 2007, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kryos
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
It makes good sense to me. We do hear from time to time about those who do the Hawaiian itinerary coming back quite satisfied. I have had many clients fall into that catagory, but they have 2 things going for them:1-total knowledge of the situation and 2-understanding cruising on an American flagged ship is a very different experience.
To me, sailing an NCL ship around the Hawaiian islands would be nothing more than an alternative to staying in a pricey hotel. Hotel prices in Hawaii are generally through the roof, and being onboard an NCL ship ... using it as nothing more than a floating hotel room ... would be a great alternative. But if you're looking for a fancy cruise experience at the same time, well ... I just don't think NCL is capable of delivering that in Hawaii.

Now what might work is to adopt the EasyCruise model with these NCL ships ... a berth for seven nights ... for a set price. No frills, no special services, etc. You get all those things on land. You just use your cabin as a place to hang your hat that is far cheaper than hotel accommodations on the islands. You get to see four islands, with no need for inter-island flights, for a reasonable price.

With this EasyCruise type model, you have effectively lowered passenger expectations. They know they are sailing a "no frills" ship, and they are doing so at a price far more attractive than staying on land and flying between the islands. They won't be looking for great service. Hell, they'll be thrilled just to get a buffet breakfast in the morning. Less staff will be required and less effort will be necessary to deliver the bare bones kind of service necessary. Less stewards will be needed in the dining room since dinner will probably incur an extra charge. Fewer people will bother eating there. Cabin service will be minimal, thus reducing the need for cabin stewards to work such unGodly hours.

Frankly, I'm surprised EasyCruise hasn't gone into the Hawaii market yet and given NCLA some competition.

Blue skies ...

--rita
Rita, no way; NCLA is a different experience but certainly nother like "EasyCruise" which has a place and is doing pretty well, but it is more like a hostel. NCLA isn't quite in that catagory. EasyCruise couldn't begin to pay the labor costs associated with an American flagged fleet. NMnita
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Old May 18th, 2007, 02:06 AM
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When deciding upon an NCLA Cruise, just think of the ship as a glorified Island Ferry. With these cruises, the focus is not the ships, but on the Hawaiian Islands.

Each Island you will visit has its own flavor and beauty. You will get an overview of the Islands, which might not be possible in a weeks time with a land trip. The flights involved, plus the expense of hotel rooms, will be much greater than your cruise fees.

I was aboard the Pride of Aloha last December. The ship & service were marginal, but Hawaii was magnificent. Every day brought a new Island, with unique adventure.

That's how I look at it. Hey, it's better than being at work.

Barb
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Old May 18th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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Just like Golf a bad day cruising beats a good day at work
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Old May 20th, 2007, 10:18 PM
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Default Book while you can

Best bet for HI cruise: NORWEGIAN WIND - but catch her before she evaporates.

I've been on her twice, (western Carib. and HI) and she is NOT NCL America - she's the real deal.

Same ports, longer trip (must go to Fanning Island, which is cool!) but international crew and up to NCL standards.
Namaste
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Old May 21st, 2007, 11:38 AM
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Basically it comes down to work ethic. How many of your own co-workers where each of you are at are lazy? I'm sure everyone reading this can name at least 1 person.

That being said, I'm sure there are Americans working on those ships that aren't lazy & work hard. Unfortunately, those are the ones you don't hear about. You hear the bad - not the good. Just like the media.

NCL won't pull out from the Hawaii cruises if they are making money. But if they keep getting negative reviews, maybe they'll change the crew.

But in the end, it does come down to Management of the crew.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 08:46 PM
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we had some bad crew members but most were good
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 08:53 AM
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We sailed on the NCL Star back when she was doing the Hawaiian run. We enjoyed the experience, but did not care much for Fanning Island. It's a shame NCL America is not doing so well, it would be nice to finally have American flagged cruise ships sailing stateside sometime. I heard NCL bought the S.S United States a few years back, has anyone heard any updated news on her condition??
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 10:23 AM
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Maybe Fanning Island isn´t that exciting, I can agree with that, but look at a map where it´s located! Fanning Island is the most exotic place I have ever been to and I really can´t think of a place that can beat it!

I think that they should include one more island on their long Hawaii itinerary, Fanning Island + one more exotic island!
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielkelley
Best bet for HI cruise: NORWEGIAN WIND - but catch her before she evaporates.

I've been on her twice, (western Carib. and HI) and she is NOT NCL America - she's the real deal.

Same ports, longer trip (must go to Fanning Island, which is cool!) but international crew and up to NCL standards.
Namaste
Too late, the Wind is in drydock in Asia being converted to a gambling ship. No more NCL (international crewed) ships in HI. It is NCLA or the longway from the west coast. With only two ships next year this may be the last year for the below cost bargains currently offered.

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Old October 10th, 2014, 02:27 PM
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Where should I begin! Our trip was the 7 day Hawaiian Island Cruise through Norwegian Cruise Line with both pre & post hotel stays. The cruise was from September 13 – 20th of 2014. This trip was supposed to be the trip of a life time. My Father, is 80 years old and very handicapped and this was explained when we booked this trip. We discovered that the room initially booked would be too small for two people and a scooter so I upgraded from a regular handicapped room to a suite hoping for more room. I was told that although it was not specifically considered a handicapped room it was by all means handicapped accessible. Anyone who has traveled with a person who is wheelchair or scooter bound understands the challenges faced when traveling. I was assured that everything would be worked out great. We could get a seat riser for the toilet and a chair in the shower. It was never mentioned that there was a step to get into the toilet stall.
Day one of trip was pre-excursion hotel, Waikiki Marriot Beach Resort. Unfortunately, the room that we had booked, two double beds, for my Dad and I turned out to be a king size bed. We had to return to the desk to be told they didn't have a double room. I had to be firm that the situation would not work for a father and daughter and finally after waiting for a long time and lots of complaining, they finally found a room for us.

Once aboard the ship we had to go through a process of meeting and greeting staff, whether we wanted to or not. It was a long time for my Dad not to be able to rest and get his legs elevated. Finally into our room we found there to be none of the handicapped items I ordered when I upgraded. No seat riser, no shower chair, toilet was broken it would not flush and to add to the problem there was a step to even get into the toilet stall. Also with no handicapped button for the door it made it impossible for Dad to get in or out of the room unassisted. I was told by a staff member when I called regarding the problems that they came and tried a seat riser but it didn’t fit, oh well I will let someone know. When they finally got to the room with a seat riser, that one didn’t fit properly either, the seat would slide left to right and was very unstable.
Day two, no seat for shower and still had to get a seat riser that would fit so you didn't fall of the toilet. A maintenance man finally came to the room and I had to suggest he take the lid off the toilet in order for the riser to fit. Toilet still broken, wouldn’t flush and no shower chair. It took three days to get toilet to flush and 4 days to finally get a chair for the shower.

When I booked the excursion to the Maui Plantation & Lao Valley I was told it was a handicapped excursion. However, they would not lift the scooter onto the bus. I was told that I had to do it myself. The Justice Department stated in a suit against NCL on October 25, 2010 that “NCL will also ensure that individuals who use wheelchairs get accessible bus transportation between the airport, cruise ship and hotels, and on shore excursions.” I was very upset and asked to speak to a manger or person in charge that then finally they did find a man that offered to help me lift it onto the bus. I have broken my back and have my own disability so this was unacceptable.
The Luau Kalamaku was nice but we were told that they had no handicapped bathrooms, which I believe is illegal in the United States, please reference the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. My Dad wouldn’t eat or drink anything out of fear of an accident.

One of the main reasons for even taking this trip was so my Dad could go to the USS Arizona. The excursion we booked was also supposed to be handicapped accessible. After all of our problems with "handicapped" accommodations, I checked the USS Arizona website to find that his scooter would not be allowed at the actually memorial destination. When I booked the handicapped tour for 4 hours we found out that at the end of the tour we would not be brought to our hotel but to the airport instead when tour was over, even though we were book for a post-excursion stay at the same Marriot hotel which was part of our travel plans with NCL.
I had to contact the hotel and book my own excursion and get my own wheelchair again and get a taxi to the hotel with no assistance from NCL. Although I know NCL doesn’t control the taxi drivers, ours yelled obscenities and charged us an illegal gratuity.

The food was mediocre at best. I actually had to send food back in the main dining room. We paid for the Exclusive Dining package and although we were supposed to be priority seating (I was told that this was also included in our suite accommodations) could not get reservations when we called.
A staff member at the excursion desk was rude and of no help at all.
One of the bartenders in the Pink Lounge complained constantly that he had too many customers and had to work too hard.
Drinks are way over priced at $ 11 for a glass of wine.
The Murphy bed in our suite couldn’t be any more uncomfortable.
I was lucky to run into a gentleman standing at the main customer service desk who happened to overhear my discussion with the desk clerk that I had not received any of the handicapped equipment. Jason happened to be in charge of this service. He called his assistant and finally after 4 days we got a chair in the shower, probably because I told him I had to take one of the outside chairs and put it into the shower. If I hadn’t run into Jason I don’t know if we would have ever gotten the equipment we needed.

I believe that when I called the NCL booking agent regarding upgrading she gave me incorrect information just so I would pay the upgrade, even when I voiced my concerns about handicapped accessibility in the bathroom and all of the equipment I could get that was needed I was assured there would be no problem.
I have cruised a number of times with many different cruise lines and have never been treated with such disregard. The way a handicapped person is treated is terrible aboard your ship. I had planned to use NCL for a cruise to the Panama Canal, needless to say, I will never travel with NCL again and would not recommend it to anyone.
I hope that this letter will help the company to address these very important issues regarding handicap necessities aboard their ship.
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Old October 14th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfcsixone@yahoo.com View Post
Where should I begin! Our trip was the 7 day Hawaiian Island Cruise through Norwegian Cruise Line with both pre & post hotel stays. The cruise was from September 13 – 20th of 2014. This trip was supposed to be the trip of a life time. My Father, is 80 years old and very handicapped and this was explained when we booked this trip. We discovered that the room initially booked would be too small for two people and a scooter so I upgraded from a regular handicapped room to a suite hoping for more room. I was told that although it was not specifically considered a handicapped room it was by all means handicapped accessible. Anyone who has traveled with a person who is wheelchair or scooter bound understands the challenges faced when traveling. I was assured that everything would be worked out great. We could get a seat riser for the toilet and a chair in the shower. It was never mentioned that there was a step to get into the toilet stall.
Day one of trip was pre-excursion hotel, Waikiki Marriot Beach Resort. Unfortunately, the room that we had booked, two double beds, for my Dad and I turned out to be a king size bed. We had to return to the desk to be told they didn't have a double room. I had to be firm that the situation would not work for a father and daughter and finally after waiting for a long time and lots of complaining, they finally found a room for us.

Once aboard the ship we had to go through a process of meeting and greeting staff, whether we wanted to or not. It was a long time for my Dad not to be able to rest and get his legs elevated. Finally into our room we found there to be none of the handicapped items I ordered when I upgraded. No seat riser, no shower chair, toilet was broken it would not flush and to add to the problem there was a step to even get into the toilet stall. Also with no handicapped button for the door it made it impossible for Dad to get in or out of the room unassisted. I was told by a staff member when I called regarding the problems that they came and tried a seat riser but it didn’t fit, oh well I will let someone know. When they finally got to the room with a seat riser, that one didn’t fit properly either, the seat would slide left to right and was very unstable.
Day two, no seat for shower and still had to get a seat riser that would fit so you didn't fall of the toilet. A maintenance man finally came to the room and I had to suggest he take the lid off the toilet in order for the riser to fit. Toilet still broken, wouldn’t flush and no shower chair. It took three days to get toilet to flush and 4 days to finally get a chair for the shower.

When I booked the excursion to the Maui Plantation & Lao Valley I was told it was a handicapped excursion. However, they would not lift the scooter onto the bus. I was told that I had to do it myself. The Justice Department stated in a suit against NCL on October 25, 2010 that “NCL will also ensure that individuals who use wheelchairs get accessible bus transportation between the airport, cruise ship and hotels, and on shore excursions.” I was very upset and asked to speak to a manger or person in charge that then finally they did find a man that offered to help me lift it onto the bus. I have broken my back and have my own disability so this was unacceptable.
The Luau Kalamaku was nice but we were told that they had no handicapped bathrooms, which I believe is illegal in the United States, please reference the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. My Dad wouldn’t eat or drink anything out of fear of an accident.

One of the main reasons for even taking this trip was so my Dad could go to the USS Arizona. The excursion we booked was also supposed to be handicapped accessible. After all of our problems with "handicapped" accommodations, I checked the USS Arizona website to find that his scooter would not be allowed at the actually memorial destination. When I booked the handicapped tour for 4 hours we found out that at the end of the tour we would not be brought to our hotel but to the airport instead when tour was over, even though we were book for a post-excursion stay at the same Marriot hotel which was part of our travel plans with NCL.
I had to contact the hotel and book my own excursion and get my own wheelchair again and get a taxi to the hotel with no assistance from NCL. Although I know NCL doesn’t control the taxi drivers, ours yelled obscenities and charged us an illegal gratuity.

The food was mediocre at best. I actually had to send food back in the main dining room. We paid for the Exclusive Dining package and although we were supposed to be priority seating (I was told that this was also included in our suite accommodations) could not get reservations when we called.
A staff member at the excursion desk was rude and of no help at all.
One of the bartenders in the Pink Lounge complained constantly that he had too many customers and had to work too hard.
Drinks are way over priced at $ 11 for a glass of wine.
The Murphy bed in our suite couldn’t be any more uncomfortable.
I was lucky to run into a gentleman standing at the main customer service desk who happened to overhear my discussion with the desk clerk that I had not received any of the handicapped equipment. Jason happened to be in charge of this service. He called his assistant and finally after 4 days we got a chair in the shower, probably because I told him I had to take one of the outside chairs and put it into the shower. If I hadn’t run into Jason I don’t know if we would have ever gotten the equipment we needed.

I believe that when I called the NCL booking agent regarding upgrading she gave me incorrect information just so I would pay the upgrade, even when I voiced my concerns about handicapped accessibility in the bathroom and all of the equipment I could get that was needed I was assured there would be no problem.
I have cruised a number of times with many different cruise lines and have never been treated with such disregard. The way a handicapped person is treated is terrible aboard your ship. I had planned to use NCL for a cruise to the Panama Canal, needless to say, I will never travel with NCL again and would not recommend it to anyone.
I hope that this letter will help the company to address these very important issues regarding handicap necessities aboard their ship.

I am really sorry you encountered the problems you had on this vacation. But I hope that your comments went to the proper people in the Corporate Office as well so that they can research the issues to see if errors were made and improvements are needed. We here really cannot do anything about your complaint. Some of the comments you made make me wonder if you perhaps had some misconception of some things and maybe did not properly research others.

I am wondering if you contacted NCL's Access Desk and filled out a Special Accomodation Request Information Form prior to your trip. It seems this could have avoided many of your problems. The reservations people at NCL and probably any cruiseline are not equipped to handle these issues.

For anyone else who is handicapped or will be cruising with a handicapped individual, please contact the Access Desk @ 866-584-9756. You will be assigned an Access Coordinator who will assist with making sure your accommodations will meet your needs. A Suite does have more room, but it is NOT a handicapped accessible cabin unless it is designated as such. Had you contacted the Access Desk, either it would quickly have been established that the cabin would meet your needs, OR, the Coordinator would have taken steps to provide the set up you needed, or get you moved to an appropriate cabin.

Upon boarding the ship, you would have been met by an assigned staff person, an Access Officer, who would have all of the information you gave to the Access Desk. This person would be your go to person for any issues which might arise during the cruise. No need to go to the front desk to complain. NCL also has centralized internal corporate resolution staff who are available by phone 24 hours daily to assist ship personnel.

Am curious about this mandatory meeting and greeting of staff you described upon boarding. I was on the ship in August and saw nothing resembling this. Perhaps you were meeting your Concierge, Butler and Room Stward since you were in a suite. That is certainly not mandatory, and could quickly have been curtailed at your request. In any case, these are 5 minute conversations, if that.

I would have to research the Terms and Conditions of the Dining Package you purchased. It may allow for some priority in "booking", but if the restaurant is fully booked at a certain hour when you call to reserve, I'm not sure it guarantees they would bump someone else at 7:00 pm to accommodate you. But, you paid for the services of a Concierge, why not let him or her take care of dining and reservation issues for you. They could probably have gotten you in very easily.

We booked our February Getaway cruise for the ship. Our POA in August was booked for the itinerary, NOT the ship. But, that said, we had no complaints on the cabin, food or staff. It is not the Four Seasons, but it is certainly adequate. It ranks in the top two of all the cruises we have done. On another cruise discussion site in September, someone posted a request for feedback on the POA. 14 positive responses thus far, negative responses zero.

If you do hear back from NCL, I hope you come here to report on the outcome. It could possibly be very helpful to others in your situation.
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Old October 15th, 2014, 02:17 AM
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First, I can only wonder why your first and only post in this forum is to complain about your cruise instead of asking questions and seeking advice before you booked this cruise.

Second, everything you stated is why you NEVER want to book directly through the cruise line and use a reputable Cruise Specialist instead.

Third, this is also why you never want to book pre-cruise and post-cruise stays with the cruise line.

Fourth, this is also why you never want to book shore excursions through the cruise line.

Now, with all that said, we've been on this ship and this itinerary. Before doing it, we did alot of research, asked alot of questions, and spoke directly with people we would be doing business with. Because of that, there were absolutely no surprises.

When doing a cruise line this, especially when traveling with someone that has limited mobility issues, it is vitally important to either do all the research yourself or to work with a Cruise Specialist who is also a Special Needs Certified agent who can insure that your needs are accommodated. When working with the cruise line, you're talking to people who are only there to sell you something and they're not educated in the problems those with mobility issues encounter.

I'm sorry you had so many problems, especially when doing a 'trip of a lifetime', but trust me when I say this is not just NCL and it's not just doing a trip to Hawaii.

Next time you're ready to do another cruise, and we hope this hasn't soured you on cruising, we hope to hear from you again with questions so you won't encounter so many unfortunate problems.

Pete
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Old October 15th, 2014, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by storybookcruises.com View Post
First, I can only wonder why your first and only post in this forum is to complain about your cruise instead of asking questions and seeking advice before you booked this cruise.

Second, everything you stated is why you NEVER want to book directly through the cruise line and use a reputable Cruise Specialist instead.

Third, this is also why you never want to book pre-cruise and post-cruise stays with the cruise line.

Fourth, this is also why you never want to book shore excursions through the cruise line.

Now, with all that said, we've been on this ship and this itinerary. Before doing it, we did alot of research, asked alot of questions, and spoke directly with people we would be doing business with. Because of that, there were absolutely no surprises.

When doing a cruise line this, especially when traveling with someone that has limited mobility issues, it is vitally important to either do all the research yourself or to work with a Cruise Specialist who is also a Special Needs Certified agent who can insure that your needs are accommodated. When working with the cruise line, you're talking to people who are only there to sell you something and they're not educated in the problems those with mobility issues encounter.

I'm sorry you had so many problems, especially when doing a 'trip of a lifetime', but trust me when I say this is not just NCL and it's not just doing a trip to Hawaii.

Next time you're ready to do another cruise, and we hope this hasn't soured you on cruising, we hope to hear from you again with questions so you won't encounter so many unfortunate problems.

Pete
M


Interesting info, Pete, about there being Cruise Specialists who are Special Needs Certified. Never having any concerns in that area, I was totally unaware.

But, I wonder how many of these are available and how easy it is to locate one. Does every Agency specializing in cruises have one? It seems there perhaps is a general lack of public awareness, even by those who are handicapped and their families, that things such as Special Needs Certified TAs exist, or Cruise Line Access Departments set up within the cruise line itself to prevent problems like the one this cruiser had.

There is really too much at stake to just assume that needs will be met. But, you really can't blame the cruiser for being unaware and making this assumption. Maybe these services need to be more advertised by TAs and cruise lines. If I were not a cruise obsessed person who looks at the cruise discussion boards daily, there are numerous things such as this that I would have no knowledge of.
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Old October 15th, 2014, 02:00 PM
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Here's a good place to start;

SNG Certified Accessible Travel Advocate - SPECIAL NEEDS GROUP/SPECIAL NEEDS AT SEA

Any agent that is listed has spent the time to do the courses and learn how to assist special needs travelers.

And FYI, Royal Caribbean is the first, and so far only, cruise line that has been certified by Special Needs at Sea for being certified.

All it takes is a little research ahead of time to help make anyone's cruise so much more enjoyable and less hassle. Unfortunately, many many people just call the cruise line to book their cruise and then find out too late that was the wrong thing to do.

There was an article years ago that provided the results of a research study that found when calling the cruise line or these large online sites that the people you're talking to; 1) work in a call center, 2) have worked there for less than 6 months, 3) are not certified travel agents or Cruise Specialists, and 4) have never been on a cruise or to any of the ports. In other words, their job is to sell you something. They don't know anything about what they're selling, they don't even check your cabin location so they can't tell you it's under a noisy area, in the front of the ship where it could be rough, or next to an elevator, because, quite frankly, they don't care.

If you want personalize service, you have to seek out those who take their job seriously enough and care enough about their clients enough. It's like hiring anyone else to do business with - you have to feel comfortable with them and know they're looking after your best interest.

I just feel sorry for people like this who call the cruise line, book a cruise, have no idea what they're doing, and then the only time we see them in forums like this is to complain about the outcome because they didn't spend anytime whatsoever doing the research ahead of time and want to blame it on everyone else.

Pete
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Old October 20th, 2014, 06:25 PM
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Default ditto!

we were on the same ship several years ago: omg it was soooo awful! we had so many serious complaints ncl offered us a free cruise! we declined!
this had been our third ncl cruise and was even worse than the previous two!
hree strikes and you are out!
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Old October 20th, 2014, 07:47 PM
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we were on the same ship several years ago: omg it was soooo awful! we had so many serious complaints ncl offered us a free cruise! we declined!
this had been our third ncl cruise and was even worse than the previous two!
hree strikes and you are out!
You can find someone who has had a disastrous experience with every cruise line, every ship, every hotel, every airline, every restaurant, etc., etc, etc.

Without details, your statement is worthless to anyone else. It does not mean that others did have or will have the same experience. Indeed, they could have been on the exact same ship and sailing, and have been very pleased. There are some cruise lines that are not my cup of tea, but even those are not all bad. Each has pros and cons that can be discussed and then individuals can make up their own minds based on what they want from a cruise.

I was recently on the POA. From what I gather, many things have changed for the better over the past few years. We have cruised on six of the mainstream lines, most more than once, some several times. We enjoyed each of them, some much more than others. The POA was pretty much in line with what we experienced on all the others.
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Old October 21st, 2014, 12:39 AM
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You can find someone who has had a disastrous experience with every cruise line, every ship, every hotel, every airline, every restaurant, etc., etc, etc.

Without details, your statement is worthless to anyone else. It does not mean that others did have or will have the same experience. Indeed, they could have been on the exact same ship and sailing, and have been very pleased. There are some cruise lines that are not my cup of tea, but even those are not all bad. Each has pros and cons that can be discussed and then individuals can make up their own minds based on what they want from a cruise.

I was recently on the POA. From what I gather, many things have changed for the better over the past few years. We have cruised on six of the mainstream lines, most more than once, some several times. We enjoyed each of them, some much more than others. The POA was pretty much in line with what we experienced on all the others.
I agree wholeheartedly!!

The POA is a very good example of how things can change over time. When they first started cruising Hawaii, there were many complaints! Most of the complaints were caused by the fact they were required, by law, to hire an all-American crew. The services provided were not what people have become accustomed to when doing other cruises. Many of the crew were disillusioned by the thought of working on a cruise ship touring around the Hawaiian islands and were literally jumping ship. This left NCL-America in dire straits. They filed a special exception from the law with Congress and it was granted, so they were allowed to fulfill 40% of the staff with foreign workers. Because of this, things improved and passengers were happier.

We received many complaints from our clients prior to that move. Afterwards, the reviews improved. That's when we went on the POA and can testify from personal experience as to what it was like.

I will admit I'm not a big fan of NCL (just not my personal taste), but I have many clients who absolutely love them. But the POA was a very nice experience as for the cleanliness, attentiveness of the staff, and the service. The food wasn't all that great, but everything else was fine and if we had the opportunity, we'd do it again. I also definitely suggest the POA as a great way to see the Hawaiian islands given the other options available.

And, as I stated in my initial post in response to the original poster, they only came on here to complain and we've not heard anything from them again. Speaks volumes about their motive.

Pete
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Old October 21st, 2014, 06:50 PM
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I agree wholeheartedly!!

The POA is a very good example of how things can change over time. When they first started cruising Hawaii, there were many complaints! Most of the complaints were caused by the fact they were required, by law, to hire an all-American crew. The services provided were not what people have become accustomed to when doing other cruises. Many of the crew were disillusioned by the thought of working on a cruise ship touring around the Hawaiian islands and were literally jumping ship. This left NCL-America in dire straits. They filed a special exception from the law with Congress and it was granted, so they were allowed to fulfill 40% of the staff with foreign workers. Because of this, things improved and passengers were happier.

We received many complaints from our clients prior to that move. Afterwards, the reviews improved. That's when we went on the POA and can testify from personal experience as to what it was like.

I will admit I'm not a big fan of NCL (just not my personal taste), but I have many clients who absolutely love them. But the POA was a very nice experience as for the cleanliness, attentiveness of the staff, and the service. The food wasn't all that great, but everything else was fine and if we had the opportunity, we'd do it again. I also definitely suggest the POA as a great way to see the Hawaiian islands given the other options available.

And, as I stated in my initial post in response to the original poster, they only came on here to complain and we've not heard anything from them again. Speaks volumes about their motive.

Pete
I'd say if someone did not like NCL, and there was another option for touring the islands that was comparable to this itinerary, then go for it! But the fact is, NO other cruise line has a comparable itinerary, because no one else wants to go thorough the process of being US flagged and the associated expense and regulations that entails. This itinerary gives you more touring time in the islands than any other. Heck, if it were no better than a Motel 6, I'd still do it. Luckily, it is far better than that. NCL has greatly improved their MDR meals of late. As good as anything I remember having on any other line. We usually spend a $150 or so extra for 2 or 3 nights in a specialty, which are excellent quality, and are very happy. You barely have any time to enjoy the ship on this itinerary as it is due to long touring days and overnights in port, dinners ashore, etc. We were too tired for any shows. Fell into bed after dinner! No one should be afraid to take this cruise. Just understand that it is Hawaii, not a typical Caribbean cruise with 3 sea days. You are there to see Hawaii.
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Old October 21st, 2014, 09:12 PM
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The food on our other NCL trips were better than this one, even the specialty restaurants were a disappointment. We had dinner with the Hotel Director in the steakhouse and were very disappointed. Had a 90 minute conversation with the chef who happened to be in the same bar in port. Everything is pre-packaged, frozen, heat-n-eat stuff without any flavor because he said he's nothing more than a cook and is not allowed to use his skills to make it better.

But we rented a car in every port, so we did our own thing and always managed to find some awesome local place for lunch.

Pete
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Old October 24th, 2014, 03:51 PM
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The food on our other NCL trips were better than this one, even the specialty restaurants were a disappointment. We had dinner with the Hotel Director in the steakhouse and were very disappointed. Had a 90 minute conversation with the chef who happened to be in the same bar in port. Everything is pre-packaged, frozen, heat-n-eat stuff without any flavor because he said he's nothing more than a cook and is not allowed to use his skills to make it better.

But we rentede just a car in every port, so we did our own thing and always managed to find some awesome local place for lunch.

Pete
I don't know why the POA's food would differ from the rest of the fleet, unless it is because of supply expense issues that ships departing from the east or west coasts of the US would not have, or maybe just management issues on a particular ship. We ate at Cagney's, Le Bistro and Moderno. We thought the meat quality was very good, no different than the Getaway or Epic. The meats at Moderno were actually better than I recall on the Getaway. Usually a little dry for me. Meat quality has greatly improved in the specialties over the past few months. The filet I had on the Getaway was one of the best I've had anywhere, and the $30 up charge is quite reasonable IMO. ( and yes, I am comparing it to a fine land restaurant, not a chain. We had dinner in Maui at Mama's Fish House and we probably spent $200+. Fantastic atmosphere and the food was great, but was it worth $200? I'm not sure.
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Old October 24th, 2014, 07:42 PM
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But the POA is an entirely different situation. It's based out of Honolulu and only visits the Hawaiian islands. It does not travel to/from the West Coast, so it has to get all of its supplies from local Hawaiian sources, which are shipped in or flown in from places at least 3000 miles away. Whereas those NCL ships based out of other American ports don't have the same problems.

Since we had rented a car in each port, I took my laptop with me and we would always find a bar somewhere that offered free WiFi. Such was the case in one port where we ordered a couple of beers and sat down to check our email. There was a gentleman sitting close to us doing the same thing and we struck up a conversation. I asked him if he was on the ship and he said he was, then told me he worked on it. I asked what he did and he was one of the head chefs. Needless to say, when I have the attention of someone like that, I'm going to ask alot of questions! We talked for about 90 minutes and I learned alot. But the main problem he had was that he was a trained chef, yet on this ship, all he could do was be a cook. In his words, Chef's create, cooks simply heat up the food. He said he could not add anything that would give the food more flavor and that with the exception of things like lettuce, just about everything was received frozen. It was all pre-packaged, pre-prepared, heat-n-eat.

Anyone who has had a frozen steak knows it will never have the flavor or a fresh steak. Thus was the case on this ship. Not much they can do about that - it's just a fact of logistics and economics.

But food aside, I would definitely suggest doing this ship because of the itinerary. They spend more time in more ports than any of the cruises from/to the West Coast. Plus, as was stated, you don't have to spend alot of extra days at sea, unless of course that's something you enjoy. It's just too bad that those cruise ships doing a one-way or roundtrip to/from Hawaii and the West Coast don't spend more time in more ports because that would definitely get my attention! I love days at sea and I really love Celebrity and Holland America - wish they would modify their itineraries because they just don't spend enough time or visit enough ports to make up for the many days at sea.

Pete
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