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Robert Long

Age: 46

Occupation:Payroll clerk

Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norway

Sailing Date: January 19th, 2003

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

When I wrote this, I should have been on NCL’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay. Thanks to their ineptitude, I was not.

For a brief history of this total fiasco, I had booked on Dec. 17th, to be a passenger aboard the S/S Norway on January 19 – 26, 2003. (Booking number 2026561) One week later, I received a phone call stating they had given me the wrong price and they would not honor it even after I had fully paid for it. I was also informed I would not see a credit on my Visa for two billing cycles. On January 6, 2003, I received another phone call saying they had changed their minds and would honour their mistake thereby giving me my original reservation of a penthouse suite (K085), return airfare from Vancouver and single accommodation. (New booking number 2063891

So, it comes up to last Saturday January 18, 2003, and I fly down to Miami on Air Canada flight number 938. We were met at the airport by NCL’s representative and taken to the Sheraton at Biscayne Bay. The representative did not know what time the bus would be picking us up the next day to take us to our cruise. When I checked in, I asked the clerk at the Sheraton when the bus would pick us up, he said he had no information, but usually cruise lines come between 9 and 11 a.m.

The next morning, I got up 8:00 a.m. to go for a light breakfast – thinking I would eat better when I got on the ship. I had only two pieces of toast and tea. I went back to my room (#409) and grabbed my suitcase and checked out at 8:45 a.m. I again asked a gentleman at the desk when would NCL be by to pick up their passengers. He said, “Oh, they never tell us!” He was a person who appeared to be in a managerial position, as he was behind the desk, in the lobby conferring with other staff, and seemed to be directing things. If anyone should know, he should. This astounded me. I am now sitting in the lobby from 8:45 a.m. I had my suitcase beside me, and my ticket wallet in my hand (which was given to me on an NCL latitudes cruise in 1999). In that wallet was: passport
Birth certificate
Driver’s license
B.C. Care Card (medical card)
Visa card
Aeroplan card
Latitudes card
Cruise tickets
Return airline tickets
$800 U.S., $40 Cdn

I did not have the above items packed in my suitcase, which all travel professionals tell you not to do. I would have been better off if they were in my suitcase. As I’m sitting there for hours, I see other people coming down and asking when NCL would pick us up. No-one had any answers. It was a big mystery (I didn’t realize this was a mystery cruise!).

Carnival Cruise Lines had a table set up where they were registering people. I understand this is done when there are many passengers to process at a hotel. They also came through the lobby with a sign in their hand asking people if they were on that cruise. Those people are lucky. They have a cruise line that thinks about their passengers BEFORE they board the ship. I am hearing other passengers wondering where NCL is, but again, no-one seems to know. I know of at least 4 groups of NCL passengers who decided to take a taxi to the pier to board the ship, spending their own money, since it was getting late (12:30 – and still no word from NCL). I should have joined them, stupid me.

I was still sitting in the lobby, getting more tired as the wait drags on. Not much sleep the day before I flew to Miami, (too excited about going on my once-in-a-lifetime cruise ----me in a penthouse!), the time difference, and getting up way too early because NCL chooses to keep their pickup time a secret.

It’s now 1:00 p.m. still no bus to pick up the passengers. I look down and realize I don’t have my ticket wallet!!!!! I was frantic. I blame NCL 100% for this. I have the hotel concierge and security helping me to look everywhere, nowhere to be found (just like your bus)(you can probably tell this still makes me angry as I’m forced to write this). The concierge calls a number he has for NCL, and then after about 40 minutes on hold, I finally get to talk to the reservations supervisor (her name has slipped my mind). I tell the agent my story, and she says I can still come on board since I am on the manifest. I ask even without identification and passport, she says no, since immigration won’t let me through.

Then I have to contact Visa. I am still in the lobby on the phone, and I say to the concierge that the bus still hadn’t come by. He said they came at 1:30. SURPRISE!!!!! I was right there by the front doors and no-one came in to gather up the passengers! I couldn’t believe it. What a way to run a hospitality industry.

At this point I am a nobody – no i.d., no money, no credit card – nothing!!!! Thank you NCL!!!

I was finally able to arrange a cash advance. I had to drag my suitcase 14 blocks to find a place, (I won’t go into details about how that came about), then 14 blocks back. I grabbed a pop and chips as soon as I had some money, which was about 4:30 p.m. – I was hungry.

I then had to drag it around to find a cheap hotel to stay at. I then had to go to the Canadian Consulate the next morning and get a letter from them allowing me to go back home. I had to arrange a flight right there at the consulate, because that was going to be part of the letter stating my itinerary to go back home. After 40 minutes (after being transferred umpteen times) I was able to get a flight. I then had to fork out $25 to get a taxi to the airport. I had problems at the airport they wanted a credit card, or charge me $1100 to get home!!!!! Thanks again, NCL!!!

I was finally able to get it sorted out and had to pay $234.75 for the ticket.

I am now at home, and have not left my apartment all week. I lay the full blame on NCL for my robbery and misery and emotional distress.

This whole trip seemed to be doomed from the start. I feel like my only purpose in all this was to point out the shortcomings of NCL, first, with the reservations and pricing systems and then with their total lack of communication to the passengers-----who pay the bills!!. Without having any fun at all.

Again, I blame NCL 100% for my loss of a once-in-a-lifetime cruise, and the theft of my identification, tickets and money. I now have to shell out $85 for a new passport (which I had just picked up 2 weeks prior), $17 for a driver’s and $35 for a birth certificate! Who gets stuck with all this??? Me!!! Nothing like dangling a nice trip in front of you, snatch it away, and kick me when I’m down wanting more money, money, money!!!!

If they would have told passengers when they will be picked up, I would have stayed in my room until check-out time of 11:00 a.m., not have been as tired, and would know when to look for the bus. I would not have had my ticket wallet stolen. I know this for a fact. I would not have been put through all this extra stress (which is why I wanted the cruise in the first place, to relieve some) and trauma and the emotional scars this has put me through. I wasted a week of my holiday time because of NCL.

I hope you learn of lesson from this. Unfortunately, I end up paying the price for your total lack of customer care and total negligence. I paid for a cruise which I was not able to take. What a waste of my money. After endless phone calls, emails etc, I was able to get a full refund……..which I had to fight for, as they did not want to give me a full refund.

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