Number of Cruises: 9
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Crown
Sailing Date: June 6th, 2004
I would like to preface this by saying that the Voyage was to have been a very special one for me. I had planned and booked months in advance of the sailing. The brochures on the Freestyle Cruising and pictures of the ship all seemed very promising. But most important, I got engaged on this voyage and wanted all of our memories to be the best that they could be. However, when I speak about the trip I now say that I had a great time in Bermuda but would not recommend the ship to anyone. Having made the same trip on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean I expected the same quality of service with NCL. The following recaps some of the issues I had on this trip:
· When our Driver approached the pier he asked if the NCL Dawn was our ship. We all agreed that she was a beautiful vessel. When we approached the Crown, I was embarrassed. The name on the ship was spotted with a red rust preventative, some of the letters were totally covered with a gray primer and others were scattered with blue, white and red paint. It looked as if it was a war torn battle ship! I understand that routine maintenance is an ongoing process, but take pride in finishing her name! We were constantly reminded of “wet paint” throughout the outer decks.
· Upon boarding, I was impressed with the size of our Mini Suite. I had purchased an Anniversary package (Item #504) and an adult soda package. Each cabin had a person celebrating a birthday. All of this was confirmed prior to sailing. However, the sparkling wine and the strawberries were to have been in my stateroom for embarkation. I wanted to toast the Statue of Liberty and the beginning of our Vacation. Well, the berries and champagne were in the room but it was not on ice and we did not have any glasses. I called the concierge and requested ice and glasses. A return call was made the following day to me. In the interim I contacted room service and was told that they were very busy and would get to me after we were at sea. This totally ruined my embarkation plans and photos.
· When I went to a bar to inquire about the adult soda package, I was told that I should have a receipt or paper confirming what I had ordered. I had called NCL and paid for it well before we boarded and received no documents. Only their verbal confirmation. So, as instructed, I returned to my room to check for papers or instructions. went back to the bar and he told me to go to the front desk. I went to the front desk and was given some paperwork that I had to bring back to the bar for issuance of a sticker on the cruise card. This all seems to a lot of work for something that was prearranged. We were told in the dining rooms that we should have received additional paperwork for the Birthdays. We never received this either!
· I also confirmed with NCL that we had our Latitude number associated with our booking. I was told it was. But when walking to our room we noticed a lot of cabins had a latitudes letter inviting them to an event with the Captain. When we called the desk we were told to come down for our pins and a copy of the letter. We did that and had another problem with not receiving a second letter. Once again we went to the desk to straighten it out. It was only when Sherry (Lattitudes Rep) got involved that I felt confident. I’m still not sure if it really was corrected.
· The Anniversary package came with a photograph. We were told that the free picture was only the one we took with the Captain. We really didn’t like the picture because the Captain looked away from the camera to a point 90 degrees to the right. When I turned to see what he was looking at, the photographer took the picture. The Captain said all of the flashes bothered his eyes. We reluctantly took the picture home. This policy was not stated anywhere and we would have preferred to have received a different picture. We threw the picture out.
· The romantic dinner for two in Le Bistro (Also included in the package) did not go smoothly either. I had made reservations for dinner at 7:00 PM Thursday (6/10). Due to transportation issues on the island (2 buses rode past us because they were filled), I had to take a taxi to Hamilton and ferry to the ship. I was 20 minutes late so I immediately went to the restaurant and told them I could not get dressed in time. They agreed to cancel the reservation and asked if I wanted to reschedule for Saturday. I said I had to check with my fiancée for a time and was told that there were a lot of openings. So I went back to the room and immediately called the concierge about scheduling dinner for 7:00 PM Saturday. She said she would call me in the morning to confirm. I never received a call and went to the lobby to check the status of my reservation, after lunch. I was told to come back later. I returned late afternoon. It was then that I was told I was on a waiting list! She said to check back on Saturday. I went back and was told to check back after lunch! After I said I thought she was a little lax in scheduling and that had probably been the reason I was on a waiting list, she called me back in an hour with a cancellation that I could have. She then told me it would cost fifteen dollars per person cover to eat there. I repeated several times, that I had a dinner and bottle of wine with the anniversary package. She was very confused and had to call me back to confirm this. Apparently, someone told her there was no additional charge and she called me back. I question her knowledge of operations and ability to effectively serve as concierge. I had asked why I didn’t receive a call back on the champagne and reservation issues. They told me that they did call and I wasn’t in my room! Perhaps a note on the door would have worked better than the apparent lack of follow up. The dinner at Le Bistro was the best meal I had on the ship!
· Speaking of meals, the voucher program for $25 Lunch credit is a little misleading. I thought I would receive a credit for $25 on my bill. We had met a local resident acquaintance for Lunch at the Pickled Onion Restaurant and Bar. After we reviewed the menu and said we had the vouchers, the waitress took our 4 menus and replaced them with a very trimmed down burger, fries, chicken nugget type menu. She said we could not order from the main menu. So our guest ordered from the regular menu and we settled for burgers fries and a coke! Aside from being embarrassed, in front of our Guest (whose Husband is a political officer), we were surprised with the policy that seemed to be prevalent in some of the affiliated establishments.
· I also must say that I have never been exposed to a serving staff that had no idea of what they were serving! During the cocktail hours or any other time the crew came around with trays of food, when asked what something was – NOBODY knew. This was a common occurrence. There was not one waiter that was aware of what they were serving. They said they just take the trays and pass them out. Now, what happens if a person is allergic to something that is prepared in a way as to not be obvious, and someone eats it? I mean they had no clue!
· While on board, we went to the shows. I must say that watching 2 jugglers refine their act and the 2 singers from the Jean Ann Ryan group perform… it was reminiscent of a High School Production. The Comic tried hard and was OK. Overall, I was not impressed with the productions that were presented to us. Having seen some really good shows / productions on the other lines, this was truly a letdown.
· The ping-pong tournament was scheduled for a sea day… Is that a good idea with the wind? It was canceled. We had brought ping-pong balls with us because they are sometimes a scarce commodity. The crew never set up the table, despite our requests. In fact, the single sheet that included a weeks worth of recommended activities listed 3 tournaments and only one of them appeared in the Freestyle Daily. That was the one while we were at sea! AM and PM Trivia games, talks on arthritis, ring toss, darts (they couldn’t find).. Not too impressive· OK, here’s one of my major issues. We were engaged on Wednesday at a moongate in Hamilton. A local jeweler presented us with a gold moongate lapel pin. My Fiancée wore this daily and took it off for the formal Friday dinner. We both agreed that it might damage her dress. The pin was put in the ashtray on the desk along with Chap Stick and a paper clip. When we looked for the pin on Saturday, it was not there. The other items were there but the pin was missing. We asked our Room Steward and he said he didn’t see it. But he couldn’t look us in the eye afterwards. We tore the room apart on Saturday and did not find the pin. It didn’t take long because we travel with everything neatly stowed away. When we were talking to another couple on the floor, they said the wife was also missing a pair of gold hoop earrings. So, we both called the reception desk and were told that Security would call us. When they called the other couple, the wife said she had found the earrings. We later found out that she said this because she didn’t want her Husband to know that they were still missing! When I received a return call, they said that it was too late for them to do anything because we had packed and they would have rechecked our room. I had a flashlight and searched everywhere! My Fiancée checked all of her bags and clothes multiple times. I checked all around and behind the desk, and never found her Pin. If this pin had not meant that much to her she may not have paid as close of attention as she did. In retrospect, we should have placed it in the safe. But you just don’t think that someone would stoop that low. And I had been giving him additional tips throughout the journey! I have filled out an incident report but seriously doubt that anything is being done. Perhaps a search of the room steward’s room might uncover some items that he would have a hard time explaining.
· We arrive in New York. The PA system does not work in our room, or anyone else’s on our floor. People had to leave their stateroom doors open to hear the announcements. After releasing the VIP’s, Special needs, group passengers etc, they started to call the floors. Being a latitude member in a mini suite meant that we were called next to last? They started releasing people from the lower floors on upwards. I though one of the benefits of a nicer room and latitude membership might have been an earlier departure from the ship. Wrong again.
· Waiting in our room got a little old. So, we went to the Yacht Club to wait. After watching most of the others depart, we just sat with a few others, and watched the crew clean up! Someone remarked that they saw a bug jump from the end of the buffet line. I said it was a raisin from the cereal and left to see how much longer we had to wait. Upon my return people were talking about the roach that one of the crew had stepped on after his attention was called to it. He apparently showed a kitchen aid and the others around us. It’s bound to happen when you move so much food, but it was the proverbial “icing on the cake” for us.
I have spoken to 4 other groups that have cruised to Bermuda, on different lines. I let them read this and they were appalled. They have nothing but accolades about their ships and were quite sympathetic about my experience.
I know not all of NCL's vessels warrant such harsh criticism, but this one surely did.