Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Majesty
Sailing Date: September 7th, 2003
Itinerary: Bermuda/New England - Canada
Due to Hurricane Fabian hitting Bermuda, NCL changed their itinerary from sailing to Bermuda for four days, to visiting five ports in Canada/New England. In the condition Bermuda was in, we were grateful that NCL did not attempt to take us there. However, the majority of the passengers aboard were looking forward to getting away and spending a few days in one port, not constantly jumping port to port and being on the ship for the entire week. NCL should have cancelled the trip entirely.
Having shifted itinerary, the staff and the crew were not prepared to handle the constant needs of the passengers for seven straight days. They had been accustomed to having the majority of passengers getting off in Bermuda and partaking in the island, not staying on the ship for all meals and amenities. When it came to having to tender off the ship (they brought us to ports that could not handle docking a large ship), the tendering process took hours (80 passengers at a time) and many passengers could not get ashore. The first tender out dropped their motor and had to wait to be pulled ashore. The Majesty staff was not prepared for the itinerary change or the needs associated with it.
Many of the ports we visited were only a short drive away from where many passengers lived. NCL does not know their passengers. The first port of call was Sydney, Nova Scotia. A tiny village at the tip of Cape Breton. There was a 38 degree temperature between Bermuda and Sydney - not exactly the tropical vacation we were looking for. Having several hours ashore, there was nothing for us to do. The NCL Port Consultant had no information on the port, could not provide maps or suggestions. The people of the port were genuinely nice and accommodating to our inquiries.
We then cruised into Halifax, Nova Scotia. Ideally, this is where the ship should have gone for the four days. This is a destination we would gladly return to. However, because the crew and captain were not familiar with the waters and harbor, we arrived late into every port. We only had a few hours before being rushed back on the ship to go the next port. Other ports included St. John, New Brunswick - Bar Harbor, Maine and Newport, RI. All ports that we could have driven to. Shore excursions were not a viable option due to time constraints.
Due to the poor attitude of the staff and the high prices paid for the cruise, passengers complained and NCL was forced to rebate each passenger $50 in port fees (Bermuda costs a lot more in fees than these five ports combined).
There was nothing spectacular about this ship at all. We could not use the pool or hot tub (way too cold & windy). The staff was pushed to the limit and were rather cranky. The food was average to fair. The entertainment was lackluster. Those passengers who had never cruised before did find this cruise okay, for those who had taken cruises before were very disappointed in the overall ship and services.
To be fair, had we only used to the ship when in port - coming and going as we pleased, it would have been satisfactory. However, to be forced to stay on the ship for seven days and tolerate mediocrity, it grew thin. Moldy shower curtain that took four days to have replaced, no hot water in the shower for the entire cruise, and a constant sewage stench on the third deck. The front office staff was not efficient and was overwhelmed with the constant complaints and problems.
We were told there were 668 staff and crew aboard the ship. There were exactly five staff & crewmembers that went out of their way to make our stay pleasurable. That is sad, 1.34% of the entire staff & crew were nice.
The NCL Freestyle Dining has its pros and cons. Being able to dine at anytime when the dining rooms were open did provide flexibility, however it did not give you a chance to really talk and have conversations with fellow passengers. Fixed time dining on a cruise like this would have been preferred. Had we been in a port for four days straight, and then the freestyle would have worked best.
Had it not been for some of the fellow passengers we met, this ship would have been intolerable. A cruise on the Majesty would not be an enjoyable one. For this wishing to sail to New England/Canada, do it on another cruise line and certainly not on the Majesty. We look forward to taking another cruise soon, but not on NCL.