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wendi davison

Age: 42

Occupation:self employed

Number of Cruises: 15

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Pearl

Sailing Date: 2011-12-4

Itinerary: caribbean

I have been on over a dozen cruises, on various ships throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. The worst experience, by far, was the cruise I departed from yesterday. We sailed on the Norwegian Pearl, and were unimpressed with almost everything - clearly spoiled by other lines (Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival). So, my recommendation is: Do not sail with NCL unless:

(1) you plan on eating in the cover charge restaurants for every meal (the food included w/the cruise was mediocre at best); (2) you enjoy standing in a small hallway for an hour waiting to disembark to port, with no instruction/information as to delays; (3) you enjoy a "private island" experience, which simply means you are on the NCL on the sand (NCL owns a man-made "island" in the Bahamas); and, (4) you don't have any complaints about anything. We quickly learned that NCL is not interested in feedback. There were many problems with our experience: rude staff, bad food, cold food, inconsistent information and service, etc., however, we only made one official complaint. We ordered wine at the Summer Palace (one of the "free" dining rooms - not recommended). It was a 2007 New Zealand chardonnay (not expensive) that was well past due. We've never returned wine before, but after one small sip, it was obvious that it was not drinkable - even the color was off. We asked for the sommelier to come over, taste the wine, and let us know what he thought. The (rude) server brought him over to the table. He refused to smell or drink the wine, even though we asked him directly to do so. He said, "if you don't like it, we'll take it off your bill." This was not the point - the wine should not be served to anyone; it should have been taken off the menu. The (also rude) sommelier blew us off, wouldn't discuss our concern, and left the table quickly. We continued to receive poor service from the (still rude) server, and couldn't wait to leave. I should note that we did buy another (twice the cost) bottle of wine, so it was not an issue of cost. We just wanted a quality product. Anyway, I went to the Guest Services desk the next day to discuss this incident. I was told that all of the dining managers were in a meeting, but that she would give them my message. She said that the "appropriate action would be taken." I don't know what this means, but basically, we were blown off again. I've never dealt with such poor customer service that was only made worse by the complete lack of interest in feedback. I've worked in customer service all of my life, and currently own an Inn - if we treated customers like this, we would be out of business.

Really poor quality. The restaurants that charged a cover were pretty good, although the menus were the same every night. This caused a little bit of an issue because the non-pay options were so bad that we had to eat in the cover restaurants every night. The reservation system was easy, and making changes was effortless. There was also a dining board, which always tracked how busy each restaurant was - this was helpful. The service in the cover restaurants was superior to the general dining rooms.

The stateroom was spacious, and the balcony was great - so nice to wake up to sunshine/blue skies every day. There was plenty of storage space, and the shower was surprisingly comfortable. The cabin service (cleaning, turn-down, etc.) was exceptional.

Lots of options, sometimes too many all at the same time. The crowds seemed to move from one event to another (particularly in the evening). I would have appreciated more interesting activities on sea days.

The descriptions were pretty accurate - unfortunately weather caused cancellation of most excursions during our trip. It may be helpful to allow multiple excursion bookings, in the event that some get cancelled. Three of the water related bookings we made were cancelled, and then it was too late to book a land excursion - we ended up back on the ship for the whole day.

We will definitely cruise again, but absolutely NOT on NCL. I think they must have a particular demographic or style of cruiser that we simply don't fit into. The "freestyle" cruising seems to mean "sloppy" and too laid back for us.

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