Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Pride of Aloha
Sailing Date: August 29th, 2004
September 14 2004
Norwegian Cruise lines
7665 Corporate Center Dr.
Miami, FL 33126
Attn.: Customer Relations Coordinator
Re: The Pride of Aloha Cruise line
To whom it may concern,
My husband and I have always wanted to visit the Hawaiian Islands. When we finally decided to plan our trip we opted for a cruise which we thought would be easier than taking planes to the various islands, especially with my husbands condition. We booked on the Pride of Aloha embarking on August 29 at the Honolulu Port in Hawaii. Generally cruises are less stressful and relaxing. We were wrong. With all the standing, waiting in line and stress, this trip turned out to be very detrimental as my husband ended up in the hospital in Hilo and Maui. Below is a list of the issues we had:
1. Boarding: Included in the Cruise information packet, it stated that the time of boarding was 1pm and therefore guests would have plenty of time to unpack, relax and have dinner before setting sail that evening. When we arrived on Sunday August 29th at 12:30pm. there was an enormous line and we were told to go shop or have lunch until they got those people on board. When we arrived back we still stood in a 4 hour line before finally boarding. After boarding and getting to our room we waited until 8pm for our luggage and when it did arrive, it was the wrong luggage. When we told the attendant that the luggage was not ours he replied " What should I do with this luggage". Customer service was obviously not a priority on this ship.
2. Dining: Included in our Cruise information packet, the dining was called "Free Style Dining". Their definition was open seating dining in a variety of restaurants and cafes with individual menus. That was the farthest from the truth. It was basically cafeteria style dining, with limited seating. Every time we went for breakfast, lunch and dinner there was a long line at least a ½ hour wait but usually more. The food was marginal at best and always the same and almost always they ran out of items. After getting it on a tray, we would search for up to 10 minutes for two seats together and at that point the food was cold and we were extremely frustrated.
3. Convention: When we arrived to board the ship we found out later that the extremely long line at 12:30pm (before boarding time) was a convention of 800 people. That was something that was never disclosed to us at the time of booking and if it was, we would have chose different dates as we are retired and we are flexible. The ships crew catered to the convention guests which made it even worse for everyone else on the ship.
3. Tours: We had booked several tours with the cruise beforehand. Due to what happened to my husband we were only able to take one of those tours. The tour was very unorganized. We stood in line to board the bus for at least 45 minutes and coming back we stood in another 45 minute line to board the boat.
4. Medical: On Wednesday afternoon my husband was in a great deal of pain and I took him to the ship Doctor. He took one look at his leg (which was the area of concern) and told us to take a taxi and go to the hospital. My husband could not put any pressure on his leg therefore deterring him from walking, but the ship doctor never ordered a wheelchair but did charge us $52.00 for the office visit. Before we left for the hospital I asked him about getting back on board he replied " we are sailing at 6pm if you aren't here we sail without you". At that point I hailed a taxi and went to the hospital. We were there until 10pm. I then had to get a hotel as we obviously had missed the ship. The next morning I called the ship to ask how do we get from Hilo to Kona. And I was told "that it is your responsibility". So we had to rent a car and drive over 2 hours to Kona so we could catch up to the ship. We never arrived to the ship until 4pm. Thursday night.
It felt as if it they did not care if we made it back or not and they had absolutely had no interest in how my husband was either. Everything seemed to be a huge inconvenience to them. This behavior is so unlike any other cruise line we had ever been on.
5. Customer Service: On Friday morning the ship arrived in Maui. My husband was extremely uncomfortable and we needed to get back to the hospital. We called the medical center on the ship and asked for a wheelchair to take him off the ship. It took 40 minutes for them to arrive and when they arrived at the front door they did not have a wheelchair. They then had to go back down to the medic center and get a chair which took another 15 minutes. I took him to Maui Memorial hospital where they admitted him with a severe infection in his leg due to standing in lines and all of the stress that came along with it. I went back for my luggage on Saturday morning and asked if they could help me and they said they were only able to take the luggage (4 bags) out to the pier and then I was on my own.
During the few days we did spend on the ship I attempted to complain to the front desk but to do so meant standing in long (up to 40 minutes) lines making it yet another stressful situation.
I ended up spending 8 days in Maui as my husband was in Maui Memorial Hospital for 7 of those days. We technically were only on the ship for Monday, Tuesday and a ½ a day on Wednesday and Thursday (we did not arrive back until 4pm) and we left the very next morning.
Our lifetime trip to Hawaii became a total disaster. It was extremely stressful so much that it put my husband in the hospital. I fully expect to be compensated for the pain and suffering of this horrendous trip. If I do not hear back from you I will be forced to forward this letter to the Consumer protection agency as well as all the major news channels and 60 minutes, 20/20 and Dateline. No one should ever have to go through this on their vacation. Look forward to a response.