Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Pride of Aloha
Sailing Date: August 15th, 2004
This is a copy of a letter that i sent to NCL which details our cruising experience.
August 30, 2004
Norwegian Cruise Line
7665 Corporate Center Drive
Miami, Florida 33126
Attn: Customer Relations Coordinator
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to you following the experience that I had on the Price of Aloha between the dates of August 15, 2004 and August 22, 2004. I booked this cruise back in December of 2003, when my fiancé (at that time) and I were looking into our honeymoon. Back at that time, we were told that this would be a new cruise, but it would be in its seventh week, and all the “kinks” would be worked out. We were told that this would be a new style of cruising, called “freestyle cruising” and that it would be a much different style of cruising. Wow, was it ever a new style of cruising.
I am seriously disturbed by what my wife and I encountered onboard the Pride of Aloha. The first morning, we went down for breakfast at the buffet. Well, when we went to the normal buffet, it was closed at 9:00 and it was supposed to be open till 9:30. We went out back to the rear buffet, and were we in for a surprise, it was utterly disgusting. The scrambled eggs, if you say that was what they were, were cold and runny. The hash browns were cold and in some places, uncooked. There was no toast or English muffins as they had not replaced them after they were finished, and there were no cups for juice or milk.
The first day we had an excursion for lunch and dinner, so we were not on board the rest of the day. On Tuesday morning, we went down for breakfast at 8:00 so we could have the normal buffet which included an omelet and waffle station. I chose an omelet because of the scrambled eggs the morning before, and my wife chose to have a waffle. The waffle was not edible, and the omelet wasn’t much better. We were on the ship all day as we decided not to choose any shore excursions in the morning. Well, we went up to the pool (if you call it that since it was so small) to rest for the day, and join in to the poolside activities. Well, first, the smoke started at the pool around 11:00 for the lunchtime BBQ. We were shocked to see them cooking with the two grills right next to the pool where everyone was sunbathing, sleeping, or reading. When we had lunch around 1:00, the hamburgers were burned, there were no ribs left, and there was no ketchup. I had to go to three different buffets inside to find Ketchup and I went back to the buffet line 15 minutes after searching for ketchup, and the BBQ line had not moved because people were still waiting for ribs. At 2:00, the poolside activities started. The director came onstage and said they were playing a game, and they needed volunteers. Well, this was a joke. They had 12 people, 6 on either side, with plates with a number. There were 6 rounds, and they would read off a 6 digit number that each team had to put in order by the numbers on each plate. This was really boring, and then it was over. That was the activity for the afternoon by the pool. What a bore.
On Tuesday evening, we went down to the Crossings Dining room for dinner at 5:45. It was this meal that showed us what we were in for during the rest of the cruise. We were told there was a 45 minute wait for the two of us, but if we share a table, it would go faster, so instead of sitting alone as honeymooners, we decided to share since we wanted to catch the 8:00 show. Well, that didn’t happen, and neither did the 45 minute wait. We sat on the stairs on the waiting area, for 45 minutes, and nothing. We asked how much longer it would be, and they said another 45 minutes. We were talking to some of the other couples, and they said the night before there was a 2 hour wait. Well, our wait was 2 hours as well, and we were told that the people in the dining room were eating slowly so they didn’t have to wait around for the 8:00 show. Well, at 7:45 we went into the dining room, starving. To our surprise, it was half empty, when there were still 30 names on the list to get in for dinner. The waiter came over, and told us that the menu would change every night, however, the appetizers, and desserts would stay the same, and out of the 8 entrees, 4 would stay the same, and the special would be different. Well, I was extremely annoyed about this considering I was going to be eating in the dining room the whole week because we were told that you had to pay extra for the specialty restaurants, which wasn’t explained to us until we got onboard the ship. After charging over $2,000.00 for a cabin room, how do you then charge $15 per person per night to eat dinner on board a ship, and then call the cruise “Freestyle”? Anyway, we had dinner, which took over 2 hours because of the slow service, not because we were waiting for the 10:00 show.
On Wednesday, we woke up for breakfast at 7:00 because we had an excursion, my wife had a corn muffin since everything else was not edible, and I had the scrambled eggs and hash browns thinking they would be better than Monday, but they weren’t. My wife went to all three buffets looking for butter. She asked a woman at the first buffet, and she said it was on the table, it wasn’t. The woman said she had to go to the other side to get some. She went over there, and they told her she had to go out back. She went out back, and they told her she had to go inside which was when she said, “I was just inside, and they said to come outside, can you please go in and get me butter”. After 5 minutes, they gave her the butter.
We left the rest of that day for our shore excursions. That night we went down for dinner in the same dining room, and we decided to go down at 5:15, which was 15 minutes before they opened, to beat the line. To our surprise, everyone else had decided to do the same thing. Luckily, we decided again to share a table, and we got in for dinner around 6:00. Dinner took 2 hours again, and the dinning room was half empty with the same 2 hour wait outside. We had to leave dinner before dessert and coffee because we didn’t want to miss the 8:00 show. We went to the show, and it was pretty good. However, after the show at 10:30, there was nothing to do. No activities for us, and no midnight buffet.
Thursday was our heaven day. We were in Maui all day, and even decided to rent a car for the evening just so we didn’t have to eat dinner and stay on board the ship. We went to a lovely restaurant in Lahana which was wonderful.
To sum up our stay in Hawaii, I want to start off by saying how gracious and happy we were that the cruise stopped almost every day at an island because this was our savior. If it wasn’t for the daily stops, and the fact that we were able to get off the ship every day except 1, I would probably be suing. The week on a whole could have been a lot worse, and for that I thank you. I am extremely disappointed with NCL for the hospitality, activities, shows, and the services that were offered by the Cruise line. The letters that were given to us onboard from NCL Corporate Headquarters only show that the company knows about the problems, and they are offering nothing as compensation for all the headache, problems, and dissatisfied customers on board. The $35 credit for the service charge and a 20% credit on a future cruise within the upcoming year is a complete joke. Even if I wanted to sail with you again, I can’t because of my vacation schedule over the next couple of years. I was on a Norwegian Cruise before, and thought I would have the same kind of experience that I had in the past, but I was mistaken. There is nothing I can do to help fix our ruined Honeymoon, and what you are willing to do is utterly ridiculous.
The reason for this letter is that I am looking for a generous refund for the horrible cruise that we were apart of. I will not mention any refund that I am looking for, but I will make this threat. If it is not a substantial refund to help us forget the problems and I do not receive a response within the next month, I will be forwarding this letter to all the major local news channels for publication during the prime news hours. I will also forward the letter to the consumer protection agency as well as the major news stations with programs that include Dateline, 20/20, and Primetime.
The cruise was an absolute outrage, and if you are not willing to compensate people for what they went through, then I would like to educate the country, and tell them how bad this cruise is, and scare anyone from taking part in this vacation.
I hope to be hearing from you soon.
CC: Mohan Menon
Vice President, Quality Assurance