Actually Karen, a few more than "many." More like 1600+ people were terribly disappointed, with over 1000 of them signing the petition to NCL objecting to the way we were treated. You are correct; NCL did have the right to change the itinerary according to the terms of their ticket. I checked it VERY carefully, reading it word for word after this happened. I know that itineraries change on cruises...I have been on those cruises, and, you accept them with some disappointment. But, those things happen while you are on the cruise and come along suddenly and unexpectedly, not 2 hours before you depart. Especially if the decision to change the itinerary was placed in motion days before the passengers were informed of the change.
But, I believe you don't fully understand the problem. There is no way that the company could have been "monitoring the situation" as they stated and not known enough in advance that the ship would not be able to make passage to the cancelled ports. We contend that NCL knew enough in advance, to be able to notify passengers and/or travel agents that the itinerary was going to change. We are working on gathering credible information which will indicate that. You don't wait until the passengers show up at the ship to tell them the cruise they purchased has been significantly altered.
If they had told us, prior to leaving San Diego, or told us at the check-in that we could re-book to a later cruise, we would not have gone on the cruise. Had they done that, I suspect that they would have sailed with just the crew. But, an OFFICIAL we personally spoke with, from NCL, did not give us that option. He gave us NO OPTIONS other than "get on board, or not." Personally, I am not in a position to throw thousands of dollars away by not going and that's exactly what I would have been doing had we not gone.
If April 28th of this year (and by the way, to the best of my information the earliest they have ever scheduled this itinerary) was too early to attempt the Gulf of Finland, then anyone considering booking on NCL for this itinerary in 2004 should think very hard about which cruise they book. I donít have the 2004 NCL brochure available as Iím writing this, but it is published and I have seen it. They have the first cruise for the Scandinavian Capitals and St. Petersburg scheduled EARLIER next year than this year!
NCL has taken a very hard line and have alienated over 1,000 people. This issue is not dead and not likely to die soon. At least not without a damn good fight!
Karen, Iím not trying to pick a fight with you, just trying to set the record straight. I appreciate and thank you for your comments.