I purchased an Alaskan cruise from L.A. to Vancouver through Delta... We arrived for the cruise around 2:30. All of the porters had left. Despite having a 9 year old and a 12 year old handicapped daughter, we had to take all of our luggage on board ourselves. No one offered to help. There were plenty of cruise ship employees watching our struggle, but none offering to help us out. The next disappointment was to learn that there were no programs for tweens and our children would have to be with the toddlers. The youth counselors also told us that the Nintendo Wii was reserved for the teens, so my children were crushed. Of course the ad about the 2 story video screen did not apply to the Norwegian Star. The kids had brought their laptop to spend time on the internet. Of course we found out that the nominal fee for WiFi was rather outrageous, which prevented them from using their laptop. BTW, our car was broken into in downtown Vancouver and all of their electronics including the laptop were stolen. NCL should warn its passengers about downtown Vancouver and theft. It turns out that it is the number one area in North America for burglarizing cars. The 3 days at sea were uneventful, but we had to be with the kids the entire time due to the lack of tween programs. We kept hearing announcements about booking your excursion through NCL due to the guarantee and protection. We booked the Juneau Salmon Bake and glacier tour through NCL. Here is our experience:
1) The bus left late.
2) It was hot on the bus, but the air conditioning did not work. Numerous people complained to the driver.
3) We sat on the bus over 20 minutes after the glacier departure time. Again no air conditioning. BTW, when my children went to get on the correct bus the driver would not let them on. She proclaimed that she did not have any children on the bus. When we assured her that they were indeed with us, she said they must have been so quiet that she did not know they were there.
4) The trip to the salmon bake was without air conditioning.
5) The salmon bake was a disappointment. There was a line to get a container containing a paltry amount of clam chowder. The buffet food quality was poor. The promised ribs never materialized. After a long wait the salmon was dry and had a crunchy sugar sauce. None of us ate the food. The water in the bathroom was so cold that it was painful.
6) Nancy complained to the staff and a nice young man named Chris took us to McDonalds, where I fed the kids. He took our cabin numbers and said that they would reimburse us for the bake.
7) When no reimbursement arrived Nancy complained to the front desk staff. They told her to return the next morning and speak to the excursion director. When she arrived he was not there. She gave the details to one of the ladies who said that we would hear something that day. When we had not heard anything by the next morning she again complained and was told that she would hear by noon. I knew then that the excursion department was not going to do anything. Sure enough when the letter arrived it basically said that we were not entitled to any reimbursement, because we left the excursion early. Of course I was dealing with 3 hungry people, 2 of which were children, who were not going to eat the food at the salmon bake.
Ketchikan went fine as did the most of the rest of the cruise. The service in the main restaurant was pretty slow, but the service in the specialty restaurants was excellent. Our steward was very helpful and pleasant. Sarah in the fitness facility was very knowledgeable and as nice as she was knowledgeable. The fitness juice bar person was also responsible for the ice cream bar, and that created some long lines. The cruise staff and director could not have been nicer on the cruise. The entertainment was outstanding.
In conclusion, an overall nice cruise gave us a bad taste in our mouths because of the excursion.
Johnny Gayton, M.D.
Cabins 9113 and 9118 2006-8 World Deadlift Champion
Hi Dr. Gayton, welcome to Cruise-Chat. Sorry to hear of your troubles. The porters do not work for NCL, they are independent contractors. Did you let NCL know you had handicapped children and needed special assistance? If so, it surprises me that they didn't meet your needs. Did you have a travel agent at Delta that was a cruise specialist? Did you ask him/her about the tween program? Again, the excursions are not NCL, they are contract operators. Hopefully, your complaints will make NCL revisit the contract with the operator. They should not have promised you a refund, however, if they were not going to follow through. For that, a nice concise letter to NCL may help. Sounds like the rest of the cruise was acceptable. We've always enjoyed our cruises on NCL and wouldn't hesitate to book with them again. Their staff seem to be among the best, at least in my opinion. We were on the Sky last July and had a ball.
We hope you will visit our board often and that your next cruise will be fantastic. Best wishes, welcome home, and once again, welcome aboard!
I never heard of anyone having to schlep their luggage onto a ship. I would have been outraged if that had happened to me. Sorry to hear about those bad experiences on your cruise vacation. I think NCL should make it right somehow.
Dr. Gayton, if you should happen to return to this thread, I hope the letter you sent to NCL was concise and focused only on the issues under their control. (Theft in Vancouver is not one of them.) I also hope that next time, you will book through a cruise-specialist travel agent who can let you know what to expect on the ship in terms of amenities for you and your family.
Posting this message verbatim on multiple cruise boards will not further your case against the cruise line. Instead, our Members can offer constructive ideas as to help avoid such disappointments in the future.
Dr. Gayton - Doc you have one heck of a way of earning your welcome to this awesome cruise oriented chatroom! When you make an entrance it is truly grand!
A most hearty welcome aboard - you have truly earned it!
As has already been said in these posts - the problems you encountered are pretty much only within limited control of NCL.. The shore excursion operators are outside contractors- a quick letter to NCL Public Relations will likely cause a review and a revision in that tour operators contract! Stevedores are another problem - they are quite independent and behave accordingly!
Still, it does seem if the cruise was not without its' great moments and it does sound as if the NCL Star provided you with a nice cruise! Treasure that thought and keep on cruising!
All of us fellow cruisers have, at some time, experienced similar problems over the years in some shape, manner, or form! Like all things in life-we must move on and remember the good and the best!
Cruising still remains the way to go! There are many great, future cruise adventures ahead of you and your family! Don't ever hesitate to plan another- just chat with us - we'll help you on the righteous path!
Let's keep in mind that so much of someone's views on something is only subjective in their eyes. For instance: standing in line a long time for the salmon bake, and for a paltry amount of chowder and the buffet food was poor. What's a long time in line? Perhaps to someone else this line moved just fine, they liked the buffet, and the chowder was just right. My husband is one of those the second the light turns green the car in front of him better move. Me, geez, give them a chance! Slow service in the dining room? Was it really slooooooow! Or is he just too impatient? Things that are totally subjective opinion like slow lines, bad buffet (or sloppy buffet) as some have noted, bad entertainment, room temperatures too hot/too cold etc. just aren't going to get that much attention complaining to the cruise line.