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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2008, 04:03 PM
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I went on a cruise on the NCL Star on 2/28/08. We were informed on the 2nd day that the ship could not make it to Acapulco due to mechanical problems. We were given a measly $50 credit and taken to Manzanillo (for repairs - which they did not say) and Mazatlan instead. They claim this is the first time this has happened but i believe they just don't want to drydock the boat to get if fixed properly and have seen a blog that this happened to someone on 2005. Has anyone had this happen during the 2007-2008 season?
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:09 AM
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Personally, I will take Manzanillo and Mazatlan over Acapulco any day. You don't realize what a big favor they did you.
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:41 AM
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It was the first time this winter the Star had problems. and reports from the very next cruise state the Star did go to Acapulco.

It seems NCL fixed the problem as fast as they could. Sorry, the problem happen on your cruise.

$50 per passenger, up to $100 per cabin, is the standard offer for comepensation for missing ports. If you had booked the cheapest inside cabin, at $599 or $1200 per cabin, is almost 10% discount off your cruise.
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Old 03-14-2008, 12:00 PM
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Thank you everyone for your responses. I did hear that Acapulco was not the best port. We did have a good time - just felt they could have been more accomodating. I miss the days of elegant cruising - this is the first time we Freestyled - won't do it again - but will definitely cruise again.
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by smithrmayo:
Thank you everyone for your responses. I did hear that Acapulco was not the best port. We did have a good time - just felt they could have been more accomodating. I miss the days of elegant cruising - this is the first time we Freestyled - won't do it again - but will definitely cruise again.
Freestyle isn't for everybody. I hope you enjoy your next cruise better.
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 03-16-2008, 04:33 PM
 
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I also went on this cruise. I would like to address this as a person who is not new to cruising. When we chose to book this itinerary, it was because very few of the cruise lines go as far south as Acapulco in 8 days . Some may feel that it is isn't a great port to visit, but let me tell you more about this change in itinary.

As we left Los Angeles, it was obvious the ship was having problems. The ship couldn't maintain a speed. When it attempted to cruise at the speed needed to reach the first destination, the cabin walls shook so bad, I thought the pictures attached to the walls were going to fall off.

Into day two , the Captain announced that the ship was having stearing problems and we wouldn't make our first and second port. If you could have heard the anger around me as he made this announcement, he was wise to stay away. ( We didn't see him the entire cruise, although we did avoid the Lattitudes party).

The itinery dropped Acapulco and Zihuantanejo. These were ports that were the furthest south and would offer the best weather. We ended up slowly docking at Manzanillo. This is a shipping port. We had a suite and enjoyed the lovely view of vehicles being loaded as well containers being moved around the port. By the time we got off the ship ( you cannot walk this port as town is approximately 20 minutes away) it was close to 5pm. This was a SUNDAY and the town was closed! If we had been in Acapulco, there are a number of places to walk to as well as a number of excursions. We would have been in Acapulco from noon to almost midnight. Instead we were in this SHIPPING PORT where we had nowhere to go. We left at approximately 11pm.

We then went on to Puerta Vallarta, which was lovely and I thought the trip was back on track. I was wrong.

We then went to Mazatlan, where I actually sat and observed vehicles again and containers being loaded. I am sure glad I booked a suite to watch this. This certainly wasn't the Zihuantanejo I had been wanting to see.

We finally ended with our last stop at CABO. Thank goodness it was a positive end to the worst port visits I have ever experienced, EVER.

Now let me address how I observed NCL handle this change in itinerary. First, the passengers were angry. I sat and listened to complaints everywhere I went . When I was on deck, I listened to complaints, at dinner, in the lounges, people were not happy. ( This was not relaxing) The cruise line gave $100 per cabin as a credit. This was not a refund but had to be spent on board.
I read how someone on this post had said that if you booked the lowest cabin it was almost a 10% return. Well for those of us in suites, it was an insult.

I began to talk to not only cruise passengers but crew as my instinct was that there was more going on here that what we were being told . I learned that this was not an uncommon occurance. I was advised that this has happened before on this ship and that I was being told by crew that NCL didn't care about the passengers. I am sure the crew was tired of it as well as when your passengers are unhappy, the wallets close in regards to tipping. I also spoke with a couple on the ship who had booked this same itinerary the previous year and the same thing happened! I also spoke with a couple that was asked by their travel agent to sign a waiver if they booked with NCL ( to protect the travel agent) due to the number of complaints they have had in regards to NCL.

I have booked with NCL twice in 6 years. I booked the sister ship of the STAR and I feel that I am able to give a good comparison of the ships. I did notice that the STAR had an appearance that it wasn't being maintained. The pool area was outdated, it needed paint, lightbulbs were out and not replaced, the waterslides didn't work properly. The overall look was lackluster.

Inside, in the atrium, they had plastic plants that needed updated ( dusting and replacing) the stair lights were also partially out as well as the fingerprint marks on walls and doors weren't being cleaned.

The combined look of the ship and the obvious maintenance issues being needed said to me that someone is having financial issues!

No one on board was willing to address the passengers concerns. There were LONG LINES of customers at the front desk for hours. People were not happy and the only way they could address it was to pull the manditory gratities. The restaurant service was another issue, don't even get me started. We also pulled our gratuties and handed them directly to our cabin stewards. They were pleased!

I don't usually complain about travel. I enjoy cruising and have done about 8 cruises total. Even though we lost 2 of our 4 ports, I believe that NCL could have handled it better. I of course will be following up with the cruise line, but I have also been told by others who have attempted to do so, don't bother. There will be no response. I don't expect much other than a refund of a portion of the trip for the lost ports, but also something to think about it that this trip cut 800 nautical miles from the itinerary. That means NCL save 800 miles of fuel. For those that paid the fuel surcharge, they should be receiving a refund.

The only way that I can make sure that this doesn't happen again it not cruise NCL. ( as well as I am telling everyone to beware of this cruise line).
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:19 PM
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Sorry to hear of your experience. It's disappointing to miss ports...has happened to us a few times on several lines. One time, we nearly ended up going to Canada/New England instead of our scheduled Bermuda. While I love C/NE, many of the pax would have been fuming, so I was glad that we continued on our way east.

We've also missed Cozumel once, and I still haven't made it to Costa Maya.

I'm curious about what NCL did do, however. For instance, did you get any information on the replacement port(s)? We enjoyed Mazatlan, and I hope you were able to find something there to do.
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:39 PM
 
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Hi Lisa,

I guess I didn't address what they did very well because they didn't do much well at all. I hate to be too sarcastic... but what they did was offer the credit and not much more information than that. Obviously the level of communication between whoever was making the decisions and the people actually responsible for doing the work was poor. I felt bad for the Shore Excursion people. They were poorly prepared for all the refunds they had to issue as well as ManZanillo after 5 pm had nothing to offer. We had no way to research anything as to do any research we were informed that we could PAY to use their internet service. The Shore Excursion people did not have information ( even if you wanted to wait in line a couple of hours)

Even the cruise gal "Katherine" who handles the shopping made it clear to avoid both ports for shopping. How's that for a reference!

There were very few people taking ANY type of excursion at Manzanillo and Mazatlan because there wasn't any information put out in a timely manner for the guests to review. Most figured out very quickly that this ship was poorly staffed for this type of situation. There was also a strong lack of trust by many of us at this point.

I am so disappointed with NCL, my voice is going to carry this situation wherever I go for a long time. If I get any type of resolution, I will be sure to voice that as well, but it still doesn't make up for the stress that that they created on my vacation.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:53 PM
 
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I'm getting scared here about NCL leave in 28 days on the Pearl for 19 days, and we are visiting the ports of cabo and acapulco, also PV, so hopefully will have better service then what you guys recieved, or one can always hope for the best I guess.
Wendy
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 03-16-2008, 07:28 PM
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Wendy, the posts above are not at all representative of what we usually hear about NCL; don't let this cause you any concern about your cruise. Negative reviews are very often very exaggerated and overblown.

Ships are subject to malfunctions, just like any other complex system; but they are very rare. It's like the weather: don't worry about what you can't control.

Have a great cruise.

Rick
 
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