Go Back   Cruise Reviews Forums > Cruise Lines > Norwegian Cruise Line
Register Forgot Password?
New! Use your Facebook, Google, AIM & Yahoo accounts to securely log into this site, click logo to login  
Search

Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-26-2003, 09:21 PM
BAS BAS is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 4
Default
On April 28, 2003, my wife and I stood in line for nearly 3 hours to check in for a cruise on board the Norwegian Cruise Lines ship, NORWEGIAN DREAM. The itinerary was the Scandinavian Capitals, including St. Petersburg, Russia. The ship was sailing from and returning to Dover, UK. We purchased the cruise and a two-day St. Petersburg tour package for each of us through ONLINE VACATION TRAVEL in February. The total cost of the travel company’s two-day tour in St. Petersburg was $598. We also purchased a travel insurance policy through the travel agent. The entire amount, cruise, tour and insurance was charged to our Visa credit card at the time of booking….two months prior to sailing. This credit card purchase was paid in full on the next bill received.

After standing in line for 1 ½ hours to check in, we were handed a letter from NCL informing us the itinerary had been changed and the ship would not sail to Tallinn, Helsinki, and St. Petersburg. I have been on this same itinerary before with Princess Cruise Lines and had a marvelous trip. My wife however, has never traveled to this part of the world and the main purpose of taking the trip was for her to see St. Petersburg and all its marvelous museums and architecture. As you can imagine, we, along with over 1600 others were shocked and disappointed at this news. We debated whether or not to go on the cruise.

At the check-in desk we asked if there would be any compensation from NCL for the changed itinerary, or if we could re-book the trip to a later cruise with no penalty. The woman at the desk directed us to a private area behind the check-in counters where, it turns out, unhappy passengers were being dealt with. We spoke with a representative from NCL’s main office in Miami. He had been sent to Dover to intervene, with the company knowing that the situation in Dover would be UGLY! It was. This person from NCL was obnoxious and flat out rude to us. When asked what the company would do for compensation, he replied, “absolutely nothing. The cruise line has the right to make changes in the itinerary if it deems it necessary.” When questioned if we could re-book without penalty, he stated that was not possible since we were inside of any cancellation time period allowed without being penalized. The arrogance of this individual was beyond belief and the manner in which he spoke to us was even less believable when he said, “the ship is sailing in one hour, with or without you. You decide if you want to go or not. I can’t help you any further.”

We decided that since we had taken time off from work and traveled that distance from San Diego, and because we had traveled on non-changeable tickets, what other choice did we have but check in and get on the ship. Besides, our bags had been sent to the ship at 10am that morning and we were told that there would be no possible way of locating them prior to the ship sailing. The proverbial “rock and a hard place.” We planned to deal with the problem when we returned at the end of the cruise.

The talk on board the ship for the entire cruise was about the trashy way everyone had been treated by NCL at the check-in and that NCL made no attempt to contact ANY passengers regarding the itinerary change prior to Dover. The reason NCL gave for the itinerary change was that the Gulf of Finland was iced over and the ship could not make passage to these ports. At the captain’s welcome party, he personally informed the passengers that the packed ice was nearly 5 feet thick in the Gulf and that they had monitored the situation very carefully hoping that the warming trend in the North would be favorable for our cruise. He stated that the decision to alter the itinerary was made at the very last minute, on April 27, and did not allow NCL sufficient time to inform any passengers of the change.

How long does it take a chunk of ice 5 feet thick to melt? Is it practical to believe that they really hoped that ice that thick would be passable three days after we sailed out of Dover?

Over 1,000 of the 1600+ passengers that were on board the April 28 cruise banded together to protest the treatment given us by NCL. The protest was in the form of a formal petition, which was presented to the captain during the cruise. A copy has also been sent to the President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Lines. Hundreds of people were seriously inconvenienced and financially harmed by this cruise company.

When my wife and I returned from the cruise, my first contact was to ONLINE VACATION CENTER travel company to request a refund of our pre-paid St. Petersburg exclusive tour package which they were to provide. Their answer to this request was, “we need to evaluate the situation and see how we are going to respond to over 200 expected requests.”

What’s to evaluate? I paid them for a service that I didn’t receive!

Their answer came 5 days later in the form of a letter saying that they had no intention of a refund, and since I had purchased insurance, I needed to file a claim with the travel insurance company, ACCESS AMERICA. I called the insurance company and requested two claim forms (they told me it would be necessary to file two separate claims) and that it would take 6 to 10 days to process the claims, after their receipt of them. A phone call to them on the 14th of June confirmed they had received them on June 4th and the claims were under review. After not hearing from them for another 10 days, I called ACCESS AMERICA insurance company on June 24th to get the status of our claim and was informed that it had been sent to a special person to evaluate, since it was part of a group claim.

I was never part of a group. I did not purchase anything relating to this cruise as a group.

I asked to speak with the individual making the decision regarding our claim and was put through to her. Her response to me was that the company was denying the claim on the grounds that there is no basis in the policy to make a claim. The company contends they are within their right not to honor the insurance claim because the ship sailed a full cruise with no trip interruption of at least 24 hours, and because the reason the ship did not enter the port of call where the excursion was scheduled was due to weather.

So here we are, caught in catch-22, trying to explain to veteran and novice cruisers alike, how NCL, ONLINE TRAVEL CENTER and ACCESS AMERICA treats its customers. None of the three companies wants to accept the responsibility for repayment of our tour, which was not received and was paid for in good faith.

There is a lesson here for any would-be first-time cruisers. Ask a lot of questions! Know what your rights are as a customer and passenger. Purchase from responsible companies who will stand behind their products and treat their customers with respect.

This was my sixth cruise and first time onboard a NCL ship. This is also the first ship where I have had ANY problems of any kind. Sure, small things have come up, but they were resolved on the spot, in a professional and respectful manner. This situation has become a nightmare. And I still want my $598.

Sorry this has been as long as it has, but I felt it was necessary to get this situation addressed publicly for other cruisers to be aware of and be able to comment about. Fair winds and smooth seas to all.
BAS
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 06-26-2003, 09:21 PM
BAS BAS is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 4
Default
On April 28, 2003, my wife and I stood in line for nearly 3 hours to check in for a cruise on board the Norwegian Cruise Lines ship, NORWEGIAN DREAM. The itinerary was the Scandinavian Capitals, including St. Petersburg, Russia. The ship was sailing from and returning to Dover, UK. We purchased the cruise and a two-day St. Petersburg tour package for each of us through ONLINE VACATION TRAVEL in February. The total cost of the travel company’s two-day tour in St. Petersburg was $598. We also purchased a travel insurance policy through the travel agent. The entire amount, cruise, tour and insurance was charged to our Visa credit card at the time of booking….two months prior to sailing. This credit card purchase was paid in full on the next bill received.

After standing in line for 1 ½ hours to check in, we were handed a letter from NCL informing us the itinerary had been changed and the ship would not sail to Tallinn, Helsinki, and St. Petersburg. I have been on this same itinerary before with Princess Cruise Lines and had a marvelous trip. My wife however, has never traveled to this part of the world and the main purpose of taking the trip was for her to see St. Petersburg and all its marvelous museums and architecture. As you can imagine, we, along with over 1600 others were shocked and disappointed at this news. We debated whether or not to go on the cruise.

At the check-in desk we asked if there would be any compensation from NCL for the changed itinerary, or if we could re-book the trip to a later cruise with no penalty. The woman at the desk directed us to a private area behind the check-in counters where, it turns out, unhappy passengers were being dealt with. We spoke with a representative from NCL’s main office in Miami. He had been sent to Dover to intervene, with the company knowing that the situation in Dover would be UGLY! It was. This person from NCL was obnoxious and flat out rude to us. When asked what the company would do for compensation, he replied, “absolutely nothing. The cruise line has the right to make changes in the itinerary if it deems it necessary.” When questioned if we could re-book without penalty, he stated that was not possible since we were inside of any cancellation time period allowed without being penalized. The arrogance of this individual was beyond belief and the manner in which he spoke to us was even less believable when he said, “the ship is sailing in one hour, with or without you. You decide if you want to go or not. I can’t help you any further.”

We decided that since we had taken time off from work and traveled that distance from San Diego, and because we had traveled on non-changeable tickets, what other choice did we have but check in and get on the ship. Besides, our bags had been sent to the ship at 10am that morning and we were told that there would be no possible way of locating them prior to the ship sailing. The proverbial “rock and a hard place.” We planned to deal with the problem when we returned at the end of the cruise.

The talk on board the ship for the entire cruise was about the trashy way everyone had been treated by NCL at the check-in and that NCL made no attempt to contact ANY passengers regarding the itinerary change prior to Dover. The reason NCL gave for the itinerary change was that the Gulf of Finland was iced over and the ship could not make passage to these ports. At the captain’s welcome party, he personally informed the passengers that the packed ice was nearly 5 feet thick in the Gulf and that they had monitored the situation very carefully hoping that the warming trend in the North would be favorable for our cruise. He stated that the decision to alter the itinerary was made at the very last minute, on April 27, and did not allow NCL sufficient time to inform any passengers of the change.

How long does it take a chunk of ice 5 feet thick to melt? Is it practical to believe that they really hoped that ice that thick would be passable three days after we sailed out of Dover?

Over 1,000 of the 1600+ passengers that were on board the April 28 cruise banded together to protest the treatment given us by NCL. The protest was in the form of a formal petition, which was presented to the captain during the cruise. A copy has also been sent to the President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Lines. Hundreds of people were seriously inconvenienced and financially harmed by this cruise company.

When my wife and I returned from the cruise, my first contact was to ONLINE VACATION CENTER travel company to request a refund of our pre-paid St. Petersburg exclusive tour package which they were to provide. Their answer to this request was, “we need to evaluate the situation and see how we are going to respond to over 200 expected requests.”

What’s to evaluate? I paid them for a service that I didn’t receive!

Their answer came 5 days later in the form of a letter saying that they had no intention of a refund, and since I had purchased insurance, I needed to file a claim with the travel insurance company, ACCESS AMERICA. I called the insurance company and requested two claim forms (they told me it would be necessary to file two separate claims) and that it would take 6 to 10 days to process the claims, after their receipt of them. A phone call to them on the 14th of June confirmed they had received them on June 4th and the claims were under review. After not hearing from them for another 10 days, I called ACCESS AMERICA insurance company on June 24th to get the status of our claim and was informed that it had been sent to a special person to evaluate, since it was part of a group claim.

I was never part of a group. I did not purchase anything relating to this cruise as a group.

I asked to speak with the individual making the decision regarding our claim and was put through to her. Her response to me was that the company was denying the claim on the grounds that there is no basis in the policy to make a claim. The company contends they are within their right not to honor the insurance claim because the ship sailed a full cruise with no trip interruption of at least 24 hours, and because the reason the ship did not enter the port of call where the excursion was scheduled was due to weather.

So here we are, caught in catch-22, trying to explain to veteran and novice cruisers alike, how NCL, ONLINE TRAVEL CENTER and ACCESS AMERICA treats its customers. None of the three companies wants to accept the responsibility for repayment of our tour, which was not received and was paid for in good faith.

There is a lesson here for any would-be first-time cruisers. Ask a lot of questions! Know what your rights are as a customer and passenger. Purchase from responsible companies who will stand behind their products and treat their customers with respect.

This was my sixth cruise and first time onboard a NCL ship. This is also the first ship where I have had ANY problems of any kind. Sure, small things have come up, but they were resolved on the spot, in a professional and respectful manner. This situation has become a nightmare. And I still want my $598.

Sorry this has been as long as it has, but I felt it was necessary to get this situation addressed publicly for other cruisers to be aware of and be able to comment about. Fair winds and smooth seas to all.
BAS
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 06-27-2003, 06:58 AM
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default
I was on the cruise with BAS, and over 1,000 passengers signed a petition against NCL. NCL was aware at least 4 days prior to sailing that NCL was changing over 50% of our itinerary, and they chose to put their business interests ahead of our vacation experience. NCL also advised us by letter when we boarded that they had been monitoring the situation for weeks, but they failed to notify the passengers to ensure that we had no other options. I echo BAS's statements that NCL was very arrogant and treated the passengers very badly. NCL was not apologetic in the least and daily interfered with the vacation experience for me and my husband by abruptly changing the revised schedule to pull out of ports 1-2 hours earlier than published, so it was a nightmare. To all who read this message: How would you feel if you booked a Caribbean cruise and ended up on a man made beach in Mississippi? That's NCL's idea of fair, and you should strongly consider taking your business elsewhere. Is it really worth saving $100? I don't think so.
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 06-27-2003, 10:55 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Illinois
Posts: 1,370
Default
I can imagine that you and many of your fellow passengers were terribly disappointed to miss those ports, as many probably booked that particular cruise because of the itinerary. Although I would agree that, from your accounts, it seems NCL could have handled the situation more kindly, they were within their rights to change the itinerary at the last minute. Your documents probably included information (albeit in fine print) to that effect. Cruise itineraries do occasionally change due to weather, sea conditions, or situations that might be considered a danger to passengers (for example, civil unrest or terrorism in a port, etc.) Sometimes these changes are made at the last minute, as in your case.
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 06-27-2003, 05:35 PM
BAS BAS is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 4
Default
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 don’t have the 2004 NCL brochure available as I’m 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, I’m not trying to pick a fight with you, just trying to set the record straight. I appreciate and thank you for your comments.

BAS
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2003, 03:30 PM
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default
Yes, he's right. NCL admitted in their letter to us that the situation had been monitored "for weeks." We were financial hostages. I can understand that others have had itineraries altered--we have too--due to weather, but this was not a sudden occurrence and was know to NCL well in advance (and not to us or our travel agents). Bottom line is that NCL sold a product they could not deliver. We bought fresh lettuce adn got a rotten lemon--the two products weren't even comparable. I think NCL is a disreputable company, and we won't sail with them again. We strongly advise others not to also.
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 07-01-2003, 11:01 PM
Sue Sue is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Beverly Hills, FL
Posts: 321
Default
We've been monitoring this problem with NCL. While I have never sailed with them (and sure I won't) due to many other problems that I've heard about, we can certainly sympathize with you. We are going on the Celebrity Constellation on July 19th to the British Isles and Norwegian Fjords. I clicked on email early last evening, and had a message from Celebrity. The shore excursion for a lake cruise in Olden, Norway has been cancelled by the tour operator. They were emailing so we might consider another tour. This port only had 4 tours to begin with, and 2 of the 4 were miles to climb a glacier. With the 4 of us well into our 60's and 70's, we've opted to stay on the ship for the day. Celebrity was very gracious, and our total money will be refunded if we can't find another tour. While we're disappointed, we are 100% pleased with Celebrity and how they handle any problem. Good luck with actions against NCL.

Sue
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 07-02-2003, 09:39 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: MIAMI,FL,USA
Posts: 3
Default
Bas, Thank you for the information. I will definitely not be cruising with them. I cannot believe that they did not have the descency to treat all the passengers with more respect especially when you are investing your money in their company. I hope that you get a refund on the excursion. Good Luck!
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 07-02-2003, 07:53 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Illinois
Posts: 1,370
Default
I'd be interested to learn how this all comes out. Thanks for the additional information.
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2003, 09:12 AM
Keith & Rita's Avatar  
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Evansville, IN
Posts: 135
Default
The NCL Dream is one of the ships we are, or should I say we were, considering for a Jan/Feb cruise out of New Orleans. As a matter of fact, it was at the top of our list only because we have never sailed NCL. It looks like we may need to reconsider and stick with either the Carnival or RCI ships that offer seven day cruises from NO.
Happy 4th and happy cruising to all!

"Sea" you,

Keith & Rita Ann
__________________
"Sea" You,
Keith & Rita Ann


Fast dancing is the second best form of exercise,
slow dancing leads to the first!
 
Closed Thread

Tags
advance, agencies, attorney, center, dream, excursions, financial, forum, full, helsinki, months, ncl, nightmare, online, post, problems, refund, sold, thread, travel, vacation

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
anyone on NCL Dream 13th April 2008? neicie Roll Calls: Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, NCL, and Other Lines 2 04-05-2008 05:52 AM
Explorer April 26, 2003 - Who's going? missa Royal Caribbean Cruise Line 2 04-20-2003 06:12 PM
April 19, 2003 Triumph smit2bfit Carnival Cruise Line 1 04-04-2003 07:38 PM
Going on the Spirit April 20, 2003 HAWAII B Carnival Cruise Line 2 12-10-2002 01:35 PM
NCL Dream January 2003 South America saraann Norwegian Cruise Line 2 11-09-2002 06:48 AM


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On
 

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:24 AM.

Contact Us - Terms of Use - Cruise Reviews Home - Archive - Privacy Statement - Top

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.5.2