March 2016 - 10 Night Eastern Caribbean (New York Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Gem
On Saturday, 12th March, my wife and I set sail on our first (and probably last) cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line departing New York for the Caribbean. Regrettably, this cruise in no way lived up to ‘the best cruise vacation you’ve ever had’.
Bearing in mind the excessive response time a number of disgruntled passengers have experienced, I wrote direct to the CEO (Mr. F. J. Del Rio) at their Corporate Office in Miami on 29th March detailing the seven matters we were most unhappy with. An excerpt of my letter detailing these matters is as follows:
(1) Norovirus. This outbreak was most unfortunate but the stated number of cases is vastly below the number we believe is correct. We understand there was a smaller outbreak on the preceding cruise and this was the root cause of our outbreak and not the drinking water in San Juan, as advised by the Captain. Surely if this drinking water was the cause, then ships visiting this port at the same day as us would also be affected to the same extent and yet nothing like the Norwegian Gem outbreak was reported. The apparent re-occurrence of this virus on Norwegian Gem may well explain why we were refused entry into St. Martaan which we understand is an extremely rare occupancy.
(2) Accommodation. Our cabin steward was generally courteous and polite. However, on a number of occasions, our cabin was not made up until 2pm even although we had left the ‘Please Make Up This Room’ sign when we left for breakfast at around 8am. There was a crack in the basin and the toilet did not immediately flush on at least 5 occasions. Maintenance had to be called once to rectify this fault. Neither our balcony window or sliding door were cleaned at all despite written assurances this would be undertaken.
(3) Staff. The entertainment team, most bar staff and the ‘washy washy’ girls were always polite, courteous and welcoming. This cannot be said about all the other staff that we encountered who gave the appearance of being unhappy and uncaring. After leaving Tortilla, one member of staff was heard to say ‘Next port is New York. So pleased this cruise is nearly over’.
(4) Dining. The food in all restaurants was monotonous, luke warm and very bland. To have chateaubriand served with half a plain, boiled potato and small sprig of broccoli is completely unacceptable. On two separate occasions in Grand Pacific, entrées were delivered to serving stations and left for at least five minutes before being served to us. Leaving rest room doors open in Grand Pacific during the Norovirus outbreak was unacceptable: these rest rooms should have been closed off since this virus spreads through microscopic amounts of faeces or fluids. We were most surprised to see ketchup and mustard bottles left on the tables in Great Outdoors prior to the Norovirus outbreak as the manufacturers recommend they should be refrigerated once opened: surely sachets would be a far healthier option?
(5) Drinks Package. The ‘House Champagne’ was Prosecco. This statement is a complete misrepresentation: Prosecco has never and will never be classified as a champagne. Champagne is a sparkling wine produced from the Champagne region of France and requires a second fermentation. With a $15 allowance, we were most concerned to discover that this would not include a glass of ‘true’ champagne.
(6) Cleanliness. On two separate occasions, we found part eaten sausages, bacon and cereal on the floor of the Great Outdoors when we sat for lunch. Used plates, glasses and cutlery were regularly left in corridors for hours on end and on one occasion two used glasses with the remnants of red wine in the bottom, were left overnight.
(7) Amended Itinerary. Whilst most disappointing, we appreciate the reason for the ship not being permission to land at St Martaan but to have spent the day going round in a big circle at sea was a very poor substitute: surely arrangements could have easily been made to either dock at Tortola early or find an alternative port.
Over three weeks later I had not received either the courtesy of an acknowledgement or response to these seven key points. I again wrote to the CEO on 25th April (copy letter attached) but, again, over three weeks later…still no response.
Perhaps by reading the attached two letters, other potential Norwegian Cruise Line clients may consider using cruise lines who are professional and care about their guests, past, present and future, bearing in mind there are in excess of 2,600 Poor or Terrible cruise reviews on Cruise Critic alone!