January 2015 - Norwegian Sun to Caribbean - Western
With over 20 cruises this was my first time on NCL. Let me start out saying I had a wonderful cruise. Just returned on Jan 18. Check in and disembarking could not have been easier and more friendly. The food was just great with good variety. Anytime dining is the way to go. Service was good everywhere. The shows were OK but the lounge shows even better. Ship was generally very clean unless you were tall which I am. Higher counters in the room and public areas were very dusty but definitely not noticeable to the average person. Had I not just told you this you would probably never notice. Overall a 9 out of 10 rating. Now here was my issue and problem to which I will be writing Mr Klaus Lugmaier in charge of NCL hotel operations. Cigar smokers BEWARE...I enjoy a fine cigar and cognac after dinner while on vacation. I specifically search for ships that allow cigar smoking in a specific lounge. Princess has them as well as certain Carnival ships and Holland America, Costa, MSC, the list goes on. Anyway, NCL advertises the Sun to have a lounge called the Havana Cigar Bar. By definition Cigar Bar is an establishment that caters to cigar smokers. Not on this ship. You are not allowed the smoke at all in the cigar bar. Let it be known, as a precaution I called NCL's customer service prior to booking to find out certain things about the liquor policy and I specifically asked if there was a lounge that permitted cigar smoking and I was told yes there is in the Havana Cigar Bar and in certain other designated areas determined by the ship. So on that I booked. Least to say my surprise when I entered the Havana room, took out a stick and was told it is not permitted. Being the good patron I simply left the room. To further make matters worse that first evening upon settling in for the night on the TV they are going through all the fun things to do o board. Low and behold it goes on to say if you wish to enjoy smoking a cigar or pipe smoking on the Sun they have the Havana Bar for our smoking pleasure. So, I thought maybe I somehow went to the wrong room. The next morning I go to the Service desk and ask. They tell me there is no smoking in that room. I tell them it says so on the internal cable advertisement and they say it does not. I insist they watch it and now as several staff members are avoiding the area cause they know I'm right several staff member view the recording and low and behold there it is. They abruptly remove the piece from playing never to be seen again and now make the excuse that it is written policy. When I ask to see it in writing they print out the NCL smoking policy page which I already read prior to ever booking as says smoking is permitted only in certain areas. As i said earlier, to make sure there was cigar smoking in the Cigar Bar I called and got and affirmative yes from booking services. To even further make matters worse they now tell me I can smoke cigars in the casino. I know for a fact you can not because it is there in their smoking policy they just handed me but obviously never took time read. When I point that out it is now clear that I have become a major annoyance. When I ask to speak to someone higher up in the management chain I was flat out told no that they are all unavailable. Now as I told them, I did not expect for a minute that they should begin allowing cigar smoking in that room if that was their policy, But I wanted to make sure all references and assurances of any kind are removed or stopped so no future passengers will be disappointed not just cigar smokers. Now I know it is not a big deal to most or most people prefer it be gone completely. But it just may happen to you with something you enjoy and are expecting and are told sorry after it is to late. But again, even with this account I thoroughly enjoyed my cruise and would use NCL again. However, next time I will ask them to directly contact the ship for confirmation of anything other than general corporate policy. If they refuse or say the can't, I look to another cruise line because I know they an from past experience.