January 2016 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Getaway
My fiancée and I took a cruise on Getaway, 1/17-24/16. This was our fourth cruise on NCL and we have enjoyed our past cruises on NCL. However, this cruise was not up to past standards. Before I begin, let me say that I admire the ship’s personnel. Each and every person I interfaced with on the cruise was helpful and friendly. Many went out of their way to assure that I and other passengers were happy. I also thank the Captain for his skills on making the cruise a smooth one in spite of the rough seas at the end of the cruise. First, NCL regard for its customers has diminished greatly. When I first booked in October, I was offered a choice of the specialty dinner package or the drink package; I chose dinner package. A few weeks later I saw additional packages also being offered. I quickly called NCL to switch. I was informed that I could not change to the new package and could not cancel my original package because it was within the cancellation penalty period. The agent told me that there was nothing she could do. Basically, I booked early so “you lose”. I had to accept the situation. We arrived at the cruise port in Miami at about 12:00, finally getting on the ship at 3:00. We heard many different explanations for the delay, Coast Guard inspection, engine problems, and only one gangway available. I can understand unexpected events can cause delays, that is inevitable, but something could have been done to placate the passengers such as a free drink at dinner. This is another example of NCL’s lack of concern for the customers. I sailed on the sister ship the Breakaway in July to Bermuda with my family. We did not face any problems. However, on the Getaway we continually faced lines. Besides the problem boarding, it seemed everywhere we went passengers were lined up. The two ships are nearly identical in their layout. The crew seemed to be just as efficient as the Breakaway’s crew but there still seemed to be lines. It seems that the only way to avoid the lines on the Getaway was to spend the extra $2000 and book in the Haven. Due to the rough weather the stop at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, understandable. As I said above, the Captain did a fine job navigating the storm. Again, compensation for the lost island could have been offered to the passengers. Again at disembarking there were problems. We had booked the shuttle to the airport so we were scheduled to be in the last group to get off. Again – Lines. The line to get off started from the theater by the forward elevators to the aft elevators and then down the deck. Getting off the ship and trying to find the shuttle was pandemonium. We first went to the place that was selling shuttle passes and was directed to the other end of the terminal. There, we were told there was a half an hour wait until the bus came back. The delay on getting off the ship and missing the shuttle was due to the lines, not our fault. As a further example of NCL’s diminished regard for its customers, I wrote a paper letter (snail mail) to NCL when we got back. Receiving no reply, 4 weeks later I emailed NCL with the same letter. It has been a week with still no reply. In summary, compared to the Breakaway, the Getaway is not the ship to sail on. The port of Miami is not the port to depart from. The problems, I believe, not with the ship’s personnel but with the management of the ship, the port and NCL.