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  #1  
Old June 25th, 2006, 05:01 PM
Cruzin4aBruzin Cruzin4aBruzin is offline
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Thumbs down Pride of Aloha 6-16

I would like to introduce myself and my family to you as avid cruisers. We have cruised 17 times on lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Costa, and NCL with a recent cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line America’s Pride of Aloha being our 18th cruise. This also marks our 5th cruise on an NCL ship. This last cruise was completed on the week of June 16th 2006 and was a seven day cruise around the Hawaiian Islands. My concern, or should I say disgust, was with the total cruise experience provided to my family and I on the Pride of Aloha. This letter will provide, in detail, the horrific service that should not exist in the cruise industry. I would know, as I have stated this was my 18th cruise. This cruise was simply a nightmare.
First and foremost I would like to point out that this cruise got off on a bad start as far as I am concerned. We booked through Orbitz travel group and paid for a quad stateroom. When booking this trip I was ensured that I would receive a room with two upper bunks and two lower beds. This being something that is the cruise industry standard if you will. It is something that has always been this way as far back as I can recall. Imagine my dismay upon opening room 5102 on board the ship, which reeked of a mold smell, only to find three beds and a folded cot. We did not receive the room that was promised to us as described above. The room was small to begin with, but having to fold a cot out into the middle of the space made the experience almost unbearable with four people in the environment. Also I would like to note that my husband was the one who had to fold and unfold the cot each day as our room stewards were virtually useless. (This I will describe in more detail shortly.) My husband claims he hurt his back because of having to perform this task all week long. Logically, upon seeing the room we had received I proceeded to reception so that perhaps we could be moved to a true quad room. We spoke to Janet, who claimed to be a supervisor, and she snapped back with, “I could maybe have you in another room by Tuesday…” Mind you this cruise began on a Friday. It did not matter either way though, as we were never contacted for a room change.
Since there was no option but to stay in room 5102, we expected the service would at least be decent. The service was less than stellar in reality. Allow me to explain. Firstly, our room was hardly ever serviced unless we would call reception. On top of that we never received the proper amount of toiletries (i.e.: towels, hand towels, etc.), had to use the same dirty glasses all week as they were never replaced, the shower gel was never refilled, we never had ice put into our ice bucket, we never had our beds turned down at night, and absolutely no mints were on our pillows at night. Upon talking to some other passengers, the consensus was that about half of us received mints and half did not. Furthermore on Saturday morning (the second day of the cruise) we discover that our cabin has no hot water. We call reception to tell them of the issue only for them to say, “We’ll put a work order in for it…” That is all well and good, but the issue was not immediately resolved. In fact, the issue was not resolved until two days later. This means that my family and I had to take cold showers for two whole days. We were not alone either. When talking to other passengers it was apparent this was a ship-wide problem. Additionally on this Saturday in Maui, we were ready to disembark to venture forth to a beach on the island only to discover the crew was not handing out beach towels by the gangway as they do on other ships. A rude older crew member told us to go up by the pool to find some beach towels. We proceeded to the top on the ship to the pool deck to find out they were out of pool towels. (Note that ‘being out of things’ soon became a common theme for this cruise.) We were then told by a pool attendant to see reception about the issue. Reception was totally disgusted we asked them for towels and promptly told us to see our room steward for the towels. After being sent on this wild-goose-chase we had to hunt down a steward in the hall juxtaposing our stateroom. She insisted that we must see reception about the issue and only went to look for towels when we tell her we had already been to reception. After waiting 20 minutes still with no beach towels in our possession, we decide to take the regular bath towels from our room and head off to Maui. The steward never did give us our beach towels that day and we had already spent close to an hour of valuable beach time searching for our own towels. It was at this point of total frustration that we decided waiting for towels was less important than seeing an exotic island. What type of ship runs out of beach towels? Needless to say, I was very much unimpressed.
As for entertainment on the ship, there was certainly a lack of it—literally. Again I would like to point out that this cruise started on a Friday. The first show in the showroom, a comedian, was on a Tuesday. There were four more shows after this. Accordingly, this meant that there was no evening entertainment Friday evening to Monday evening of the cruise and certainly no welcome aboard show. In addition, there was no captain’s cocktail party as usual. There was, however, a “meet the captain” session in the atrium. The problem was the captain didn’t show up! Of course you can forget the complementary cocktails that are traditional at this event. Lastly, we are latitude members. They did have a repeaters party, but only after complaining numerous times did we receive our Pride of Aloha pins.
Moving onto dining, I would just like to say that the experience as a whole was an industry low. Carnival, which I used to consider the industry low, made the NCL America dining experience look like something from a Ritz Carlton. To open with, I would like to point out my concerns with the buffet-style restaurant. The main concern that comes to mind was the lines. I do not mind waiting in a line for food so long as the wait is reasonable. It’s when the wait starts to get up to about 30 minutes that I get a little bit worrisome. There was one day that they had a pasta station set up where one could customize their pasta choice. I got in what I thought looked like a short line consisting of about five people. After about 30 minutes, I was only second from the front. Soon after, I gave up. No pasta in the world is worth waiting that long for. In the morning a similar wait time was common for the omelet station. Moreover the normal line was also very slow because you could not dish out your own food. Everything from drinks to condiments to meals had to be served to you by the surly crew members. It was impossible and not worthwhile to get a drink refill because of the wait. On one occasion I was in the main line waiting for pizza. I suppose one must only be allowed one piece, because when I asked for a second piece the crew member slapped the piece down onto my plate in a rude manner. On another occasion, the line for burgers was wrapped into random places on the outer deck. The buffet line must have gotten so bad that an announcement was made for guests to come to the lower dining rooms so as to relieve the upper restaurant.
In the main dining room, service was much the same. By this of course I mean slow and shoddy. The common wait to get seated in a main dining room was about 45 minutes to one hour. On one night after we got seated we waited for 20 minutes just to receive four iced teas. It was common not to have butter on the table or water in the water glasses. As one can imagine, dining at a main dining room was at least a two hour event—that is once seated. One thing that was quite shocking was witnessed in the main dining room when an elderly couple complained because they waited an hour only to discover the wait staff did not put their name on the list. After the couple was out of sight, the two young women at the podium were laughing at the patrons and making fun of them for complaining. On another occasion a woman complained about the wait when the crew member quickly retorted, “Then take Carnival next time ma’am!” Even more disappointing was the fact that the restaurants were often out of many food choices. They were out of pizza once, smoked salmon once, apple juice once, and they were out of soup once—in an up charge restaurant! I was disappointed that lobster was not served on this cruise as well—a cruise industry tradition so it seems. I would like to point out that the quality of food in the up charge restaurants was more akin to the regular food on most other cruise ships. The service was just as slow however. Why I must pay additionally for this type of service and food is beyond me.
I would now like to point out some general flagrant flaws with the Pride of Aloha. Perhaps the most blatant error that I discovered was the lack of a life boat drill. If one did occur, we were not made aware of it. There were no announcements for the event and no ringing of the ships horn (with seven short and one long blast). I am fairly certain a life boat drill did not occur and if I am not mistaken this is a federal violation of maritime law! Either way, I would not trust the competency of Pride of Aloha crew in the event of an emergency. Additionally, we got to talking to some guests who said that they had raw sewage backing up into their staterooms and that NCL said that they could do nothing about it. Again, this is a violation of the US health code I believe. Another couple said that upon embarking they discovered that their stateroom had not been cleaned since the previous week’s cruise and that there were peanut shells on the verandah. Lastly, I would like to point out something of interest concerning the staff. I got to talking to a nice young woman on the dining room staff that said she only gets 5 hours of sleep a night maximum and no off days. This is against the US labor laws. I told the woman this and she said, “[that] we are trying to organize a petition to NCL but we haven’t had the time to congregate together to do so…” I feel that I can validate the overworkedness of the crew from something I witnessed whilst in the port of Kona. An NCL badged crew member was sitting by the docks crying with other NCL crew members around her. They were trying to convince her to reboard the ship and all she kept saying was something to the effect of, “There is no way in hell I am going back on that ship…I have friends coming to the airport soon to pick me up…”
In conclusion, I honestly can not believe that NCL can market Pride of Aloha to consumers as a vacation product. After coming back from this mess of frustration I feel I never really took a vacation. The aggravation of this ship got so bad that during the third day of the cruise, I decided to call Orbitz telling them of my concern since I could not get satisfaction from any crew member. The nice young woman told me to write a detailed letter of my experience to their company and to NCL. Also, on the last night of the cruise I went to the reception desk to remove all of my tips. Janet, again at the desk, was quite rude. She hardly spoke and only threw some sheet at me very quickly so I could sign it. I am sorry, but no member of this crew should be tipped for their efforts. I am not going to reward bad service. I know that I am not alone in my utter disgust for this cruise experience as literally every passenger I came into contact with shared the same or similar concerns. My family and I are from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For us to travel to a destination such as Maui Hawaii, you must understand that this is a rare, costly event and that I expected a much better cruise product especially for traveling such a distance. I would not recommend this cruise to anyone and I am not certain I will be back on NCL myself. It is my sincere hope that you understand the magnitude and the shortcomings of this NCL vessel and her crew. This is a disgrace for NCL and I just want to make sure these concerns go the proper authorities of this once stellar company.
I am sorry if you have already booked this cruise, as most of the time you are in Hawaii anyhow--which is great. I just have a gripe with Pride of Aloha. If you have any questions just ask...

  #2  
Old June 25th, 2006, 06:01 PM
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My head is going to explode. Any way to make the font smaller?
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  #3  
Old June 25th, 2006, 06:29 PM
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I always hate to hear of a person, after saving and spending quite a bit of money on a once in a life time trip, has a bad time. It must be a real disappointment. We were on the Pride of Aloha last May, and our experience was just the opposite. Our rooms were always cleaned and made up well, sometimes they weren't there until noon or so, but they did clean up. Our dining experience was also very good, service was excellent. In fairness, I must say that others in our group weren't quite so fortunate, they wanted to dine at "rush hour", so they also complained of waiting. The buffet was not set up very well, it was just a little bit unorganized, but I can't say we had a problem with long lines. The main complaint I had was it was so busy, would have liked a sea day or two.

  #4  
Old June 25th, 2006, 06:42 PM
Zeno Zeno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruzin4aBruzin
[font=Times New Roman] First and foremost I would like to point out that this cruise got off on a bad start as far as I am concerned. We booked through Orbitz travel group and paid for a quad stateroom. When booking this trip I was ensured that I would receive a room with two upper bunks and two lower beds. This being something that is the cruise industry standard if you will. It is something that has always been this way as far back as I can recall. Imagine my dismay upon opening room 5102 on board the ship, which reeked of a mold smell, only to find three beds and a folded cot. We did not receive the room that was promised to us as described above. The room was small to begin with, but having to fold a cot out into the middle of the space made the experience almost unbearable with four people in the environment. Also I would like to note that my husband was the one who had to fold and unfold the cot each day as our room stewards were virtually useless.
In the future, I would advise checking the NCL website (www.ncl.com) to get an accurate description of your cabin. The website clearly states that cabin 5102 has 2 lower beds, 1 single pullout couch and 1 pullman bed. Orbitz mislead you as to the cabin configuration. I would take their misrepresentation up with them. NCL did not "promise" you a specific configuration. The 2 upper bunks configuration should not be assumed to be a "standard" for a quad cabin.
Your steward should definitely have been setting this up for you. I don't understand why you did not insist on speaking to the Manager of Housekeeping - you had some very serious complaints. Reception is NOT the appropriate area to refer such complaints to. It is unfortunate that you did not escalate immediately.
1. department manager - in this case - Housekeeping
2. If no immediate response (say within an hour or two) then escalate to his/her superior.
Better Luck on your next cruise.
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  #5  
Old June 25th, 2006, 07:03 PM
Cruzin4aBruzin Cruzin4aBruzin is offline
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Sorry about the font size guys. Anyhow, yes I am writing Orbitz a letter. I see you said NCL's website says pullman couch? It was not a couch--it was a cot--something like they used to give kindergarteners to sleep on. Actaully, I did try and speak to a Hotel Manager but of course no one could locate him.

I'm happy someone had a good time on this ship as you did mike, but I am quite serious that everyone I spoke to was disgusted. I wonder why it went downhill? It's not to say I had an awful trip. Hawaii was gorgeous and PoA had its moments--most disappointing. I am just gald I didn't take the rest of my family on here with me. I always tell them how great cruising is, and I would have been so embarrassed.

Perhaps we could hear from others that were on this same sailing?

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Old June 25th, 2006, 07:13 PM
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Ouch.

This is why I'm hesitant to go to Hawaii. Kim wants to go yesterday.

We saw POH up close and personal here at the Port of Baltimore back in May. She's a fine ship, fairly close cousin to the Dawn but there's a few things I like on Dawn better. So we're a little biased. Would I take this ship westward from CA to HI? You betcha. Four sea days each way with four island hopping sounds very nice. I definitely do not want to fly to Hawaii and get on a ship there to island hop for a week then fly home. Then we have to do at least one Alaska cruise. Why don't they have these in the winter?

  #7  
Old June 25th, 2006, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruzin4aBruzin
Sorry about the font size guys. Anyhow, yes I am writing Orbitz a letter. I see you said NCL's website says pullman couch? It was not a couch--it was a cot--something like they used to give kindergarteners to sleep on. Actaully, I did try and speak to a Hotel Manager but of course no one could locate him.

I'm happy someone had a good time on this ship as you did mike, but I am quite serious that everyone I spoke to was disgusted. I wonder why it went downhill? It's not to say I had an awful trip. Hawaii was gorgeous and PoA had its moments--most disappointing. I am just gald I didn't take the rest of my family on here with me. I always tell them how great cruising is, and I would have been so embarrassed.

Perhaps we could hear from others that were on this same sailing?
Couch or cot, you thought you were getting something you did not. For this I understand you disappointment, the rest of your complaints which I really gave up reading because of the font, I am not going to comment on. Not getting the cabin bed lay out you wanted can not be blamed on NCL in any way. Let's see what Orbits does? I have a feeling and you may not like it. NMNita
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  #8  
Old June 25th, 2006, 08:40 PM
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From the NCL website:

Cabin 5102
Shower (1)
Bed Rails (1)
Convertible Lower Beds (2)
Pullman Bed (1)
Convertible Single Sofa Bed (1)
Duvet
Refrigerator (1)
Hair Dryer (1)
Telephone (1)
Safety Deposit Box (1)
Television (1)
Forward Section
Inside Stateroom
Port Side
Sitting Area
Pier forward
Cabin Square Footage (147)
Sprinklers
Crib (1)


Need help booking this cruise? Please contact your local travel professional or NCL at 1-800-625-5306 (US/Canada only).

©2006 NCL Corporation Ltd., All rights reserved.
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  #9  
Old June 25th, 2006, 11:25 PM
bubiesmom bubiesmom is offline
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zeno stated that the cabin size was 147 sq ft. how on earth did you think that 4 people could co-exist in a room that small? I am booking a mini-suite for 4 ppl at 231 sq ft with a balcony about 54 sq ft. (this is my second cruise, i'll let you know how it goes).

  #10  
Old June 25th, 2006, 11:30 PM
KeystoneCruiser KeystoneCruiser is offline
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Geez, only two hours for dinner on the Aloha....that's an improvement......lol (it usually took us three.)

I agree the cabin misrepresentation is Orbitz fault and not NCL. But I do question why it would take until Tuesday for them to find you a better cabin. If the ship sails on Saturday, wouldn't they know ON Saturday evening if they had any cabins open?? Why wait until Tuesday unless they were expecting people to get off in the first port. Sounds to me as if they were just trying to get you to drop the issue and sounds even more so when they didn't call you back either way. C'mon NCL....give a YES or NO answer, not misleading.....

I'm sorry to hear the buffet has gone downhill, it was one of the saving graces on our cruise.

There is no excuse for the Stewards not doing their job. You should have kept pursuing that issue and gone to the head of housekeeping or even the hotel manager.

Unfortunately what you witnessed with the elderly couple is commonplace with the American young people of today. They have a terrible problem of making fun of elderly or handicapped (especially speech impaired). If I had been there and witnessed that, I would have called those hosts out on the issue and embarrassed them or at least called their supervisor about it. Keeping quiet does nothing to teach them.

I guess the American crew issue is not getting any better. It is a shame and could put NCL in a real bind. I was speaking to a Maitre'd on the Dawn this past week who had had some American workers put on his ship when they were training them before the Aloha or America and he told some interesting stories about it. He had to keep correcting this one young American because he kept asking patrons: "Yo, you wanna some more water?" (Yo????) He also said he had to keep his eyes on them constantly or they would sit down or even disappear for several minutes. He also said that the Americans were notoriously late for their shifts.

I also was speaking to another cruiser who had been on the POAm last year and said many of the same things we keep hearing about the American crew and the lack of service. He fears that NCL will not be able to keep enough business to keep three ships filled with passengers unless service improves. He and I both agree that service with American crew will never be as good as the International crews and NCL may be forced to do one of two things: 1.) Reflag the vessels to allow International crews. That of course would mean the end of Hawaii only cruises. 2.) Get the US government to amend the Jones Act to allow the ships to operate with non US crews.
The American ships are also costing more to operate since NCL has to pay US minimum wage and overtime and that eventually will come into play as well as people will find that it might be better to take longer RCL or Princess cruises from the mainland to Hawaii (or even the Norweigan Wind/Sun to Fanning) in order to get better service. When does the higher cost and poor service outwiegh the 7 day Hawaii only cruising for people??

I'm sorry, but with reports like these still coming in about the service aboard these ships, something has to be done. I would like to see the American flagged program saved but I don't think it can be done un;ess some changes are made by the US government.

  #11  
Old June 26th, 2006, 12:35 AM
Cruzin4aBruzin Cruzin4aBruzin is offline
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Again I apologize for the font--I wrote this in MS word and pasted it here. It looked fine initially. Oh well...

I totally understand that NCL's website states what is in the room. I just went by what orbitz told us. I have been on another ship (I believe the wind) where they provided a sleeper couch. However when they provide a very small cot, I think that is fairly ridiculous. My husband is fairly short and his feet hung out the end. I would hate to see a taller man sleep there.

As to how I possibly thought a quad room of 147 sq. ft. could sleep four? Well, it is quite possible. We have done it in the past with no trouble and plenty of room. We only sleep there. And the trip was getting fairly expensive as it was, what with flying from Pittsburgh. I suppose this is my fault, but that was just something that added to my disgust of the whole cruise.

  #12  
Old June 26th, 2006, 08:26 AM
johnmag johnmag is offline
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Was there any illness among the passengers as previously posted on earlier sailings?

  #13  
Old June 26th, 2006, 10:25 AM
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gosh sooo sorry you had such a miserable cruise.....I enjoy reading the reviews good or bad.....
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  #14  
Old June 26th, 2006, 10:58 AM
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The service issue seems to be a real and persistent problem on the Aloha. I was on the June 4 sailing and dealing with poor service and sickness onboard. I really expected to see both of those issues dealt with as they seemed so extreme on our cruise, but from reading subsequent postings on here, it seems that sickness kept on into at least the cruise after ours and that service hasn't improved at all. These are the same sort of stories that I heard all over the ship when I was there, as well as the sort of thing my family experienced while onboard.

A shame, really, to spend that much money for a miserable time.

  #15  
Old June 26th, 2006, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeystoneCruiser
Geez, only two hours for dinner on the Aloha....that's an improvement......lol (it usually took us three.)

I agree the cabin misrepresentation is Orbitz fault and not NCL. But I do question why it would take until Tuesday for them to find you a better cabin. If the ship sails on Saturday, wouldn't they know ON Saturday evening if they had any cabins open?? Why wait until Tuesday unless they were expecting people to get off in the first port. Sounds to me as if they were just trying to get you to drop the issue and sounds even more so when they didn't call you back either way. C'mon NCL....give a YES or NO answer, not misleading.....

I'm sorry to hear the buffet has gone downhill, it was one of the saving graces on our cruise.

There is no excuse for the Stewards not doing their job. You should have kept pursuing that issue and gone to the head of housekeeping or even the hotel manager.

Unfortunately what you witnessed with the elderly couple is commonplace with the American young people of today. They have a terrible problem of making fun of elderly or handicapped (especially speech impaired). If I had been there and witnessed that, I would have called those hosts out on the issue and embarrassed them or at least called their supervisor about it. Keeping quiet does nothing to teach them.

I guess the American crew issue is not getting any better. It is a shame and could put NCL in a real bind. I was speaking to a Maitre'd on the Dawn this past week who had had some American workers put on his ship when they were training them before the Aloha or America and he told some interesting stories about it. He had to keep correcting this one young American because he kept asking patrons: "Yo, you wanna some more water?" (Yo????) He also said he had to keep his eyes on them constantly or they would sit down or even disappear for several minutes. He also said that the Americans were notoriously late for their shifts.

I also was speaking to another cruiser who had been on the POAm last year and said many of the same things we keep hearing about the American crew and the lack of service. He fears that NCL will not be able to keep enough business to keep three ships filled with passengers unless service improves. He and I both agree that service with American crew will never be as good as the International crews and NCL may be forced to do one of two things: 1.) Reflag the vessels to allow International crews. That of course would mean the end of Hawaii only cruises. 2.) Get the US government to amend the Jones Act to allow the ships to operate with non US crews.
The American ships are also costing more to operate since NCL has to pay US minimum wage and overtime and that eventually will come into play as well as people will find that it might be better to take longer RCL or Princess cruises from the mainland to Hawaii (or even the Norweigan Wind/Sun to Fanning) in order to get better service. When does the higher cost and poor service outwiegh the 7 day Hawaii only cruising for people??

I'm sorry, but with reports like these still coming in about the service aboard these ships, something has to be done. I would like to see the American flagged program saved but I don't think it can be done un;ess some changes are made by the US government.
I have 2 different clients who just got off the Pride of America,one a family of 5 and one a couple: both groups had nothing but praises for the ship and the crew; the family of 5, it was their first cruise, but the other couple have cruised several times. In both cases they knew what to expect prior to sailing; they loved the food and said the service was the same as they get in most American hotels. NMNita
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  #16  
Old June 26th, 2006, 12:10 PM
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Apparently Pride of America is unfortunately NOT = to Pride of Aloha. As one just off P of Aloha.
TO: Travel Agents- Pride of Aloha and Pride of America are different product & service. Unless you personally have expereinced it - I do not beleive you can judge or add to "real" pax's observations and expereinces.

Your opinions are hear say as far as I am concerned.
I can personally attest to exact customer service deficits & expereinces as described by the following CC Aloha passenegers, ALL recently retuned with personal testimonials. Thanks again to -
WEpunkin, keystonecruiser, David, and cruisin41bruzan - you are not alone in your expereinces.

My TA wrote to high management on our familiy's behalf the morning after our return. I am composing my own letter to Colin Veitch on behalf the entire family of 6. We spent $16,000.00 for this cruise only (no air) - did I feel think we received a good ROI, bang 4 our buck, value, etc absoutely NOT!

  #17  
Old June 26th, 2006, 12:48 PM
Cruzin4aBruzin Cruzin4aBruzin is offline
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As someone asked me, I was not aware of any sickness onboard. They either didnt tell us or they covered it up.

And junpoa, I totally agree. Sure, I spent very good money on this trip and was looking forward to it for a while only to receive something mediocre. I do not mind paying for a cruise--not at all--I just expect to get what I paid for.

  #18  
Old June 26th, 2006, 01:23 PM
davidvc04 davidvc04 is offline
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When did you board? We left on June 11. Passengers boarding at that time should have received a letter (I picked it up at the reception desk on June 10--don't know if it was in people's cabins or not) about the sickness. As far as any dates after that, I can't say.

  #19  
Old June 26th, 2006, 05:11 PM
davidvc04 davidvc04 is offline
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I have copies of both letters. The first dated June 4 tells about the 3.2% rate among pax. and offers another cruise. The second one, undated but found on June 10 at Reception, tells about 10% among pax. and crew and offers a refund. If you boarded the 9, it seems you would have gotten the second one, but maybe it hadn't been printed yet?

But we had the same problem you did...letter not in all our cabins, not informed in advance despite early check-in at hotel's NCLA office or other modes of contact. I agree, it should've been placed in our hands as we boarded. That's still too late, but it's better than being left for people to chance upon in the cabins.

  #20  
Old June 26th, 2006, 06:18 PM
Cruzin4aBruzin Cruzin4aBruzin is offline
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We boarded on the 16th of june. We received no letter at check in and there was no such letter in our room. I did, though, hear rumors about the virus from talking to other passengers. I could not validate the trueness of the rumor at the time because I had no official knowledge of it. Had I known, I may have opted not take the cruise.

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