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Everything posted by dcipjr

  1. Proving fault is going to be difficult or impossible. Either NCL or AA screwed up, but it’s going to be hard to determine or prove who it was. I’m thinking that it’s NCL, because their travel agents may work directly with the airline booking systems and not go through AA at all—I suspect that’s how the PNR got screwed up so badly. I requested airfare receipts from NCL, since the ticket numbers don’t work on AA’s website. I may call AA as well and see if I have better luck. NCL has proven extremely stubborn, but it was their job to book travel for me and confirm that those tickets were purchased correctly. Here’s what they’ve been saying to me—I’m not giving up yet. My next move is to include higher-ups on the email chain. Still a long shot… “As per our previous communication, although Norwegian Cruise Line offers flight arrangements as part of our cruise package, we do not have direct control of over the operations of the airlines and are not responsible for their cancellations, delays, service, etc. We do ask that our air/sea guests to work with the airline in order to secure seating in the event there is a flight delay or cancellation.We have followed up with Air and Sea again regarding this issue. They have advised we will not be receiving any refund from the airline. We also show the ticket is null at this time, and there was no irregular operation from the Airline. We recommend you contact the Airline for any compensation as we are unable to provide in this matter.”
  2. "Travel agent screwups" isn't on the list of covered reasons for trip interruption. My insurance was through American Express, but NCL's would have been the same. Either way—I don't see why I should have to claim it with insurance anyway, when the airline or NCL failed to provide a service I paid for due to a clerical error. Should be simple as a refund...in theory.
  3. I did, and it looked fine. But it wouldn't let me check in on the way home. It looked OK on the websites, but was messed up behind the scenes.
  4. This actually is why we paid the $150 change fee to NCL to add the second surname. I went to add my wife's frequent flyer number to the ticket, and it refused to let us do that because of the name mismatch. Once the reservation was updated, I was able to add her frequent flyer number, but evidently my ticket was messed up for the return leg. NCL is saying "we booked the ticket and it shows that you have one", but the airline disagrees. The airline won't talk to me because I didn't book the ticket—they want to talk to NCL. So it comes down to me trying to strong-arm NCL into talking to the airline. I did speak with a NCL customer relations representative on the phone yesterday and he said he'll get the air department to speak with American Airlines. But obviously they aren't really motivated to try to figure out this snafu, since I'm the one who's out of pocket (not them—unless they find out they screwed up). NCL's initial response was to ask if I had travel insurance, and helpfully point out that they offer travel insurance for my convenience. I politely informed them that yes, I did have travel insurance, but per the T&Cs, it doesn't cover travel agent mistakes—and, incidentally, neither does the insurance they offer. I'm definitely still after it; someone owes me money. My rationale is that NCL should pay me back the amount I paid for that leg of the journey. If it turns out to be the airline's fault, NCL can collect the fare from the airline. If it's NCL's fault, then they've rectified the situation by refunding me what I paid. I should eventually get something, but I feel like it'll be like pulling teeth to get to that point.
  5. I never pay full sticker price for zucchini! 🤣 Hope you're having a great cruise, @mking8288. I would have loved to be on this cruise. We were actually eyeing it but went on a shorter Mexican Riviera cruise with relatives instead—for more money. 🤦‍♂️
  6. I've always done all right with American, though I still miss the dearly-departed US Airways. I had Platinum status with them and they treated me like royalty. American ditched so much of that in the merger. AA's prices have been sky-high (pun intended) recently so I've been avoiding them. I thought I scored a heck of a deal when I got tickets through NCL. It turned out to not be as great of a deal, but it probably still turned out to be about the same as what I would have paid on my own. I'm not complaining or grousing here...I'm still trying to get reimbursed from NCL for at least something, but this is more of a "be aware" sort of thing.
  7. Hi all, Just an anecdotal story of why you should be careful when booking airfare through NCL. We recently got back from a trip on the Jewel out of San Diego. It was a lovely cruise. We flew from our home city of Philadelphia to San Diego via NCL's included airfare, as they gave me a price (~$1000 roundtrip total for 3 people during spring / Easter break) that I couldn't beat booking on my own (and I tried). After we were ticketed, I noticed that my wife's second surname (she's Mexican, so has two surnames) wasn't on the reservation. The TSA has given us some grief about that before, and I wanted to avoid hassles at the airport. I called the airline (American Airlines), and they told me that they had no control over that reservation, and I would have to speak to NCL about any changes. I called NCL, and they assessed me a $150 change fee for the reservation. I wasn't happy about this, but figured I was still getting a deal, and I wanted to avoid any hassle. I paid the fee. Fast-forward a couple months to the flights themselves. Everything went fine on the way out. We flew out a couple days early, got routed through Chicago, and narrowly avoided a tornado-related shutdown that hit O'Hare a few hours after we were there. Lucky! On the way back, however—not so lucky. We got to the airport for our return flight, and I couldn't check us in. The AA mobile app didn't work, and the kiosks at the airport told me to see a representative at the check-in counter. The representative told me that there were two tickets in my wife's name for the return flight, and none for me. And again, since "the reservation belongs to the cruise line", the airline couldn't or wouldn't do anything about it. The only thing I could do is buy a one-way ticket for myself, to the tune of $550. Anyone care to guess how much luck I've had getting NCL to reimburse me for my out-of-pocket airfare? Even travel insurance does nothing here, since most travel insurances do not cover ticketing issues. The bottom line: be careful when booking airfare via NCL or any third-party that doesn't give you full control over the tickets. We will book our own airfare in the future. Caveat emptor.
  8. I've always booked through the Platinum Travel Service, so I'm not sure, but you'll see the promo code AMEXCPP on your invoice if it has been added.
  9. Welcome back! I was reading the review, but after your arrival day in Miami, the "Day 2" link goes to an older Escape review. Can you update the link? Would be great to read the rest!
  10. Food Republic and Ocean Blue are our favorites on the Joy. One plus about the Joy is that Le Bistro has outdoor seating on the Waterfront. It's lovely in the evenings if you're in port late. On some of the other Breakaway/Plus type ships, Le Bistro is tucked away inside; we like the outdoor option better. For the others: Cagney's is always solid. La Cucina is good, but can be hit-or-miss. Teppenyaki is fun the first time but kind of meh the more you see it. Q wasn't bad but didn't blow me away—less than memorable. For our upcoming cruise on the Joy, we declined the Free at Sea Dining Package, since we have Latitudes vouchers + a Le Bistro cert from our TA. 3 specialties on a 7 day cruise is more than enough; we like the MDR and you don't feel like you need to be rolled out of there.
  11. Great review! We were on the Jewel the week before you. There were indeed 700 kids on that sailing, and we also had to line up to get the kids into Splash Academy (which is definitely undersized for a sailing with 700 kids). But the staff there were great. It looks like it was a big staff turnover from our week to yours. We had a different cruise director, and the other staff names look completely different as well. Cherry Pie was there, though! We also had a great cruise—we just bore the full brunt of the Spring Break crowds.
  12. Another trick if you're on a Mac: when you go to print, save a PDF instead. The Mac's Preview app allows you to mark up PDFs, and I use that feature to add our name, address, and phone number to the spaces for those on the tag. For me, that's way easier than writing that info in with a pen once it's printed. Not to mention more legible—my penmanship, which was always bad, has not improved in this digital age.
  13. Safari was doing that for a while on my Mac, last fall. I used Firefox instead, and that worked. For my most recent round of luggage tags—I printed a few last week—Safari was back to working fine again. Make sure you're up to date on your updates (though it could be NCL's site too).
  14. That’s probably what they did. We haven’t had much luck with requesting substitutions or any customizations in the MDR. “Could you hold the ____?”, “Could we have ____ instead of ____?”, “Could the eggs be done _____?”, etc. The waiter always makes a note of it, but the food invariably seems to come out exactly as the menu-makers intended it to. Our rule of thumb has become that if we wouldn’t be happy with a menu item as-written, we’d do well to just get something else. Not a complaint—the wait staff is usually really busy—just an observation. I’m actually kind of impressed that they went to get something from another restaurant, even if the end result was rather pitiful. The Haven is a different story, of course.
  15. I can't agree with "well, the crew must not hate it, they keep coming back"—that sentiment generally holds true for developed countries, like the US, but not as much for the developing world. Take the Philippines as an example. There's lots of work in Manila, but not in the provinces, where many of the workers are from. It's impractical or impossible to commute from those provinces to Manila on a daily basis, so any choose to rent a room or apartment in Manila instead, and only see their families on the weekends. If you were in that position, would you consider a job where your expenses are paid for 8 months, and you make decent money (and you can take home pretty much whatever you make)? With your commute to Manila, you'd only be home 2 out of 7 days anyway—so you'd be trading weekends with your family for a longer block of time with your family, plus you don't have to rent in Manila. That's still a choice that most of us wouldn't want to have to make. Being home with your family every night is truly an underrated privilege. We're not going to solve the world's problems here on CruiseCritic, but we can be vocal in support of the crew. I haven't been on a cruise yet with the once-a-day cabin servicing, but I plan to watch carefully on my next cruise. If the stewards are noticeably overworked, I'm going to complain to NCL about it. A happy crew benefits us all.
  16. We're taking a family cruise. I handled check-in duties for our family and our in-laws, so I had to watch it 8 times! I'm not worried about them seeing the video—they'll see it as soon as they turn on the TVs in their staterooms.
  17. More anecdotal evidence: we sail April 2nd, and I had to watch the video while checking in.
  18. I'm really interested in what I'll observe when I board the Jewel in just over two weeks. We have always been treated really well by the crew, and each vacation felt special. I only ever recall one instance of a crewmember telling us that he was exhausted and felt like he needed a break, and that was back in 2017. Hopefully NCL realizes that their best asset is their crew, and does whatever's necessary to keep the crew happy. Happy crew, happy passengers.
  19. No, no, no....what you should be doing is packing an over-the-door shoe organizer to hold all the heavy duty tape, garbage bags, and bungee cords. Don't forget the 16-port power strip for all of the electronic devices you're carrying. I sure hope you didn't forget the screwdriver, 10 extra pillows, or your crockpot.
  20. That's a really good point. I don't remember there being large tables that would seat 8 in O'Sheehans. Probably the MDR is the better option for our embarkation lunch this time around. Hope you won the battle of wishes, but I'm guessing you made your wife happy (which is also a win!).
  21. We were thinking of going to O'Sheehans for embarkation lunch for our upcoming cruise on the Jewel—either that or the MDR. Is O'Sheehans as noisy as it is on the newer ships? Or is it quieter? We're traveling with family, and have a dinner later that day reserved in the MDR all together, so I was thinking maybe we'd go somewhere else for lunch. But, as mentioned, the buffet is always super crowded, so maybe O'Sheehans would work, as long as it isn't super loud. Is it quiet and easy to get a table? If so, O'Sheehans might jump to the top of our list.
  22. It seems that a lot of people are assuming that if they're using NCL's flights and transfers, then the ship will wait for them—similar to how NCL's excursions would work—but the T&Cs are pretty clear: what happens before you get to the ship isn't NCL's responsibility. NCL may try to make accommodations if you're late, like getting you to the next port, but they can't guarantee anything. Caveat emptor. All the best practices for getting to the ship on time still apply: get there 1 day early if it's a short flight, or 2 days early if it's a transcontinental or transoceanic, and carry travel insurance. Or alternately, know that you're rolling the dice by flying into the port city on departure day.
  23. Well, not really, right? People expect their cabins to be serviced sometime between 8 and noon, right? Previously they had 8 to service within 4 hours, then those same 8 to service during a 4 hour span at night. Now they have 8 hours to do 16 cabins—but passengers will surely complain if it's 4 PM and their cabins haven't been serviced yet. So the pressure is there, even if the workload is the same. Which it's probably not, right? Since you'd have to make every bed in the morning shift and not necessarily every evening shift, since not everyone naps, the morning service would have been more work. I get where the stewards are coming from. If this change actually gave them a break, I'd like it. Since they were already busy, and now it's worse, I don't like it.
  24. If you're worried about the passports, do try reaching out to your US congressperson's office. They were able to help us get visas expedited, and I know they do passports too.
  25. Antigua was such a surprise. We went in with no real expectations and were thoroughly charmed. Kind of reminds us of Old San Juan but in the mountains instead of at the beach. Hope you enjoy the canal transit. Still my favorite cruise memory after a lot of cruises.
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