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John In MD

Long time lurker, first post. Bad experience with NCL

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We've been cruising with Royal Caribbean for nearly 20 years with mostly good experiences.  For our 20th wedding anniversary we decided to try NCL for a Hawaii cruise since they had an itinerary that we liked.  In July we made reservations on the Pride of America for a May 2020 cruise.   We made made our flight reservations at the tune of a little over $2,000.

 

Today I received an email from NCL indicating the cruise was canceled so they could perform "scheduled maintenance" to the ship.  What kind of game are they playing?  If the ship was due for maintenance once a dry dock became available why were they taking reservations?!  I would assume such "scheduled maintenance" is something they would schedule better than a year in advance.

 

Here is the message I received from NCL.   To me the level of compensation is very lame considering the costs involved in getting to Hawaii.  We're out over $2,000 for a flight that we already scheduled.  I suppose we'll find a nice resort or bed and breakfast instead of the NCL cruise.  Looks like we'll be sticking with Royal Caribbean moving forward, they have never pulled a stunt like this on us.  

 

Dear Valued Guests and Travel Partners,

Norwegian Cruise Line has important information regarding Pride of America's seven-day Hawaii itineraries from April 25, 2020 through May 23, 2020, departing from Honolulu, Hawaii. All guests booked on these cruises must be aware of the change and travel professionals are asked to forward this information to their clients.

Pride of America will be undergoing scheduled maintenance. As such, the Pride of America seven-day Hawaii itineraries from April 25, 2020 through May 23, 2020 have been cancelled.  

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment this may cause. Due to these cancellations, we are offering guests who are currently booked and fully deposited on the affected sailings the following options:
 

' Option 1: Guests can move to any Pride of America sailing in 2020 excluding the December 19 and 26, 2020 holiday sailings and the cruise fare paid will be protected. Additionally, guests selecting this option will receive an onboard credit of $100 per person for the first and second guest only. The credit can be used on any expenditure onboard except for service charges.

' Option 2: Guests can move to Norwegian Jewel's Hawaii sailings on March 20, 2020; April 3, 2020; April 17, 2020 or April 30, 2020 and receive a 25% discount off the current rate. Additionally, guests selecting this option will receive an onboard credit of $100 per person for the first and second guest only. The credit can be used on any expenditure onboard except for service charges.

' Option 3: Guests can move to any open sailing fleetwide at current rates.  



Norwegian will also cover up to $300 maximum per person in air change fees. You may submit your receipts at https://www.ncl.com/case-submission. If your air travel was reserved by Norwegian Cruise Line, we will reissue your ticket. 

We look forward to hearing from you by October 3, 2019, to assist you in modifying your reservation. If we don't hear from you by October 3, 2019, your reservation will be cancelled, and a refund processed to form of payment. We are standing by on our dedicated support line at (877) 461-1160 Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.  

For any guests booked outside of the US/Canada, please visit www.ncl.com for our local contact information in handling your reservation.

We apologize again for this change and thank you for your continuous loyalty and support. We look forward to welcoming you on board soon and providing you an exceptional vacation experience. 

Sincerely,

Vivian Ewart
Senior Vice President, Passenger Services

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Surely you can change the airline tickets to something you can use and pass the change fee up to $300 per person on to NCL. Even if you don't cruise with them. At least the $2000 is not totally lost.

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Cruise ships need drydock maintenance every 5 years, the maintenance work on the Pride of America is more complicated because it is a US flag ship and there is a limited number of shipyards in the US that can fit that size of ship.

 

Most itinerary is released a year and half to 2 years in the future. it is very hard to predict the future. If norwegian was finally given a contract from a shipyard for drydock work that is required, then they had to cancel cruises otherwise it might be a long wait for the next time slot

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3 minutes ago, triptastic3 said:

Surely you can change the airline tickets to something you can use and pass the change fee up to $300 per person on to NCL. Even if you don't cruise with them. At least the $2000 is not totally lost.

I'll have to check with the airline.  Unfortunately, we couldn't fly with Southwest, we were flying with Alaskan, so the options are limited out of BWI.  The window we have time to go our vacation is limited due to that darned work thing.  I'm just upset NCL would sell seats on a cruise that they would later abruptly cancel for their convenience.  I could see having the cruise canceled at the last minute due to a mechanical failure, stuff happens.  Canceling a cruise that has already been booked for "scheduled maintenance" is beyond lame.

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I feel for you.  Not sure what change fees you would have with the airline but I would try to salvage the cruise. 

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The cancellation is most unfortunate. Make sure that you document 100% of your expenses and send it in to NCL for reimbursement. If you treat NCL with respect, regardless of what you really think, the will reimburse 100% of all reasonable expenses (even if it exceeds what they said the would reimburse). 

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Agree that sucks and it is unusual for them to have to cancel. I'm sure they would do the sailing if they could, but looks like they have offered some agreeable options. Hopefully you'll be able to salvage the vacation.

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That 14 day Hawaii & French Polynesia cruise on the Jewel they are offering is definitely one on my bucket list.

That would be a great anniversary trip. I would try to make that one work.

 

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So they cancelled your cruise, and are offering a replacement cruise but just as long as its not one of their more requested (max profitable) cruises and they'll give you OBC but you can't use it for DSC.  So they cancelled a cruise you had booked and paid for, and now they want to dictate how you can use a reschedule credit and how their "thank you" only applies to certain fees.  Wow, thanks for nothing.  I would consider it a bad experience too.  How about letting you reschedule of any cruise with availability and letting you use your "we're sorry" credit for whatever you want.  And don't give me the they didn't know when they would do maintenance, they should schedule this in advance and not determine when maintenance would be done based on bookings/profitability after they've sold space on a sailing.

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4 hours ago, John In MD said:

I'll have to check with the airline.  Unfortunately, we couldn't fly with Southwest, we were flying with Alaskan, so the options are limited out of BWI. 

 

NCL is offering $300 per ticket for flight changes. Alaska Airlines charges $125 per ticket (plus the difference in fare, of course). 

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We have had cruises cancelled on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean and both provided far better compensation.  NCL can be nickel and dime in more ways.

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Have to agree that NCL has the best cruise for doing Hawaii.  We did it already, happy to know we need not deal with this again. We usually don't book flights more than 6 months ahead of time, would have been good policy in this case.

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If you've already bought the airfare, take the cruise money and get a nice hotel. Maybe a flight to Maui from Oahu? 

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I fully understand your disappointment. But remember, unless you are locked into those dates, 20 years from now you will have wonderful memories of your anniversary cruise regardless of the dates you sail and the Jewel is a super nice ship. There must be a reason they are doing this, normally if it was simple maintenance they would not have abruptly change the plans. None of us have any idea why these things happen but they do. If it were me, I would choose any other date. They are offering several choices at least. 

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2 hours ago, Son of a son of a ... said:

NCL should have been upfront with you and told you there was a risk of cancellation due to “scheduled maintenance” during that period.  Not a lot of good news about NCL lately.

 

If they did this for all cruises around the time that the drydock is needed, until they found out the actual date it's scheduled for, they'd then need to "fire sale" cabins because nobody would be booking on those cruises.  Yes, it sucks that some folks had to have their vacations canceled but if you look around the boards you'll see this happening with ALL cruise lines.  They know when the ship is due, they just don't know the actual availability of the docks until after bookings are released for sale.  Noting that the trip is at risk of cancellation is going to result in nobody booking that trip until that warning is removed.

 

8 hours ago, Alatraveler1 said:

So they cancelled a cruise you had booked and paid for, and now they want to dictate how you can use a reschedule credit

To be clear - they're identifying certain sailings on which the OP can re-book and not pay additional on top of what's already been paid.  RCI does the same thing.  The OP can re-schedule on any other sailing they want, but if they do one that's not listed for price protection there is probably going to be additional cost.  Is it wrong to do it this way?  Maybe, but it seems to be pretty common across the industry so jumping to another line to avoid this won't do any good. 

 

Yes, the OBC part of it is a bit of a raw deal...

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22 minutes ago, hallux said:

 

If they did this for all cruises around the time that the drydock is needed, until they found out the actual date it's scheduled for, they'd then need to "fire sale" cabins because nobody would be booking on those cruises.  Yes, it sucks that some folks had to have their vacations canceled but if you look around the boards you'll see this happening with ALL cruise lines.  They know when the ship is due, they just don't know the actual availability of the docks until after bookings are released for sale.  Noting that the trip is at risk of cancellation is going to result in nobody booking that trip until that warning is removed.

 

 

Agreed, but if the cruise industry, which is increasing capacity, intends to compete with land-based vacations, then it needs to be more transparent with possible cancellations.  Resorts do not close unexpectedly for a month for maintenance.  Drydock scheduling is a cruise industry problem, but the risk should not be placed on the customer ... experiences such as OP's are going to limit the growth of cruising.  

 

There is going to be a shakeout in the near future and I think NCL is going to be the red headed stepchild (with apologies to all gingers).  RCI and Carnival are giants and NCL is attempting to compete with them instead of finding a niche.  NCL has a lot of debt and it is not going anywhere but up with its ship building schedule.

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Booked 5/9/20 this week and we received the email too. Luckily we have not purchased our airfare yet. There's nothing about it on MyNCL but you cannot book May anymore. 

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55 minutes ago, Son of a son of a ... said:

 

Agreed, but if the cruise industry, which is increasing capacity, intends to compete with land-based vacations, then it needs to be more transparent with possible cancellations.  Resorts do not close unexpectedly for a month for maintenance.  Drydock scheduling is a cruise industry problem, but the risk should not be placed on the customer ... experiences such as OP's are going to limit the growth of cruising.  

 

There is going to be a shakeout in the near future and I think NCL is going to be the red headed stepchild (with apologies to all gingers).  RCI and Carnival are giants and NCL is attempting to compete with them instead of finding a niche.  NCL has a lot of debt and it is not going anywhere but up with its ship building schedule.

I disagree, the majority of seasoned and new cruisers aren’t on CC, the vast majority never hear about dry docks, charters, revised itineraries. 

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Ugh we are in the same situation - we were supposed to cruise May 2-9 on POA and just got the same notification. I did a bunch of research last night to figure out which other POA sailing in the summer we could switch to with our work and childcare schedules, but our flights are going to cost a lot more at that time and the $300 per person they are offering to reimburse is definitely not going to cover it. Unfortunately we booked with Hawaiian Airlines so its not like we are going to spend $2000 going somewhere else they fly in the next year. We booked everything through a travel agent so I'm crossing my fingers she can make something happen that will let us still take our cruise without being out a bunch more money, as this was already a very big deal trip for us! 

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You have had "mostly" good experiences with Royal so I assume there were some bad experiences.  This was supposed to be your first cruise with NCL which you weren't able to go on and experience at all but because of this one bad experience you won't try NCL again?

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This is the case to be made for buying travel insurance in tandem with all of the other purchases you make at booking.

It's critical.

The OP doesn't understand that in this case, his beef is with the airline industry that doesn't let you just cancel a flight and give you your money back.  Not with the cruise industry who attempted to make amends for the failure without wrecking the ship's budget for the year.

Edited by MotownVoice

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Actually, Royal Caribbean does maintenance on their ships, as well. Thankfully it has never hit one of your scheduled cruises. It has happened to others though, as all cruise lines have to do this sometimes. Sucks.

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The other thing that needs to be taken into account is that POA cruises are unique. NCL can't plan on it for a year in the future and replace it with another ship.

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4 hours ago, Son of a son of a ... said:

NCL should have been upfront with you and told you there was a risk of cancellation due to “scheduled maintenance” during that period.  Not a lot of good news about NCL lately.

 

There is ALWAYS a risk of cancellation for any cruise.

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