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chrpai

Just off the NCL Getaway

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I just got back from the Getaway which was my 4th cruise (2 Carnival and 2 NCL).  My first cruise was the Carnival Magic and the second was the NCL Jade or Gem or something like that. I have to say, I don't think I'll take NCL again any time soon.  This is a bit of a surprise to me because I remember liking NCL better then Carnival last time.

 

First the good.  The entertainment (except for the comedy) was really good.  Burn the floor,  Million Dollar Quarter,   Aerosmith Tribute, Pour House band,   Illusionarium theater (escape and cirque) were all very very good.   The ship was really nice.   The tropicana room was also really nice.   The thanksgiving meal hit the spot.

 

Ok now the not so good.  The food.  The breakfast buffet and lunch buffet was the exact same food every single day.  I never saw any variety from day to day.  Even when I went to the MDR for breakfast it was the exact same food.   MDR lunch and dinner were ok but unremarkable. I never really saw anything on the menu that jumped out at me as OMG I must have that.  We ate lunch in Houston on the way home and everyone note that our quick serve meal was better then anything we had on the ship.    It seems like NCL really expects you to pay to go to a specialty restaurant  to get the level of elegance that one used to get in the MDR.  Am I wrong here?

 

My issue with the comedy was seeing the same comedian twice and not realizing that he was going to be doing the exact same act both times.  He got offended  when people weren't laughing at his jokes.   I remember on other cruises the comedians switched ships midway through so you had fresh acts throughout the cruise.

 

Our cabin seemed really small.  Maybe my kids are just getting older.

 

Harvest Cay was OK. Food and drink prices too high to bother spending money although the $5 coconut waters were a hit with the kids.

 

I really dislike the gauntlet trying to get in and out of ports. Cozumel isn't too bad but  Roatan and Costa Maya is just damn annoying.

 

Having never been to Costa Maya before I was impressed with Mahahual.  The kids all went diving for the first time and we hung out at the Tropicante which was a really good choice.

 

My final thought was my wife had to go to the clinic on board. I don't have a problem with the $150 Dr fee or the $40 lab test but being charged $50 and $100 for two medicines that cost less then $10 each back home is just predatory and inexcusable.    We worked out a resolution that I felt was fair but it basically left me in a state of being done with NCL.  

 

 

 

 

Edited by chrpai
clarify

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The gauntlet you mentioned will be the same regardless of the line you cruise with - just a standard joy of cruise ports. 

 

All cruise lines have high prices in their clinic. Is the $10 back home your copay or the actual cost of the medication? Either way it's why travel insurance is a good idea. A run of the mill ankle sprain could ruin a bill over $1000 easy.

 

Growing kids probably make the room smaller, but I rarely share my cabin 😉

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I have a HDHP healthcare plan with no copays. I'm very aware of what meds cost.  One of the meds is literally $3.97 OTC at Walmart and they charged $100 for it.

 

 

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11 hours ago, chrpai said:

 

Ok now the not so good.  The food.  The breakfast buffet and lunch buffet was the exact same food every single day.  I never saw any variety from day to day.  Even when I went to the MDR for breakfast it was the exact same food. 

 

 

I'm curious and not being snarky.  I've always considered the breakfast buffet to be quite good and varied but yes the same every day.  What I would like to know is what would you want on the breakfast buffet that wasn't available?

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56 minutes ago, chrpai said:

I have a HDHP healthcare plan with no copays. I'm very aware of what meds cost.  One of the meds is literally $3.97 OTC at Walmart and they charged $100 for it.

 

 

 

Some of it is undoubtedly a quantity issue. Walmart buys thousands of each drug and dispenses them frequently enough that they have very little waste due to expiration. Cruise ship have a much smaller demand, so no leverage in advantageous pricing and likely have a high percentage of waste due to expiration. 

 

Probably doesn't account for all of it, but comparing the price is apples and oranges. 

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12 hours ago, chrpai said:

 

Ok now the not so good.  The food.  The breakfast buffet and lunch buffet was the exact same food every single day.  I never saw any variety from day to day.  Even when I went to the MDR for breakfast it was the exact same food.

 

I do not recall seeing on any mass-market ship where the breakfast buffet, or the MDR breakfast for that matter, changes from day to day.

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I, too, am just off the Getaway.  The cruise was NOT good, and I am an NCL loyalist.  Most people onboard seemed dissatisfied with the cruise -- both frequent NCL cruisers and first timers.  NCL shot itself in the foot on this one.  Service levels were abysmal, perhaps because it was Thanksgiving week and the ship was overcrowded, with lots of families traveling.  The ship's official capacity of 3900-ish only accounts for 2 people per cabin and I was told by staff that we had over 4800 passengers on the cruise due to many cabins in excess of 2 people per room.  All 2 or 3 course meals in the restaurants took a minimum of 2.5 hours.  A 1 course meal took 2 hours.  Dirty plates remained at the table for over an hour in between courses.  A shore excursion group in Costa Maya was "stuck" on private property for hours by armed locals who were angry that the shore excursions were consistently driving on their private property -- the ship had to go get them, not sure if money changed hands. (I was NOT on this shore excursion but perhaps someone who was can chime in -- I have heard from some that it was a jeep excursion and others that it was a dune buggy excursion -- in any event, having movement prohibited by local gunmen for several hours while on a ship's excursion is NOT a good thing). Had to tender in Roatan which caused a number of problems -- the first 2 tenders ended up circling for an hour before being able to disembark passengers, at which time many passengers were vomiting and one child fainted from lack of ventilation.  The ship claimed it was not told by port control until the day prior that tender would be required -- but the ship SHOULD have known weeks if not months prior that tender would be required since RCCL was also in port that day and RCCL owns the one operational dock (with the other one still under construction for an estimated 6 more months).  When I inquired about refund of port fees due to tendering instead of docking, I was told that headquarters had not approved a refund, but if approved, a refund would be given on the credit card used to book the cruise within 60 to 90 days after the cruise was complete. Took 3 days and 3 requests to get the empty tissue box replaced -- eventually resorted to putting the empty box on the cabin door handle which finally got the job accomplished.  I can go on and on about poor service levels, but suffice it to say that every day had a multitude of service lapses.  Staff seemed neither knowledgable, competent nor caring.  All in all, this cruise was NOT up to the service standards I expect from NCL.  As to things done right, I would say that embarkation was amazing well done, with large numbers of passengers handled in a manner that quickly moved them through.

Edited by SeaOfTranquility
add a vowel

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10 minutes ago, SeaOfTranquility said:

Iperhaps because it was Thanksgiving week and the ship was overcrowded, with lots of families traveling.  The ship's official capacity of 3900-ish only accounts for 2 people per cabin and I was told by staff that we had over 4800 passengers on the cruise due to many cabins in excess of 2 people per room. 

I think you hit the nail on the head. This is one reason why we NEVER cruise on a big holiday!

 

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your cruise. I however, am still looking forward to my first time on NCL (Getaway) in March!

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11 minutes ago, MrsKC08 said:

I however, am still looking forward to my first time on NCL (Getaway) in March!

I'm sure you will have a great time.  As I previously stated, I have been an NCL loyalist and have been VERY pleased with all other cruises I have taken with them.  Have a GREAT time.  I believe (and hope) that service levels on the Thanksgiving cruise were an aberration.  But if you are docking in Costa Maya, I would suggest you choose your shore excursion carefully.

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Just now, SeaOfTranquility said:

I'm sure you will have a great time.  As I previously stated, I have been an NCL loyalist and have been VERY pleased with all other cruises I have taken with them.  Have a GREAT time.  I believe (and hope) that service levels on the Thanksgiving cruise were an aberration.  But if you are docking in Costa Maya, I would suggest you choose your shore excursion carefully.

Thank you for the information. We are considering Maya Chan...but since this is one port we have never been to, we are not sure what we want to do.

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I'm sorry to hear this cruise was not up to standard.  The Getaway seems to be a bit cursed this year. The recent transatlantic was reported to be a service nightmare due to many of the more experienced crew members being moved to the Encore. It seems training is lacking and adding an overwhelming number of passengers for a holiday sailing just compounds the problem. There has to be a better way to put a new ship online without destroying service on the other ships.

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42 minutes ago, MrsKC08 said:

Thank you for the information. We are considering Maya Chan...but since this is one port we have never been to, we are not sure what we want to do.

If Maya Chan is available, go. It's truly a heavenly, relaxing place where you will feel spoiled!

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Just now, Kwakwa630 said:

If Maya Chan is available, go. It's truly a heavenly, relaxing place where you will feel spoiled!

I've really heard good things. I think my hubby doesn't feel the need to do that since we are only there until 2pm and feels that since it isn't a full day that we are wasting it. We are doing Nachi in Cozumel and he also might think two "beach resort days" are a waste. But thanks so much for the thumbs up.

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39 minutes ago, Zippeedee said:

I'm sorry to hear this cruise was not up to standard.  The Getaway seems to be a bit cursed this year. The recent transatlantic was reported to be a service nightmare due to many of the more experienced crew members being moved to the Encore. It seems training is lacking and adding an overwhelming number of passengers for a holiday sailing just compounds the problem. There has to be a better way to put a new ship online without destroying service on the other ships.

It really did seem as if we had a LOT of inexperienced staff onboard during the cruise.  Their English language skills also seemed a little deficient.  I have never had difficulty understanding the English of cruise ship staff before this cruise -- but often had to ask staff to repeat themselves (often, several times) on this ship before I could understand what they were saying..

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1 hour ago, SeaOfTranquility said:

d with the cruise -- both frequent NCL cruisers and first timers.  NCL shot itself in the foot on this one.  Service

 

We did notice how long MDR service took but I didn't think to write about it.  You are correct though service was very very slow.  My kids sat at the sports pub for 45 minutes waiting to get their food.  We sat down at a different table a few minutes later and pretty much got it right away.

Embarkation seemed like complete chaos.  Disembarkation was the easiest I've ever had.  We were self assist and in line early... immigrations had 1 officer barely looking at passports and no customs checkpoint at all.  I was on the road by 7:45am.

I had not heard the story about people being help up in Costa Maya.  I know there were like 5-7 names they were trying to find when it was time to leave.

One more big negative on this trip:  On about 5 occasions I overheard customers getting very heated and abusing staff.  One male customer was upset about tendering and was asking for an update.  The female officer gave the book answer of what was going on and the male customer started screaming at her with a bunch of F bombs being dropped about how she was worthless to him because she wouldn't answer the F*ing question.  This was right outside the fwd elevators on deck 6 for everyone to hear.  I felt really bad for her and almost got in the guys face.


 

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Another point I remember... I didn't meet my room steward until Wednesday. That seemed unusual compared to my previous cruises.

 

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15 hours ago, chrpai said:

 

 The breakfast buffet and lunch buffet was the exact same food every single day.  I never saw any variety from day to day.  Even when I went to the MDR for breakfast it was the exact same food.   

 

 

 

 

YOu really expect a changing buffet for breakfast every day? Or are you only talking about lunch? For lunch i can understand your disapointment.

But for breakfast i never had any hotel/ship where the breakfast buffet changed.

 

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Let me put it this way... on my other three trips all four of us never noticed before that breakfast never changed.  It sure seemed like this trip stuck out in that way.

I stay at hotels frequently and it's common for a couple things to be different on different days of the  week. A different protein and egg combination at least is typical.



 

Edited by chrpai

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30 minutes ago, chrpai said:

One more big negative on this trip:  On about 5 occasions I overheard customers getting very heated and abusing staff.  One male customer was upset about tendering and was asking for an update.  The female officer gave the book answer of what was going on and the male customer started screaming at her with a bunch of F bombs being dropped about how she was worthless to him because she wouldn't answer the F*ing question.  This was right outside the fwd elevators on deck 6 for everyone to hear.  I felt really bad for her and almost got in the guys face.

Excellent point!  This....this is why I think there are so many problems in general in every service industry, and more so in hospitality.  Do step up and do what you can for an employee getting berated by the arrogant elite that want "their's" before someone else gets it.  Last year in LGA I sat with my family and watched/listened to "that guy" and a real swell "lady" act like this with a waitress.  Maybe I am overly sensitive due to what I do for a living but after 10 minutes of it I admittedly lost my cool and called them both out for their simply asinine behavior.  The poor girl got sat 18 guests inside of five minutes (you know the airport joints that you seat yourself as the flight comes in) at four different tables and the guy was losing his cookies over a STRAW!  Staffing on cruise ships is no different than anywhere else right now and it is not easy to find, train, and keep staff.  With fools like what you describe being all over....who would want to do that for a living?  The wage back home is inching ever closer to what NCL, etal, will give them.  It only takes a moment to be kind, maybe an extra deep breath or two as well.  In the end most issues described these days have very little to do with the "boots on ground" staff, no need to hammer on them.
 

 

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I also found the passengers to be less polite than other cruises on which I have sailed. Not sure if it was due to the abysmal service received —- but verbal abuse is never the answer (with the possible exception if you were one of the passengers held at gunpoint). I did find a single passenger who thought the cruise was awesome — but he was 11 years old so might not have known better.

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My family and I will be on the same itinerary 12/29- 1/5. If you have any of your dailies, it would be very helpful to us if you could post them. Thank you!😊

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