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NCL Cruises / Cruise on NCL Dawn Aug. 23 to Aug. 30

1 NY, United States Review updated:

September 5, 2009

Ms. Yvonne Thompson
Customer Relations
7665 Corporate Center Drive
Miami, Florida 33126
Tel: [protected]
Fax: [protected]

CC: Leon Black Apollo Management L.C.
Cruise Line International Association
Consumer Affairs Organization

Dear Ms. Thompson,

I am writing to advise you of my concern, displeasure and disappointment with the recent cruise I booked with your cruise line.

My family and I were guests aboard the NCL Dawn for the cruise that set sail from New York to Bermuda from August 23rd through August 30th 2009. Our complete names are: Carmen Ferrigno (age 40), Sandra Ferrigno (age 41), Alec Ferrigno (age 10), Jude Ferrigno (age 6).

I will detail several of the issues we had with your cruise, but I want to start with the most important and most frightening for me and my family.

NCL’s Complete Disregard for the Safety of My Two Children: When we check into our stateroom on Sunday, August 23rd we found that the child lock on the balcony door was broken, so that anyone could open the door even if it was in the upright or locked position. Given that we have a six year old child (and a ten year old child), this was a serious concern for us.

We reported the incident to your customer service representatives who said they would send someone to look at it that night. No one did.

The next morning we asked again and your team sent a carpenter by the name of Marlon who looked at the lock, agreed that it was broken and said it looked like it was a big job and he wasn’t sure he would get to it. I told him this was a priority and he said it would be fixed that afternoon (Monday, August 24)

That night, we saw that it was not fixed and the following morning I then called your customer service representatives again and was told that the lock was broken, it could not be fixed and we would have to stay in the room until we reached Bermuda when they would get a part to fix it.

Those three nights were ruined since neither my wife nor I could sleep knowing that our small son could open that door and potentially fall overboard. When we asked if we could be moved we were told there were no open rooms available. No one ever suggested switching with someone who did not have a small child.

I believe the broken lock is clear violation of your safety code and that my family was put in real danger by your staff’s lack of concern or action. I can tell you that my vacation was ruined because of it and am asking for a full refund of my money. Your organization states in all your literature that the safety and welfare of your passengers is your number one priority and yet no one on your staff did anything to address this problem for half of my vacation.

In addition to the above issues, I am listing several others we believe violated your policies and led to our dissatisfaction:

The Safety of Your Guests: We signed up our children (ages 6 & 10) for your Kids Club “Free Style Play”. The first time we arrived, we informed the staff supervisor that both of our children had asthma and asked if we could be given a beeper just in case one of them had an asthma attack. We were told by the supervisor that beepers were only given to parents of children two and under (primarily to deal with the inconvenience of having to change diapers) and that it would be sufficient if we just gave them the area that we would be in and if a problem arose they would come get us. Please note that at no time did your child care staff ask for us to drop of my children’s inhalers. We kept checking in our children during the hour and a half they were there for free play because we were concerned that they would have a problem and we might not be able to get there in time. While they had no incident of asthma, your staff’s lack of concern convinced us that we would not use your Kids Club again. In fact, we feel that your cruise staff’s primary concern was that of dirty diapers rather than genuine medical issues for the children in their care, a fact that truly disturbed us and clearly ran counter to your literature that states safety is your primary concern. 

Price Gouging and Oppressive Policies: Our second night, we had reservation at one of your premium restaurants, Salsa. Our room was minutes from the restaurant. Three minutes prior to our reservation time, the restaurant called our room to inform us that if we were more than 15 minutes late, not only would they not hold our reservation, but they would also charge us the full restaurant fee. When we arrived at the restaurant two minutes later, we were surprised to see that it was completely empty and reservations were clearly not needed. We understand that one of NCL’s policies is that if you do not cancel a reservation within certain amount of time that you will be charged the addition fee. However, threats to guests before they are even late seem ridiculous and the idea of forcing us to pay yet again for services we didn’t even use is unethical.

Price Gouging and Hidden Fees: Throughout the cruise we and other passengers (we spoke to many families while our children were playing together in the pool area) that we were being “nickled and dimed to death” with various hidden fees and outrageous prices for items usually included such as bingo cards, soft drinks, and tips. We were on an NCL cruise 3 years ago and didn’t feel this way. We had a pleasant experience and that is why we booked this trip. To hear that bingo cost a woman and her daughter her $90 shows just how appalling your policies have become. The most egregious of these fees was the hidden TIP FEES of $12 per person per day you charged everyone on board. For a family of four, those fees amounted to $337 for our vacation. Not only is it completely unethical to demand such charges, the fact that guests are not told about it ensures that for most of the vacation, they are double tipping. Given that your sit down restaurants had strange and constantly changing hours, we wound up eating at these buffets quite often and yet we were still charged the $12 per person fee for tipping.

Health and Welfare of Guests: We spoke to many other families onboard about the fact that in your main buffet restaurants, including the Garden Cafe and Deli and the 24 hour restaurant/diner, the restaurants were so understaffed that we were forced to clear other guests plates and since no staff member ever wiped down a single table, we had to resort to getting our own hot water from the beverage counter to wipe down the tables ourselves as did many of the other guests. This was highly unsanitary and is a primary factor in the fact that all of my family wound up getting severe respiratory infections during the trip. Our doctors’ bills far outweighed the tips you forced on us.

While Bermuda was beautiful and we enjoyed the time there, your company’s lack of concern for our safety and health, the horrible service, outrageous hidden fees and unsanitary conditions have convinced us that unless you change your policies drastically, we will never book another trip with NCL or its affiliates and we will let everyone we know why.

I expect a written reply from your team as soon as possible. Please note I will be forwarding a copy of this communication to the Cruise Line International Association and Consumer Affairs Organization as well as to your corporate offices. I also will be sending a copy of this to Leon Black, founder of Apollo Management L.P. at 9 West 57th Street, 43rd Floor, New York, NY 10022, as I believe their recent investment in NCL makes them an interested party.


Carmen Ferrigno

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  • Le
      5th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes


  • Ms
      17th of Dec, 2010
    0 Votes

    Totally agree with the other two people. Took the NCL cruise to Canada in September. One of the ports was left out because of a problem with the ship and we were nickled and dimed to death the whole time. On the last night we paid almost $40 to use their computers to get our boarding passes and the computer kept timing out, it was so slow, and we were not able to get the passes. I went to the purser to advise what had happened and he just looked at me, did not say one word, just looked at me. I thought, Okay, I get it this happens all the time and there are no refunds. The food was terrible and most of the places to eat were the places where you have to pay a cover charge. Long time cruisers, have never cruised NCL and will never cruise with them again, so bad, no second chances.

  • Mi
      5th of Jun, 2014
    0 Votes

    This is my response to there final email to me. I will paste there response under it. I will never use this cruise line again

    I wanted to send one final email as a Christian woman I am leaving this in Gods hands now but I will make a few last remarks.

    Understanding my disappointment as you stated in your email doesn't make up for the fact that I was lied to and the vacation I booked was falsely advertised. Yes I did contact the cruise consultant after I got on board and went to purchase the package as he advised me to do and was told It wasn't available due to spring break and yes he repeated the same thing I was just told. Disappointment isn't the proper word for this situation and for you to back your employee who did such a low and deceitful thing shocks me I have to tell you especially since you wouldn't even listen to me when I told you he laughed at me because it wasn't in his notes (Red Flag for me). I have a question for you Yvonne if you went to purchase a car and that car was $10, 000.00 and the sales men said it gets 20 miles to the gallon, you sign for it and wait for them to get it ready with excitement that you get to pull off the lot in a new car. They pull the car around you get in it and before you pull off the lot you read the manual and find out it actually only gets 5 miles to the gallon so you go in and they tell you oh sorry for that but hey if you only go to the store and back each day you will be fine, gas wont cost you any more, would this be ok for you? No because you want to do more then just go to the store each day don't you especially on your days off, besides who are they to tell you how you should drive your car right!! So now do you think the dealership needs to make this situation right or is it ok that the sales man lied to you in order to get a sale and the dealership is ok with this to?

    Signage posted inside and outside the arcade as you state, this is all well and good if I had been inside the arcade. Why isn't this posted in our state rooms on the bathroom wall some place that a parent especially one on there first cruise would be able to see it and do something to prevent such a thing from happening. My children are minors they have no authority or authorization from us to use our credit cards and for you to be ok with this happening once again is deceitful and shocking. I am not sure if you have children Yvonne but the arcades now use cards and what happens is we go in with the kids we put $20.00 on the card and when it runs out they are done. Hooking a credit card up to a card would never happen nor is there any arcade around that even gives that as an option so why would I have had the slightest bit of an idea that your cruise line would have allowed minors to charge on a credit card they are not authorized to use.

    Furthermore alerting someone of a $300.00 charge in a day from the arcade I do hope this is a joke, but with the pattern of deceit and praying on people who are new to cruises that your company clearly uses this absurd rule I don't find shocking at this point.

    You stated in your email that you we are unable to honor my request for an adjustment or refund of these charges. I never asked for a refund nor an adjustment what I did was ask for you as a representative of Norweigen Cruise lines to make this situation right after all the deceit and lies have now cost us. If you recall our exact conversation when you said "so what is it that you want" and I stated I am not sure what it is you mean you then told me "well the cruise line will not credit you back anything you spent on the ship". This is the point I said to you well why would you even ask me how much I wanted back and in the same breath tell me I wouldn't get anything. This was when I realized you were not listening to a thing I said and you were just doing your job of dodging and weaving the truth that I am sure you already know, your company is dishonest and they do it in such a way that they wont face criminal charges.

    The best is now you add insult to injury by offering us something you know we wont use. You want us to now spend more money with you company in order to get a $200 on board credit that probable wouldn't be there when we got on board anyway. Norwegen Cruise lines is a big company you could have made this situation right in a heart beat and not taken a financial hit at all. Instead you hurt us so bad financially that it will take us months to pay this off not including the finance charges we are now going to have to pay to. This could have been the best trip I had ever been on in my life and I can not with any ounce of my being tell anyone to use your Cruise Line because I would never be able to live with myself when this happened to them. I will use every avenue I have available to me (social media, print, teachers union, Patrolmens Benevolent Association, Christian Ministries, the CrossFit organization to name a few) so I can get this information out about your company in hopes to save other families from going through the same horrific ordeal that we are going through.

    So I at this time will thank you for your time and know we will be praying for you.

    Michelle Kostidakis

    Dear Mrs. Kostidakis:

    Thank you for your correspondence and for taking the time to speak with me concerning your recent cruise onboard the Norwegian Getaway.

    We appreciate that you chose Norwegian Cruise Line for your family's vacation at sea. After delivering cruises for over 47 years, our goal remains the same: to offer a fantastic cruise experience to all our guests from beginning to end. We are truly sorry to learn that we fell short of your expectations in certain aspects of your voyage, and apologize for any disappointment you experienced.

    We sincerely apologize for any miscommunication with regard to the availability Beverage Package, we do understand your disappointment when you arrived onboard. Our records indicate that you contacted the Cruise Consultant on the first day of the cruise and was explained to your the package was blocked out for all sailing during the spring break period. This explains why the Cruise Consultant could not add the package during the reservation process and prior to the cruise. Nevertheless, we understand your disappointment and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

    Further, we regret learning you were not aware there is a charge for using the video arcade machines. While we understand your position in this matter, we must ask you to note that there is signage posted both inside and outside of the arcade that advises the following: There is a charge for all arcade games. Swiping card will charge your onboard account. In addition to those posts, each machine in the arcade has a label that explains how much each game is, and says "swipe card here to play."

    In addition to the above mentioned signage, we also alert the primary card holder when the account reaches in excess of $300.00 in video arcade games in a single day. You may also view your onboard account during the cruise from your stateroom. We apologize for any disappointment in this regard.

    Based on this information, we are unable to honor your request for an adjustment or refund of these charges. However, we would like for you to know that we have discussed this matter with our Casino Department so that they may be made aware of your impressions and take them into consideration when we next review our policies and procedures in these areas.

    Mrs. Kostidakis, It is never our desire for our guests to be disappointed or inconvenienced in any way, and we regret that your cruise experience did not fully meet your expectations this time. We are pleased to hear the other aspects of your cruise were enjoyable and hope to have the pleasure of welcoming your family onboard another voyage in the near future.

    Norwegian Cruise Line has earned its reputation by providing an unsurpassed cruise product, along with exceptional service. Once again, we apologize for any lapse in service you encountered during the reservation process. We have copied the head of our Reservations department, so they may be aware of your impressions and for corrective measures to prevent any future occurrences.

    While we cannot offer you compensation for your onboard expenses, as a gesture of goodwill we have arranged an Onboard Credit Certificate in the amount of $200.00, with the genuine hope that this will make your next vacation with us more memorable. The certificate will be mailed to the above address within the next two business days.

    Thank you for allowing us an opportunity to address your concerns.


    Yvonne D. Thompson
    Guest Relations

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