NCL Cruises / Cruise on NCL Dawn Aug. 23 to Aug. 30
September 5, 2009
Ms. Yvonne Thompson
7665 Corporate Center Drive
Miami, Florida 33126
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.
More NCL Cruises Complaints & Reviews
- Norwegian Cruise Line - No customer service at all 
- Norwegian Cruise Line - Worst experience ever
- Norwegian Cruise Line - Horrible service, rude staff, poor quality food! 
- Norwegian Cruise Line - Room,service and food
- Norwegian Cruise Line - Leaves a lot to be desired
- NCL Cruise Line - unauthorized room charges.
- Norwegian Cruise Line / NCL Corporation - deal that I found on travelzoo 
- Norwegian Cruise Line / NCL Corporation - wrong information and disorganization
- Norwegian Cruise Line / NCL Corporation - bahama cruise from miami july 27-30 2018
- NCL - cabin