Engine Malfunction Cause us over $4400 to Get Home

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Sep 23, 2016
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#1
We traveled on the Norwegian Star to the Baltic Sea on June 25, 2016. It was an enjoyable cruise until we got to Stockholm where the ship experienced engine problems and was not able to leave the port for about 8 hours. This delay, caused us and countless other passengers to miss their flights home at considerable expense.....$4,483.11 to be exact. Booking last minute one way flights is outrageous...that alone was $4,056.12. A return flight was even completely booked for two days on the same airline. When news of this delay was apparent, there was confusion and frustration on board. The ships staff seemed ill equipped to handle the chaos....and communications for those trying to rebook flights was inadequate. Even the captain of the ship said at a meeting his job was to run the ship, not handle what to do about situations like this...many were left on their own trying to figure out how to get home...people waited in lines for hours to get answers. What was offered to us was $$300/person for airline change fees and $250 for a hotel stay if required. That of course was just a fraction of what it actually cost us to get home. We did file an official claim with NCL for reimbursement for our expenses, claiming that this additional out of pocket expenses were a result of their ship's inability to get us back to our departure port on time. It is an implied contractual obligation to do so. As of this writing (9/23/16), there has been no response from NCL. So the question is, shouldn't they be responsible to make us whole for a situation that was of no fault of our own....when clearly it was an issue with the ship's equipment. We did have travel insurance, but it only covered us if we got ill, not if the ship broke down. We also did recently submit a complaint to the Miami Office of Consumer Affairs...still no resolution.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
Did you book your original flight home at the times that NCL recommends, which is usually after noon? (They give you those times so that if something like this happens, it is likely that you will still be able to make your flights even if the ship is delayed).

NCL recommends return flights be booked 6 hours or more after the suggested arrival time in port. If you did what they said, then you should ask for compensation.

For cruise-only guests booking your own return flights, we suggest a departure time no less than six hours after the announced arrival time of the ship.

And it isn't the Captains job to help people rebook flights in this case. If you didn't book with a travel agent who could have rebooked you, then it is up to each passenger to do it themselves.If you had booked the air through NCL, they would have had to rebook you as well and you might have not been charged fees.

We have Customer Contacts on top of our pages. If it has been at least a week since you wrote to Customer Service, use our contacts and write to the first executive shown for NCL. (They are probably inundated with requests). Advise that you wrote on such and such a date and have not heard anything and then re-iterate the story in bullet points and tell him what you are requesting.

I don't think that they understand that most people had to repurchase flights, it was not just a case of getting on another flight for the same airline and change fees aren't adequate.

I have seen plenty of people in this situation and often the cruise line will reimburse them in full for the difference in plane fare if you ask in a well written letter. They say they are going to give you so much and hope that no one asks for more.

Start writing and let us know how you make out. I hope you'll be successful.
 
Likes: Patina
Sep 23, 2016
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#4
Did you book your original flight home at the times that NCL recommends, which is usually after noon? (They give you those times so that if something like this happens, it is likely that you will still be able to make your flights even if the ship is delayed).

NCL recommends return flights be booked 6 hours or more after the suggested arrival time in port. If you did what they said, then you should ask for compensation.

For cruise-only guests booking your own return flights, we suggest a departure time no less than six hours after the announced arrival time of the ship.

And it isn't the Captains job to help people rebook flights in this case. If you didn't book with a travel agent who could have rebooked you, then it is up to each passenger to do it themselves.If you had booked the air through NCL, they would have had to rebook you as well and you might have not been charged fees.

We have Customer Contacts on top of our pages. If it has been at least a week since you wrote to Customer Service, use our contacts and write to the first executive shown for NCL. (They are probably inundated with requests). Advise that you wrote on such and such a date and have not heard anything and then re-iterate the story in bullet points and tell him what you are requesting.

I don't think that they understand that most people had to repurchase flights, it was not just a case of getting on another flight for the same airline and change fees aren't adequate.

I have seen plenty of people in this situation and often the cruise line will reimburse them in full for the difference in plane fare if you ask in a well written letter. They say they are going to give you so much and hope that no one asks for more.

Start writing and let us know how you make out. I hope you'll be successful.
Did you book your original flight home at the times that NCL recommends, which is usually after noon? (They give you those times so that if something like this happens, it is likely that you will still be able to make your flights even if the ship is delayed).

NCL recommends return flights be booked 6 hours or more after the suggested arrival time in port. If you did what they said, then you should ask for compensation.

For cruise-only guests booking your own return flights, we suggest a departure time no less than six hours after the announced arrival time of the ship.

And it isn't the Captains job to help people rebook flights in this case. If you didn't book with a travel agent who could have rebooked you, then it is up to each passenger to do it themselves.If you had booked the air through NCL, they would have had to rebook you as well and you might have not been charged fees.

We have Customer Contacts on top of our pages. If it has been at least a week since you wrote to Customer Service, use our contacts and write to the first executive shown for NCL. (They are probably inundated with requests). Advise that you wrote on such and such a date and have not heard anything and then re-iterate the story in bullet points and tell him what you are requesting.

I don't think that they understand that most people had to repurchase flights, it was not just a case of getting on another flight for the same airline and change fees aren't adequate.

I have seen plenty of people in this situation and often the cruise line will reimburse them in full for the difference in plane fare if you ask in a well written letter. They say they are going to give you so much and hope that no one asks for more.

Start writing and let us know how you make out. I hope you'll be successful.
Thank you Neil for your reply. Yes, we did book our return flights based on the window of time that NCL recommended. I do realize it is not the Captains responsibility to rebook flights for us....but it does seem to me as the Captain of the ship, he would at least have contingencies in place that would make the process work better....they set up a room with about 4 computers that were slow and often lost connections.......like I said, it was chaos and anyone that was unhappy they were told to contact customer relations in Miami when they got home. It just felt like they were passing the buck to those that were not even accessible at the time. So I did write a detailed letter to NCL via certified may which they received near the end of July along with receipts for all the additional expenses.
To date there has been no response. But I will take your suggestion to continue writing.
Thank you again.
Steven
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#5
Use our contacts. We have luck when you email them vs. snail mail. Let them know you mailed everything at the end of July and still have heard nothing nearly two months later.

Push for them to refund you the difference in price of the tickets besides the change fees.
 
Sep 23, 2016
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#6
Use our contacts. We have luck when you email them vs. snail mail. Let them know you mailed everything at the end of July and still have heard nothing nearly two months later.

Push for them to refund you the difference in price of the tickets besides the change fees.
I will do that.
 
Sep 23, 2016
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#7
So I did send an email to the VP at NCL and the very next day a response from their customer relations depart was forwarded to me from the travel agent, Pavlus Travel.
In that response they state the following:
Please note that under the terms and conditions of our Contract of Passage, Norwegian Cruise Line in its sole discretion may cancel, postpone or delay any port of call without prior notification. While every effort is made to adhere to the published schedule, there are those instances that necessitate change. Please be assured that, although we reserve the right to alter the itinerary at our discretion, as stated in our Passenger Ticket Contract, any changes are carefully considered.

Upon review of their receipts for your additional expenses, we have requested a check in the amount of $850.00 on your behalf from our accounting department. This amount corresponds to the $300.00 per person maximum for airfare fees, and $250.00 per stateroom for hotel expenses as offered onboard. The check will be forwarded to them under separate cover to the address on file within 20 - 30 business days.

I can somewhat agree with their point when the delay is no fault of their own...ie: a hurricane.
However, in this instance the delay was a result of their negligence to maintain the ship....so I believe they still have an obligation, if not contractual, to make me whole.

So your thoughts for my next step?
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#8
So I did send an email to the VP at NCL and the very next day a response from their customer relations depart was forwarded to me from the travel agent, Pavlus Travel.
In that response they state the following:
Please note that under the terms and conditions of our Contract of Passage, Norwegian Cruise Line in its sole discretion may cancel, postpone or delay any port of call without prior notification. While every effort is made to adhere to the published schedule, there are those instances that necessitate change. Please be assured that, although we reserve the right to alter the itinerary at our discretion, as stated in our Passenger Ticket Contract, any changes are carefully considered.

Upon review of their receipts for your additional expenses, we have requested a check in the amount of $850.00 on your behalf from our accounting department. This amount corresponds to the $300.00 per person maximum for airfare fees, and $250.00 per stateroom for hotel expenses as offered onboard. The check will be forwarded to them under separate cover to the address on file within 20 - 30 business days.

I can somewhat agree with their point when the delay is no fault of their own...ie: a hurricane.
However, in this instance the delay was a result of their negligence to maintain the ship....so I believe they still have an obligation, if not contractual, to make me whole.

So your thoughts for my next step?
A ship having engine problems is not always through negligence. Ships age, they get old and things break. It happens, it doesn't mean negligence.

If you aren't happy, move up to the next executive and tell them it's not sufficient and you want xyz.

BTW if you booked through a travel agent they should be doing this for you. They have BDM they can go through they should be helping you with.
 
Sep 23, 2016
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#10
A ship having engine problems is not always through negligence. Ships age, they get old and things break. It happens, it doesn't mean negligence.

If you aren't happy, move up to the next executive and tell them it's not sufficient and you want xyz.

BTW if you booked through a travel agent they should be doing this for you. They have BDM they can go through they should be helping you with.
The travel agent has been helping...but not with much success. I will go to the next executive.
 

Carrie Livingston

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Jan 6, 2015
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#11
The travel agent has been helping...but not with much success. I will go to the next executive.
What @Neil is telling you is that you should be going through the travel agent since that's who made the booking. Why didn't they rebook flights and hotel for you? Or did you not book those through them?

I'm also wondering, where did you disembark and when?
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#12
The travel agent has been helping...but not with much success. I will go to the next executive.
Did the agent contact her Sales Manager for the cruise line? That should be your first line but if even the agent can't get anywhere, hopefully writing to the executives will get you somewhere.

Tell the executive what YOU find acceptable and make you even for the expenses. I would not continue to argue that is was negligence - stuff happens on ships, just as on a car. You can only predict so many things happening. These companies think no one will ask for more but if you politely insist that you want to be fully reimbursed, you should. Exceptions are made all the time for those who may be politely persistent.
 
Likes: AAGK
Sep 23, 2016
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#13
What @Neil is telling you is that you should be going through the travel agent since that's who made the booking. Why didn't they rebook flights and hotel for you? Or did you not book those through them?

I'm also wondering, where did you disembark and when?
The travel agent only booked the cruise...we used Expedia for the flight and hotel.
The cruise left from Copenhagen on 6/25 and returned to the same port on 7/4
 
Sep 23, 2016
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#14
Did the agent contact her Sales Manager for the cruise line? That should be your first line but if even the agent can't get anywhere, hopefully writing to the executives will get you somewhere.

Tell the executive what YOU find acceptable and make you even for the expenses. I would not continue to argue that is was negligence - stuff happens on ships, just as on a car. You can only predict so many things happening. These companies think no one will ask for more but if you politely insist that you want to be fully reimbursed, you should. Exceptions are made all the time for those who may be politely persistent.
I had requested help from the agent and she contacted NCL, who said they never received my claim, which in fact they did as I have the Post Office certified receipt signed by NCL. But nontheless, I sent the agent a copy and she forwarded to NCL....I am not sure exactly who she was in contact with at NCL. When NCL responded how much they would pay, she only said to me she knew that was not what I wanted. By the way, I did have insurance...not sure if it was actually offered by NCL or the travel agent...however based on what they will pay, less what NCL is offering, the insurance benefit ends up being $150..

I will write to the executive...and thank you for the tips/points I should make....I will be polite and persistent.
 
#15
Saved $50 not using a travel agent.

Cost $4500.

The reason the engine failed is relevant. Was it maintenance (or deferred maintenance) or was it completely unexpected?

Only way to find that out is mandated discovery. If it was the result of deferred maintenance or anticipated break down the result of deferred maintenance, they are never going to tell you.
 
Likes: AAGK

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#16
Saved $50 not using a travel agent.

Cost $4500.

The reason the engine failed is relevant. Was it maintenance (or deferred maintenance) or was it completely unexpected?

Only way to find that out is mandated discovery. If it was the result of deferred maintenance or anticipated break down the result of deferred maintenance, they are never going to tell you.
Our writer did use a travel agent.

One question- did the agent book your air? If so, you might have contacted the agent to rebook you as soon as you knew about the delay. That is a service they should provide if you booked air with them. It should have been less stressful.
 
#18
I think that is joes point......
they used an agent to book the cruise - so they agent they used was responsible for booking the cruise- thats the one thing they did. why would they care about your air?

Turn this around - the cruise company had dozens of people who missed flights- the result of the engine casualty. thats tens of thousands of dollars in last minute airfares. They are going to hide behind the language in their contract for as long as they can.

I note that the contract language provides they can skip ports - but these are not cruise ports- they are origin and destination ports - where you get on and off. Being late is one thing - they can't 'skip' that port.

As I said - the questions here become:

a) what was the engine casualty specifically?;
b) was it the result of prior deferred maintenance or repair?;
c) was it reasonably forseeable?;
d) was the ship speed limited the result of the repair? [meaning did the repair mean the ship would only travel now at 12-14kts instead of a normal cruise speed of 17, and did that cause a delay into CPH?
e) could the cruise line have made up the time by cruising faster? This would have burned much more fuel - which would have resulted in a loss to the cruise line given the budgeted fuel.
f) what as the distance from the repair port to the destination port - math becomes important here.

You can see how different answers to the above questions can shift liability from the cruise line to the passenger - or back to cruise line. Simply because the cruiseline can invoke the contract language does not mean that they don't have a duty to remain on schedule as much as possible - and if it costs more fuel - then it costs them more fuel.

Stockholm to Copenhagen is about 290nm inside the Baltic Sea. At 17 knots its only 17 hours. The schedule has them with a sea day between Stockholm and Copehagen - so thats 8-10 knots at most - loafing along wasting time - arrival at Copenhagen is prob 5-6am normally - docking at 7a and debarking a couple of hours thereafter.

leaving Stockholm at midnight rather than 4pm = they should have EASILY made Copenhagen in 30 hours - so obviously something else was going on.

Obviously - SOMEONE made the decision to not drive that ship at 15 knots or higher to make Copenhagen within a couple of hours schedule -

THIS is the analysis you need to have with the next contact. I'm not going to give out a free letter here- because the analysis really is above - but the question becomes - why couldn'y the ship make up 8 hours on what is at most a 300nm journey - when it had 31 hours to do it?
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#20
they used an agent to book the cruise - so they agent they used was responsible for booking the cruise- thats the one thing they did. why would they care about your air?

Turn this around - the cruise company had dozens of people who missed flights- the result of the engine casualty. thats tens of thousands of dollars in last minute airfares. They are going to hide behind the language in their contract for as long as they can.

I note that the contract language provides they can skip ports - but these are not cruise ports- they are origin and destination ports - where you get on and off. Being late is one thing - they can't 'skip' that port.

As I said - the questions here become:

a) what was the engine casualty specifically?;
b) was it the result of prior deferred maintenance or repair?;
c) was it reasonably forseeable?;
d) was the ship speed limited the result of the repair? [meaning did the repair mean the ship would only travel now at 12-14kts instead of a normal cruise speed of 17, and did that cause a delay into CPH?
e) could the cruise line have made up the time by cruising faster? This would have burned much more fuel - which would have resulted in a loss to the cruise line given the budgeted fuel.
f) what as the distance from the repair port to the destination port - math becomes important here.

You can see how different answers to the above questions can shift liability from the cruise line to the passenger - or back to cruise line. Simply because the cruiseline can invoke the contract language does not mean that they don't have a duty to remain on schedule as much as possible - and if it costs more fuel - then it costs them more fuel.

Stockholm to Copenhagen is about 290nm inside the Baltic Sea. At 17 knots its only 17 hours. The schedule has them with a sea day between Stockholm and Copehagen - so thats 8-10 knots at most - loafing along wasting time - arrival at Copenhagen is prob 5-6am normally - docking at 7a and debarking a couple of hours thereafter.

leaving Stockholm at midnight rather than 4pm = they should have EASILY made Copenhagen in 30 hours - so obviously something else was going on.

Obviously - SOMEONE made the decision to not drive that ship at 15 knots or higher to make Copenhagen within a couple of hours schedule -

THIS is the analysis you need to have with the next contact. I'm not going to give out a free letter here- because the analysis really is above - but the question becomes - why couldn'y the ship make up 8 hours on what is at most a 300nm journey - when it had 31 hours to do it?
My point was if the same agent booked the cruise and the air they may have been able to rebook the new tickets for him and saved him money.

Your advice is what our consumer should use when writing to the cruise line. The goal is to be reimbursed for what it cost over and above the original air tickets.