NORWEGIAN SKY: Cruise from HELL

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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#21
This was a real shame and you are right to be disappointed. But as my colleagues have pointed out, many of these issues could have been avoided had you been properly counseled on choices: the cruise line, the cabin, the itinerary, the time of sailing. A cruise experience on NCL is almost guaranteed to disappoint after spending time on other ships. A good travel agent would have been able to fix almost all the problems you had by directing you to a ship that would have offered the experience you expected. TAs are paid by the cruise lines, so there's no reason to book a cruise through an online booking service. Did you compare the cost of a comparable cruise with other cruise lines? Was NCL less expensive? I remember my only cruise on NCL many years ago; our cabin steward was such a jerk that I was scared of him. I urge you to find a TA who is a cruise expert and book your next cruise so your whole family puts this ugly experience behind you and properly enjoy yourselves.
 
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Neil Maley

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#22
If you follow the link I posted, Crossings requires reservations. Otherwise, it can be along wait. But perhaps they were unaffected by that . . .

Weather or cold water, to be unavailable for the WHOLE cruise is on NCL in my opinion . . .
Thanks Neal, I hadn't realized that. I haven't done an NCL cruise yet, but will be on the (docked) NCL Joy overnight at the end of this month in San Francisco.
This was a cool winter in Florida and Caribbean. We’ve sailed during this time frame and it’s sometimes too cold to swim and there were terrible winds off the Coast the week they sailed. I was in Florida and it was too cool to go to the pool. It is very possible it was too cold to swim or the water was rough enough that they had to close pools. Remember the ship couldn’t tender in and the writer also says the water was cool and the Seas rough. That is not something the cruise line BDM
Control.

There were really only two issues with the cruise/ housekeeping and communication .
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#23
With three NCL ocean cruises "under my belt", I'm going to echo what Neil said about NCL vs RCL. Every cruise line will have nuances that make it unique. So when choosing one over another, we have to investigate thoroughly and match our expectations accordingly. I do recall learning that while HAL catered to an older crowd, their formal dining was a no-no for us.

For me, I very much enjoyed ours and would choose NCL in a heartbeat. I like the informal atmosphere and the smaller ships. Ir memory serves, NCL was among the first to offer the all-inclusive experience. What tripped us up is similar to our guest. I didn't know what to expect in some things and had to adjust. Some of it was tolerance on my part, and some was figuring out what I needed to do to be successful. In the end we pretty well had it figured out.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#24
This was a cool winter in Florida and Caribbean. We’ve sailed during this time frame and it’s sometimes too cold to swim and there were terrible winds off the Coast the week they sailed. I was in Florida and it was too cool to go to the pool. It is very possible it was too cold to swim or the water was rough enough that they had to close pools. Remember the ship couldn’t tender in and the writer also says the water was cool and the Seas rough. That is not something the cruise line BDM
Control.

There were really only two issues with the cruise/ housekeeping and communication .
I think cruise lines should be able to heat their pools. For two of our three cruises, the pools were very busy and very much a part of the social scene. The third was to Alaska . . .
 
Apr 8, 2019
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#26
So sorry to hear about your problems aboard the NCL Sky. We just returned aboard the NCL Jade on a 10 day voyage during the same time period. Unfortunately your travel agent put you in the smallest room, under the Garden Cafe, and at the back of the ship where you experience the most movement and vibration from the engines below. You probably could have purchased 2 adjacent inside room midship for the same price you paid. NCL publishes a ship map on their website showing what is above and below you room, and I always pick midship with rooms above and below us to minimize noise. There is a Hotel Director on every NCL ship with a direct line to communicate with him or her to resolve room problems such as you experienced. Safety of passengers is the major concern at sea, and changes of itinerary is at the discretion of the Captain. NCL's Bill of Rights is also found on their website. https://www.ncl.com/sites/default/files/CruiseIndustryPassengerBillofRights052313.pdf
I would follow up with NCL customer service in writing about the slow cleaning and condition of your stateroom as that is definitely their fault.
 
Feb 12, 2019
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#28
Costco's great when you basically know what you want, especially if one of their deals work for you. But I agree on the booking process they're not much better than OTAs would be. I will say when I had a problem occur on my last booking Costco got it corrected quickly and went back and forth with Royal until the cascading problem was fixed. But a regular travel agency likely would have caught that they erroneously only charged me a solo deposit for a room that should have been double deposit because I was booked in a group or the email Royal sent them before Royal cancelled my reservation.
 
Apr 9, 2019
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#29
Dissatisfaction due to overpaying for cruise from the start. Next time get a TA experienced in booking cruises. No charge to passenger for TA services.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,847
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#31
Did I miss a mention of the daily cruise news? I've never been on a cruise anywhere on any size ship that didn't deliver a detailed newsletter every night right to your cabin. Hardly any ship makes in-cabin announcemens any more; nobody likes them and they're not necessary because of the newsletter. Did you get those newsletters, @fjkenney?
 
Feb 28, 2018
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#32
NCL was sold, at a very low price, last year to the same owners of Oceania and other excellent cruise lines. The new owners paid little for NCL because of its overall performance, reputation, poor design ( older ships) and ( my opinion) miserable management. The new owners are pouring $$millions into what took years to nearly disintegrate, and it may take some years to fix. One major problem is that as new cruise lines appear, and older ones improve, the better qualified workers are snapped up by the better lines, and low end cruise lines must employ what is left.Poor, unintelligible workers are not limited to the lower ends of the ship totem pole, since there are now many poorly qualified ( at best) supervisors and poor managers at the corporate level. Paying higher salaries does not work if there are no good workers to hire. Even some of the older established cruise lines are having problems finding the right staff at sea and at corporate. A good cruise travel agent will be able to provide advice, but I have recently found that many agencies ( some I replied to online) can provide pricing and cabin availability, but no advice. Try 'Cruise Critic" for recent cruise ship passenger comments. Those critics with many prior cruises are better judges.
 
Feb 12, 2019
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#33
NCL was sold, at a very low price, last year to the same owners of Oceania and other excellent cruise lines. The new owners paid little for NCL because of its overall performance, reputation, poor design ( older ships) and ( my opinion) miserable management. The new owners are pouring $$millions into what took years to nearly disintegrate, and it may take some years to fix. One major problem is that as new cruise lines appear, and older ones improve, the better qualified workers are snapped up by the better lines, and low end cruise lines must employ what is left.Poor, unintelligible workers are not limited to the lower ends of the ship totem pole, since there are now many poorly qualified ( at best) supervisors and poor managers at the corporate level. Paying higher salaries does not work if there are no good workers to hire. Even some of the older established cruise lines are having problems finding the right staff at sea and at corporate. A good cruise travel agent will be able to provide advice, but I have recently found that many agencies ( some I replied to online) can provide pricing and cabin availability, but no advice. Try 'Cruise Critic" for recent cruise ship passenger comments. Those critics with many prior cruises are better judges.
You are mistaken. NCL was not sold last year at a very low price. NCL had an IPO almost a decade ago as NCHL. Which bought Oceania a few years ago. Though shortly after they acquired Oceania one of the founders of it became CEO of NCHL. But he's been the CEO for 4 years.
 

Carrie Livingston

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Jan 6, 2015
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#34
Did I miss a mention of the daily cruise news? I've never been on a cruise anywhere on any size ship that didn't deliver a detailed newsletter every night right to your cabin. Hardly any ship makes in-cabin announcements any more; nobody likes them and they're not necessary because of the newsletter. Did you get those newsletters, @fjkenney?
I think based on bad cabin service they may not have received the daily in a timely manner however they are available at guest services.
 
Likes: justlisa
Sep 18, 2014
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#35
We sailed on the Sky in January (our itinerary was only to Key West and to 3 ports in the Bahamas, not to Cuba). Yes, we booked it through Costco Travel because they had some sweeteners that made it attractive.

Prior to that cruise, we were on a short cruise to Mexico on RCCL. On our last morning on the ship prior to disembarkation, we were joined at breakfast by a very nice older gentleman who was a frequent cruiser so had been on many of the ships on most of the cruise lines. When we mentioned that we were cruising on the Sky a few days later, he told us he had been on that ship. He mentioned that it was a smaller ship, and one of the oldest in NCL's fleet, but also cautioned us that there would not be much in the way of Broadway-style entertainment on the Sky because it was a relatively small ship and didn't have the space or budget for big productions. (NCL uses the Sky for sailings to Cuba because it is smaller and the Cuban ports can better accommodate it., usually without tendering.)

He was absolutely correct. The ship is old -- we saw evidence (décor, and some awards tucked away in a rear hallway) that it had previously been used for NCL's Hawaii itineraries as "Pride of Aloha" -- and yes, the rooms are small. That said, our balcony room was serviced well and the crew members we met all seemed pleasant enough. Perhaps there was a crew change before the OP sailed to Cuba on the Sky, but we never saw behavior like he described. Yes, the entertainment was lame compared to what we had enjoyed on RCCL (private concerts by a doo-wop duo which was our main reason for taking that cruise, plus a production of "Grease" and a Journey tribute band), so we spent most of our nights sitting on our balcony watching the stars and kicking back.

I'm sorry the OP's experience on the Sky was so awful. I'd have to agree with several of the other posters that perhaps booking through a travel agent would have gotten him a much better outcome, although that wouldn't have helped the poor room servicing he experienced. With 5 people, you need 2 rooms (or a very large, deluxe family/owner's suite ... and if you have that much $$ for a cruise, you're probably looking at an upscale cruise line anyway).
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#36
This is what I tell myself when considering a cruise . . .
(not sayin' that anyone else has to agree or to convince anyone)

Get Over Yourself!
A cruise is not going to be my personal yacht. I will be surrounded by thousands of people of all ages and personalities, who have their own reasons for booking. If I can't handle that, stay home.
Get There On TIme
No excuses. Arrive the day before and cough up the "bucks for a bed". So much easier than a same day flight, which could be delayed and then uh-oh!
Take Ownership
Review everything. Check the desk plans and ship's capacity. Know where your cabin is, and how well it matches my needs. I travel to see and experience things, not to have upscale lodging. Some do, but for me it's a complete waste. I don't do well when my surroundings are noisy, so I have to make the adjustment if I'm to enjoy a cruise.
Expect to Be Disappointed
Food, entertainment, tours, and more will not all "please me". Ports might be skipped. And so on. Make the best of it and move on.
Appreciate When It Goes Well
Rather than thinking "that's what I paid for", smile because something was well done. Otherwise, sucess/failure becomes just a checklist. And the crew has so much to do, I need to give them slack.
Buy Insurance
No one likes adding cost, but the risk without it is too high. It's just part of the cost.

Offered for what it's worth . . .
 

brillohead

Verified Member
Sep 21, 2018
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#37
I had a hard time believing a single word of this when I saw that dinner took three hours but they were at trivia at 7:30. I sincerely doubt that they had a 4pm dinner reservation.

Credibility is important....
 
Feb 12, 2019
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#38
I had a hard time believing a single word of this when I saw that dinner took three hours but they were at trivia at 7:30. I sincerely doubt that they had a 4pm dinner reservation.

Credibility is important....
You're right! The earliest I've ever seen was 5pm, but most don't open until 5:30 for dinner.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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#39
I had a hard time believing a single word of this when I saw that dinner took three hours but they were at trivia at 7:30. I sincerely doubt that they had a 4pm dinner reservation.

Credibility is important....
You are absolutely correct - good point. I believe Crossing doesn't open for dinner until 5:30 so it could not have taken three hours for dinner if they were at trivia at 7:30. Crossing is the main dining room.