• Report: #588522

Complaint Review: Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Submitted: Thu, April 01, 2010
  • Updated: Fri, May 07, 2010

  • Reported By: Barbara — Irvine California United States of America
Norwegian Cruise Line
7665 Corporate Center Drive Miami, Florida United States of America

Norwegian Cruise Line NCL Corporation Ltd. lost our luggage TWICE during 5-day long cruise Miami, Florida

*Author of original report: Partial refund

*Author of original report: Ships change routes all year round :)

*Consumer Comment: Just Curious

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Norwegian Cruise Line virtually ruined our honeymoon.  In this review I will not dwell on the ship from hell, with its really bad food in all dining rooms, bad in-room breakfast, horrible service, pushy sell strategies on board, noise, dirt, smell, bad music, and horrible dcor.  After all we ventured with budget level cruise line. 

 



However, even though their cruise constituted only about 20% of our itinerary, Norwegians incapability to handle its basic operations affected our whole honeymoon.  They lost our luggage TWICE during the same 5-day long cruise.  In the painful process of recovering our luggage we were given misleading and false information by the ships management, and later the NCL Corporate Office refused to fulfill their own promises of reimbursing our expenses.  We know that passengers in at least six other cabins were affected in the same way.



 



So here is the story.  Once we got off the taxi on the Norwegian Dawn embarkation day we rolled our luggage in front of the ship, where the NCL staff urged us to hand the bags over to the porter.  We complied, made sure the luggage tags were correct and spoke with the porter to make sure they would be loaded onto the Dawn.  We also tipped him $5.



 



When our bags did not arrive in our mini-suit until 6 p.m., we contacted the Guest Relations.  A couple of hours later we were told that all three pieces of our luggage were mistakenly loaded onto the Norwegian Jewel, which sailed off the same day from Miami, where it was docked half a mile away. We were told up front that we the luggage will not be returned back to us during the cruise.  We promptly filled in the Pre-Cruise Missing Luggage Report and provided the detailed description of contents.  We also informed the Guest Relations that we had another cruise planned immediately after this one, and that we needed our luggage back in Miami by 18 December.  At this point Guest Relations gave us one set of emergency toiletries and one t-shirt to survive the 5-day long cruise.  When I mentioned that the two of us were affected they made me wait another half an hour for another set.



 



As compensation for our inconvenience we were provided with $100 onboard credit, but after the wave of complaints from all passengers affected by the luggage mishap, the allowance was increased to $200 still too little to replace the items we needed. The onboard credit was useless, since gift shop does not carry many necessities, such as prescription medication (we only had one-day supply in the carry-on), certain toiletries, or clothing and sandals for a 60 woman with shoe size 11.  My face powder and mascara bill alone was over $70.  The swimsuit costs $99, etc.  Faced with a distressed crowd of luggage-less passengers the Front Office Manager Anita Niedinger, and Guest Service Representative Imelda Valdez told us to purchase all necessities onshore regardless of the $200 budget and reassured us that the Miami Office has the money set aside for cases like that and as long as we do not buy the Rolex watch, they would reimburse us.



 



Despite this reassurance we tried to stay within the budget, and we spent $335.26 during the cruise on things we normally would not have to buy.  Most of this was spent onshore, and we kept all the receipts.  We lost most of our time onshore searching for stores supplying items other than jewelry and perfumes.  Anyone who visited Caribbean ports will know that retailers in ports simply do not stock everyday essentials. 



 



In addition to one t-shirt, one-day toiletries supply, and $200 gift shop credit each, we were given complimentary laundry.  Having little change of clothing, we found ourselves three times stripped naked in our cabin wearing the robes, while all the clothes we had were off to the laundry.  To my despair, my favorite clothes were ruined by this rushed overnight goodwill service.  This was not quite how I imagined spending the evenings.



 



The Guest Relations staff was slow, unhelpful, and sometimes simply rude. Often when speaking to the representative I would feel that I needed to explain myself for wanting to know what is being done to remedy the situation. Almost every time I went down or called, their first words would be you still need to give us the luggage report the contents list etc., even though we handed in all the required documentation on the first day. The night before our disembarkation, when we were still not given any specific information about how our bags were being transported to Miami, the Guest Relations employee told me lady, youre not the only one in this situation we have twenty more cabins with the same problem implying that I did not deserve any special attention.  I do not know if twenty more cabins were affected, but I feel that I definitely deserved kinder treatment.  The medical staff was also unprofessional. Since we had medication supply for only one day, we asked to see the ships doctor without a fee.  The nurse was very unpleasant she chuckled when I gave her the names of two prescription medications I needed.  The doctor contemplated giving me a set of morning after pills in place of my regular contraceptive medication.  



 



The Front Office Manager Anita Niedinger repeatedly kept promising to keep us informed about the actions undertaken to take care of our luggage, including the promise of giving us names of the port agents who would handle our luggage, as well as the name and the luggage claim numbers of the airline. However, as we would later learn, all of her reassurances and promises were in fact outright lies only designed to calm us down, as we did not receive any such specific information. Had we been given a chance to review these documents we would have noticed that NCL did not retrieve all of our bags from the Jewel.



 



On 18 December 2009 we disembarked Norwegian Dawn and proceeded to retrieve our luggage. To our horror - only two out of three pieces of our luggage were waiting for us on the pier one of them in bad shape.  The third piece of luggage was still missing.  My husband dealt with the clueless luggage handling staff and filed in the Post-Cruise Missing Luggage Report, while I kept calling the NCL corporate office.  We were lucky that I researched NCL contact information while still on the ship; otherwise we would be left helpless.  At some point Ms. Michelle Cross from the NCLs Miami office, told me to describe the contents of our luggage (again), because there was a number of misplaced bags in the office and with some luck one of them would be ours.  Once this operation failed, she told me that she emailed the Jewel with a question about our luggage.  I was outraged: we had five hours left until our next cruise leaves and she sends an email?  Was she too lazy to pick up the phone or was she trying to save a few bucks?  Only after I demanded that she makes a telephone call directly to the ship, she finally called the Jewel and learned that our luggage was still on the ship.  It was never offloaded with the rest of the misplaced bags!  To me, had I not enquired about the specific phone numbers while onboard Dawn and later had not insisted that my luggage is found immediately, our bag and its expensive contents would share the fate of other customers bags piling in the corporate office and lost to their owners forever.   We were dealing with the second NCLs mistake standing for two hours in the rain in front of their warehouse since they apparently have no appropriate facilities to handle such problems.



 



The bag we were still missing contained nearly all of my husbands clothing supply for six-weeks of honeymoon journey, as well as wedding presents from family and friends.  After Ms. Cross told me that we would not have the luggage for at least four more days, and since we had three spare hours in Miami, we decided to do some basic shopping for change of clothes, shoes etc.   I informed Ms. Cross that my husband intended to purchase clothing and necessary items, and I would send the receipts to NCL, and she agreed.  If NCL had handled the case responsibly and my husband got his belongings back, we would not even consider any such purchases.   In Miami we spent an additional amount of $533.64. 



 



But that is not the end of the mishaps on part of the NCL.  Once our luggage was lost and located for the second time, we were faced with the logistics of taking the luggage off the Jewel again and then forwarding it en route of the Azamara Journey (as I mentioned we embarked Journey on the same day we disembarked the Dawn).  Azamaras crew was extremely helpful with handling the situation, including making numerous telephone calls and allowing us to make free calls to Miami.  They even presented us with free express laundry, and two bottles of wine.  Unfortunately even with all this attention, Norwegian kept everyone in the dark. When I spoke to Ms. Michelle Cross of NCL, she promised to coordinate the operation and promised that our luggage would meet us in Cartagena (the second port of call of Azamara Journey, the fourth day of the Journey cruise, and the ninth day of our ordeal).   When on the early afternoon before we got to Cartagena nobody had any information, I called Ms. Cross again and left her a recorded message requesting any information I asked her to either telephone the ship or send us email message with the information about our luggage.  Neither Azamara Journeys crew nor us heard anything back and as we suspected the luggage was not waiting in Cartagena.  At this point I called Ms. Cross again.  She was surprised that nobody called us, and explained that there was a change of plans and we would have to wait for the luggage additional three days.  In the end we received our luggage back on the December 25th.  My husband was forced to wear jeans to Christmas Eve dinner.  The bag arrived soaking wet and completely destroyed.  Nothing was missing, but most of my husbands belongings had water damage.  He spent 13 days most of our grand honeymoon without his luggage. 



 



Once we got back to California, I filed a reimbursement claim. All of our expenses, including the damaged luggage, totaled USD 988.90.  We also feel that we deserve the full refund for the cruise that we could not enjoy.  Since we were left without our beach and snorkel clothing, gear, and footwear - and were unable to replace it - we had to cancel all of the land excursions.  The cruise turned out to be a complete disappointment and our honeymoon was ruined.  Therefore I asked NCL for a full refund of USD 827.38 that we paid for the cruise.



 



I received a reply from NCL in mid-February.  NCL sincerely regrets the unfortunate loss of our luggage, but they claim that they do not assume responsibility for losses occurring off the vessel (sic!!).  They refused any claims and offered a shipboard credit of $175 per person.  Let me remind you that the first loss occurred after we were directed by the NCL staff to hand our belongings to the porter wearing NCLs name tag, and the second loss happened when NCL failed to include my husbands luggage with the large load of other bags misplaced by NCLs employees.  There were at least six other cabins affected.  Our bags were clearly tagged.  They encouraged us to buy necessities and promised reimbursement.  What a horrible pile of lies!



 



NCL agreed to cover the cost of luggage repair if we file the claim with receipts and ask for reimbursement.  Sounds familiar?  In any case, we did not keep the larger of the destroyed bags.   I feel uneasy repairing the other suitcase what guarantee do I have that the claim will be refunded?  I have trusted NCL once to many times on that subject.  



 



After I wrote another letter, this time to Conde Nast Traveler and made a cc to Norwegians CEO, they increased the per-person amount to $349 of cruise credits, valid towards the cruise fare only on one future voyage."  After suffering the wide array of calamities all a result of NCLs lack of organization, sub-standard customer service, and outright lies we doubt that we will ever sail with NCL again, thus this goodwill gesture has little value to us. 



 



We believe that we behaved with reasonable restraint about the whole adventure. We cooperated with NCLs employees.  We accepted the declarations of Ms. Niedinger.  We did not spend the promised money on inessential Rolexes.  With no swimsuits, no sandals, no snorkeling masks, etc. we could not enjoy any of the exotic offerings of our ports of call.  The whole trip was a disaster and our honeymoon was ruined. 

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/01/2010 04:27 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Norwegian-Cruise-Line/Miami-Florida-33126/Norwegian-Cruise-Line-NCL-Corporation-Ltd-lost-our-luggage-TWICE-during-5-day-long-cruise-588522. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report

Partial refund

AUTHOR: Barbara - (United States of America)

UPDATE: I contacted Better Business Bureau and immediately Norwegian refunded our expenditures, including the broken luggage.  They did not however, refunded the price of the cruise they ruined for us. 
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#2 Author of original report

Ships change routes all year round :)

AUTHOR: Barbara - (United States of America)

Dear nlanci17:  We sailed out of Miami to Grand Cayman and Cozumel.  Easy search in Google, or in Cruise Critic will reveal to you that Dawn goes that route.  We sailed in December.

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#3 Consumer Comment

Just Curious

AUTHOR: nlanci17 - (USA)

I'm just curious where you went on your excursion with the Dawn in Miami?? As far as I knew, the Dawn goes to Bermuda out of New York.  I am going on the ship on 4/18 for a 7 day cruise and can't figure out how you went on the Dawn out of Miami but maybe because it was winter it didn't go out of New York. 
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