Cruises are high on the list of ultimate getaway vacation options. You can't beat the isolation that comes with being on the open sea without any landlubbers for distraction, although you might have a couple of thousand shipmates to contend with. And since folks are living onboard these vessels for at least a week, it's up to the ship's crew to ensure that accommodations are topnotch and amenities are plentiful to ensure the stay is as pleasant as possible.


But as the pandemic has shown, even the best service can't make up for the inconvenience of a lockdown. On the other hand, even before the outbreak, some cruise lines haven't exactly been forthcoming in the passenger satisfaction department.

What's particularly sad is that you can lump Norweigian Cruise Lines in with those culprits. A company that prided itself in stellar customer service, with armloads of awards to reinforce that attitude, Norwegian has been guilty of compromising its standards months before Covid-19 ushered in physical distancing measures. Here's a look at a few incidents.

Skipped Ports Of Call In Iceland and Amsterdam

Shortly after the Norwegian Spirit left its Southampton, UK port for a two-week tour of the North Atlantic in October, the crew had to ditch stops in Amsterdam and Iceland due to bad weather. Passengers remained calm over missing out on those geothermic pools and black-sand beaches as the ship replaced the cancellations with more stops in Norway. But when word got out that weather conditions scuttled a port visit in Scotland, Spirit personnel nearly had a riot on their hands.

Hordes of angry passengers assembled in the ship's atrium demanding refunds, even overwhelming the general manager, who left the area when he could tell the crowd was on the verge of losing control. After some verbal bouts with other ship personnel, cooler heads prevailed. Norwegian issued an apology and offered packages that included a 50 percent refund, $300 to cover flight changes, and credits towards a future cruise.

Havoc From Hurricane Dorian

In September, as Hurricane Dorian was laying waste to parts of the Caribbean, the Norwegian Breakaway had to make a critical decision to ensure its passengers would be safe. Instead of sailing to the original final destination of Miami, the crew rerouted the ship further away from the danger zone to New Orleans. It was the right decision.

But what happened after everyone disembarked turned out to be a nightmare. With no personal means of getting to Miami after the hurricane passed, many of the passengers were stranded in a cargo terminal without food, water, or their medication for several hours. They still had no access to those essentials even after Norwegian rounded up some charter buses to relocate the angry patrons. After a public apology, Norwegian gave out travel extensions and other perks as compensation.

Technical Issues In Barcelona

Anything with a million moving parts is going to experience a technical issue and the Norwegian Pearl certainly was a victim of that circumstance during a European cruise in July. A malfunction of sorts aborted the remaining stops of a 13-day tour that started in Amsterdam and was supposed to finish in Italy.

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Instead, the incident forced the crew to cut the voyage short in Barcelona, with only three days left in the junket. Passengers were irate about the decision, prompting the company to make a public apology. Customers received a refund for half their money, 50 percent credit going against any subsequent trips involving Norweigian and a $300 subsidy to cover flight changes.

That said, you could do far worse than wind up stranded in Barcelona.

Construction Played Havoc With A Caribbean Cruise

No sensible person would throw a house party when the abode is being renovated. So why a ship called the Norwegian Sun facilitated a 2018 Caribbean cruise when parts of the vessel were under construction defies logic. As expected, passengers were irate over the noise of hammers and saws extending throughout the night, while restaurants and observation decks were cordoned off.

That was enough for passengers, some of whom paid up to $10,000 for the trip, only to wind up with sawdust in their food and debris in the ship's pool. Demanding a full refund, 500 guests cornered the captain, who likely didn't expect crowd control to be part of his already-hectic workday. Whatever words were exchanged devolved into a shouting match, prompting the captain to scurry back to his quarters. In the end, the company offered a 25 percent credit towards their next trip, which most customers declared wasn't enough.

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