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Report 1775: Cruising to Hawaii on NCL - POSTCARD

By Debbie from Phoenix from AZ, Spring 2009

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Page 3 of 3: Dos and Don'ts for Norwegian Cruise Lines

Don’t tell us it’s “whenever” if it’s not. All the dining rooms and bars have a closing time regardless of the “whenever” that’s listed on the daily newsletter. Just tell us so we’re not running around the boat trying to find something to eat or drink.

Don’t sell us on the casual nature of the boat when some of your dining rooms (The Liberty and Jefferson Bistro) aren’t as casual as we might expect.

Do tell us before we leave home what parties you are planning. It might have been fun to dress up for the White Party, the 70’s party, the 50’s party or the pajama party.

Do explain what we are supposed to do about gratuities. If you don’t tell us, I can guarantee your staff will. A $12 per person per day surcharge is added to our bill, supposedly for the cabin steward. I’m down with that - we trashed our room pretty much every day, but on the last day we found a little card folded up and left by our phone - presumably for an extra tip? I don’t know. You added a “discr. Serv. Chrg” to each of our bar tabs – is that a tip? We were told that charge is split between the bartender and the wait staff and the cruise line also gets a cut. On the nights we didn’t order wine with dinner (a rare occurrence, actually, but it did happen) we realized our wait staff wouldn’t receive ANY tip. We left at least some cash for each of our servers and bartenders to reward exceptional service.

Try as we might, we had a difficult time getting the same waiter and seating each night in the Skyline Restaurant. The hostess and reservation desk were very reluctant to take our reservations unless we had more than four in our party even though your literature clearly tells us we can do this. We were also told we could not make reservations for dining between the hours of 6:30pm and 8pm. Huh? Don’t tell us we have privileges your staff can’t or won’t accommodate.

Don’t attack us with the photo sniper every time we exit the ship! When your debarking guests are engaged in covert operations on how to best distract the photographer so the rest of the group can run down the plank, you’ve gone too far.

Do accept our gratitude for the beach towels and the great beach mats you allowed us to borrow for use on the beach! I packed a small, thin blanket for beach days but it was unnecessary thanks to your consideration.

Do inform us that the staterooms are not necessarily ready when we board the ship. We got chased out of ours by the housekeeping staff and felt rather chastised about it. We might have reconsidered what we packed in our carry-on luggage so we could just hang out by the pool until our room was ready.

Don’t assume we can’t figure out when we’re being taken advantage of. My ticket stub from one shore excursion stated I could receive a 10% discount on specialty services in the Spa. When I presented the ticket to the girl at the counter she looked at it and, with a straight face, told me, “We don’t accept these on Fridays.” Fridays? Really? As it turned out, she wouldn’t have accepted it on any day of the week because I didn’t get one of the ‘specialty’ items. By the time my massage had been billed, taxed and “discr. Srv. Chrg’d” it came to over $175. Now tell me that wasn’t special?

Do expand the wine list to include descriptions of the bottle selections. Our waiter assured me the white wine I ordered was not sweet. Each turned out to be closer to a Riesling than a Sauvignon Blanc and after two disappointing bottles I gave up and stuck to a single glass at a time.

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