My wife and I are seasoned cruisers, having over the last 20 years plus enjoyed 41 previous cruises all around the world. None of them will be remembered so vividly as this one but sadly not for the right reasons.
This cruise on the Norwegian Spirit was our 1st with N.C.L. for 18 years, the last time cruising the Hawaiian islands on board the Star. After this experience it will most certainly be our last.
As is normal for us we did a pre- cruise stay in Dubai. We really enjoyed our 2 night stay there and then on to the ship. We embarked the Spirit at about 5.30 p.m and went straight to our cabin, we were never offered a Muster drill, which we found odd. From that point things started to go down hill (slowly at first) but boy did it pick up speed. It was only when on board that we learned that Nosy be (Madagascar) had been cancelled. I inquired at the Guest Relations desk if there were to be any more problems en route and was told that they had no information about any more cancellations and indeed to make up for the loss of Madagascar from the itinerary that N.C.L had arranged for us to enjoy an extra stop in the Seychelles. We then settled into our cruise and enjoyed our time in the Emirates looking forward to the lovely Seychelles.
After just a few days, remarkably supplies started to either dwindle or even never to be seen again. Orange Juice, Fresh Berries, Lettuce, Mushrooms, various Vegetables, Muesli, Yogurt, Butter and later on this 'LUXURY' cruise ..Milk.. One morning i waited 55 minutes for Muesli to be made, when i complained to the restaurant manager she shrugged her shoulders and just stared at me. Hardly the way to treat a paying guest. It soon became obvious that was to be the N.C.L.way.
Drinks also began to run out, White Wines, Beers, Prosecco...etc..etc. As i had paid for a Premium drinks package you may understand that i was not impressed, or too pleased. Add to all this they even had the audacity to remove drinks from all cabin mini bars, but i have since learned that this was not unique to our cruise, as this has been done before on other N.C.L 'LUXURY' Cruises. None of these problems had anything to do with Covid 19, but everything to do with rank bad management. From a container being left port side in Dubai through to a very poor guests relations desk that often erred on rudeness. The word sorry never passed their collective lips...ever.
On a brighter note we found the evening shows and other entertainers on the whole were good. Especially one show called Elements, probably the best we have seen at sea. We also found that the waiting staff, bar staff and cleaners all worked hard and tried to remain cheerful throughout this challenging cruise.
We were told from the beginning of the cruise that it was a clean ship with no Covid 19 on board. Then why was all the activity equipment removed i.e. ..Shuffleboard..Table Tennis ( unless you had your own bat) ..Football...Basketball..Golf Driving..Library books etc. For the next 16 days at sea with no use of any equipment and ALL stops cancelled this then ceased to be a cruise and had become a sail down the Indian Ocean and an expensive one at that.
Then there was the captain. I have no doubts about his seafaring ability but this man was no cruise ship captain. His only communications to the guests throughout this cruise was his daily report on the depth of the sea, longitude and Latitude, positions and the strength of the wind and that was it. We were all waiting with baited breath for some guidance and information from him about our situation. Nothing ever came.
All this was adding to the worry and stress that people were starting to feel......Talk about Nero fiddled whilst Rome Burned....
It is of my opinion and that of other guests that N.C,L knew a lot more than we were being told of what was going on. I think it was in their best interest to cynically continue on to Capetown even though they were fully aware as to the rapidly deteriorating situation that was occurring worldwide regarding Covid 19.
At the time of writing this, N.C.L.have offered to us a poultry 50% refund from the debacle of this so called LUXURY cruise (cruise cost only)...Rather insulting.
The days leading up to our eventual debarkation in Capetown saw our stress levels going off the scale. We were requested to make our own arrangements regarding onward flights and as there was only one telephone made available for some 2,000 passengers to use you can just imagine just how hard and stressful that was. Eventually other phones became available and after spending 6 hours plus in a queue to use one. Other arrangements could then be made ( at some considerable personal financial cost)...All this was in vein as flight after flight was subsequently cancelled.
We eventually took a charter flight out arranged by N.C.L.back to the U.K to Gatwick. Only finding out about this flight by word of mouth from other passengers. From Gatwick we arranged at some further considerable cost a car hire back home.
A memorable cruise experience indeed....but for all the wrong reasons.
Thank you NOT. N.C.L...We will never forget you....
Cabin was clean and had been recently been refurbished,but it was small with limited storage. Shower was good.....