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My horror story from Norwegian Sky

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My husband and I attended a friend’s wedding aboard the Norwegian Sky departing from Miami on 12/4/15 to the Bahamas. Thankfully this was only a 3-night cruise, because it was one of the worst trips of my life.

If the next great flood was upon us and Norwegian Cruise Lines built the only ark available, I’d take my chances swimming.

The cruise started well enough. We boarded early for the wedding ceremony, which was beautiful and went smoothly. Next we were led to one of the restaurants. As soon as our appetizers were set on the tables, the captain made an announcement over the loudspeaker than everyone would have to gather on the 6th floor deck for security reasons. After standing on the overcrowded deck for nearly two hours in the rain, we were told that everyone on the ship would have to be evacuated.

I’d estimate there were nearly 1000 people on board. The evacuation was orderly and didn’t take long, but we were led like cattle into a concrete box of a room without chairs or windows. There were two bathroom stalls available. The doors were all locked behind us and we were offered no explanation of why we were being held nor were we given the option of leaving. This was at around 1pm. It was after 8pm by the time they released us from captivity. In those 7 hours, we were given a few “updates” stating that we would be released “soon,” but there was no official word about why we were being held or how long we would be forced to stay in the concrete box. We could see out of the locked doors that there were police with dogs, firemen, Coast Guard reps, etc, but no one offered any information.

Eventually some chairs were delivered, but most people were forced to sit on the floor. Some “sandwiches” (literally one piece of ham or turkey between pieces of bread), rotten apples, cake, and water were also intermittently delivered. In our 6th hour of captivity, we were given towels (to be used as blankets perhaps?) Eventually diapers and milk were also delivered for the dozens of toddlers and children locked in the room. The line for the bathroom was 2+ hours long.

Several people asked about medication they needed that was on board, but they were refused any assistance. People were smoking inside our concrete dungeon, and with no ventilation or windows we were all forced to sit in a cloud of noxious smoke. At least one man fainted.

Eventually we were released and allowed back on the boat. When we finally got to our room, we had to wait another 45 minutes for our bags, which barely arrived before we were forced back on deck in the cold for our safety briefing. Then at 11pm, we were allowed to eat at an actual table with chairs! But Norwegian was determined to make up the 6-hour delay and get us to Nassau on time, so they immediately put the engines on full blast and the boat was practically shaking with effort. No one could eat comfortably because the boat was not steady; people were getting sick.

As for the service on the ship, you would think they’d be going above and beyond to make everyone happy, but that was not the case. Almost everyone in our party had the unlimited drinks package. Since our friend’s wedding reception was interrupted, we asked for a bottle of champagne to toast. Our first three requests were blatantly ignored, the next two were acknowledged but ultimately ignored, and then finally, when I got up to approach the maitre’d, we were given a bottle of fizzy swill that they call champagne. Twice I ordered a glass of wine from the menu and as given house wine with no explanation. The bartenders were very slow and one (in one of the outdoor bars near the breakfast buffet) was downright hostile and argumentative.

We tried to make the best of it. We were there to celebrate, right? Honestly, we had a good time with our friends but it had nothing to do with the boat or the staff. The ship itself is ugly and dated; the pool is a glorified bathtub. I will say that the cleaning staff is excellent and didn’t cut any corners in the rooms.

When we returned from our trip, I gave it a few weeks to see if I’d hear from Norwegian. When I didn’t, I emailed my Cruise Consultant Gale Hayden on Dec 28 to ask about who I could speak with about compensation. I received an out of office reply stating she’d be back Jan 4. On Jan 5 I resent my email, and to date I have not heard back. I have a feeling I’m being ignored. As such, if for some reason you really want to cruise with Norwegian, I suggest you don’t book with Gale because she’s obviously too busy to answer emails.

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