No help with emergencies

Feb 9th, 2009, 11:37 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 56
No help with emergencies

My husband and I just returned from a cruise to South America on the NCL Sun. Unfortunately, the day before we boarded the ship in Buenos Aires, my husband was robbed in a subway. Among the stolen items was his passport. We tried, in vain, to contact any of the numbers given on the NCL website for those outside the US. NONE of the numbers was in service. We needed help from an international operator to place these calls since neither my husband nor I speak serviceable Spanish. Finally, my husband had to call his father, in the USA, to have him dial the 800 number listed on the NCL site. He was told that we could use a birth certificate to board the ship. We went through insane problems to get our family to break into our house in California to locate the birth certificate, scan and email it, then to await getting it in an internet cafe in BA at 3:00 am Sunday due to the time difference. Long story short, my husband was told he couldn't board the ship without a passport. Because the ship sailed from BA on Sunday, the US Embassy was closed. Long story even shorter, he had to stay overnight in BA, find a hotel room, get his passport pix, arrange the flight to Uraguay for Monday (the ship's first port), and get to the embassy first thing Monday morning. The NCL staff did absolutely NOTHING to assist him!! It was a miracle my husband was able to coordinate all of this on his own, without a working knowledge of Spanish, and to get to Montevideo and onto the ship before it sailed from there at 4:00 pm.
We brought these complaints to the NCL staff, none of whom did anything more than to offer apologies and to give us a "free" dinner at the French restaurant onboard. A "free" dinner when food is readily available all over the ship!!
When we got home, I wrote a long letter to NCL to complain about their lack of emergency numbers for those stranded in Buenos Aires, and the failure of their staff to help my husband in any way, PLUS the inaccurate info his father was given that a birth certificate would suffice. A clerk finally responded to my letter today and very snottily advised me that someone in our circumstances would need to call their corporate office (located in Florida) on the Sunday that the ship sailed in order to get any help. Hello??? There is a major time difference which would preclude our getting any help from the corporate office from Buenos Aires in time to sail.
I was brushed off like a flea, very rudely, and I advised the clerk that I would post my comments on several websites. Neither she, nor anyone with NCL, seems to care about passengers with emergency issues.
BTW, two other couples on OUR cruise ship, were similarly robbed in BA of their passports and similarly had to make all their own arrangements to get onto the ship. This is obviously not that rare of a circumstance.
NCL for a future cruise??? Not in this lifetime!!!
beachmama7 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 05:44 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,469
Sorry, but you were able to get replacement passports and get on the cruise. Not sure what you expected NCL to do for you?? It is your responsibility to have the proper documentation, NCL had nothing to do with your robbery or weekend closures.

I would have thought right from the begining that without passports you wouldn't be able to board, this would have been with any cruiseline.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 04:47 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 603
If I was robbed of my passport in a foreign country, my first call would not be to the cruiseline but to my country's embassy. Even on Sunday's there would be an emergency number. I take this information with me when I travel so that I can always be in contact with, in my case, a Canadian embassy. It was not NCL's fault and I don't see why you are mad at them.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 05:56 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 596
I really do sympathize with you as something similar happened to my husband and I. We had everything stolen from us in Istanbul. It was a Sunday and the last day of a tour. Everyone left without us very early Monday morning and we had to arrange everything on our own including flights home and new passports. What really helped expedite all was having copies of everything including the air. It is too bad they gave you incorrect information regarding the birth certificate.
Louise is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 07:35 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,339
It is an unfortunately story and while I don't want to blame the victum, it appears that you were ill prepared. It is not NCL's job to solve your problems. Maybe they should have done a better job of pointing you in the right direction but I am sure they are bound by all kind of government rules relating to who boards and who doesn't. If you had done any preparation you would have had passports in locations that could not be stolen and carried a couple of color copies. I assume you will do that in the future.
fmpden is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,814
BeachMama, thank you for the warning about Buenos Aires, I was looking at the cruises from there, will remember to be double-careful and to use money belt.

One thing I don't understand, you didn't mention insurance, have they been helpful in any way? Who paid for the flight to the next port?
Dayenu is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 351
I really hate to see the victim being blamed, as in some of the replys to this person. It is always panic time when an emergency occurrs at the last minute. Of course you should protect your pass port, know to call the embassy, not stand on top step of a ladder, not invest in stocks the day before the crash,etc. Regretably, you do expect some guidance from the cruise line at any time of the day or night for such emergency, even if it is only "use our phone to call the US embassy and here is the number from our handy directory of our (finite) list of ports of call. After all you have given them several thousands of dollars for what is advertised as a great care free, getaway. I've always heard that NCL was a line to avoid.'
More reason to do so.
Aristotle is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 01:10 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 351
In addition to my previous response, this represents a good reason to use a good travel agent who cab help bail you out.
Aristotle is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 06:17 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,339
Aristotle you are correct of course. We don't want to dump on someone who had bad luck. Earlier I said I didn't want to blame the victim but now I am not so sure. I assumed from the tone of the original posting this was a couple with limited travel experience and assumed the cruise ship would handle everything.

I was surprised to see that beachmana7 has been posting here since 03 - has discussed security, traveled extensively in SE Asia and Africa, and should be regard as a seasoned traveler. Why, then, were they not better prepared? Surely they should have been aware that pickpockets exist. Every travel site I know tells travelers to carry copies of their passport and to keep them in a money belt. That one little precaution would have prevented a lot of problems. I will even bet the pre-cruise info contained a caution about protecting the passport.

Now I think she is just mad and maybe be hyping her story to make NCL look as bad as possible. Sounds like NCL did about as much as they could. They did offer an apology and some compensation. What did you want? A free cruise?

I bet she will be better prepared next time. For the moment I think NCL did what they had or could do. I don't see how anyone could blame NCL or anything.
fmpden is offline  

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