Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by teacherderosa
- Sail Date: April 2019
- Destination: Bermuda
- Cabin Type: Mid-ship Balcony Stateroom
My first hours on Celebrity were always positive, organized, and full of happy, smiling employees trying to make every hour a good one. My first hours on Norwegian felt like I was being moved like cattle by people who truly hate their jobs. Smiles were rare. The woman who checked us in, however, did tell me to sign a paper at guest services on the ship because my son is 18 and he would be allowed to drink beer and wine while at sea if I signed a permission slip. This made my son most happy. The ship was a mob scene with people clogging the elevators, and we needed to walk up the 11 flights of stairs (I was carrying a very heavy backpack) to get to a deck where we could sit and find a drink. I know there are a lot of people on the boat, so we were as patient as we could be given the situation.
Later that night we ventured to the guest services to inquire about the waiver I needed to sign so my son could have beer and wine. We brought with us our driver’s licenses, and passports, and presented them to guest services. We were then told in order for me to be able to sign for him I had to have his birth certificate, and proof of my name change to prove I am his mother. You see, when I got divorced from his abusive father, I changed my last name back to my maiden name. I explained this to the worker. I should not need further proof. It was just me and my son travelling together, and our drivers licenses show we live at the same home address. They refused to allow me to sign for him. They did not believe I am his mother simply because our last names are different. This is outright discrimination. What this said to me is Norwegian decided that a woman who gets divorced and has kids must keep the ex-husband’s last name. This exchange dredged up painful memories for both me and my son, and it was not necessary. Our home addresses match and we were sharing a room on board. Of course I am his mother! To claim otherwise is absurd and an intent to discriminate, and sets a tone of poor customer service.
Although our dinner service the first night was top notch, this was not always the case on Norwegian. Again, the wait staff remained distant, and often were inattentive. There were nights we waited for any service for 10 minutes. We sat without water, or drinks, and waited for someone to greet us at our table. Perhaps I was just spoiled by Celebrity and their very attentive staff. Our wait staff on Celebrity learned our names the first night, and were the reason we never wanted to leave to go to a specialty restaurant. We were served by multiple people, had a cocktail waitress and a wine connoisseur to pair my wine to my meal. Everyone including the maitre d were attentive and wanted us happy every night. On Celebrity we were treated like we were part of their family. On Norwegian, attention was lacking and we were ignored. Even in the specialty restaurants we waited for service. On the last night, I gave the hostess our coupon to get a cake to celebrate my son’s high school graduation and college acceptance, and the cake never came to our table. It was completely forgotten. So a “perk” they granted us was then taken away from us.
We tried to get tickets to shows on Norwegian, and we were able to see the musical one night, but the other nights the tickets to all shows were “sold out.” The only time we felt we obtained individual attention was when our room was adorned by a different towel animal each night. My son really loved finding them in the room, and took pictures of them every day. We have heard this service will be ending on Norwegian, and I have to say that is a shame because it is a strength. Even though my son is 18 he found these animals amazing.
Disembarkation on Norwegian was disgusting. The people who held onto their luggage to carry off the ship were the first to disembark. They clogged the stairwells and the elevator shafts. We sent our luggage through the overnight route, and chose the first time possible to disembark after people who kept luggage were done disembarking. We had to wait in a line to disembark that wrapped in and out of restaurant tables, a line that took over an hour to get through. The disorganization was atrocious. We had no food or drink available as we waited in this enormous line. In sharp contrast, disembarking on Celebrity was always easy and well organized. Both times I travelled with Celebrity, I essentially walked off the ship at our scheduled time.
The main difference between the two cruise lines is customer service. Celebrity treated us like family. Every person that worked with us greeted us with a smile, and wanted us to be happy. Even when I received message that my cousin (47 years old) died back home, the Celebrity staff embraced me, and did all they could to make my trip overall a good one. Norwegian was filled with workers who seemed grossly unhappy. Every time I went to guest services I was treated like a nuisance. This was not just imagined after I was blatantly discriminated against as a divorced mother. One of the times I waited in line I was talking to another passenger who felt the staff treated us as an inconvenience.
In the end, I was lured to Norwegian to get three free perks, but the perks did not make the trip any less expensive, and the level of service was not up to Celebrity standards. If I were choose between “The Tale of Two Cruises” again, I would choose Celebrity cruises without reservation.
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