by Alan Campbell, Featured Contributor
The cursing crowd gathered at the embankment port as the ship in all of its majesty reflected in the sunshine. We all waited with anticipation as the gates opened and all passengers started to board, and the cameras started to click away. It is an amazing process to get several thousand passengers on to the ship. The ship is prepared the food is out and the pool is already with guest sunning themselves. Hundreds of ship employees ready to meet all guest demands. Well that’s the way it should be right?
This was the first cruise on this ship that I had taken, I have taken other cruise lines in the past. Norwegian was recommended by friends to us. Over all the cruise was a delight. There were some bumps in the road and I shall explain them in some detail.
Market café buffet, it was always busy and the food was plentiful, however it was of poor quality. The hot food seemed dry and old, due to the heat lights. Some of the servers did not look like they wanted to be there. Ice machine was faulty most of the time. Food could be upgraded to a better quality. I guess that it was ploy to entice the guest to patronize the paying food establishments.
The Grill Poolside:
From the bar ordered a drink Kahlua and cream, the bartender informed me that he did not have any cream, so he would use milk instead. I said “wrong answer on both” find some cream and make the drink right. Later on the table card advertised a mango drink so it was ordered, server came back to inform us that the bar did not have the mango ingredients for the drink.
Ordered breakfast cereal every morning with whole milk, received fat free milk. This went on for five days, until I called the room service kitchen and asked what the problem was with delivering whole milk. The next morning we got whole milk. Overall staff was insensitive to guest request.
The Mimi fridge had a hole in the door, and the dresser light was out for the whole trip, cabin steward never did check the lights. Some of the tables in the pool deck had holes in them, ship had issues with maintenance.
Most were ok and did not have a problem with them, as a whole the food was good. The staff seemed to have a problem when a special order was placed. Some of the wait staff had problem understanding English.
Lobby Christmas display:
The chefs worked all night putting up the sugar Christmas display for the guest, the problem was that the back of the display was visible to the guest and they could see the mass of tape holding the display. In the front the water fall display was held with masking tape, and it was visible to the guest, the detail of the Christmas decoration left a lot to be desired.
Now like in every hotel or cruise ship there are problems, and yet there are those employees that shine far above the rest. The Norwegian ship had some the exceeded all expectations. I would like to give special mention to those that I came in contact with.
Jewel Esperanza server at the Brazilian restaurant, was outstanding, she not only got what we asked but seemed to anticipate, and always appeared as by magic.
Deck Steward Brian Reagan was another staff member who could anticipate guest needs. He was very helpful and always had a smile, he remembered names and always said good day when we encountered him.
Ronnid Alves: He was a staff member who was all over the food outlets, and was absolutely outstanding. There was nothing that this staff member would not do for the guest. He is truly an exception to the rule.
The cruise was 15 days and over all had a wonderful time, the hotel director Tony Winkler did an outstanding job keeping all the guest happy and entertained. The bumps are mentioned solely because as a hospitality executive I see things that other people may not notice. In no way does it reflect on the cruise, it was a delightful experience and I would book another trip on the line.