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Greed over Coronavirus: Norwegian Cruise Line

NCL is not interested in taking care of their customers

Greed over Coronavirus: Norwegian Cruise Line

Last week, eTurboNews reported about a Maui woman losing thousands of Dollars paid to Norwegian Cruise Line when coronavirus forced her to cancel.

The eTN article apparently opened a can of worms for Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). Since then, dozens of similar cases of consumers losing their hard-earned vacation money over policies Norwegian Cruise Line had in place have come to light. Actually, the list of complaints against Norwegian Cruise Lines is increasing every day, making NCL the most anti-customer cruise company in the world in the eyes of many current and future guests.

When eTN contacted Norwegian Cruise Line, they had no further comments.

eTN reader JC says: “This discussion has nothing to do with anything other than Norwegian Cruise Line, their lack of customer service, and poor decision-making as a company.

“All other major cruise lines have chosen to refund or give credits on all cruises out of Asia. All major airlines have refunded nonrefundable bookings on flights in and out of Asia. All major hotel chains have refunded nonrefundable reservations in Asia. Why is it that Norwegian Cruise Line refuses??

“Like the article says, ‘Corporate Greed!’ They aren’t interested in taking care of their customers! They are interested in their bottom line! My personal choice in the future will be to choose another company to take my vacations with and spend my hard-earned money.”

As a service provider, you do have the option to refer to your terms and conditions which your customer has agreed to or you can try to be flexible and make the customer happy. NCL obviously decided to use the first option.

A reader posted: “I don’t disagree with the above at all.  But I think some of us feel there is an imbalance towards shareholder interests vs. customer interests that may end up biting NCL in the end. No brand is immune to collapse, and any good brand is a leader in a situation like this, not a follower. It is both deadly and dangerous. And I’m just speaking about China and Hong Kong. 

“This might save them a lot of dollars right now but it will cost them a lot of potential future customers.”

Here are some horror stories:

  1. Diamond Princess has 64 confirmed coronavirus cases now. Holland America’s MS Westerdam cruise ship was denied port entry by the Philippines and Japan and has been wandering in the ocean to seek for a port. However, Quan just denied the ship so passengers’ dream vacation has turned to a nightmare
    We booked 2/17 Norwegian Jade cruise and we have exactly the same bad experience. NCL simply refuses to refund us. NCL should just cancel the cruise as NCL bears tremendous liability if proceed
  2. JC, we’re in the same boat you are – literally. NCL needs to step up. It’s sad that we are watching the news hoping that the situation in Singapore worsens so that our cruise on the Jade is canceled. We’ve had good experiences on NCL in the past, but their refusal to refund booked cruises has made this our last trip with them. We won’t be going, even if we have to write off over $3000.
  3. We have a similar situation. We booked a cruise on the Norwegian Jade starting on 17 February, through Cruisedirect. They are unable to help us get a refund for our cruise, over $3000. We were able to get our airfare cancelled (through Finnair) but NCL has not been helpful. We are stuck hoping that the situation in Singapore worsens, which feels really wrong. But there is no way we are going to risk quarantine or contact with the coronavirus. Changing their itinerary from Hong Kong to Singapore just doesn’t cut it. We would be very happy to speak with someone from eturbonews to further expand on our situation. I work and cannot risk being blocked in quarantine during or after our cruise.
  4. We are booked on the Feb 6 Jade cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong but with the spread of the coronavirus, the Level 4 Travel Alerts, our doctors advice and the cancellation of our flight home to the US from Hong Kong, we feel our health, safety and well being are endangered if we and hundreds of other American passengers now sail on the cruise We have been asking NCL for a cruise credit or future rebooking for next year, but so far they have been totally unresponsive to the situation. Right now, they are still saying we will be penalized the full cost of the cruise if we don’t sail, even though we could fall ill, be quarantined, miss ports and or possibly be stranded in China for weeks or months. 
  5. But surely you understand why they aren’t offering you a full credit or the opportunity to reschedule.  Can you imagine what would happen if they offered a full credit to anyone who thought they might get sick on a curse?
  6. Sorry you have to deal with NCL. Customer service not their strong point. In the past they’ve done exactly what their passenger contract requires them to do, which is nothing. They don’t have to guarantee ports or safety or well being of passengers. It’s all in the one sided contract you are required to sign if you want to sail.
    If it was me, I would probably cancel and cut my losses with NCL. Concerns about health and well being have no price. They’ll be required to refund port charges and any prepaid service charges. It is unlikely they’ll do anything for you.
    Like others in your shoes, you may also decide to open a case with Better Business Bureau and continue to bring negative attention to their business practices. Many folks here on cruisecritic have an “NCL can do no harm approach”, so you’ll get a lot of canned responses that lack empathy and understanding are frankly unhelpful. I wish you all the best.
  7. My husband and I are on the Jade leaving Hong Kong on 2/17 and are having the same problem. They won’t let us change the cruise (we didn’t ask for a refund, just a credit). We were able to cancel our non-refundable hotel room and airline. It’s just NCL that is being unreasonable.  Although I’m not that worried about catching the virus, I am worried about everything else that comes along with it. Almost every attraction in HK is closed, there are threats of medical strikes, flights are being canceled or changed, and the other ports (Vietnam, Thailand, etc.) are having issues too. It wouldn’t be worth going even if I knew I wouldn’t catch the virus. 
    I understand I signed a contract when booking my cruise; however, companies can do the responsible thing and allow changes/credits just like my airline and hotel did on non-refundable rates. Best of luck Capeviewer. If I hear from NCL, I’ll certainly let you know!
  8. Ya, insurance is damned. In cases like these, the cruise lines really should be providing an option to at least give you full credit for a future re-booking. It’s crazy to think the cruise line still expects people to take their cruises when flights to/from port cities are being canceled. This is a very special, rare and unique situation.
  9. Lol this exact statement gets posted on all of the CC cruise line boards when they stick to their contact for a variety of reasons like hurricanes, canceled ports, and illness, as far as I can tell it really doesn’t hurt them.
  10. Yes, worse yet, NCL is also allowing passengers that have connecting flights through airports in mainland China to board their vessels. I don’t know if that is even possible because most of the airlines have diverted flights away from China for safety reasons and in an abundance of caution. But not, NCL, as long as you don’t have a fever on embarkation day, you are good to go. Maybe they think the virus can avoid the airport, who knows.
    Someone with the cc name “Norwegian Cruise Lines” posted a general communication on these message boards last week and then disappeared. NCL also is reported to have emailed their guests that were sailing on the Jade, February 17 departure. I am posting a portion of the latter communication below. One key addition in the below email was conveniently omitted from public communication posted on these message boards….namely the portion bolded and underlined below. You can see the full communication on the Jade roll call of Feb 17, but I imagine you’ve already seen it or have even received it via your email. Safe travels, and stay safe!!
    “Dear Valued Guest
    Due to the growing concern regarding coronavirus infections in China, we will be denying boarding to any guest who has visited mainland China in the last 30 days. These guests will receive a refund for their cruise provided they provide proof of travel in the form of airline tickets or similar. Please note that mainland China does not include Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.
    If an embarking guest transited through an airport in mainland China but did not leave the airport, they will be allowed to board. They will need to show proof of their airline ticket showing they had a connecting flight and the flight times.

It appears there should be legislation introduced to require cruise companies to provide insurance to protect the consumer from epidemics and other natural disasters.

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