NCL Joy - Maiden Voyage - Not Ready For Passengers

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Jun 1, 2019
18
3
3
32
I have never seen anything like the disembarkation. I totally understand the coordination and the number of people trying to get off the ship, but we had 8:20 luggage tags, headed down, at that time, and waited over 2 hours in line. There weren't any announcements for guests to remain in their rooms or in lounges so the problem just kept compounding. Finally, after an hour (around 9:30am), they announced for anyone with tags after 8:00 am to stay in lounges, but by this time, nearly everyone on the ship was already in line because there weren't any announcements.

I'm a very realistic and reasonable person but it was almost like they wanted to let the problems play out to see how bad it would get, instead of addressing it and rectifying as it was taking place.
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
525
1,021
93
34
Still wasn't a problem NCL had control of. Once your card is scanned for the last time it's no longer NCL personnel. The day after you got off the line was as bad as you saw and the CBP actually made NCL not let anyone else off the ship for around 45 minutes.

I don't know if it was just start of the season craziness or a by product of such a small terminal for 4500 passengers.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
22,882
22,843
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Again- you say you have taken over 25 cruises. You should know then that the cruise line doesn’t control disembarkation, it’s the port.

What port did you disembark from? In Vancouver there are two times during the sailing season there are four ships arriving in port on the same day. If you are getting on or off any of the ships that day- this is exactly what happens. And the cruisers getting on the ship that day are also delayed. This happened to us- we were on line for 3 hours waiting to get on our ship because we happened to be embarking that day. This is probably what happened on your cruise. How many other ships were in port?

This is not under NCLs control so I wouldn’t continue to push them on it. That’s the only thing they can’t control.
 
Jun 1, 2019
18
3
3
32
Still wasn't a problem NCL had control of. Once your card is scanned for the last time it's no longer NCL personnel. The day after you got off the line was as bad as you saw and the CBP actually made NCL not let anyone else off the ship for around 45 minutes.

I don't know if it was just start of the season craziness or a by product of such a small terminal for 4500 passengers.

Again- you say you have taken over 25 cruises. You should know then that the cruise line doesn’t control disembarkation, it’s the port.

What port did you disembark from? In Vancouver there are two times during the sailing season there are four ships arriving in port on the same day. If you are getting on or off any of the ships that day- this is exactly what happens. And the cruisers getting on the ship that day are also delayed. This happened to us- we were on line for 3 hours waiting to get on our ship because we happened to be embarking that day. This is probably what happened on your cruise. How many other ships were in port?

This is not under NCLs control so I wouldn’t continue to push them on it. That’s the only thing they can’t control.


@justlisa - This was still on board prior to scanning the card. The backup was waiting to scan the card to get off the ship. As soon as we got off the ship, we walked through CBP in less than 5 minutes.

@NeilMaley - This was Seattle. I'm really not pushing this because there were a lot of other issues that I considered much worse... just explaining what happened as replies are made. I understand that it could be partially caused by the port, but failing to announce the delays just compounded the problems because people kept coming down to follow their luggage tag. My gripe with NCL on this is the lack of communication and shipside disorganization - not the actual amount of time that it took to get off the ship.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Student
Jun 1, 2019
18
3
3
32
Regarding disembarkation - I was on the first Bliss Alaska cruise and ours went just the same way so it wasn't from the Joy crew. Either the port & CBP were slow because it was the beginning of the season or it's just always that way. The terminal is WAY smaller than the one these ships go out of in Miami and Port Canaveral.

As for the port change when I booked only 30 days before Victoria was a 730pm arrival and it was 830pm in the daily and there wasn't any announcement about that. I didn't ask if it was always that and the online itinerary was wrong - just shrugged my shoulders even though the time change meant I didn't get to see Victoria.

As for ADA rooms - they will book people that doing need an ADA in those rooms if no one needs them. (If someone comes in after needing an ADA room they'll often move someone out of the ADA room.) Have you looked up your room on NCLs site and verified it was balcony not mini suite? Because the ADA rooms are designed to accommodate wheelchairs so they usually have items found in "regular" rooms removed and the bathrooms are wheelchair accessible so it wouldn't be like a "regular" mini suite bathroom.

The reservations you had changing sucks. Did they no longer offer the original ones you booked or move them? If they no longer had the original ones then they might have had to switch the schedules, if the original times were still there that's a problem. But with the Alaska itineraries NCL runs some of the shows have to be during port times and if you stay off in port the whole time you would miss dinner service.

The ship time is weird that they didn't fix it! The Bliss switched ship time 3 times with bo issue so odd that Joy couldn't get it together.
We have had some late arrivals. The tough part with an early departure is that many guests that we were talking to on land after we got off didn't even realize that they needed to be on the ship for 12:45. There was a laundry list of people who they kept announcing before the ship left because it was never clarified that there was an itinerary change and we were leaving early.

Besides the couch, tub, double vanity, and slightly larger room, I am not sure what makes a mini suite a mini suite. We didn't have any of those things in the room so I assume that it was an ADA balcony and a lot of sewage coming up the shower.

I don't know what happened with the shows. Just lots of letters that things were changed and we were rebooked.
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
525
1,021
93
34
We have had some late arrivals. The tough part with an early departure is that many guests that we were talking to on land after we got off didn't even realize that they needed to be on the ship for 12:45. There was a laundry list of people who they kept announcing before the ship left because it was never clarified that there was an itinerary change and we were leaving early.

Besides the couch, tub, double vanity, and slightly larger room, I am not sure what makes a mini suite a mini suite. We didn't have any of those things in the room so I assume that it was an ADA balcony and a lot of sewage coming up the shower.

I don't know what happened with the shows. Just lots of letters that things were changed and we were rebooked.
You're supposed to check the dailies and the signs when you get off the ship to find out when to get back on. The itinerary on NCL's website is not official.

There are ADA mini suite cabins. If you tell us the cabin number we can check. But if it is a mini suite than it is what you booked, so going forward you shouldn't select an ADA room since you don't like them.

Sounds like they had to redo the show schedules for some reason. Sucks, but happens sometimes.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Carrie Livingston
Jun 1, 2019
18
3
3
32
You're supposed to check the dailies and the signs when you get off the ship to find out when to get back on. The itinerary on NCL's website is not official.

There are ADA mini suite cabins. If you tell us the cabin number we can check. But if it is a mini suite than it is what you booked, so going forward you shouldn't select an ADA room since you don't like them.

Sounds like they had to redo the show schedules for some reason. Sucks, but happens sometimes.
We did check. That's why we made it back on time but still lots of conflicting info on the ship itself.

We we're in 10936. We selected a section of ship and room type. I am guessing this was the last available cabin in that section because we didn't have a choice. This was just the room that we got during the purchase.
 
Jun 1, 2019
18
3
3
32
I don't believe mini suites in the newer NCL ships include a tub. Family mini suites might still but I believe if you want a tub you have to move up to the suite class of cabins.
They do. We eventually got moved into a room with a tub because of the sewage that was coming through the shower in our original room.
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
525
1,021
93
34
@justlisa - This was still on board prior to scanning the card. The backup was waiting to scan the card to get off the ship. As soon as we got off the ship, we walked through CBP in less than 5 minutes.

@NeilMaley - This was Seattle. I'm really not pushing this because there were a lot of other issues that I considered much worse... just explaining what happened as replies are made. I understand that it could be partially caused by the port, but failing to announce the delays just compounded the problems because people kept coming down to follow their luggage tag. My gripe with NCL on this is the lack of communication and shipside disorganization - not the actual amount of time that it took to get off the ship.
But the ship listens to the CBP regarding letting people off the ship. It's no longer NCLs show. Which is why the Bliss, which was not fresh off a dry dock, had problems disembarking too. And even if they announced for people to stop going to exit that doesn't mean it'll actually happen. They eventually did a ship wide announcement that they had halted people getting off the ship and there were still a ton of people getting into the line - so much the crew had to extend it again. I've been on way less than 25 cruises, but everytime I see people trying to get off before their time.
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
525
1,021
93
34
We did check. That's why we made it back on time but still lots of conflicting info on the ship itself.

We we're in 10936. We selected a section of ship and room type. I am guessing this was the last available cabin in that section because we didn't have a choice. This was just the room that we got during the purchase.
Just checked the deck plans - is a disabled/ADA mini suite category MC. ADA cabins will not have a tub as they are not wheelchair accessible.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Carrie Livingston
Jun 1, 2019
18
3
3
32
Just checked the deck plans - is a disabled/ADA mini suite category MC. ADA cabins will not have a tub as they are not wheelchair accessible.
We understand that, but we never selected that cabin or requested ADA. We just picked the area of ship and class. It never said anything in our confirmation so we never thought anything of it.

What makes it mini suite if everything that makes a cabin a mini suite is missing? The couch, the double vanity, and everything else that is mentioned about mini suite?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
22,882
22,843
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
We did check. That's why we made it back on time but still lots of conflicting info on the ship itself.

We we're in 10936. We selected a section of ship and room type. I am guessing this was the last available cabin in that section because we didn't have a choice. This was just the room that we got during the purchase.
Is this the first time you sailed on NCL?

When you book on their website, a cabin is suggested. The site says “choose a stateroom from the list below or pick the one we chose for you”.

You can then scroll down and choose another one if you don’t like the one that is there.

Perhaps you may not have understood how the website works.
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: Carrie Livingston

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
525
1,021
93
34
We understand that, but we never selected that cabin or requested ADA. We just picked the area of ship and class. It never said anything in our confirmation so we never thought anything of it.

What makes it mini suite if everything that makes a cabin a mini suite is missing? The couch, the double vanity, and everything else that is mentioned about mini suite?
They don't mention in the confirmation if it's a connecting stateroom or if it has a Pullman vs pull out couch either. The deck plan is where you find out more specifics about a cabin. Which is why NCL (and other TAs I've seen where you can book online) shows the deck plan at the room selection stage.

Mini suites are larger than regular balconies. To make a room wheelchair accessible they have to change aspects of the room. (They're also usually larger than non ADA rooms in the same categories which some see as a plus.) All ADA cabins on a cruise ship have to take things out. In the future make sure you haven't selected an ADA room when you book since you don't like them.
 
Jun 1, 2019
18
3
3
32
We frequently sail NCL. Never selected a cabin from the drop-down and just take the one that is recommended because we were under the impression that a cabin in that class, is a cabin in that class. I never imagines that the default selection would be an ADA cabin and it didn't indicate that it was ADA.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
22,882
22,843
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
In Johns defense- there is no picture on the deck plan that shows that cabin has no couch. If you look at the picture, it says it was a modified ADA cabin but not how it was modified. After searching everywhere for a deck plan that shows a modified mini suite with no couch- I can’t find one. That’s problem- I think I would have been surprised had I got on and saw that.

John, I think you should make this the focus of your complaint. Their own website shows that room with a couch.

And ask for a future cruise credit due to it. And the clock problem too- that’s a legitimate complaint too. (I don’t understand why there couldn’t be a programming change made to correct that ).
They need to fix their deck plan renditions- unless someone rise can find a picture of what that cabin really looks like on NCLs website.

In the future, know you don’t have to accept their recommended cabin - what of it was a cabin over a nightclub or the theater? In this case it wouldn’t have mattered because the website rendition was wrong but we are very careful about where our cabin is located- we always check the deck plans to see what is above, below and next to a recommended cabin. All a recommended cabin is an unbooked one and apparently may not be a desired one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: justlisa
Aug 30, 2015
230
257
63
58
We returned a few weeks ago from the NCL Joy's maiden voyage (post drydock) in Alaska. We are frequent cruisers (25+ combined between myself and my wife). We have cruised every class of cabin from inside to Haven and we do not have unrealistic expectations. In fact, we have never felt the need to complain about anything when we got home but we had an unbelievable amount of issues with this trip.

I have attached our letter that was sent to NCL, as well as all photographs and their response.

I have summarized our issues below, but the attached documents provide a lot of detail as well as additional issues not summarized below.
  • We were placed in the wrong cabin class (booked mini-suite - placed in ADA balcony room).
  • Sewerage smell coming through the shower. They poured something down the drain but it got worse as the cruise went on.
  • The Internet did not function forcing us to work in port. It was pinging off of servers in Asia and was never updated after the dry dock so it timed out on all requests. Not resolved after we pointed out the reason to the ship crew.
  • The ship time was not correct. It was still set for Asia. This resulted in missed wakeup calls because they were delivered 10 hours late. This was not resolved, despite being brought to the attention of crew.
  • We were scheduled to leave port in Ketchikan at 2:30pm. The night before, the daily program said that we would be leaving at 12:45. There were no announcements made, the app still said 2:30, the TVs still said 2:30, NCL corporate said 2:30, and there was no clear direction given by NCL.
  • It took nearly 2 hours to get off of the ship on the last day. The line began on the aft staircase, went all the way to the forward dining room, and wrapped it's way through the ship, back aft and off again.
  • NCL allows you to book reservations prior to getting on board. We booked our shows and dinners, but as soon as we got on board, many of the reservations were changed. Instead of everything working in conjunction, we were now scheduled to go to shows at the time that we were scheduled to be in port and dinners and shows were scheduled at the same time.
There were many more issues that are outlined in the attached documentation, but each time something didn't go according to plan, were told that "it is the first time that this ship is going out of dry dock and it will be better next time", "We are going to improve on that", or "We know that is a problem and it will be fixed before the next trip". While this makes sense, this was our vacation. We paid full price and we were never told that this was a "trial run" cruise. I did not book this trip to help NCL figure out what needs to be fixed before the next cruise. We booked this as our vacation, took time off of work without pay, and spent thousands of dollars.

eached out to NCL with our concerns and we were met with a copy/paste form letter as a response. While the categories were correct for some issues, they did not address what we discussed. Instead of specifically addressing the fact that the internet was pinging off of the wrong servers, they just said that satellite internet isn't as reliable as internet on land (which we know from being on 25 cruises). The font throughout their response varied, clearly indicating that they just copied and pasted from generic sources instead of reading what we actually brought up.

We just wanted a response that would address our concerns instead of a form letter
How infuriating.
Although I understand it is the advice of Elliott.org to not have a "laundry list: of complaints, it is also my understanding that when people screw things up, they screw up a lot - as can be plainly seen in this case.

There's no excuse for this sort of cruise. And no excuse for such callous and generic responses.
 
Mar 12, 2019
65
85
18
55
Thanks for the reply. My photos didn't



Had we known that this was the first cruise post drydock, we never would have taken it. It was the first-week NCL was running Alaska for the year and we just thought that it was their normal route switch over.

Regarding Ketchikan - I may not have clarified that properly in my abbreviated version in the forum, but I went into detail in the attached letter to NCL. To me, this was actually one of the most serious issues. I have been on a lot of ships where they change the itinerary, but they tell you that there is a change. Much of the information on the ship was still giving the time that was originally booked (TVs, App, ETC), crew said "there was no change" because in their records, it was originally supposed to leave at 12:45, not 2:30. It was not a choice to change the port time for a safety issue or a concern. It was a failure of information and the ship didn't know what time we were leaving.

When we had to skip Sweden, there were a lot of announcements. When we had to leave a port early because of a storm in the past, there were announcements made and information sent to the cabin that specifically said that there is a change. It isn't about the 2 hours lost in port. It is about conflicting information and being told "we are still figuring this out because it is our first trip"


I know that the wake up calls may seem small, but we were dealing with time zone changes in port and didn't want to take a chance with our phones and time zone changes so we thought that a wake up call would be the most reliable. We learned about the issue when the call didn't go off for our 7am arrival in port.

Internet was refunded. Unfortunately, it isn't a luxury item for us. We can only travel by keeping our businesses afloat so we were stuck working in port since we couldn't do it nightly on the ship.

We were not refunded for the difference. We were told that the cabin descriptions on the website might not match the cabin that you get.

We didn't ask for anything. The value of the trip that was a disaster towards another cruise would be nice, but we really just wanted a reply from NCL that wasn't a generic form letter that was not copy / paste with different font sizes and styles. They gave us onboard credit for a future cruise which is fine, but it seems like none of our concerns were even read because their reply, which was attached to the original post, seems to just copy information that is "Complaint about room" or "issues with internet".


My photos from disembarkation didn't seem to attach. After 25 cruises, this is not normal. The issue was on the ship side, not the customs side. Once we got off of the ship, we walked right over, got our bags, and walked out of the terminal.

View attachment 2511

View attachment 2512

View attachment 2513

View attachment 2510
Thanks for the reply. My photos didn't



Had we known that this was the first cruise post drydock, we never would have taken it. It was the first-week NCL was running Alaska for the year and we just thought that it was their normal route switch over.

Regarding Ketchikan - I may not have clarified that properly in my abbreviated version in the forum, but I went into detail in the attached letter to NCL. To me, this was actually one of the most serious issues. I have been on a lot of ships where they change the itinerary, but they tell you that there is a change. Much of the information on the ship was still giving the time that was originally booked (TVs, App, ETC), crew said "there was no change" because in their records, it was originally supposed to leave at 12:45, not 2:30. It was not a choice to change the port time for a safety issue or a concern. It was a failure of information and the ship didn't know what time we were leaving.

When we had to skip Sweden, there were a lot of announcements. When we had to leave a port early because of a storm in the past, there were announcements made and information sent to the cabin that specifically said that there is a change. It isn't about the 2 hours lost in port. It is about conflicting information and being told "we are still figuring this out because it is our first trip"


I know that the wake up calls may seem small, but we were dealing with time zone changes in port and didn't want to take a chance with our phones and time zone changes so we thought that a wake up call would be the most reliable. We learned about the issue when the call didn't go off for our 7am arrival in port.

Internet was refunded. Unfortunately, it isn't a luxury item for us. We can only travel by keeping our businesses afloat so we were stuck working in port since we couldn't do it nightly on the ship.

We were not refunded for the difference. We were told that the cabin descriptions on the website might not match the cabin that you get.

We didn't ask for anything. The value of the trip that was a disaster towards another cruise would be nice, but we really just wanted a reply from NCL that wasn't a generic form letter that was not copy / paste with different font sizes and styles. They gave us onboard credit for a future cruise which is fine, but it seems like none of our concerns were even read because their reply, which was attached to the original post, seems to just copy information that is "Complaint about room" or "issues with internet".


My photos from disembarkation didn't seem to attach. After 25 cruises, this is not normal. The issue was on the ship side, not the customs side. Once we got off of the ship, we walked right over, got our bags, and walked out of the terminal.

View attachment 2511

View attachment 2512

View attachment 2513

View attachment 2510
As an experienced cruiser, shouldn’t you have sought to find out since you would not have taken it if you knew? This was “first things first” in my view.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Neil Maley