NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES endangered my baby and the higher ups did nothing about it.
If all you moms out there are anything like me, you don’t have a lot of time for stupid these days. Especially when you are trying to have a family vacation. I lamented about sharing my story, but after dealing with a company whose representatives don’t care about their customers, I decided no other parents should experience what happened to me at the hands of Norwegian Cruise Lines.
It was Easter. My entire family booked a cruise aboard the NORWEGIAN EPIC out of Miami. My husband was working so he could not go. Long story short, even though Norwegian’s own website says they will accept hospital certifications of birth from abroad hospitals, they wouldn’t accept mine. They said my whole family could board. They said I could board… But they refused my barely 16 month old baby access to the ship. Even though she had her hospital certification ( the one the county bases theirs on) and a social security card. And they blamed it on U.S. Customs. However, customs accepts the certificate I had and we explained that to them.
I get it. It was a technicality. I spaced out, I should have brought the correct birth certificate, but lack of sleep is tough. Here’s the kicker, I had someone ready to fax the port the county birth certificate and Gary, the port supervisor, refused to look at it because he said it was too late. He said the ship had sailed. When I called my family to say goodbye, they said the ship was still connected. The ship remained in port for another 2+ hours. They spent hours trying to get my luggage off the ship, instead of accepting my fax and spending 5 minutes getting my baby and me on board. Miracle of all miracles, they got my luggage off the ship over an hour after Gary said the ship had sailed.
Instead, they stranded us 3000 miles away from home. Because I think, they thought I was trying to kidnap my own child. I feel 100% they discriminated against me as a single woman traveling with a child. They let and accepted other people’s faxed birth certificates that day. Why not mine?
As if that’s not ridiculous enough, here’s what really is shocking and the reason I feel, NCl is NOT a family friendly cruise line. They REFUSED to call me a cab or car service with an infant car seat. Gary, lectured me on how desolate it became at the port and said I would be lucky to get any cab at all. He basically laughed in my face. I explained to him it was against the law and asked what difference it made to him and to please call a car service with an infant safety seat for my baby. Another employee tried to calm me down and said they would handle it, but they all took the easy way out and flagged down a cab from one of the other ships. And again, said I would never find a family car service. Meaning, the car service NCL endorsed jeopardized my baby’s safety.
I’m old school, I don’t have a smart phone. My cell phone was now dead from all the calls to California to get a copy of the birth certificate. I was dealing with an agitated, now exhausted baby trying to keep her calm and happy. Why couldn’t they go online and find us family car service? When I looked up family friendly car service at the hotel for my ride to the airport, it took me 30 seconds to find one. Either, 30 seconds was more effort than NCL employees are willing to make to keep a baby safe or they simply enjoyed adding to my distress and putting my baby in harms way.
And one final thing that struck me as odd. That evening I got a call from NCl asking me why I was a no show at the pier. A no show? I explained the situation and the woman on the other end had no answers for me. I don’t know how port authority works, but if NCL employees were righteous in their treatment of me, why did they lie in their paperwork and call me a no show? I can’t images there aren’t codes for these types of situations.
If you lie about me being a no show… And you lie about the ship being gone… And you don’t care about getting my baby a car seat so you lie about there not being any car services for families in the area, where does it stop? What about if you have a child with a nut allergy who gets sick on board? What about child safety on the ship? It’s a slippery slope. I think if their treatment of us was really on the up and up, why not be truthful about what really happened? It makes no sense, especially to people in your own company. Why is the left hand lying to the right? And what else do they lie about in their paperwork?
So after we are stranded in Miami for four days, we get home and share our story with the head of NCL’s customer relations Maria and copy the CEO Kevin. I thought for sure, somebody would acknowledge what happened to me and hopefully handle the situation with their port employees. If my employees didn’t try to help a mother and child and endangered babies, I would want to know about it and fix it. I thought at a bare minimum, I would get a call or letter telling me they handled the situation and repremanded Gary, so at least other parents wouldn’t go through the traumatic experience I did.
But I was wrong. They could not have cared less. Their customer relations isn’t about customers. And it isn’t about relating. Its about covering their own, “ass-etts.” I now see why the port supervisor was so arrogant and rude. Lack of respect or concern for customers trickles down from the top. NCL was more concerned with telling me they would NOT give my family a REFUND. I got a stock boiler-plate letter emailed from DONOTREPLY@NCL telling me their port employees are great and it was my fault for not having the document. They never addressed any of my issues. They ignored the facts about the county birth certificate and their supervisor refusing to look at it, but wasting hours getting my luggage off. And they completely ignored the cab situation. They REFUSED TO REIMBURSE us and didn’t even offer a make up cruise. So there it is. NCL cares about your money, not you and not your children. And once they get your cash, you are on your own. Even if you don’t get their service… They are keeping your money.
If NCL cared about its customers, one would assume that for $2000.oo, I should have been able to expect them to take a minute and call me a car service. ”NCL… At least jail is free and you get one phone call.”
I have learned three important things from this. MOMS, (1) GET PASSPORTS for you babies. Even if you don’t need them, no one can discriminate against a passport. (2) If you want to be paranoid and you are travelling without the other parent, get a signed consent to travel form. And (3) just because its called the sponge-bob cruise, doesn’t mean its family friendly!
I obviously can’t give a review of the ship because I never got on, but my family on board said it was horrible and I dodged a bullet. None of them will ever sail NCL again. They said the food was sloppy. The ship was completely over crowded and miserable, the rooms were awkward and anything nice worth doing cost extra.
There are so many choices when it comes to cruising, please consider my story the next time you book travel. And don’t forget, passports are indisputable!