NCL = Norovirus Cruise Log
NCL = Norovirus Cruise Log Having cruised with many lines, this was the first cruise with NCL on Norwegian Spirit. Embarkation at Barcelona was smooth, luggage delivered in good time, and so it was off to dinner in the main dining room. A long queue greeted us and having eventually worked to the front, we were offered a pager which should call us in 30-45minutes. Having been assured that this was just a first night problem, I was unconvinced, believing that no ship would have pagers for a one night problem, and as the week went on I was proved right. 48hrs after embarkation, and at our first stop, barriers were put in place preventing anyone from serving themselves at the buffet. This continued for the rest of the cruise, a further 8 days. Norovirus was on board. Queues to be served with a drink, a bread roll, hot or cold food were legendary. The main dining room now seemed the obvious choice, where you could sit down and be served with food that was still hot, but sadly the service was not consistent and on two occasions the main course arrived cold and was returned. The queues, pagers and inconsistency of service, meant that breakfasts could take in excess of an hour, dinner two hours, theatre start time being missed on two occasions. The main dining room opened at 0700hrs, and so when a shore excursion was to leave at 0650hrs there was no choice but to use the buffet, despite the norovirus barrier precautions. Allowing extra time for this we arrived before 0600hrs and tactically one of us got in the queue for drinks, and the other, the queue for rolls. Hot food service did not begin until 0630hrs, giving a couple of hundred people a 20 minute window to queue, eat, and be in the theatre ready for the off. Totally unrealistic, and many people were extremely annoyed having had no breakfast through no fault of their own when leaving for a long day. Passengers with the virus were quarantined for 48hrs, but selfishly some did not stay in their cabins, were in public areas, and one was caught trying to leave the ship on an excursion. There is no doubt that because of the virus the crew were under extra pressure on this cruise, and they worked extremely hard, but many of the problems were management issues. In addition, charges for drinks, alcohol and soft, were high, a 20% service charge being added to every purchase, a port shuttle bus cost $15 dollars per person, and tips were charged at $14.50 per person per day; not the cheap cruise that it may at first seem to be.
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