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NCL Air Reservation - DO NOT USE this service

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What a horribly run dept. Advertised as part of the recent "deals" they offered, NCL would include 1st guest flight, and make reservations for all other guests. Don't fall for it.

They messed up our air travel initially by booking us to return home on 6/21 after the ship got in on 6/19, two days later, expecting us to pay to stay the extra nights. This was about 60 days before we sailed.  We got them to put in to change the flight to the correct date, but had to nag them constantly to find out what the new return flight would be. They kept saying "you're in the queue". They finally sent us the new return flight a week or so before we were to sail - 6/19 Venice to Montreal to Atlanta to Charlotte. Fine, good.

My wife called with a question, and the guy on the phone was helping her, when he literally said "oh, I see your Montreal was cancelled". Again, wtf! He couldn't tell her what the new flight was either!  When asked, he just said "the airline cancelled the flight". On our own, we checked with the airline about the Montreal flight and they had NOT cancelled it. We called NCL and let them know, again they said they had no other info - "the airline cancelled the flight" was all we got. We couldn't get any more information from NCL. We left for the cruise, having no idea what our return flight was going to be. Only documentation we had included that Montreal flight. Never got any calls from NCL Air dept or agent.

Flight to Venice to catch the ship was fine. Got to Venice and they didn't have us on the list to be transported to the cruise dock, even though they arranged it! Tried to access our "edocs", but NCL app said they weren't available. Tried to call air reservation line, they were no help. Couldn't access our edocs and could only verbally confirm to transport people we were ok, but transport people wouldn't accept that. They "had to check with their supervisor". I asked who they worked for, and they said NCL! Had to argue with the transport people to let us on. 

While calling NCL about the transport issue, the guy said our return flights had been changed. WTF! I asked the air reservation rep to send me the new flight confirmation, he sent me the one I already had, which was different than what he was telling me! We got no call and no documentation the flight was changed. My wife and I were like wtf, if we hadn't called about the transport issue, how would we have known about the flight change?!?

This new return flight, was going to take us 13hrs out of the way!

Original flight was Venice -> Montreal -> Atlanta -> Charlotte = 14.5hrs

The new flight was now Venice -> Dubai -> Dallas - Charlotte = 27hrs. Take a look at a map and you can see why we were PO'd. That Dubai to Dallas flight was 16.5hrs! 

All thru the cruise, when we could we tried to get our return flight changed. Our agent was no help, air dept "couldn't do anything".

Cruise was great, ports were wonderful, staff onboard was pleasant, food was just ok. 

We thought about just making our own flights home, but we paid NCL already and knew we wouldn't get any credit back from NCL if we did.  We tried desperately again when we got to the Venice to get NCL to put us on the Montreal flight. We could see other people who were on our ship waiting in line for that Montreal flight! Got no where with NCL.

Flights home were long and horrendous as expected. We were exhausted by the time we got to Dallas, after almost 22hrs of flights. When we got there, we noticed American Airlines had a flight into an airport closer to home for us RDU. It would save us 2hrs of driving home. Tried to ask American if we could change, they were ok with it, but then said they couldn't make the change because it was booked through a 3rd party (NCL). Figured maybe NCL would do is a solid and let us change the flight - NOPE!! They said they couldn't change it because it was a non-changeable ticket. We pleaded with them to make an exception. NADA. Met with rude reps from air reservations, rude "supervisor", transferred to "Resolutions" dept. They had no interest in helping us.

Long story short. Make your own travel reservations! Ask for "cruise only" when booking with NCL. 

We talked to many people onboard our ship and others afterwards. This seems to be a common thing with NCL's air reservations. 

We submitted an issue report via NCL's normal process and basically got a canned response from them, so even that process is flawed.

Thanks for reading if you made it all the way thru.

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@davidE This is not the first time I am reading about this truly awful travel experience when booking your airfare through the cruise line as a package deal. When booking it seems simple if there is a minor itinerary change, you are left practically stranded with nowhere to turn. Most of the horror stories have been with NCL, but the customer service for this cruise line has significantly declined more recently. What it boils down to is, cruise lines have no control over what happens with the airlines. Cruise lines are out of the loop and if something goes wrong with the airfare, the line is not responsible for it. If you don't make it to your cruise in time due to a delayed flight booked through the cruise line, the line is not responsible for the mishap.

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  • 1 month later...

We used this promotion while flying to Athens for our Greece/Turkey cruise. We were scheduled to fly in a day early and stay two days late. 

First, we received our itinerary about five days prior to departure.  We live in Philadelphia and the itinerary had us fly to NEWARK, 30 minutes by flight,  Montreal, and then Athens.  We had been saving points to upgrade,  however, the airline and NCL bounced us back and forth and could not apply the points.

We were literally ON THE RUNWAY when we discovered they had not booked the inbound hotel, but rather booked us three nights on the end of the cruise. We called AMX and they handled it.

The hotel was very nice, but we had to wait five hours until we could check in. It was in a sketchy part of town though with strips clubs across the street.

It was unbearably hot, so do not sail in July. EVER. The ancient monuments in Athens closed each day from 12-5 p.m. due to the extreme heat.

I will say the tours on NCL were excellent and VERY  well organized.

Our favorite village was Lindos. Better shopping here than the Grand Bazaar. Allot time to catch the bus up the hill back to the NCL motorcoach. And really, really loved Turkey. 




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@Pj Thomas Thanks for your feedback on this NCL experience. I have heard such mixed reviews about the entire process. I would have been so stressed if I was on the airplane out and realized the inbound hotel wasn't booked! For the prices you pay, I believe you shouldn't have to stay in a sketchy part of town. What were the summer highs while you were there in July? I can't believe the monuments close during the day due to the heat! Better shopping here than the Grand Bazaar? I think I need to cruise to Lindos now!

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