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My experience of NCL/Ocean events for our civil ceremony


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Copy of letter sent to NCL/Ocean events...I await a reply.

25th April 2018


To whom it may concern.


We wish to complain in the strongest possible terms at the service offered during our Civil Ceremony occasion onboard the Norwegian Epic on Monday 23rd April 2018.

What should have been an amazing day for us was ruined by the stress caused and upset caused by a lack of interest, a lack of communication, Penny pinching and blame shifting by various representatives of NCL and Royal Ocean Events.

We did not get the service expected or required for the large amount of money we paid.


Sunday 22nd April.

(1)We boarded the ship on Sunday 22nd April, arriving at 1130 with the 25 guests that we had paid for as our wedding party.

There was no priority boarding given.


(2)We made our way to customer services onboard at approximately 1230 and deposited a wedding cake. At the same time advising we were due to meet a wedding planner. Was advised the wedding planner would contact us when she was available.


(3)At approximately 1630 we collected the mentioned cake from customer services, and again asked about meeting the wedding planner. Again, advised she would contact us when available.

The day played out, and we took part in lifeboat drill and enjoyed the ships excellent facilities before returning to our cabin around 1800hrs.

There was no messages left and we stayed in the cabin waiting until approximately 2000hrs before going to dinner, immediately followed by a show.


(4)After the show, approximately 2305hrs we went to customer services to express our concern and to find out what was happening. The girl initially knew nothing about it, but called for help and two group service co-ordinations came out to meet us.

They were Giannina Pedraza and Iulla Borodkina.

NOT Ligaya Dagasdas and Marina Caparros as we had been advised.

Only one really spoke.

She explained they had tried to contact us and left a message. (It transpired they left a message at 2035hrs).

I was angry explaining we had attempted contact twice and waited etc and they explained they were not actually wedding co-ordinators (as we had been led to believe) but group co-ordinators and they had been very busy and had a large group on board as well as college and other groups etc.

Being blunt, this should not be my concern. We paid a premium price for this service.

(5) I made it clear to them that we should not be expected to wait in on the off chance they may call. And would it not be common sense that in the evening, especially the night before our service, that guests would be out maybe having dinner, socialising and enjoying the ships facilities?


(6)it continued to go downhill. They explained they had it all under control and had the vows especially for us, all sorted. They proceeded to show us a A4 sheet set of vows which showed no resemblance to anything we had submitted, and referring to myself as my partners WIFE.

I was becoming more and more angry at the incompetence being shown.


(7)The ladies stated they had no record of the details we had sent to Jade Cockrill at Ocean events. There was information on the food ordered. No information on the music or detail.

We agreed, due to the late hour to reconvene the following morning at 0930 and bring our IPad to evidence and share what we had requested.

It was stressful, it was awkward and it was unprofessional and not the service we had been promised.

Myself only slept maybe two hours that night, worrying solely caused by my lack of trust or faith that any work had actually been put in to this by NCL and Ocean Events coordinators.


It only got worse.


Monday 22nd April-ceremony day.


(8)This morning, we had to forgo our planned lie in and stress free morning, in order to take my IPad to the coordinators so that they could get the vows etc. which they say had not been sent on.

This took ages as the ships office internet went down, so the coordinator took photographs of the details I had sent.

We were then advised to be in the Manhattan Room for 1145 and everything would be fine.


(9) The service went well, the room looked good.

The pianist was amazing. The Officer introduced himself and conducted a good service. The words we had chosen for exchange of rings were not read, but that was not his fault, but the fault of NCL/Ocean Events.

That was very disappointing.

We had no more contact or conversation with our so called dedicated coordinator so could not address this. She had gone without even a congratulations or ask if we needed anything else.

(10) The guests stayed for drinks and to sign our guest book.

The book had not been put out as our request, but left on a table in a carrier bag. Luckily we rescued this situation before our guests left. Most embarrassing.

The food was served and was amazing as were the serving staff who were lovely and worked hard.

There was no bar as we had been promised and asked for, but the staff did take orders of drinks. This had not been communicated to us in any way, so some of the guests were going outside to the main bar.

All in all, with no sign of the coordinators at all, the guests were happy.

(We were very angry and upset).

(11) we had dinner booked for 27 in The Manhattan Room. One big table had been requested and we had been advised had been approved. We had also requested that some family members would go a bit early and place wedding favours/hearts/name cards on the table.

We arrived at 1900hrs and out of courtesy I thought I would confirm with the Manhattan welcome staff.

They had no record of a 1930 booking but did have a 1915 booking for 32.

She said she could give me 15 minutes grace.

I was exasperated at this stage and angry, but knew it was not her fault. I did explain the booking had always been 27, and the time always 1930, and it was not grace. It was due to the incompetence of Ocean Events.

When I then said about the favours, they were too busy, the tables were not ready and maybe five minutes before they could go in.

The whole situation just got worse.

(12)At 1920hrs, my mother and sister were allowed to go in.

The promised large table was three separate tables. Not acceptable.

My mother at 69, my sister were helped by kind NCL waiting staff and at least were able to make it two tables, by moving chairs/tables etc.

They had not completed this til 1940hrs, and subsequently my mother became unwell.

(13)The horrible farce continued, when the coordinated came down and asked if there was a problem, and why we had not gone in yet.

I don’t know how I remained calm, but explained the awkward situation they had once again put us in due to the sheer incompetence.

It was obvious, I would have had more response, talking to the dog.

(14) Dinner was served as two separate tables. Table one had completed their meal before table two were served. All guests just sat where they could, and months of planning were rendered useless.

The food was excellent though as always.

The staff delivered the cake to the table with a song, which again was lovely.

Our planned one and a half hour meal took three hours, due to delays in service of the main course, desert and coffee.

Drinks service had to be requested as no one took orders.

Coffee service was requested three times, by the time it came, half the guests had moved on to the planned Epic Beatles show we had all planned to go to.

It just appeared like we were an added unplanned convenience.

The planned speeches were unable to be made.

At the end of a very stressful and ruined day for myself and partner, we returned to our warm cabin.

We were greeted by warm champagne and warm strawberries. We were not hungry, it had obviously been delivered late and forgotten.

Tuesday 24th May

(15) At 1330hrs we put in our grievance to the ships senior house manager at Guest Services. Unfortunately, we did not get the courtesy of a reply or even an acknowledgement. Again disappointing.

Many of our guests went to Priscilla that evening. We had been advised we could not reserve seats to sit together, so we sat where we could to this fantastic show. My mother sat next to a lovely family who’s son is NCL staff and was in the show, they had lovely central reserved seats.

We left the ship on Wednesday 24th April in Rome, with memories of our worst 3 days onboard a Norwegian ship in over 180 combined Norwegian nights at sea.

The ship and crew were excellent. The food and entertainment were amazing.

We feel let down by NCL’s partnership approach with Ocean Events.

And bearing in mind, we do not have the option of other companies to use at sea, we feel like we were not given the service we were promised in any way whatsoever.

I appreciate, the coordinators had a group of 300 also onboard, but frankly that should not have been my problem.

The photo in a frame never materialised. We ticked to decline to buy any photo packages, but still expected our one framed photo from the package.

No canapés were forthcoming.

The remainder of the passed trays (and there was a lot) was not delivered to our stateroom that evening.

No care, attention or interest was given to us whatsoever.

We chose a NCL due to being loyal customers and enjoying all our past experiences with the cruise line.

We felt we had trust in the brand and always felt until now that you delivered.

I would very much like this to be investigated as we feel wholly let down and do expect some form of recompense.

The literature stated that you would turn our dream wedding into a reality.

Instead the reality was that it was a nightmare caused by incompetence, apathy and poor communication by Ocean Events and NCL partnership.

Thank you.

James Lavery & Stephen Coffey.


Sent from my iPad

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 4 years later...

Hi Jim. 

I’m very sorry this happened to you and your partner. We had a devastatingly similar experience this past weekend. I am hopeful you could share with me what transpired afterwards. Did you file a lawsuit? Did ncl or the event company refund your event? (Not that money will make it any less painful)


Somehow though almost unbelievable even more mistakes than you had experienced happened at our wedding. 

It literally breaks my heart to see hundreds of hours in preparation on our part (mostly hers!) be ruined by poor communication and negligence by Ncl and Royal Ocean Events. 

Thank you in advance for any insight. If you wish to message me privately just search Michael Urbani from Massachusetts on Facebook.  


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  • 10 months later...

Weird that a thread from so long ago got bumped up, but if OP is still around and is still looking for help, Elliott Advocacy has a great resource to help consumers self-advocate. (if others see this post, hopefully it can help someone!).


Honestly, you need to pair that letter down into action steps the cruise line can do to make it right. It likely wasn't read by anyone at the cruise line at that length and level of detail.

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