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calgaryflames

Norway trip 7th July on NS

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I will do my best to be fair in this review as we had our ups and downs during this cruise. This was our 17 th cruise on a mixture of cruise lines, mainly Celebrity but also MSC and up to Oceania and Aramark.

 

This cruise did not start well when we discovered at 0430hrs as we climbed into the car to head to the airport that a text has arrived at midnight to say our flight from London to Amsterdam with BA has been cancelled and that we had been booked onto the next available flight at 1800hrs.  With the ship leaving at 1700hrs not much use to us, after being on hold for 20 minutes I finally managed to raise somebody from BA who after much more time on hold as she spoke to her manager informed us they could not get us out any earlier, despite there being many flights and us offering to drive to another airport if need be.

 

By now we were half way to the airport and pulled in so that I could contact HA. Once again on hold for 20 minutes (cost £24) until a kind lady answered who then spent half an hour trying to sort us out.  Still no flight even though we offered to go via another city if required. Nope not to be we were told to head home and flights would be arranged to get us out to Bergen on Monday with an overnight stay before joining the ship in Eidfjord on Tue.

 

Flights went okay and we duly arrived in Bergen to find know body waiting to meet us. I gave it 20 mins and then started the by now dreaded process of trying to ring HA.  On hold for half and hour and then my phone decided I had used up to much money and needed to buy more so I gave up with HA and contacted my own TA who I had made aware of our delayed arrival at the ship on Sunday.  Once again on hold while they contacted HA who proceeded to tell them that our contact was waiting for us in the Baggage Hall and could we go back in to find them.  In all

my years travelling I have never seen this but after some discussion I was able to get somebody to check and lo and behold know body there.  Fortunately I was still on the phone so I had to wait whilst our extremely frustrated TA tried to get answers from HA who even at one point claimed to be speaking to me on another phone which at least raised a laugh between me and my TA.  Suffice to say after 3 hours a taxi driver turned up with our name on a piece of paper.  After a quick discussion he said to me, you are not crew are you I need to call my boss.

Anyhow he walked us across the road to an airport hotel the Comfort Inn and said I will pick you up on Wednesday morning and take you to the ship.  I explained that we were supposed to meet the ship on Tue in Eidjord which prompted another round of calls to his boss. Agreed we would be taken to the ship on Tue morning pick up 0700hrs. Great!

 

The hotel was clean but very basic and in the middle on nowhere (11 miles to Bergen). That evening after forking out a small fortune for 2 x Bergers I receives an email from HA telling us we would not be picked up in the morning as the ship was not stopping in Eidfjord and that we would be picked up on Wed morning and taken to the ship when it arrived in Bergen.  I could not raise HA again but did get hold on our TA who was extremely upset at how we were being treated and that we were in a Comfort Hotel way outside the city.  Bless her she managed to raise HA and arranged for them to move us the next morning into a hotel in Bergen.

 

We finally joined the boat on Wednesday morning.  That night as we sat in the bar talking to the barman I asked why the ship did not stop in Eidfjord and was not surprised to be told ‘we did for all the day’!

 

Cue lots of discussion with the front desk and the Services Manager who were all extremely nice and rather horrified with what had happened.  Over the next few days we were given money for our expenses and some onboard credit $100 each.  I also after some discussion managed to get a refund of for the 3 days of Beverage package that we had been unable to use. The Service manager explained she had sent emails to head office and that she hopped for a response in a couple of days.  That never happened and in the end off her own bat she paid us for our telephone bills and gave us some money to cover our lost day on board.

 

The ship staff I have to say where excellent and kept us up to date with what was happening and in the end I could see how embarrassed they were with the lack on response from the Head Office, where I go from here I am not sure yet as my expenses have been covered but I still missed 3 days of the cruise one of which was entirely the fault of the company.  Being dumped outside of Bergen in the crew hotel also needs some explaining.

 

Onto the ship which is virtually brand new but in some areas is already showing wear and tear eg the Buffet. Design is a personal thing but the lime green and cream colours where horrible and the carpets where already coved in stains which showed up because of the colours.  Food was pretty good and there was plenty of variety through all the meals.

 

The main dining room was pretty hit and miss with some of the food being of pretty poor quality and disappointing. The staff were pretty good although some of the wine waiters were very slow and did not have much knowledge of what they were serving.

 

We tried all the restaurants which require extra money and enjoyed them all.  The steakhouse was very good as was Tamarind.

 

Our favourite place on the ship was the Dutch coffee bar where we loved the decour and the coffee.

 

I thought the entertainment was pretty good, the main stage was again a bit hit and miss but still enjoyable.  What HA have definitely got right is the music on board walk. The rock band was outstanding as were the two piano players in billboard. Just goes to show that oldies can still enjoy their music without it being a string quartet or a harpist.  I hope other lines take note as this made for great nights until quite late. Well done HA for this innovation.

 

The cruise itself was okay with some interesting ports of call and some quite stunning fjords. I am not sure it was worth the 3 days at sea and a whole day in the very small port at the North Cape.  Particularly cheesing off for me was that the point used as the Northern most point is in fact not the most northerly point, a couple of miles west was an obvious point further north. The guide admitted that it was but that it was too difficult to get to so this spot was chosen. Hum bit of a cheat in my view.  However, the ship did take a trip out to North Cape and we actually sat quite close to the real point for 10 minutes. It was a lot of sea time for not much really, perhaps heading round to Murmansk would have made the trip more worthwhile. Still we knew that when we booked.

 

Our favourite port of call was Flaam with the amazing railway, which despite the cost is a must do if only to understand the amazing engineering feat.

 

So apart from the start of the trip we enjoyed the experience. HA are a middle of the pack when it comes to cruising and are priced as such.  Many of the HA crowd who cruise with them regularly did not like the size of the big ship compared with the older smaller ships but it seems that most cruise companies are moving this way.  If you want smaller ships be prepared to pay much more. We loved Oceania but they have virtually doubled in price in the last few years making it very expensive and as such just about out of reach.

 

Would I cruise with HA again, yes if the itinerary is good. It will also depend on if I get some answers as too what went wrong.

 

Sorry it was so long.

 

 

 

 

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Hopefully lesson learned, leave a day earlier for A'dam next time, also did you check with BA for flights to Rotterdam, Brussels, Dusseldorf, you could have taken a train from there to the ship and be on time.

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Wow, calgaryflames, it sounds like you had quite a trip!

 

I, too, experienced a canceled (independent) flight a few weeks ago, but it was at the end as we were disembarking Nieuw Statendam.

 

I take it you booked your flights through HAL?  If so, like previously said, they really should have helped you find an alternate route.  I have also used CDG, BRU, and RTM + train.  I believe the Eurostar also has this route.  I am so sorry this happened and completely understand the mix of emotions and hassle as you try to manage airline contacts and schedules.  In  our case, AA was too busy to answer phones so we had to get to the airport to sort things out.

 

Am I to understand that the NS did in fact make it to Eidfjord?  

 

I, too, am curious about the response you will receive.  

 

All the Best!

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1 hour ago, quack2 said:

Wow!  What a cluster.

 No doubt.

 

Lesson of flying in the day of your cruise learned?

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When going on our first cruise, decades ago, our TA arranged for us to fly down to Ft. Lauderdale a day early.  We questioned why this was a necessity, since it involved extra expense, i.e. a hotel room for one night and meals.  She rapidly asked if we'd rather pay $150 extra (remember this was in the 1970s) or miss the first several days of the cruise with the added expense of flights to San Juan and hotel stay until the ship arrived.  It doesn't take an economist to understand the advantages of traveling to the embarkation port a day early.

 

When leaving for a European cruise, we allow 2-3 days prior to a cruise and purchase the air through HAL.  Now they're on the hook to get us where we need to be if a worse case scenario happens.  

 

So sorry you experienced such difficulties prior to the cruise.  Did you purchase travel insurance?  If so, you need to file a claim, which may reimburse you almost 100%, depending upon the coverage you bought. 

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OP

 

Feel sorry for you that you had such a rough start to your cruise and missed the first 3 days.

 

I noticed that you mentioned paying in pounds so I gather that you live in England?

 

Even living there I would have flown to the embarkation port a day early.

 

When we flew to Europe to catch ships, we went 3 - 4 days early and we booked our own flights.

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I booked this trip through HA and the flight to Amsterdam is just over 45 mins. There is no need to go a day early and HA did not offer that when booking, amazing how some of you will turn it to my fault. There are literally dozens of flights from London to Amsterdam each day.  I offered to travel via anywhere to get there but HA could not achieve it.  Yes I have travel insurance but don’t see why they should cough up, BA will not deal with me because the flight was booked by HA.

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3 hours ago, Sir PMP said:

Hopefully lesson learned, leave a day earlier for A'dam next time, also did you check with BA for flights to Rotterdam, Brussels, Dusseldorf, you could have taken a train from there to the ship and be on time.

 

You clearly did not read what I said, I offered to fly via anywhere and the flight was an 0800 hrs flight with literally dozens more flights that day. It takes me longer to drive to the airport than the flight to Amsterdam. This trip was booked through HA including the flight which is the one they gave me.  No lesson learnt for me as getting around this part of Europe is easy and should not be a problem, if I am catching a cruise from outside Europe I always catch an earlier flight. 

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What a crock! Really bad luck added to crass handling by HAL

it would be very interesting to know what the final outcome is?

good luck!

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28 minutes ago, calgaryflames said:

 

You clearly did not read what I said, I offered to fly via anywhere and the flight was an 0800 hrs flight with literally dozens more flights that day. It takes me longer to drive to the airport than the flight to Amsterdam. This trip was booked through HA including the flight which is the one they gave me.  No lesson learnt for me as getting around this part of Europe is easy and should not be a problem, if I am catching a cruise from outside Europe I always catch an earlier flight. 

Well...you need to know two things. First, booking airfares through the cruise line usually gets you bulk or consolidator fares, which are generally the lowest priority for relief when there is an issue with your flight.

 

Second, you seem to think there was a 100 or more available seats on those "dozens" of other flights, which I seriously doubt. Remember, the entire plane load of people from your cancelled flight is still trying to get to AMS. Priority goes to fare class, elite status with the airline and a few other considerations over bulk or consolidator fares.

 

We sailed out of Seattle last month...a little over 2 hour flight for us. We still flew in two days early.

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@calgaryflames  You mention phone calls to both HAL and your Travel Agent.  Just interested in how this worked out as it is often mentioned on CC that HAL will not speak with you if you have booked through a travel agent.  Was it HAL Seattle or HAL Southampton that you called?

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2 hours ago, calgaryflames said:

 

You clearly did not read what I said, I offered to fly via anywhere and the flight was an 0800 hrs flight with literally dozens more flights that day. It takes me longer to drive to the airport than the flight to Amsterdam. This trip was booked through HA including the flight which is the one they gave me.  No lesson learnt for me as getting around this part of Europe is easy and should not be a problem, if I am catching a cruise from outside Europe I always catch an earlier flight. 

You're too stubborn to learn something basic: to avoid problems, fly in the day before!

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1 hour ago, Sir PMP said:

You're too stubborn to learn something basic: to avoid problems, fly in the day before!

You know people learn the hard way at times!  I’m sorry but for me why would you be that way? You always have nice posts!

Everyone learns and next time I hope she books her own flights like a lot of us and enjoys being there several days earlier and not have the problems. Hopefully she will have a next time! 

Sir PMP I have always regarded your reply’s as being upbeat and informative.

Denise😊

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Some people on here seem to have plenty of time on their hands, we both work and that included the Saturday before the flight. 14 days for this cruise is enough time off work as it is.  We have also been to AMS many times before and would not wish to spend yet more time there on the off chance of flight problems.  Interesting that some just hone in on making this my fault.  No thoughts on how HA handled it and the mess up with not getting us to the ship on Tue.

 

For those that kindly asked I was dealing with HA in Seattle on the emergency number they provide and when I could not get through to them I phoned my TA. I strongly suspect that things work differently in UK with regards to TA. But they did get involved and were a great deal of help when I could not get throug

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Regardless or not if you should or could fly out a day early, the question is did HAL look after you and resolve your problem? It sounds like HAL give you the ran around, point is it's now all water under the bridge. I'm sure this cruise will leave some not so kind thoughts about HAL. Better luck next time. 

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..........If you are minded to give them another chance!

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