Being on a cruise ship is hard to explain.
If you want to stay connected and have internet access, you need to pay $280US for the 8 days, plus a one off connection fee of $3.75US. Seriously after ripping you off for 8 days, they also want a connection fee. Bullshit times three.
And if you want to use it briefly, they have a 99c for 1 minute option. Bullshit times 4. It’s the same rate my phone provider offers, but on the seas I have no service.
And you feel like a prisoner on it. A prisoner who paid for the experience.
It’s shit because NCL cancelled Helsinki and Stockholm stops. They used weather as the reason but it happened three days before we are meant to dock. The call was a bit premature.
There is a general feeling that NCL cancelled because most passengers had independent shore excursions organized for those places and since NCL had a small amount it wasn’t worth docking there.
But the big secret that NCL doesn’t tell you is that the ports at Helsinki, Nynashamn (Stockholm) and Warnemunde (Berlin) are piers which cannot accommodate big ships.
In order to try, the ports have extendable piers. So if the weather is perfect, in other words, no winds, the ships will dock, otherwise it will not dock. A lady on the cruise ship has had two Helsinki stops cancelled, while another has had two Stockholm stops cancelled. And the weather was windy.
But NCL promotes these trips. This trip was on my radar because of those stops. In the end all we saw was Tallinn for two days and St Petersburg for two days and three days of sailing.
Also when we docked in St Petersburg, 70% of the ship had independent shore excursions organized and guess what, they made us wait until the NCL organized shore excursions went first. We didn’t start our tour until after 11am.
The shit thing is how NCL did it. NCL said in a note to our room that all independent shore excursions need to get a time slot for a passport check in the Breakaway room on Level 7.
But it was just a stall to get us out later. The passport checks happened at the docking port with the Russian Authorities.
But there is food galore. Some good, some bad.
So what was the point of the trip.
For the $9K I paid to be on the cruise I didn’t get the value I expected. I would have been better off flying to these countries and staying a few nights there.
I did a Royal Caribbean cruise two years ago that totally blew this one away and Norwegian Breakaway did a great job making sure I never cruise with them again.
In the end, the Breakaway captain did what was necessary to keep the crew and passengers safe. It’s a shame his parent company NCL doesn’t have the same ethos and use manipulative marketing practices to trick people.