A Most Unusual Cruise!

Ian Etheridge, Technical Editor


MS Norwegian Crown.

I returned from my 25th cruise. This 14 night cruise of Colonial America, on The Norwegian Crown, one of many of Norwegian Cruise Line's ships.

This was my first cruise on this ship, although I had previously sailed on three other Norwegian Cruise Line ships. The reason I chose this cruise was because of the unusual itinerary, which included Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada, as well as several east coast cities, This was very different from the usual Caribbean itinerary.

I will remember this cruise like no other cruise I have ever been on, not for the unusual itinerary, but for the following reasons:

To begin with we, meaning my fellow passengers and myself, got off to a bad start.

The Crown Club Lounge on the Norwegian Crown, scene of the "fire," and also my favorite watering hole.

What should have been a normal 20-minute embarkation at the dock in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania turned out to be 2 hours of standing in line waiting to get on board the ship. Well, at least we were inside out of the cold, rain, and snow flurries.
At embarkation they give you a photo ID card, which they "swipe" every time you go off the ship, or get back on the ship.

From left to right: Myself, Eileen and Roger.

My cousin Eileen and her husband Roger, who traveled here from England were also on this cruise. The ID card they gave Roger had Eileen's photo on it. My ID photo was a black square with a white circle in the middle, so I don't know what it was a photo of, but I don't think it was me.

Later, I found out (when I tried to phone my cousin's cabin) that there was no Roger and Eileen Smith on this cruise. They did have a Mrs. William H. and Eileen Smith, so I phoned their cabin. Yes, it was my cousin's cabin, only instead of Roger Smith, they had him as Mrs. William H. Smith. We never could figure out where they came up with that.

There were many more foul-ups by the Staff and Crew. I'll just mention a couple more such as "engine" trouble, which caused us to arrive late to several ports of call. We also skipped the Port of Savannah, Georgia entirely, not for "engine" trouble as they first led us to believe, but because there was no suitable dock available, and they knew that before we ever sailed!

Then there was the "fire." I never did see any flames, but I did see smoke pouring out of the ceiling in the Crown Club Lounge. This was the straw that broke the camels back, so to speak, and led to many very unhappy campers. Some were threatening a class action lawsuit, and that may still happen. I wondered out loud if there had ever been a mutiny on a cruise ship, or if I might witness the first one.

The problems did not end when we got off the ship.

Getting a taxi to the airport was a three ring circus. Though it was not all that obvious, there was a line for getting a taxi, but people were running all over the place trying to get one. Then the girl "organizing" the taxi line put 20 or so passengers, including myself, on a "trolley" bus, and said it would take us to the airport for free.

Instead, it took us 3 blocks to the parking lot, where you park if you come to the ship by car. The trolley bus driver said he was only authorized to take people from the ship to the parking lot, and he could not go to the airport.

I know that you will think that I made up what I am about to say, but I did not make this up! There was an oriental lady sitting next to me on the trolley bus, and she said out loud, exactly what I was thinking but did not dare say. She said (I quote), "This is like a Chinese fire drill!"

Well, 45 minutes after getting on the trolley bus for the airport, we are back at the ship. The taxi line is now a "mile" long, so do we get off the trolley bus and go back to square one, or do we stay on the trolley bus as the taxi line gets longer and longer?


After my fellow bus passengers told our plight to anyone who would listen, the bus driver finally received permission to take us to the airport.

If you have never taken a cruise, don't let this discourage you. This was not a typical cruise experience, and believe it or not, I enjoyed this cruise despite all that went wrong.
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