Never rely on a stranger's guidance about the ID you need to cruise.

Never ask a stranger what ID you need to cruise. This is why

You should never rely on an anonymous stranger’s advice about the required ID you need to take your next cruise. Salvatore Friscia knows this all too well. While planning a vacation on Carnival’s Pride, he says an unidentified phone agent gave him the wrong information about the documentation requirements for the cruise. That guidance led him and his wife to show up for the cruise without the correct ID. As a result, the Friscias were denied boarding the ship and missed the entire cruise.

Norwegian Cruise Line treated this couple very differently than another couple just two weeks before. What's going on here?

Why did Norwegian Cruise Line treat these two couples so differently?

Last December, Patrick Doyle and his wife boarded a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, vaccinated and COVID negative. They intended to celebrate Christmas with a tropical cruise sailing on NCL’s Dawn. Unfortunately, within three days of embarkation, Lee Doyle became very ill. In the medical center onboard the vessel, she received a diagnosis of influenza. Her husband, who was feeling fine, tested positive for COVID, and their holiday adventure suddenly took an awful turn.

Why did this Royal Caribbean passenger think a printout from Ancestry.com was a valid ID to cruise to Canada?

No, a printout from Ancestry.com is not a valid ID to cruise!

Barbara Vannier’s adult daughter tried to check in for her international cruise with just a driver’s license and a printout from Ancestry com. Unfortunately, she quickly found out that this is not valid ID to cruise to Canada and the ship left without her. Now Barbara wants an apology from Royal Caribbean and a full cash refund for her daughter’s missed vacation. But is she entitled to either? 

The cruise itinerary changes on this trip caused the passenger to ask for a refund.

These cruise itinerary changes ruined my trip! Shouldn’t I get a refund?

The cruise itinerary changes on Iris Fennel’s recent Baltic Sea journey completely ruined her trip. She says Norwegian’s Breakaway sailed right past three out of five of its scheduled ports of call. Based on that ratio, Iris has calculated the cruise line should give her a 60 percent cash refund.

But does the cruise line owe Iris anything for these changes to the itinerary?

This tale is a harsh reminder of the reality of cruise schedules. These itineraries can be as fluid as the seas the cruise ships sail upon. In fact, the captain can change course for a plethora of reasons with little to no notice to the passengers. And if you’re curious as to what the company owes you if your cruise makes a giant deviation, read your contract. The surprising truth is there.

If you don't want to tip on your cruise then you need to let the cruise line know before you leave the ship.

This is what happens if you don’t want to tip on your cruise

What if you don’t want to tip on your cruise? Or maybe you’re not against cruise gratuities but prefer to give on a person-by-person basis. Can the cruise line force you to pay a set amount for the crew’s bonus?

That’s the question Laurie May wants to be answered. She says Oceania recently blindsided her by adding $320 to the cost of her 10-day European cruise. The reason? Automatically added gratuities.

Now she wants our advocacy team to retrieve the crew bonus and put it back in her wallet. But is that something we can do?

This family got left at the pier. Is the cruise line responsible?

This family got left on the dock! Is the cruise line responsible?

If you show up with the wrong ID to board a cruise, you’ll get left behind on the dock as the ship sails away without you.

Unfortunately, Charishma Motwani and her family experienced this awful scenario firsthand. As a result of documentation confusion, they missed their much-anticipated Alaskan cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Bliss.

Charishma says Norwegian Cruise Line is responsible for the mistake that caused her family to miss their voyage. She believes the cruise line owes her a do-over or a refund for their lost vacation.

And once you hear the facts of her tale, you just might agree.

These NCL passengers pushed their luck when they decided to fly to Alaska on the same day as their cruise began.

Here’s why you should never fly on the same day as your cruise

Maybe you’ve chosen to fly on the same day as your cruise, and things went off without a hitch. But for Marcelino and Julieta Bautista, that’s a gamble they lost.

They redeemed a free Norwegian Cruise Lines “Casinos at Sea” cruise through the Alaskan glaciers. But they pressed their bets too far when they flew into Anchorage on the same day as embarkation. Although their flight arrived as scheduled, something went terribly wrong and the ship left without them.

As a result, that freebie cruise turned out to be no bargain at all. The couple was forced to pay thousands of dollars to catch up with NCL’s Jewel. Bautista says that the cruise line made the mistake that caused the ship to leave without them. He wants reimbursement for all their extra expenses, and he wants our team to help get it.

The second place winner of NCL's Giving Joy contest died suddenly before he and his family could take the cruise he won.

Norwegian Cruise Line has a heart. Here’s how I know (update)

In May 2021, even as the cruise industry remained paused, Norwegian Cruise line began its NCL Giving Joy contest. The competition, launched to coincide with Teacher Appreciation Week, would honor 100 of the top educators in the United States. The nominees would vie for giant cash prizes for their schools. The cruise line would also award 100 dream cruises to the winners.

In August, after months of voting, Norwegian Cruise Line announced those winners in a joyful Facebook live stream event.

David Sowerby, an orchestra teacher from Caledonia, Mich, was shocked to discover he had won second place in the contest. His win meant that NCL would donate $15,000 to the middle school where he’d taught for the past 17 years. Not only that, but David and his wife, Rebecca, were awarded a dream cruise to Alaska.

In his thank-you speech, David explained that the money would buy new instruments for his school’s orchestra. He felt on top of the world.

But things took a sad and unexpected turn soon after NCL’s festive award ceremony.

You can cruise without a passport, but you shouldn't. This is what can happen if you miss your cruise and don't have a passport with you.

This is what happens when you miss your cruise without a passport

Maybe you’ve taken an international cruise without a passport and it was smooth sailing all the way. But you might want to consider Earl Wentzel’s troubling tale before booking your next maritime adventure.

Earl’s case should serve as an eye-opener to anyone considering taking a cruise without a passport. When you cruise with no passport, you’re putting yourself in a precarious position that could cause you to miss your vacation completely — no refund included. Or worse. You could even find yourself stranded in a foreign country.

This cruise ship passenger says he was forced to buy jewelry during his cruise. Here's a warning for consumers.

You should not buy jewelry during your cruise! This is why

Should you ever buy jewelry on a cruise? Well, if you’re Charles Onufer, the answer is no. But he came home from his last Regent cruise with over $9,500 of unwanted gems from Diamonds International. He says that during a port stop in Mexico, salespeople intimidated him into buying all of that unwanted jewelry. The jeweler says no such hard sell occurred and that this is a simple case of buyer’s remorse.

Is there a way to fix this cruise fiasco?