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Jacksonville couple first cruise on the high seas ends in deep disappointment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - When it is your first cruise on the high seas your expectations are high, but as Natalie Woods learned expectations can be swept away like sand in the ebb and flow of a six-foot wave.

"My first cruise ever and last probably," said Woods.

Woods and her husband were sailing from Singapore Dec.11 - there were five stops on the itinerary.

"We had been on the ship for an hour when the captain came on the loudspeaker and said there was a problem with the engine," she said.

Woods said from there her well-planned vacation was sinking fast. First, the ship's departure was delayed two days, Second, the itinerary was changed.

"We were suppose to go to five ports; it eliminated three of the five," she said.

Woods and her husband wanted to cruise the southeastern rim of Asia. The tour would begin in Singapore with stops in two cities in Vietnam and two cities in China.

"We go to pull in and get our tender tickets and the captain came back on the loudspeaker and said we are unable to dock on the first stop," she said.

Woods said at that point they wanted to get off the Norwegian Star but was told they had to stay.

"Had we been allowed to get off," said Woods. "I wouldn't be talking to you."

Norwegian Cruise Lines offered refunds, but Woods said every passenger was not given the same offers.

"Some people were given extra compensation. I'm reading some persons was given a refund of all their flights of all the cruise," she said. "I think it should be fair to all the passengers on board."

Then when she searched the internet she discovered the Norwegian Star has had a similar problem before.

"This wasn't changing a port due to weather this was changing because their ship was faulty," said Woods.

She said they took the first opportunity they had to get off the ship and purchased airline tickets to their destinations.

"I'm still mad," said Woods. "I think, according to the cruise agreement or whatever, they say they don't owe you anything."

The company's response:

Under its Contract of Passage, it has sole discretion to cancel, postpone or delay any port of call without prior notification. The refund offer was a gesture of goodwill.
The refund is in line with the Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights.

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