To: Norwegian Cruise Lines Director of Hotel management Services: Klaus Lugmaier 3-16-11

Dear Mr. Lugmaier,

When my great friend, Dr. Laurence A. Reich mentioned to me that he knew you, I realized that I could send you a frank email. We just returned this afternoon from a 5-day cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. This was our first cruise on NCL and our third to the Caribbean.

Besides all the obvious attributes that the Norwegian Dawn and NCL offer, we were quite disappointed regarding the totality of the cruise, especially when it comes to safety. Not only were we inundated by over 600 spring break college students, but we were quite unhappy by the performance of the NCL staff when it came to maintaining order and safety on the high seas. Not only did these young people take over the pool, the four hot tubs, and the entire pool deck, but they did it in a universally inebriated condition. According to NCL’s published guidelines, alcoholic beverages could only be served to adults 21 years or older or younger adults, 18 to 20, with the written permission of their parents, who had to be on board the Norwegian Dawn.

In fact, few of these students were “carded,” most were under 21, and almost all had a cavalier disregard for their own safety or any others. The service staff continually served under-aged students alcoholic beverages while they were in hot tubs. Many of these “spring breakers” were diving in the pool, were cannon-balling from the music deck and almost every one in the pool, and certainly in the hot tubs, were with Budweisers, Coronas, or mixed drinks clutched in their hands. Because of broken glass in the pool, it had to be shut down and drained. Besides all of this mayhem, in and around, the swimming area, there was noise in the hall at all hours of the late evening and early morning. My wife was awakened five times the last night of the cruise, as were many others.

Because it was impossible to enjoy the main pool, we were forced to take dual memberships in the Spa. This added another $178 to our bill. We basically sought refuge there from the noise, the rowdiness, and the overt licentiousness that was prevalent most of the day and the evening. I for sure am not a prude or a bluenose. I was much more willing to grant these people a lot more rope than my wife, and the scores of with whom we compared stories. I also understand that older people are often hyper-critical of youthful indiscretions. But safety can never be compromised, and being on a ship, in close quarters with thousands of others, makes the upholding of standards critical. I personally encountered more than one drunken “collegian” on the elevators. We are all aware of the recent histories of the spread of sickness on board ships, the increased concern over infection, and the incidence of violence and foul play. Therefore large concentrated groups of “revelers” in, or out of, the pool areas, must be discouraged.

We learned through the rumor mill, and from some of the staff that there were numerous arrests for wanton destruction of property, breaking and entering, throwing chairs over the rails, possession of hard drugs, and young people being sent home by air from the Cayman Islands. Personally I do not know the accuracy of these claims, but I thought it was incumbent for the ship’s captain to report to the whole passenger list what had transpired and what actions his office had taken to correct these situations. We were left completely with the impression that the corporate office was totally uninterested in what went on in the ship, or decided that thousands of beer and alcohol sales far outweighed prudent judgment. We were also told by our neighbor in stateroom 9712, who happened to be a registered nurse that she personally witnessed a totally unconscious young women being carried aboard from the Cayman Island tender. Her professional opinion was that this woman should have been hospitalized.

On Thursday afternoon, at approximately 1 pm, the Norwegian Dawn was hit with a vicious wind-driven rain squall from the port side as it sailed northwesterly from Cozomel to Miami. It was obvious to all of on the deck that we were heading towards a potentially dangerous weather event. Not one warning was broadcast from the loud speaker system about the impending nature of what was approaching. No one was ordered out of the pool, and as chairs blew around the eating area that flanked both sides of the pool deck, student-aged youngsters were reveling in the pool and hot tubs. Whether there was the threat of lightning or not, I did not know. But the most basic of water safety rules demands that pools are closed when potential thunderstorms approach. It seems to me that the staff on the bridge was well aware by visual sighting and radar of the oncoming storm. The question remains, why weren’t the people on the pool decked warned to take shelter?

Larry Reich and I have been friends for more than 60 years, and I would never do anything to jeopardize or take advantage of any of his relationships. Therefore, it pains me to write this account, but I feel that it is necessary for the NCL management to look into this situation before it is repeated, and a tragedy ensues.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by admin. Bookmark the permalink.

About admin

A lifelong New Yorker, who now lives full-time in Palm Beach County, Richard was raised in Mount Vernon, New York and he was educated in the Mount Vernon public schools He graduated from Boston University with a BA in American History. After spending a year on Wall Street as a research analyst with Bache & Co., he joined a manufacturing and importing firm, where over the next twenty-five years he rose to the position of chief operating officer. After the sale of that business, Richard entered into the financial services field with Metropolitan Life and is a Registered Representative, who has been associated with Acorn Financial Services which is affiliated with John Hancock Life Insurance Company of Boston, Ma. Today, he is a retired broker who had specialized in long-term care insurance and financial planning. One of Richard’s recent activities was to advise and encourage communities to seek ways to incorporate “sustainability and resiliency” into their future infrastructure planning. After a lifetime in politics, with many years working as a district leader, which involved party organizational work, campaign chair activity and numerous other political tasks, Richard has been involved with numerous civic and social causes. In recent years, Richard served in 2005 as the campaign coordinator of the Re-Elect Paul Feiner Campaign in Greenburgh, NY and he again chaired Supervisor Feiner’s successful landslide victory in 2007. Over the next few years, he advised a number of political candidates. He has served as an appointed Deputy Supervisor of the Town of Greenburgh, with responsibilities regarding the town’s “liaison program.” He was a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board of the Town of Greenburgh, NY. Richard has lectured on FDR, The New Deal and 20th century American history in the Mount Vernon schools, at the Westchester Council of Social Studies annual conference in White Plains, and at many senior citizen groups, which include appearances at the Old Guard of White Plains, the Rotary Clubs of Elmsford and White Plains, and various synagogue groups around Westchester. In the winter of 2006 Richard was the leader of the VOCAL forum, sponsored by the Westchester County Office of Aging, which addresses the concerns of Westchester County’s Intergenerational Advocacy Educational Speak-out forums for senior citizens. Richard has given lectures for the Active Retirement Project, which is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center on the Hudson, the Greenburgh Hebrew Center, and other groups around Westchester County. Richard also is the founder and Chairperson of the Jon Breen Memorial Fund, that judges and grants annual prizes to students at Mount Vernon High School who submit essays on public policy themes. He also sponsors the Henry M. Littlefield History Prize for the leading MVHS history student. Richard serves on the Student College Scholarship Committee of Mount Vernon High School. In past years Richard chaired and moderated the Jon Breen Fund Award’s cablecast program with the Mayor and local and school officials. Richard has been a member of Blythedale Children’s Hospital’s Planned Giving Professional Advisory Board, and was a founding member of the committee to re-new the FDR Birthday Balls of the 1930’s and 1940’s with the March of Dimes’ effort to eliminate birth defects. Their renewal dinner was held at Hyde Park on January 30, 2003. Richard is currently an active contributor to the Roosevelt Institute, which is involved in many pursuits which included the opening of the Henry A. Wallace Center at Hyde Park, and the Eleanor Roosevelt – Val-Kill Foundation. In 2007, he proposed to the City of Mount Vernon an effort to develop an arts, educational, and cultural center as part of a downtown re-development effort. Richard was a team partner with the Infrastructure & Energy Solutions Group. IEFG which has developed innovative strategies for the 21st Century. Richard hosted a weekly program on WVOX-1460 AM radio, called “The Advocates,” which was concerned with “public policy” issues. The show, which was aired from 2007 until May 15, 2013, has had amongst its guests; Representative Charles Rangel, Chairperson of the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, along with hundreds of others. All the 300 shows are archived at Richard currently gives lectures on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR and the Jewish Community, The New Deal, FDR and Douglas MacArthur, 20th Century American Foreign Policy Resulting in Conflict, and Israel’s Right to Exist. Richard lives in Boynton Beach, Fl, with his wife Linda of 44 years. They have two married children. Their daughter Dana is a Rutgers College graduate, with a MS from Boston University, and is the Assistant Director of Recruitment at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Their son Jon is an electrical engineering graduate of Princeton University and a senior software architect at NY/Mellon Bank in NYC. Richard J. Garfunkel Recent Appearances: KTI Synagogue, Rye Brook, NY- Long Term Care & Estate Conservation- Anshe Shalom Synagogue, New Rochelle, NY- Long Term Care- American Legion Post, Valhalla, NY- Long Term Care and Asset Protection- Doyle Senior Ctr, New Rochelle, NY-Long Term Care and Asset Protection- AME Methodist Ministers, New Rochelle, NY, LTC and Charitable Giving- Profession Women in Construction, Elmsford, NY, LTC and Business Benefits- Kol Ami Synagogue- White Plains, NY, Long Term Care and Disability - Beth El Men's Club-New Rochelle, NY-Long Term Care-Is it Necessary- Greater NY Dental Meeting Javits Ctr, NY, NY- LTC and Disability- IBEW Local #3 , White Plains, NY, Long Term Care and Asset Protection, Health Fair -Bethel Synagogue, New Rochelle, NY-LTC and Disability, Heath Fair- Riverdale Mens Club CSAIR- Riverdale, NY- LTC- Life Weight Watchers of Westchester and the Bronx-LTC and Tax Implications Sunrise Assisted Living of Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, NY-LTC Sprain Brook Manor of Scarsdale-LTC- November 15, 2001 Sunrise Assisted Living of Stamford, Connecticut, February 2002 Kol Ami Synagogue, White Plains, NY, February, 2002 The Old Guard Society of White Plains, NY, April, 2002 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY August, 2002 Kol Ami Synagogue, White Plains, NY, October, 2002 JCC of Scarsdale, Scarsdale, NY, November, 2002 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY, January, 2003 The Rotary Club of White Plains, NY January, 2003 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY April, 2003 Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, NY January, 2004 Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, NY March 2004 Kol Ami/JCC of White Plains, NY November, 2004 The Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, January 2005 The Sunrise of Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, April, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, November, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, December, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, January, 2005 Rotary Club of Elmsford, April, 2006 Kiwanis Club of Yonkers, June, 2006 Greenburgh Jewish Center, November, 2006 Temple Kol Ami, White Plains, February, 2007 Hebrew Institute, White Plains, March, 2007 Temple Kol Ami, White Plains, NY, April, 2007 Westchester Meadows. Valhalla, November, 2007 Hebrew Institute. White Plains, November, 2007 Art Zuckerman Radio Show- January, 2008 JCC of the Hudson, Tarrytown, February, 2008 Matt O’Shaughnessy Radio Show, March, 2008 WVOX –Election Night Coverage, November, 2008 WVOX – Inaugural Coverage, January 20, 2009 The Advocates-host of the WVOX Radio Show, 2007- 2010 Rotary Club of Pleasantville, February, 2009 Hebrew Institute of White Plains, May, 2009 JCC Hudson, Tarrytown, December, 2009-10-11-12 Brandeis Club, Yonkers, March 25, 2010

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *