By Anita Dunham-Potter Travel columnist
updated 12/10/2007 12:44:55 PM ET 2007-12-10T17:44:55

Eva and Harry Berger just wanted to relax and enjoy their Hawaiian cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of Aloha last May. It was their 39th wedding anniversary, so the Bergers splurged on a balcony stateroom. But Stateroom 9229 turned out to be the cabin from hell.

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Stateroom from hell
Soon after the Bergers boarded the ship, they discovered that the air conditioning was not working in their stateroom. The couple immediately contacted onboard personnel and asked to be moved to another stateroom. Unfortunately for the Bergers, the ship was sold out, but they were assured that their air conditioning unit would be fixed the following day. The anniversary couple spent a miserable first night aboard the Pride of Aloha in a hot and muggy stateroom.

The next day came and went, but no maintenance was performed. After another uncomfortable night, the Bergers decided they would rather spend their money in comfort somewhere else, so they told onboard managers that they wished to be let off the ship in Kauai and be given a full refund for the portion of the cruise not taken. The cruise line refused but did issue the couple a $200 shipboard credit — along with further assurances that the air conditioning would be fixed soon. The Bergers tried to make the best of an unpleasant situation.

The following day, after returning from a long day of shore excursions, the couple was greeted by the ship's engineering staff who informed them that their room was unavailable, as they were working on the air conditioning unit. The Bergers then camped out in their friends' stateroom, where they showered, changed and took a needed nap.

Despite the repairs, the air conditioning never worked properly, and though the crew repeatedly said the unit would undergo further repairs, those repairs never happened.

"We were miserable in our stateroom the entire time," says Harry Berger. "Conditions were deplorable."

In fact, the Pride of Aloha was experiencing similar difficulties in a number of staterooms in the vicinity of Stateroom 9229. An entire thread on the Web site Cruise Critic was dedicated to Pride of Aloha's air conditioning woes in May and June. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) says the problem has since been fixed.

NCL makes amends
The Bergers felt their $200 shipboard credit was hardly enough compensation for their discomfort and inconvenience, especially since the cruise cost more than $3,000. After the cruise, the couple wrote letters, sent e-mail and called the cruise line several times. After getting nowhere they contacted Tripso for help.

I spoke with AnneMarie Mathews, director of public relations for NCL, to see what the cruise line could do for the Bergers. She said that the Bergers' experience was unusual and that NCL wanted to make amends. In a letter to the Bergers, NCL apologized for the inconvenience and offered them a future cruise credit in the amount of $1,150 ($575 each).

"We hope that they will sail with us again," says Mathews.

The Bergers will probably do just that. They are pleased with NCL's offer and they hope to take a cruise next year in a less temperamental stateroom.

Sound off! Do you have a comment, an idea, a complaint or a problem for Anita to solve? Send her an e-mail and you might find yourself in her next column. And check out her blog, ExpertCruiser.com.

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