*Imagine saving up your money for a Jazz cruise of a lifetime, only to spend your hard-earned money on a nightmare. According to cruise-goers, this is exactly what they encountered on the 10th Annual Capital Jazz Cruise, on the Norwegian cruise line, out of Miami, Florida, last week.
From extremely long lines, overbooked shows, smaller concert rooms, malfunctioning interactive apps, lack of communication, and an unscheduled destination, the trip did not live up to the cruise goers expectations.
From the moment cruise goers boarded the ship, Theresa Rankin, 56, of San Pedro, California, says things were chaotic and out of control. Filled with live entertainment, great food and drinks, the weeklong cruise costs anywhere from $1,895 to $4,500 per person plus airfare cost.
“It was chaotic. I never experienced anything like that in my life. It was senior citizens and disabled people who couldn’t get around, so they couldn’t book any of the shows,” says Rankin. “They had a helluva lineup, but they didn’t get to see half of the shows because things were booked. The reason I went on the trip was for the lineup. It was my first time on this cruise, and I know others in the past that have experienced greatness. For a first-timer, this was some scary sh*t!”
She added: “When you tried to make a reservation, it was already sold out or overbooked. Once it filled up, it was filled up. They had lines on the ship to get tickets to the shows. You had to make a reservation to see the ‘featured’ shows. The Interactive App did not work on the ship and we hadn’t even pulled out of Miami when we had to get in lines to operate the apps to book the ‘featured’ shows. There were long lines and if “line A” didn’t work. You had to go to “Line B.” If “Line B” didn’t work, you had to go to “Line C.” They (managers) came out to talk to the crowds, but the staff was booed. The people weren’t enthused about sh*t. People were angry. People were pissed off.”
However, cruise goers Valrie and Jimmy White, of Atlanta, had an entirely different experience. As soon as they got on the ship, Valrie said they immediately got in line to book the ‘feature shows’ and were able to book every show they wanted, except one. The cruise was her pre-retirement gift, and she said they enjoyed the cruise. “It was our first time cruising with Capital Jazz. Norwegian Getaway was a nice ship. My balcony was fine. However, the service could have been better. There were some concerns that needed to be worked out. Overall, we met some great people, and the entertainment was outstanding,” says Valrie and her husband. We only missed one show that we wanted to see.”
As if, day one was not enough drama… On day two, the drama was worst. The cruise was scheduled to go to the beautiful Great Stirrup Cay Island. However, Rankin says the Great Stirrup Cay did not happen at all; instead they were bused to a location in Nassau Bahamas, where the famous Atlantis hotel was the backdrop, opposed to the Great Sirrup Cay Island that was supposed to be part of the trip. The Program Highlight for Day 2 of the cruise states:
“Free day on NCLs Private Island Great Stirrup Cay.”
It goes on to state that, “The SuperCruise will have this beautiful island all to itself for the entire day! Enjoy fun beach activities with other SuperCruises, plus a free buffet lunch on the beach!”
However, Rankin says no one gave them any explanation as to why they were rerouted to Nassau, Bahamas, for the live concert and they did not receive the free buffet lunch that was supposed to be included with the Great Stirrup Cay destination. “The free outdoor concert at Stirrup never happened. Far as I’m concerned, that Jill Scott sh*t was a rip off. Jill Scott did four songs and was gone. They never apologized. The professional management didn’t come out. They sent their unprofessional people. I want to see the #1 or #2 guy and they never came out. Rankin says she knew a lot of the artists and says, “The artists were complaining because they knew people didn’t get to see them.”
When Rankin complained to the people that they did send out to address issues, she said they added a few comedians shows at midnight to try to compensate for the sold out shows, but the comedians were not the ‘featured shows’ that everyone came on the cruise to see. “They gotta do something besides offer more shows. They need to give people a discount. They had no professional PR people to come out and apologize. They sent their volunteer staff out to apologize and these people were not professional. Customer service is one thing. Public relations are another thing. It was a definite breakdown in communication,” she says. The owner, Cliff Hunte, was nowhere to be found.
When asked, was it the weather that caused the change in the cruise, she said she did not know because they never announced why. She also indicated that they never used the intercom system on the ship to relay messages or updates that the cruise goers deserved to receive. “They never told us why the change. If it was a weather situation, they should have told us,” says Rankin. “People weren’t even laughing at the comedian (Wanda Sykes) because everyone was pissed.” Since returning from the cruise, she called Norwegian and she said they told her it was bad weather in Great Stirrup Cay.
Although Rankin was clearly upset and not pleased with her cruise experience, she managed to make the most of the last few days of the trip. She said the food was great and almost the highlight of the trip.
“The O’Jays was the highlight of the trip. They were classic. All the musical artist was the sh*t. That eased some of my pain. I was in there partying like there’s no tomorrow. I got some of my anger out by partying. To not see some of the shows and we hadn’t got off the water good… That was crazy sh*t,” says Rankin.
Rankin says she met a judge on the ship and he went on Facebook and blew them out with comments. She said the judge wrote a lot of negative comments and so did many other people but they were all deleted. “There were a lot of angry black women pissed. And, the men were mad, too.” says Rankin.
“It was my first cruise with them, but it was a cruise to hell and back. The last three days we tried to make the best out of it,” says Rankin. “They need to apologize to us or give us a discount or something. There was a mix of feelings and emotions because people didn’t get to do what they paid to see. People were upset about the Stirrup beach trip.”
She added, “The communications was so f**ked up. If you come out and apologize, it would be a great thing to do. We didn’t make the mistakes, they did. The trip was a nightmare, a headache and no sleep,” Rankin exclaims.
Rankin says she called the Capital Jazz Sales office again and spoke to a person but the person wanted to remain anonymous.
“I told her the communication with us customers was broken when the communication went bad with Norwegian. The brand had no PR to communicate to us things gone bad that affect the itinerary. Example, Norwegian posted on their website that Great Stirrup was hit by the hurricane. If Capital Jazz had PR representation, it would have been able to communicate effectively the changes made to the itinerary. Instead, a lot of angry folks was not happy, felt unimportant and left out. I suggest the brand needs to place PR in their business structure to protect their brand when things happen that can give them negative response and also be effective in communications with Norwegian.”
She added, “It would be nice to receive a discount because I paid for entertainment, in addition to the cruise, instead I and others got short changed because of their broken communication with Norwegian. Clearly, that was not my fault. Norwegian’s technical feed was not working that interfaced with interactive and advance reservations. Therefore creating total chaos, long lines and made dysfunctional energy. ”
After contacting Facebook users who went on the cruise, Valrie White was the only one who responded to my request for an interview. However, EUR Web pulled these comments from the Capital Jazz Cruise Facebook pages.
Gwen Netta posted, “My first and last cruise with Capital Jazz.” Hours later she posted, “I got an email today with an apology and a $300 credit that I can apply to my next cruise up to 3 years. The apology was very sincere and I may reconsider…did anyone else get the same email.”
One person responded. Ida McIntyre posted, “Yes I got the email as well. I took the survey that was included and provided some very honest feedback.”
Carol Reed posted, “Just returned from the cruise 2016 10th anniversary WHAT A BAD TIME long line, unable to get into shows, then they had JILL Scott show out in a field hot, hot a few chairs if you stayed had to sit on the ground had to pay for food, water no shade when I told the person at the gate we need a ride back he stated we were supposed to till 2:30 buses were still bring people to the field got a ride back on one of the buses that was returning to pick up other people so much was bad, ship too small for that amount of people, not going again Tom Joyner has a better cruise been on it 3 times plus you get a tax write off think about it.”
Atlanta cruisegoer, “My first and last as well. If it wasn’t for the great people I met and the awesome performances that I was able to see it would have been a total bust.”
Brenda Goss Andrews posted…. yes woefully disappointed this year as this is my 3rd cruise. So disorganized from the rip; at kiosk for almost 2 hours to only find that most of our shows were not booked. Long lines to see a show that I paid for. who made the decision to bring on 4k people and have major entertainers in rooms that only held 225 to 600+ people. someone should be fired for this miscalculation. this is the 10rh year anniversary and there was no mention. sheesh. wont be back next year.
Kathy Newton posted… Wow!!, I’m soo upset with CJSC! my booking for 2017 is in question now!!, cancelled this years due to port chgs mess.. I hope they get this mess fixed for 2017!!, thanks for sharing Yess they should be shame & embarrassed to put out product like this for a 10th Anniversary cruise!! Reputation at stake
Comment after comment were posted on Facebook expressing disappoint in the 2016 cruise. Some said they would never go again, while others said they need to fix the issues before they consider another cruise with Capital Jazz. Some people were highly upset that the owner never apologized publicly on the ship, while others expressed disappoint in receiving an unsigned document supposedly from the owner apologizing for the issues encountered on the cruise.
“Capital Jazz is reimbursing everyone for their mistakes. Everyone is receiving $300 voucher for the next three years if you cruise with them again. Mistakes happen. We were determined to have a good time anyway. We did! We will back,” says Valrie.
At press time (three days later), EURweb still had no response from the owner. Rankin and many other cruise goers still feel management needs to come out from hiding and apologize publicly.
Making People Laugh About the Hardships of Teaching Keeps Eddie B. Going (EUR Exclusive!)
*Eddie B. hit the mark when his “Teachers Only Comedy Tour” in 2017 played to sold-out audiences. His later show “I’m Already Professionally Developed Tour” was also a huge success.
With funny and telling commentary about what teachers really think has made Eddie B. a hit with educators and comedy fans around the world. While the former teacher is excited about his success, he takes it all in stride.
“People ask me why am I so humble and I don’t know how to answer that,” Eddie B. told the EUR in a recent phone interview. “The only answer I came up with one time is that the more thankful you are you have no choice but to display humbleness. You have to be thankful for what you have. So being humble and thankful go hand in hand.”
With COVID-19 rendering comedy-tours practically non-existent, the Houston native keeps the jokes coming and his routines fresh by crashing virtual conferences held by, of course, teachers.
“I’m doing a lot of Zooms,” Eddie B. said. “I’m doing everybody’s meetings and convocations. I’ve been busy, busy, busy. Thank God.”
The consummate “class clown,” he was always the funny one in the room and began making serious moves as a comedian while attending Texas A&M University (Kingsville).
Although he was earning a local name for himself, Eddie B. was not making the kind of money he had hoped. Continuing the comedy club circuit after graduation and taking odd jobs, he began teaching because it was steady pay. He remained a teacher for 13 years while still doing comedy.
“A lot of teachers say, ‘I’ve been wanting to teach my whole life. I was born this way.’ No, you weren’t.” the single father laughed. “I’m a tell you right now 70% of all teachers didn’t want to teach. I guarantee you that. Teaching is a profession you get stuck in. The only reason you get stuck is because of the kids. You know the money’s not keeping us. It’s our relationships with the kids and other teachers too – the camaraderie of it all.”
Eddie B. retired from teaching for a short while during his tenure but soon had to return to pay the bills.
“I’m hearing Steve Harvey and ‘em say, ‘You gotta jump. Take the leap,’ That’s cute,” he added. “But what the hell do you do when you take the jump and you get pulled back? I jumped as high as I could and got snatched back down, which led me to believe that it’s got more to do with timing then jumping.”
Down but not out, Eddie B., who showed off his craft on YouTube, said a voice inside his head told him, “’Hey, why don’t you do a video about (teaching)?’ So, I shot it before the kids got in my (school) room and put it out by lunch time. But I was like I don’t even have teaching in my comedy.”
“A couple of days later on my Instagram I got about 100,000 views,” he continued. “I thought something was wrong. I thought it was a glitch. It was just teachers bouncing it off and that was the magic of it. It kept growing and growing. Millions of views and the video was only sixty seconds. It was called ‘What Teachers Really Want to Say’ and I was like man if they like this I’ve got 13 years of this.”
Now that he was getting traction, he had to figure out a way to keep the momentum going with the newer audience.
“What they (the teachers who liked his videos) didn’t know was that I’m a comedian,” Eddie B. said. “They just thought I’m a funny teacher. I had to take what I knew about teaching and put it in a (comedy) set now.”
But could he do that without alienating those who had supported his regular comedy for so long?
“My comedy wasn’t always clean. I used to curse with every other word. I’m from the neighborhood and a large percent of my audience is Caucasian (white women teachers). They don’t want to hear that language. But I’ve been on tour for almost 4 years now and I’ve toned it down. I had to grow with it and learn on the job. It was like teaching.”
For more on Eddie B., and to find out where he may be next virtually and otherwise, go to his official website here.
You can also buy his book, “I’m Already Professionally Developed: Straight from the Teacher’s Desk,” released last year.
JeffCars.com’s Review: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited
Highlight: This year’s model includes a solar control fixed glass roof.
Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $37,070 (Base Model: $28,725)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Features: airbags; side airbags; ABS; a radar activated cruise control system; a blindspot collision avoidance assist system; a rear cross traffic alert system; a forward collision alert system; a high beam assist system; tire pressure monitoring system; a traction control system; a stability control system; a tire repair kit; and a rearview camera
Standard Equipment (Blue): 16-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive; LED headlights; LED Daytime Running Lights; LED taillamps; a push button ignition starter; a keyless lock/unlock system; a hands free trunk; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; dual power folding mirrors; a solar control glass a chrome tip single exhaust; cloth seats; manual control front seats; rear split folding seat with a center armrest; a push button gear control system; an automatic climate control system; steering wheel mounted paddle shifters; and an 8-inch infotainment screen
Standard Equipment (Limited): 17-inch wheels; full LED taillamps; side mirror LED turn signal indicators; dual power heated folding mirrors; heated body color side mirrors; a rear bumper with parking sensors; laminated front glass; solar glass roof panel; leather seats; power front seats; heated and ventilated front seats; a wireless device charging system; dual charging USB ports; front console mounted rear vents; a leather wrapped steering wheel; a heated steering wheel; a 10-inch infotainment screen; a 12-speaker Bose audio system; a heads up display (HUD); a highway driving assist system; a Hyundai digital key; an electronic automatic rearview mirror; a 360-degree camera; an electronic blindspot monitor; ambient lighting; and front and rear parking sensors.
Optional Features On Test Vehicle: None
Other Trim Levels:
non hybrid trims
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/HD with SiriusXM
Apple CarPlay/Android: Yes
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles
Hybrid System Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles
Hybrid Battery Warranty: Lifetime
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/192-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 45-city/51-hwy
What’s New: The eighth-generation Sonata has evolved from a vanilla looking ugly duckling to more like a swan, taking more styling cues from the sixth- generation breakout design, which was a game changer for both the midsize car market as well as the Korean brand.
To continue reading the review, click here.
About The Reviewer: Jeff Fortson is the host of Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, the only syndicated multicultural automotive radio show on the airwaves. The 30-minute weekly show, which airs on SiriusXM 141 and a number of FM radio dials, includes one-on-one conversations with many of today’s pioneers and influencers. The engaging show, which goes beyond traditional car talk, can be heard on your mobile and stationary audio devices, clicking here.
Richard Sherman Tackles ‘Adulting’ The Right Way In New Digital Series / EUR Exclusive – WATCH
*Known for being frugal, NFL star Richard Sherman is handing out financial advice to young people in a new digital series.
Launched in August 2020, “Adulting With Richard Sherman” is a 12-part digital show produced by Million Stories Media. The new media company, a project from the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship, offers programming focusing on career, money, and budgeting matters for millennials and young families.
“Richard Sherman is the perfect choice to headline ‘Adulting,’” said Shelley Miles, CEO of the Singleton Foundation, in a press release. “His personality, personal story and likability will draw in viewers and his passion for financial matters will help get young people interested in their own financial futures. He connects with our foundation mission on so many levels and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him on board.”
Available at no-cost on millionstories.com, viewers can expect no-nonsense talk from the San Francisco 49ers cornerback, who reportedly drove a $30,000 Dodge Challenger until as late as 2018. Topics include handling student loans and staying away from payday loans (see episode here).
Additionally, Sherman tackles other topics such as building credit and having an emergency fund, which is great advice especially during the pandemic. (See episode here.)
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