October 2014 - Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda
After years of dreaming of going to Bermuda, my husband and I decided to take a cruise there. We chose Norwegian, because their sail date was over our anniversary and the time in port was to be 3 days. We scrimped and saved and planned for 10 months for this trip. I don’t know about most people, but a vacation like this is a sheer luxury for us and not something we take lightly. We had cruised on Royal Caribbean before and loved it, and foolishly expected this cruise to be similar. Now, we understand that no one can control the weather – so we don’t blame the cruise line for the change in itinerary. BUT – considering we received AT LEAST one email – sometimes more - DAILY for a month before the cruise, we know they had our email address. We flew into Boston the day before (another expense on top of the cruise) and when we arrived at the terminal thought we were still going to Bermuda. The cruise line apparently decided that the hurricane had made it impossible to carry thru with this itinerary. Ok – we get that. BUT what we don’t get is not being informed of this change until it was too late to reschedule our trip. Had Norwegian been upfront with us, we would have gladly rescheduled the cruise, flown home and been back to take the cruise another time. To not tell us until we were boarding was just wrong – they knew how to reach us – but they didn’t want us – or any other cruisers – to reschedule. Well, let me tell you – they’d have been better off to cancel the cruise than to keep us captive on a trip to the Bahamas instead. That ship had no business being out in the rough seas – we were cold, it was rainy, the wind was howling – sitting outside was plain miserable. They had to cancel the poolside barbecues, net the pools (you’d have been washed overboard had you tried to get in the pool), and cancel many shows. At one point we were all scared that we wouldn’t make it back to Boston. The cruise line did NOTHING to make any of this up to us. I don’t drink alcohol due to medical reasons, but my husband does. They wouldn’t let him buy an adult beverage package if I didn’t get one. WHAT? Other cruise lines “trust” their guests enough to let you do this – we’d already bought the “soda package” – oh but wait – if you buy this it DOES NOT include bottled waters, coffees, etc like the other cruise line packages do. We felt nickeled and dimed throughout the entire cruise. Their “Freestyle Cruising” BS is for the birds too. You have to wait over an hour to get a table at the Venetian or Aqua (complimentary) dining rooms, and we know that they are just trying to get you to give up and go pay more at the specialty dining rooms. We had already reserved a night at Cagney’s for our anniversary when we booked the cruise (in February) – another $30 per person for that dinner – so when we showed up for that dinner we were seated next to the busser’s station – great ambiance, really? – and then charged for sparkling water ON TOP of the $60 – good grief. The servers in the complimentary dining rooms were not engaged, and almost made you feel guilty for making them work. The hostesses were even worse – trying very hard to be snooty and make you feel as if they were doing you a huge favor by getting you seated. Don’t even bother eating at the café – the food was exactly the same every single day and questionable. Nothing looked fresh and believe me – NOTHING was warm. The tables were disgusting – sticky and dirty. Our balcony stateroom was just ok – very dated – not really clean, the balcony was very dirty. Our steward was rarely around. This was not the cruise we had dreamed of and planned for. The cruise director – Dingo Dave – GAWD – so annoying and really loves the sound of his own voice. We cringed every time he made an announcement. When we got to the Bahamas, we were there a couple of hours and pretty much just wanted to get on a plane and go home. There was nothing redeeming about the locations they chose. We tried many times to speak to someone about our experiences – they made no secret of letting us know that they just plain did NOT care. Also – everything seemed to be a secret – especially our tab. On the Royal Caribbean you can access your tab on the interactive channel on the stateroom tv – not on Norwegian. Nope, you gotta go stand in line and waste your time to find out where you stand. The internet package they sell is not worth the money either – I bought 100 minutes for $58 – problem was is that it took a good 5 of my minutes every time I logged on to get it up and running. My husband had also surprised me with an onboard credit for a massage, but because their rates are a “surprise” and not published, he had no idea that $100 was not even half the cost. Plus they made him choose a date. Well I went in on my date he chose, to schedule the massage to find out they “were all booked” – but then in the Freestyle Daily there were all sorts of “specials” advertised. I went ahead and booked a massage for another day – and found out AFTER THE MASSAGE that it was $245 – for a BASIC MASSAGE. Then they tried to upsell $60 lotions. So insulting. This was a basic massage you’d pay no more than $100 for in Denver! Basically – this cruise and cruise line was a waste of our hard earned money and a sheer disappointment.