All in all, the cruise was enjoyable. Our cabin steward and his assistant did an excellent job, as did the various waiters in the dining room. Apparently, the crew all spoke English. There was evidence of an awareness for cleanliness throughout the ship, with sanitizing stations throughout; including forced disinfection at each embarkation port. This procedure is a good one, as it must help keep the ship's population from getting sick. There were some surprises. We do cruise a lot. First, we noticed signs at the port of embarkation saying "Tipping is Optional". That is absolutely NOT what the luggage attendants understand. If we did not tip, our luggage would not get on the luggage cart! Further, we were surprised to learn that there was a $20.00 per person, per day for the use of the sauna. A similar charge is for the use of the indoor swimming pool. There are a number of specialty restaurants that the guests must pay $20.00 to $30.00 to use. We like to suggest that there be specialty restaurants, a great idea, but as additional choices for all to use as part of the cost of the cruise fare. Most of the time, we used the main dining room, the "Venetian". Whenever we asked the waiter to bring us a slice of gorgonzola cheese, or some other Italian cheese (which they were unfamiliar with), we were served with domestic provolone or some other domestic cheeses. "Free Style Cruising" may have its good points, but we were surprised to find that, more often that not, we had to sign a waiting list and wait to be called to be seated - a waiting process that took from a few minutes to over half-hour. Apparently, the list was very long, but the wait was relatively short, with most guests deciding not to wait and to eat elsewhere on the ship. On deck 12, one of the showers to the hot tubs was not working, since the faucet valve was missing. However, it is clear that it did not matter much to most guests, since they just go into the tub without showering. A small sign by the side of the tub says to shower before entering the tub. Even the attendant serving that area did not know of this sign! For sanitary reasons, this requirement should be strictly enforced. At least, there should be a clear and very large sign at the TOP of the tub stating that the guests MUST shower before entering the tub. Further, we found it convenient on other cruise lines to go to the pool areas and use the provided towels. On the Dawn, we were issued two beach towels that would cost us $25.00 if not returned. Probably this is a good idea to keep costs down for the company with the number of towels used and lost, as compared with using the former method.
Sail Date: August 31, 2008
Pros: Cleanliness of ship and attention to keep the germ population to a minimum.
Cons: Food was just good. Specialty restaurants should be made part to the choices guests should have to eat, without extra payments.
Recommends Norwegian Dawn? Yes!