Terrible cruise experience
Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review to Bermuda
We have been on many cruises on at least a half dozen cruise lines in the past and I always enjoyed them very much and looked forward to future cruises. We have been on 6 NCL cruises since 2001 and always had a wonderful time.
This cruise on the NCL Dawn from Boston to Bermuda was certainly unexpected. It was the first cruise I have been on where I looked forward to getting off the ship at the end of the cruise.
We paid a premium for a guaranteed ocean-view room on Deck 8 (We had been on Deck 8 on the NCL Jewel on our last two cruises and the cabins were very good). When we arrived at our cabin on this cruise we were very disappointed. This cabin had an odd layout which we have never before seen. There was only enough room for one person to move about in the room at a time. The closet was at the end of a narrow passage and was completely dark, as the room lighting barely got in there. Also, the safe for valuables was hidden in a corner of the closet which was totally in the dark.
I had a small pocket flashlight which was needed to see the keyboard on the safe. When we programmed a code into the safe and locked the door, it would not open. It gave an ERR code back continuously. On the second day of the cruise someone came and got the door open. We programmed it and it worked OK, for two days, then stopped working again. A day later someone came, (I had to stay in the cabin and wait for awhile for him). Then he showed us that there was a fluorescent lamp hidden out of sight on the very back wall of the closet which could be switched on.
This helped somewhat, but with clothes hanging in the closet most of the light was blocked. The bathroom in this cabin was so small as to almost be unusable. With the door closed there was barely enough room to stand at the sink. Because the were glass partitions separating this small bathroom into three distinct areas, it was uncomfortable to use the commode. We used outside restrooms as much as possible. When showering one had to leave the bathroom to towel dry because there was no room. Also, on all of our numerous cruises, this was the first cruise on which I never met or saw our cabin steward!
In the past, one of the best parts of a cruise has been the dining experience. Not so on the Dawn! When we tried to go to the main dining room on the very first night, we were met by a hallway full of other passengers also trying to get into the dining room. After waiting about 20-25 minutes we got to the check in desk where we were handed a beeper (ala Olive Garden) and told that there would be at least a 45 minute wait for a table. After 45 minutes, we kindly returned the beeper and went to the passenger service desk to ask what was going on with the dining room. After some discussion. the head maître de was called and came and talked with us. He had no reasonable resolution for the overcrowding but said that for future nights during the rest of the cruise we had the option of making
a reservation, at a fixed time and table, in the dining room. This we did, thinking that the problem was over for the rest of the cruise. This was OK for the next two nights although each night there was a problem getting to the dining room hostess to get to our table. On the third night, when we got in we found others sitting at our 'reserved' table. Each night after that got worse until the final night of the cruise, we again could not gain access to the dining room due to overcrowding at the entrance. We then called the maître de and complained. By this time I was upset and not able to eat anyway. He offered to let us dine in the Itaian specialty restaurant for no charge, but it was time to go to the theater for the highlight show, which had been promoted all weeklong as a must see show. I left the specialty restaurant after a couple sips of soup an went to the show, which was vey, very good.
Before I leave the dining experience, I would like to mention several other things, There is a second smaller dining room on the ship, but every time we went near it it either had a line of people waiting to get in or they were handing out beepers with and estimated 1 hour waiting time to get in. We never got in.
Also, there is a 24 hour café located just outside our room on deck 8 which, because of the other dining accomodations, we tried to eat at. The first time we were there we were seated at a table and then waited fifteen or more minutes with no one taking our order. We left. The second and last time we were seated at a table and again waited fifteen minutes with no one taking our order. My wife then picked up an empty water glass and went over to where the waiters? were getting water pitchers filled with ice water and asked if she could please get glass of ice water. The waiter?, with a pitcher of ice water in his hand, then said "Go back to your table. We will bring it to you." We left.
The other activities on board the ship, particularly the game shows, seemed to be very disorganized, poorly run. When arriving at the venue location, often there was another ongoing activity still in progress. This led to more crowds of people outside waiting to get in. Having been on a multitude of previous cruises, I know that these game shows have been put on hundreds, if not thousands, of times. They should be pretty routine by now! We have always looked forward to them in the past.
The photographers seemed very good and we took home several nice pictures.
As usual, and one of the reasons I have enjoyed NCL in the past, is the enterainers/entertainment/shows have always been very, very good. I was not disappointed on this cruise. All of the shows in the main theater, as well as the other artists onboard, were excellent.
Our three days on Bermuda were very nice. We got to see a lot of the island and the weather was beautiful.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Do not book a cabin on deck 8!