I had high expectations for an NCL cruise, it was supposed to be so much better than Carnival. NCL was more expensive, for everything. You are not allowed to bring on any water or soda like Carnival allows, and the beverage packages are pricey. They seem to want to nickel and dime you for everything. I was not impressed with the food or service on NCL.
There was an issue with the cabin safes, over 100 cabins did not have a working safe, this was a known condition and cruisers should have been notified beforehand that there was an issue. Cruisers were told they could place their valuables and cash in the pursers office, which would have meant a long wait in line each time you needed something. Then they were told to go to the shipboard stores and purchase a lock, only they did not sell locks. I was one of the lucky ones to have a working safe, but it was not attached and fell off the shelf when I opened it, just missing my foot. Maintenance did come in and secure the safe by the end of the second day, so I was able to use it and share it with the people I was cruising with.
Due to the weather being so bad We really only had two good port days, this was not NCL’s fault but disappointing none the less, a seven day cruise were five of those days are at sea is pretty boring.
4 out of 5
Original embarkation time was delayed by 2 hours, I did receive ample notification to come to the port later. The boarding process was quick and efficient.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Food was good, but not impressive. Everything lacked salt, and the salt grinders in the main dining rooms were usually empty. Desserts were a miss for the most part, with the exception of the Creme Brûlée and Coconut Cream Pie. If you want to try the specialty restaurants make reservations early, they fill up quickly.
4 out of 5
The fitness center is large and has a lot of equipment, but only 2 recumbent bikes which were in high demand. The main pool is too deep, 5’5” being the shallowest so it’s hard to enjoy if you are short. The hot tubs, maybe a little too hot and heavy on the chlorine.
4 out of 5
Entertainment was good. The rock band was great, they played a wide range of music and got people on the dance floor. The Aerialist Show was probably the best cruise board show I have ever seen, and the Comedian was also very good. Some of the other singers and musicians were a little too bland, more like elevator music then anything.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
With the exception of one cocktail waitress (Desiree, who was terrific) and the washie-washie staff, I found the service slow and cold. In the main dining room sometimes service was quick and sometimes tables that were seated after us got their food first. Poolside service was almost nonexistent. I saw my cabin stewardess once in 7 days, and while she kept the room clean and made up, I did not get any towel sculptures, a small thing I know but something you expect!
3 out of 5
I could not get familiar with the layout of the Dawn, and the diagrams and maps were not very clear. Stadium seating in the Stardust was uncomfortable. The Decor was nice though, a very pretty ship.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
My cabin supposedly held four, I was a solo cruiser so size was not an issue, I had plenty of room and storage. Two people would probably be okay also, but three or four would have been tight, not enough storage. Bathroom was adequate but tiny, a heavy person would not fit in the commode section. My safe was not attached and when I opened it it fell of the shelf narrowly missing my foot, maintenance was able to attach it by the 2nd day. I had a blocked ocean view, the window looked out onto the underside of lifeboats and gangways. It is an area of the ship that is a little neglected so it was dirty and rusty, the ocean view was 2 slivers through all of that, not pleasant at all. 8118 is right near the elevators, and the Irish Pub surprisingly the noise from these two areas was minimal. It was the inconsiderate people walking through the corridors late at night that were the noisiest, shouting and laughing and stomping like a heard of elephants.
Lower your expectations. Avoid sailing in December.
80% of shore excursions were cancelled due to the weather, the shopping district was limited and the shop keepers were unenthusiastic, seemed to know day was a bust so they weren’t even trying to sell.
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