November 2015 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (New Orleans Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Dawn
Comparison with Carnival and Holland
We were not impressed by the New Orleans Port procedures. First of all, there was a long line of cars at the luggage drop off. We had to wait in line WITH THE CAR RUNNING for nearly an hour. Then, when we approached the area where people were offloading luggage, there were no signs, there was no one providing instructions, it was CHAOS. With no instructions and security people continuing to try to hurry you through, we passed the entire area without unloading our luggage. Then they wanted us to simply go around and get in the line again, but I refused. I simply sat there in the road, until they finally directed me to an area behind the customs area, where I unloaded our luggage directly onto one of the luggage bins that were being loaded onto the ship. At the conclusion of the cruise, the disembarkation was equally chaotic and time consuming, and to prevent having to sit in the long line of cars, we wound up hand carrying 8 large pieces of luggage all the way out to the public parking area. We will NEVER cruise out of New Orleans again!
We have done 5 Carnival Cruises and 1 Holland America cruise. The main dining room service on the Dawn was VERY slow. But the food was excellent, other than their pancakes and waffles, which were very disappointing. The wait staff was only moderately attentive. We dined once in the complimentary Bamboo Asian restaurant, and the food there was very good as well. The buffet at the Garden Cafe had an excellent selection
We were traveling with 2 children, which required the use of a trundle bed and a pullman berth. Having traveled this way with Carnival, and hand cabin steward that would watch for you to go to breakfast and then get the beds out of the way by the time you returned, I was expecting the same level of service. But after 2 days of no service, I began calling and requesting that our beds be made up. Finally, by the 5th day of the cruise, when we left the ship early in the morning and returned at 2pm and our beds were STILL not made up, I went to guest services to file a formal complaint. After a 10 minute wait, the deck supervisor came to speak to me, but his only response was that the cabin steward was responsible for 16 cabins, and he would ask him to give us a higher priority. I told him that I did not need the entire room cleaned in the morning; we just needed to get the beds put up, because otherwise there is no room in the cabin to even get dressed. There was never any acknowledgment that cabins with trundle and pullman beds needed to have a priority on getting the beds up and out of the way. This experience was so negative that we will probably not cruise Norwegian again, but if we did, I would go ahead on the first day and ask to speak to the deck supervisor, and request that we get our trundle and pullman beds put up during breakfast.
The one plus for this ship was the entertainment. There was a production band, production singers/dancers, and acrobat show, a comedy troup, and a magician. The dancers dressed a little too provocatively for a family show during a couple of the shows, but for the most part it was high quality entertainment.