March 2014 - Norwegian Dawn to Caribbean - Western
My wife and I are normally Celebrity customers, but we decided to take a chance on Norwegian, based upon reputation. To tell the truth, looking back it is hard to distinguish our seven days on Norwegian Dawn from another trip with Carnival we took a few years ago. Carnival, at least, is honest: it is a party line and does not pretend to be anything else. Norwegian (The Dawn, at any rate) has double trouble: it is as hokey as Carnival, and when it tries to be upscale, as in the main dining rooms, it falls flat as well.
The Dawn is floating mismanagement. The staff is generally confused, indifferent, and very often contradictory. Personnel seem to know next to nothing about the vessel. The English language is as rare as an imaginative menu. One night I had to ask another waiter to interpret my first waiter's rendition of the speciality of the evening. This is not simply a matter of inconvenience: I wondered how this crew would handle real emergencies or, God forbid, an abandon ship call.
The ship's maintenance was poor; our stateroom toilet failed twice. When my wife went to the guest relations desk to discuss this, she was told: "There are a lot of children on this cruise putting things down the toilet. I'd say we're keeping a pretty good percentage running." There were multiple visible OSHA violations--unattended open doors to the ship's machinery, a work cart left unattended directly across the walking path, etc. For all of the hand washings, the public toilets were unkempt and in a number of cases not working.
There are good employees and representatives on this ship; I had the profound sense that they are burned out or indifferent from having to work under incompetent administrators. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean would never tolerate the conditions of this ship.