My August 10th sailing to Bermuda on the Dawn was not my first experience with Norwegian Cruises. We traveled on the Majesty a few times. At my age, 70 I was not expecting to party the week away. I was looking forward to three good meals a day, lounging on my balcony, entertainment nightly and the casino while at sea.
Of these hopes for a wonderful week, only one was fulfilled. I was able to lounge on my balcony any time I wanted to. (My research on cruise critic had indicated a possible problem with smoke on balconies..., this was not a problem , there were no smokers close enough to be irritating. Actually, smoking did not cause a problem anywhere we went on the ship, even in the casino)
The entertainment on the ship was extensive. The acts both in showroom and in all the venues scattered about the ship were top notch. There were so many options it was not possible to enjoy all of them since they overlapped in timing. The one thing they had in common though, whether singing, dancing, comedy or magic, was the excessive volume at which they were presented. Found a location in the showroom and spinnaker lounge where it was bearable but in atrium it was not possible to avoid.
The casino is quite large and has very friendly workers, whether dealing, serving or managing an area. My problem here was that the times scheduled for slot tournaments and texas hold em tournaments conflicted with the Bingo schedule, every time these were offered. I mostly chose the Bingo because of the possible (but unlikely) jackpot of $9000.00 .
But the food, here is where I was completely dumbfounded. Contrary to previous experiences on Norwegian the food was just not right.
The only food items which reached my mouth at a temperature and consistency expected were the omelets prepared to order at the buffet or at the Blue Lagoon and the second order of Egg's benedict received in the Venetian Restaurant after sending back the hard cooked first attempt.
In the Aqua and Venetian Dining rooms and the Blue Lagoon, the staff which greeted us was excellent. They were welcoming and very efficient. The servers in the Blue Lagoon were the best of all the waiters and waitresses.
All of the food served in these restaurants came to the table just barely still warm. It all appeared to have been picked up from another buffet set up for the waiters and waitresses to fill plates for the guests. (Especially the Angus beef patty cheeseburger at lunch, the bottom bun was hard as a rock from sitting on a warming plate.)
All of those things sent us up to the buffet for most of our meals. It was possible to walk around and choose what appeared to be good. It was necessary to sit quickly to eat it because it really wasn't kept hot enough to travel far.
On the last morning I finally realized why nothing was piping hot and just right. I waited as the server behind the buffet was refilling the scrambled eggs. I figured , at last hot food,.. wrong, I watched as he filled the one container to the back of the buffet, then continued to add more eggs to the half full one in the front, right on top of the old ones! The very large container of eggs he was using was then replaced under the buffet till he needed to refill again. I was sorry to see this, but kind of glad that it was the last day that I did realize this. What I didn't know, fortunately didn't hurt me, but I would have been even more uneasy about the food temps if I had seen this sooner.
It is my conclusion that the food offered in the "Complementary" sites is deliberately "not so great" so that the surcharge needed venues are utilized.
There were no items on any menu that were above a "denny's or Country Kitchen type restaurant. And some items never appeared on any menu I saw. ie shrimp cocktail appetizer or prime ribs or a decent steak. The only carving station meats I saw were chicken or pork.