March 16th 2006, my fiance and I wed aboard the Norwegian Dawn cruise vessel. It was a magical experience of which we will never forget. It appeared that all would be going well, as embarkation was a breeze and we were satisfied with our stateroom.
We had planned to " go all out" and had saved and planned for the occasion, deciding that we would not deny ourselves any experience during the 10 day cruise.
Two days into the cruise, after having, already spent, several hundreds of dollars, we decided to check out the Mandara Spa, to explore the spa's services.
We visited their Juice Bar, where we enjoyed our new union and brainstormed about what to explore next. We walked into the El Dorado hair Salon, which appeared to be a part of the Mandara Spa, where my husband inquired about the availability of a barber. To our shock and dismay, the staff member of the El Dorado Hair Salon advised us that they did not do black hair. As my husband is a bald African American, he questioned whether or not the employee was referring the the color of his hair. The employee clarified her statement advising us that the salon did not "do black peoples hair". Well my husband, a native New Yorker was about to act in character, so I diffused the situation pulling him out of the salon, to file a formal complaint.
We met with the Spa manager and hotel manager that same day, who both minimized the employees statement. Our request that the employee be confronted and questioned about her statement was denied, as she was still on the clock and busy with a customer. We got the impression that the spa manager did not want to interfere with spa business and embarrass the employee in front of the customer. Although, the employee had been servicing a customer when she insulted us.
Disgusted and dissatisfied with the outcome of our meetings, I immediately sent an email to customer service, which was ignored for the duration of our cruise. We were pacified by the spa manager with a complimentary card for a courtesy bottle of wine(wow) and were offered spa services during off peak hours when the ship was docked in a port.
The freestyle dining was excellent, in that I have no complaints. What appeared suspicious, I simply avoided. There was something for everyone aboard the ship.
Angry about our experience, My husband and I simply indulged in included services aboard the ship, and shore excursions which we had arranged prior to our experience. We did not want to spend another dime of our "colored" money, which was accepted as payment of our wedding arrangements and cruise package, although not good enough to be spent in the spa.
The experience returning home was a bit rocky, but the fault of mother nature so we had no complaints. We quickly exited the vessel in NYC, home sweet home, and never looked back.
The following week, I emailed Norwegian Cruiseline Executives and received a written response within a week. The response advised that the matter was clearly a misunderstanding, although we were offered a $350 credit, per person towards another Norwegian cruise. That offer was a slap in the face to myself and my husband, as we had not received any incentives to feel the need to sail with Norwegian, in the future. How could Norwegian attempt to make an offer which would force us to spend additional money with the cruise line, in order to benefit from the half baked courtesy, they extended.
I had travelled aboard Norwegian cruise lines in the past, and had an excellent experience, which prompted me to choose that cruiseline for my wedding and honeymoon. What a mistake. Now for the rest of my life, while describing my wedding/honeymoon experience, I cannot provide a complete account without mentioning and so re-living that horrific experience.
The service provided by housekeeping was excellent and the activities offered were more than enough to fill our ten day experience. However, that dark cloud which Norwegian left over our heads, dampened our honeymoon before we had arrived at our first destination.
Thanks for nothing Norwegian Dawn.