My wife and I just returned from two back to back Canada and New England cruises on the Norwegian Dawn. The first was a seven day cruise from Boston to Quebec City. The second was a seven day cruise back to Boston. We have cruised on NCL before and before these cruises had intended to stick with this cruise line, but this experience changed our minds.
The itinerary and the ports were excellent. Only Portland, Maine was underwhelming; we enjoyed every other stop. La Baie was great mainly for cruising down the Saguenay Fjord. The scenery was excellent. Unfortunately, it was early and cold, and the return was in the dark. Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Bar Harbor, Maine were also outstanding. The only repeated port was Halifax, but we were happy to return as there is so much to see and do there.
Most of the entertainment on the ship was good. We especially liked the acrobats Sally and Alexi, and the juggler Scotty Cavanaugh. Some of the crew-based entertainment was not worth watching.
The food was quite good. We're not picky eaters but we enjoyed every restaurant we tried.
The service was excellent. Most of the workers we encountered including room stewards and restaurant staff were cheerful and friendly.
Most of the other guests were very likable and we met some very nice people.
Despite a recent renovation, much of the ship was in disrepair. A drink machine was out of order for the entire two week duration of our cruise. Stateroom carpets were dirty. Stair treads were loose. Elevator buttons were damaged or non-functional. Several doors were sticky. Our stateroom door could not be closed without slamming, and I heard other people doing the same.
You'd think NCL would have queuing down pat, but you'd be mistaken. Waiting in line was often an annoying display of disorganization.
Public areas were too small. Often the Garden Cafe was so crowded that no tables were available at all. And often elevators were packed and we had to wait for another one.
The above complaints are minor and you wouldn't be reading about them here if not for the terrible treatment we received. On the last night of our first week, our room steward casually mentioned that we would be moving down to deck five for the second week. We assured him that this was not the case, but he checked again for us and confirmed. We were stunned at this since we already had eDocs and luggage tags for our room on deck eight. When we went to the service desk to find out about this, we were told that NCL had arbitrarily decided to move us to deck five, but had failed to notify us. We asked to remain on deck eight, and Armando told us he would check if a room were available. The next morning, they still had no word on the availability of the room. They continued to string us along for two days with no answer, and meanwhile we of course had to move to deck five. When no answer was forthcoming, we met with Hotel Director Alain. He was understanding and reassuring . . . but he then delayed us for two days as well, finally offering us an inside room on deck 8, which we declined since we didn't want an inside room and there were only three days remaining on the cruise. (Armando had already stated that the ship was entirely full. Nice.) Finally we were offered an onboard credit and we were told this would apply to all ship charges including the mandatory gratuity, so in effect it would be a partial refund. We weren't happy with this resolution, but it was better than a hollow apology. Our disembarkation bill showed this credit, but after we returned home we found our credit card was charged for the entire amount. We called NCL and filed a complaint and were told we would be contacted with a response. That was ten weeks ago and we haven't heard a word.
Our next cruise will be the Panama Canal. We have decided to go with Celebrity and look forward to a better experience.