Norwegian Dawn - Eastern Caribbean: Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by mh24
Overall Member Rating
Norwegian Dawn - Eastern Caribbean
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
We traveled with a group of 10 people, five children in all and chose New York because we live only two hours from Manhattan. This unfortunately is in the peak of high school spring break and we were told the ship had more than 800 children on it. Ill give you the down side of that later in More this review. Upon arrival to pier 90 we found it somewhat confusing. Although NCL provided an area for Latitude members those non members were registered and actually boarded before most of the latitude members. The staff we dealt with during the check in process was poorly trained and was constantly seeking help from others. My credit card was actually swiped, authorized and voided 8 times before three different people finally got it right. Upon boarding no body told you not to go to your cabin until you got there and the room stewards told you, you were not supposed to be in there for another two hours. Again, more miscommunication. After working through this we found our luggage arrived quickly and without any problems.
The first night we had dinner in Bamboo, the Oriental Restaurant on board. This was a premium restaurant which was 50% off which made the surcharge only five dollars. The food was very good however the service rated extremely poor. We waited over twenty minutes after being seated to ask if we wanted drinks an after dinner found that we were there for over two hours! Our waiter acted as if he really didnt care and made several mistakes. We all felt as if we got off to a poor start for a restaurant that was not crowded. Upon walking out we found that the general feeling of some of the other patrons was the same.
Day 1 -- At Sea
Ahhh, the north Atlantic in April&&. Cold and rough! Not much happening on the deck the first day as it was cool and cloudy. However this was to be expected and everyone was not really surprised. In the evening we dined at Aqua. It was one of the main dining rooms and it was the first of the two optional formal nights that I recommend to everyone. For the men, if you cants afford a tux, theyll rent a full tux, two shirts and all the accessories at a very reasonable price. It will also be hanging in your state room when you arrive. Minor alterations will be made on board. The food in Aqua was fine and the wait staff friendly and VERY accommodating. After dinner, some ventured to the casino and some to the shows. Our children, ages 15 to 17 were well versed in cruising and did their own thing as usual and without incident. This however was not the norm. Many of the passengers let their children run wild. Running through the passageways at night and banging on cabin walls was the norm. On several occasions you couldnt walk down the stairs because of the loitering teens and pre teens. When you brought this to the attention of the staff it was totally ignored. This was the most common complaint that we heard and there was absolutely NO security ever found. I would recommend not cruising during spring break if you cant handle these situations as I dont see this being corrected. Enough for now.
Day 2 -- At Sea
The weather was now greatly improved. Although the seas were still choppy, (about 8 feet), the sun was warm and the pool areas were jammed. Although NCL has a policy (in fact they have many&..that they dont enforce) of not allowing chairs to be reserved, all were toweled up by 8:00 am. Of course most were empty until 10:00 11:00 they did look sharp with those blue and white striped towels on them. Despite a few minor altercations there were no casualties! Dinner tonight was at Impressions, another of the non paying dining rooms. It was very quaint and again no complaints at all. In the cabin&&.again, running yelling college dorm atmosphere.
Day 3 -- St. Thomas -- Cane Beach was the place to be if you wanted to know how it feels to be a sardine on an 85 degree day. Three cruise ships, thousands of people, find another beach! Dinner tonight at the Venetian, the largest of the main dining rooms on the stern. Beautiful surroundings and food which was above acceptable. Again, the staff was A+++.
Day 4 -- Tortola -- After the Times Square atmosphere of Cane Beach we traveled outside the gate on our own in seek of the gypsy cab. I asked for a beach with rest rooms, food and cocktails and no people!!! We were brought to Brewers Bay, an excellent choice. About ten dollars per person round trip and our cab driver took no money until the return. This was a pretty beach with cheap food, drink and beautiful scenery. Back on the ship we discovered the only solace could be found at the forward hot tub. This was the only NCL ship that we found that had no adult only hot tubs, Having masked and finned 4 year olds in every hot tub is far from relaxing and at times I felt that the hot tubs may have been warmed by the extra curricular activities of the half grinned children within! Dinner tonight was at Salsa. No complaints. Keith, the Jamaican Host was outstanding as was the staff. The food was great. People were discouraged however because although this restraint was never filled they limit their capacity to 25 per seating. Keith told us this was all the kitchen could accommodate.
Day 5 -- St. Maarten -- OUTSTANDING. Dont waste your money going to Orient Beach. Take the 5 dollar water taxi to the board walk, pay 10 dollars for 2 chairs and an umbrella and enjoy the shops, dollar bears and the friendly people. We rented wave runners, relaxed, shopped and had a great time. You could barter, which the kids have perfected and just enjoyed the day. In fact we were the last to return to the ship and almost missed the boat!
Day 6 -- San Juan -- The only rain day and having been there before, had no desire to visit in the sun, never mind the rain! The wife and kids went a shore and did a little shopping. Me I slept and caught up with the rest I was deprived of because of the delinquents the previous nights. Dinner tonight was back at Impressions with no complaints. For me the casino was my oasis. The staff here was the best of the ship. Shannon the host, George, Christina, Lori, Kate, just some of the dealers and staff set the example for what you should expect. I cant say enough about them.
Day 7 -- Grand Stirrup Cay -- A beautiful little island. The weather was great. The barbecue was fair at best. Cold burgers, dogs, no ribs, chips. Poorly put together. Take the two mile hike to the lighthouse and check out the other side of the island was better than hanging with the masses! Dinner tonight was at La Trattoria, the Italian dining room. Service was great food was about a B-.
Day 8 -- At sea -- Fantastic weather but the pool areas were out of control. It reminded me of a public pool in the inner city on a 95 degree August day. The service at the pool area was about a D+ at its very best on any day. There were brats jumping from the bandstand into the 4 foot water. When I brought it to the attention of the supervisor, he told me the lifeguard would handle it. However, I pointed out that there had not been a lifeguard at the pool in over an hour. He seemed embarrassed and walked away. A short time later a wait staff member was found in the lifeguard position. Dinner was back to the Venetian. It was the last of the optional formal nights and very good.
Day 9 -- Was a carbon copy of day 8.
There was a mandatory disembarkment meeting. If youre dumb enough to smuggle contraband back to the U.S. then you should attend, otherwise stay in your pool chair so you dont lose it! You will receive your custom forms and express checkout forms.
Day Ten -- Home Take my advice, sleep late dont express check out!!! The lines are worse than a gas line in Kabul! Disorganized and a big mess!
Overall, I love Norwegian, just not this cruise and the management or lack thereof of the staff. It was not at all relaxing. Bring ambient for sleep, Prozac for anxiety, and blinders to mask the 4 year olds peeing in the hot tub! Less
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