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This was our second cruise, both on the Dawn. Our first was in 2006, and while the ship was great (good food, service, entertainment, etc) the itinerary was not; we only spent 8 hours in Bermuda (which we loved) and the sea was too rough for the private island, so we spent longer in the Bahamas (which we didn't love), had a mediocre glass-bottom boat trip, and spent 2 hours trying to get a cab from the pier to Penn Station. I give it 4 stars; great time aboard, mediocre itinerary, tough getting home. This time, we booked a cruise with 3 days in Bermuda, and found cheap parking (Enterprise Parking) 2 blocks away. Embarkation & disembarkation were easy (don't do "easy walk-off; it's a LONG line), and we loved Bermuda. Alas, being aboard the Dawn was not as much fun, due to negative changes in the food, service, and especially the spa. 3 years ago, there was no extra charge for spa pool/jacuzzi/sauna/showers; now they charge $20 each per day or $150 per couple for the whole cruise. Since we didn't plan to use it in port, we decided against the $150 plan and scheduled massages using the $40 credit they gave us at the spa opening raffle. We had been told we could use the spa if we had appointments that day, but when we tried to they wanted another $20 each to let us use the spa before or after our massages! Instead, we hit the hot tubs by the Oasis pool, which were crowded but free. Having the spa off limits—even before & after expensive massages—was very disappointing. This is only one example of a "nickle and dime" attitude that also hurt the service. On our previous cruise, automatic tips were optional; we tipped well and got good service. Now they are mandatory, and the service has suffered. When we got good service and tipped extra, the servers were so grateful that it is obvious no one tips beyond the mandatory amount—which explains why the service was often slow and some of the servers were surly. We discovered that the way to get good service is to find someone interested in working for an extra tip, tip them well, and look for them next time. The highlight of poor service—but also of the Dawn's willingness to recover—was our anniversary dinner at Le Bistro. While the food was excellent, from the moment the Captain and his party of 7 sat down at a table next to us, we were ignored; a uniformed member of the Captain's party had to tell a server to take away our empty plates. Though we had ordered before the Captain arrived, his party finished their deserts and left before we could even get a desert menu. My wife was so upset by 2 hours of being ignored that she called and complained—whereupon they gave us another meal at Le Bistro without the extra $15 charge, and when we arrived gave us a complimentary bottle of wine. The service at our second dinner was as excellent as the food, and my wife called her Crème Brule the best desert she had ever eaten. Inconsistent service, but a good recovery. The food was usually good, but not as fresh as on our previous cruise, and having the same menu in the main dining halls got to be a bit of a bore. We enjoyed the “meet and great” reception they gave Cruise Critic’s roll call members; thanks to “Lilcruzr” for setting it up. We met several people there (and elsewhere) who were fun to chat with. Our balcony room was fine, but narrower than last time. Our room stewards were much more attentive, though, and they left 4 towel animals—nice touch. The entertainment was good but inconsistent. The highlight was an incredible Tina Turner review; Bollywood and Second City were good. The magician was weak, though, the pool band made every song sound like Bob Marley, and we giggled at a pianist doing Elton John with a strong Serbian accent (“Daniel ees traveling tonight on de plane...”). Bermuda was wonderful, though the weather was too rough for my helmet dive excursion. Get a 3-day bus/ferry pass. Horseshoe Bay was excellent, as was Snorkel Park. Skip Echo Bay; facilities are for hotel guests only. We loved Crystal Caves, though my wife found them claustrophobic. We enjoyed Saint George, though we were unable to hook up with the horse carriage tour and took a trolley tour that was okay. We had a hard time finding reasonable lunch places, so we got food from a salad bar at a grocery store for a lovely picnic in a park—spending about 1/3 as much. I also give this cruise 4 stars, for reasons that are the complete opposite of last time. The itinerary and logistics were great, but the food and service were inconsistent, and the “nickle and dime” attitude was annoying, particularly regarding the spa. If the time onboard had been as enjoyable as it was on our previous cruise, I would give 5 stars.

Bermuda great, Dawn inconsistent 10/25-11/1/09

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by DrPlato

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2009
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
This was our second cruise, both on the Dawn. Our first was in 2006, and while the ship was great (good food, service, entertainment, etc) the itinerary was not; we only spent 8 hours in Bermuda (which we loved) and the sea was too rough for the private island, so we spent longer in the Bahamas (which we didn't love), had a mediocre glass-bottom boat trip, and spent 2 hours trying to get a cab from the pier to Penn Station. I give it 4 stars; great time aboard, mediocre itinerary, tough getting home. This time, we booked a cruise with 3 days in Bermuda, and found cheap parking (Enterprise Parking) 2 blocks away. Embarkation & disembarkation were easy (don't do "easy walk-off; it's a LONG line), and we loved Bermuda. Alas, being aboard the Dawn was not as much fun, due to negative changes in the food, service, and especially the spa. 3 years ago, there was no extra charge for spa pool/jacuzzi/sauna/showers; now they charge $20 each per day or $150 per couple for the whole cruise. Since we didn't plan to use it in port, we decided against the $150 plan and scheduled massages using the $40 credit they gave us at the spa opening raffle. We had been told we could use the spa if we had appointments that day, but when we tried to they wanted another $20 each to let us use the spa before or after our massages! Instead, we hit the hot tubs by the Oasis pool, which were crowded but free. Having the spa off limits—even before & after expensive massages—was very disappointing. This is only one example of a "nickle and dime" attitude that also hurt the service. On our previous cruise, automatic tips were optional; we tipped well and got good service. Now they are mandatory, and the service has suffered. When we got good service and tipped extra, the servers were so grateful that it is obvious no one tips beyond the mandatory amount—which explains why the service was often slow and some of the servers were surly. We discovered that the way to get good service is to find someone interested in working for an extra tip, tip them well, and look for them next time. The highlight of poor service—but also of the Dawn's willingness to recover—was our anniversary dinner at Le Bistro. While the food was excellent, from the moment the Captain and his party of 7 sat down at a table next to us, we were ignored; a uniformed member of the Captain's party had to tell a server to take away our empty plates. Though we had ordered before the Captain arrived, his party finished their deserts and left before we could even get a desert menu. My wife was so upset by 2 hours of being ignored that she called and complained—whereupon they gave us another meal at Le Bistro without the extra $15 charge, and when we arrived gave us a complimentary bottle of wine. The service at our second dinner was as excellent as the food, and my wife called her Crème Brule the best desert she had ever eaten. Inconsistent service, but a good recovery.
The food was usually good, but not as fresh as on our previous cruise, and having the same menu in the main dining halls got to be a bit of a bore. We enjoyed the “meet and great” reception they gave Cruise Critic’s roll call members; thanks to “Lilcruzr” for setting it up. We met several people there (and elsewhere) who were fun to chat with. Our balcony room was fine, but narrower than last time. Our room stewards were much more attentive, though, and they left 4 towel animals—nice touch. The entertainment was good but inconsistent. The highlight was an incredible Tina Turner review; Bollywood and Second City were good. The magician was weak, though, the pool band made every song sound like Bob Marley, and we giggled at a pianist doing Elton John with a strong Serbian accent (“Daniel ees traveling tonight on de plane...”). Bermuda was wonderful, though the weather was too rough for my helmet dive excursion. Get a 3-day bus/ferry pass. Horseshoe Bay was excellent, as was Snorkel Park. Skip Echo Bay; facilities are for hotel guests only. We loved Crystal Caves, though my wife found them claustrophobic. We enjoyed Saint George, though we were unable to hook up with the horse carriage tour and took a trolley tour that was okay. We had a hard time finding reasonable lunch places, so we got food from a salad bar at a grocery store for a lovely picnic in a park—spending about 1/3 as much. I also give this cruise 4 stars, for reasons that are the complete opposite of last time. The itinerary and logistics were great, but the food and service were inconsistent, and the “nickle and dime” attitude was annoying, particularly regarding the spa. If the time onboard had been as enjoyable as it was on our previous cruise, I would give 5 stars.
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BB 10188
Last cruise, we had a balcony cabin on the stern of the 8th floor, which was wonderful. This cruise, cabin 10188 (10th floor, starboard aft) is noticably narrower and smaller, but it is quiet, near the elevator but not TOO near, and we had a great view of the Statue of Liberty on departure. Though we preferred our stern cabin, this one wasn't bad.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins