I was on the Dawn on the July 29th-August 5th cruise to Bermuda. This was my 3rd cruise on the Dawn, the last being 3 years ago. I chose the Dawn because it was Bermuda, but also because of the new refurbishment everyone was talking about. ... Read More
I was on the Dawn on the July 29th-August 5th cruise to Bermuda. This was my 3rd cruise on the Dawn, the last being 3 years ago. I chose the Dawn because it was Bermuda, but also because of the new refurbishment everyone was talking about. The buzz about it getting an entire new look made me want to do this cruise again. I then starting reading all the reviews and found myself seriously regretting that I booked this cruise. The reviews went from dissappointing to downright horrible. I read stories where bathrooms were a nightmare, service was horrible or non existent, work being done all over the ship, food being poor and of having very little choices, rude employees, and on an on. Now, I've sailed on NCL many times with many different ships. I liked all 3 of my previous cruises on the Dawn, even when it needed some TLC 3 years ago. I liked some ships better than others but was always impressed with the level of service of NCL. This cruise, I absolutely MUST say, was far better than any cruise I've ever sailed.
I did not find the service to be anything less than excellent the entire time, no matter where I was on the ship, on any time or day. I paid attention to every single crew member from maintenance, cabin stewards (not just mine), waiters, hostesses, store clerks, restaurant managers, directors, entertainment staff, bartenders, chefs, officers, dining room staff, buffet staff, etc etc. I wanted to be clear about whether it was consistent if/when I wrote a review.. I never saw any person who worked on that ship not doing their job to a level of service that wasn't far above and beyond possible. All did it with a smile and a high professional attitude of courtesy and at all times.
I did not see work being done anywhere except for the non stop daily cleaning everywhere, inside and out. I did not see or hear anyone complain about work being done to their cabin from a toilet or A/C not working. I did not see bathrooms not working except one time and just one stall for a short period of time. That stall was ina bathroom outside the Stardust Theater and that was only one time on one night. Never did I see any toilet not being able to flush and I used all of them. I went to the shows and to the casino all the time and had to use those bathrooms. They were always kept up and clean.
The food was very good to excellent and I found the choices to plentiful. If you choose to eat lunch every day at the Venetian, you will find the menu to be the same. You can choose to eat something different there every day if you choose to eat only there every day, or you can choose to got to the buffet. Lunch is also served at O'Sheenan's, where that menu stays the same and you can get sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, wings, fries, etc. I found between the 3 places, I had tons of choices every day. Dinner is an abundance of choices as the menu is diifferent every night at the main dining rooms or specialty restaurants. I ate at Venetian, Aqua, the buffet, Bamboo and Los Lobos. My favorite was Bamboo. All were excellent. Least favorite the buffet, but I just happen to not care for buffet style eating while I'm cruising, not because I didn't like the food.
I had no issue whatsoever with my adult beverage card package. I did not wait in line anywhere, even at the pool. I did not find the bartenders to be rude at any time. I did not see many servers at the pool or at the bars or nightclubs. I can see why that would be an issue with others, but I have no problem walking up to the bartenders myself to get a drink. I did not, however, see anyone being able to get a drink at Stardust. There is no longer a bar there. Those wanting a drink while watching the show will have to bring their own in. I didn't see very many opting to do that since you have to walk up/down many stairs in this theater. I never heard anyone complain of this. I have no complaints either. I remember many people working in this theater having to rush all over the place to get rid of empty glasses and clean tables between shows. It was often annoying to see so many empty glasses everywhere so I'm glad they did away with it.
Getting on and off the ship was easy as can be, and they made made major changes to luggage handling. The porters now just put your luggage right onto very large steel trailers that are directly hauled from there with forklifts to the ship. It's done with precise efficiency. There are many people around to help you at all times with where to go and to answer questions.
The ship looks beautiful, all public areas are cleaned constantly. The pool area was always packed. That is my least favorite area. I just don'r care for being around smoke, heat, wet floors, etc. I spent no time there except to cross it in order to go to the buffet. My one complaint would be that they have a path outside of the pool area to get to the buffet. My other option would be to use the stairs/elevator to go up/down a floor and walk the hallway to the back of the ship and then head towards mid ship. Too long a way to go just to get your morning coffee and breakfast. My cabin was mid ship on the deck 9.
My inside cabin, mid ship, deck 9 was a good spot to be. I have to have mid ship. I get seasickness easily. I choose inside because I actually prefer it over a balcony. I like it very dark and quiet and have issues with that having a balcony. There was nothing above or below me in cabin 9599, and I didn't have the stairs or elevator near me. I did not want either of those as well. My room did not have the toilet in a cubicle as I've had before in my inside cabin on teh Dawn. The toilet was in the same area as the sink, but over to the side and on an angle. Much better than having to squat in that tiny cubicle area like I had to before. Cabin steward Alex was always attentive without being intrusive, He always paid attention to my do not disturb and clean cabin sign. I was never woken or ignored. My room was always spotless. Please tip them on top of the service charge. They work a very long day because they have to clean your cabin twice a day, no matter how late you sleep in, nap before taking in an all nighter, and must do every single room twice. I saw them working from 8 am until midnight every single day. They cannot simply end their shift because they couldn't get into your cabin.
I'm really glad they did without the chocoholic buffet. You will find dessert all over the ship. The buffet has a dessert buffet from 9:30 - 11;30 every night. .You can also get more dessert from O'Sheenan's, 24 hours. You can also take your food/dessert to your cabin from the buffet.
The shows were absolutely fantastic. Most favorite was Elements, least favorite was Second City. But...I did enjoy them all:) I went to the audience-participating shows as well at the Bliss Lounge. Lots of fun!
The daily activities were chock full of variety. I barely made through half of them. I wanted to get to more of them! They have everything from solo cruisers gatherings to family oriented activities. They never plugged up the atrium with tables of things to shop for. I was very glad to see that gone. The atrium now is larger than ever and a great place to hang out and listen to a big variety of music, movies, have a drink or coffee, play games, go to a discussion on whatever, meet up with others, etc. I'm so glad to see how much open up this popular area.
I've no clue as to why there were negative reviews other than perhaps having to go through a period of change due to the new staff on this ship. If that was the case, it no longer exists...anywhere. I felt beyond pampered and spoiled. They wanted me to have a perfect experience and that's exactly what I had. Value for money? It was expensive for me. I did not get what others got who cruised solo and were able to get an inside cabin just like mine for less than half of what I paid. Had I gotten my reservation a week before like they did, I would have said excellent instead of average. Over 3000 for an inside cabin is not a good value. Read Less