I went on the Norwegian Dawn with my entire extended family for a celebration of my great aunt’s 80th birthday. All together we had a group of 19 people in 9 separate stateroom ages ranging from 80 to 1.5 years old. Nearly all of the ... Read More
I went on the Norwegian Dawn with my entire extended family for a celebration of my great aunt’s 80th birthday. All together we had a group of 19 people in 9 separate stateroom ages ranging from 80 to 1.5 years old. Nearly all of the group had been on Norwegian’s Boston to Bermuda cruise at least once prior, many of us more than that. We all unanimously agreed that the standards on the ship have gone way down over the years.
The boarding process: even with priority boarding the lines were long and the system was far from smooth. None of the staff at the pier seemed to know what the safety regulations are in terms of security, and if you asked the same question of two different staff members, you would always get a different answer. Overall it was extremely unorganized. Once we got on to the ship, we were led to our state room, a family suite with a balcony. The room still had the dirty towels from the previous guests on the floor in the bathroom. The complimentary toiletries were clearly open and had been used as well. We alerted the crew to this and they said they would get to it when they could, which took over two hours. I understand that it is a very large ship and they have a very short turn over times between disembarkation and the new passengers boarding, but I would much prefer to be told my stateroom isn’t ready yet than to be brought to a dirty room. In the room we had three adults and a toddler. There was a king size bed, a pull out couch and a Murphy bed in the room that were made up each night so each adult had their own bed. For my son, the ship provided a pack and play crib. Luckily prior to going I had done some research about tips for cruising with a toddler because they only have a flat sheet on top of the crib mattress that any toddler will move in two seconds and I doubt those mattresses get cleaned very often, so I brought my own crib sheet from home which worked great. I also brought him a blanket from home as well since they do not provide those. Once the room was cleaned and set up it was quite nice. The bathroom was huge and had both a tub (great for toddler baths) and a stand up shower. There was an ample amount of closet space for the four of us. And the balcony was large enough for two chairs and a small table, two lounge chairs and still enough room for my son to play on the floor. The Murphy bed and pull out couch were not very comfortable, but that is to be expected. The king size bed was pretty comfortable. One big problem with the rooms is noise. The family suites are located on the 12th floor right between the elevators/stairs and the pool. This made for some pretty heavy foot traffic, and a lot of congregating outside of our room. The doors are paper thin and you can hear everything and multiple times at night we had to open the door and ask people to move along as there was a toddler sleeping in the room. Because of the location of the room, every morning to go to breakfast in the garden cafe, we had to walk through the smoking area. In addition to being less than pleased to have stale cigarette smoke blown in my face first thing in the morning, I was less than thrilled with having my toddler walk through all that second hand smoke every morning. In my opinion, people should not be allowed to smoke in such a highly traveled area. You couldn’t even go in the pool without the stench of cigarettes.
Moving on to the ship. The pool area, specifically the pool itself, is way too small for a ship of that size. If you want to go in the water, you can’t even move there are so many people in there. The music at the pool is extraordinarily loud. I love laying in a lounge chair and listening to the live music, but you couldn’t even enjoy it because it was so incredibly loud (and all you could smell was cigarettes). At the pool bars I never once saw more than two bartenders at a time, which seemed odd to me as they were definitely the busiest bars on the ship. Also, compared to past cruises, overall, I found the bar tending staff to be much less friendly than before. The staff at the garden cafe was exceptionally friendly. This actually became our favorite place to eat a meal due to the great variety and the staff. The sit down restaurants, the Venetian and Aqua were just so, so in terms of the food, but the service there was always so extraordinarily slow that it always took over two hours for a meal, usually closer to three. We did three specialty meals, Churriscaria, Tempennyaki, and Chaney’s. All of those were excellent. Service again was a tad slow, but the food more than made up for it. We ate at O’Sheehans one night as well, the food was very greasy, and again, service was very slow. It took 25 minutes for two beers! The wine cellar bar was by far my favorite. The selection of wine was exceptional, it was never too crowded and the staff there was excellent.
Most of the entertainment we participated in was for the little one. He was too young to participate in most of the children’s programming (which I knew going in), but we did go to the guppies playroom a few times when it was raining. It was nothing spectacular, just a small room with some age appropriate toys, but it was nice to have. On our first day at sea, we woke up, got all ready to go to the kids Dino pool (my son loves dinosaurs) and went over to the pool (which is pretty difficult to get to, it is in the way back of the ship and you have to either go through the gym or the arcade to get there) and it was closed. This was around 10:30am. We asked a staff member when it would be open, and he told us noon. We went back around 12:15, still closed. I called the front desk and was told 12:30. Went back at 1:05, still closed. Called the front desk again, they told me it would be open at 1:00. When I told them it was past 1:00 they told me 1:30. At this point I asked them why it was closed and they told me for some routine maintenance. When we came back at 1:30 it was STILL CLOSED. I called the desk again and they told me it would be 2:00. This time I asked if anything was broken or if there is a safety issue and they said no, it was just routine maintenance. I asked them why, if it was routine, they couldn’t do it on a day when we were in port and there were various other things for small children to do. They just kept repeating that they were doing maintenance. They took down my room number but I made the point of telling them that it was not just me and every time I went back to the pool there were numerous families with young kids trying to come back and use the pool when they told them it would be open. Children this age are not old enough to understand that the pool is closed and why and it was not right to keep having them go back and get all excited about it only to be disappointed again. Never once did they apologize. As I said, they took down my room number, but never did or said anything about it again. We didn’t try going back to the pool again until the next day, and my son LOVED the water slides. We went to the pool every day when we were at sea and he never wanted to leave. We went to trivia a few time, which was fun, but short. Other than that, the only other activity we participated in was a wine tasting, which was well worth the $20 participation fee.
The island of Bermuda was awesome, as usual. We did one shore excursion, the rising son snorkel cruise, which was great. Other than that we explored the island on our own, taking the complimentary ferry to St. George’s and using the bus system to navigate the island. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze, and we even docked about an hour a fifteen minutes ahead of schedule on our first port day.
Overall, while we had a good time, this was the worst cruise I have been on. The service has definitely gone downhill over the years and the food was nothing to write home about. The activities available were not very interesting, and the pool was way too small. Read Less