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denice comeau

Age: 54

Occupation:self employed

Number of Cruises: 10

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Dawn

Sailing Date: 2011-12-25

Itinerary: carribean

Having taken the holiday (Christmas/New Years) sailing with NCL on the Dawn in 2010 and again in 2011, there was a noticeable difference in qulaity of the cruise between last years experience and this one. In 2011 the Dawn underwent some significant changes. While many of these changes were welcomed such as flat screen TVs in cabins, others were not.

Of all the renovations done to the Dawn, the removal of various venues such as the movie theater or the relocation of the Spinaker night club seemingly were done to accomadate the addition of new staterooms. More staterooms equated to more passengers and this had an extremely negative impact on the overall experience in that simply stated, the ship was over crowed. The new additions increased the number of passengers on this sailing and the Dawn's facilities and staff could not properly meet the needs of guests.

There was a noticeable shortage of staff. When asked just how many cabins were added, I could not get a straight answer from NCL Customer Servvice other than being told there were many new additions. One bar staff member indicated to a group of us that over 100 new cabins were added.

Crowding was evident every where: On deck there was a shortage of deck lounges and towels. The single pool and hot tubs were overflowing with people and had to be shut down for cleaning during the day due to over use. I will sail with NCL again but not on the Dawn.

As to the food, portion sizes were smaller than normal. The menu had changed but the food was rather bland and many dishes tasted very salty. Choice was limited.

A $5.00 surcharge has been added for ordering Pizza and an after hour delivery charge for room service has also been added.

At the bar, they changed their glasses, drinks sizes appeared to be smaller. I also believe beverage prices may have increased. The little jars of bits and bites they give out at the lounges are good.

Access to the buffet was horrific....not only were there shortages of various food items during certain times of the day, there were often no spots to sit to eat. The childrens area had little table and stools and these seats were often filled with adults.

The 2 main dining areas were bombarded with passengers and there appeared to be no meaningfull comminication between the venues when quests were shuffled from one to the other. There was lots of room in the "pay a surcharge" dining areas and to avoid the hassle in the main dining room we felt forced to take a break and try the surcharge dining areas which we did on 2 nights.

As to the food, portion sizes were smaller than normal. Many first time cruisers don't know they can ask for a second helping if they are still hungrey.

The menu had changed but the food was rather bland and many dishes tasted very salty.

I was suprised to see that cabin linens were not changed when required and room towels were also in short supply. Overall cabin upkeep was not up to par, items from past passengers were left in the room, carpets were not vacumed regularly, the was dust on shelves, burnt out light bulbs and a broken shelf in the bathroom. On the Dawn, NCL no longer provides body lotion in the cabin, which is one treat I looked forward to as they once provided a very nice skin care lotion which was needed after a day in the hot sun and salt water. Given the weight restrictions of the airlines, I feel it was a plus not to have to pack such an item.

Much of the entertainment was a repeat of the previous year. It is time they replaced their comedian and magic act. Sadly, all deck chairs have been removed from the Promenade deck which is perhaps the most quiet area on the ship without wind. It is also, a great place to sit and watch the sunset and take pictures as you enter and leave ports.

For some reason when arriving at Samana the private island shore excursion was offer to all quests at no charge if they so desired and that was a welcomed relief as the Samana stop last year was not all that pleasant.

The overall impression I was left with is that NCL was lowered their standards and it appears as if they are opting to become a low end provider. I had always percieved NCL as being a "middle of the road" carrier. Good value for your money, that has now changed.

The staff were over worked and tired. At times they appeared indifferent and rude and while they mouthed the words "I'm sorry madam or I'm sorry sir" there was no meaning behind them. Service was not prompt and when someone did get around to you felt rushed and then neglected as there was no follow up. I believe the extra people on board as a result of the new cabins have had a measureable negative impact on the staff as well as the passengers.

However, on a positive note, NCL has good intineraries and port times. While their prices may not be overtly competitive they do give great onboard credit amounts on select sailings something the other lines are rather scimpy on.

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