Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Dawn
Sailing Date: June 26th, 2005
I have cruised twice before on Celebrity and will continue with that line in the future. The Norwegian Dawn was a beautiful ship, but I believe it's large size and "freestyle" cruising equals a lack of personalized attention. They pride themselves on giving you dining options but then you wait over 1 hour for a table. Several of your dining options also require additional fees per person. I choose to cruise so that all my food is paid for in advance. The food was very good. We ate in the 3 main dining rooms, The Venetian, Aqua, and Impressions. Impressions was our favorite. We also ate in Salsas on the last night. There is no fee but a reservation was required. The food was excellent. They also offered options for the children who did not like the Tex-Mex selection. Freestyle cruising includes a 10$ tip per day per person. I feel that this tipping method may cause the service staff to not go that extra mile. One day there was a dirty, wet rag left on my things in my state room. You also do not get the personalized attention that you do on other cruise lines when you are with the same waiter each night. We had 2 exceptional waiters that we tipped at dinner and added their names to our comment cards. I also felt that the service in the breakfast and lunch buffet in the Garden Cafe was lacking. I know that on past cruises the wait staff worked there as well carrying trays and offering to get you drinks. There were days it was so crowded that we cleared our own trays so that other guests could sit.
The cruise director, Collin Kerr, was great. I felt that in general the entire cruise directors staff were not very visible or sociable. They played 2 vollyball games poolside and that was it. There were game shows offered inside but I found my self wondering where they were all day. I am used to more activities by the pool during days at sea.
I had a great time in Orlando. We spent the day at Universal. Transportation to and from was good. The Everglades tour in Miami was super. We saw alligators from the boat ride. NCL's Private island Stirrup Cay was beautiful but not large enough for the ships passengers. The lines to get off the ship for the island were chaotic. Unfortunately, they disembarked on our floor and we couldn't make our way back to our room after breakfast. Maybe they could allow those passengers staying in those rooms the chance to get off first. We were not able to get a seat on the beach and all of the very expensive rafts were already rented. The majority of my family left the island quickly do to the heat and large crowds. We never made it to Nassau. We were told about an hour after were supposed to leave that we could not go due to mechanical problems. Of course, we had no problem getting to Stirrup Cay where the cruise ship made a pretty penny on rentals and excursions. Many people were upset and did not feel we were fully compensated ($100 per person but no more than $200 per room) so even though there were four people in my brother's room they still only got a $200 credit.
I had fun with my family and it was a nice vacation. I will not cruise with NCL again. Celebrity definitely has more to offer.