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Lauren Christiana

Age: 23

Occupation:Pharmaceuticals

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Dawn

Sailing Date: May 6th, 2006

Itinerary: Cruise to Nowhere

I purchased this “Cruise to Nowhere” as a gift for my mother, and what I had hoped would be a very memorable and relaxing trip for both of us. I also purchased this cruise as I was planning on purchasing two family cruises to the Caribbean within the next year, as well as plan a wedding on a cruise ship. I am glad I made this decision, as reserving long vacations and a wedding would have been a huge mistake, waste of money, and disappointment.

My mother and I entered the ship with a very positive attitude and open minds. We did not know what to expect as we’ve never been on a cruise before, but we’ve heard wonderful things. We were excited upon entering the ship and felt it would be all we hoped for. I’m writing this review for other consumers so they do not have to experience what we have.

We reserved a balcony room. I wouldn’t suggest reserving anything smaller because this room was comfortable for a maximum of two people. The balcony was a very nice touch, and I would say well worth the money. The décor is a little on the tacky side, however, what I had typically expected. Everything seemed to be going well until we had a Safety Drill. Everyone was required to learn how to use safety vests and report to a certain deck. At this time, we overheard other passengers talking about dinner reservations. We did not know we needed reservations as “Freestyle Dining” is what seems to be advertised, which would lead you to believe you can eat at any time. Upon hearing this, we decided to go check out the restaurants and make reservations to be safe. We went to their steakhouse, Cagney’s. We were told, with about 5 other couples, that they had been booked for the entire night. One of the other cruisers advised us that all of the restaurants had been already booked too. They were upset as it was their wedding anniversary and they couldn’t even find a place to eat for dinner. (Please keep in mind we were told we could only boarded the ship between 2:00pm-3:00pm, and it was literally 2:20pm) I questioned how all of these reservations could have been made, thinking I missed something and we could have called in advance or done it on the website. I was told “certain” cruisers were able to board as early as 12:00 and made the reservations then. I then questioned how these people could board as early as we were not given that option. About 8 of us stood there and instead of answering any questions they decided to “squeeze” us into the restaurant at opening time, 5:30. I still wonder how these people made all of these reservations or got on the ship so early. Regardless, we accepted the reservation.

We then decided to take a walk outside on the pool deck. I was shocked that there was only one public pool, and it was extremely small. It was definitely not the type of pool that should be available for thousands of cruisers. The entire pool area and bar was crowded and uncomfortable. I couldn’t imagine being on a longer cruise with these type of amenities. This was definitely not an environment of children or anyone elderly. We sat and had a couple of drinks and tried to ignore the “Spring Break” environment surrounding us.

We went to dinner and were seated in a nice area overlooking the water. The restaurant was empty for our entire dinner, and left me wondering how they had no reservations available. I can’t imagine that many people did not show up. The service was poor as no one refilled our drinks and we weren’t even given dinner menus for about 20 minutes. We both ordered steaks and sides. Lobster was not available among other things. I can’t say we enjoyed the food and I could have had much better in a local restaurant. The desert was also not good. The only thing good on the ship seemed to be drinks. I was shocked as I always heard others rave about the food on cruise ships. We also tried the Blue Lagoon and a couple buffets. All that seemed available was hamburgers, hot dogs, dried and bad looking cold cuts, and salad. We still stayed positive and tried to make the best of our experience.

The rest of the night was ok, I’ve seen some describe the quality of entertainment as Vegas style shows, I’d say it was more so that of Atlantic City, NJ. It seemed everything was over crowded and the only people truly enjoying themselves were obnoxiously drunk and unaware of their surroundings. I was surprised at the lack of free food, as I was under the impression most was included. They nickel and dime you for everything, cover charges for restaurants, service charges, and gratuity automatically charges to your account. If I would have known the amount we would spend on top of the price of the cruise itself, I wouldn’t have gone. It was a waste of money. For one night it totaled around $900, and we didn’t participate in half of the activities or go shopping. We had a total of 5-6 drinks together.

Still, by this point we stayed positive and felt the experience was ok. This was until we decided to back to our room and go to sleep.

Upon pulling the sheets down to get into bed, we saw glitter, sequence, and hair all over our sheets. I was quite disgusted. It looked as if someone slept in our bed and they didn’t bother to change the sheets. I called downstairs to customer service and requested a change of bed linens. They told me they would be up shortly. We sat on a very small couch and waited. An hour passed and I called the customer service line again wondering when we could expect a change of sheets. They told me the request was never made. I insisted I called an hour ago, and was told that the girl in the earlier shift must have not written it down. They told me someone would be up shortly (again.) Another 30 minutes went by, and the customer service line called me. They said the request could not be made because we had turned our outside dial as “Do not disturb.” I insisted we did not touch it the entire night. I said I made this request an hour and a half ago, why am I just now receiving this call if it was a problem. She responded “Well are you going to change the sign or not?” Before this point, I was calm and very open minded about everything. However, I was shocked by the attitude and response from an employee, never mind customer service. I told her I will change it, but I think I should have been called earlier, and they should not take a sign as seriously as anyone outside of your room can change it, including the hundreds of kids running up and down the halls. She then hung up on me. I called back and asked to speak with a supervisor or someone in charge. I was told she was in charge and there was no one else to speak with. I said ok, and requested her name. She hung up on me, AGAIN! By this point I was furious. I worked in customer service for years when I was younger and never experienced or witnessed something like this in my life. I walked downstairs to the desk and stood on line with about twenty other cruisers with complaints. Many complaints consisted of room keys not working and dirty !
rooms.

In fact, as I waited, I watched the customer service woman receive four calls regarding a change of sheets, and she responded saying their “Do Not Disturb” sign was also on and it is why they didn’t receive the service for hours. They had a total of two women at this main desk. They should have had more employees available to fulfill requests. But more importantly, their employees should be trained on how to respond to requests and talk to consumers. We all waited on line as they answered the phones and ignored the line of people. One man commented “I would have been better off going up to my room and calling” and another woman said “No, I tried calling for two hours and they don’t answer” so I chimed in and said “Well, I got through, and they hung up on me!” I was shocked. I couldn’t believe this is what a cruise was like. Five of us discussed we had never been on a cruise, and now we most likely wouldn’t want to, especially with Norwegian. When I finally got to the desk, I said I would like to speak with a supervisor or fill out a customer complaint form. She asked why. I told her I made a request for a change of sheets, and I was hung up on twice. She told me “You were not hung up on.” I said “So I’m a liar now? I walked down here to make this up?” She told me I am a liar, and that no one hung up on me, and to go back to my room. I requested a complaint form, and she slammed a piece of Norwegian stationary on the counter. I wrote down her name and plan on contacting their corporate office about this rude, unprofessional, and obnoxious employee. As I would hope, this is not the type of individual they want representing their corporation.

I understand you can’t judge an entire corporation by one employee. However, I can judge the corporation by the fact this is the person they leave in charge of thousands of passenger requests. This is their lead customer service representative. I wanted this trip to be something special for my mother, and it was nothing but a headache and waste of money.

The food was horrible, the additional charges were ridiculous, and the service was shocking. I would not recommend cruising with Norwegian to anyone. I’m going to try Royal Caribbean or Princess as I’ve heard better things about them.

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