After planning for almost a year and saving almost as long, our two families embarked on our first cruise on the Norwegian Dawn out of NYC on 6/26/05. I wish we had known then that we were not making it to the Bahamas and that our trip was going to turn out to be an expensive trip to Florida!! Crew and Staff did their best to make it up to the cruisers but there were some 500 people who mobbed the reception desk once we were informed that we were headed back to NY. You can understand our angst when you realize that they told us as we were coming off the private beach at Great Stirrup Cay (60 NAUTICAL MILES FROM NASSAU, BAHAMAS). The first explanation was that we had engine trouble ... wouldn't you think that you would go the 60 nautical miles to the Bahamas and fly in parts and labor there BUT NO, they decided to sail all the way back to NYC ... past Miami and past Port Canaveral to NYC for "repairs". If this doesn't sound ridiculous to you, it gets better. We sailed into NYC at 4:00am because a supposed repair crew was coming on board to "repair" this severe problem, they would board at 8:00am and assess the damage. Well, by 8:00am, the Dawn was already posting the information that it was sailing again at 4:00pm that afternoon ... Many of us, angered at that fact that NCL Corporate evidently thought we weren't that bright, had to demand that NCL provide Customer Service representatives ... you see, we weren't very happy with the $100/person (maximum of $200/stateroom) that they REFUNDED us. During my discussion with a NCL spokesperson, I asked them what NCL was going to do to resolve the situation ... ready for this --- "They are waiting to see how many people feel like you do, then they will assess the situation". Maybe other people cruise a lot but this was a huge expense for us and a once-in-a-life celebration (celebrating my 50th birthday), we had four cabins and an expectation that there would be a legitimate attempt to provide value for the thousands that we spent. I understand that problems do occur but not one of the excuses made any sense ... until other passengers (one a news lady from local channel) found out that a celebrity had booked multiple cabins on the Dawn and they were getting back to get ready to accommodate her. This is not the first time that the Dawn has been accused of doing things that benefit their corporate position and not acting in favor of the people that provide their revenues ... think twice, I sure will the next time!!
My husband and I were first time cruisers on the Dawn. We were very much looking forward to seeing the Bahamas. We had a passports ready, which we made sure we got just for this trip (they cost about 100 a piece). Were you planning on writing a letter to NCL about this? Did you speak with anyone of the representatives? We didn't see any. I agree, the whole thing sounded quite ridiculous and not fair. I feel very much cheated.
It is unfortunate that you missed a port you were looking forward to but $100 pp is very generous compensation for a missed port. Most cruiselines at best refund your port charges for that port ($25-50) and maybe give you a free drink.
I am sorry to hear about your missed ports. I know it is unfair however everyone should glance at their cruise contract. The line and captain has every right to change the itinerary. So the compensation they gave you is legally above and beyond what their contracts states. I am a TA and this has happend to passengers of mine on other ships. One client tried legal action and was unsuccesful because of the clause in the contract. I know its a horrible thing and not right however a ship is a machine and subject to problems. And we (including myself) go onboard accepting the cruise lines terms and conditions that are spelled out (in small print) in the cruise line brochure. I definately sympathise with you but at the same time the cruise lines usually spell out their rules.
Angela Blake - dont feel bad about spending money on passports. Come December 2005 you will need one for travel to the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Bermuda and by Dec. of 2006 you will need one for travel to Canada and Mexico. It is a wise investment. Better having them now because if you needed one in an emergency there is a very hefty fee for that.
Try the Dawn again it really is a great ship. I am looking to go in Sept. But its the hight of Hurricane season! Oh well I look for trouble! Good luck with everything and again I am sorry your cruise was not the greatest.
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Ships change their itineraries all the time. I'm going to be honest and say that you are acting extremely petty and dumb to be complaining about something like this. Like NYCruiser said, in your cruise contract ships have every right to change their course. You still got to go to 3 of the 4 stops and that is definitely not bad at all! So you missed Nassau, big deal...you still got to go to 3 awesome places, including a private island in the Bahamas. And you still need a passport to go on any cruise ship, even if it's stopping in American ports because the ships are registered in different countries and you're traveling in international waters. And you never know when you'll have to go out of the country unexpectedly. You wouldn't have even been asked for your passport when you got off the ship in Nassau!
The ship made the right move by immediately going back to NYC at the first sight of any problems. And you are EXTREMELY EXTREMELY lucky that that gave you $100 per person. That is pratically unheard of! When my parents were on the Dawn last October, they had to miss their private island stop due to hurricane damage and then on the way back to NYC, the ship had to turn around and go back to Florida due to a medical emergency and they got back to NYC even later,at 6 PM instead of in the morning, due to rough weather condidtions. And all they got was some free drinks and a free phone call to rearrange travel plans in NYC. Or a few years ago we booked a cruise to Central and South America and were really looking forward to visiting Cartagena. But that stop got cancelled and replaced by a day at sea due to a travel advisory and we got no refund whatsoever! These things happen and you can't complain about them. You can't always expect your trip to go perfectly...I'm sure the Dawn didn't plan to engine trouble, and it was smart to go back to NYC...you only would have been further delayed if they had decided to ship parts and staff down.
I honestly can't believe that you would complain about missing one stop. I'm sure you still had a great vacation. I mean you got to enjoy that beautiful ship for a week, that's a vacation in itself! And you got an extra $100! I'd rather have that then a short stay in Nassau...I mean you were only going to be there until 2 PM as it was! You should just feel lucky that your itinerary wasn't changed because of something dangerous or due to a medical emergency. I mean just imagine all the people who were looking forward to a cruise in the Western Caribbean this week. They lost their entire vacations due to Hurricane Dennis and are not going to get any money back since it is a weather condition out of the company's hands. I mean these things happen, so get over it......
Oh and the problems on my parent's trip didn't effect their vacation at all...they had a great time and loved the ship. They loved it so much that my whole family is booked to go on it in 3 weeks. And missing one little stop wouldn't bother us in the least....
OK my turn,
I didn't care about missing Nassau, in fact the best part of the trip for me was watching the mini-mob at the front desk from the stairs to the interent cafe (as someone noted to me "nothing like seeing 1000 pissed off New Yorkers"). Up until that point I had wondered several times what the women behind the main desk in the red jackets did, since the ones I asked questions of seemed to not speak too much English. Which I suppose helps when people are screaming at you.
There was actually several things I felt were sub-par about this trip. Several of which I posted in a message above also (sorry for the cross posts)
Regarding crew jumping ship on another Norwegian ship:
"That might explain why on my recent Dawn cruise (6/26) I was most disappointed by the service in the dining areas. I had the feeling most of the wait staff had no experience at all. I assumed they had just rotated staff on June 1 or something. "
The Cruise Director (who was very entertaining) said at some point he had only been on the ship 3 weeks.
Oh and the shore excursion coordination seemed to be a new shocking idea to the people who were running it on shore. (The lady guide at the stop in South Beach for the "BB HOPPER" said "Where are all these people coming from!" when the bus from the boat arrived at 1:30 full. Not at all what I expected from a ship celebrating its 70th trip.
And some guy was going around varnishing the hand rails and putting up little every once in a while signs you would see once you were stuck to the rail. That was actually pretty funny the first few times...
Overall, my wife was upset the itinerary was modified to skip Nassau, but long before that I had decided that the Dawn experience had not lived up to my expections which were not really that high. I compared the cruise I selected and room (a mini-suite on Deck 11) to a typical Disney vacation in a higher end Disney resort that we have stayed at several times and was let down a bit by the lack of professionalism. (the food was better though).
Oh and I don't recommend a room on Deck 11 midship on the Dawn. They straighten the deck chairs around the pool at 6:15 AM and the dragging noise is pretty loud over your bed!!!
Will I do another cruise? Yes. Not out of NY and not on Norwegian, and not on the top deck.
My wife and I were on the Dawn on the 26th-july 3 cruise I have been reading these post and have some comments.One: we too were very very upset on missing out on the Nassau stop lets face it it was the big stop on the trip, my wife was really looking foward to shopping on Bay Street and seeing the Atlantis Hotel. I do not know weather the $100PP give back is fair or not but my son who gave us the trip is trying to contest the charge on Amex.Express also he got trip interruption insurance and is looking into that angle. Ok enough after the shock wore off we both decided to make the best of it to make a long story short we had on balance a wonderful time its a beautiful ship. WE though the serving staff was excellent the one problem we had with slow order taking was handled immediately when I complained to a supervisor who serve us herself and couldn't stop apologizing and kept offering more food then we could possibly eat. [Overall we had a wonderful time something we never will forget both with the highs and lows.