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Our NCL Dream/Nightmare review

Discussion in 'Norwegian Cruise Lines' started by Izzy Bee, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. Izzy Bee

    Izzy Bee Guest

    First of all, I want to start this review by saying I do not wish to be slammed but am offering my opinion on our cruise. This is my fourth cruise, first with NCL. I couldn’t resist the new ports of call and the low price. I have always sailed Carnival before and always sailed out of New Orleans. Our group ages were 49, 47, 18, 24 and 23.
    To start it off, seems the TA’s had been invited to a luncheon and tour on the Dream. Yes, at the same time new passengers were to embark. There was no parking at the pier with us arriving at 1030AM. Seems you needed a NCL Latitudes card to park. Hmmm this is a new terminal for NCL and just how many folks were on this cruise for the first time? Answer is LOTS!!We parked at the Hilton after DH let us off at the terminal. We were in the first group of travelers in line. We sat and watched the TA’s board till about 1200 then NCL locked the outside doors so no one else could come in. I felt so sorry for the elderly folks standing in the heat. I overheard one person saying they heard an elderly woman say she had a hip replacement and ask for a chair and was denied. We were not allowed anywhere near the doors as security was standing there and would not let you let anyone in or close to the door. I would have gladly let the elderly have my spot. That is cruel and poor planning to have them stand in the heat...My DH went up to an NCL clerk to ask a question and was told†I am only one person, I am doing my bestâ€Â. Finally after 1:30 PM we boarded. It seems no one at the debarking desk had any experience and was totally overwhelmed. We toured the boat and saw that the Dream was very pretty and nicely decorated. It was also very clean. We went up to the sports deck and had lunch. About 4:00 PM the captain announced the lifeboat drill would be delayed due to folks still not boarded and in the terminal. About 430 PM the drill started. We saw lines of people waited in the terminal to board. The NCL crew had a list of names at each muster station but guess what?? It was the list of last weeks passengers!! People were so hot and tired of standing that they walked off! We had a drill for about 45 minutes! I thought it was against the law to have a drill with 60% of the passengers not on board. At 600 PM the captain announced we would be 1 hour late leaving New Orleans. At 630 PM the pool bar ran out of Bud Lite! Seems NCL did not research the age and alcohol consumption for its new port of debarkation. The bar tender told me they would have more Bud Lite tomorrow (Monday) but that didn’t make me feel any better. The bartender also told me that the average age sailed on prior sailings of the Dream were folks in their 60’s. I wondered why Kenny G was playing around the pool and very few staff were walking around with frozen drinks to sell. Seems they were not prepared for the change in the passengers. Finally, at 8PM we left New Orleans. Fellow passengers said we had it easy, as they had waited 5 hours to board.
    That night, we burned up in our cabin. Number 1 phone call to report the problems with the AC.
    Day 2 Lines and lines waiting to get a table at the freestyle restaurants. All food places close at 945 PM…No 24 hour food available. Called room service, waited 2 hours for a sandwich. Tried the disco…almost went to sleep while listening to the elevator music. Asked DJ to kick it up…finally some 80’s music was played. Went to get our photo that was taken as we boarded and noticed that there was only about 50 photos. I asked the clerk what had happened and she said folks were too mad to have their photo made!
    Day 3: Lines and lines waiting to get a table at the freestyle restaurants. Omelet bar closed down at 10AM. Then….the engines went dead on the ship,…..the captain came on and accounted we were in no danger but had no power..After about 45 minutes with still no power, the announcement came overhead. Free water and soda. WOW, I am already 2 hours short on my vacation because we left New Orleans late, now we are also shorted 2 hours in Cozumel, if we ever get there. Finally the boat gets power and we dock in Cozumel, yep, 2 hours late. Folks had their excursions canceled and had to scramble and re book another. Cozumel was wonderful and helped us overcome our frustration from the cruise boat!!! Made 2nd call to report that our cabin was so hot we couldn’t sleep.
    Oh, did I mention still boring music by the pool. Kenny G or some girl singing the same 5 songs over and over and over.
    Day 4
    Roatan was horrid! I had read to bring bug spray and did but even after spraying, we were covered in bug bites. We should have stayed on board as a lot of folks did. Went to Foster’s and it was ok but very hard to find our ride. The pier was stacked with people begging for you to use their taxi and probably 10 people told us they were Foster’s. Be prepared for the begging and the kids begging for your shoes, hat, etc. Heartbreaking!! Listened to elevator music by the pool.
    Lines and lines waiting to get a table at the freestyle restaurants
    Made 3rd call to report A/C not putting out cold air.
    Day 5
    Belize was wonderful. We did the cave tubing using the ship excursion and loved it. Did both caves then was served a very good lunch. A large air conditioned bus took us to the cave and the tour guide was great! Highly recommend this tour!
    Lines and lines waiting to get a table at the freestyle restaurants
    Made 4th call to report A/C not working.
    Day 6 or aka Tender from Hell
    Got on the tender at 9AM as we were first to tender as we had an excursion booked thru the ship. Got to the pier at 11AM!!! It took 2 hours to tender to Cancun. They packed and packed folks. The elderly were struggling to get on the tender. It was very unsafe for them. They should have board first and had a place on the first row. Again, very poor planning!!! We loved Cancun. Parasailed, shopped, went to Senior Frogs and Fat Tuesdays. DH was not on the first tender with us as he did not book an excursion and couldn’t tender till after 1130AM and it still took over 1 hour to tender. He walked around and was so upset that he tendered back to the ship and decided enough was enough, to the pursers office he went to tell them to fix the A/C or get us another cabin. Finally maintenance comes to the room, feels the vent, take the cover off, puts it back on and said the A/C is fine. DH said “No, feel, no air is coming out†and maintenance begins to argues with him!! Tenders so packed with people that we are 2 hours late leaving Cancun. I say haha to the captain. We waited on you in New Orleans. Now your turn to wait on your passengers! Once again, Seems NCL did not think everyone would want to see Cancun and did not have enough tenders available.
    Lines and lines waiting to get a table at the freestyle restaurants
    Cabin hot as it can be at night.
    Day 7
    Bored, don’t care to do cognac and cigars for a nighttime activity, don’t care to do art actions…Casino is tight and not paying. So I guess we will get ice cream.. Wrong., closed at 445PM. I know what we can do…Lines and lines waiting to get a table at the freestyle restaurants. Went to hear the comedian and he was great.. He put down the cruise the whole time. Called Cancun Spanish for slow tender!!! Crowd loved that!
    All in all, the islands were great except for Roatan. The cruise was just not for us. I believe NCL will have to make great changes if they plan to cater to the passengers that will leave out of New Orleans. More activities, 24 hour food and safer tendering. It was really evident that our opinions of this cruise were not alone when all you heard was complaints from fellow passengers. One man told us he thought it would take 5 years for NCL to recoup what harm this cruise had done for its business. To each their own but this was our Norwegian Nightmare Cruise.

    \\\\|////
    \ (o o) /
    -----oOOo-(_)-oOOo-----

    Isabel (Ya Ya name: Duchess Baby of the Family)
    __ /7__/7__/7____
    \::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::...
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ November 2nd, 2003. Norwegian Dream
    Our Dream Cruise to Remember! Larry & Isabel and Tyler, JoJo & Lauren
    Cruiser's on the Dream!!!
    If you can walk outside and see only water, it is a great day indeed.
     
  2. Hollyhawk

    Hollyhawk Guest

    Dear Izzy Bee, we read your thread on cc'.boards. Not sure but maybe next time take a smaller boat? I've heard that they are much more accomodating.
     
  3. Izzy Bee

    Izzy Bee Guest

    We sailed the Celebration, Inspiration and the Conquest...We are going back to Carnival
     
  4. IzzyBee, we know you start your message on this as well as CC by saying "I don't want to be slammed" guess what? Neither does NCL, thank you!!! What you experienced was truely a nightmere, some NCL's fault, but not all. You mention Roatan on the CC board, we have been lucky, been there 3 times never had the problem with sand fleas but I do know they exist. If one reads the ports a call board many mention ways to keep from getting bitten so badly. The bad tenders in Cancun, that is truely sad, but many ships have this problem. Of course we all understand you will most likely never choose NCL and prefer to stay with Carnival. The wonderful thing about cruising or other vacations is we do have choices and what suits one will not always suit another. We have had some pretty tough cruises on other lines and yet I choose just to sail something else, but not to blast a line. I am sure you have read some other reviews on the same sailing you took that were exactly opposite from yours. Guess it boils down to how we preceive things. Hope your next cruise is much more positive.

    Nita
     
  5. CZ GIRL

    CZ GIRL Guest

    Hey Izzy Bee!

    I will be sailing on the Dream from New Orleans in Jan. and am quite nervous about what this ship will hold for my group. I have friends that returned off the Dream in Oct. 03 from the Canada/Nova Scotia tour, etc. In their group they had 7 cabins with no AC the entire trip. NCL could have cared less. At the end of the cruise, they were given a $50.00 room credit per cabin. BIG DEAL!

    Do you mind telling me what cabin you had. I am terrrified our groups cabins will be hot.

    Thanks for your input.

    CZ GIRL wrote:

    > IzzyBee, we know you start your message on this as well as CC
    > by saying "I don't want to be slammed" guess what? Neither does
    > NCL, thank you!!! What you experienced was truely a nightmere,
    > some NCL's fault, but not all. You mention Roatan on the CC
    > board, we have been lucky, been there 3 times never had the
    > problem with sand fleas but I do know they exist. If one reads
    > the ports a call board many mention ways to keep from getting
    > bitten so badly. The bad tenders in Cancun, that is truely sad,
    > but many ships have this problem. Of course we all understand
    > you will most likely never choose NCL and prefer to stay with
    > Carnival. The wonderful thing about cruising or other vacations
    > is we do have choices and what suits one will not always suit
    > another. We have had some pretty tough cruises on other lines
    > and yet I choose just to sail something else, but not to blast
    > a line. I am sure you have read some other reviews on the same
    > sailing you took that were exactly opposite from yours. Guess
    > it boils down to how we preceive things. Hope your next cruise
    > is much more positive.
    >
    > Nita
     
  6. CZ GIRL

    CZ GIRL Guest

    Hey Izzy Bee!

    I will be sailing on the Dream from New Orleans in Jan. and am quite nervous about what this ship will hold for my group. I have friends that returned off the Dream in Oct. 03 from the Canada/Nova Scotia tour, etc. In their group they had 7 cabins with no AC the entire trip. NCL could have cared less. At the end of the cruise, they were given a $50.00 room credit per cabin. BIG DEAL!

    Do you mind telling me what cabin you had. I am terrrified our groups cabins will be hot.

    Thanks for your input.

    CZ GIRL
     
  7. micmark

    micmark Guest

    We (8 of us) were on the same cruise and had a wonderful time. I do agree that there were some problems, but we did not experience all of the issues that you did. For us, I would have to say that the good out weighed the bad. I will try to put our cruise experience in a nutshell.

    Embarking: Truly a mess! On part of both NCL and the Port of New Orleans. We arrived at roughly 12:00 and were instantly stuck in traffic. There seemed to be only 1 way in (which was by the CCL-Conquest) and one way out (at the end by the Dream). There seemed to be a total lack of traffic control. We finally close enough to the Dream to unload our luggage and parked the vehicles at the Hilton. Waited for almost 2 hours in the hot sun. The kids were getting a bit cranky. At last we got into the terminal and went directly to the Lattitudes line. We were on the ship within 15-20 minutes.

    The Dream: We had previously cruised the Wind before it was stretched, so knew roughly what to expect from the Dream. It was nicely decorated and clean. We were escorted to our room - 9th deck forward, an inside room that fit me, the wife and two sons comfortably. We did not experience the A/C problems in our room.

    Dining: Although I did see lines at times, for whatever reason, we never had to wait in line, breakfast, lunch or dinner. We sat at a table for 8 every night and never had a problem being accomodated. The only think that I could complain about the dining was the that the service was slow at times. The four adults dined in the pay restaraunt one night while the kids were in the kids club. We waited over 30 minutes between salad and entree. By the time the entree came, we had lost interest in the dining experience. I must say however that the Maitre'd did pick up on our dissatisfaction and compensated us two of the dinners. This was acceptable to us. The quality and presentation of the food through the ship met our expectations.

    Entertainment: I didn't really notice the music too much, but did enjoy the poolside band. The comedian was funny, and the Liars Club show was hilarious. As far as the Casino is concerned, I personally have never been in a casino that payed out more than it received. Although, our travel companions did well, winning $750.00 on one hand of Let-it-Ride poker.

    Cozumel: Late due to power outage of ship. Our excursion was not cancelled, so we were okay. We did the catamaran, snorkel, beach party and hand a great time. Probably the best snorkeling we have ever done. There were so many different varieties of fish.

    Roatan: The barrage of local people was a bit over whelming, but I had hooked up with a the owner of the Sundowner bar via email and she met us at the dock. She was very gracious and arrange for our taxi to the beach bar. It was the perfect setting for a perfect day. The kids did a quite a few bites from the sand fleas, but it did not seem to bother them. We on the other hand and our fill of beer and rum!! Our complete bar bill for the 8 of us was only $30 US + tip. Unbelievable!!

    Belize: We did the Mangrove Tunnel/City Museum tour excursion and again had a great time. Our guide was excellent and very informative. The Mangrove river cruise was awesome. After that we shopped in the tourist village and then back to the ship.

    Cancun: The tender situation was not the best. But I think it is because Mexico policy requires the cruise lines to use their tenders. Two huge boats accomodating at 500 passengers each. We waited our turn and eventually got on shore. We had nothing planned so was not in a hurry. We caught the local bus and got off at the Sheraton Hotel, walked right through the complex to the beach. It was great! We used the bar service at the Sheraton and had a very relaxing day. We headed back to the pier and shopped for awhile.

    Disembarkation: Went very smoothly except for that we had to drag our luggage two block to our vehicles. We did not want to get back into the traffic jam that we were in the prior week, so we hoofed it!

    All in all we had a great vacation and the kids really enjoyed there first cruise. They had a great time in the kids program and met some new friends. Besides the slow dining service, our trip was enjoyed by all. We would definitely cruise Norwegian again. We like the freestyle dining.
     
  8. Izzy Bee

    Izzy Bee Guest

    We were in cabins 8227 and 8252. Bring a fan!!!
     
  9. dalwhitt

    dalwhitt Guest

    Two very diverse reviews. I believe both. I guess it just goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I'm sure that broken air conditioner made the ship twice as bad as it should have been. I've never been on an NCL cruise. We're doing Pride of America in August 2004.
     
  10. JohnG

    JohnG Guest

    IZZY

    What time were you going to dinner that you experienced all the long lines?
     
  11. carolee

    carolee Guest

    WE CRUISED THE DREAM ON NOV.16TH AND MUCH OF WHAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN IS TRUE. THE SHIP IS TOO HOT. TOLD BY STAFF THAT THE A/C IS TURNED OFF IN THE DAY TO GIVE SHIP MORE POWER. THERE ARE INDEED LINES AT DINNER AT MANY DIFFERENT TIMES AND PLACES, AND PLEASE NOT ANOTHER BARBQ. THAT IS ALMOST EVERY DAY. AND FREESTYLE HAS ITS GOOD POINTS BUT ONE DRAW BACK IS THE ATTITUDE OF THE STAFF. THE Y WERE NOT THAT NICE OR FRIENDLY. AND SHORE TOURS. TOO MUCH CONFUSION.
    NICE WEEK AWAY FROM HOME BUT WILL NOT CHOOSE NCL AGAIN
     
  12. Izzy Bee

    Izzy Bee Guest

    Carolee, Sorry the same problems were still there. I had hoped NCL would have the kinks worked out by now..We have booked for 11/7/04 aboard the CCL Conquest. We sailed on her maiden voyage and it was Fanstastic!!!!!
     
  13. Izzy Bee

    Izzy Bee Guest

    Just wanted to let everyone know that we recd a very nice letter from NCL. Seems they really are trying to improve the problems we encountered. They sent us a nice discount off our next NCL cruise to entice us to try NCL again...I think that was very nice and would like to sail on the Dream again after the kinks are worked out. I love just driving to New Orleans and parking then sailing..Maybe we will try next October..I will keep reading the reviews to see what is happening but so far, seems many of the problems have been worked out. Happy Sailing to all, and to all, a good night!!
     

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