My family (me, hubby, 8yo daughter, 17 yo son, 20 yo son and 74 yo Mom) booked 2 oceanview cabins on the Norwegian Dawn back in October 2011 for the June 01, 2012 sailing. 10 Days prior to sailing, the prices for each category dropped and for less than $100 each cabin, we were able to rebook into GTY balcony (BX). 3 days prior to sailing we were assigned cabins 8058 and 9558, just a quick staircase away from each other.
Locations were almost PERFECT! Right next to the elevators and staircase, no noise what so ever from any venue. My only tiny tiny complaint would be that the cabins are forward and the kids club is aft. This made it tricky when we finished dinner at the MDR Venetian (aft) and had to go back to the room to change my daughters clothes into play clothes (forward) get the the 13th fl to the kids club (aft) then to the Stardust Theatre to see one of the nightly shows (forward), then back to pick up daughter (aft), then back to the cabin (forward)..Tired of reading aft and forward? Imagine me walking it!!!
The Dawn has 4th deck forward ramps for getting on and off the ship when docked, which was another big plus, and in 2 seconds you can run down the staircase to deck 7 where most of the action is. Great location!
Size of room....well, not for the unorganized! 3 tiny drawers and about 6 small shelves in the closet. There were 3 in each of our rooms. When the full sized sofa bed was unfolded for the night, you lost all but about 2 x 3 feet of space in the room to walk/stand. The bathroom was small, but ok for a week! Loved the sliding door for the shower. Our last cruise on the Majesty had a curtain and when you showered the entire bathroom took a shower with you! There was also nice shelf space above and below the sink for all of your toiletries. How did we manage in the room? We had 3 lg. suitcases and 3 carryons. I unpacked my suitcase and put empty under the bed (used for dirty clothes after). I 1/2 unpacked my daughters (8 yo) suitcase and put hers under the bed. My hubby had his suitcase in the closet and lived out of it each day by taking it out and opening on the bed a few times per day, then putting back. It worked for him, I would have gone crazy doing that!
We lost access to the balcony when the sofa bed was opened each night. The balcony itself was nice, good space. 2 chairs/table. Rm 8058 had approx 1.5 feet on each side enclosed in steel, Rm 9558 did not. I actually preferred mine, as it was very windy and rainy the week we sailed. Really no huge difference and anyone who gets a balcony on the 8th fl should not be disappointed. It was perfectly fine.
Our cabin steward was Jill. Nice girl, not overly smiley! We didnt see her too much. I dont know the name of my mothers/sons cabin steward, but he was amazing, Always talking, smiling, singing! Nice nice guy!
What did we do?
Almost everything at night. Not too much appealed to us during the day. The digital scavenger hunts were fun for the family. We had to take pictures of weird things like 2 bar staff making a funny face, a man wearing a beer bucket on his head, 3 pairs of sunglasses, a mirror etc... There were about 30+ things to take pictures of during each "hunt". We also participated in the daily trivia and bingo games. The morning workouts, daily shuffleboard tournaments, art auctions, learning about gem stones etc..did not appeal to us and there was really not too too much to do during the day.
At night, on the other hand, there were too many things!! I had a hard time choosing which activity to do. Mostly, we did a 6:30 dinner, 8:30 Spinnaker Lounge Game Show and 9:30 Stardust Theater Show. Most shows ran about 45 minutes. Our favorite was Second City...hilarious. Greg London was good too. I wasnt a huge fan of Bollywood, but loved the end when all the ships officers appeared on stage. The crew talent show was good (our cruise director, JC Sanchez is a fantastic singer, but thats about it. Not overly friendly or funny. His assistant, Johnny, was fantastic with all activities and daily announcements. Chris was great too. Keisha, aka "Special K"..ehhh)
The games shows were my favorite. Minute to win it (55 to stay alive), the Not so Newlywed Games, the Dating Game, The Perfect Couple etc..all very funny and fun!
I do not like buffets, so stayed mostly in the MDRs. On day 1, we met Immaculate in the MDR Venetian. She works there every morning for breakfast and in Aqua every evening. Great girl, especially if you have kids. She was great to my daughter always asking about her day and I noticed her doing the same with the other kids aboard. Aqua was a little dark for my liking, so I stuck with the Venetian most dinners (and breakfast). The specials each evening were really good. The perm. menu was fairly good, not great. Breakfast at the Venetian was also really good. My hubby ordered everything on the menu at some point! I stuck with cereal and a croissant each morning.
My favorite for lunch was Blue Lagoon (opened 24 hours). There menu has about 3 apps, 4 sandwich options and 2 desserts. The ham and cheese panini was delicious! Atmosphere was the best on the ship (of the freebies). Cheesecake..delicious! Never a wait.
The MDRs for dinner were extremely busy from 5:30 - 7:00. Wait was always 20 - 40 minutes. Never a wait for breakfast or lunch. Waitstaff was good up until you were served your entree, then you didnt see them again for quite a while.
We also ate dinner at Moderno one night. It was pretty good..not fantastic. La Cucina one night. I got the vegetable lasagne, not what I expected but was good. All veggies, no pasta, covered in stewed tomatoes. If it was my only meal of the day, I would not have liked it so much, but considering I wasnt too hungry going to dinner, it was a nice light meal. We also saw "Presumed Murdered" in La Cucina (lunch show performed by Second City..very good. Sign up in on Sunday for Wednesday lunch. If your planning on going, show up at the sign up no later than 30 minutes early. I got there about 20 minutes early and was #70 - 73..4 seats...They only allow 86 into the show.)
Garden Cafe (buffet). My 2 teen boys ate here a lot and loved it. I passed through on my way to the kids club a few times a day, but did not eat. I did see a big variety and lots of people who seemed to enjoy the hot entrees, salad bad, dessert bar, fruit bar, burgers/dogs/sandwiches..lots and lots of options. I will admit grabbing a cookie (or 6)during the trip! They were yummy!! If I wouldnt feel like a thief, I would have brought a ziplock and filled up to bring home!!
It rained 1.5 of 3 days we were there. Our parasailing got cancelled (KS Sports, full cash refund, very easily) Boys went jetskiing and we all went to Snorkel Park (Beach..$5 fee, walking distance from ship). I met Tequila at the smaller bar the right when you walk it. Best Bartender in Bermuda! He answered all my questions about the locals, life in Bermuda, cost of living, etc... If you want to help a guy out, he is in need or the little paper umbrellas for the drinks!! Bring him a box!! They are next to impossible to find on the island. He also mention how St Georges is "getting screwed" because the ships now a day are to large to dock there. We took a ferry over a couple of days later and saw what he meant. Lots of vacant store fronts. Its a shame because that area is much better than Hamilton for beauty and local shopping. Hamilton is very commercialized.
So thats about it...on the way home, more nightly shows and eating! The pool area was barely used during the trip except for the hottubs due to the weather. There was not too much entertainment going on at the pool. The bar area closed early. Sprinkles ice cream was rarely opened.
Fabulous. My daughter loved it. She learned to spin plates and on the last full day performed in a little circus act. The "New and Improved" kids club is nothing more than the old kids club with some bean bags, sticks and plates on the counter to learn the circus acts. The staff is fabulous. I wish I knew ahead of time about the themed nights so I could have packed appropriately. Oe night was VIP (glamorous dress) Hawaiian Night, Pirate Night, Animal Night.
TREX pool. Great for kids, hardly any seating for adults. Mostly for ages 2 - 10.
Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist, Diet Sierra Mist, Orange Crush, Rootbeer, Lemonade. Good choices. They definitely asked for everyones card every time we ordered.
Speaking of drinks...my 17 yo was approached by bar staff at least 5 times a day asking if he wanted a drink. On the last day he said yes, ordered a beer and was given one (he gave it to hubby).
For smokers...cigarettes were ridiculously cheap. ($35 per carton, less the more you bought..dont really remember all the prices for the more you buy..I dont smoke, but know $35 was a good deal).
Casino....Big ashtray! I played some goldfish slot machine on the back wall. there were about 3 of these machines..all paying $$$ !!! I won $111 in about 4 hours on this penny machine!
SPA.... My son want for a Swedish massage.. $140 for 50 minutes. He said it was "good" ??? !!!!
My only complaint....
Only the Starboard corridor on Deck 7 is accessible for getting to the most popular destinations. Getting to where you want to go can take a while depending on who is walking in front of you! In addition, at night, the ships photographer blocks an area of this corridor for photos, making your trek longer when you are trying to get to a show.
So..thats about it! All in all, we had a relaxing time every day, a fun time every night and overall great vacation!!!
Dont forget to ask for "Immaculate" in the Venetian AM / Aqua PM and visit St George!!!