After about 40 cruises, 7 on NCL, I do believe this will be my last with NCL. This was a much anticipated holiday cruise with family on a ship I have never sailed. We went with open minds and optimistic of a good cruise. I wish I could say that was what happened.
We booked mini suite 11658. The first problem we noticed was a very dirty balcony with much of the non-skid decking breaking apart and laying loose on the ground. Also, the railing glass was very corroded. The balcony looked as though it wasn't cleaned in months. It did not help the balcony had no privacy. You could walk between balconies because the gap was so big between the railing and dividers. It was a terrible design. In the room, the mirrors were never cleaned, and there were wood wedges shoved in to the ceiling to keep it from rattling. The room steward was the worst we ever had. He constantly left cleaning rags in our room, took our beach towels without replacing, and never cleaned the room at normal times, if at all. Otherwise, the room was a good set up and the bathroom was large (comparatively).
People swear by Freestyle, but for the life of me, I can't understand how anyone could enjoy having to wait 20-30 minutes for a dinner table. And we were only a party of 4. Other lines do anytime dining, but never have I had to wait so long on other lines. Once seated, the dinners weren't bad though. In fact, the dinners were pretty good.
Le Bistro was excellent. Cagneys was ok. Moderno was great, but the location sucked. Moderno was attached to the atrium, was not intimate at all, and too much noise was heard from below.
The worst design feature of this ship was Spinnaker Lounge. The lounge had a low ceiling and 2 rows of columns down the middle. You can't see the stage from most seats and it got very crowded. The Dawn has no other comfortable lounge for events. It was a very poor design.
The main theater was well thought out and had stadium seating. Unfortunately, the sound system is lacking and all the shows sounded weak and quiet.
The women's public restrooms were dirty and stall doors did not lock. Faucet water in all public restrooms was cold so we could not wash with hot or warm water. To help prevent the spread of viruses, they preach washing with hot water, but unfortunately, it didn't exist.
Of all my cruises, I would say this ranks as one of the worst. The ship is poorly designed, service is lacking, and facilities are not well maintained. NCL and the Dawn just aren't comparable to other major cruise lines and ships. It might be good for a first time cruiser, but anyone who has sailed before on other lines will likely be disappointed.