The Norwegian Dawn as a ship is beautiful. They used every inch of the ship. There were not areas that you never saw guest in like other cruiselines.
Dining areas were everywhere.
First we will start with a huge positive, every where you went on the cruise there were ladies for the Philippines that were there to spray your hands with hand sanitizer. They would say "Washy Washy Happy Happy" Everyone on the cruise loved them and did not mind cleansing their hands all day.
Ice cream - both ice milk and churn ice cream tasted very good but (Not open 24 hours)No Frozen Yogurt
Buffets they had 6 stations in the Garden Cafe plus a kids buffet. No one every had to wait in line very long.
They have a hamburger, turkey burger, veggie burger, chicken, and hot dog grill up on deck 13 "The Bimini Grill". Fantastic for lunch.
They also had BBQ's and Mexican Parties with more food on the pool deck.
Every where you turn you could get more food.
Breakfast - They had Omelet Stations.
Lunch and Dinner - Pasta Stations
Dinner - two complimentary dining rooms(Venetian or Aqua) or the Blue Lagoon. Four specialty dining rooms which were nice and $15 - $30.
Dessert - The best dessert on any cruise line I have ever been on.
My son wanted chocolate chip cookies even if they were not out they always got them for him. We went every night at about 10pm to get cookies and they saw us coming and went and got him a plate full. They tasted like Subway cookies (AMAZING).
We have very few negatives but we are going to share them.
Blue Lagoon was our only dining experience we would not recommend. They had small buffet of hamburger and hotdogs, that were not hot, chicken wings were breaded like KFC and were sweet, and the Fish and Chips tasted like a fish tank that needed to change the water (Horrible). The drinking glasses were all dirty with lipsticks and food stuck to them and I mean all 9 of our water glasses. So every other dining place gets a 8 out of 10. The Blue Lagoon gets a 1.
NCL offers freestyle dining which is positive in the manner of you can eat where and when you want. Negative in the manner that you sometimes had to wait 30 minutes and not the same server. We only had one set of bad servers out of 3 sets but they were really slow and did not pay attention to detail. When you wait 20 minutes to place your order after sitting down and 20 more minutes to get your drinks then 20 more minutes for your appetizer you are ready to eat. Then you forget about how horrible the service was when you start eating because the dinners are wonderful and the dessert is amazing. So three out of seven nights we had bad servers but, excellent the last four once we asked to change dining areas.
We never ordered room service because we were always so full from all the food we ate though out the ship.
Soda cards are available for $6.25 per day and well worth it if you drink soda like a fish like my husband. They do offer alcohol packages but we did not purchase them.
Activities were available all day every where.
White Hot Party is a must for all. Ours was on the pool deck and was a blast for all ages.
Spinnakers lounge offered all the game shows (Bingo, Not so Newly Wed Game, Sing it if you know it, Battle of the sexes, and many more) Jazz band played, and it became the night club at night. The Stardust Theater was beautiful and entertainment was the best in the industry. Shows were just below Las Vegas grade: Magic and Illusionist, Aerial and Strength performers, Singers, Dancers, and Gymnast. It was amazing to see the aerial shows on a moving ship. Pool side games were funny: Sexiest leg contest was great and not trashy like the hair chest contest.
Pictures can only be taken in the atrium in the evening which was nice because they were not set up everywhere. You go there to take them because you want to not because you are walking by and they pull you into taking pictures. They went around and took fun shot through out the cruise but simply asked and moved on. Pictures were affordable and they offer a USB for you to purchase so you have the right to reprint when you return home.
Our room and house keeping: Our room was small but clean. We had a porthole window on the 4th floor. First time we had a porthole, we normally go for Oceanview or Balcony but we wanted the connecting rooms so our kids could be next door and we could keep the door open. The connecting rooms are very nice. Our dresser drawers were hard to open and closed and made loud noises but they were trying to fix them. When we first got on the ship there was a tech in our room working on them. Beds were harder than we are used to as we had back aches every morning. Our Room Steward deserves a medal for keeping up with my kids room. I had three teenagers and a seven year old in there and he managed to make their beds everyday twice a day. Freddy our steward was polite and friendly he answered all questions and always said no rush I will come back later. I never felt rushed to get out for him to do his job. I had a new towel animal almost every night. Wish I had the money to hire him for my house. He gets to move to the new Norwegian Breakaway coming this May.
Children's activities: First let me tell you Norwegian hired the same company that provides all children and youth activities to all the military bases around the world. They are in my opinion ahead of the other cruise lines. My 7 year old wanted to stay in the kids area 24 hours a day. They had different themes every day like circus, pirates, and last night pajama party. Every day they practiced for a show they presented to the parents on the last day of the cruise. The show was a circus and all the kids performed in the big theater and did a great job. Staff were all friendly and outgoing. My teenagers danced, payed air hockey, basketball, dodge ball, table tennis, large deck checkers, and made a lot of new friends. The kids water splash pool area was perfect for 10 and under with mini dinosaur slides and small pools with mini beach chairs just their size.
Guest services is as large as a resort front desk. They had 5 service providers ready for you the minute you stepped on the ship. I never had to wait more than five minutes to receive help.
The staff was very friendly and helpful. They did not seem as over worked as other cruise lines staff. They seemed more friendly, we feel because they were more rested. All staff spoke English very well. Which was a shock to us because on other cruise lines we ran into people who could not communicate very well with us. Most Staff or Crew were from the Philippines, India, and South America. Our cruise Director Geo was a comedian as well as our director. He had jokes for everything, which lightened the mood.
Our Captain was from Sweden and he walked the ship everyday and socialized with the guest. I talked to him at least three times and saw him everyday.He ate lunch in the Bimini Grill with the passengers.He spoke very proper English and informed all guest of all weather updates and important information personally.
Now for the ports:
Honduras - Nice but very poor. Third world country 100%. We Ziplined and went to the West Bay Beach. Ziplining was a blast, beach not so much. The beach was small and vendors asked you every five minutes to buy something or get a massage. Drive to and from the port shows you horrible living conditions, houses made out of everything and anything they could find, animals down to the bones, trash everywhere very sad conditions.
Belize - Not a placed to go wondering around. We took a tour via open tram which was nice but you do not stop and there are police with guns everywhere. I did not go to the country side where the beautiful things to do were like the ruins, ziplining, and cave tubing but heard they were amazing, The drive to the country is about 2 hours each way. Watch your money and ID's as other guest got pick pocketed here.
Costa Maya- Go get a taxi for $3 per person to YaYa beach you can sit on their beach chairs and lay on the beach beds at no charge, We did buy food and drinks and get massages here as it was more resort like. Our massages were $35 each for an hour. Clean rest rooms. The beach was beautiful but, water still a bit cool. Taxi back was $2 per person. Watch your bags behind you here even in port as I caught one of the port store clerks trying to get into my back pack. He had it unzipped and money halfway out when I turned and caught him. So all money and ID's in front inside of clothes if possible.
Cozumel- We had high hopes to spend the day at one of the National Parks but it was our Ships turn to tender. Once a month the ship has to take turns tendering and the seas were rough so we only had 3 hours on land. Not enough time to go to the park so we just shopped around.
We had a wonderful time and will look forward to cruising with Norwegian again. We do not care to go back to Honduras, Belize, or Costa Maya again but, there are many other cruises to choose form.