Just got back from an excellent experience on the Norwegian Dawn going to Bermuda
We had a great experience on the Norwegian Dawn. We had a balcony cabin on deck 10 (10516). It was great. We used the balcony quite a bit. The cabin was small, but nice. The bathroom was actually quite large. It was annoying that although the tv had an HDMI input it wouldn't work with my computer to show movies. A message indicated that the input was blocked. Our cabin steward was great. There was plenty of storage room for a week. Suitcases fit under the bed.
The process of getting on the ship was easy and took about 30-45 minutes total. We arrived about 11:30 and were eating lunch at about 12:15. We went to the Venetian restaurant for lunch the first day and there were very few people there. This may be partly because it was a little hard to find. Although it is on deck 6 you have to get there by going on deck 7. I think that most everyone headed to the buffet. We got into our cabin about 1:30.
I am not big on waiting in line or buffets. We had breakfast in the Garden Cafe, which is the main buffet about half the time. It was fine. There was an omelet station which made omelets to order that were pretty good. I would say that the quality of food was something like what you would get at Denny's. I would disagree with anyone who said it was horrible and inedible. It wasn't fine dining, but it was adequate. My wife particularly liked the rooster man. This was a Garden Cafe staff member who crewed like a rooster in the morning and amused people with stories about his mother in law.
We paid for a weekly spa pass. It was $146 each. It was nice, but I am not sure it was worth it. We ended up going there pretty much every day. They had a nice changing area with robes and towels. There were two hot water pools and an inside pool. There were about 12 lounge chairs by the aft end of the ship with nice views. We were able to get one of those right away about half the time. There are also separate areas for relaxing for women and men that were nice places to read. The spa was a lot more attractive on days when the weather was bad. On sunny days it was pretty warm.
The specialty restaurants were exceptional. We ate at Cagney's two nights and Le Bistro two nights. The service was excellent and the food was as good as anything that you would get at a very nice restaurant at home. I was surprised at how much I liked Tepanyaki. It is a Benihana style restaurant. There are 3 seatings a night and probably 16 people total that can be seated. I had the filet and seafood and it was great. It was also fun. We also ate at the Brazilian steak house and Cucina. Both were good but not great. The menu in the Italian restaurant didn't have a lot of things on the menu that I would have ordered at home. For example there was a scalopini (? sp) but it was pork and not veal. I had a pasta carbonara that was pretty good. We also had lunch at the Sushi restaurant. The Sushi was good. A noodle dish was ok.
We didn't attend a lot of the entertainment available. The comedian was very funny. We went to the Second City shows, and the Murder mystery luncheon. Both were good. If you want to go to these I would recommend that you get there early. If you don't it is difficult to find seats. It is also important to consider when to make your restaurant reservations. The shows are at 7 and 9 so if you like to eat early you won't be able to go to the early show. We also attended a show like a honeymoon show where they pick 3 couples from the audience who were married for different lengths of time. I am suspicious about one of the couples based on their answers and wonder whether they were legitimate passengers. The wife's answer about what the husband would want bigger was her brain, which he answered. Her answer to the most unusual place they had made love was her bum which he also answered correctly.
We did 3 excursions. The first was a Segway tour of the Dockyard. It was arranged through the ship ad was fun. The second day we were given a private tour with a driver by friends and it was wonderful. On the 3rd day we scheduled a shipwreck snorkeling tour from a tour company on the dock and it was great. It left at 9 am and got back about noon. This allowed some time in the afternoon for last minute activities.
The process of checking out with customs was less than ideal. If you spent more than the $1600 allowance on the ship you got a letter indicating that you had to appear at 7 am on the last morning to clear customs. If you spent the same amount of money off the ship you didn't get the letter and it appears that you could leave the ship as you normally would and then deal with the customs issue as you left the ship. If that is the case it is a significant disincentive to purchase anything on the ship. My issue isn't related to paying duty on the purchases. I would have declared the purchases anyway, and as it turned out I was not required to pay anything anyway. It was particularly annoying to have to show up at 7 am and wait for 45 minutes to complete the process. I also think it was interesting that we were the last people called, even though we had arrived earlier than others called before us. I suspect that this had something to do with my complaint about the process to an NCL staff member who was calling people back for customs clearance.
We carried our luggage off and were able to leave the ship at about 8:15 am. The only problem was that there were a lot of people who lined up early and they ended up blocking the ability for people trying to get off the elevator on deck 7. Once they opened up the area that allowed people to leave the line moved pretty quickly. It took about 30-45 minutes to leave the ship and part of the wait was related to getting in line early.
Overall a good experience. I would gladly go to Bermuda again and would be happy to choose the Norwegian Dawn again.