We set sail from Boston on Jun 14 for a 7 day cruise to Bermuda. From start to finish this was my most memorable cruise ever -- even with a "down-graded" room and a few other minor issues.
I've cruised with Carnival and Royal Caribbean in the past. Both of those cruises offered better food and had much better dining experiences (as far as ambiance and menu selections.)
On the Norwegian Dawn, the buffet was "acceptable" but really not all the great. Seating is about what you'd find in a hospital dining area. There's not a lot of variety and if you're vegan forget it. There is absolutely nothing on the menu that would cater to vegans other than the fresh fruit and a few vegetable selections. The two main cruise restaurants, Aqua and Venetian are ok...? The regular menu does not change and the specialty menu offers a little more variety, but the food was often just this side of cold and usually very bland.
There are specialty restaurants, but the only one we tried was El Bistro which was excellent. It was about $30 per person. There's an all night diner -- the Blue Lagoon which is nice (and free) but the food was horrible.
This was the only part of the cruise I was disappointed in. I was initially shocked to see how small the pool was. There is only one pool (aside from the spa pool which costs to use it) and it's SMALL. Just a little bigger than someone's back-yard pool. For 2200 people it seemed ridiculously tiny. However once I got in it, and discovered that it was sea water -- complete with waves as the boat rocks -- I fell in love with it.
We had a small inside state room (two single beds). In the past Ive had a room with a view (RC) and a balcony (Carnival). I thought I would hate this tiny room... but it was so cute, much nicer than either of the other rooms I'd had on other cruises. and had plenty of room.
The casino is super small. About 1/2 the size of the casinos on other ships. But drinks were free (for us -- not for everyone) so we spent a good amount of time there. In order to get free drinks though -- for those who were not comped through a casino or other program) you have to rack up something like 1500 points on your gambling card which is outrageous.
The entertainment was mostly good.. some of it cheesy but you know they have to please a wide variety of people. The DJ and pool parties were almost intolerably loud. We didn't spend much time hanging around for those as it was just too loud.
Although I don't have young children, this ship is awesome for those who do. They have a cool kid pool area complete with water slides, kid-sized (and temperature) jacuzzi and pool. They have an arcade and a lot of activities geared toward kids: cupcake contests, golf, chess, "splash zone" program, etc.
Once we docked in Bermuda we got a 3-day bus/ferry pass, which is definitely the way to go. Everybody was told to go to Horseshoe beach -- and it is beautiful! But it's also very crowded. The best beaches for those who want a more secluded beach experience are elsewhere: Warwick Beach, Churches Beach, Elbow Beach, Tobacco Bay (a bit crowded but fantastic snorkeling) and Sea Glass beach -- not for swimming but for collecting sea glass which is everywhere.
We also went to the Crystal Caves and Fantasy Caves: $30 for both and well worth it.
Overall this was a fantastic trip with a lot of different options, free-style dining, parties going on all the time and great staff and crew. I highly recommend it and look forward to taking the trip again.