My new husband and I sailed on the NCL Dawn at the end of August for our honeymoon. We stayed in an aft facing penthouse suite which we loved!
This cruise was our forth cruise, and our first on NCL. This was easily the smoothest and most organized embarkation we have experienced (we have stayed in suites before, so it wasn't just that).
The suite amenities offered by NCL were far better than I've seen offered on other lines. All the little touches made a big difference. The large balcony was great and the room was very nice. We have never had an aft facing room before, and I think there was definitely more motion felt than in other parts of the ship. That being said looking out at the wake of the ship with only the water and sunset in the background was stunning.
The ship itself was very nice. We liked the set up of the pool. Around the pool area is a very shallow area that you can sit with just your ankles in if you just want to cool off. One complaint we had was finding chairs. Our first sea day we didn't get up really early to get a chair. We knew by doing this that we wouldn't get prime spots but expected to at least find a chair. We couldn't. We literally saw people taking chairs from stacked up piles in the back of the ship and putting them on the helicopter pad just for somewhere to sit. On this day they only had one side of the upper decks lined with chairs. The next day they lined both sides which was helpful.
We did enjoy the freestyle concept. I found that you could be comfortable wearing whatever you wanted. If you wanted to dress up (I like to) you could, and if you wanted to dress down you could. Not having a specific meal time left us a lot more flexibility which we liked.
The buffet for breakfast and lunch was good. They had a wide selection and I liked everything I tried. We found the food in the main dining rooms to be average. We had dinner at the Italian specialty restaurant which was very good, and the steakhouse which was excellent! Since we had a suite we could get room service breakfast from the steakhouse which was also very good. We filled out a card with what we wanted for breakfast, what time we wanted it, and left it outside our door at night. It was prefect.
Then we come to my biggest complaint. The staff do not seem to have any clue about food allergies. I am allergic to tree nuts and carry an epi pen at all times. At all the bars they put a container of nuts on each table. I continuously said No thank you, I'm allergic. Even after saying it several times they left it anyways. Then my husband would have to get up and move it. Then to make it worse I watched at several bars at how they fill these containers. The have huge tubs of mixed nuts. They take the container with their bare hands and scoop the nuts into the container. Never once did I see the bartender do it with gloves or wash their hands after. If they then used their hands to put a lime in my drink that could be enough for me to have an anaphylactic reaction. Also at the buffet I saw a worker with gloves arranging muffins with nuts and then arranging blueberry muffins with the same gloves. Again that would be enough for me. I was constantly worried I was going to have a reaction.
The bars were good. Our favorite was the English pub. The staff in there was exceptional. They remember our names and what we were drinking from night to night. Even if we walked through during the day we got a warm welcome. They were definitely a highlight of our trip.
The drink service around the pool areas was definitely lacking. On other cruises you never had any problems getting drinks. We typically got up and went to one of the bars because there was very rarely servers walking around.
We loved Bermuda. It was definitely a different experience to be in the same port for such an extended period of time. It was nice.
Overall we really liked our cruise. I would definitely recommend going to at least one specialty restaurant as the food there seems to be far superior to the food in the Main dining rooms. We live about 15 minutes outside of Boston, so the location is great for us. I think we would definitely consider taking this cruise again.