Let me start off by saying I was pleasantly surprised by the condition of the Norwegian Dawn. I hadn’t cruised on a ship as old as the Dawn and expected an older looking ship. In actuality, the Dawn was in great shape, very clean and well maintained. The only signs of age I noticed was on the balcony where there was signs of rust and pealing paint. Our balcony stateroom (10626) was clean, well maintained, and had plenty of room.
We booked the 2-week round trip Boston to Boston New England/Canada cruise on the Dawn because of the itinerary primarily and because we’d cruised with NCL before and had always had an enjoyable experience. Back in March, we were on the Celebrity Solstice on the New Zealand/Australia cruise, so we were somewhat spoiled by the perks available on Celebrity Concierge class cruises. Nevertheless, we still had a great time on this cruise on the Dawn. Our Stateroom Steward was Arnel Deparine and he was outstanding! He created towel animals for most evenings. Our favorite was a monkey we found hanging from the ceiling when we entered one night after dinner.
Ok, so I do have a complaint or two about this cruise. We felt that the way the Dawn staff handled the ship excursion embarkations was very poor. They sent people out of the theater en mass and didn’t consider the very long lines that were being generated outside the theater. Unlike other cruises we’ve been on, bus numbers weren’t assigned and finding the correct busses on the pier was difficult, at best. My other complaint concerns smoking on the balconies. The first week, there were smokers on one side of us which kept us from being able to use our balcony many times. I won’t sail on NCL again until they join with the other cruise lines and ban smoking on balconies!
We certainly had no complaints about the food! We’ve heard reports that coffee and tea on cruise ships is often bad, but we had great coffee, even in the stateroom. Iced tea could have been better, but if you use a slice or two of lemon in it, it tastes just fine. The two times I had lobster, I thought it was the best lobster I’ve ever had anywhere. We ate in the Blue Lagoon restaurant many times because of the speed and convenience of it. It is not a buffet, but a sit down restaurant with limited menus. I enjoyed the main buffet the four or five times we ate there because of the many choices. We rarely had any problems finding seating. Our favorite specialty restaurant was Cagney’s, but we also enjoyed La Cucina and Le Bistro. We ate at both MDR’s but ate at Aqua the most. Food was about the same at both, but service was quicker and we never had to wait for seating at the Aqua. We had to wait a few times for a table for 2 at the Venetian and we usually at about 6:00.
I realize weather isn’t something that the cruise line has anything to do about but I have to say that we had outstanding weather the two weeks we were in Nova Scotia and Canada. The temps were usually in the mid to low 60’s (F) which we expected.