Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by Rowlaw: Not bad, but not great.
Overall Member Rating
Not bad, but not great.
Destination: Mexican Riviera
This was our 9th cruise and 2nd on Norwegian. We are not fans of "Freestyle Cruising" since you never get the same waiters twice and your tips are pooled. They really are not that motivated. The service isn't bad, but it's not as good as lines where the staff gets to know you and really work for their tips.
The food was good but nothing to really rave about. We refuse to pay extra for an optional dining room when we buy a cuise from any line and we're usually happy with the offerings. We never had a bad meal, but again, we never really had a meal that was special.
Activities were rare. I don't really know what the cruise director's staff did other than sell bingo cards and strip tickets. Other cruise lines we've been on had so many activities you had to pick and choose what to do on sea days. Our other NCL cruise had few activities, but it was Alaska so there was always something to do on deck.
The dawn was one of the dullest ships we've ever been on. There More was no theme to speak of. The theater could have been from a old mall in the states. Nothing special at all. The shows were like very good school production, but nothing you'd want to buy a ticket for. I assume Norwegion has a pecking order for the entertainers and the dawn is at the bottem of the list. Less
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Cabin review: 11052
Very small room for a family of four. Our last cruise was a mini suite on Carnival and we were very pleased. This room was small and should not have been marketed for a family of 4. We also had no recognition for a suite. Had we known what there suite was like, we probably would have gone with 2 non suite cabins.
Port and Shore Excursions
We really enjoyed the tour and got a quick feel for the country on the rather long bus trip to the site. The guide did a nice job talking about the people and history of Belize on the way.
This was our second trip to Costa Maya and we decided to hang out in the rocky beach and shopping area just off the pier. We had a pretty good time shopping. I did get ripped off with the exchange rate when I charged a purchase from a local vender, but I learned a lesson. The beach off the peir could be nice, but if has very rough rocks. I assume it was made that way so you have to pay for an excursion to get to a sandy beach. We walked back to the ship for a quick lunch and came back to the beach chairs. There were penty in the afternoon and the kids ventured into the rocky surf and enjoyed hopping from rock to rock between the waves.
We took the long boat ride and bus trip to Talum. What a fantastic archaelogical site. Although it rained, we had a great time. Note, the boat ride from Cozamel to Playa Carmine is always rough. The ferrys are modern and handle the waives well. We've taken the ride twice now and have always seen people get sick so prepare for it. When you tour these sites keep in mind that there is no shade. Our family really enjoys seeing the ruins and trying to get a feel for these amazing societies. Just remember it's real and takes alot of walking and water stops. There is a great beach if you come prepared. Try the fish tacos at Mr. Chillys (i think it was called). Just remember the Myans don't play around with there salsa. It's really hot and really good. Another reason to bring lots of water. Our guide was the best ever. I wish I could recall her name. The bus also stops at a gift shop/bathroom break on the way to the site. Reasonably priced authentic gifts with no haggling. Next time we're in the area I think we'll check out Chankanaab National Park.
We chose not to take an excursion in this port. Probably should have. We thought we could take a walk off the ship but felt very unsafe. There is a port "strip mall" at the end of there peir with the :Diamond Internatnional" type shops. We walked from the Pier (at Coxen Hole) and immidiatly were jumped by self proclaimed tour guides and taxi drivers in unmarked cars that made up feel very uncomfortable. The poverty of the port was obvious and were felt compelled to buy stuff from the local shops that were very reasonably priced and we hope helped the locals. Once in the shops we found the locals very friendly, but getting to them was scary. There was a open air beach type bar where we enjoyed a local beer while watching a man rolling cigars accross the pier.
This tour was basicly to kill time before our flight and to take us to the airport. Not the best. As we left the port we saw that we could store the bags at the port and walked to the aquarium. I wished someone told us that was an option.
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Norwegian Dawn Rocks!