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Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by jaasb0808

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Norwegian Dawn
Norwegian Dawn
Member Name: jaasb0808
Cruise Date: January 2014
Embarkation: Tampa
Destination: Western Caribbean
Cabin Category:
Cabin Number: 11520
Booking Method:
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Member Rating   4.0 out of 5+
Dining 3.0
Public Rooms 5+
Cabins 5+
Entertainment 4.0
Spa & Fitness 4.0
Family & Children (By Age Group)
Shore Excursions 5.0
Embarkation 5+
Service 4.0
Value-for-Money 4.0
Rates Not Rated
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Ship Facts: Norwegian Dawn Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Norwegian Dawn Deck Plans
NCL Dawn- Mixed Feelings

This was our first experience with Norwegian and although we did have a few hiccups they were resolved and we overall enjoyed our experience, and would probably travel with them again.


We had priority embarkation but still chose to arrive early a little before 11 AM, it was a breeze. We left our luggage with a porter and went right inside, we were guided to the Priority line and then to the priority lounge where there was food and beverage waiting. We waited for about a half hour during which time we were provided with a copy of the Freestyle Daily and the concierge went around passing out keys, the concierge then led us on board by about 11:30 or 11:45 AM. The rooms were not quite ready so we went to the Garden Cafe for lunch, then explored the ship a little but our room was ready probably within about an hour. Embarkation was super easy and enjoyable.


The staff on board I would give mixed reviews to. Our room steward (Carlos) and the staff at the Splash Academy were wonderful. The staff at the Garden Cafe was always very friendly as was the butler and concierge. The dining room staff was not always great and the shore excursion desk left much to be desired.


This is my third cruise and although the food was decent it was my least favorite of the cruises I have experienced. We enjoyed the freestyle aspect of being able to dine when we wanted but the dinner service was very slow, even though the dining rooms never appeared full at the times we went.

The majority of the time we ate in the Venetian or Aqua for dinner and breakfast at The Garden Cafe. We did try Cagney's for lunch and I was not very impressed, it was okay but I would not have been happy if I had paid for it as specialty dining---maybe it is better for dinner? We also tried La Cucina which was good as was the food at Sushi which we tried for lunch on our last sea day but the service there was awful.

We also loved the Kids Cafe inside the Garden Cafe, that was wonderful to have all the kid food in one place and not have to wait in lines picking through looking for something they would eat.

Splash Academy:

If you are looking for a family cruise I would say pick this one for the Splash Academy! The crew is great and my kids ages 4 and 7 never wanted to leave. They did so many fun activities and had such a great time.

Also the T-Rex kids pool is wonderful! best kids pool I have seen on a ship.


We have visited tons of different spas and I can say this one was probably the worst I have been to. The staff was not very friendly, the facilities were not very nice (at least the treatment room) it was FREEZING cold in there, they had a nice hot tub pool area but unlike all other spas would not let you use it prior to your treatment unless you had purchased the special pass. They did not have us change into robes prior to our treatment or enjoy the relaxation area. The girls who did our massages were nice but they were not very good in comparison to what we have had elsewhere...needless to say the spa was a big disappointment.

All that being said, we really enjoyed the ship itself, our stateroom and the kid amenities were great. However, we have had better food and spas on other cruise lines. At this point I am not sure if we will choose NCL again or not.


Publication Date: 01/26/14
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