Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by SouthLyonCruiser: Great Timing
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Western Caribbean
Before getting into the meat of my review I would like the readers to know a few details.
This is our 11th cruise; 4 on Princess and 7 on Norwegian. This was a bargain cruise ($2300 including non stop air fare from Detroit and a BC category cabin). Keep in mind that my rating of this cruise and ship is a reflection of the bargain pricing and would not be as high if it were a more expensive cruise on a newer ship.
Also my method of booking was with a travel agent, this does not seem to appear on any of the reviews that I have read as of late and I feel that dealing with a trusted travel agent is by far the best and most reliable of the booking methods. The weather back home while we were away was awful, snow, snow and more snow.
We arrived at the pier at about 1PM and were in out cabin within 25 minutes.
The cabin was fine as balcony cabins go but I missed having a night stand on my side of the bed but did not find More it intolerable. The shower was one of the largest I have ever had and included a door so I did not have a curtain clinging to me while I tried to shower. Unless you are fussy about the shampoo and soap that you use, I found what was provided did the job. We have never had anything but excellent service from out cabin stewards on all of our cruises but the one we had this time was far and above the best. His name was Christopher and we have written to NCL praising him.
I found the public spaces to be just fine and; although well worn, were clean and neat.
The fitness center opened at 6AM and we found no problem getting the treadmills that we wanted. If you came at 7AM or later you would probably have to wait for equipment. This is one of the benefits of being early risers. If you are a late sleeper you may not care for the lack of enough equipment.
In the past we have mostly used the buffet for dining but, on this cruise, we only used it to grab something small like a desert or fruit to go. We ate in both of the main dining rooms and found the service and food to be fine. The first night was lobster and steak. I had a steak dish and found it to be excellent. A couple at the next table had lobster tail and they looked pretty good sized. They must have met with their approval as the disappeared pretty quick and one of them got a second one which also disappeared. We also ate at the Brazilian and Italian pay restaurants and found the food an service well worth the price. The blue lagoon was a pleasant surprise and I had breakfast there every day. We also had lunch there and found the selection good enough for us including what I found to be an excellent potato salad side dish.
All of the crew seemed to be happy and always greeted us with a smile. The service desk was excellent with the exception that they were not up to snuff on latitudes priority tender tickets. The first person I talked to regarding tender tickets told me that all we had to do was show our room card that indicated that we were gold members and just board the tender. I went back the next morning because no physical tender tickets did not seem right. This time the service desk said that you had to be platinum. I went back to my room and recovered the sheet I had printed off of the latitudes benefits and showed them that gold members were entitled to these and they then gave me paper tender tickets.
Odds and Ends
We used a taxi from the airport and the rate was a flat $25 each way. This is the only way to go. No sitting in a bus waiting for them to fill the seats and wrestling with you bags. We also did some excursions which were excellent. More about them in my port reviews. Less
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Cabin review: 10008
We had a port side forward cabin that was excellent with the small exception that there was a night stand on only one side of the bed. There was plenty of storage for the two of us but if you had more than two in the cabin it would be quite a squeeze. The shower was one of the largest we have ever had and with the sliding door was outstanding.
Port and Shore Excursions
We booked this through a totally independent vendor that was highly recommended on tripadvisor. It was every bit as good as advertised. They took us by bus to the embarkation point and we hiked about 1.5 miles to where we entered the river. About half of mile of the trek we had to carry our tubes. Not a problem. The guide pointed out many points of interest and could answer any questions we had about the area. We entered the river well upstream of those who booked with the cruise line and got out well after they did. On the way back to the ship we were treated to a light lunch which was also excellent. If you are interested in this go cavetubing.bz.
This is the one port where we had no excursion and used the opportunity to do our shopping. The number of shops and selection were plentiful. For the guys who aren't interested in shopping there was a stand which I believe was called Husband Day Care. You go to a small shop nearby, buy a beer and hang out at the stand with the other husbands.
This was one of the best catamaran excursions that we have been on. We took a leisurely sail to a spot to snorkel. The snorkeling was fair and had a few fish and some coral but nothing spectacular. We then sailed to a beach and were served beer and margaritas during the trip. I had beer and found it to be good. Those who had margaritas said that they were watered down but there was not limit as to how many you could have. We arrived at their private beach. The beach was fine and there were plenty of chairs. There were plenty of water toys for all ages in the water and of course the beer and margaritas continued. This was called the Fury Catamaran. I would surely do this again if we return to Cozumel.
This golf course has a great layout and when it is finally completed will rate 6 stars at that time. But, for now, I can only rate it four out of six. The sand traps are many and well located but they play like hard pan as the sand is almost nonexistent. The greens and fairways are some of the best I have played on. The greens are a little slow, which is fine with me as I am an aggressive putter and don't like to see my ball sail ten feet past the pin if I miss. The greens didn't have an unrepaired ball mark on them. My caddie had a poor grasp of English but this was not a problem except for casual conversation. The pro shop is not completed so they work out of a small space that has few golf items to purchase.
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