We chose Norwegian for our vacation because we hadn't cruised with them before. We have cruised with Carnival and Celebrity. This was our 6th cruise. I would call this our ala carte cruise. First time cruisers or cruisers who cruise to party will offer an entirely different perspective on this ship and this cruise. First time cruiser have no expectations so everything is accepted at face value. The party protege' are interested in getting hammered and throwing caution to the wind (logo: we'll never see these people again, so what we do is not important). This being our sixth cruise we had some expectations on how a cruise ship should be maintained, staff should behave and how food should taste and what amenities should be included. We could believe that you had to pay $20 a day to access the sauna or the gym. Everything you buy on board gets 15% tacked onto it.
The Dawn is a beautiful old ship. The decor is attractive. The public areas are well maintained with the exception of the golf area (it's rotting and junky and filled with left handed golf clubs.) You do not have access to your folio on the TV set in room. The only way to keep of your on board spending is to visit guest services. Guest Services implies friendly, courteous and helpful... not true. We visited guest service each day for a folio total and to make reservations at two of the 7 you must pay to dine here restaurants. You also have to call guest services to get in towels, or a message to your steward. there is no direct line to Housekeeping. It took us 3 days to get the third beach towel for the 3rd member or our party. We didn't chuck a bunch of money into a balcony this time, we decided to spend our money at the ports. We had a port hole ocean view room that slept 3. The upper bunk was never turned down the 7 nights we were there. This cabin is small the bathroom is doll house proportions. We didn't spend a lot of time in the room, but you can't get around using the restroom (which had mold in the shower and never had enough towels). The carpets on our deck were cleaned daily with a chemical that was so strong that it made eyes burn. I can only imagine the carcinogens that we all inhaled during our stay.
The majority of the staff on this ship is unfriendly. I had read a couple of reviews to that affect and should've paid attention. This cruise ship is a complete fail where customer service is concerned. They don't treat all guests the same and seem to do a really good job of getting people drunk and preying on them to spend more money. It's glaringly obvious that that is how some of the staff operates. The entertainment of this ship is very good. There is quite a bit of talent on this ship. The Cruise Director has a beautiful singing voice. The comedian is good, talks a good game on stage and then turns into a letch. He only speaks to the young women when wandering the ship (He tells everyone at all of his shows to stop and say hi, but omits that "I will only acknowledge the young ladies). He hosts a game show where he asks drunk girls to expose their panties, or lack there of, among other things. Dingo Dave, the assistant Cruise Director has an extremely high opinion of himself and spends quite a lot of time with the young ladies. The Second City comedy act was fantastic. This cruise ship staff seems to not understand that the college and high school aged crew are only a fraction of the crew and that the over 40 crowd is responsible for 90% of the spending on a cruise. Plenty of management running around doing nothing and not even bothering to try and look busy.
The food on the cruise was a huge disappointment. Regurgitated buffet items. The staff was unhappy, rude and made it very obvious that they resented the cruisers. (Yes, the one's who pay out those nose for a fabulous vacation...) The advertised 24 hour pizza cruise has be ordered and delivered and costs $5 plus 15% gratuity and is wet, greasy and tasteless.
We did not like the lack of available information, the difficulty in finding or obtaining information, or the lack of things to do on the ship.
We loved the come as you are casualness of most of the cruise. We enjoyed the entertainment. The shows were wonderful.
Bottom line, based on this cruise experience we would never recommend taking a Norwegian to anyone nor would we take another Norwegian Cruise. This cruise experience was disappointing on too many levels.