EMBARKATION: Embarkation in Miami was a breeze. In less than 40 minutes we were through the line, seated and waiting for the ship to clear to board. We arrived about 11:30, and were on the ship having lunch in the Venetian by 12:30. I understand the lines were much longer later.
DINING: Free-style dining was wonderful. I was apprehensive that the level of service would not be as good, not having the same wait staff daily. But we found the opposite to be true. Every waiter we met was friendly and helpful. After a few days they would greet us by name, the same with the bar staff. The Norwegian Dawn had the friendliest staff we have ever encountered. We ate in the Venetian (our favorite), Le Bistro, Impressions, and Aqua for the murder mystery dinner. We found the food to be similar in all venues. We did not eat in the buffet for dinner, only lunch and breakfast on a few occasions. We had excellent filets in LeBistro. I usually judge a dining room for breakfast on how well they make eggs benedict or poached eggs. If they come out perfectly they did then we decided most mornings to eat in the Venetian. Our preference is to avoid buffets and the potential to overeat.
ENTERTAINMENT:The entertainment on the ship was excellent. The cruise director was friendly and kept things exciting. I was somewhat disappointed in the White Hot Party, however, because the music seemed strictly geared to the younger generations (we're "young" 60's who love to dance). A mix of music at that venue would have been appreciated. Of course we loved the 70's night, and danced until 2:00. PORTS:You will hear over and over that Samana is a horrible port. Unfortunately for us, the seas were rough, so we were unable to make our excursion with Casa Dorado. They cancelled due to safety reasons, so that tells you how reputable they are. Determined to see some of the countryside, we ventured out with an independent taxi and went to a local "beach club". It was primitive to say the least, but they served $3 beers, and we bought some local jewelry. The water was clean, but rocky. We stayed a few hours and returned to the ship. Samana has to improve dramatically to remain a cruise port.
DEBARKATION: The fastest ever. We kept our luggage and walked off after a leisurely breakfast in the garden buffet.