Departed Miami for Southern Caribbean on 25/12/2011,returned 4/1/2012,had a great time.For value for money,my wife and I thought that the Norwegian Dawn couldn't be faulted.I won't bore everybody with every detail,so I've condensed the good points and the very few minuses below.
The restaurants aboard the boat were great!For breakfast,you could have a different breakfast every morning out of the ten if you wanted to,there was a great selection to select from.
I cannot comment about lunches (I was always so full from breakfast to partake!),so we never had one.
The dinners at night were of a pretty high quality,even those in the regular Venetian restaurant where no supplement was required.Yes,occasionally at peak times there may have been a 10-15 minute wait,but there were plenty of very reasonably priced bars nearby to relax with a pre-dinner drink as you waited for the pager to bleep to tell you that your table was ready.
We only tried the Brazilian restaurant from the speciality ones,seemed pointless paying out extra when the regular food was so good,but it was great nontheless!The chef kept on bringing out an array of beautifully cooked meat until we almost had to beg him to stop doing so,we were soooo full!
The selection of destinations was great,a diverse choice,every one was different (Dom Rep,Tortola,St Maarten,Antigua,Barbados,St Kitts).Apart from a light early shower in both Dom Rep and Barbados,the weather was great!The variety of shore excursions couldn't be faulted too,there was something for everyone,and reasonably priced too (mind,the rate of the Â£ against the $ is great for us at the moment which was great for us).
The boat itself was very good.The cabin (we were on floor 10 with a balcony) was always kept clean,and if we requested anything extra,coffee/milk etc,it was always there straight away.The cabin staff were very friendly and helpful,well worth their end of cruise tip!The boat was well maintained too,as far as we found,everything was clean and in working order.
The staff,EVERYWHERE,we found were great! VERY friendly and helpful,the vast majority were from the Philippines,but there were staff from around the globe,the male members knew as much about English soccer as myself(though we didn't share the same teams!),we built up a good rapport with some of them.I couldn't fault a single one of them in any way apart from the blonde girl on the Shore Excursions desk,whils't she wasn't rude,she,lets say,wouldn't do anything more for you than the minimum she had to.
Overall though,it was great!
NOT SO GOOD
The evening entertainment was poor.The timing of the shows,7pm and 9pm are too early,people are still having their dinners then,8pm and 10pm would be much better.
There should be more signs erected to stop people walking around the jogging track,when I say walking,I mean as in carrying towels and wearing flip-flops,clearly not exercising.It can be frustrating as a jogger having to constantly stop/start/stop/start....
I was surprised how guests,mainly American,were allowed to take drinks into the jacuzzi.It wouldn't be a problem if the vessel they were in was of plastic,but they were in pint glasses.Had one smashed,the consequences are self explanatory.
Our biggest gripe,BY FAR,through no fault of the boat nor NCL,was the number of greedy "anything for nothing" Americans in the restaurants.The amount of food they piled onto their plates,and didn't even touch,was shameful and disgraceful.The worst occasion was when I saw one woman pick up TWELVE slices of cake (6 banana and six brownies).All bar two banana cakes went straight into the bin untouched.It's not fair on other cruisers who wanted that cake,only to find the platter bare when they went up for some.Some Americans went from one free restaurant to another at will,consuming 10% of their food,if that,then leaving the rest,before descending on another place,then another eaterie,doing likewise.NCL ought to appoint persons in an official capacity to prevent this.This isn't myself having an anti-American rant,but the fact was that it was just the Americans doing this.Why can't they just have what they NEED instead of taking what they CAN unchecked??I'm know it's a cultural thing,but on an international,cosmopolitan holiday,it's known as bad manners.
To those thinking about cruising,this cruise takes some beating for what you'll spend.Yes,I'm sure there will be better cruises out there,but,you'll certainly need deeper pockets or a heavier wallet to beat this one.Go for it!!