1. Home
  2. Find a Cruise
  3. Norwegian Dawn
  4. 14 Night Panama Canal & Central America Cruise from Tampa

14 Night Panama Canal & Central America Cruise from Tampa

14 Night Panama Canal & Central America Cruise from Tampa

Save
Norwegian Dawn
Loading ...

Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Tampa
  • Day 2
    Key West
  • Day 3
    Cruising
  • Day 4
    Falmouth
  • Day 5
    Cruising
  • Day 6
    Santa Marta
  • Day 7
    Cartagena (Colombia)
  • Day 8
    Gatun Lake
  • Day 8
    Colon (Cristobal)
  • Day 9
    Puerto Limon
  • Day 10
    Cruising
  • Day 11
    Roatan
  • Day 12
    Harvest Caye
  • Day 13
    Costa Maya
  • Day 14
    Cruising
  • Day 15
    Tampa
  • Day 15
    Tampa
  • Day 15
    Tampa
  • Day 15
    Tampa

Norwegian Dawn

Norwegian Dawn - Norwegian Cruise Line

Pros

Tons of dining, bars and activities keep everyone entertained; refurb is modern, not tacky

Cons

Less-than-perfect ship has confusing layout and occasional maintenance issues

Bottom Line

Enthusiastic crowd has a fun time onboard, despite upcharges and an older ship


Cruise Reviews

2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
My review - NCL Dawn This is my 10th NCL Cruise and my 1st on the Dawn. I've been on the Gem and the Breakaway and was very very happy. Also - the last 4 cruises I have been in the Haven. So I definitely have an expectation for ... Read More
My review - NCL Dawn This is my 10th NCL Cruise and my 1st on the Dawn. I've been on the Gem and the Breakaway and was very very happy. Also - the last 4 cruises I have been in the Haven. So I definitely have an expectation for a level of service - and have always thought that NCL was a *bit* better than others. it's a good mix of 'mr. sexy legs' and 'quiet reading on the deck'. We got to the dock and have always left from NYC/NJ. I also continue on NCL because I am Platinum. When I got to the dock - no one seemed to know what to tell me. We were discouraged by two folks to not go to the VIP/Platinum line. I finally asked where to go, the lady rolled her eyes at me and said - ok - over there. Hmmm. I also want to mention that this was after my friend (who has MS) would have had a very difficult time waiting on the 1 hour line for security and then 1 hour to get checked-in. He asked if he could use the handicapped line (which he has plenty of documentation) and she again rolled her eyes. She said, “you can’t use this line without a wheel chair”. (Lots of folks have disabilities that don’t require a wheelchair). So we asked for a wheel chair. “Well… we don’t have them (they do).” The entire process seemed very uninformed and unprofessional. The check-in was flawless and was on the ship about 30 minutes later. We arrived around 11:30 am so getting on the ship around noon/12:15 is pretty good for me. I try my best to avoid the buffet usually - but especially on embarkation day. As I had read in other reviews - the main dining room is open - but many MANY NCL crew members try to steer you away and towards the buffet. I'm glad I knew better. It was quiet start to the cruise. Always start your cruise with a rebellious fish (or two or three). Ship: The ship shows its age - but the crew does an excellent job on keeping her VERY clean and sparkling. Once in a while I found an 'out of order' sign - to be expected - but it was always cleared up the very next day. I found the ship very familiar experience to the Gem which I found very comforting. I loved the Breakaway (and will take the Escape in October) - but it's so very large. This size of ship - to me - is perfect. Not too big - not too small. Cabin: The first one or the second one? :-) Here is my story - I booked a balcony state room - and was offered an upgrade. I did this once before and got a Haven Spa Suite - so cool. So we bid on the upgrade and hoped for the best we could get. They did upgrade us - from a balcony to a mini-suite. YES! oh no! The older ships the better rooms are on higher up decks. That means the mini-suites are DIRECTLY UNDER THE POOL DECK. But I roll with the punches - it's going to be a great curise!! I love crusing! Nope - first night - they were moving deck chairs - and when I say moving - I mean DRAGGING - the deck chairs at midnight - then at 1:30 am - then at 2:30 am - then again at 5:30 am. Now the Dawn is an older ship, as I said - and they don't have a huge pool - they have many more deck chairs on multiple stepped levels - all facing the pool. That's important. So - it was a restless night - no amount of extra rebellious fishes could have solved this problem. Long story short - AVOID the rooms under the pool deck if noise bothers you. I've heard - the rooms under the buffet are worse. But then - during the day? Anytime there is something going on the pool deck (read: pool party) then you hear the sound in your room. I like a nap after time in the sun - but there are generally lots of music happening all day - and then a break for dinner - and then again until about 10/10:30 pm. It was so loud - we really would strain to hear a conversation on our balcony over the loud music on the pool deck. My advice - for the bit of extra room - and extra $$ - stick to the balcony rooms on older ships like the dawn. It's just not worth the extra aggravation. Bright lining - after my cabin mate - complained (not really the right word :-) they *found* me a new room. Still a mini-suite, but just about 5 rooms from the end of the ship (next to the spa). Now - if you really want a mini-suite, that's the best location. Plus - I always get the spa pass - very easy access to spa - main dining room, etc... a great room. My advice: pay VERY close attention to what is above you and below you. And if you are 50/50 on getting the room - be conservative - and careful. It wasn't an upgrade at all. Original room: 11072 . New Room: 11676 Dining: We at at 3 specially restaurants and the Aqua Restaurant. Moderno: Churrascaria. I have to admit that I'm very spoiled living in NYC with GREAT steak places and churrascaria places. They have one of the BEST salad bar I've had. They tell you not to fill up on salad - go for it. The meat - was tough - overcooked - and over-salted. We all made sure we took our BP medication that night. Cagneys: Steakhouse. Here is where we diverged. I had a T-bone and so did my friend. I loved mine - his was VERY tough. But it's a great stop. Le Bistro: French - the best meal of the cruise. The mushroom soup is a NEVER miss item. We had many many drinks and entrees and the service was impeccable. We had our other meals in the Aqua - because you can wear shorts - and it's the same menu as the Main Dining Room. The food was hit-or-miss. I had some spectacular meals (the lamb shank for instance) and had some lack-luster meals. Overall a solid B+/A- My advice - don't be afraid to order more than one thing - and ask for another if you really enjoyed the dish. And if you don't like something - get something else. They will bring you as much and whatever you wish. Don't be timid. Entertainment and Activities: We did a few of the shows. I know they vary by weeks - the performance shows - the Showdown American Idol type of show was blah (remember I live 20 minutes from Broadway) but entertaining enough. The Elements show was quite good. I always like the comedians. Other than that - it was OK. But by idea of a good time is drinks by the pool all day. I don't cruise for the shows. Service: This is where the cruise was hit or miss. One thing I really like - and please don't think I'm petty - but I like a pitcher of water in my room to drink in the evening. It was everyone else's problem - no one could find one and deliver one. I was always told - you can call this one or call that one. Plus - we wanted to re-arrange reservations for the specialty restaurants - and we had the concierge to help us. After leaving a message for two days - I was told (lectured really) that I should call sooner because he can't make changes last minute. And then kept going. I hung up. Ports and Shore excursions: Again to be fair - my cruise mantra is - I pay all this money to get on the ship, why would I pay again to get off the ship?!? The one thing I want to everyone be careful about - in Florida - there were a few other ships in dock - and we got the LAST parking spot. This meant that it was a 15-20 minute walk to the place where you can meet your shore excursion transportation. It was HOT and HUMID and I would have not appreciated that walk... but again - I didn't get off the ship. Plus - remember in Florida - you get in at 1 pm and must be back on the ship at 8:30 pm. The only way I get off the ship is to do Disney. That's not that long in the park - especially when it's super busy in the summer. Overall - it was a fun vacation - lots of great drinks and good food and had a blast. I love to cruise - but some things could have been better. Oh - and I always get the Thermal Spa week pass - what a great value. A few days I was the only person in the spa!!! I swear the pool is bigger than the deck pool - and it's sans kids!! A great value! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This was my 6th cruise... 4 on Norwegian, 1 on Royal Caribbean and 1 on Carnival. NCL remains my top choice and its not even close. The dining is tremendous, however you MUST have a specialty dining package. NCL offers so many promotional ... Read More
This was my 6th cruise... 4 on Norwegian, 1 on Royal Caribbean and 1 on Carnival. NCL remains my top choice and its not even close. The dining is tremendous, however you MUST have a specialty dining package. NCL offers so many promotional upgrades there is really no reason why not to have it. We ate at Moderno, Cagney's, La Cucina, and Los Lobos. All were fantastic, with Cagney's being as good as any steakhouse on land. We were in a balcony room and it was as good as any stateroom on any other boat. Not a ton of storage and a small bathroom but that is life on a cruise ship. Our steward was not great, but not bad and really did not diminish the trip or add to it in any way and mainly stayed out of our way which was fine. The entertainment was unreal. The comedian Troy Thirdgill was as funny as any comedian I have ever seen, never mind for a cruise. The dancers and singers were fantastic and we often went to their other performances elsewhere on the ship. The magician was okay, not great. The acrobatic performance was amazing also. This was my 3rd time doing the florida and bahamas itinerary and it is starting to get old. The Florida stop is a waste. Coco Beach is no nicer than the Jersey Shore and the prices are through the roof for anything there since it is the only beach to access from Port Canaveral and they know it. Nassau was beautiful and we went to Balmoral Island for the first time this year. Got us away from the riff raff of the island on other beaches while offering far lower prices than Atlantis. Its rained some on the private island but we made the most of it and the sun came out in the afternoon. The island there is beautiful. The ship itself felt old. There were not many places to "hang out" outside of a small Gatsby's bar on floor 6 where there was often a below average pianist playing. Could use another place outside of that or the nightclub to have a drink. Could also add more to the pool area but that is just my taste. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
First time cruising since childhood, and just like in the early 90s, I was with my parents. We live in Manhattan so it was beyond easy to get to the Dawn. We boarded around 12:30 and since my parents were already onboard a lovely check-in ... Read More
First time cruising since childhood, and just like in the early 90s, I was with my parents. We live in Manhattan so it was beyond easy to get to the Dawn. We boarded around 12:30 and since my parents were already onboard a lovely check-in attendant skipped us ahead in the line and saved us what was probably an hour of waiting. Which turned out to be a theme: the gracious, genuine, cheerful staff. I thought the service rivaled and surpassed some of the best hotels I’ve stayed at anywhere. SHIP Not a cruise expert but I enjoyed the ship. Most of it looks pretty modern with a few exceptions. The Venetian restaurant, which is quite grand, also seems to have missed the renovation — except for some “classic” Venetian artwork which has bizarre blocks of color painted over it, in my guess, an attempt to modernize without spending. But most of the venues are pretty nice with that cruise-bling-flair. I agree with some others that they layout can be confusing. The pool deck is a lot of fun (though pool itself seemed small to me) and the gym is big with good equipment. CLEANLINESS The housekeeping is amazing. The room was cleaned twice a day (scrubbed!) and the public areas were spotless. Minor requests handled immediately. Lovely team. ENTERTAINMENT Not really my jam but we were never bored and enjoyed using the app to find things to do. We saw the Elements show which was impressive. The trivia stuff was fun. FOOD & DRINK Great! I was really so surprised. I actually liked the included dining (Venetian, Aqua, and Garden buffet) better than the specialty (pay up) options. Los Lobos was just okay. Italian was just okay. Churrascaria was impressive. French was pretty good. The Premium Beverage Package was awesome. All top shelf liquor and drinks included. There is another level above that which I think might include Starbucks but we absolutely didn’t need anything more than PBP. EXCURSIONS Now here is where I’m going to be a little critical. Kennedy Space Center was fine and I thought we had enough time there. Great Stirrup Cay turned out to be a bit of a bust because it was hot and rainy. The tendering process was stressful in getting on and off the small boat due to choppy water. Literally caught a woman who almost took a major fall boarding. We found out while on the boat over that our first activity (waverunner) was canceled from another guest. Would have been good if an announcement was made prior. Hung around the island for several hours having drinks which was actually really fun waiting for the second activity (swim with pigs) which was then canceled about 5 minutes prior to starting due to weather. We were refunded the same day for both as a ship credit. Nassau, we just did it all wrong. I had been to Nassau many years ago and remembered it to be a little edgy but interesting. We decided to explore on our own (DON’T) and it’s now a total tourist trap where you are bombarded with people trying to sell you on tours, taxis, insanely repetitive souvenirs. We finally wandered to the National Art Museum which was charming. If given a do-over, I would have either done an organized Atlantis excursion or just stayed on the ship. Frankly I enjoyed the at-sea days so much more than the excursions. Not an excursion per se but on an at-sea day we did the behind the scenes tour of the ship and I LOVED that and found it totally worth the money. They limit it to a very small group and it isn’t listed anywhere so book at the excursions desk on the first day before it fills up. The insane cleanliness of the food prep areas only made me want to eat more! STAFF Five stars for the staff all around. They were just wonderful. OTHER I agree there is a lot of selling going on. Activities that are at an extra charge. Spa treatments with a heavy handed attempt to hawk products. It could be toned down (a lot). VALUE We took advantage of all of the included food, drinks, activities and I thought for a seven day vacation it was a tremendous value and a lot of fun. I would do it again. And will repeat myself here: the staff is great all around. Read Less
View All Norwegian Dawn Reviews
Find Your Roll Call
Connect with other Cruise Critic members on your sailing
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise

Related Cruise Itineraries