3,022 Norwegian Dawn Cruise Reviews

We wanted to try another cruise line - we had only sailed with Celebrity before this. The ship was about the same size as our previous ships. The decor and common areas were nice and we had no complaints. The Garden Cafe food was less ... Read More
We wanted to try another cruise line - we had only sailed with Celebrity before this. The ship was about the same size as our previous ships. The decor and common areas were nice and we had no complaints. The Garden Cafe food was less than stellar. We ate one lunch here and one breakfast. The breakfast was good - the other meal was terrible. We did have great service and food in the Venetian main dining room. We like having the Irish pub open - to have a drink or a late night bite. This was nice. Hated the casino - as we are non smokers and this was bad with smoke !! The Cigar Lounge and Champagne Bar area -- were just as bad. We couldn't ever try these areas because of the smoke... absolutely terrible !! About half of the ladies restroom door locks did not work. Overall - they did push the sanitizing hands thing all over the ship - but most times the public restroom areas were not very clean - paper towels littering a lot of the floor. The entertainment was good. We went to most shows and tried most of the venues on the ship - besides the areas that were "smoky ". Service was ok. We were lucky enough to find a great waitress in the Venetian and requested her section nightly. Our room steward - never really touched base with us - but would say hello in passing. Customer service in the other areas of the ship were good. We did talk to a lot of people who were repeat Norwegian Cruisers - who told us not to judge Norwegian by the Dawn and this trip -- as they were disappointed too. We do plan on trying Norwegian in the future per this advice. Overall - our cruise was OK. Was not stellar - but we do love cruising so it was a good time. If you don't have a good time on a cruise - its your own fault ! We always meet and talk to so many people !! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Post cruise report: To start, I have to say the sanitary precautions on the cruise were outstanding. Every single day the crew washed down all the walls, doors, railings, etc. in every corridor, you couldn't walk two feet without ... Read More
Post cruise report: To start, I have to say the sanitary precautions on the cruise were outstanding. Every single day the crew washed down all the walls, doors, railings, etc. in every corridor, you couldn't walk two feet without tripping over a hand sanitizer dispenser, and the "washy-washy" (really, they say that) staff were constantly spraying your hands. They were worse than the perfume ladies at a Macy's, lol. You couldn't even get your own beverage at the buffet. A staff member had to dispense it and hand it to you. I was really very impressed. In addition, we brought our own clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, and a bottle of surgical soap to wash our hands. This was our first cruise on Norwegian and it was nothing short of amazing! The ship, staff, food, etc. were all first rate. I did upgrade our cabin to what they call an Owner's Suite for our 27th anniversary. The package included a 900 s.f. suite with both a forward facing and side balcony. We had a butler, personal concierge, 3-meal dining package (the specialty restaurants are outstanding), unlimited drink package, and wifi included. Owner's suite guests also get 3 full size bottles of liquor in the cabin as well as the refrigerator kept stocked with water, mixers, etc. I had also asked for a pitcher of unsweet tea and lemonade (the lemonade was fresh squeezed) in the fridge and the butler kept it refreshed every day. He also brings an afternoon snack every day - we asked for sliced fruit and a variety of meats and cheeses. You get priority check-in and the concierge meets you at the check-in desk and escorts you to your cabin and you don't have to wait in any lines. There was also priority disembarkation. Included was both breakfast and lunch in one of the specialty restaurants - we did not eat a single meal at the buffet or the main dining room. All this for only $2,000 per person for 7 days. For what we got and being made to feel like royalty, I thought it was a bargain. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was my 26th cruise and it was by first NOT enjoyable one. The first time I didn't gain weight and the first time we couldn't wait to get the hell off that annoying ship. The food was absolutely the worst Ive ... Read More
This was my 26th cruise and it was by first NOT enjoyable one. The first time I didn't gain weight and the first time we couldn't wait to get the hell off that annoying ship. The food was absolutely the worst Ive ever had on a cruise. It reminded me of school cafeteria food. The first day we hit the buffet for lunch and both of us were shocked at the lack of selection and low quality. We thought it was a fluke at first but unfortunately, it was the standard. We also tried the "specialty" restaurants. The French restaurant was anything but special. There I had the worst tenderloin I've ever had in my 57 years! This was the first time I've ever eaten less than half of my steak. It was so full gristle I couldn't eat it. This steak would have given my bulldog a run for his money. My husband only ate a couple of bites of his dish as well. Actually we ate just a few bites of everything. The waitress didn't bother asking if anything was wrong. She didn't care. They weren't busy at all either. Then we went to the Italian restaurant where I had the absolute worst meal I've ever had on a ship. Again, we ate about 2-3 bites off each dish and pushed it to the side. The waiter didn't ask if we wanted something else, how was it, is there a problem, etc. Nothing! Then we went to the steakhouse. We both had decent steaks but the rest wasn't so great. The lobster bisque was like tomato soup with a minute amount of lobster on top. Again, the waitress didn't ask how things were. It's obvious to us, nobody gives a crap on this ship! I think they're told to NOT ask if things are ok. The buffet is worth avoiding at all costs. It doesn't matter what time of day, its really low-quality food. The main dining rooms were both very disappointing as well. By day three I was dreading my next meal. We both were. We love to eat but we do have some standards. If you like McDonald's then you'll love their food. If you like Ihop you'll love those horrible omelets with pancake mix added to the eggs. I dont ever eat crap like that! The layout of this ship was so annoying! We kept getting lost and finding that elevators didnt go to every floor so finding your way away around this ship is a real hassle to say the least. On a funny note, we kept running into other people getting really annoyed with the same thing. The overall service was very poor throughout the ship. Although it was amazing how suddenly so many employees were smiling and acting like they gave a crap on the last night. Hoping for tips I guess. They say this ship was recently renovated but I saw many things that needed work. Our balcony had a lot rust on it. When it rained our balcony quickly flooded and chipped paint was then covering our balcony floor. Our toilet stopped working night 4 but it was quickly fixed. Come to think of it when we first got on board I had to go to the bathroom. I went to the first one I could find which was near where we boarded. When I opened the stall I noticed right away there was no toilet paper in that stall. This was a sign of things to come I guess! Our favorite part of this terrible cruise was the music by the pool. That's the only highlight. Never, ever, not even if it's FREE, will we ever cruise NCL again! Actually, the last night we met other people and compared notes. They couldn't get off that ship quick enough either. I'd rather go camping, and I hate camping. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We selected this cruise based on the length and ports of call. We did not encounter any of the complaints that others had posted about this ship. The staff were all very attentive and appeared to enjoy their jobs. The entertainment was ... Read More
We selected this cruise based on the length and ports of call. We did not encounter any of the complaints that others had posted about this ship. The staff were all very attentive and appeared to enjoy their jobs. The entertainment was great. The food was all very good. This was our 1st time cruising on Norwegian and we would definitely cruise with them again! The only downside that we can report on is the stop in Belize. We would have preferred being on the mainland, vs the private Island to have the ability to really experience Belize. We like exposing our children to other cultures and did not find that on Harvest Caye. We especially enjoyed Costa Maya and Roatan Bay where we ventured out on our own. We appreciated the attention put towards decreasing risk of illness. The staff were always wiping down hand rails and other high touch areas. Being in the Family Suite, we appreciated the ability to experience priority boarding and disembarkation. That was awesome! We would definitely recommend this cruise to others. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Just got home from our cruise on the Dawn out of Tampa. I have to say that I was really disappointed in our cruise this time. I am a dedicated NCL cruiser but I have to say this cruise was a big let down. We have been on the Dawn before, ... Read More
Just got home from our cruise on the Dawn out of Tampa. I have to say that I was really disappointed in our cruise this time. I am a dedicated NCL cruiser but I have to say this cruise was a big let down. We have been on the Dawn before, as a matter of fact we did the the same ports on the Dawn, but nothing like this. The first problem was the smoking area, I know smoking is bad for you but I am a smoker like many others. The smoking area consisted of 4 possibly 5 tables on the 14th deck only accessible by stairs. It was so packed that honestly you felt like you were in a can of sardines. Also the the non-smokers wanted the entire 14th deck and constantly complained about the smokers in the designated smoking area. Next was the problem with the ports. Out of the 4 ports only the private island wasn’t so congested with people that you could move. There were only 2 ships there. Costa Maya, Roatan, and Cozumel had a minimum of 5 to 6 ships in port. Also we had to tender into port for Roatan and the winds and water was so rough that many passengers didn’t leave the ship because of the delay. Lastly many of the crew was not the friendliest. I was in the garden cafe and found that my Cajun chicken was raw. I spoke to one of the officers and explained the issue and he brought the chef out and this chef decided to argue with me that I didn’t know what raw chicken was. I am sorry when you see pink meat and blood that to me means it was raw. Needless to say I think we will re-think sailing on the smaller ships from now on. Thanks for listening to me and this is only my observations. I am not trying to make a stink but just put my thoughts out there. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Me my wife and 20yo son decided on doing a family cruise. Our son is on spring break from UF and he wanted to do a cruise for his break, and it's been 5 years since our last cruise.We chose this cruise because we live 30 minutes from ... Read More
Me my wife and 20yo son decided on doing a family cruise. Our son is on spring break from UF and he wanted to do a cruise for his break, and it's been 5 years since our last cruise.We chose this cruise because we live 30 minutes from the port of Tampa. Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 10:30am. We parked the car in the parking garage across the street and carried our bags over.We went through security, filled out the health questionnaire. We were then directed to the counter to have our documents checked and take our picture. They gave us our key cards then went to sit down. Check in was a breeze. Took a total of about 15 minutes from security till we sat down waiting to board. At 11:00am they started the boarding process. They now board by status, and being gold with NCL we were one of the first groups to board. After boarding we went to O'Sheehans for lunch. They were good not great but good. Cabin: They were ready just after 1:00pm. Our cabin was a mini-suite on deck 11. Number 11070 starboard side. The cabin was roomy and clean. Our steward was awesome. His name was Gede and took great care of us. The only problem was the seas were a bit rough and the cabin would squeak like and old wooden ship would. I kinda liked it but the wife is more of a light sleeper than me so it bothered her a bit. The cabin was only making the noise on the sea days cause like I said the seas were a bit rough. Food: This is always subject to peoples different tastes. I thought the food was good, not great. I had some kind of meat every night. They were hot, cooked to my desired tastes and served with good sides. My wife is a vegetarian and didn't have a lot of choices. Now they have certain items on the menu that are on the menu everyday plus the days new choices. They had 3 cheese ziti and fettuccine alfredo on the menu everyday that she ate a couple of times because the choices on the menu for that day she didn't like. Our son found items to eat from the menu like I did. The desserts were also good but not great. They included lava cake(the best dessert they had in my opinion), cherries jubilee, crème brulee among others. We ate at the Venetian, Aqua and the Garden café and O'sheehans. Breakfast was usually at the Garden café and was good , but the same food every morning. We did not partake in any paid venues. Entertainment: We enjoyed a lot of the shows we attended. The comedian was very good his name was Clay Strong. The Element show was good also. There was music pretty much everywhere we walked on the ship. We did bingo(we lost). My son was called on stage for Deal or no Deal and won 80 bucks. He had a blast doing that, pricey games. The casino was fun also. First night of cruise the slots seemed to be hot, after that, not so much.hmmm... There were smokers but I didn't find it overwhelming. Our son had a knack for the coin game where you drop coins to push money over the edge. I think he made almost a hundred bucks doing that. Gym: We only went to the gym once and it was well equipped and well maintained. Ports: We went to Costa Maya, Harvest caye, Roatan and Cozumel. Get away from the port area when you get to costa maya., take a shuttle or taxi to the fishermans village about 10 minutes away. We reserved some chairs at Malecon 21 at the fishermans village.(they have a website, and are recommended). Highly recommend this place, as it is at the end of the malecon(strip), its so nice and is not crowded(take a taxi directly there, because its at the end, or you'll be walking a distance to get there). All the other places close to drop off are more crowded .Malecon 21 was very good and I would go back in a instant. Harvest caye we had to tender as the pier had been damaged a few weeks before, so we decided not to get off and enjoy the ship. It seemed a lot of people had the same idea cause the ship was still full. Roatan we also had to tender, we were moored at Coxen hole. I asked why we had to tender and the other 2 ships there were docked because we were the smaller ship, thought that sucked but alas what can I do. Cozumel was our final stop and we docked a Punta Langosta which is the downtown port. We just walked off the ship around 11:00am and just shopped and walked to the square where we had some lunch at a place called Frida's. Food was good and HOT(habanero). The beer was cold and we enjoyed it. Then as we were walking back the sky opened up and it poured for about 30 to 45 minutes. The weathered finally cleared and we went back to the ship. All in all we enjoyed the ports we went to. We have been to all of them a few times each except for Harvest caye. Disembarkation: Being gold members we got yellow tags and were off the ship around 8:00am. We got our bags and got in line for customs, Get a porter so you avoid long custom lines. If you have porter you get thru customs much faster. We parked our car in the garage across the street. So we got in the car and drove home, being Sunday there was no traffic YAY. Summary: We had a great time. Was everything perfect. No, but what in life is. Life is what you make out of it and we made a great time of it. Heck we are on a cruise. The ship was very full even with the coronavirus in the news. We were not nervous about it at all. Already looking to book another cruise for later this year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
The food was cold at every station, even the fine dining. Cold and served raw hamburger. I was quarantined from gastroenteritis complications. Symptoms of hot and cold runny nose soar throat brain fog muscle break down fever loss of ... Read More
The food was cold at every station, even the fine dining. Cold and served raw hamburger. I was quarantined from gastroenteritis complications. Symptoms of hot and cold runny nose soar throat brain fog muscle break down fever loss of appetite cough diarrhea, vomiting. I was so sick the ship hospital cost me 4K. So I paid for something that ship infected me with! I was also treated with disrespect at a time when I could not defend myself. The cabin smelled like diesel fuel and I could not get fresh air. Smoking on the ship was everywhere. There was no relief, even in the non smoking section people would light up. Every little thing cost money. Bingo for example the best deal was $69. US. Ridiculous. The entertainment was limited and clearly cheap. The administrators had problems with technical equipment. It felt has if the workers had zero experience. I could not wait to get off that damn ship. It was a horrible experience! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our 1st cruise and it didn't disappoint. The ship looked great. Layout a little confusing at first but after day 1 no problems. We had a balcony cabin and we liked sitting out there is the morning drinking our coffee. ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise and it didn't disappoint. The ship looked great. Layout a little confusing at first but after day 1 no problems. We had a balcony cabin and we liked sitting out there is the morning drinking our coffee. We didnt like the garden cafe so we ate in the main dining rooms mostly. We did do the Japanese steak house, must do again, Brazilian steak house, go hungry, and the French restaurant, our waitress was fantastic! We loved all the entertainment, we went to all of it. The comedian was so funny and we got to talk with him after the show. All of our service was outstanding, very friendly and willing to help. Shout out to Angelo and Vladimir you both made the trip. All shore excursions were great. We will be coming back. We got 2 vouchers for our next cruise. Now have to decide where to go! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
With the Beverage package, 3 free specialty restaurants, internet minutes and discount of $ 50 on the excursions included in the price of this cruise it did not feel like we were nickeled and dimed to death! This really helped make our ... Read More
With the Beverage package, 3 free specialty restaurants, internet minutes and discount of $ 50 on the excursions included in the price of this cruise it did not feel like we were nickeled and dimed to death! This really helped make our cruise more inclusive and frankly less stressful not worrying if we were spending too much at the lounges. Pros, pretty good entertainment, food was average to good, crew mostly friendly and smiling, a few on the first day were not happy, (O'Sheegans hostess was beside herself as people were coming into restaurant in the wrong direction and she was getting upset, need to make sign bigger or put Exit only on the non entrance side)! But overall with a few exceptions most staff we interacted with were nice, some were exceptionally good. Kudos to the internet manager who understood our dilemma and fixed it. Excursions we took were very good, Costa Mayo excursion was cancelled due to being too windy, Costa Maya itself is just a small area with a bunch of shops we didn't go out of this area but while we were there, a total of 3 cruise ships came in so it made for a very crowded experience. Harvest Cay, we took a electric boat ride was OK free Wi-Fi and rum punch made it a lot more enjoyable and listening to the captain explain Belize life. The pool and beach there in this private area were very good, clean and inviting. We had to tender there and back so it made for a hot and sticky ride. Didn't see much of Belize but this was our fault. By far Roatan was the most interesting excursion we travelled by bus to the Gumbalimba Animal Reserve and this was very interesting, with Parrots and small monkeys crawling over you. Was a great experience, especially funny when a monkey stole someone sunglasses, climbed up the tree and tried to put them on, you are warned about this that they will take things from you not secured!! Cozumel is a big tourist trap but if you like shopping this is the place for you. We went to the manatee and Sea Lion encounter and it was also really good , got to kiss and be kissed by the sea lion and also swam with some manatees and interacted with them, holding them, feeding them and yes kissing them they are wonderful animals. Cons: small room, busy buffet area for breakfast and lunch, noisy room where you could hear everyone scarping there chairs on the balconies and it sounded like they were in your room. Probably one of the better cruises we were on for value and entertainment not so much for seeing the countries visited but we could have taken excursions that were more in-land that may have helped this. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This is my first cruise, and honeymoon. I spent a good amount of money on the room with the specialty dining package, drink package, and excursions. From what I’ve been told the food is really good and drinks plentiful, I guess we will ... Read More
This is my first cruise, and honeymoon. I spent a good amount of money on the room with the specialty dining package, drink package, and excursions. From what I’ve been told the food is really good and drinks plentiful, I guess we will see. Day 1: Onboarding Arrived at Tampa Port via Uber, nice lady, she was distraught by the law enforcements persona, the way they “directed” her. Exiting the vehicle freshly married and ready for our destination we were hustled by our luggage carrier, in the middle of a fleet of incoming traffic, we were ridiculed by one worker while I halted a bus to allow our passage to the line. Little distraught, we marched toward our destination. On board and only 3 hours of sleep, I had a blast, lots of booze, and old people, more than I expected. The room with the balcony was very nice for an upgraded cabin. Food was decent. We had Bamboo this night, it was very good. ***Breaking News**** Extra precaution is taken for citizens onboarding the Norwegian Dawn: Fact: There was only a paper survey filled out and no temperatures were taken upon boarding this ship. This will be referenced later… Day 2: Sailing Woke up after an amazing night of sleep in the comfortable bed, the swaying of the sea knocked me out. Unfortunately, the next morning after a bunch of celebratory booze and the sway, the Vancian was super warm and in the back of the ship where I was not a happy camper after receiving my eggs. After taking some motion sickness pills and touring the spa, which they wanted more money for and walking a few rounds around the deck, I was able to get some real food, so we headed to the Irish Pub – the wings were breaded and not enough blue cheese , drinks were on point the entire trip, corn beef reuben could have been better. Dinner was at Aqua, my steak was served with French fries. Mashed potatoes and gravy would have been nice, maybe some broccoli and cheese. There was a nice couple from Montreal sitting next to us, and when they were replaced with another couple, the man was clearly sick. Red face, coughing and sneezing in his table napkin. Thankfully we were wrapping up desert, and we notified the staff. Day 3: Costa Maya All day trip to the ruins of Kohunlich and Dzibanche. Our guide was very informative, but the drive there and back was about 2.5 hours. Pretty sketchy on the way, but once we arrived, it was worth the trip. If you are not comfortable going on walks through the woods, you will not like this. I suggest good walking shoes, and something lite to wear so you don’t get too hot. Almost forgot to mention, the guys sitting next to us at dinner the night before, he is in a stretcher getting off the boat the next morning as we were getting off the ship. Day 4: Belize – Norwegian private island I grew up working in a seafood restaurant, I know how to cook and love great food, so my opinion may not always be the same as others regarding food: Finally, good food, even though I had to pay for it. The fish taco’s and plantains on the island were amazing. Bought a bunch of overpriced drinks and hung out in the big pool, the pool on the Dawn is easily overrun. Another ship ran into the dock (it a Norwegian island) and we had to take a tender boat to shore, it was hot and uncomfortable. The group that escorted us parasailing was on point, this was our first time. We have this specialty dining package, and little to my knowledge, getting a reservation to one of these places is tough. One of the staff was clearly put off by the fact I did not understand this reservation thing. I mean how do you reserve the WHOLE restaurant. When I asked to be put on the waiting list, she said she would call my room... I’m like… I’m not staying in my room, waiting for you to call, have you heard of a paging system… Even when I wanted to go to the bar and eat, I was told only chips and dip at the Mexican place. The places do not open until 5:30pm, and most places we could not get seated until at least 6:30 I typically eat my heaviest meal at around 3-4, that is how my body works… So, the “freesytle” theory did not work with me. I was pretty pissed this night; we went to the Venetian for dinner and the food was disappointing. The comedian performing in the theatre came through though and had me in tears. Day 5: Honduras – Rotan Rotan is a very beautiful island; we went to the west side of the island where we enjoyed local beers $2.50 and amazing views. Our excursion included a ride on this part sub-boat, where you can see the coral reef and all the fish, I strongly suggest this tour for families. We ended up using one of the specialty dining packages for sushi at Bamboo back on the ship. I was very impressed with the sushi. Day 6: Cozumel – Playa del Carmen – Xcaret The water was very rough, and we took this Jetferry to Playa del Carmen. I have been looking forward to this stop since I booked the trip. The Xcaret Park is a must do for the family. There is some walking, but nothing extreme. I would bring water shoes for this day. The park is mainly shaded with areas of direct or dappled sun. Our authentic Mexican meal and views from the park was grand. Back on the boat: 2nd Specialty dining at the Italian place – The seabass and snapper was good, I expected some noodles being in an Italian place, but the service and atmosphere was great. We were seated just outside the restaurant where we could still enjoy the live music from the champagne bar. Day 7: Rough day at Sea home Since it is the last day, people were out having a great time. The weather was super windy and cold though. The “Elements” show was good. 3rd Specialty dining at the Mexican place – I’ve been looking forward to this place, because I love Mexican food. The food was okay. Day 8: Back in Tampa The Aquarium was nice, we were able to check our bags in and tour the park and surrounding area since we had a late flight. The food at the park was good, I loved the live music and amount of family’s having a good time. Summary: The food is okay – don’t do all reservations for your specialty dining, if you sell it, you should be able to support it. Fix the coffee machines in the buffet area, it is way too strong with no options for good coffee. Most of the people on the boat were friendly, but some were not. People may not remember what you say, but they always remember how you make them feel. Good job having people with sanitizing hand wash everywhere, but you should have been taking temperatures. As a first time cruiser, I thought it may just not be for me, I like the stops, but the boat should be just as enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Tampa is a convenient port. Easy check in and local parking. Like Harvest Caye. Nice beach. We were only ship there that day so not crowded. Specialty restaurants a bit disappointing. Location and shape of Cagneys is weird - and too much ... Read More
Tampa is a convenient port. Easy check in and local parking. Like Harvest Caye. Nice beach. We were only ship there that day so not crowded. Specialty restaurants a bit disappointing. Location and shape of Cagneys is weird - and too much foot traffic with servers going between kitchen and Modesto next door. La Cucina was meh. Le Bistro did not disappoint. Don't miss a quiet happy hour in the wine cellar. Worth stopping by. Note: the glass-walled "cigar bar" filled with cigarette smokers is centrally located and unsightly. Dining room is great for 'sit down and be served' breakfast. But I wish it didn't close at 9:30. We're on vacation. Don't need to set the alarm. All and all, it's a good value for the money. Everything felt clean. Public restrooms well maintained. The staff was universally great: servers, bartenders, hosts, stewards, etc. Love the casual dress code. Suggestion: charge a bit more money and do less nickel and dimeing of guests all week. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I decided on this cruise to provide a special experience for my daughter and granddaughter who wanted to see wildlife of Central America. The Roatan Honduras stop would provide that. Picked up the cruise package that included free ... Read More
I decided on this cruise to provide a special experience for my daughter and granddaughter who wanted to see wildlife of Central America. The Roatan Honduras stop would provide that. Picked up the cruise package that included free airfare. Hint: ncl booked the cheapest fare which may not suit your travel needs. In my case they booked a 1;10am sun flight with plane change which got us to port at noon on sun. So from west coast over 24 hours without sleep. At port the typical crowd was awaiting boarding. It was fast and smooth and our cabin was ready for us to catch up on some sleep. We were on the 8th deck and liked the overall access to the restrauants and level 7 from our room. The cabin was clean and functional. Here is what as a return ncl traveler I discovered abd missed. No more togga or white night cekebration. No prime rib special night no chocolate night and no more animal towels in the room eack night. Those were things I looked forward to having my guests experience. We took several excursions but only one with ncl which was snorkeling at Harvest Cay. I would have preferred a true cultural experience of porting in Belize City as ncl used to do before developing their own island. Debating in Tampa was fast as we did walk off. Customs took about 30 minutes. For those who want to get through faster, pay a porter to bring the bags to curbside. It speeds the wait through the line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have cruised over 15 times, the last four ( with in 2 yrs) with NCL. This was disappointment from the time we entered the ship. We always upgrade to a suite and have been very pleased. This is the first time I used a NCL ... Read More
We have cruised over 15 times, the last four ( with in 2 yrs) with NCL. This was disappointment from the time we entered the ship. We always upgrade to a suite and have been very pleased. This is the first time I used a NCL representative to book and I feel he talked us into the worse suite on the ship. It has a water sealing door instead of an extended window. It was in front of the ship so very, very windy. If we would have been advised, we would have picked a different suite. I feel I would have done better on my own on the website. When boarding the ship there was confusion with the concierge, while we asked to purchase an additional dining package, we were hurried onto the ship and Christopher assured us that this could be done thru the Dining reservation desk. Needless to say, it was never taken care of. It was an issue two nights at diner. We booked a "Catch and Release" fishing excursion. We met in the show room 5 minutes early. We went right to the front and asked the person in charge if we could show him our tickets, to confirm we were in the right place. He asked us to sit down without looking at our tickets. 20 minutes later when again, I indicated we were past the time, he asked what excursion we were going on, radioed someone and then let us know we missed the excursion. This individual was rude and had no customer service skills. We were able to do a later excursion at a higher price. We paid extra for a suite to include Butler and Concierge and I felt as if we were a bother to them. One evening, our Butler knocked on the door and wanted to pick up dirty items. I was in my robe and my husband was in the shower. I indicated we did not need it at the time, he insisted on coming in to clean up. We were advised to meet our concierge by 9:30 on the day of departure. We arrived at 9:00am and waited until 9:30. He did not show up. We got off the ship and that is not the point. We paid to upgrade to get a higher level of service that we did not get. It felt as is the ship was understaffed and service was mediocre. On a positive note, our room steward, Rusty (sp) was great. He always greeted us, watched for us to leave and made up our room. The suite has one electrical outlet. The Dawn does not make up the animals out of your towels that most people have come to expect. The attention to detail is absent. I have learned a couple of things; look at the age of the ship carefully. Just because it has been renovated does not indicate it has spruced up and book your room yourself. Do the research and you will be better off than using a NCL sales person. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I didn't know much about cruises before booking this as my first (my plus one's second), and I started to get nervous once I saw poor reviews for the ship after paying in full. The food was better than I expected and always hot ... Read More
I didn't know much about cruises before booking this as my first (my plus one's second), and I started to get nervous once I saw poor reviews for the ship after paying in full. The food was better than I expected and always hot (we did no specialty dining - ate mostly in the Venetian) but my +1 had eaten lobster and filet frequently on his Carnival cruise so was a bit underwhelmed by the options. We weren't impressed by 95% of our servers. The room was decent for inside, our steward was excellent and made our bed twice each day. We didn't do many activities on board aside from every one of the shows, but we were only strongly interested in a handful of the other options per day. We would have liked to do some of the fitness classes or gameshows or tastings but weren't interested in paying extra. The pool area seemed too small for the ship. Our tender to Harvest Caye wasn't fun and the Tampa port staff for embarkation/disembark got the job done but the staff seemed rude. We didn't find the Sugarcane mojito bar until the last night, which was a bummer... head there first! This trip got the job done for the money. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My wife and I usually choose Norwegian as our preferred cruise line, although we have used several others. We like the casual attitude, the overall friendliness of the staff and the Free Style dining and, so far at least, have preferred ... Read More
My wife and I usually choose Norwegian as our preferred cruise line, although we have used several others. We like the casual attitude, the overall friendliness of the staff and the Free Style dining and, so far at least, have preferred the smaller ships to the new mega-giants. This was our fifth NCL cruise. In fact, our last time at sea, two years ago, was on the Dawn and the same itinerary. We enjoyed it enough then to try it again, although we had been somewhat disappointed last time in both the entertainment and the food. But I believe in second chances and it fit our schedule and budget, so we booked it again. The ship still looks great; fresh and bright and clean. The embarkation process was relatively quick. We were aboard and looked forward to a relaxing week. We were not disappointed. We did book three specialty dinners (Teppanyaki, Cagney's and Le Bistro). Frankly, we've often found the specialty restaurants to be overrated in the past but not this time. All three were excellent. I'm not usually a fan of French cuisine but thought we'd try Le Bistro and we unanimously picked it as our favorite of the cruise. The mussels, mushroom and French onion soups and peppercorn tenderloins were off the charts great! Teppanyaki was not only entertaining but delicious and Cagney's was premier as well. Great prime rib! O'Sheehan's served great American food and both complimentary restaurants served fantastic meals and the wait staff was terrific. We literally had no complaints whatsoever. Service on board is always good and the Dawn's staff did not disappoint. They were outstanding. Our cabin was small. We're used to that on NCL but it's efficient, at least. I do think in the future we'll spring for a larger cabin, though. It's a bit cramped but we spend little time there. The entertainment was much improved over two years ago. I'm a fan of guitar players and there was an excellent one on board. Angel played a wide variety of songs and sang well. He could appeal to virtually any audience and I was impressed with his relaxed style and his talent and ready smile. In addition, the main band also displayed an amazing playlist from disco to Queen and the Beatles, all of which was played and sung beautifully. My only regret is that the cruise only lasted a week. More great memories were made on this, our fifth NCL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Just off the Dawn. This was our 12th cruise. 10th with NCL. We have done this itinerary before, but this was what was available from Tampa, a day after a wedding we attended. No issues with service from staff, from stewards to waiters ... Read More
Just off the Dawn. This was our 12th cruise. 10th with NCL. We have done this itinerary before, but this was what was available from Tampa, a day after a wedding we attended. No issues with service from staff, from stewards to waiters to bar staff, all good. We had the 3 day SDP, and went to Moderno, La Cuchina, and Cagney's all were good. We did one night at Bamboo, our first time it was OK, not great. We had one dinner at O'Sheehans as we wanted to make the early show, quick service. 2 nights in MDR. It seems that menu choices are declining. Had lunches in the Buffet, we always found something to eat, but again the food choices just don't seem as good as when I started cruising years ago. I would like to say the General Mgr Alaine from France was very visible, saw him several times during the week, and he is very personable. We enjoyed the week, but we were not wowed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
this was an easy local cruise because we live in the Tampa area. So it is convenient. This time we used Terminal 2 which is small and does not accomodate the crows on enmabkation day. The ship is old and in need of updating and cleaning. ... Read More
this was an easy local cruise because we live in the Tampa area. So it is convenient. This time we used Terminal 2 which is small and does not accomodate the crows on enmabkation day. The ship is old and in need of updating and cleaning. The food was very good in the Buffet. We though that the Bistro has gone down hill as has Cagneys. Moderno was very good. The ship layout is not good and is confusing. We had been on the Star which is a sister ship and still had issues getting from point A to point B for a few days. The service staff was on the whole great except for the bartenders an the Mohito bar which was slow and surly. We didn't make it to any shows so can't comment on those. Not to be snobish but a lot of the crowd did seem like thw circus just arrived in town. I think Norwegian is going to have to stop the free booze program if they want any decent people who are not drunks to cruise with them. They used to be a better value than Royal but I will not cruise with them again for a one week carribean cruise unless somthing changes Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We sailed on NCL because of the Harrah's Casino At Sea Program, otherwise we might have picked another cruise line. The balcony room had only one 110v plug, not really enough in this day of cell phones and other electronic ... Read More
We sailed on NCL because of the Harrah's Casino At Sea Program, otherwise we might have picked another cruise line. The balcony room had only one 110v plug, not really enough in this day of cell phones and other electronic devices.Bring an adapter to plug in multiple devices. Food was fine in main restaurants, service was excellent in speciality dining. The smoking lounge, a glass box, next to one of the bars was always filled with hazy smoke and when people exited the smoking box the smoke drifted out with them. Want to smoke, just walk down the hall and you will find the room, the smoke smell is that strong. This ship did not have the kid friendly race cars and water slides of the larger NCL ships so if you want to keep the kids occupied this may not be the ship. Lots of music options at the bars, but a bit too loud for socializing. A piano bar with background music would be a good addition. The ship was very clean and the staff attentive. We booked our own tours in ports via the internet and there were also many trip options just at the end of the pier for last minute planners. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I am a BIG NCL fan. I love the service and the friendliness of the crew. I believe Norwegian has the friendliest crew at sea. Same could be said for the hard working men and women on the Dawn, but the Officers are not as friendly as ... Read More
I am a BIG NCL fan. I love the service and the friendliness of the crew. I believe Norwegian has the friendliest crew at sea. Same could be said for the hard working men and women on the Dawn, but the Officers are not as friendly as they are on the Escape #1 and the Getaway coming in at #2 (so take a lesson Dawn officers). To my horror there was no Latin band on board. They had plenty of musical entertainment which had very, very good attendance throughout the cruise, but no Latin on this 2 week cruise. There were terrible dance classes by offered by the staff, but good line dancing classes taught by Jodie the C.D. Jodie was great but her staff was a bit inexperienced. The Production shows were packed, I only attended a few. All and all the cruise was ok for me but the lack of a Latin band was a tough pill to swallow. The Pool area is a joke on this ship the pool is so small for 2300 plus passengers. I found the food to be very good in the main dinning rooms and service was excellent, sometimes we encountered cool food temps in the buffet. I would rate the food from good to very good throughout the 2 weeks on board. I would not like to cruise out of Tampa again unless the cruise is a super giveaway. There is always some type of ridiculous delay at that antiquated port. Last year it was 3 hours to board the Pearl this year it was 2 hours to board the Dawn. Years before this, the same thing. The ship is going to get a 100 million dollar refurbishment. It will become an adult only after the dry dock some time in 2020. Happy cruising to all. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We've cruised for the past few years at this time so we wanted to keep up the tradition even though this year would be without Dad, who passed away only a few weeks after our last cruise in march 2019. This ship was great in that ... Read More
We've cruised for the past few years at this time so we wanted to keep up the tradition even though this year would be without Dad, who passed away only a few weeks after our last cruise in march 2019. This ship was great in that it wasn't so large, so Mom could manage it easily, and it was going to a couple new places we hadn't been before. We traveled on it 8 years ago to Bermuda and although I don't remember it exactly from back then, the updates were fine. Some computer glitch hampered the embarkation but once on, things were good. Thought the meals were great, though not a fan of Bamboo. Shows were good and entertaining. Crew and staff were fine. Only had an issue with trying to get room changed that never happened but we managed. We left before the coronavirus blew up but we did notice that the buffet wasn't self serve for the first few days. Then once it seemed no one was seriously ill, it went back to self serve. Would definitely recommend the ship and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have been cruising with NCL for 19 years and we are Latitudes Gold members. We took this 14 day cruise because the itinerary looked fabulous. Overall the quality of this cruise was only average and NCL in general has declined. Gone are ... Read More
We have been cruising with NCL for 19 years and we are Latitudes Gold members. We took this 14 day cruise because the itinerary looked fabulous. Overall the quality of this cruise was only average and NCL in general has declined. Gone are the towel animals, lobster/shrimp dinners, midnight chocolate buffet, and other perks that simply made the cruise special. NCL has chosen instead to up charge everything. The cost of dining in any speciality restaurant without a purchased dining package is absurd, and would have cost our party of two over $100. A water package is $35 for a case of stale water that tastes like plastic. We got two free waters and a bottle of sparkling wine free in our cabin for being gold members. Despite cruising with them for 19 years we were not offered any upgrade or onboard credit. The latitudes program is just not worth it to stay loyal to NCL. Food: We dined in the Venetian restaurant every night and the food was just average, nothing special. The dress code is too relaxed, shorts and tee shirts are now allowed at dinner and we did not like it at all. Gone are the days of dressing up for dinner. The lunch menu never changed in the Venetian, for a 14 day cruise this is not acceptable. The buffet had a nice variety but we were scared of using the same tongs touched by many people. We noticed many people did not wash before entering the buffet lines. People were filling water bottles and coffee mugs despite signs saying not to do that and NCL was lax in that regard. A water bottle filling station is very much needed. Chairs in both the garden cafe and Venetian restaurants were dirty, they need to be deep cleaned. The decor in the Venetian needs to be overhauled, the paintings did not make any sense. Many people saved chairs around the pool and it was next to impossible to sit out in that area. Long lines were encountered during embarking and there was no real process for priority boarding for gold members. Disembarkation was very fast, we chose to walk off with our bags. We were simply directed out the doors to the cabs and bypassed any customs procedures. The ports were all fabulous although ST. Martin was hit very bad with hurricane Irma. The French side of the island was still devastated with abandoned cars, boats overturned and many buildings not rebuilt. We should have been informed of that situation before booking the island tour excursion with NCL. Cost of excursions in general has gone up. Also be aware, any bottles of alcohol are confiscated, we used to be able to board with a bottle of wine, now NCL charges $15 a bottle to bring one onboard. Our souvenir bottle of Guavaberry Liquor was taken, and we would never have consumed that on board. In general, the quality of a NCL cruise is just not there. I doubt we will cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We are loyal NCL Cruisers having sailed only with NCL. This is our 2nd time on the Dawn.... a great mid size ship..... big enough to have lots of amenities but small enough not be overwhelming. Perhaps because this was a 2 week cruise, ... Read More
We are loyal NCL Cruisers having sailed only with NCL. This is our 2nd time on the Dawn.... a great mid size ship..... big enough to have lots of amenities but small enough not be overwhelming. Perhaps because this was a 2 week cruise, the itinerary or the size of the ship, this Cruise was primarily people in their 50's-70's with very few children. So most activities and entertainment was geared to this age group and the Cruise Director and her staff did an amazing job. We chose this particular cruise because it was 2 weeks, went to many Ports in the Southern Caribbean that we had not been and when we booked (14months prior) we received great perks including a Distinctive Voyage Pkg. Embarkation/ Disembarkation - Due to a computer glitch, there was a delay Embarking, but once the process started, from security, through check in.... we were sitting at the Venetian for lunch within 30min. Disembarkation was the quickest we've ever experienced. Tampa Terminal is easy to get to. Parkway Parking was great. Cabin - Balcony - Deck 9 AFT - Our cabin was perfect for the 2 of us. NCL could upgrade their balcony chairs for something more comfy but all in all, all was good. Our Cabin Steward was friendly, always greeted us and immediately took care of any requests. We had him remove everything for sale out of our fridge etc which gave us room for our own water etc. Meals - We enjoyed all our meals in the main dining rooms and other Complimentary Venues. We did not frequent the buffet but if you want an omelet or fresh eggs cooked the way you like, you are better going there for breakfast. We usually took our breakfast from the buffet to Los Cabos or to the pool deck to eat where it was much quieter and less hectic in the morning. We enjoyed La Cuccina and Le Bistro was a special excellent dinner. Water - While NCL does not use 'single use' plastic water bottles and have implemented biodegradable water 'bottles', they really need to install water filling stations for the many people ( like us) who use our own refillable water bottles. Entertainment - We enjoyed the Stardust theater most nights. Jennifer Fair - great voice but we're not big fans of Opera type music, Soul Rockin Nights- the Dawn Production Cast were excellent. Jackson Rayne - Illusionist- very good. Tom Frankel - amazing pianist, singer and entertainer. Gary Lovini - great violinist. Derek Richards, comedian - good but can be offensive at times. Aaron Shaw- good singer, but also not one of our favorite styles. Elements - totally amazing Music Everywhere - There were 2 or 3 other entertainment options every evening in the Lounges, Atrium and or the Bliss Lounge. Sonata, Rockaway Duo, Al Vendetti, Angel Flavors and DJ Remy - all good with the Rockaway Duo being very popular. The 7 piece Dawn Showband were excellent - played Jazz as well as accompanying many other entertainers in their performances. Stephanie is an incredibly talented and versatile young lady. Bliss Lounge - The Cruise Staff were everywhere, very enthusiastic, inclusive and seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves. They led many Dances, 'game' show's and contests in the Bliss Lounge nightly and all around the ship at various times. Special Events - Chef JJ Johnson was a great addition. We did not attend any of the 'fee' events but enjoyed his cooking presentation in the Atrium. There was also the usual Art Auctions, lots of Photography opportunities, some 'workshops' in the Spa/ Exercise Area (all hoping to sell you something), 'lecture' with fung shei person (not so good) Bars- Staff at Topsiders and O'Sheehans were awesome. Also the staff at Cellars ( great wine bar) where we went most nights for a glass of wine before Dinner. Gatsby's had great staff as well, but the lounge area smelled like cigar/ cigarette smoke from the Cigar lounge and Casino which was too bad as there was good entertainment there as well. Also often crowded. Enjoyed the lounge on 9th floor surrounding the Atrium for Entertainment. We did not take advantage of the Spa, Pulse Fitness or Photography Service's so can't comment on that. Nor did we go to other Specialty Restaurants. NCL App - this was very helpful to check on Activities around the ship. Pool and Sun Deck - We're not always big fans of cruise pools or needing to have a lounge chair near the pool. Instead we found great sun time on the bow -deck 13/14 … a quieter, relaxing area with views of the ocean and not crowds of people. Ports and Shore Excursions: Grand Cayman - Friends who lived in Grand Cayman picked us up and we had a great, personal tour of almost the whole Island..... stopping in Hell, the Rum Beach for snorkeling, the Rum Factory for a few tastings, lunch, local beers and other points of interest not always on the tourist route. Previously we had snorkeled with the sting ray and on reef - a great experience. Aruba - Tour with Kukoo Kanuka - fun bus ride, learning lots about the local culture and sights while getting into a fun Island spirit. Enjoyed going to the little Chapel at Alta Vista - interesting ride up there, great views of the ocean and amazing amount of cactus. Casabari Rock Formation - neat to see and climb for views. Dropped at Surfside Beach -(near airport) ok but no snorkeling. Opted to stay longer and walked (15min.) back along the shore stopping at a Bar on the Beach (near Port) for a local beer. Bonaire - Champagne Fun Cruise & Snorkel- Captain and his 'mermaids' were a good crew of their 40 foot cruiser ( not catamaran). Smaller group was nice. Quite windy morning so may be why we did not cruise very far. Stopped twice on reef in Marine Park.... not far from shore to snorkel. Good. Complimentary champagne & snack. Double Dip Snorkel with Sea Cow in the afternoon was great if you really want to experience the reef off Klein Bonaire. This is a guided drift snorkel - great. Wandered around the touristy port and found the Bonaire Craft Brewery - okay. Barbados- Walked a ways from Port but since it was Sunday.... nothing open. Did the Harrison's Cave & Scenic Drive - not much of a scenic drive and our driver/ guide was 'soso'. He left us at the entrance to cave with no real explanation where we waited about 45min. to enter the cave. Found out later there were some trails we could have walked. The Caves were amazing and that part of the tour was worth it. St. Lucia - Soufriere by Land & Sea was a great excursion. Although we wish the Bus ride through, up & down along the very winding road from Soufriere was the first part, we mostly enjoyed the Catamaran part of tour and seeing the Pitons from the water. The staff were excellent. The waterfalls stop was refreshing. The Plantation was interesting and lunch was a typical Caribbean style affair. Antigua - Rainforest Canopy Tour - 12 ziplines, 4 swing bridges, staff were focused on safety and fun. A great adventure. Bus ride there was not guided..... just a ride. Walked through 'town' to St. John's Church... historical, beautiful. St. Martin - our 3rd visit here where we previously did Sailing Race, and a great day long boat tour all around the Island so this time we opted for a Bus Tour taking us from the Dutch side to the French & back. Enjoyed learning about the history & culture. Included was a 45min. catamaran tour of Simpson's Bay - best part of tour. On our own, we went to Caribbean Brewing - a new Craft Brewery only 5 min. walk from the gate of the Port. Met the owner and had a great tour and tastings - best beer we had at any of the Ports. If you like Craft Breweries, make this part of your day for sure. San Yuan - Bus tour to El Junque Rain Forest - Nice buses, excellent tour guide, very organized. A unique experience to be in the this well preserved rain forest. Wandered Old San Yuan on our own and found our way to LaTaberno - a bar with huge selection of craft beers. Interesting narrow streets and local culture. All in all, we were so glad to have two weeks on this cruise.... so much to see and do. Very relaxing and lots of fun. While there may be little things we could critique, there were minor in comparison to all the great aspects that we chose to focus on. Thank you NCL for all the ways you thought to make this an enjoyable experience and insuring our safety at Sea. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Relatively good cruise. It was our longest but it was over before we knew it. The embarkation process was problematic. We had to sit in wheelchair access section and wait to be called. That section was in the direct line of the sun. I ... Read More
Relatively good cruise. It was our longest but it was over before we knew it. The embarkation process was problematic. We had to sit in wheelchair access section and wait to be called. That section was in the direct line of the sun. I was sunburned before I got on the ship. Plus there was a computer problem that shut down the the baggage check just as we stepped up the the conveyor belt. It was a tediously & long (maybe 15 minutes) wait on a cane, after sitting in a hot sun-whipped melting chair before checking in. Waiting on staff with the wheelchair was an additional wait, but access went smooth after we boarded. The Dawn has been refurbished, but still ranked "old" for the wife and I. One of the main reasons is because it only had one U.S./American electrical outlet. Luckily we were smart enough to bring a surge extension that included 4 additional outlets & 3 USB recharge ports. We had a mini-suite on deck 11 (11572). The bathroom toilet area smelled of urine, but we did not alert the cabin steward because we did not want a bleachy and/or air fragrance odor applied. We had some issues with the room safe & had to call for service twice. It was discovered that my code would not work because at least 3-4 numbers on the keypad were not working. No new safes were available nor a technician that could remedy the situation so I just changed my code to include only those numbers that worked. Other than that the cabin was fine. Our cabin steward was Bernard and did did a great job of keeping our cabin clean (beds made, ice delivered daily, linen changed, trash removed promptly, etc.) Food: The main dining rooms were good (Aqua & the Venetian) and we had little trouble with our early dinner or breakfast arrangements. The Garden buffet was okay, but many times the beef & chicken entrees were dry & tough. The other choices were much better (i.e., salads, paninis, pizza, oxtails, fries, mixed roasted vegies, etc.) The loved Bamboo & Los Lobos but got some tough meat mostly beef) was served to us at Moderno. The chicken & filet mignon were exceptional. La Cucina, Le Bistro, O'Sheehans & Cagney's Steakhouse were all good. Entertainment: The Rockaway Duo was top-notch 5-star and we followed them every evening to the Atrium. The sound system was good & the ambiance of the Atrium venue (4- see-thru elevators behind the stage sandwiched in the middle by a 4-tier balcony, surrounded by a 2 level balcony for additional seating & listening enjoyment.) The song choices were mostly country with some R&B oldies mixed in. Unfortunately some evenings slow ballads were sung and that was a bad choice for folks who were generally older and getting tired anyway. We would have liked to listen to the jazz from the house band but they played too late at night. Music performed at poolside was generally good but more variety with reggae & Caribbean music should have been included. The workers: All of the servers, bartenders, customer service staff, room stewards, food servers/cooks & managers were excellent people....very courteous, friendly, easily approachable and ready assist. Our excursion: Since we don't walk that well in uneven areas, stairs & skip the beach scenes we only went on one excursion..in Puerto Rico. The Fiesta Latina which included performances & Latino history from 80-year old open-hand guitar legend Juan Carlos. He & the dancers were fabulous, but we had a few issues beforehand on where we were to meet for the transportation. By the time we figured out where we were to meet we were at the back of the line. No problem! Once we disembarked our air conditioned coach (& after 8-10 unexpected steps leading up & into the venue) we were treated to a tasty cup of sangria & then a great small stage show. Loved it. All in all our 14-day cruise was quite enjoyable. Initially we dreaded that it might be too long, but the time flashed by so fast we were envious of those staying on-board to go out again on the next sailing. We also met some great guests on-board that help make the cruise a bit more colorful. We can't wait to sail again. next year. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We like to avoid the Midwest winters so we have been somewhat regular cruisers (usually with NCL) since 1978 on the Skyward. Memorable cruises have included the Norway. We were on the cruise prior to the unfortunate, tragic 2003 Miami ... Read More
We like to avoid the Midwest winters so we have been somewhat regular cruisers (usually with NCL) since 1978 on the Skyward. Memorable cruises have included the Norway. We were on the cruise prior to the unfortunate, tragic 2003 Miami boiler room explosion that was the beginning of the end for that beautiful ship. Another memorable cruise was the slow passage by Monserrat shortly after that deadly volcanic eruption. The captain narrated the best "excursion" we have ever experienced as we passed the island and viewed the somber devastation. It was like an Alaskan glacier experience but more awesome in scope. So resuming, we had the "free air" package and flew from Chicago to Charlotte (about 1.5 hour gap) then on to Tampa on American. We had a nonstop return from Tampa on American. All went smooth including our one day in advance Park,Stay,andFly from Hyatt Regency O'Hare. For the price of a reasonable one night hotel stay we had parking provided at no additional cost for the duration in their covered parking tower. Shuttle was free to O'Hare for our morning flight. We paid the $25 deviation fee for our Tampa flight to insure we arrived a day prior. We know that snow and flight delays can cause anxiety and frustration to embarkation. So we stayed at the Holiday Inn Westshore the night before our cruise. Shuttle provided from airport and we arranged a shuttle to cruise port for $10 per person Waiting lines developed at Tampa cruise dock #2. A computer glitch was described as the cause for the delay. The mainly senior citizen crowd were surprisingly understanding-I think the boarding staff were quite surprised. All of the usual photo ops etc. were abandoned to avoid more delay. On board, we quickly observed the buffet had crew serving all the food, passengers were not permitted to self serve for three more days. Obviously Coronavirus was a concern to all passengers now and at that time. I was impressed with NCL's response. It was later rumored the prior cruise had a number of guests who had experienced gastrointestinal issues on their cruise. I won't elaborate, I have no proof, just hearsay but it might explain the food serving situation as we started our cruise. I thought the crew was doing an enormous amount of cleaning throughout the ship, especially in the lodging areas. At any rate, the food was always enjoyable from all the venues. We are Latitudes Platinum and had booked an obstructed ocean view, our bids for balcony were rejected despite being good on the for-cast meter. We were fine but we both missed the loveseat provided in balcony or suite. Sitting upright has some advantages but the view and natural sunlight were more than adequate. Despite being Platinum for years it was my first time attending the Captain's Latitude reception. Nobody really talks to the crew anyway. I don't need the recognition aspect but enjoyed the free beer. Am I describing myself too accurately? My wife and went on the "behind the scenes tour" for Latitudes members and enjoyed it immensely. Three categories were displayed-Stardust Theatre backstage, laundry facilities, and finally the galley kitchen area. It's incredible that the dancers and performers basically run behind stage and change costumes on stairwells and hallways. Their dressing rooms are further removed and not available during performances. The shows seamless transitions are remarkable. The laundry facilities were surprising in volume of activity but somewhat loud, I had trouble listening to the explanation of the tour. The galley or kitchens would impress almost anyone. We concentrated on the food prep areas. On a prior cruise tour I got to experience the frozen freezers and dairy coolers which I admire greatly having been in the supermarket business for my entire career. We didn't tour these reserve areas this cruise. The seas were some of the smoothest we have ever experienced although one or two people claimed they experienced some issues, none for us in that respect. Our internet service was probably the worst we've ever experienced. It took forever to get a connection. We had a 250 minute package but couldn't even use it-I could hardly get wifi. When I needed to confirm our return flights I went to the internet café and the mgr. got me right in so I admire him-he was helpful. We like to walk a loop around deck 7 Promenade, four times around is 1.4 miles. Some people walk or run around the sun deck however. The shows were always good to great as we think NCL always provides. I'm always ultra impressed with NCL's show bands. These professionals are always exceptional. All the entertainers were complementing Steffie, the female leader and sax player of the band. I won't go to much length about our excursions but Barbados was impressive-I wasn't impressed years ago. The la Soufriere volcano in St. Lucia was interesting although some of the poverty is depressing. In defense of Caribbean islanders, imagine what life would be like if one had to experience hurricanes frequently basically destroying all progress. The Grand Cayman brewery and distillery were fun, Aruba and Bonaire were beautiful and they are outside of the hurricane zone, maybe explaining their more affluent appearance. As we approached our last island, Puerto Rico, I expected to see a disheveled environment but was very pleasantly surprised. We have been there at least four times in forty years and the recent development was impressive. I was told that the more provincial areas are hurting but that the government has concentrated efforts in San Juan because of the tourism industry and it appeared true. The old downtown charm was nice and some of the change near the coast of San Juan was grand in appearance. I came down with a case of gastrointestinal issues near the end of our cruise. My symptoms were severe but short lived. I share this, not to scare anyone, but to say that stuff happens. I have no idea how or where I caught this as I am very careful but fortunately it was over swiftly. I self reported to the ship doctor and was isolated in my room for 24 hours. My wife never got ill despite being by my side much of the time. I never had a headache, fever, chills or body ache so after my initial discomfort was not miserable-just didn't want to infect anyone else. I'll probably get a bill for the doctor, but oh well. Our embarkation was perhaps our smoothest ever. We boarded a bus that took us to Tampa airport. They have become more sophisticated, disembarkation used to be so disorganized. A word about service, the entire crew was very congenial and helpful, couldn't have been much better. We plan to cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii in September. Although the cruise industry is projected to endure some bumps from Corona it's probably an opportune time to catch some respectable pricing advantages. We will see what the future holds. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our 12th cruise. It was our fifth cruise with Norwegian. I am evaluating this cruise in comparison to the other 11 cruises we’ve taken. I believe food is 50% of the total experience, Service is 20% of the total experience, ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise. It was our fifth cruise with Norwegian. I am evaluating this cruise in comparison to the other 11 cruises we’ve taken. I believe food is 50% of the total experience, Service is 20% of the total experience, entertainment is 20% of the total experience and bars are 10% of the total experience. I am not factoring in anything for shore excursions because due to a previous poor experience using Norwegian for the shore excursions, we elected to use an Internet site in titled shoreexcursions.com rather than using Norwegian. Food 2 out of 5 Cruising has changed dramatically in the past 15 years. In their quest to keep cost under control, the cruise lines have reduced the value of the meals in the main dining room. They offer specialty dining at an up charge. This is where you will find your nicer meals. Main Dining Room Dinner Meals were generally overcooked and dry. There wasn’t a huge variety of higher end entrées offered. They always had rotisserie chicken, a half inch thick New York strip steak which would be of a choice quality, and fried flounder. I had to rotisserie chicken twice and found the portions to be very large and surprisingly the chicken was cooked perfectly. The other meals that I selected were mostly served very dry and Overcooked, especially the seafood. Note that lobster is no longer offered whatsoever on Norwegian Cruise lines and there was a limited amount of shrimp and other higher and Seafoods available. Specialty Dining Teppanyaki. 4 of 5 The show was great and the food was very good. There was a very large amount of fried rice available which was tasty. The filet was very lean and tasty as were the shrimp which were large and properly cooked. Specialty Dining LaCucina 3 of 5 Not a particularly memorable meal. The one outstanding item was the caprese salad which came with a very large (approximately four ounce) Of fresh mozzarella cheese. The cheese was rich and creamy and very tasty. The rest of the meal was nothing special. If I could do it over, we would skip La Cucina and dine at Le Bistro for a second time. Cagney’s Steahouse. 3 of 5 Overall the steak was pretty good, I had the ribeye. Unfortunately, they do not have steak sauce. Sounds crazy right, after all it is a steakhouse. They offer special sauces such as béarnaise etc., but do not have anything like A-1, HP or my favorite Heinz 57. When I asked for steak sauce I was first told they did not have any. Then a small metal container of cocktail sauce, the kind that you would place on a shrimp cocktail was presented as their in-house made special steak sauce. I tried to explain to the server that this was cocktail sauce that was meant to be used on seafood and not to be used on steak. He Insisted that this was their special steak sauce. I just gave up trying to explain the difference to him and really didn’t eat much of my steak because I don’t like steak without steak sauce. Never in 1 million years would I have thought that a steakhouse would not have steak sauce. So how can I give them anything above three? Specialty Dining Moderno 3 of 5 Moderno is a Brazilian steakhouse. It has an awesome salad bar with over 43 items, all of which were fresh and tasty. The meat service continues until you were full. There were various types of meat ranging from pork sausages to filet mignon. In addition they serve a cinnamon coated grilled pineapple which is amazing. Interestingly once again a Brazilian steakhouse did not have steak sauce. I did notice that a one steak sauce was available on the buffet line in the garden café. I almost got up from the table and went to the 12th floor to the Garden Café to retrieve a bottle. Needless to say I didn’t eat much steak without the sauce again. Specialty Dining LeBistro 4 of 5 Beware, Le Bistro is one of the few restaurants on the ship that has a dress code. Men must be in collared shirts and long pants with clothes shoes. I ordered a T-bone steak which did not appear on the regular menu, but which a fellow cruiser recommended. It was prepared perfectly and very tasty. And yes they actually had steak sauce, A-1. Unfortunately, both a table made and I ordered the escargot. I really like escargot and this was the only offering I saw of escargot on the ship. Both of us became extremely ill later that evening. We both believe the escargot was not fresh. That only a rating of four. Given a chance I would do Le Bistro two out of the five specially Dining meals that are included in the package, avoiding Los Lobos which is the Mexican food and La Cucina which is the Italian food. Garden Cafe Buffet, lunch and breakfast 1 of 5 The garden café actually ran out of skim milk one full day before the cruise was over. In addition they ran out of raisin bran. They had removed the raisin bran about one week into the cruise, but if you asked for it they would bring it to you. This was before they ran out. To me running out of food before the cruise is completed Is simply inexcusable. In this day of big data, a well run operation should never have this happen. In addition the organization of the buffet line was insane. First you gathered your plate in the very next thing on the buffet line was the condiment station, with catchup, mustard, A1 steak sauce etc. Now since you don’t know what you’re going to select to eat, you have no way of knowing which condiments you would like. So what happens is everyone gets their food and then hast to cut back in line to get the condiments. This simply created turmoil. I brought this to the attention of the supervisor who seem confused because they had previously removed the catchup and mustard from the tables and placed it in the buffet line due to the spread of a stomach virus which they believed was coming from people touching the condiment bottles. I am fine with removing the bottles to help reduce the spread of disease. This just makes sense. Replacing them where they did in the buffet line made no sense at all and the supervisor seem to have difficulty in understanding this. The coffee bar was similarly disorganized. Entertainment 2 of 5 The entertainment was poor overall. In this category I am including the house band, which was excellent, particularly Steffi, The featured entertainment, the afternoon activities, pool activities and the evening activities as well as the cruise director. House band, 5 out of 5 stars. A very talented group of musicians. Jennifer Fair. 1 of 5. Really If I could give a zero I would. She totally missed the mark with the audience in both her performance is where she sang with she loved as opposed to what the audience could relate to. She is a classical singer and performed opera which really nobody enjoyed. When she said she was leaving the ship on Saturday, which was in the middle of the cruise, no one said awe. I kind of felt bad for her. Tom Frankel pianist 5 of 5 Well it may sound odd to give a pianist a five out of five rating, but Tom earned it. he plays the piano behind his back, On his head and in other crazy positions. His song choices were outstanding in both his performances. People were genuinely disappointed when he left the ship in the middle of the cruise. Derek the Irish comedian 5 of 5 This guy was hysterical, particularly in his late night comedy show. He’s currently appearing on prime. People were really laughing at his jokes. Magician 3 of 5 I really like the magicians, so I enjoyed both the magicians acts along with the afternoon activities where he taught you how to perform card tricks. I have to admit that his illusions were very basic and his show but nonetheless enjoyable. Violinist Gary Levino 3 of 5 His first show was OK but his second show was very good. He had a very strong selection of songs for a second show which the audience loved. They were all recognizable including several Star Wars songs Pool Activities 1 of 5 It was in extremely limited number of pool activities for a 14 day cruise. I can recall three specifically, sexy legs for men, Best Buy subs for women, and a volleyball competition. For a two week cruise there needed to be many more activities around the pool, particularly with over five days at sea. Other day time and evening activities 1 of 5 Again there just weren’t a lot of activities for a 14 day cruise. They had the newlywed game one evening which was very funny. They had a hoedown which was poorly attended and ended early. They also had a fruit buffet which was very nice. Cruise Director 1 of 5 Jodie, our cruise director was absolutely the worst cruise director we experienced in our 12 cruises. She seem to enjoy introducing the entertainment and was present at anything that had to do with the line dancing, but other than that you never saw her around the ship. On other cruises we would see the cruise director several times each day. I also placed the lack of activities in particular the lack of pool activities at the foot of Jody since she is the director. We learned on the final night of the cruise that Jodie was leaving the ship as her contract was up. It just seemed that her heart was not into this cruise. And it showed. Service 3 of 5 Our cabin steward appear to be a hard-working guy and our room was always meet up and clean. But this is the standard, it earns a three. There were no tile animals present at any time throughout the cruise in our cabin however on Valentine’s Day he did form a heart with the blanket. He did not come around and introduce himself when the crew started, and we did not even see him until late on the fourth day of the cruise, but I place the blame on Norwegian for not providing proper training. We did tip him extra because he seem to be a very hard-working individual. With proper training I believe he could become an outstanding cabin steward. Food Service Aside from the aforementioned the bottles with the steak sauce in the organization of the buffet line coffee bar, one of my pet peeve‘s is when a server reaches across other diners to provide water water to deliver the food, particularly when there was ample space for him to walk around the table and serve it properly. This happened on numerous occasions. Norwegian needs to do a better job of training it’s waiters. People pay a lot of money to go on a cruise and I do believe have the right to expect superior service. Embarkation 2 of 5 This is probably an anomaly, but the system crashed on the day of embarkation causing a one hour plus delay in the ability to board the ship. Once the system came up the process flowed smoothly. Bar Service 3 of 5 Nothing spectacular, except in O’Sheehans, where the service range from above average to occasionally been excellent. . Nickel and Dime you When you were in US waters, the ship is required to pay sales tax to the local municipality. They charge you for the sales tax which ran about $.80 per drink. I would like to believe that when we paid over $8000 to take the cruise that they could’ve found a way to absorb this cost. My total sales tax for the entire cruise was less than $10. This just seem to be very petty on Norwegians part. Norwegian has a nice online app the permit you to message him to call other parties on the ship if they have signed up for the app. The cost is $9.95 per person, not per cabin. At $9.95 per cabin, this would be a good value if the app worked properly. There were lengthy delays between the sending and the receipt of the text messages. This ultimately Led to me not using the app at all due to its unreliability. Once they get the app working properly, in my opinion they should give it to the members of their latitude club. The latitude club is their version of a frequent customer plan. It really does not provide much in the way of benefits other than priority check-in and a bottle of sparkling wine in your room (which doesn’t do much when you were on the unlimited drink plan). It would be a nice perk for their loyal customers. Overall we thought the value received for an expenditure in excess of $8000 was just not there. We selected the cruise based upon the ports that were visited and we were very happy with port visits. However based upon the poor food and average entertainment we will most likely use another cruise line in the future. For reference purposes we have cruised on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean in addition to Norwegian Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Norwegian Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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