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We're seniors with a few cruises under our belts. We generally cruise alone & are not big mixers. We cruised with NCL in 2000 on the Majesty & had a horrible trip but decided it was time to give NCL Freestyle a try since our preferred cruise line won't easily accommodate our preference to dine alone. A friend picked us up @ 11:30 & took us to the pier. We arrived @ 11:00 & were onboard @ 11:45. Luggage drop off luggage was somewhat confusing but we managed & headed to check-in. We were very surprised to have our photo taken for our onboard account when checking in, but it seemed more efficient than getting into another line. Our first view of the Centrum was underwhelming. Too many people, many as confused as we were, moving in circles & going nowhere. I made a reservation for dinner that night at Cagney's, grabbed a couple of maps of the ship, & we headed to the nearest bar. Pearly Kings was very busy with only one bartender & no working computers. Every check was handwritten so things were moving very slowly. We finally got our drinks & started studying the map to acquaint ourselves with the ship. Cabins were ready when we boarded so after a second drink we headed to deck 10 aft..................... & immediately got lost! When we finally got ourselves turned around we found our cabin with no problem & were happy to see luggage waiting for us. We were less happy when we entered our balcony cabin. Based on the NCL website info, we thought the cabin was a little larger than the D category we generally cruise in on Voyager Class ships but it appeared more the size of an E. That was okay until we started unpacking............... Storage is awful! There are only three drawers for non hanging items & shelves on the side of the closet. The lower shelves are very difficult to use once you've hung anything up & they don't pull out so seeing what's on them is tough if you have any trouble bending. There's a shelf above the TV, at the vanity, two on each side of the closet, & that's pretty much it. Two of them beside the closet were too high for us to use & the one over the TV was also high but since it was open, I put stuff on the front of it & figured I could stand on the chair if anything slid too far back. I asked our cabin steward to remove the coffee machine so we could use that shelf & we were okay. We found places for everything but it looked messy all the time. The bathroom is another story.................... It's divided into three sections & whoever dreamed up that concept should be drawn & quartered!! Entering, you're in the middle section with the sink. There's a small shelf above the sink, part of which is taken with two glasses, the usual shelf below with the bath mat & trash can, & that's it! We use toothbrush holders that stick to the mirror with suction cups which I put under the shelf & once I put the essentials on the shelf, it was full & messy looking. The sink was large with the faucet on the side & hand soap in a dispenser on the side. The shower was large with a dispenser containing shampoo & soap & a small shelf. It had a sliding door, a grab bar (naturally) & was quite roomy. The toilet area was the same size as the shower & it was horrendous! It had a toilet paper holder in the corner with an ashtray above it & also had a sliding door like the shower. I'd love to know how big the person who designed this was......... We're not small people & both need to lose a few pounds but even taking that into consideration, I don't know how they thought this was a good idea! You go in sideways, turn, sit, stand, turn (to flush), turn, & finally out sideways. I'm sure there are many variations of this but the fact remains, this is a stupid design. I have no doubt there are many people that leave their cabin to use the public facilities because they can't fit through the door to the toilet!! Those same people would also not fit through the shower doors & probably showered in the spa or gym............... or maybe they just went to the hot tub? Okay, we now know we hate our cabin but decide it's time to get some food & hope that will cheer us up. We know the MDR is open for lunch but decide to check out the buffet & try to get acquainted with the ship. Our cabin is right by the aft elevators so we go up two decks & we're there. Finding it was easy, finding food, not so much. For us, the different stations were confusing & in many cases, the combinations didn't make any sense. We finally found burgers & fries & settled for that. We located a table without too much of a hassle & sat down. Finding the napkins with silverware on the table was a pleasant surprise. I wondered where it was but since we had what's basically finger food I wasn't overly concerned. We didn't see anyone serving drinks so I got coffee for DH & water for myself. When we finished, we decided it was time to locate our muster station. We left the buffet from a different door but weren't too concerned. We walked down to deck 7 & were by the elevators @ the Aqua dining room but couldn't find N2. I asked a crew member who told me it was in the Venetian dining room. Okay, checked the map &, although we tried, couldn't get to the Venetian from where we were. Our weary legs went up, walked to the aft elevators, down to the Venetian & finally we were where we belonged. (I may have the deck #'s wrong here, we were completely turned around at that point, tired & frustrated) I was surprised & pleased that we didn't find ourselves waiting for the stragglers which happens so often & it went quickly. I found out the next day that they have another drill for those that didn't make it on day one which explains why we weren't held up waiting for anyone! Dinner @ Cagney's on our first night was recommended by a friend & after roaming around to find it, it turned out to be just what we needed after a not so great start to this vacation! The food & service were excellent & it was the first time all day we truly relaxed. Of course we spent most of our meal discussing how awful the cabin was, how confusing the ship was to navigate, & trying to convince each other that we could manage. After all, it was only a week........... This was the only alternative restaurant we used. The rest of the week we had dinner in Aqua & the Venetian (once). We never got the hang of the buffet & after a couple of tries, had breakfast & lunch in the Venetian for the remainder of the cruise. Food & service in the dining rooms was, in our estimation, the best we've had since we started cruising in 1990. NCL has an abundance of staff in their dining rooms & they are outstanding. They work together seamlessly & obviously understand the team concept. The same cannot be said for the buffet. Staff in the buffet handles food & clears tables, period. Everything else is do it yourself & the area itself is, in our opinion, very poorly designed. There does seem to be plenty of seating but there's not enough walking space especially when people are carrying multiple. Once we had an understanding of the ship's layout, we got around pretty well. DH has knee problems & I've got some issues with a leg so walking is difficult for us right now. I think the Dawn is comparable in size to the Voyager Class ships we generally cruise on but it seemed like we were doing a lot more walking! It's probably just that we weren't up to par for this trip but in the future, we'll definitely go with a midship cabin. We were in an aft cabin, one down from the elevators & it was convenient to the buffet & the Venetian but not much else. We're casino people & spend most of our time at the tables. I can't say enough good things about the casino on the Dawn. First & foremost, we were very impressed by its size. Plenty of slots & tables & there's room to walk around &/or through it without bumping & banging into people, chairs, or machines. I was able to purchase discounted chips & slot play pre cruise & love that the tables open @ 9:00 am on sea days. The staff is wonderful! They are all pleasant & show their appreciation of tips by banging the chip on the table & shouting "for the dealer" (or a variation) to which all of the dealers, supervisors, & managers respond "thank you." We've been cruising another line since 1990 & have never experienced that kind of appreciation. Some dealers are smiling & pleasant, others are just doing their job. This group was happy, cordial, & a pleasure to play with. As an added bonus, we didn't pay for a drink all week & received a small credit off our bill based on points accrued on our Players Club cards! Although we spend a lot of time, & money at the tables, we have never received a complementary drink on prior cruises. Paying for our own drinks isn't a big deal but, again, it's all about showing that they appreciate our business. Bermuda had perfect weather & having been there several times, we decided to stay in the Dockyard area. I swam with the dolphins @ Dolphin Quest (booked direct), visited the Glassworks (love watching them work), & had dinner @ the Frog & Onion. (Their Cottage Pie is terrific.) Other than that, we spent our time onboard enjoying the relatively quiet ship & pool deck. The only show we saw was the magic show & it was very good. Amazingly, our last morning was stress free & easy. We were up early & had our final breakfast in the Venetian. Unlike prior cruises, we received the same wonderful service we had come to expect......... None of the usual abruptness from the staff anxious to see our backs so they could get ready for the next group of cruisers. We chose the "walk off" option once we were reasonably sure we wouldn't find ourselves trying to take our luggage down any stairs so, after breakfast we went back to our cabin to freshen up, grabbed our suitcases, got an elevator to deck 7 without delay & were ready to go. Only one problem, it was only about 7:30 & the ship hadn't been cleared yet! Not a big deal. We moved as far forward as we could & sat in one of the many window seats to wait. The ship was cleared about 8:30 & we were waiting for our ride by 9:00.

Loyal Royals on the Dawn!

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by phoenix1181

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2012
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
We're seniors with a few cruises under our belts. We generally cruise alone & are not big mixers. We cruised with NCL in 2000 on the Majesty & had a horrible trip but decided it was time to give NCL Freestyle a try since our preferred cruise line won't easily accommodate our preference to dine alone.

A friend picked us up @ 11:30 & took us to the pier. We arrived @ 11:00 & were onboard @ 11:45. Luggage drop off luggage was somewhat confusing but we managed & headed to check-in. We were very surprised to have our photo taken for our onboard account when checking in, but it seemed more efficient than getting into another line.

Our first view of the Centrum was underwhelming. Too many people, many as confused as we were, moving in circles & going nowhere. I made a reservation for dinner that night at Cagney's, grabbed a couple of maps of the ship, & we headed to the nearest bar. Pearly Kings was very busy with only one bartender & no working computers. Every check was handwritten so things were moving very slowly. We finally got our drinks & started studying the map to acquaint ourselves with the ship. Cabins were ready when we boarded so after a second drink we headed to deck 10 aft..................... & immediately got lost! When we finally got ourselves turned around we found our cabin with no problem & were happy to see luggage waiting for us.

We were less happy when we entered our balcony cabin. Based on the NCL website info, we thought the cabin was a little larger than the D category we generally cruise in on Voyager Class ships but it appeared more the size of an E. That was okay until we started unpacking............... Storage is awful! There are only three drawers for non hanging items & shelves on the side of the closet. The lower shelves are very difficult to use once you've hung anything up & they don't pull out so seeing what's on them is tough if you have any trouble bending. There's a shelf above the TV, at the vanity, two on each side of the closet, & that's pretty much it. Two of them beside the closet were too high for us to use & the one over the TV was also high but since it was open, I put stuff on the front of it & figured I could stand on the chair if anything slid too far back. I asked our cabin steward to remove the coffee machine so we could use that shelf & we were okay. We found places for everything but it looked messy all the time.

The bathroom is another story.................... It's divided into three sections & whoever dreamed up that concept should be drawn & quartered!! Entering, you're in the middle section with the sink. There's a small shelf above the sink, part of which is taken with two glasses, the usual shelf below with the bath mat & trash can, & that's it! We use toothbrush holders that stick to the mirror with suction cups which I put under the shelf & once I put the essentials on the shelf, it was full & messy looking. The sink was large with the faucet on the side & hand soap in a dispenser on the side.

The shower was large with a dispenser containing shampoo & soap & a small shelf. It had a sliding door, a grab bar (naturally) & was quite roomy. The toilet area was the same size as the shower & it was horrendous! It had a toilet paper holder in the corner with an ashtray above it & also had a sliding door like the shower. I'd love to know how big the person who designed this was......... We're not small people & both need to lose a few pounds but even taking that into consideration, I don't know how they thought this was a good idea! You go in sideways, turn, sit, stand, turn (to flush), turn, & finally out sideways. I'm sure there are many variations of this but the fact remains, this is a stupid design. I have no doubt there are many people that leave their cabin to use the public facilities because they can't fit through the door to the toilet!! Those same people would also not fit through the shower doors & probably showered in the spa or gym............... or maybe they just went to the hot tub?

Okay, we now know we hate our cabin but decide it's time to get some food & hope that will cheer us up. We know the MDR is open for lunch but decide to check out the buffet & try to get acquainted with the ship. Our cabin is right by the aft elevators so we go up two decks & we're there. Finding it was easy, finding food, not so much. For us, the different stations were confusing & in many cases, the combinations didn't make any sense. We finally found burgers & fries & settled for that. We located a table without too much of a hassle & sat down. Finding the napkins with silverware on the table was a pleasant surprise. I wondered where it was but since we had what's basically finger food I wasn't overly concerned. We didn't see anyone serving drinks so I got coffee for DH & water for myself.

When we finished, we decided it was time to locate our muster station. We left the buffet from a different door but weren't too concerned. We walked down to deck 7 & were by the elevators @ the Aqua dining room but couldn't find N2. I asked a crew member who told me it was in the Venetian dining room. Okay, checked the map &, although we tried, couldn't get to the Venetian from where we were. Our weary legs went up, walked to the aft elevators, down to the Venetian & finally we were where we belonged. (I may have the deck #'s wrong here, we were completely turned around at that point, tired & frustrated) I was surprised & pleased that we didn't find ourselves waiting for the stragglers which happens so often & it went quickly. I found out the next day that they have another drill for those that didn't make it on day one which explains why we weren't held up waiting for anyone!

Dinner @ Cagney's on our first night was recommended by a friend & after roaming around to find it, it turned out to be just what we needed after a not so great start to this vacation! The food & service were excellent & it was the first time all day we truly relaxed. Of course we spent most of our meal discussing how awful the cabin was, how confusing the ship was to navigate, & trying to convince each other that we could manage. After all, it was only a week...........
This was the only alternative restaurant we used. The rest of the week we had dinner in Aqua & the Venetian (once). We never got the hang of the buffet & after a couple of tries, had breakfast & lunch in the Venetian for the remainder of the cruise. Food & service in the dining rooms was, in our estimation, the best we've had since we started cruising in 1990. NCL has an abundance of staff in their dining rooms & they are outstanding. They work together seamlessly & obviously understand the team concept. The same cannot be said for the buffet. Staff in the buffet handles food & clears tables, period. Everything else is do it yourself & the area itself is, in our opinion, very poorly designed. There does seem to be plenty of seating but there's not enough walking space especially when people are carrying multiple.

Once we had an understanding of the ship's layout, we got around pretty well. DH has knee problems & I've got some issues with a leg so walking is difficult for us right now. I think the Dawn is comparable in size to the Voyager Class ships we generally cruise on but it seemed like we were doing a lot more walking! It's probably just that we weren't up to par for this trip but in the future, we'll definitely go with a midship cabin. We were in an aft cabin, one down from the elevators & it was convenient to the buffet & the Venetian but not much else.

We're casino people & spend most of our time at the tables. I can't say enough good things about the casino on the Dawn. First & foremost, we were very impressed by its size. Plenty of slots & tables & there's room to walk around &/or through it without bumping & banging into people, chairs, or machines. I was able to purchase discounted chips & slot play pre cruise & love that the tables open @ 9:00 am on sea days. The staff is wonderful! They are all pleasant & show their appreciation of tips by banging the chip on the table & shouting "for the dealer" (or a variation) to which all of the dealers, supervisors, & managers respond "thank you." We've been cruising another line since 1990 & have never experienced that kind of appreciation. Some dealers are smiling & pleasant, others are just doing their job. This group was happy, cordial, & a pleasure to play with. As an added bonus, we didn't pay for a drink all week & received a small credit off our bill based on points accrued on our Players Club cards! Although we spend a lot of time, & money at the tables, we have never received a complementary drink on prior cruises. Paying for our own drinks isn't a big deal but, again, it's all about showing that they appreciate our business.

Bermuda had perfect weather & having been there several times, we decided to stay in the Dockyard area. I swam with the dolphins @ Dolphin Quest (booked direct), visited the Glassworks (love watching them work), & had dinner @ the Frog & Onion. (Their Cottage Pie is terrific.) Other than that, we spent our time onboard enjoying the relatively quiet ship & pool deck.

The only show we saw was the magic show & it was very good.

Amazingly, our last morning was stress free & easy. We were up early & had our final breakfast in the Venetian. Unlike prior cruises, we received the same wonderful service we had come to expect......... None of the usual abruptness from the staff anxious to see our backs so they could get ready for the next group of cruisers. We chose the "walk off" option once we were reasonably sure we wouldn't find ourselves trying to take our luggage down any stairs so, after breakfast we went back to our cabin to freshen up, grabbed our suitcases, got an elevator to deck 7 without delay & were ready to go. Only one problem, it was only about 7:30 & the ship hadn't been cleared yet! Not a big deal. We moved as far forward as we could & sat in one of the many window seats to wait. The ship was cleared about 8:30 & we were waiting for our ride by 9:00.
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BB 10702
Horrible bathroom design
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins