EASTER ON THE DAWN SPRING BREAK 2013: Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by 2kidsforus

Norwegian Dawn 4
Member Since 2008
32 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating


Sail Date: March 2013
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Tampa
My family of four, including two kids ages 12 and 15, and another family including three kis, ages 11, 15, 18 booked side by side family suites on the Dawn a year ago. We have cruise six times before this one.

We arrived in Tampa on Friday, two days before the cruise. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Westshore in a cabana suite. The location was great and the suite was large, not so clean, but large and adequate for two nights. We had rented a car with Alamo at Tampa Intl airport since Alamo will let you drop the car off at the Westin Harbor Island which is close to the port, and Alamo will shuttle you to the port for free.

We arrived at the port at 10:45 and were quickly through security and checked in through the VIP, suite guests check in. We met Virginia the concierge who was very pleasant. Within 5 minutes she gathered a group of about 12 suite guests and sent us with Jennifer, a butler to tour the the ship and show us to our cabins. Jennifer was amazing, but she More was the butler for our Friends, right next to us, but not for us. We were in our suite by 11:15.

Our cabin was 12522. It was one of the new family suites. It was a nice cabin, very spacious, with a huge balcony. The balcony had two rattan lounge chairs with comfy covers, a table and two chairs. We spent many hours out on the balcony, away from the loud craziness by the pool. Not to mention on sea days, you had to get up at 6:30 to get a lounger due to the chair hoarders.

We knew we could go to Cagneys for lunch, but were anxious to relax by the pool. We had lunch from the buffet which was fair, then to the deck loungers by the pool. Within a few hours the deck was packed and people were everywhere. The first sea day every lounge chair was taken, not always with a body, but a towel, or flip flop or book. People were bargaining with others to take loungers from others. I am not sure how to remedy this problem, but it was a huge problem. We gave up our four loungers and went on our balcony which was in the sun and not covered, perfect for us.

We did not enjoy the food at all on this cruise. It seemes that in order to get a decent meal you have to pay the extra fee for the extra venues. We ate at La Cuccina and Cagneys and both were excellent. I highly recommend if you are in a suite, eat at Cagneys for breakfast and lunch whenever you can. The food in there is so much better then the buffet or MDR. On Easter Sunday, we sat down in the Venetian and walked out as soon as we tasted the food. We headed to the buffet, more gross cafeteria style food.

In Roatan we booked Ronys Private Island Tour. We went to El Suampo to visit with some children that we brought small toys for. Spent time at the monkey farm and then to Infinity Bay Resort. Beautiful island and felt very safe with Rony.

Belize, we booked Cave Tubing.BZ with Vitalino. We had Abner as our guide, he was great.

Costa Maya we did Nohoch Cay. Being all inclusive we felt the drinks came slowly and the menu we got to eat off of was very different from the menu used by those not paying the all inclusive. Lots of sea grass and while Jaime may limit the all inclusive to 40 people, the water in front of his place was packed with locals who had set up camp in the vacant lots on both sides of Nohoch Cay. Food was good, but beach area had lots of trash in the vacant lot next to us.

Cozumel we swam with the dolphins at Chakanaab. The weather was not good and the water was rough so it wasn't the best day, but the dolphins were fun to be with.

Last sea day, more crazy cruisers fighting and arguing over chairs. People are on vacation, but you wouldn't know it by some of the behavior we saw.

Overall we enjoyed the ports most of all. On board, it seemed the staff was aggravated and unhappy. With few exceptions, the crew seemed as if you were bothering them and they were sick of being on the boat. The food was fair in the non pay areas. I love dessert, but honestly the ones on the Dawn were not worth the calories. It seems NCL needs to re-evaluate charging for everything from decent pizza and good meals and focus on providing quality onboard their ships.

We did self assist debarkation with the concierge since we had a 10:25am flight. We were at the airport by 8:20, plenty of time before we had to board. Less

Published 04/08/13

Cabin review: SD12522 Family Suite with Balcony

Cabin 12522 is a family suite. The balcony is amazing, and it is not covered, which was a plus since we didn't have to fight for a lounge chair on the deck. Yes, people can lean over an look down onto the balcony, but we never really saw anyone doing that. The main issue we had was at 1 am every morning, the crew must power wash the chairs above us and then drag them and stack them. I am not sure why NCL hasn't stopped this routine due to complaints, but clearly they still do it. The coffee machine is nice, once you figure out how to use it. The murphy bed and pull out sofa were comfy. The shower has a rain shower head which was very nice and the Elemis shampoo etc was nice. Bathroom is large, plenty of closet space. There is a divider that encloses the King bed, but not enough privacy with a family of four.

Read All Family Suite with Balcony (SD) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We booked cave tubing with Vitalino at cavetubing.bz I highly recommend them. They were organized and had us on our way immediately. No waiting to fill up a van. We had our group of 9 and then one other couple joined us. They were very nice. The jungle walk is easy and informative, the cave tubing was crowded but fun. Lunch at Vitalinos was yummy. The tubes had headrest and were linked together with clips.

We booked Nohoch Cay after reading about it on cruise critic. I would not say it was a complete disappointment, but it was the most amazing day for sure. We took the cab for $2pp and were quickly shown our chairs, all set up for nine of us. We were told Betty Boop would be over for our drinks order. Well, Betty came after we went to the bar to place our order, and she rarely came back. We also ordered off of a snack menu, not the regular menu given to those who were just dining. The food was very good, but I felt that once you paid the all inclusive rate, the service was poor. The sand was nice, but there are vacant lots on either side of Nohoch and they are filled with trash. Many locals came and set up camp on the vacant lots. There was no direct access to the water from the vacant lots so the water in front of Nohoch Cay was crowded. So although Jaime may limit his number of guests to 40, he can't control the volume of people in the water. The locals were very nice and it was not a problem, just crowded. My family did use the kayaks and went out on the hobie cat with "Bones" the captain. He was super nice. There is a lot of sea grass in the water in front of Nohoch so if you want crystal clear water for swimming, you will not have it here.
Read 1760 Costa Maya Reviews

We booked Chakanaab park to swim with the dolphins. The weather was windy and a little rainy. The area where the dolphins were was so wavy that you couldn't stand still while interacting with the dolphins. The dolphins were actually very cute and the experience was nice. It would have been much nicer if the weather had been better.
Read 5466 Cozumel Reviews

In Roatan we booked a Private Tour with Ronys Tours. We had Rony as our guide and driver for the day. We had arranged with Rony to bring some items to the children in Roatan. Rony had 20 little boys and girls waiting for us at his mothers restaurant, which we gave a bag of toys an goodies to. We went to Bodens monkey farm and then to Infinity Bay Beach. We tried to go to Grand Roatan but they were doing road work and we couldn't get access to the hotel area. Infinity Bay was beautiful, but at $25pp it is overpriced. We should have walked the 50 yards to Grand Roatan which was less crowded and closer to great snorkeling. We felt safe during the entire day with Rony. I highly recommend him.
Read 2443 Roatan Reviews

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