Good experience for first time cruisers: Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by emmyleemarie123

Norwegian Dawn 5
Member Since 2013

Overall Member Rating

Good experience for first time cruisers

Sail Date: December 2013
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Tampa
My husband and I chose to go on a cruise for our honeymoon. After doing all of the planning for our wedding, it was nice choosing a vacation that neither of us had to do a whole lot of planning for because it was already planned for us. We left from Tampa on the Norwegian Dawn. We had 2 days at sea and stopped in ports at Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico. The days at sea were a nice opportunity to enjoy the ship and meet people. We purchased the deal that the spa had on the first day to have access to the pool, hot tubs, steam rooms and sauna. We definitely got our money's worth, going down to the spa at least once or more every day. The staff knew us by name and even knew which locker we preferred and always saved it for us to use. The fact that children were not allowed at the spa was a huge perk for us, as we both loved children but didn't really want to be around kids on our honeymoon. The views from the spa were also enjoyable. More

The sports bar was great and had all of the football games showing throughout the week. We even met some other couples from Charlotte when we went down to watch the Panthers game on Sunday night. The casino was another fun place to meet people. The dealers were great and remembered our names and were very friendly do us.

On the first night on board, we put our name into the drawing to dine with an officer on board the ship. We never expected to actually be chosen but we were. That was one of the biggest highlights of the entire week. We dined with Miseur Alain, the hotel director who is originally from France. He was very entertaining with lots of stories and advice for future cruising. It was on this night that we already started planning our next cruise. I highly recommend putting your name in for this dinner. It was very entertaining and educational and on top of that, we were served free wine for the entirety of our meal.

Although the majority of our cruise experience was enjoyable, I do have to complain about the food options at the main dining restaurants. I am vegetarian and struggled to find something good with some variety each night. The main dining rooms did not change their menu much from night to night. Therefore, my selection was spaghetti or penne pasta almost every night. Even the buffet in the Garden Cafe did not change much from night to night and if I wanted to eat at the blue lagoon, I only had a couple of side options to choose from. It wasn't until half way into the cruise that I spoke with another woman with a similar problem who suffers from a Gluten allergy. She told me to speak with the Matre Di at what ever restaurant I go to and that they will be able to take special requests. The one night that I did this was my best food night of the entire cruise. I told him to surprise me, so long as it wasn't the same thing they had been serving me every night. He brought me 4 vegetable spring egg rolls, which were the best egg rolls I have ever had in my life. He decided that wasn't enough and brought me this delicious layered squash dish with some sort of sauce drizzled over top. He then brought me my entree which was stir fried mixed vegetables. I was so full that night, I just about had to crawl back to our room. It was delicious. I definitely plan on doing this on our future cruises.

The other complaint I have about the restaurants is how long it takes to get served. Even once you finally get seated, It takes forever for a waiter or waitress to wait on you, and often times they would forget to re-fill your water and you would have nothing to drink. It was for this reason that we mostly ate at the Garden Cafe, because we didn't want to be down at the restaurant for 2 hours.

Overall, we really liked Norwegian. There was a lot of elderly and disabled passengers on our cruise, but I was told by a frequent cruiser that this was not the usual. We also didn't see a whole lot of young couples or families. There wasn't as many children as I expected to see. However, there seems to be something for people of all ages to do on board. I just think the majority of cruisers on board were of retirement age. This was nice for us because we weren't really wanting to be on a "party cruise" but if that is an interest of yours, Norwegian might not be for you. Our next cruise will be an Alaskan cruise on the Norwegian Pearl. We were told by the officer we dined with that it will be a better ship and an even better experience. We're very much looking forward to it. Less

Published 01/04/14

Cabin review: 8588

We were very impressed by how much storage there was for our belongings for such a small room. We had a window with an obstructed view, meaning we had a life boat right outside our window. Even though we couldn't see much out our window, it was still nice having it so we could have some natural light coming in. One complaint I have about the room is that when the beds are pushed together to make a queen bed, the desk is so close to the bed on the right side that the only way you can get around it and into the right side of the bed is by crawling onto the bed. That part was a little annoying. Other than that, the room wasn't bad and we LOVED our cabin steward.

Port and Shore Excursions

Cave-Tubing Adventure

This was a great experience! It was raining all day while we were there but it was fine for this excursion because the entire excursion was supposed to get you wet and dirty, so you were already dressed accordingly. We could not have chosen a better excursion for such a rainy,wet day. The only thing I warn is that Belize is a very poor country which means their best highway is worse than the worst road you have ever driven on in the US. For this reason, any excursion you might do that requires you to drive anywhere will take a while to get to so expect a long bus ride. Belize was probably the most poor of all the ports this cruise went to.

Mayan Ruins

This was a great excursion but the bus ride was VERY long, I believe 3 hours each way. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and really got into it. The bag lunch provided was not good. You may want to bring food with you if you can.

Dolphin Swim & Encounter

This was our favorite day and port of all. Cozumel was much more developed than any of the other ports. The dolphin swim and encounter was an amazing experience! The food and alcohol was all inclusive and you could also do snorkeling, kayaking and paddle boarding. You could easily make a full day of this excursion. The port was also very safe. You didn't have to constantly worry about your safety here, which was a nice relief after some of the other ports.

We made the mistake of wandering outside of the port. As soon as we left the port, we were bombarded by people wanting us to buy things, give them money, or take a taxi ride with them. Even inside of the port you had people doing this. Approximately 2 weeks after getting home, my husband read a newspaper article saying there is a travel advisory for Honduras and that there have been several murders of American citizens in the last year that were not solved. Had we known that, we never would have left the port, and may not have even left the ship. I'm sure it would be fine if you had excursions planned but otherwise, proceed with caution and DO NOT go anywhere by yourself at this port.

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