This was our third time cruising NCL, and first time on the Dawn. Other ships included the Pearl and Spirit. We selected this cruise because of the itinerary and previous good experiences on NCL. Have also cruised on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Ships many times.
We left Chicago's snow and cold, and flew to New Orleans the day before our cruise. Stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn New Orleans Airport, which is near Lake Pontchartrain. They have a free airport shuttle along with very nice accommodations. We enjoyed a late night meal at the hotel which was absolutely delicious; Turkey club, with Mac n' Cheese side, dish-killer! There is a casino nearby with a complete floor that is nonsmoking, which you can walk to, or take a complimentary shuttle.
Sunday morning the front desk called a taxi to take us to the cruise port, about 20 minutes away, supposedly $33 for two people. Be sure your taxi gets in the NCL line at the port, and not Carnival line. Our taxi driver was not that alert, and I was able to save us some time here. At the terminal, the NCL baggage handler greeted us warmly. Once inside, we filled out the health forms, showed our passports and checked in with our EDocs. We were all done within twenty minutes and onboard by noon. No problems. Great customer service throughout the terminal.
Our Inside room was one floor above the Spinnaker Lounge, AFT, and not too far from the lifts. Quite noisy the first night from the events in the Lounge. Did not bother my husband at all. Once I got used to the sounds, I slept well every night. Nice size shower, very Comfortable bed and Luxurious linens. There was a large framed Sea Turtle in our room, as if picked especially for me. We choose inside rooms at times so we can cruise more often.