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Background: I (43 yo married female) traveled with my husband (42) and soon to be five year old daughter. My husband and I have been on two Celebrity cruises (Summit and Mercury) and enjoyed both of those immensely. This itinerary met our needs and time constraints and New York was an easy drive for us (Alexandria, VA). We chose to make a weekend of it in New York so we arrived there on Friday. Embarkation: This was terrific. We were in an AB suite so we had priority embarkation. Our cabin was ready when we boarded (I think around noon) and we proceeded to the Venetian Dining Room for lunch. Cabin: Our cabin (11030) was beautiful. It was far more spacious than the sky suites we've had on Celebrity. I have no complaints about the cabin or it's maintenance. It was immaculate. Service: Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with the overall service onboard. There were exceptions to that: Anca, the concierge was wonderful as were our cabin stewards Jerry and Pedro. The counselors in the kids club couldn't have been any better and our daughter adored them. I can't say anyone else met the standards we were used to on Celebrity. Our butler, Jeffrey, was pleasant enough but seemed to do the minimum he needed to do to get tipped. Food: This is where I'd say Celebrity beats NCL hands down. We ate at Le Bistro (when our daughter was in the kids club), Salsa (twice), Impressions (twice), Bamboo, and Aqua. Le Bistro was a huge disappointment. Maybe we are used to really good restaurants here in the DC area, but I expected a good meal and they didn't deliver. For instance, we brought three bottles of wine onboard and paid the $15 corking fee. One bottle was an expensive Brunello from 1995. When they decantered the bottle, they poured the entire bottle into the decanter. I'm not a sommelier, and I know that the bottle is bound to have sediment and to leave the last bit in there. The assistant maitre d (who also id'd himself as the sommelier), didn't have a clue. The first meal at Salsa was good, the second not so good. Bamboo was good as was the sushi bar, Impressions was fair. I'd honestly say the meal I ate at Aqua was close to the best dinner I had (which doesn't say much for the "specialty" restaurants). We were lucky to be able to have breakfast and lunch at Cagney's (which is a lovely perk for suite guests) as the in suite breakfast was cold the few times we tried it. Children's Activities: This was perhaps the best thing NCL has to offer. My daughter adored her experiences in the kid's club and we couldn't drag her away from the T-Rex pool. This would be the number one reason I"d go back to NCL. Entertainment: I'd say the entertainment was quite good although I only went to the magic show and the Bollywood night. The positives of Freestyle: loved the open dining, although we did make reservations a few nights; The negatives of Freestyle: I was appalled at what some people consider proper attire. I saw bathing suit bottoms in specialty restaurants (there was a woman wearing a swim mini one night in Salsa), and lots of shorts in Le Bistro. My favorite was the guy wearing the football jersey and jeans on formal night in Impressions. Tacky, tacky, tacky---that's all I can say. It dumbs down the whole cruise experience and would be the one reason I wouldn't return to NCL. Overall, it was a good cruise. If I hadn't been on Celebrity before, I'd probably have thought it better. We'll probably try Disney next or maybe revisit Celebrity. My husband wants to do something more premium like Crystal or Seaborne, but my daughter's not ready for that yet.

The Good and the Bad

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by oldtownjudith

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2008
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Two-Bedroom Family Suite with Balcony
Background: I (43 yo married female) traveled with my husband (42) and soon to be five year old daughter. My husband and I have been on two Celebrity cruises (Summit and Mercury) and enjoyed both of those immensely. This itinerary met our needs and time constraints and New York was an easy drive for us (Alexandria, VA). We chose to make a weekend of it in New York so we arrived there on Friday.
Embarkation: This was terrific. We were in an AB suite so we had priority embarkation. Our cabin was ready when we boarded (I think around noon) and we proceeded to the Venetian Dining Room for lunch.
Cabin: Our cabin (11030) was beautiful. It was far more spacious than the sky suites we've had on Celebrity. I have no complaints about the cabin or it's maintenance. It was immaculate.
Service: Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with the overall service onboard. There were exceptions to that: Anca, the concierge was wonderful as were our cabin stewards Jerry and Pedro. The counselors in the kids club couldn't have been any better and our daughter adored them. I can't say anyone else met the standards we were used to on Celebrity. Our butler, Jeffrey, was pleasant enough but seemed to do the minimum he needed to do to get tipped.
Food: This is where I'd say Celebrity beats NCL hands down. We ate at Le Bistro (when our daughter was in the kids club), Salsa (twice), Impressions (twice), Bamboo, and Aqua. Le Bistro was a huge disappointment. Maybe we are used to really good restaurants here in the DC area, but I expected a good meal and they didn't deliver. For instance, we brought three bottles of wine onboard and paid the $15 corking fee. One bottle was an expensive Brunello from 1995. When they decantered the bottle, they poured the entire bottle into the decanter. I'm not a sommelier, and I know that the bottle is bound to have sediment and to leave the last bit in there. The assistant maitre d (who also id'd himself as the sommelier), didn't have a clue.
The first meal at Salsa was good, the second not so good. Bamboo was good as was the sushi bar, Impressions was fair. I'd honestly say the meal I ate at Aqua was close to the best dinner I had (which doesn't say much for the "specialty" restaurants).
We were lucky to be able to have breakfast and lunch at Cagney's (which is a lovely perk for suite guests) as the in suite breakfast was cold the few times we tried it.
Children's Activities: This was perhaps the best thing NCL has to offer. My daughter adored her experiences in the kid's club and we couldn't drag her away from the T-Rex pool. This would be the number one reason I"d go back to NCL.
Entertainment: I'd say the entertainment was quite good although I only went to the magic show and the Bollywood night.
The positives of Freestyle: loved the open dining, although we did make reservations a few nights;
The negatives of Freestyle: I was appalled at what some people consider proper attire. I saw bathing suit bottoms in specialty restaurants (there was a woman wearing a swim mini one night in Salsa), and lots of shorts in Le Bistro. My favorite was the guy wearing the football jersey and jeans on formal night in Impressions. Tacky, tacky, tacky---that's all I can say. It dumbs down the whole cruise experience and would be the one reason I wouldn't return to NCL.
Overall, it was a good cruise. If I hadn't been on Celebrity before, I'd probably have thought it better. We'll probably try Disney next or maybe revisit Celebrity. My husband wants to do something more premium like Crystal or Seaborne, but my daughter's not ready for that yet.
oldtownjudith’s Full Rating Summary
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Ages 3 to 6
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