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We sailed on the Aug 3 New York-Bermuda run; Frank Tartaro's review "Dawn Disaster" pretty much sums up our experience, though we ate in fewer restaurants than they did. Embarkation was the easiest I've ever encountered, as was disembarkation. Alas, everything in between was much less satisfactory. Our balcony cabin on deck 10 was adequate, nothing more. On previous ships the balcony was large enough for two lounge chairs; here only two chairs, not loungers, fit. Likewise the bathroom was as small as any I have ever seen on a ship and the smallest I have ever seen in a balcony grade cabin. The cabin itself was also tight, though we got used to it. The room stewards kept the cabin clean, and, unlike others on this cruise, ours did introduce themselves. The food was a major disappointment. We ate in Aqua the first night and hated the room, disliked our lackadaisical server and thought the food was mediocre. We ate in the Venetian on four nights and enjoyed that more, though the food was again mediocre at best and almost always too salty. I agree with the reviewer who wondered what the kitchen did to the prime rib; it was unlike any I have ever encountered and I fervently hope never to encounter it again. Salsa was an improvement, as was the sushi bar. Both of those meals were quite good, though nothing better than we can get locally in the New York area. We might have tried Impressions (Italian) or the steak house, but quite frankly, I resent paying extra for food on a ship. This was my 21st sailing and I have watched the nickel and diming of passengers grow apace; I for one dislike the trend! I have subscribed to "Cruise Travel" magazine for years and have read with interest the ongoing discussion of freestyle cruising versus the traditional sit-at-the-same-table approach. I understand both sides of the argument but having now sampled Norwegian Line's version, I opt for traditional! One image that was truly shocking was of dozens of people standing outside the two main (free) restaurants on the first night, waiting for tables. Actually only half were standing; the others were sitting on the steps. This is NOT an image NCL uses in its brochure, and hardly matches one's expectations of shipboard dining! To be fair, things did get better as the days passed, but this is the first time on any cruise ever that I have waited, even a minute, for a table. The other aspect of this cruise that was completely unsatisfactory was the tendering ashore. At King's Wharf the ship doesn't even offer free transport; one must purchase a ride on a large local ferry. That turned out to be a blessing, however, as we learned when we "sailed" a mile into the harbor for the third day in Bermuda. There we boarded another local ferry that took over 30 minutes to load and another 30 to unload. TOTALLY unacceptable! I can't comment on the ship's entertainment because we don't go to shows or take part in activities. We cruise to relax, read and spend time together, preferably in a lounge chair on our balcony - we'll book with another line for that. Oh, one last comment: NCL claims to require "resort casual" attire in the ship's public rooms after 5pm - don't believe it! We saw plenty of shorts, t-shirts and worse in the dining rooms. Elegance, you are sorely missed!

Freestyle Cruising? NOT! Style-Free more accurate.

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by walter4e

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2008
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
We sailed on the Aug 3 New York-Bermuda run; Frank Tartaro's review "Dawn Disaster" pretty much sums up our experience, though we ate in fewer restaurants than they did.
Embarkation was the easiest I've ever encountered, as was disembarkation. Alas, everything in between was much less satisfactory. Our balcony cabin on deck 10 was adequate, nothing more. On previous ships the balcony was large enough for two lounge chairs; here only two chairs, not loungers, fit. Likewise the bathroom was as small as any I have ever seen on a ship and the smallest I have ever seen in a balcony grade cabin. The cabin itself was also tight, though we got used to it.
The room stewards kept the cabin clean, and, unlike others on this cruise, ours did introduce themselves.
The food was a major disappointment. We ate in Aqua the first night and hated the room, disliked our lackadaisical server and thought the food was mediocre. We ate in the Venetian on four nights and enjoyed that more, though the food was again mediocre at best and almost always too salty. I agree with the reviewer who wondered what the kitchen did to the prime rib; it was unlike any I have ever encountered and I fervently hope never to encounter it again.
Salsa was an improvement, as was the sushi bar. Both of those meals were quite good, though nothing better than we can get locally in the New York area. We might have tried Impressions (Italian) or the steak house, but quite frankly, I resent paying extra for food on a ship. This was my 21st sailing and I have watched the nickel and diming of passengers grow apace; I for one dislike the trend!
I have subscribed to "Cruise Travel" magazine for years and have read with interest the ongoing discussion of freestyle cruising versus the traditional sit-at-the-same-table approach. I understand both sides of the argument but having now sampled Norwegian Line's version, I opt for traditional! One image that was truly shocking was of dozens of people standing outside the two main (free) restaurants on the first night, waiting for tables. Actually only half were standing; the others were sitting on the steps. This is NOT an image NCL uses in its brochure, and hardly matches one's expectations of shipboard dining! To be fair, things did get better as the days passed, but this is the first time on any cruise ever that I have waited, even a minute, for a table.
The other aspect of this cruise that was completely unsatisfactory was the tendering ashore. At King's Wharf the ship doesn't even offer free transport; one must purchase a ride on a large local ferry. That turned out to be a blessing, however, as we learned when we "sailed" a mile into the harbor for the third day in Bermuda. There we boarded another local ferry that took over 30 minutes to load and another 30 to unload. TOTALLY unacceptable!
I can't comment on the ship's entertainment because we don't go to shows or take part in activities. We cruise to relax, read and spend time together, preferably in a lounge chair on our balcony - we'll book with another line for that.
Oh, one last comment: NCL claims to require "resort casual" attire in the ship's public rooms after 5pm - don't believe it! We saw plenty of shorts, t-shirts and worse in the dining rooms. Elegance, you are sorely missed!
walter4e’s Full Rating Summary
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