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This review is for the Norwegian Dawn Caribbean cruise from 5/1-5/8/16. This was my first time on the Norwegian cruise line and I liked it. The ship was clean and we loved our deluxe suite on the 12th deck. VIP loading and unloading on and off the ship was wonderful - thanks Hanno! I particularly liked that I could book all of my dinner packages, shore excursions and reservations on-line, in advance, so I didn't spend any of my actual cruising time dealing with admin stuff. I went on two ruins tours with a private group and two ship shore excursions: San Gervasio ruins (Cozumel), Altun Ha ruins (Belize), the BOSS underwater scooter adventure (Honduras) and the ATV in the Jungle excursion (Costa Maya). All of them were great - my suite mates enjoyed their excursions also which included snorkeling, beach party and some of the dolphin interactions. The ship activities seemed fun although I only got to participate in a few of them. The shows were great, particularly the Elements show - fantastic choreography and effects in that one. Jocka and Maria were wonderful in everything they participated in and you just have to smile at David DaVinci's devilish grin during the magic acts. Specialty Dining was amazing - I kind of missed having a regular dining table to report to every evening so you can be assured intimate service but some of the specialty restaurants were worth it - absolutely can't beat Teppanyaki and I don't even like Asian food. By far the best restaurant and service on the ship. The few reasons I didn't rate this cruise a 5: The Venetian main dining room is absolutely horrible - bad service and even worse food. I only ate there two nights and wound up returning the meal both times. The waiters didn't even ask why I was returning full plates of untouched food without reordering. Fortunately, it's not like anyone is going to starve on a cruise ship so I just grabbed something somewhere else. Gift shop staff was so uninterested in their jobs and it showed. Difficult to ask questions or pay for items when they're too busy socializing. Photos are ridiculously priced (but pretty well done). I don't even know how they can show them without being embarrassed. It might be industry norm but still exorbitant. Could be a tiny, tiny, tiny bit better on room tidiness. Our room steward and butler (Patrick and Constancio) were wonderful - no doubt about that. I think this was more of a ship guideline than a reflection on their service. On other cruise lines, I have experienced them stacking personal belongings nicely - on this ship, it was more of a just move them out of the way approach. However, our room was a suite so maybe it was difficult to tell where to put things and they didn't want to move someone's belongings to another cruiser's bed area. I would have also liked to see the bar dishes cleared each day and pillow cases changed more often. But again, we might have just needed to set the glasses outside the door for clearing and removed the pillow cases only to have it addressed and we did neither so it is quite likely, they were following our lead and this is on us. We always had timely turn down service, fresh towels and clean bathrooms. All we had to do is call for anything we needed and they brought it to us - can't beat that! Overall, quite a lovely time.

Wonderful 1st Cruise on Norwegian

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by vasha13

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2016
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Owner's Suite
This review is for the Norwegian Dawn Caribbean cruise from 5/1-5/8/16.

This was my first time on the Norwegian cruise line and I liked it. The ship was clean and we loved our deluxe suite on the 12th deck. VIP loading and unloading on and off the ship was wonderful - thanks Hanno! I particularly liked that I could book all of my dinner packages, shore excursions and reservations on-line, in advance, so I didn't spend any of my actual cruising time dealing with admin stuff.

I went on two ruins tours with a private group and two ship shore excursions: San Gervasio ruins (Cozumel), Altun Ha ruins (Belize), the BOSS underwater scooter adventure (Honduras) and the ATV in the Jungle excursion (Costa Maya). All of them were great - my suite mates enjoyed their excursions also which included snorkeling, beach party and some of the dolphin interactions.

The ship activities seemed fun although I only got to participate in a few of them. The shows were great, particularly the Elements show - fantastic choreography and effects in that one. Jocka and Maria were wonderful in everything they participated in and you just have to smile at David DaVinci's devilish grin during the magic acts.

Specialty Dining was amazing - I kind of missed having a regular dining table to report to every evening so you can be assured intimate service but some of the specialty restaurants were worth it - absolutely can't beat Teppanyaki and I don't even like Asian food. By far the best restaurant and service on the ship.

The few reasons I didn't rate this cruise a 5:

The Venetian main dining room is absolutely horrible - bad service and even worse food. I only ate there two nights and wound up returning the meal both times. The waiters didn't even ask why I was returning full plates of untouched food without reordering. Fortunately, it's not like anyone is going to starve on a cruise ship so I just grabbed something somewhere else.

Gift shop staff was so uninterested in their jobs and it showed. Difficult to ask questions or pay for items when they're too busy socializing.

Photos are ridiculously priced (but pretty well done). I don't even know how they can show them without being embarrassed. It might be industry norm but still exorbitant.

Could be a tiny, tiny, tiny bit better on room tidiness. Our room steward and butler (Patrick and Constancio) were wonderful - no doubt about that. I think this was more of a ship guideline than a reflection on their service. On other cruise lines, I have experienced them stacking personal belongings nicely - on this ship, it was more of a just move them out of the way approach. However, our room was a suite so maybe it was difficult to tell where to put things and they didn't want to move someone's belongings to another cruiser's bed area. I would have also liked to see the bar dishes cleared each day and pillow cases changed more often. But again, we might have just needed to set the glasses outside the door for clearing and removed the pillow cases only to have it addressed and we did neither so it is quite likely, they were following our lead and this is on us. We always had timely turn down service, fresh towels and clean bathrooms. All we had to do is call for anything we needed and they brought it to us - can't beat that!

Overall, quite a lovely time.
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Owner's Suite
Cabin SA 12000
Our cabin was a suite that holds 4-6 guests - two rooms (one with a full and one with a king size bed), sofa in sitting area fold out to a full size.

Overall, a very nice cabin.

Pros:
*it's a suite that comes with butler service
*plenty of storage room to put your things except for dresses.
*two rooms with a sitting area
*beautiful main bathroom with inset twinkle lights and jacuzzi tub

Cons:
*floor to ceiling windows provide great view of the ocean when they're not clouded over
*doesn't have a balcony and if you're used to that, you will miss it
*seriously loud squeaky sound along window seals makes sleeping in sitting area bed almost impossible.
*minimal power outlets all located at desk areas. Plugging things in there to charge or sit clutters up the limited counter space. No bedside outlets for cell phones (used as alarm clocks) or medical equipment such as CPAPs. Yes, we did bring a surge protector/multi power strip and still had problems.
Deck 12 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Altun Ha
    Nice little ruins excursion with local lunch. Nice buses to take you there and water is provided. Local lunch was rice/beans in coconut milk, chicken, fried plantains and Coke with cane sugar. They'll tell you about the "royal rat" (gibnut) but won't make you eat it.
    View All 172 Altun Ha Reviews
  • ATV Adventure
    Loved the idea of this excursion. The ATV part was okay - the Tequila beach part was better. Facilities were great, ATVs in great condition, staff seemed friendly. The issue was the course - it was all rocks and I mean rocks. No hard-packed dirt or sand sections in between rough terrain. It was 20 minutes of arm jarring, boulder-ish/big root terrain. Ladies, a bikini top won't cut it on this, you'll need something more substantial to keep it all under control. I am not complaining that there was rough terrain, only that it was completely rough terrain so you didn't get any alternating riding style. The last 10 minutes on the road coming back is all smooth though so you get a break there. FYI - they recommend long pants due to bugs and the heat of the ATV motors against your legs. You can bug spray against the bugs but nothing protects you against that heat except long pants.

    After the ATV rides, they shuttle you to Tequila beach where you can enjoy an open bar, sit in the drink gazebo and play pool or sit out in the shaded loungers on the beach. It was very nice to just sit, drink and relax. They give you a free taxi voucher to take a taxi back to the pier when you're ready to leave. No problems getting a taxi or worrying that you'll never be seen again with a dubious ride - they were well maintained and professional. Everyone was very nice.
    View All 58 ATV Adventure Reviews
  • Mayan Ruins
    Just a tour of the San Gervasio ruins and some light shopping. Nice tour guides, clean buses. I would avoid shopping for anything serious though - the vendors totally cheat you. If you do want to buy something, offer 1/3 to 1/2 of what they're asking since that's how high they're starting out at.
    View All 381 Mayan Ruins Reviews
  • New Orleans
    Didn't take a shore excursion in New Orleans but had a great meal at Cafe Soule and enjoyed listening to the street musicians in the evening.
    View All 647 New Orleans Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's New Orleans Cruise Port Review
  • Boss Underwater Adventure
    Excellent shore excursion! Crew was top notch and I felt totally safe trying something new like trolling the ocean in an underwater scooter. The scooters are definitely different but worth trying. They only go about 8 feet below the surface so you're not going to get close up coral shots with your camera. You have both hands on the scooter with your thumb pressing down the whole time. The scooters are slow and unwieldy so don't feel like it's just you. That's the way they're made and it's okay - just know it in advance. You can help them turn a little bit more efficiently by using your arms as you would in wading. Yes, you can breathe comfortably in the helmet apparatus and no, I didn't feel claustrophobic. Some people did though and the multiple divers with us helped them right away. The divers will also take your personal camera to take close ups of the coral, sea creatures and you on the scooter.

    While waiting for your group's scooter time, you can snorkel. For those concerned about the ewww factor of using tourist snorkel gear, they have the wash bins set up right there so you can see your mask and gear getting washed and disinfected. They also have a special spray to keep the masks from fogging up rather than having people spit in them. Just sitting on the boat is very relaxing also.

    Fantastic shore excursion and staff - highly recommend this one!
    View All 34 Boss Underwater Adventure Reviews