Great expectations ...... not realized. This was our 4th cruise with Norwegian and second on the Dawn. We were excited to hear about the refit of the Dawn but came away with the feeling that it was fresh lipstick on the same old pig. Norwegian has been our favourite cruise line, up until now, and mainly based on its freestyle cruising format. Now it has become more of an outing for the Boston locals, as your editor has described, who are more interested in partying and getting the most out of their Ultimate Beverage Package. The very loud, obnoxious and crude drunk next door was at first humourous as he loudly complained about his growing bar bill for extras. After the third interrupted sleep, very early in the morning, when he returned to his cabin having been very generously over-served, the comedic act lost its luster.
The Ultimate Beverage Package was less than ultimate with many extra charges and exclusions. Norwegian tends to use many promising descriptions for their packages and features and now, in our opinion, fail to deliver in a consistent manner. Communications are often poor, inaccurate and incomplete.
As an example, we waited as non-US citizens for immigration screening we were herded into a closed restaurant (you had to be there no later than 7:00 a.m. or no-one would be allowed to leave the ship) and then waited for almost an hour for the doors to open. None of the Norwegian staff offered an update on the delay and we all waited, hungry and thirsty, not sure how long this would take. By contrast, the immigration screening took only 10 minutes and the officers were very friendly and helpful. Coffee would have been nice, information would have been better, but at least they did not refer to us as aliens on this cruise.
The refit is nice but nothing special. The cabins are very functional and clean. A balcony is a nice thing to have but try to get mid-ships and port side for the best views. On the ninth deck and mid-ship, you are close to everything and do not have far to go, even if you get lost in the awkward layout of other decks.
Our room steward was exceptional.