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This was our first cruise on NCL. Overall, we enjoyed the ship, the food and the entertainment and had a great time. The Ship The layout did take a bit of getting used to. We had to learn what decks you could go all the way through on and how to get to certain places. I also think the layout makes the ship feel slightly crowded in some places. But that being said, we really liked it and found it easy to navigate once we learned a few tricks. The one place that was consistently a zoo was the pool deck. Since the weather was cooler, hubby and I got spa passes and just used the hot tubs there instead of the pool deck and that for us is a good choice. The pool deck just wasn’t my thing. But if you like a hopping atmosphere 24/7 you’ll love it, we just preferred something more relaxing. Also for some reason deck 6 in front of Aqua was always packed with people. Also elevators were hard to come by at peak times. The Cabin We originally chose an inside cabin. We bid on a balcony and got it 9 days before the cruise. We ended up in a mid-ship balcony on deck 9 near the elevators which we LOVED. The location could not have been better. Hubby and I take the stairs almost everywhere and being just a few floors up or down from wherever we were going was perfect. The balcony was small but covered. It was great because it meant we could use it a bit more. I loved the shower in this room. It’s an actual shower with a door, not a tube so that was good. The bed was comfortable and although I had read about thin walls and hearing our neighbors, we didn’t hear them, although I could sometimes when I was using the bathroom. We had a couple of kind of gross things happen involving housekeeping. Also we never saw our steward or really talked to him, he was always busy. But we didn’t really need him so it wasn’t a huge deal. The only real negative is that the room was totally noisy at night. The seas were a little rough and our entire sleep was filled with a cacophony of thumping, creaking, cracking, bumping—I have no idea what was going on but I couldn’t wait to get to Bermuda so I could finally sleep. Usually I love sleeping on a cruise ship but not in this room. I had to use earplugs the last two nights tohave any hope of sleeping at all. The only other negative was that BOTH of our neighbors smoked on their balconies. The Drinks We got the UDP with our promo and a 24-pack of water. Most of the drinks were pretty good I thought and most are well under $15. Hubby got a few classic cocktails and most were made well. There were a few times we paid the difference as we don’t mind paying a few dollars for something we really want. It was annoying though when I wanted something that was below $15 yet not included—that didn’t really make sense to me. If it only costs $2.95 or $8 then why can’t I just have it? Also it's a big negative that bottled water is not included. Drink service was ok, sometimes there were lines but usually it wasn’t a huge wait except at of course the pool bar. The Food Overall we liked the food on NCL a lot. We don’t usually do the buffet except for cereal at breakfast but the one time hubby had a hot breakfast there it was pretty good. Also the buffet was slightly less frenetic than most and we could always find a clean table. Service was always good too. With the other choices, we just didn't have to eat there very much. We ate at the MDR Venetian several times, service was great, we never had to wait, and we enjoyed everything we had there. I would say this was my favorite MDR experience on any cruise. We always walked right in with no wait. We did not have the SDP but we ate at 3 restaurants anyway. We made reservations at Cagney’s and Los Lobos and walked in to Le Bistro. Cagney’s was great, steaks were delicious. Los Lobos was my least favorite but still good. The tableside guac, appetizers and margaritas were yummy, mains were just OK. Also it was really busy and the servers seemed harried. Le Bistro I would give 3 stars as to what I got. It would have been nice to have dishes explained more beforehand. So my experience was just ok. Hubby’s escargot and bouillabaisse however was outstanding and worthy of a 5-star restaurant. Our waiter was great and we sat and talked with him for a long time. The restaurant is very pretty also. We ate at O’Sheehans for lunch and breakfast several times and it was good too. Hubby loved the wings! We also ate at Bamboo and it was ok but if you don’t get there right at 5:30 when they open, you won’t get in. We were also not able to walk in to La Cucina, it was a 30-minute wait at 8:00. We didn’t bother to eat at Teppanyaki because we eat hibachi a lot here at home and have seen the show many times. The Service Service in general was fine. It was adequate overall with a few standouts. I am used to more attentive service, more conversation, etc. and sometimes we did get that but overall it was more no-nonsense. Not rude, just take your order, here is your food, are you ok, then goodbye. I kind of got the feeling no one was really looking for tips so they just did what was required and that was it. Which is certainly ok, it’s just not what I’m used to. Some people may actually prefer that. The Entertainment The cruise director was Richard Matic. I have never even paid attention to the cruise director until this cruise. Richard was amazing. We loved him. He and his cruise staff kept the party going night after night and looked like they loved every minute. I was amazed how they could do it time after time and look like it was the first time ever. The production cast was also the best I have seen on a cruise. These were obviously talented dancers with training and the choreography was also the most difficult I had seen on acruise. We saw several shows which was new for us. We saw the Welcome Aboard Show (really fun), Band on the Run (ok, not my favorite), Elements (amazing), and Soul Duo (also amazing). We had wanted to see the magician but missed it. We don’t normally care for comedians so we didn’t go but we heard good things about the one on our cruise. If we didn’t see a show, we normally sat in a lounge and heard live music. There was music in almost every venue which we enjoyed. The Dailies were very informative. I don’t know if most people read the whole thing but there were some great tips and stuff in there. There was a ton to do—I felt like we did alot and there was still some things we didn’t get to. The Excursions We did two excursions through NCL and enjoyed them both. One was a sunset swizzle catamaran cruise that we did the first night in Bermuda. It was fun and the guide was informative. The swizzles weren’t the greatest but it’s always fun to be out on the water and we saw a great sunset. The second was Hidden Gems which we really wanted to do but since we did it the last day and it’s a 7-hour tour, we felt better about booking it through the ship which turned out to be a good idea.

Great time on the Dawn!

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by Beachiekeen

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2017
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
This was our first cruise on NCL. Overall, we enjoyed the ship, the food and the entertainment and had a great time.

The Ship

The layout did take a bit of getting used to. We had to learn what decks you could go all the way through on and how to get to certain places. I also think the layout makes the ship feel slightly crowded in some places. But that being said, we really liked it and found it easy to navigate once we learned a few tricks. The one place that was consistently a zoo was the pool deck. Since the weather was cooler, hubby and I got spa passes and just used the hot tubs there instead of the pool deck and that for us is a good choice. The pool deck just wasn’t my thing. But if you like a hopping atmosphere 24/7 you’ll love it, we just preferred something more relaxing.

Also for some reason deck 6 in front of Aqua was always packed with people. Also elevators were hard to come by at peak times.

The Cabin

We originally chose an inside cabin. We bid on a balcony and got it 9 days before the cruise.

We ended up in a mid-ship balcony on deck 9 near the elevators which we LOVED. The location could not have been better. Hubby and I take the stairs almost everywhere and being just a few floors up or down from wherever we were going was perfect.

The balcony was small but covered. It was great because it meant we could use it a bit more.

I loved the shower in this room. It’s an actual shower with a door, not a tube so that was good. The bed was comfortable and although I had read about thin walls and hearing our neighbors, we didn’t hear them, although I could sometimes when I was using the bathroom.

We had a couple of kind of gross things happen involving housekeeping. Also we never saw our steward or really talked to him, he was always busy. But we didn’t really need him so it wasn’t a huge deal.

The only real negative is that the room was totally noisy at night. The seas were a little rough and our entire sleep was filled with a cacophony of thumping, creaking, cracking, bumping—I have no idea what was going on but I couldn’t wait to get to Bermuda so I could finally sleep. Usually I love sleeping on a cruise ship but not in this room. I had to use earplugs the last two nights tohave any hope of sleeping at all.

The only other negative was that BOTH of our neighbors smoked on their balconies.

The Drinks

We got the UDP with our promo and a 24-pack of water. Most of the drinks were pretty good I thought and most are well under $15. Hubby got a few classic cocktails and most were made well. There were a few times we paid the difference as we don’t mind paying a few dollars for something we really want. It was annoying though when I wanted something that was below $15 yet not included—that didn’t really make sense to me. If it only costs $2.95 or $8 then why can’t I just have it? Also it's a big negative that bottled water is not included.

Drink service was ok, sometimes there were lines but usually it wasn’t a huge wait except at of course the pool bar.

The Food

Overall we liked the food on NCL a lot. We don’t usually do the buffet except for cereal at breakfast but the one time hubby had a hot breakfast there it was pretty good. Also the buffet was slightly less frenetic than most and we could always find a clean table. Service was always good too. With the other choices, we just didn't have to eat there very much.

We ate at the MDR Venetian several times, service was great, we never had to wait, and we enjoyed everything we had there. I would say this was my favorite MDR experience on any cruise. We always walked right in with no wait.

We did not have the SDP but we ate at 3 restaurants anyway. We made reservations at Cagney’s and Los Lobos and walked in to Le Bistro.

Cagney’s was great, steaks were delicious.

Los Lobos was my least favorite but still good. The tableside guac, appetizers and margaritas were yummy, mains were just OK. Also it was really busy and the servers seemed harried.

Le Bistro I would give 3 stars as to what I got. It would have been nice to have dishes explained more beforehand. So my experience was just ok.

Hubby’s escargot and bouillabaisse however was outstanding and worthy of a 5-star restaurant. Our waiter was great and we sat and talked with him for a long time. The restaurant is very pretty also.

We ate at O’Sheehans for lunch and breakfast several times and it was good too. Hubby loved the wings! We also ate at Bamboo and it was ok but if you don’t get there right at 5:30 when they open, you won’t get in. We were also not able to walk in to La Cucina, it was a 30-minute wait at 8:00. We didn’t bother to eat at Teppanyaki because we eat hibachi a lot here at home and have seen the show many times.

The Service

Service in general was fine. It was adequate overall with a few standouts. I am used to more attentive service, more conversation, etc. and sometimes we did get that but overall it was more no-nonsense. Not rude, just take your order, here is your food, are you ok, then goodbye. I kind of got the feeling no one was really looking for tips so they just did what was required and that was it. Which is certainly ok, it’s just not what I’m used to. Some people may actually prefer that.

The Entertainment

The cruise director was Richard Matic. I have never even paid attention to the cruise director until this cruise. Richard was amazing. We loved him. He and his cruise staff kept the party going night after night and looked like they loved every minute. I was amazed how they could do it time after time and look like it was the first time ever.

The production cast was also the best I have seen on a cruise. These were obviously talented dancers with training and the choreography was also the most difficult I had seen on acruise.

We saw several shows which was new for us. We saw the Welcome Aboard Show (really fun), Band on the Run (ok, not my favorite), Elements (amazing), and Soul Duo (also amazing). We had wanted to see the magician but missed it. We don’t normally care for comedians so we didn’t go but we heard good things about the one on our cruise. If we didn’t see a show, we normally sat in a lounge and heard live music. There was music in almost every venue which we enjoyed.

The Dailies were very informative. I don’t know if most people read the whole thing but there were some great tips and stuff in there. There was a ton to do—I felt like we did alot and there was still some things we didn’t get to.

The Excursions

We did two excursions through NCL and enjoyed them both. One was a sunset swizzle catamaran cruise that we did the first night in Bermuda. It was fun and the guide was informative. The swizzles weren’t the greatest but it’s always fun to be out on the water and we saw a great sunset.

The second was Hidden Gems which we really wanted to do but since we did it the last day and it’s a 7-hour tour, we felt better about booking it through the ship which turned out to be a good idea.
Beachiekeen’s Full Rating Summary
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Value For Money
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Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 9128
In general, we liked this cabin. It was your standard balcony cabin but I did love that there was an actual shower with a door and not a tube. The balcony was small but covered which was nice. We did have some housekeeping issues like a dirty balcony and once we came back to hairs in the sink that were not ours.

The big negative is that the cabin was very noisy at night with creaking, cracking, thumping, etc. with the motion of the ship which made sleeping difficult. Also both of our neighbors smoked on the balcony.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

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