Where to start, and apologies in advance for the length of this but when you are spending this amount of money knowing the line and ship is critical. First, we are experienced cruisers having been on Holland American, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Viking and Brendan. This was our first and last cruise on NCL. It started before we sailed. We actually chose the cruise based on the Maritime ports we wanted to visit. Even before we sailed NCL dropped one of the ports we wanted to see but it was too late to cancel our trip without a penalty. Then NCL asked if we wanted to “bid” on a cabin upgrade. We had selected a lovely cabin on the picturesque side of the NCL Dawn for this cruise but thought, what the heck, and put in a minimal bid for an upgrade, big mistake. We got an “upgrade” to a mini suite. Unfortunately it was on the other side of the ship directly under the buffet. We researched the suite, 11150 on the Dawn, which got terrible reviews for constant noise from the buffet restaurant above. We called NCL immediately but were told “ sorry, no cancellations or changes;” we even asked to go back to our old room and forfeit our bid, no deal, so we purchased ear plugs and hoped for the best.
On to our trip. We were supposed to be met at the Boston airport upon arrival, well we arrived, got our bags and still no agent. After calling we were told the agent would be there shortly. After 20 minutes she arrived and said she needed to check with her supervisor for when we would get transportation. We finally got a van 30 minutes after that, so one hour after we had our luggage we were on our way to the port.
Now on board, the observations. The Dawn is a smaller, older ship, refurbished a few years ago but still showing some age. Being smaller the entertainment is nice but no big shows. The theater stage is small and old theater type seating a bit uncomfortable and tight. There are no tables for drinks or even cup holders. Some have renamed NCL to “Nickel and Dime” as they really seem to push selling raffle tickets, bingo cards, art and wine auctions. Every venue you go to they are pushing some raffle. On board internet is absurd at almost $35/day for unlimited access for one device and you need to book it for your entire cruise. You can pay $1.00 per minute plus $4.00 activation charge for basic email and web but no audio, video or VPN. It was sometimes hard to find a quiet spot just to read especially if weather was a bit inclement and everyone was inside. Our cabin was decent from an appointment perspective but if you are a light sleeper make sure you have ear plugs. In this suite you will hear every chair scooch and cart from the restaurant above all day until 10:00 pm and then again from breakfast setup starting at 5:30 am. Next, don’t get the Ultimate Drink Package unless you are a true alcoholic. At $89.00 per day per person this may seem like a deal but what is in the fine print is the additional 20% automatic “tip” additionally added to your bill, so break even is about 10 drinks a day per person and it doesn’t cover specially coffee, soft drinks, bottled water or juices.
Noisy as right below buffet restaurant (see full review)