1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Dawn
We chose this cruise primarily because of the itinerary. Although we had been on two prior southern Caribbean cruises, this itinerary included six islands we had never been to before. It also excluded St. Thomas, which we are not overly fond of. We arrived in San Juan a day early and stayed at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino. Nice hotel with a convenient location to the piers. The night we arrived we went to Old San Juan and met a number of Cruise Critic friends at Barrachina. We had a good time but the restaurant was overwhelmed by our number. The next day, boarding did not begin until after 1:00 so we had time to explore San Juan. We went to the two old Spanish forts and they were well worth the visit. Embarkation was breeze. No waiting and we immediately checked in and went to our room The Dawn is one of NCL's older ships but it recently underwent a total refurbishment. The updated look was nice but couldn't overcome some of the ship's limitations. Some of the new restaurants seem to be out of the way and an after thought such as Los Lobos. Because it is a smaller ship entertainment options were more limited. The only venues are the main theater, the Bliss Lounge, the Atrium and Gatsby's. Our previous cruise was on the Bliss, which had a comedy club and a music club. We saw about half the shows in the main theater. Elements was great as always and the magician from that show had his own show the next night and he was great. The comedians were also entertaining if not a bit uneven. We had a mid ship balcony, room 10618. The room is on the small side with limited storage. There is also only one electrical outlet which could become even more problematic as ship stewards are now instructed to unplug everything in unoccupied cabins. Fortunately we brought a strip that allowed for multiple USB plugins. We were more than happy with the restaurants and bars. We had excellent dinners every night. We had a dining package so we ate all the specialty restaurants that charged a fee. Cagney's was good as always. La Cuchina has definitely upgraded their menu. Los Lobos is a little underwhelming for those coming from the Southwest. We were able to watch the Super Bowl from O'Sheehans as it was projected on a giant screen in the atrium. Good times. For the most part all service and help were friendly and accommodating. Our steward was particularly good. We had an early flight so we kept our luggage and walked off the ship. Very easy. All in all we had a great time. I will review the ports below..

Great itinerary decent ship

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by Devilaw

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
We chose this cruise primarily because of the itinerary. Although we had been on two prior southern Caribbean cruises, this itinerary included six islands we had never been to before. It also excluded St. Thomas, which we are not overly fond of. We arrived in San Juan a day early and stayed at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino. Nice hotel with a convenient location to the piers. The night we arrived we went to Old San Juan and met a number of Cruise Critic friends at Barrachina. We had a good time but the restaurant was overwhelmed by our number. The next day, boarding did not begin until after 1:00 so we had time to explore San Juan. We went to the two old Spanish forts and they were well worth the visit. Embarkation was breeze. No waiting and we immediately checked in and went to our room The Dawn is one of NCL's older ships but it recently underwent a total refurbishment. The updated look was nice but couldn't overcome some of the ship's limitations. Some of the new restaurants seem to be out of the way and an after thought such as Los Lobos. Because it is a smaller ship entertainment options were more limited. The only venues are the main theater, the Bliss Lounge, the Atrium and Gatsby's. Our previous cruise was on the Bliss, which had a comedy club and a music club. We saw about half the shows in the main theater. Elements was great as always and the magician from that show had his own show the next night and he was great. The comedians were also entertaining if not a bit uneven.

We had a mid ship balcony, room 10618. The room is on the small side with limited storage. There is also only one electrical outlet which could become even more problematic as ship stewards are now instructed to unplug everything in unoccupied cabins. Fortunately we brought a strip that allowed for multiple USB plugins.

We were more than happy with the restaurants and bars. We had excellent dinners every night. We had a dining package so we ate all the specialty restaurants that charged a fee. Cagney's was good as always. La Cuchina has definitely upgraded their menu. Los Lobos is a little underwhelming for those coming from the Southwest. We were able to watch the Super Bowl from O'Sheehans as it was projected on a giant screen in the atrium. Good times. For the most part all service and help were friendly and accommodating. Our steward was particularly good.

We had an early flight so we kept our luggage and walked off the ship. Very easy. All in all we had a great time. I will review the ports below..
Devilaw’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Norwegian Dawn price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 10618
Okay cabin. Too small and not enough storage. Only one electrical outlet. Uprgrade bathroom was good Shower was spacious but the WC was very tight. We saw some very large people on the ship and wondered how they could fit in.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Catamaran Sail
    Very similar to our Barbados tour but on a much larger boat, with 80 passengers. Trip included a snorkeling stop and a buffet lunch. Plenty of rum and beer and the food was great.
    View All 96 Catamaran Sail Reviews
  • Island Tour
    We were not to impressed with Aruba. Aruba is a desert island and reminded us to much of home. Our tour made a number of short stops, about 10-15 minutes each. We stopped at an aloe farm, an old church a lighthouse a rock formation and the beach. All but the rocks formation were not too impressive.
    View All 216 Island Tour Reviews
  • Catamaran Tour
    One of the best excursions on the cruise. Friends on Cruise Critic set it up. There were just ten of us on the catamaran so plenty of space. The crew was more than fantastic. friendly and helpful. Once on board, the bar opened with unlimited rum punch, beer wine and mixed drinks. Snacks were brought out as well. We made two snorkeling stops. One with sea turtles and one over ship wrecks. Saw plenty of turtles and beautiful fish. We then had a buffet lunch on board that was tasty. We made a beach stop and then sailed back to port. The perfect day.
    View All 94 Catamaran Tour Reviews
  • Snorkeling
    We had a short drive to a reef park where we were met by our tour guides. They were friendly and knowledgeable. We saw a great variety of fish. Great fun.
    View All 145 Snorkeling Reviews
  • Island Tour
    Our tour had three stops the Hato Caves, a cultural museum and the Blue Curacao distillery. The caves were fantastic and worth the excursion alone. The museum was just okay and the distillery had free samples! Need I say more.
    View All 189 Island Tour Reviews
  • Island Tour
    Absolutely the worst tour of the cruise. We were stuck in the back seat of noisy van and could not even hear the driver. While the island is beautiful, the roads are horrible. Lots of potholes, narrow and many hairpin curves. Our tour took us to a waterfall, spice farm, rum distillery and a craft brewery. While each stop was fine the drive in between each stop was dreadful. Between the second and third stops we drove non stop for almost two hours. A terrible experience. The highlight of the excursion besides the end was the stop at the West Indies Beer Company If only we could have stayed there for the whole day. Great beer with a number of varieties.
    View All 52 Island Tour Reviews
  • San Juan
    In spite of Hurricane Irma, San Juan has made a comeback. We loved Old San Juan and enjoyed touring the old Spanish forts on our own.
    View All 3,741 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's San Juan Cruise Port Review
  • Island Tour
    We used COSOL back in 2013 and they were as good as we remembered. Made a number of photo stops around the island. We also made a stop for "breakfast" which was a feast of island specialties. We then went to the mud baths and ended a waterfall Highly recommend.
    View All 249 Island Tour Reviews
  • Beach
    This excursion was supposed to take us to Orient Bay however because of Hurricane Irma we went to Simpson Bay instead. This was done without notice. The lunch was okay but the water was not as nice as Orient. High surf a small beach. Very disappointing.
    View All 230 Beach Reviews
  • Virgin Gorda
    We went to the Baths on Virgin Gorda. The photos don't do it justice. Simply a unique place to go.
    View All 214 Virgin Gorda Reviews