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We are seasoned cruisers and like to travel with family and friends.. We chose the Dawn for 2 reasons; 1-We were on her last May and loved everything about the ship and 2: our foster daughter and her partner had never taken a cruise exceeding 7 days. They were anxious to try a longer cruise and one not a Jewel class. Not that they do not enjoy Jewel class ships, they just wanted something different. It was a good choice for the 4 of us. We cruised the Dawn many years ago and think it has improved with the dry dock last year. Though sailing out of San Juan can be a hassle, it is always fun to spend a night there prior to sailing. Our travel agent found the hotel, Villa Herenica, for us. It is a quaint B&B near Old San Juan. Built in the 1600s with much of the old charm, it is not for everyone, but we would stay there again in a heart beat. The staff was friendly and helpful, the place was clean and the breakfast choices the best we have had at other B&Bs. I will only add, the rooms were very small but worked out fine for 2 people. The "girls" were already there and had their own room. Our taxi ride was longer from the airport because of rush-hour traffic. After visiting with the girls for awhile, we decided to order a pizza and have a quick bite to eat before heading for bed. The B&B offers a huge dining room that guests can use when ordering food from local restaurants. When breakfast was over the next morning, we were off to the pier to board the ship. Then the wait begins. It took us awhile to get into the terminal but, with wheelchair assistance, we were whisked right though. Before we knew it, we were sitting in O'Sheehan's ordering an adult beverage and lunch. Actually, everything moved smoothly the entire cruise. Lots of highlights, but one of the biggest was our wonderful M&G, followed by a huge slot pull with 65 participants. We, for once, came out a few $$ ahead; that, of course added to the fun. A second highlight were the friendly passengers. Probably the nicest we have ever met on over 40 cruises. For the most part,I can say the same about the crew. There were crew members that, after meeting us once, remembered our names. Naturally, we did run into a few - as in other places - who acted like their job was not for them. Another high point was the usually great entertainment.. Hubby made it to the showroom once; none for me. Many other great venues, a variety of talented musicians, on the ship made it foolhardy to seek out the shows.The reception desk personnel went above and beyond. We had lost a page of our return- flight information and a female dialed AA for my husband so he could get the information he needed to book our transfers. I could could go on and on about some of our positives experiences but I think I have taken up enough time and space. I will add just one more thing: we booked a tour through our TA for Antigua. One of the stops was the Dock yard where we did a quick tour and had time to do some shopping. I found a T Shirt really wanted but she didn't have one in my size. Instead of trying to push something else down my throat she advised me where, in town I might be able to find one. I was so impressed I wish I had gotten a card so I could recommend her to others. Because we have visited most of the islands in the past we didn't do a lot of excursions but the ones we did do we were overall happy with. We love Aruba, and Barbados. The caves are a must for those who have not been to the port. There were a few low points: 1- service and food in La Cucina (except for Hubby's large shrimp) was not up to par with other specialty restaurants on the ship. We were not thrilled about Los Lobos, but that had more to do with where we have lived and our view on what Mexican food should be. Our cabin steward seemed to be lacking initiative. Normally when you have a cabin below balcony class, you can ask for a coffee pot. She had no idea what I was talking about. I presumed she was new to her job but was very friendly. Command of the English language may have created a problem. Another low point was one of the ship-sponsored tours; it was not as described but, on a positive note, one of the couples on the tour went to the tour desk and complained.His complaint, I will add was done in a polite manner. NCL gave us a 1/3 discount credit, an actual refund, not an OBC. Using a makeshift arrangement of chairs, we were able to enjoy some pool deck time in spite of mobility problems. Chairs for the handicapped were gratefully put to use in the Garden Cafe. I will add that we would cruise the Dawn anytime if we could just find a way to get to the ship without changing planes 2 or 3 times. The Sun used to be our favorite ship, but the Dawn may have moved above her in our minds.

The Dawn: an oldie, yes, but goodie

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by newmexicoNita

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Porthole Window
We are seasoned cruisers and like to travel with family and friends.. We chose the Dawn for 2 reasons; 1-We were on her last May and loved everything about the ship and 2: our foster daughter and her partner had never taken a cruise exceeding 7 days. They were anxious to try a longer cruise and one not a Jewel class. Not that they do not enjoy Jewel class ships, they just wanted something different. It was a good choice for the 4 of us. We cruised the Dawn many years ago and think it has improved with the dry dock last year.

Though sailing out of San Juan can be a hassle, it is always fun to spend a night there prior to sailing. Our travel agent found the hotel, Villa Herenica, for us. It is a quaint B&B near Old San Juan. Built in the 1600s with much of the old charm, it is not for everyone, but we would stay there again in a heart beat. The staff was friendly and helpful, the place was clean and the breakfast choices the best we have had at other B&Bs. I will only add, the rooms were very small but worked out fine for 2 people. The "girls" were already there and had their own room.

Our taxi ride was longer from the airport because of rush-hour traffic. After visiting with the girls for awhile, we decided to order a pizza and have a quick bite to eat before heading for bed. The B&B offers a huge dining room that guests can use when ordering food from local restaurants. When breakfast was over the next morning, we were off to the pier to board the ship. Then the wait begins. It took us awhile to get into the terminal but, with wheelchair assistance, we were whisked right though. Before we knew it, we were sitting in O'Sheehan's ordering an adult beverage and lunch.

Actually, everything moved smoothly the entire cruise.

Lots of highlights, but one of the biggest was our wonderful M&G, followed by a huge slot pull with 65 participants. We, for once, came out a few $$ ahead; that, of course added to the fun. A second highlight were the friendly passengers. Probably the nicest we have ever met on over 40 cruises. For the most part,I can say the same about the crew. There were crew members that, after meeting us once, remembered our names. Naturally, we did run into a few - as in other places - who acted like their job was not for them. Another high point was the usually great entertainment.. Hubby made it to the showroom once; none for me. Many other great venues, a variety of talented musicians, on the ship made it foolhardy to seek out the shows.The reception desk personnel went above and beyond. We had lost a page of our return- flight information and a female dialed AA for my husband so he could get the information he needed to book our transfers. I could could go on and on about some of our positives experiences but I think I have taken up enough time and space. I will add just one more thing: we booked a tour through our TA for Antigua. One of the stops was the Dock yard where we did a quick tour and had time to do some shopping. I found a T Shirt really wanted but she didn't have one in my size. Instead of trying to push something else down my throat she advised me where, in town I might be able to find one. I was so impressed I wish I had gotten a card so I could recommend her to others. Because we have visited most of the islands in the past we didn't do a lot of excursions but the ones we did do we were overall happy with. We love Aruba, and Barbados. The caves are a must for those who have not been to the port.

There were a few low points: 1- service and food in La Cucina (except for Hubby's large shrimp) was not up to par with other specialty restaurants on the ship. We were not thrilled about Los Lobos, but that had more to do with where we have lived and our view on what Mexican food should be. Our cabin steward seemed to be lacking initiative. Normally when you have a cabin below balcony class, you can ask for a coffee pot. She had no idea what I was talking about. I presumed she was new to her job but was very friendly. Command of the English language may have created a problem. Another low point was one of the ship-sponsored tours; it was not as described but, on a positive note, one of the couples on the tour went to the tour desk and complained.His complaint, I will add was done in a polite manner. NCL gave us a 1/3 discount credit, an actual refund, not an OBC. Using a makeshift arrangement of chairs, we were able to enjoy some pool deck time in spite of mobility problems. Chairs for the handicapped were gratefully put to use in the Garden Cafe.

I will add that we would cruise the Dawn anytime if we could just find a way to get to the ship without changing planes 2 or 3 times. The Sun used to be our favorite ship, but the Dawn may have moved above her in our minds.
newmexicoNita’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Porthole Window
Cabin OG 4538
Though we thought we would be disappointed in the cabin because we almost always choose balcony or certainly full view ocean view, it ended up being just what we needed. We were on the deck with the gangway so it was easy to get on and off the ship, we were just a few cabins from the elevators, thus not a lot of long walking and we were just below the showroom and casino. Because the ship isn't all that large the walk to the atrium and some of the restaurants wasn't bad either. Our favorite hang out was Gatsby's and it too, was not long walk. I will say the cabin was a little on the small side but there was plenty of storage space which was helpful.
Deck 5 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Island Tour
    e booked this tour through our travel agent which we often do. it was a 4 hour tour,hitting all the high spots of the island. The driver/guide was very well informed and gave us a lot of details about the history of the island. The thing that impressed us the most was how he helped my husband who is somewhat mobility challenged. He even got us our rum drink that came with the tour. Another bright spot was one of the vendors at the Dock Yard. I had found a t shirt I really wanted but she did not have one in my size. Instead of trying to push me into something else she told me I could probably find one at one of the shops near the ship. I wish I had gotten her card, I would advise everyone to stop by her booth. My husband did end up buying a shirt from her, but it after she tried to help me. added to how nice she was is: her prices were very good. One downer to the tour, we were advised we would be picked up just outside the gates of the ship. Well, it must have been about 1/2 mile walk and then after he located us, we had to walk another couple of blocks. On our return he dropped us off much closer to the ship.
    View All 160 Island Tour Reviews
  • Bonaire
    this was fortunately a very inexpensive tour but still a disappointment. We were picked up by tour bus and transferred to the resort. This is where the trouble began. Supposedly there was a casino but if it was there it must have been under water as none of us saw it. We were given one drink coupon which was fine. I did drop mine so when hubby went to the over crowded bar explained I had dropped mine the attitude pretty much was oh well; We were not expecting a free drink necessarily but we were expecting them to say I am sorry. Though the description mentioned snorkeling, no one in their right mind would be able to walk on all the rock to get to the water. We never saw a smiling face from staff members. The icing on the cake; we had to wait 30 minutes, in the sun, with no convenient place to sit for our ride back to the ship. again, never an apology or explanation. There was a bright spot, the resort was very pretty and the pool area nice even if the water was freezing.
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  • San Juan
    Though we did not do a tour, we did do a lot of walking around and were very impressed with the island and how, at least the tourist section has been cleaned up since the hurricane in 2017. The people were friendly for the most part and the food we ordered very reasonable compared to some islands.
    View All 3,767 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's San Juan Cruise Port Review