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First time cruising since childhood, and just like in the early 90s, I was with my parents. We live in Manhattan so it was beyond easy to get to the Dawn. We boarded around 12:30 and since my parents were already onboard a lovely check-in attendant skipped us ahead in the line and saved us what was probably an hour of waiting. Which turned out to be a theme: the gracious, genuine, cheerful staff. I thought the service rivaled and surpassed some of the best hotels I’ve stayed at anywhere. SHIP Not a cruise expert but I enjoyed the ship. Most of it looks pretty modern with a few exceptions. The Venetian restaurant, which is quite grand, also seems to have missed the renovation — except for some “classic” Venetian artwork which has bizarre blocks of color painted over it, in my guess, an attempt to modernize without spending. But most of the venues are pretty nice with that cruise-bling-flair. I agree with some others that they layout can be confusing. The pool deck is a lot of fun (though pool itself seemed small to me) and the gym is big with good equipment. CLEANLINESS The housekeeping is amazing. The room was cleaned twice a day (scrubbed!) and the public areas were spotless. Minor requests handled immediately. Lovely team. ENTERTAINMENT Not really my jam but we were never bored and enjoyed using the app to find things to do. We saw the Elements show which was impressive. The trivia stuff was fun. FOOD & DRINK Great! I was really so surprised. I actually liked the included dining (Venetian, Aqua, and Garden buffet) better than the specialty (pay up) options. Los Lobos was just okay. Italian was just okay. Churrascaria was impressive. French was pretty good. The Premium Beverage Package was awesome. All top shelf liquor and drinks included. There is another level above that which I think might include Starbucks but we absolutely didn’t need anything more than PBP. EXCURSIONS Now here is where I’m going to be a little critical. Kennedy Space Center was fine and I thought we had enough time there. Great Stirrup Cay turned out to be a bit of a bust because it was hot and rainy. The tendering process was stressful in getting on and off the small boat due to choppy water. Literally caught a woman who almost took a major fall boarding. We found out while on the boat over that our first activity (waverunner) was canceled from another guest. Would have been good if an announcement was made prior. Hung around the island for several hours having drinks which was actually really fun waiting for the second activity (swim with pigs) which was then canceled about 5 minutes prior to starting due to weather. We were refunded the same day for both as a ship credit. Nassau, we just did it all wrong. I had been to Nassau many years ago and remembered it to be a little edgy but interesting. We decided to explore on our own (DON’T) and it’s now a total tourist trap where you are bombarded with people trying to sell you on tours, taxis, insanely repetitive souvenirs. We finally wandered to the National Art Museum which was charming. If given a do-over, I would have either done an organized Atlantis excursion or just stayed on the ship. Frankly I enjoyed the at-sea days so much more than the excursions. Not an excursion per se but on an at-sea day we did the behind the scenes tour of the ship and I LOVED that and found it totally worth the money. They limit it to a very small group and it isn’t listed anywhere so book at the excursions desk on the first day before it fills up. The insane cleanliness of the food prep areas only made me want to eat more! STAFF Five stars for the staff all around. They were just wonderful. OTHER I agree there is a lot of selling going on. Activities that are at an extra charge. Spa treatments with a heavy handed attempt to hawk products. It could be toned down (a lot). VALUE We took advantage of all of the included food, drinks, activities and I thought for a seven day vacation it was a tremendous value and a lot of fun. I would do it again. And will repeat myself here: the staff is great all around.

Dawn Good Time

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by JohnnyAmsterdam

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
First time cruising since childhood, and just like in the early 90s, I was with my parents. We live in Manhattan so it was beyond easy to get to the Dawn. We boarded around 12:30 and since my parents were already onboard a lovely check-in attendant skipped us ahead in the line and saved us what was probably an hour of waiting. Which turned out to be a theme: the gracious, genuine, cheerful staff. I thought the service rivaled and surpassed some of the best hotels I’ve stayed at anywhere.

SHIP

Not a cruise expert but I enjoyed the ship. Most of it looks pretty modern with a few exceptions. The Venetian restaurant, which is quite grand, also seems to have missed the renovation — except for some “classic” Venetian artwork which has bizarre blocks of color painted over it, in my guess, an attempt to modernize without spending. But most of the venues are pretty nice with that cruise-bling-flair. I agree with some others that they layout can be confusing. The pool deck is a lot of fun (though pool itself seemed small to me) and the gym is big with good equipment.

CLEANLINESS

The housekeeping is amazing. The room was cleaned twice a day (scrubbed!) and the public areas were spotless. Minor requests handled immediately. Lovely team.

ENTERTAINMENT

Not really my jam but we were never bored and enjoyed using the app to find things to do. We saw the Elements show which was impressive. The trivia stuff was fun.

FOOD & DRINK

Great! I was really so surprised. I actually liked the included dining (Venetian, Aqua, and Garden buffet) better than the specialty (pay up) options. Los Lobos was just okay. Italian was just okay. Churrascaria was impressive. French was pretty good.

The Premium Beverage Package was awesome. All top shelf liquor and drinks included. There is another level above that which I think might include Starbucks but we absolutely didn’t need anything more than PBP.

EXCURSIONS

Now here is where I’m going to be a little critical. Kennedy Space Center was fine and I thought we had enough time there.

Great Stirrup Cay turned out to be a bit of a bust because it was hot and rainy. The tendering process was stressful in getting on and off the small boat due to choppy water. Literally caught a woman who almost took a major fall boarding. We found out while on the boat over that our first activity (waverunner) was canceled from another guest. Would have been good if an announcement was made prior. Hung around the island for several hours having drinks which was actually really fun waiting for the second activity (swim with pigs) which was then canceled about 5 minutes prior to starting due to weather. We were refunded the same day for both as a ship credit.

Nassau, we just did it all wrong. I had been to Nassau many years ago and remembered it to be a little edgy but interesting. We decided to explore on our own (DON’T) and it’s now a total tourist trap where you are bombarded with people trying to sell you on tours, taxis, insanely repetitive souvenirs. We finally wandered to the National Art Museum which was charming. If given a do-over, I would have either done an organized Atlantis excursion or just stayed on the ship.

Frankly I enjoyed the at-sea days so much more than the excursions.

Not an excursion per se but on an at-sea day we did the behind the scenes tour of the ship and I LOVED that and found it totally worth the money. They limit it to a very small group and it isn’t listed anywhere so book at the excursions desk on the first day before it fills up. The insane cleanliness of the food prep areas only made me want to eat more!

STAFF

Five stars for the staff all around. They were just wonderful.

OTHER

I agree there is a lot of selling going on. Activities that are at an extra charge. Spa treatments with a heavy handed attempt to hawk products. It could be toned down (a lot).

VALUE

We took advantage of all of the included food, drinks, activities and I thought for a seven day vacation it was a tremendous value and a lot of fun.

I would do it again. And will repeat myself here: the staff is great all around.
JohnnyAmsterdam’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BB 10052
We had a balcony room, mid/fore. It was efficient with good closet space, comfortable beds, good AC. Bathroom efficient and perhaps a little dated. So few outlets, we were glad for the power strip we brought! Mostly quiet except for a couple of nights where some kids were jumping around above us. I would not have been thrilled with an inside room or one without a balcony because we did use it. BRING SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER! I assumed this would be included and I was wrong. They should probably provide that...
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins