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My review - NCL Dawn This is my 10th NCL Cruise and my 1st on the Dawn. I've been on the Gem and the Breakaway and was very very happy. Also - the last 4 cruises I have been in the Haven. So I definitely have an expectation for a level of service - and have always thought that NCL was a *bit* better than others. it's a good mix of 'mr. sexy legs' and 'quiet reading on the deck'. We got to the dock and have always left from NYC/NJ. I also continue on NCL because I am Platinum. When I got to the dock - no one seemed to know what to tell me. We were discouraged by two folks to not go to the VIP/Platinum line. I finally asked where to go, the lady rolled her eyes at me and said - ok - over there. Hmmm. I also want to mention that this was after my friend (who has MS) would have had a very difficult time waiting on the 1 hour line for security and then 1 hour to get checked-in. He asked if he could use the handicapped line (which he has plenty of documentation) and she again rolled her eyes. She said, “you can’t use this line without a wheel chair”. (Lots of folks have disabilities that don’t require a wheelchair). So we asked for a wheel chair. “Well… we don’t have them (they do).” The entire process seemed very uninformed and unprofessional. The check-in was flawless and was on the ship about 30 minutes later. We arrived around 11:30 am so getting on the ship around noon/12:15 is pretty good for me. I try my best to avoid the buffet usually - but especially on embarkation day. As I had read in other reviews - the main dining room is open - but many MANY NCL crew members try to steer you away and towards the buffet. I'm glad I knew better. It was quiet start to the cruise. Always start your cruise with a rebellious fish (or two or three). Ship: The ship shows its age - but the crew does an excellent job on keeping her VERY clean and sparkling. Once in a while I found an 'out of order' sign - to be expected - but it was always cleared up the very next day. I found the ship very familiar experience to the Gem which I found very comforting. I loved the Breakaway (and will take the Escape in October) - but it's so very large. This size of ship - to me - is perfect. Not too big - not too small. Cabin: The first one or the second one? :-) Here is my story - I booked a balcony state room - and was offered an upgrade. I did this once before and got a Haven Spa Suite - so cool. So we bid on the upgrade and hoped for the best we could get. They did upgrade us - from a balcony to a mini-suite. YES! oh no! The older ships the better rooms are on higher up decks. That means the mini-suites are DIRECTLY UNDER THE POOL DECK. But I roll with the punches - it's going to be a great curise!! I love crusing! Nope - first night - they were moving deck chairs - and when I say moving - I mean DRAGGING - the deck chairs at midnight - then at 1:30 am - then at 2:30 am - then again at 5:30 am. Now the Dawn is an older ship, as I said - and they don't have a huge pool - they have many more deck chairs on multiple stepped levels - all facing the pool. That's important. So - it was a restless night - no amount of extra rebellious fishes could have solved this problem. Long story short - AVOID the rooms under the pool deck if noise bothers you. I've heard - the rooms under the buffet are worse. But then - during the day? Anytime there is something going on the pool deck (read: pool party) then you hear the sound in your room. I like a nap after time in the sun - but there are generally lots of music happening all day - and then a break for dinner - and then again until about 10/10:30 pm. It was so loud - we really would strain to hear a conversation on our balcony over the loud music on the pool deck. My advice - for the bit of extra room - and extra $$ - stick to the balcony rooms on older ships like the dawn. It's just not worth the extra aggravation. Bright lining - after my cabin mate - complained (not really the right word :-) they *found* me a new room. Still a mini-suite, but just about 5 rooms from the end of the ship (next to the spa). Now - if you really want a mini-suite, that's the best location. Plus - I always get the spa pass - very easy access to spa - main dining room, etc... a great room. My advice: pay VERY close attention to what is above you and below you. And if you are 50/50 on getting the room - be conservative - and careful. It wasn't an upgrade at all. Original room: 11072 . New Room: 11676 Dining: We at at 3 specially restaurants and the Aqua Restaurant. Moderno: Churrascaria. I have to admit that I'm very spoiled living in NYC with GREAT steak places and churrascaria places. They have one of the BEST salad bar I've had. They tell you not to fill up on salad - go for it. The meat - was tough - overcooked - and over-salted. We all made sure we took our BP medication that night. Cagneys: Steakhouse. Here is where we diverged. I had a T-bone and so did my friend. I loved mine - his was VERY tough. But it's a great stop. Le Bistro: French - the best meal of the cruise. The mushroom soup is a NEVER miss item. We had many many drinks and entrees and the service was impeccable. We had our other meals in the Aqua - because you can wear shorts - and it's the same menu as the Main Dining Room. The food was hit-or-miss. I had some spectacular meals (the lamb shank for instance) and had some lack-luster meals. Overall a solid B+/A- My advice - don't be afraid to order more than one thing - and ask for another if you really enjoyed the dish. And if you don't like something - get something else. They will bring you as much and whatever you wish. Don't be timid. Entertainment and Activities: We did a few of the shows. I know they vary by weeks - the performance shows - the Showdown American Idol type of show was blah (remember I live 20 minutes from Broadway) but entertaining enough. The Elements show was quite good. I always like the comedians. Other than that - it was OK. But by idea of a good time is drinks by the pool all day. I don't cruise for the shows. Service: This is where the cruise was hit or miss. One thing I really like - and please don't think I'm petty - but I like a pitcher of water in my room to drink in the evening. It was everyone else's problem - no one could find one and deliver one. I was always told - you can call this one or call that one. Plus - we wanted to re-arrange reservations for the specialty restaurants - and we had the concierge to help us. After leaving a message for two days - I was told (lectured really) that I should call sooner because he can't make changes last minute. And then kept going. I hung up. Ports and Shore excursions: Again to be fair - my cruise mantra is - I pay all this money to get on the ship, why would I pay again to get off the ship?!? The one thing I want to everyone be careful about - in Florida - there were a few other ships in dock - and we got the LAST parking spot. This meant that it was a 15-20 minute walk to the place where you can meet your shore excursion transportation. It was HOT and HUMID and I would have not appreciated that walk... but again - I didn't get off the ship. Plus - remember in Florida - you get in at 1 pm and must be back on the ship at 8:30 pm. The only way I get off the ship is to do Disney. That's not that long in the park - especially when it's super busy in the summer. Overall - it was a fun vacation - lots of great drinks and good food and had a blast. I love to cruise - but some things could have been better. Oh - and I always get the Thermal Spa week pass - what a great value. A few days I was the only person in the spa!!! I swear the pool is bigger than the deck pool - and it's sans kids!! A great value!

Wonderful cruise - but a warning about the rooms -

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by pjc215

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
My review - NCL Dawn

This is my 10th NCL Cruise and my 1st on the Dawn. I've been on the Gem and the Breakaway and was very very happy. Also - the last 4 cruises I have been in the Haven. So I definitely have an expectation for a level of service - and have always thought that NCL was a *bit* better than others. it's a good mix of 'mr. sexy legs' and 'quiet reading on the deck'.

We got to the dock and have always left from NYC/NJ. I also continue on NCL because I am Platinum. When I got to the dock - no one seemed to know what to tell me. We were discouraged by two folks to not go to the VIP/Platinum line. I finally asked where to go, the lady rolled her eyes at me and said - ok - over there. Hmmm.

I also want to mention that this was after my friend (who has MS) would have had a very difficult time waiting on the 1 hour line for security and then 1 hour to get checked-in. He asked if he could use the handicapped line (which he has plenty of documentation) and she again rolled her eyes. She said, “you can’t use this line without a wheel chair”. (Lots of folks have disabilities that don’t require a wheelchair). So we asked for a wheel chair. “Well… we don’t have them (they do).” The entire process seemed very uninformed and unprofessional.

The check-in was flawless and was on the ship about 30 minutes later. We arrived around 11:30 am so getting on the ship around noon/12:15 is pretty good for me.

I try my best to avoid the buffet usually - but especially on embarkation day. As I had read in other reviews - the main dining room is open - but many MANY NCL crew members try to steer you away and towards the buffet. I'm glad I knew better. It was quiet start to the cruise. Always start your cruise with a rebellious fish (or two or three).

Ship: The ship shows its age - but the crew does an excellent job on keeping her VERY clean and sparkling. Once in a while I found an 'out of order' sign - to be expected - but it was always cleared up the very next day. I found the ship very familiar experience to the Gem which I found very comforting. I loved the Breakaway (and will take the Escape in October) - but it's so very large. This size of ship - to me - is perfect. Not too big - not too small.

Cabin: The first one or the second one? :-)

Here is my story - I booked a balcony state room - and was offered an upgrade. I did this once before and got a Haven Spa Suite - so cool. So we bid on the upgrade and hoped for the best we could get. They did upgrade us - from a balcony to a mini-suite. YES! oh no!

The older ships the better rooms are on higher up decks. That means the mini-suites are DIRECTLY UNDER THE POOL DECK. But I roll with the punches - it's going to be a great curise!! I love crusing!

Nope - first night - they were moving deck chairs - and when I say moving - I mean DRAGGING - the deck chairs at midnight - then at 1:30 am - then at 2:30 am - then again at 5:30 am.

Now the Dawn is an older ship, as I said - and they don't have a huge pool - they have many more deck chairs on multiple stepped levels - all facing the pool. That's important.

So - it was a restless night - no amount of extra rebellious fishes could have solved this problem. Long story short - AVOID the rooms under the pool deck if noise bothers you. I've heard - the rooms under the buffet are worse.

But then - during the day? Anytime there is something going on the pool deck (read: pool party) then you hear the sound in your room. I like a nap after time in the sun - but there are generally lots of music happening all day - and then a break for dinner - and then again until about 10/10:30 pm. It was so loud - we really would strain to hear a conversation on our balcony over the loud music on the pool deck.

My advice - for the bit of extra room - and extra $$ - stick to the balcony rooms on older ships like the dawn. It's just not worth the extra aggravation.

Bright lining - after my cabin mate - complained (not really the right word :-) they *found* me a new room. Still a mini-suite, but just about 5 rooms from the end of the ship (next to the spa). Now - if you really want a mini-suite, that's the best location. Plus - I always get the spa pass - very easy access to spa - main dining room, etc... a great room.

My advice: pay VERY close attention to what is above you and below you. And if you are 50/50 on getting the room - be conservative - and careful. It wasn't an upgrade at all.

Original room: 11072 . New Room: 11676

Dining: We at at 3 specially restaurants and the Aqua Restaurant.

Moderno: Churrascaria. I have to admit that I'm very spoiled living in NYC with GREAT steak places and churrascaria places. They have one of the BEST salad bar I've had. They tell you not to fill up on salad - go for it. The meat - was tough - overcooked - and over-salted. We all made sure we took our BP medication that night.

Cagneys: Steakhouse. Here is where we diverged. I had a T-bone and so did my friend. I loved mine - his was VERY tough. But it's a great stop.

Le Bistro: French - the best meal of the cruise. The mushroom soup is a NEVER miss item. We had many many drinks and entrees and the service was impeccable.

We had our other meals in the Aqua - because you can wear shorts - and it's the same menu as the Main Dining Room. The food was hit-or-miss. I had some spectacular meals (the lamb shank for instance) and had some lack-luster meals. Overall a solid B+/A-

My advice - don't be afraid to order more than one thing - and ask for another if you really enjoyed the dish. And if you don't like something - get something else. They will bring you as much and whatever you wish. Don't be timid.

Entertainment and Activities:

We did a few of the shows. I know they vary by weeks - the performance shows - the Showdown American Idol type of show was blah (remember I live 20 minutes from Broadway) but entertaining enough. The Elements show was quite good. I always like the comedians.

Other than that - it was OK. But by idea of a good time is drinks by the pool all day. I don't cruise for the shows.

Service: This is where the cruise was hit or miss. One thing I really like - and please don't think I'm petty - but I like a pitcher of water in my room to drink in the evening. It was everyone else's problem - no one could find one and deliver one. I was always told - you can call this one or call that one.

Plus - we wanted to re-arrange reservations for the specialty restaurants - and we had the concierge to help us. After leaving a message for two days - I was told (lectured really) that I should call sooner because he can't make changes last minute. And then kept going. I hung up.

Ports and Shore excursions:

Again to be fair - my cruise mantra is - I pay all this money to get on the ship, why would I pay again to get off the ship?!?

The one thing I want to everyone be careful about - in Florida - there were a few other ships in dock - and we got the LAST parking spot. This meant that it was a 15-20 minute walk to the place where you can meet your shore excursion transportation. It was HOT and HUMID and I would have not appreciated that walk... but again - I didn't get off the ship.

Plus - remember in Florida - you get in at 1 pm and must be back on the ship at 8:30 pm. The only way I get off the ship is to do Disney. That's not that long in the park - especially when it's super busy in the summer.

Overall - it was a fun vacation - lots of great drinks and good food and had a blast. I love to cruise - but some things could have been better.

Oh - and I always get the Thermal Spa week pass - what a great value. A few days I was the only person in the spa!!! I swear the pool is bigger than the deck pool - and it's sans kids!! A great value!
pjc215’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MA 11072
Here is my story - I booked a balcony state room - and was offered an upgrade. I did this once before and got a Haven Spa Suite - so cool. So we bid on the upgrade and hoped for the best we could get. They did upgrade us - from a balcony to a mini-suite. YES! oh no!

The older ships the better rooms are on higher up decks. That means the mini-suites are DIRECTLY UNDER THE POOL DECK. But I roll with the punches - it's going to be a great curise!! I love crusing!

Nope - first night - they were moving deck chairs - and when I say moving - I mean DRAGGING - the deck chairs at midnight - then at 1:30 am - then at 2:30 am - then again at 5:30 am.

Now the Dawn is an older ship, as I said - and they don't have a huge pool - they have many more deck chairs on multiple stepped levels - all facing the pool. That's important.

So - it was a restless night - no amount of extra rebellious fishes could have solved this problem. Long story short - AVOID the rooms under the pool deck if noise bothers you. I've heard - the rooms under the buffet are worse.

But then - during the day? Anytime there is something going on the pool deck (read: pool party) then you hear the sound in your room. I like a nap after time in the sun - but there are generally lots of music happening all day - and then a break for dinner - and then again until about 10/10:30 pm. It was so loud - we really would strain to hear a conversation on our balcony over the loud music on the pool deck.

My advice - for the bit of extra room - and extra $$ - stick to the balcony rooms on older ships like the dawn. It's just not worth the extra aggravation.

Bright lining - after my cabin mate - complained (not really the right word :-) they *found* me a new room. Still a mini-suite, but just about 5 rooms from the end of the ship (next to the spa). Now - if you really want a mini-suite, that's the best location. Plus - I always get the spa pass - very easy access to spa - main dining room, etc... a great room.

My advice: pay VERY close attention to what is above you and below you. And if you are 50/50 on getting the room - be conservative - and careful. It wasn't an upgrade at all.

Original room: 11072 . New Room: 11676
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins