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Norwegian Dawn Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
2840 reviews
1 Award

Canada is crazy cool! NCL not so much.

Review for Norwegian Dawn to Canada & New England
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6-10 Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Sep 2019
Cabin: Mid-Ship Balcony
NYC. The Big Apple. The City that doesnt sleep.
Sunset at sea.
Another breathtaking sunset.

Wait staff, ship's officers and crew, security & maintenance, as usual, are all top notch. Management is just the opposite. From 6 hours on the phone over 5 weeks unsuccessfully trying to get a return call from a "supervisor" at the NCL Air Department to rectify air connections that flew us into a City 200 miles from the port on the wrong day to condescending, rude, in-your-face "service desk" managers who couldn't communicate effectively and blamed you for their errors. We overheard one loud argument that would later echo our sentiment exactly. He was yelling "This is your mistake, not mine. I shouldn't be having to work for YOU to straighten out YOUR errors on MY vacation and spend MY time trying to resolve YOUR problems." They called security on him. We smiled and thought, well, he probably could have handled that better..." Little did we know that a day or two later we would find ourselves in the same position and being goaded by these very same incompetent, argumentative "service personnel" about our credit card and saying roughly the same thing and ultimately having to "go to work" on our vacation to correct yet another error by NCL. (I guess they figured since we let them get away with taking our $200 in airfare they'd attempt to go back to the well for more.) Ours is far from the only observation on the web that over the last 5 years, while the day-to-day personnel continues to remain gregarious, friendly, courteous and competent, there has been a tectonic shift at the Helm of NCL's home office & bean counters resulting in business management that just gets more pathetic with each passing cruise. Not vessel management, "hospitality" management.

As for the air department in particular, don't waste your money. Read the plethora of negative reviews about this cruise and those who've been snookered into the Montreal/YQB switcheroo. Since no one would return our calls, we finally just wrote off the $200 airfare as a loss and booked ourselves into Quebec (YQB). NCL may have taken our money, but we refused to let them steal our joy. We spent 4 fantastic days enjoying Quebec Quebec City, and wished for more to be honest. Sadly we listened to horror stories each day of people with similar experiences who had to find their own way to the port from some far away city or who sat for hours on the side of a major highway, the bus rocking from the traffic whizzing by their broken down bus. They said it was terrifying thinking about becoming a statistic. One reviewer said it took NCL 12 hours to get them from Montreal Trudeau to the ship. It's so laughable even the comedian made their misery the butt of several jokes in his act. So if you think they'll actually treat you differently than all the other thousands of guests they've hoodwinked, then the joke'll be on you. One day NCL is going to screw over the WRONG attorney who's going to file a class action suit over their "bait and switch" tactics and false repeated claims that "there aren't seats into Quebec," to which we responded, "We've got 4 windows open with 4 different airlines with flights from 4 different cities into YQB all with empty cabins, so don't sit there and lie to me. I'm looking at planes I could play ping pong in and never hit a soul with a serve." It's a shame management is slowly sinking what was once a fine cruise line.

The ship's older design must have been originally for the Caribbean or Mediterranean as the only observation areas are outside. A lot of women don't like their hair being blown around after they've fixed it up. There's no area aft to sit and watch the horizon recede. The ship has mysterious humps in the floor, odd, dead-end nooks and crannies and there is no bridge viewing room like there is on Jewel-Class vessels. The curries on the buffet were, as always, excellent. Healthy choices on the buffet were plentiful. Main dining rooms were on par with other ships in the NCL fleet. Specialty dining went from totally inedible in Los Lobos (other reviewers agree) to "OMG, this is the best meal I've ever eaten!" in the Italian Restaurant (La Cucina?) The manager Vaughn, was fantastic and very observant, not to mention funny. He's a true asset to the company. All of the ports were enjoyable other than maybe Halifax and simply because it's such a big city and industrial port. I mean there's nothing WRONG with Halifax, it's just not very walkable it's so large. Bar Harbor or Portland were likely our favorite, due to Acadia and the breath-taking views from Cadillac Mountain and the views of the lighthouses from Fort Williams. Still, each port was charming in it's own way. Quebec City is worth a week.

Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony

Cabin BA

Great balcony other than the smell of nicotine smoke from decks below or up wind of us, forcing us to close the door from time to time. Sadly, after several cruises in balconies or mini-suites it's doubtful we'll pay the Premium price again for a perk we can't use because we have to shut the balcony doors due to the nicotine smoke. The bed was OK, but not as comfortable as the mini-suite. The shower was awesome and this particular toilet was a significant improvement over our last few in that it faced away from the bulkhead. We had at least two rooms on the 8th floor on other NCL ships where the toilet is angled TOWARD the interior hallway meaning you kind of had to step over it like you were mounting a horse. The sink faucet didn't bother us, but I'm sure it pestered the beegeesuz out of the people next to us with the way it squeaked and popped and snapped loudly whenever you opened and closed it.

Port Reviews


Loved learning about the Titanic and the city's diverse history and seeing the Victorian Gardens. Big, big city.

Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Wonderful. They took the bus on a ferry. It was very exciting. What a beautiful place on the planet.

Portland (Maine)

What a cool experience. Hurray for the city to have the foresight and will to save Fort Williams for the citizens of the community.

Bar Harbor

Just WOW! Views from Cadillac Mountain just took your breath away. Were told the town has a free shuttle buses for the cost conscious or budget traveler that allow you to see the beautiful coastline and town, but as they are public transportation they are non-narrated.

Quebec City

We thoroughly enjoyed Quebec City. We flew ourselves in to YQB four days early (having tried to reason with unreasonable people at NCL air that they'd flown us into a city 200 miles away on the wrong day only to be told "tough noogies. Buyer Beware.") Our only regret is that we wished we flown in a full week ahead of time. Such a sublime experience. Great bus system. Had no problems with the language barriers. People often stopped and pointed us to places to catch the bus or buy tickets or timetables, etc. I think the longest wait we had was 15 minutes because we misread the bus stop location and the bus trundled past us only to stop a block away and we couldn't sprint that far before it left. But at least we knew where to catch the next one. Must be nice to have such a great public transportation system. If you lived there, I'm not sure a car is much of an asset. Uber's iffy.

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