We just arrived back from the 7 day cruise from NYC to Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn. This was not our first trip on the Dawn, we had caught it out of Boston about five years ago, and the ship is sadly showing its age. Arriving at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on Saturday November 2nd we were met with a slow and really disorderly boarding because the gangway had been damaged by high winds by another cruise ship. This caused problems for both the unloading of the previous cruise and the loading of our 7 day cruise. Instead of using the gangway we had to board via the gangways on 4, which meant a lot of confusion and a lot of crowds. It was not a good way to begin the cruise. Our cabin which had a porthole was located on 4 and while this made things easier for boarding and onboarding in Bermuda it also meant lots of travel up and down to get anywhere on the ship. We did have a couple of really good dinners in main dining room, The Venetian. The service was always great and friendly. But I was disappointed that a vegetarian option was not included on every menu. In the past they always had at least one (the last couple of nights they did), but they were missing for the first few nights. We only ate in the Garden Cafe sometimes in the early morning and sometimes for lunch and were disappointed by the quality of the food. It never really seemed to change and was not always that appetizing. The best thing about the ship is the atrium which features indoor glass elevators, and more open floors than the Gem, however there seemed to be a lot of space on the ship that was never utilized properly, including the teenagers and children's areas on the back of deck 13. It also doesn't have an open air dining area, like The Gem which was disappointing. However, the worst was the disembarkation in NYC. The crew refused to manage it in anyway, just asking people to remain in their rooms. They should know this never happens and to minimize anger and frustration all they needed to do was erect barriers to direct lines waiting to disembark. They didn't, creating multiple lines all over the ship and at the last minute they created mass chaos when they changed the disembarkation from the traditional side to another. All it takes is a little crowd management, which after all other companies have mastered (think Disney) to create a more pleasant experience for all involved.
The cabin was small and was defiantly showing its age. There was only one plug, which is not enough in this day and age. The bathroom featured a dividing door between the sink and toilet which was way too small for the space and just a nuisance. When we arrived our door wouldn't close properly, and while they corrected it quickly it just showed the age of the ship.
I love the area around King's Wharf and the Royal Navy Dockyard. It is wonderful how they have repurposed the old fortifications and updated them to provide a little shopping city with everything anyone on a cruise ship would need. While the prices are high, because everything is imported into Bermuda, it was great to have so much, so close to the ship.