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We chose this cruise because of the terrific itinerary - 8 Caribbean islands, 3 of which we had never visited. Leaving from NYC was attractive, too, since we could take Amtrak there. We had cruised on the Dawn before but it was back in 2009 so we were interested in seeing how she had been refurbished. We enjoy the layout and size of this class of ship as well as the jewel class. Loved seeing the open atrium and various lounge areas since we miss them on the larger ships. Embarkation took a little longer than usual despite the fact that we are platinum Latitude members with expedited check-in. This was due to a change in terminals and not as much space for staff to work. Once onboard, we dropped our bags at the Bliss Lounge and had lunch in the Venetian Restaurant. Three sea days gave us plenty of time to relax and get to meet other cruisers. After that we did 8 islands in 8 days...Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, & St. Thomas. Since we chose mostly beach excursions, it was not as hectic as we had thought. It was nice to have 2 sea days headed home. We used NCL sponsored tours on 6 of the islands since we had the $50 shore excursion credit option. This was our first experience using that perk and it worked very well. Overall the cruise was very enjoyable. The staff were very professional, helpful and provided great service. Our cabin steward was one of the best we ever had. Senior officers were often seen out and about although the captain seemed to keep a low profile. Entertainment varied from excellent to good. The production number, Elements, was fantastic and very entertaining. Dining was the only area where things did not seem up to par with the previous NCL cruises we have done (17 total). Food was hit or miss in several of the complimentary restaurants. Often the food was warm - definitely not hot. Dinners in the Garden Cafe were especially affected with some hot entrees actually cold. The Venetian & Aqua Restaurants were very good as well as the specialty restaurants. Le Bistro & Moderno continue to provide outstanding food as well as service. Disembarkation was a nightmare. Strong winds several nights prior to our docking had damaged the usual gangways so last minute options had to be planned to disembark. Guests had to exit on Deck 4 forward, normally only used when going ashore at a port. Since only one person at a time could use the smaller gangway, there were long delays. Very long lines snaked through the I-95 crew corridor which became rather claustrophobic. Unloading the luggage took much longer, too, since workers were limited in access. Disembarkation was probably 2 1/2 -3 hours late causing many people to miss busses, planes, & trains. Fortunately, we made our train with 20 minutes to spare. Not only were there frustrated, angry passengers leaving the ship but there were frustrated, angry passengers (and their luggage) filling the terminal waiting to board the ship. Felt badly for the NCL employees who were doing their best but were getting lots of angry, rude comments. Not the way to end a wonderful, relaxing vacation. Despite a less than positive ending, we really enjoyed this cruise and plan to do a similar one on NCL next year. We continue to be fans of NCL and freestyle cruising.

Terrific Itinerary

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by cruisinlibrarian

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Inside
We chose this cruise because of the terrific itinerary - 8 Caribbean islands, 3 of which we had never visited. Leaving from NYC was attractive, too, since we could take Amtrak there. We had cruised on the Dawn before but it was back in 2009 so we were interested in seeing how she had been refurbished. We enjoy the layout and size of this class of ship as well as the jewel class. Loved seeing the open atrium and various lounge areas since we miss them on the larger ships. Embarkation took a little longer than usual despite the fact that we are platinum Latitude members with expedited check-in. This was due to a change in terminals and not as much space for staff to work. Once onboard, we dropped our bags at the Bliss Lounge and had lunch in the Venetian Restaurant. Three sea days gave us plenty of time to relax and get to meet other cruisers. After that we did 8 islands in 8 days...Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, & St. Thomas. Since we chose mostly beach excursions, it was not as hectic as we had thought. It was nice to have 2 sea days headed home. We used NCL sponsored tours on 6 of the islands since we had the $50 shore excursion credit option. This was our first experience using that perk and it worked very well.

Overall the cruise was very enjoyable. The staff were very professional, helpful and provided great service. Our cabin steward was one of the best we ever had. Senior officers were often seen out and about although the captain seemed to keep a low profile. Entertainment varied from excellent to good. The production number, Elements, was fantastic and very entertaining.

Dining was the only area where things did not seem up to par with the previous NCL cruises we have done (17 total). Food was hit or miss in several of the complimentary restaurants. Often the food was warm - definitely not hot. Dinners in the Garden Cafe were especially affected with some hot entrees actually cold. The Venetian & Aqua Restaurants were very good as well as the specialty restaurants. Le Bistro & Moderno continue to provide outstanding food as well as service.

Disembarkation was a nightmare. Strong winds several nights prior to our docking had damaged the usual gangways so last minute options had to be planned to disembark. Guests had to exit on Deck 4 forward, normally only used when going ashore at a port. Since only one person at a time could use the smaller gangway, there were long delays. Very long lines snaked through the I-95 crew corridor which became rather claustrophobic. Unloading the luggage took much longer, too, since workers were limited in access. Disembarkation was probably 2 1/2 -3 hours late causing many people to miss busses, planes, & trains. Fortunately, we made our train with 20 minutes to spare. Not only were there frustrated, angry passengers leaving the ship but there were frustrated, angry passengers (and their luggage) filling the terminal waiting to board the ship. Felt badly for the NCL employees who were doing their best but were getting lots of angry, rude comments. Not the way to end a wonderful, relaxing vacation.

Despite a less than positive ending, we really enjoyed this cruise and plan to do a similar one on NCL next year. We continue to be fans of NCL and freestyle cruising.
cruisinlibrarian’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Inside
Cabin ID
Location was excellent - quiet and easy walk to forward elevators/stairs. Adequate storage space with shelves in closet and several shelves & 3 drawers outside of closet. Bathroom was spacious with doors on shower area. With the beds together, there was not much space to walk on either side - tight squeeze
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews