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This was our 12th cruise. It was our fifth cruise with Norwegian. I am evaluating this cruise in comparison to the other 11 cruises we’ve taken. I believe food is 50% of the total experience, Service is 20% of the total experience, entertainment is 20% of the total experience and bars are 10% of the total experience. I am not factoring in anything for shore excursions because due to a previous poor experience using Norwegian for the shore excursions, we elected to use an Internet site in titled shoreexcursions.com rather than using Norwegian. Food 2 out of 5 Cruising has changed dramatically in the past 15 years. In their quest to keep cost under control, the cruise lines have reduced the value of the meals in the main dining room. They offer specialty dining at an up charge. This is where you will find your nicer meals. Main Dining Room Dinner Meals were generally overcooked and dry. There wasn’t a huge variety of higher end entrées offered. They always had rotisserie chicken, a half inch thick New York strip steak which would be of a choice quality, and fried flounder. I had to rotisserie chicken twice and found the portions to be very large and surprisingly the chicken was cooked perfectly. The other meals that I selected were mostly served very dry and Overcooked, especially the seafood. Note that lobster is no longer offered whatsoever on Norwegian Cruise lines and there was a limited amount of shrimp and other higher and Seafoods available. Specialty Dining Teppanyaki. 4 of 5 The show was great and the food was very good. There was a very large amount of fried rice available which was tasty. The filet was very lean and tasty as were the shrimp which were large and properly cooked. Specialty Dining LaCucina 3 of 5 Not a particularly memorable meal. The one outstanding item was the caprese salad which came with a very large (approximately four ounce) Of fresh mozzarella cheese. The cheese was rich and creamy and very tasty. The rest of the meal was nothing special. If I could do it over, we would skip La Cucina and dine at Le Bistro for a second time. Cagney’s Steahouse. 3 of 5 Overall the steak was pretty good, I had the ribeye. Unfortunately, they do not have steak sauce. Sounds crazy right, after all it is a steakhouse. They offer special sauces such as béarnaise etc., but do not have anything like A-1, HP or my favorite Heinz 57. When I asked for steak sauce I was first told they did not have any. Then a small metal container of cocktail sauce, the kind that you would place on a shrimp cocktail was presented as their in-house made special steak sauce. I tried to explain to the server that this was cocktail sauce that was meant to be used on seafood and not to be used on steak. He Insisted that this was their special steak sauce. I just gave up trying to explain the difference to him and really didn’t eat much of my steak because I don’t like steak without steak sauce. Never in 1 million years would I have thought that a steakhouse would not have steak sauce. So how can I give them anything above three? Specialty Dining Moderno 3 of 5 Moderno is a Brazilian steakhouse. It has an awesome salad bar with over 43 items, all of which were fresh and tasty. The meat service continues until you were full. There were various types of meat ranging from pork sausages to filet mignon. In addition they serve a cinnamon coated grilled pineapple which is amazing. Interestingly once again a Brazilian steakhouse did not have steak sauce. I did notice that a one steak sauce was available on the buffet line in the garden café. I almost got up from the table and went to the 12th floor to the Garden Café to retrieve a bottle. Needless to say I didn’t eat much steak without the sauce again. Specialty Dining LeBistro 4 of 5 Beware, Le Bistro is one of the few restaurants on the ship that has a dress code. Men must be in collared shirts and long pants with clothes shoes. I ordered a T-bone steak which did not appear on the regular menu, but which a fellow cruiser recommended. It was prepared perfectly and very tasty. And yes they actually had steak sauce, A-1. Unfortunately, both a table made and I ordered the escargot. I really like escargot and this was the only offering I saw of escargot on the ship. Both of us became extremely ill later that evening. We both believe the escargot was not fresh. That only a rating of four. Given a chance I would do Le Bistro two out of the five specially Dining meals that are included in the package, avoiding Los Lobos which is the Mexican food and La Cucina which is the Italian food. Garden Cafe Buffet, lunch and breakfast 1 of 5 The garden café actually ran out of skim milk one full day before the cruise was over. In addition they ran out of raisin bran. They had removed the raisin bran about one week into the cruise, but if you asked for it they would bring it to you. This was before they ran out. To me running out of food before the cruise is completed Is simply inexcusable. In this day of big data, a well run operation should never have this happen. In addition the organization of the buffet line was insane. First you gathered your plate in the very next thing on the buffet line was the condiment station, with catchup, mustard, A1 steak sauce etc. Now since you don’t know what you’re going to select to eat, you have no way of knowing which condiments you would like. So what happens is everyone gets their food and then hast to cut back in line to get the condiments. This simply created turmoil. I brought this to the attention of the supervisor who seem confused because they had previously removed the catchup and mustard from the tables and placed it in the buffet line due to the spread of a stomach virus which they believed was coming from people touching the condiment bottles. I am fine with removing the bottles to help reduce the spread of disease. This just makes sense. Replacing them where they did in the buffet line made no sense at all and the supervisor seem to have difficulty in understanding this. The coffee bar was similarly disorganized. Entertainment 2 of 5 The entertainment was poor overall. In this category I am including the house band, which was excellent, particularly Steffi, The featured entertainment, the afternoon activities, pool activities and the evening activities as well as the cruise director. House band, 5 out of 5 stars. A very talented group of musicians. Jennifer Fair. 1 of 5. Really If I could give a zero I would. She totally missed the mark with the audience in both her performance is where she sang with she loved as opposed to what the audience could relate to. She is a classical singer and performed opera which really nobody enjoyed. When she said she was leaving the ship on Saturday, which was in the middle of the cruise, no one said awe. I kind of felt bad for her. Tom Frankel pianist 5 of 5 Well it may sound odd to give a pianist a five out of five rating, but Tom earned it. he plays the piano behind his back, On his head and in other crazy positions. His song choices were outstanding in both his performances. People were genuinely disappointed when he left the ship in the middle of the cruise. Derek the Irish comedian 5 of 5 This guy was hysterical, particularly in his late night comedy show. He’s currently appearing on prime. People were really laughing at his jokes. Magician 3 of 5 I really like the magicians, so I enjoyed both the magicians acts along with the afternoon activities where he taught you how to perform card tricks. I have to admit that his illusions were very basic and his show but nonetheless enjoyable. Violinist Gary Levino 3 of 5 His first show was OK but his second show was very good. He had a very strong selection of songs for a second show which the audience loved. They were all recognizable including several Star Wars songs Pool Activities 1 of 5 It was in extremely limited number of pool activities for a 14 day cruise. I can recall three specifically, sexy legs for men, Best Buy subs for women, and a volleyball competition. For a two week cruise there needed to be many more activities around the pool, particularly with over five days at sea. Other day time and evening activities 1 of 5 Again there just weren’t a lot of activities for a 14 day cruise. They had the newlywed game one evening which was very funny. They had a hoedown which was poorly attended and ended early. They also had a fruit buffet which was very nice. Cruise Director 1 of 5 Jodie, our cruise director was absolutely the worst cruise director we experienced in our 12 cruises. She seem to enjoy introducing the entertainment and was present at anything that had to do with the line dancing, but other than that you never saw her around the ship. On other cruises we would see the cruise director several times each day. I also placed the lack of activities in particular the lack of pool activities at the foot of Jody since she is the director. We learned on the final night of the cruise that Jodie was leaving the ship as her contract was up. It just seemed that her heart was not into this cruise. And it showed. Service 3 of 5 Our cabin steward appear to be a hard-working guy and our room was always meet up and clean. But this is the standard, it earns a three. There were no tile animals present at any time throughout the cruise in our cabin however on Valentine’s Day he did form a heart with the blanket. He did not come around and introduce himself when the crew started, and we did not even see him until late on the fourth day of the cruise, but I place the blame on Norwegian for not providing proper training. We did tip him extra because he seem to be a very hard-working individual. With proper training I believe he could become an outstanding cabin steward. Food Service Aside from the aforementioned the bottles with the steak sauce in the organization of the buffet line coffee bar, one of my pet peeve‘s is when a server reaches across other diners to provide water water to deliver the food, particularly when there was ample space for him to walk around the table and serve it properly. This happened on numerous occasions. Norwegian needs to do a better job of training it’s waiters. People pay a lot of money to go on a cruise and I do believe have the right to expect superior service. Embarkation 2 of 5 This is probably an anomaly, but the system crashed on the day of embarkation causing a one hour plus delay in the ability to board the ship. Once the system came up the process flowed smoothly. Bar Service 3 of 5 Nothing spectacular, except in O’Sheehans, where the service range from above average to occasionally been excellent. . Nickel and Dime you When you were in US waters, the ship is required to pay sales tax to the local municipality. They charge you for the sales tax which ran about $.80 per drink. I would like to believe that when we paid over $8000 to take the cruise that they could’ve found a way to absorb this cost. My total sales tax for the entire cruise was less than $10. This just seem to be very petty on Norwegians part. Norwegian has a nice online app the permit you to message him to call other parties on the ship if they have signed up for the app. The cost is $9.95 per person, not per cabin. At $9.95 per cabin, this would be a good value if the app worked properly. There were lengthy delays between the sending and the receipt of the text messages. This ultimately Led to me not using the app at all due to its unreliability. Once they get the app working properly, in my opinion they should give it to the members of their latitude club. The latitude club is their version of a frequent customer plan. It really does not provide much in the way of benefits other than priority check-in and a bottle of sparkling wine in your room (which doesn’t do much when you were on the unlimited drink plan). It would be a nice perk for their loyal customers. Overall we thought the value received for an expenditure in excess of $8000 was just not there. We selected the cruise based upon the ports that were visited and we were very happy with port visits. However based upon the poor food and average entertainment we will most likely use another cruise line in the future. For reference purposes we have cruised on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean in addition to Norwegian

Poor value for $8,000 paid

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by Bapeljagr

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2020
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
This was our 12th cruise. It was our fifth cruise with Norwegian. I am evaluating this cruise in comparison to the other 11 cruises we’ve taken. I believe food is 50% of the total experience, Service is 20% of the total experience, entertainment is 20% of the total experience and bars are 10% of the total experience. I am not factoring in anything for shore excursions because due to a previous poor experience using Norwegian for the shore excursions, we elected to use an Internet site in titled shoreexcursions.com rather than using Norwegian.

Food 2 out of 5

Cruising has changed dramatically in the past 15 years. In their quest to keep cost under control, the cruise lines have reduced the value of the meals in the main dining room. They offer specialty dining at an up charge. This is where you will find your nicer meals.

Main Dining Room Dinner

Meals were generally overcooked and dry. There wasn’t a huge variety of higher end entrées offered. They always had rotisserie chicken, a half inch thick New York strip steak which would be of a choice quality, and fried flounder. I had to rotisserie chicken twice and found the portions to be very large and surprisingly the chicken was cooked perfectly. The other meals that I selected were mostly served very dry and Overcooked, especially the seafood.

Note that lobster is no longer offered whatsoever on Norwegian Cruise lines and there was a limited amount of shrimp and other higher and Seafoods available.

Specialty Dining Teppanyaki. 4 of 5

The show was great and the food was very good. There was a very large amount of fried rice available which was tasty. The filet was very lean and tasty as were the shrimp which were large and properly cooked.

Specialty Dining LaCucina 3 of 5

Not a particularly memorable meal. The one outstanding item was the caprese salad which came with a very large (approximately four ounce) Of fresh mozzarella cheese. The cheese was rich and creamy and very tasty. The rest of the meal was nothing special. If I could do it over, we would skip La Cucina and dine at Le Bistro for a second time.

Cagney’s Steahouse. 3 of 5

Overall the steak was pretty good, I had the ribeye. Unfortunately, they do not have steak sauce. Sounds crazy right, after all it is a steakhouse. They offer special sauces such as béarnaise etc., but do not have anything like A-1, HP or my favorite Heinz 57. When I asked for steak sauce I was first told they did not have any. Then a small metal container of cocktail sauce, the kind that you would place on a shrimp cocktail was presented as their in-house made special steak sauce. I tried to explain to the server that this was cocktail sauce that was meant to be used on seafood and not to be used on steak. He Insisted that this was their special steak sauce. I just gave up trying to explain the difference to him and really didn’t eat much of my steak because I don’t like steak without steak sauce. Never in 1 million years would I have thought that a steakhouse would not have steak sauce. So how can I give them anything above three?

Specialty Dining Moderno 3 of 5

Moderno is a Brazilian steakhouse. It has an awesome salad bar with over 43 items, all of which were fresh and tasty. The meat service continues until you were full. There were various types of meat ranging from pork sausages to filet mignon. In addition they serve a cinnamon coated grilled pineapple which is amazing. Interestingly once again a Brazilian steakhouse did not have steak sauce. I did notice that a one steak sauce was available on the buffet line in the garden café. I almost got up from the table and went to the 12th floor to the Garden Café to retrieve a bottle. Needless to say I didn’t eat much steak without the sauce again.

Specialty Dining LeBistro 4 of 5

Beware, Le Bistro is one of the few restaurants on the ship that has a dress code. Men must be in collared shirts and long pants with clothes shoes.

I ordered a T-bone steak which did not appear on the regular menu, but which a fellow cruiser recommended. It was prepared perfectly and very tasty. And yes they actually had steak sauce, A-1.

Unfortunately, both a table made and I ordered the escargot. I really like escargot and this was the only offering I saw of escargot on the ship. Both of us became extremely ill later that evening. We both believe the escargot was not fresh. That only a rating of four.

Given a chance I would do Le Bistro two out of the five specially Dining meals that are included in the package, avoiding Los Lobos which is the Mexican food and La Cucina which is the Italian food.

Garden Cafe Buffet, lunch and breakfast 1 of 5

The garden café actually ran out of skim milk one full day before the cruise was over. In addition they ran out of raisin bran. They had removed the raisin bran about one week into the cruise, but if you asked for it they would bring it to you. This was before they ran out. To me running out of food before the cruise is completed Is simply inexcusable. In this day of big data, a well run operation should never have this happen.

In addition the organization of the buffet line was insane. First you gathered your plate in the very next thing on the buffet line was the condiment station, with catchup, mustard, A1 steak sauce etc. Now since you don’t know what you’re going to select to eat, you have no way of knowing which condiments you would like. So what happens is everyone gets their food and then hast to cut back in line to get the condiments. This simply created turmoil. I brought this to the attention of the supervisor who seem confused because they had previously removed the catchup and mustard from the tables and placed it in the buffet line due to the spread of a stomach virus which they believed was coming from people touching the condiment bottles. I am fine with removing the bottles to help reduce the spread of disease. This just makes sense. Replacing them where they did in the buffet line made no sense at all and the supervisor seem to have difficulty in understanding this.

The coffee bar was similarly disorganized.

Entertainment 2 of 5

The entertainment was poor overall. In this category I am including the house band, which was excellent, particularly Steffi, The featured entertainment, the afternoon activities, pool activities and the evening activities as well as the cruise director.

House band, 5 out of 5 stars. A very talented group of musicians.

Jennifer Fair. 1 of 5. Really If I could give a zero I would. She totally missed the mark with the audience in both her performance is where she sang with she loved as opposed to what the audience could relate to. She is a classical singer and performed opera which really nobody enjoyed. When she said she was leaving the ship on Saturday, which was in the middle of the cruise, no one said awe. I kind of felt bad for her.

Tom Frankel pianist 5 of 5

Well it may sound odd to give a pianist a five out of five rating, but Tom earned it. he plays the piano behind his back, On his head and in other crazy positions. His song choices were outstanding in both his performances. People were genuinely disappointed when he left the ship in the middle of the cruise.

Derek the Irish comedian 5 of 5

This guy was hysterical, particularly in his late night comedy show. He’s currently appearing on prime. People were really laughing at his jokes.

Magician 3 of 5

I really like the magicians, so I enjoyed both the magicians acts along with the afternoon activities where he taught you how to perform card tricks. I have to admit that his illusions were very basic and his show but nonetheless enjoyable.

Violinist Gary Levino 3 of 5

His first show was OK but his second show was very good. He had a very strong selection of songs for a second show which the audience loved. They were all recognizable including several Star Wars songs

Pool Activities 1 of 5

It was in extremely limited number of pool activities for a 14 day cruise. I can recall three specifically, sexy legs for men, Best Buy subs for women, and a volleyball competition. For a two week cruise there needed to be many more activities around the pool, particularly with over five days at sea.

Other day time and evening activities 1 of 5

Again there just weren’t a lot of activities for a 14 day cruise. They had the newlywed game one evening which was very funny. They had a hoedown which was poorly attended and ended early. They also had a fruit buffet which was very nice.

Cruise Director 1 of 5

Jodie, our cruise director was absolutely the worst cruise director we experienced in our 12 cruises. She seem to enjoy introducing the entertainment and was present at anything that had to do with the line dancing, but other than that you never saw her around the ship. On other cruises we would see the cruise director several times each day. I also placed the lack of activities in particular the lack of pool activities at the foot of Jody since she is the director.

We learned on the final night of the cruise that Jodie was leaving the ship as her contract was up. It just seemed that her heart was not into this cruise. And it showed.

Service 3 of 5

Our cabin steward appear to be a hard-working guy and our room was always meet up and clean. But this is the standard, it earns a three. There were no tile animals present at any time throughout the cruise in our cabin however on Valentine’s Day he did form a heart with the blanket. He did not come around and introduce himself when the crew started, and we did not even see him until late on the fourth day of the cruise, but I place the blame on Norwegian for not providing proper training. We did tip him extra because he seem to be a very hard-working individual. With proper training I believe he could become an outstanding cabin steward.

Food Service

Aside from the aforementioned the bottles with the steak sauce in the organization of the buffet line coffee bar, one of my pet peeve‘s is when a server reaches across other diners to provide water water to deliver the food, particularly when there was ample space for him to walk around the table and serve it properly. This happened on numerous occasions. Norwegian needs to do a better job of training it’s waiters. People pay a lot of money to go on a cruise and I do believe have the right to expect superior service.

Embarkation 2 of 5

This is probably an anomaly, but the system crashed on the day of embarkation causing a one hour plus delay in the ability to board the ship. Once the system came up the process flowed smoothly.

Bar Service 3 of 5

Nothing spectacular, except in O’Sheehans, where the service range from above average to occasionally been excellent.

.

Nickel and Dime you

When you were in US waters, the ship is required to pay sales tax to the local municipality. They charge you for the sales tax which ran about $.80 per drink. I would like to believe that when we paid over $8000 to take the cruise that they could’ve found a way to absorb this cost. My total sales tax for the entire cruise was less than $10. This just seem to be very petty on Norwegians part.

Norwegian has a nice online app the permit you to message him to call other parties on the ship if they have signed up for the app. The cost is $9.95 per person, not per cabin. At $9.95 per cabin, this would be a good value if the app worked properly. There were lengthy delays between the sending and the receipt of the text messages. This ultimately Led to me not using the app at all due to its unreliability. Once they get the app working properly, in my opinion they should give it to the members of their latitude club. The latitude club is their version of a frequent customer plan. It really does not provide much in the way of benefits other than priority check-in and a bottle of sparkling wine in your room (which doesn’t do much when you were on the unlimited drink plan). It would be a nice perk for their loyal customers.

Overall we thought the value received for an expenditure in excess of $8000 was just not there. We selected the cruise based upon the ports that were visited and we were very happy with port visits. However based upon the poor food and average entertainment we will most likely use another cruise line in the future. For reference purposes we have cruised on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean in addition to Norwegian
Bapeljagr’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 BD
Balcony was partially enclosed, but it was fine.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins