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EMBARKATION: This actually went quite smoothly. We did not encounter any problems or delays. The one minor issue we had was that my cousin's credit cards wouldn't work for some reason. He tried 3 different cards and the machine wouldn't read any of them. Fortunately, he wasn't traveling alone so my mother, his cabin mate, used her card for check-in. I'm not sure what he would have done otherwise. We boarded about noon and they had announced that cabins wouldn't be available until 2:00 so we had lunch at the Garden Cafe buffet and saw a little of the ship before heading to our cabins (9070, 9072, 9076). STATEROOMS: The first thing we noticed was how tiny the room was. This cabin was 166 sq. ft. plus the balcony. The bed and sofa were on top of each other. When the sofa bed was open, you had to get in and out of it and the bed from the end - no access to the sides. That was a bit annoying. When the sofa bed was open, which was most of the time, you also couldn't get to the balcony door. You had to climb on the bed to get out. Fortunately, we had an adjoining room with other members of our party so we usually went through their room to get onto the balcony. Speaking of the balcony, shortly after boarding, I called the desk to have the adjoining cabin doors unlocked and the adjoining balcony doors unlocked. I also reported that we were short one life jacket. We had 2 adult and 1 child jackets but we needed 3 adults. In the same call, I told them that the beds in 9072 needed to be separated. The cabin doors got opened. The balcony door didn't until the next day and the beds didn't get separated until the next day. The correct size life jacket was never taken care of which is a major problem in my opinion. Doesn't say much for their safety priorities. The 2nd day, we asked to have the other adjoining balcony door opened, between 9072 and 9076. They came up and the guy couldn't get it open. He said maintenance would have to do it, but the next day it still hadn't been done. We called again and they came up and opened the wrong door (9076-9078). We called yet again and they finally closed that one and opened the correct one. One problem with opening the balcony doors is that the door swings open to the fore end of the ship which blocked the opening of our sliding door, which was already blocked by the sofa bed. That made using the balcony quite a challenge. The bathroom is quite small, especially the toilet compartment. I'm a thin guy and I had trouble maneuvering in there. I can't imagine how an obese person weighing 250 or 300 pounds could possibly manage. There was very good storage space in the bathroom - a shelf over the sink, the counter around the sink and a shelf under the sink. That was very nice. Plus a wire shelf in the shower. My family doesn't travel light in the toiletries department and we had plenty of space for our stuff. There is a minibar and the prices were actually not that bad. For example, a can of soda was $1.95 on the ship and $2.25 from the minibar. One problem was that we didn't have a price list in our minibar. I got the prices from the next room. Another problem was that they never replaced items used from the minibar. We drank the diet Pepsi from our room one night and took the one from the next room the next night. They billed us for them so they knew they were missing but neither one ever got replaced. The room was clean with one exception. The shelf over the TV was covered with dust. I just read another review written by someone else on the same cruise who was on a different deck and they said the same thing. Sounds like housekeeping needs to add that to their checklist because it isn't getting done. ENTERTAINMENT: Very good. We saw the magician, the Second City troupe (a couple of times) and the Band on the Run 70s show. All were a lot of fun and well worth seeing. Bingo was pricey to play but the prizes were good. I think the smallest jackpot at the start of the trip was over $200 and by the last day, the jackpots were over $700. What we found annoying was them stopping in the middle of bingo to sell other things, like having a one-item art auction to promote the art auctions more. I didn't come and pay $30 to play bingo to have you try and sell me art. If I wanted art, I'd go to the art auction. We attended several activities in the Spinnaker Lounge - game shows, trivia, Second City's improv show - and they were mostly a lot of fun. The Sing it if you know it game was kind of lame and that was the only activity we walked out of. My wife and I are both frequent casino goers in PA and Atlantic City. On the ship, my wife couldn't even step into the casino because the smoke was horrendous. I went in and checked out the games and found the odds to be horrible. Full pay jacks or better video poker, for those familiar with the game, pays 9/6. Onboard, it paid 6/5. Anyone playing that was truly a sucker. The electronic blackjack, I game I enjoy in PA, was a single deck game paying 6:5 for blackjack rather than 3:2. I played that for a while anyway despite the odds. I didn't bother with any live table games. Between the smoke and lousy odds, I saved a lot of money. FOOD AND BEVERAGE: This was one of two areas (service being the other) where this cruise failed to meet our expectations. The Garden Cafe buffet was okay but nothing special. I thought breakfast was actually pretty good. Lunch and dinner were okay but changed very little from day to day (same for breakfast). One thing that really annoyed my daughter was that there was a special kids buffet but they didn't let anyone else eat there. My daughter is 14, so it isn't like she's an adult, but they chased her away from there more than once. And one day, the kids buffet was closed and they had the kids selections in the regular buffet line but would only allow kids to take that stuff. Considering that one of the items was french fries, it was pretty strange to have them telling all of the other guests that they couldn't have any. One complaint about the buffet, and the ship in general, was the ice cream. On prior cruises, there was always at least one self-serve soft serve machine and it was open 24/7. On Dawn, there was one machine and it wasn't always open. It wasn't open at night after 9 or 10. And sometimes, it was manned by a crew member who served it for you, and they weren't very generous. There is also Sprinkles ice cream bar out by the pool. They give you a tiny serving, more like a melon baller than an ice cream scoop. Very stingy. Another buffet service issue is that on each table was a wire basket that held salt and pepper, mustard and ketchup and rolled up napkins with silverware. The staff came around regularly to refill the silverware but was not at all polite about it. Numerous times, they reached right over us to get to the basket, never saying excuse me, never walking around to the side of the table closer to the basket - just reaching across the whole table. We only dined at one specialty restaurant, Le Bistro, on Monday night. It was $20 per person extra. We did it for our anniversary. Even though they knew it was our anniversary, they chose to seat us at the table opposite the kitchen door - not very romantic especially since the place was nearly empty when we entered. The restaurant is very pretty, the food was tasty and nicely presented and the service was great, but neither of us felt that it was worth the extra $40. It wasn't anything above and beyond what the normal meals should be on a cruise. Main dining rooms - We had mixed experiences here. The first night, we ate in the Venetian, the bigger of the 2 MDRs. We had no wait to be seated. I thought our waiter was okay though not overly friendly. My wife, who was seated at the other end of the table (there were 6 of us) thought he was quite inattentive. She ordered a steak medium. It came well done. She sent it back and he replaced it pretty quickly. Knowing she had a problem, the waiter never came back to check on her and make sure the second one was to her liking. Also, her baked potato was hard and underdone. That night, I had the french onion soup which was delicious and the grilled salmon which was good though just slightly dry. The tiramisu was very good. Tuesday night we tried to go to Venetian again only to encounter a mob of people outside the restaurant. The hostess told me there would be a 45 minute wait. There was no way we were doing that, so we went to the buffet instead. That experience was a huge strike against the whole freestyle deal. Nobody should ever have to wait 45 minutes to be seated in the MDR. I read online, though, that that might have been the night lobster was being served in the MDR which can result in a big crowd. Later in the week, the MDRs were much better. We had breakfast there one day and it was excellent in every respect of food and service. We were sorry that we hadn't done breakfast there earlier in the week on the sea days at least. We had lunch at Aqua on Saturday and it was nice. The one complaint was that even though the place was only about 10% filled, they seated us at the table right by the kitchen door where it was noisy and servers constantly zipping by. We picked up and moved a few tables down since the place was nearly empty and we were fine. Our waitress was very good - actually had a sense of humor and joked around with us - the first time that had happened the whole trip. Food was just fine. No complaints. Dinner at Venetian Saturday night was also very nice. We were seated almost immediately at a nice table near the back windows. Server was very attentive and took care of a couple of special requests with no problem and got her fellow servers together to sing happy birthday to my mom (we were cruising to celebrate her 80th). I don't know where that level of service was on the first 3 days of the cruise. Blue Lagoon is another included place on deck 7 and open 24/7 (the only place that is). Burgers, sandwiches, soup, salad, etc. Service was spotty. The 6 of us all ordered together. Five of us got served fairly close together. My cousin's sandwich hadn't come so he asked a server who just said, "It can take some time" and walked off. Sorry, that isn't an acceptable response to a guest. "I'm sorry for the delay. Let me go check on that for you" is what he should have said. Soup was way too salty. Fries were not hot but the place is okay for a quick bite or a late night snack. Also, we asked our waitress for water and a couple of iced teas. She seemed to acknowledge us but never brought them. Turns out the drinks are self-serve but nobody bothered to tell us that. Kind of odd to have a sit-down, table service restaurant but have to get up and get your own drinks. We also ate at the Bimini Bar on Deck 13 overlooking the pool. Burgers, hot dogs and fries. What is nice is they offer beef, turkey and veggie burgers. In fact, I must say that all of the restaurants are mindful of the vegetarians. My daughter, who is a vegetarian, never had a problem finding what to eat. I am not a vegetarian, though I lean that way, and I chose the veggie options several times and they were always quite good. BERMUDA: LOVED IT! This was our first visit and we will absolutely go back. We had a whole list of things we wanted to see and do and only got to a handful of them. We spent Wednesday in Hamilton, Thursday in St. Georges and Friday in the Dockyard area. Definitely get a transportation pass. I guess I should post a separate review of the port features. GENERAL THOUGHTS: This was a fun cruise. We had a good time. The ship is very nice. Food in the included restaurants could have been a bit better, especially the buffet. Service overall throughout the ship was kind of spotty. Many crew members always had a smile and a "hello" as you passed, but a great many more did not. There were numerous times that crew members essentially ignored guests, us and others. For example, walking in various places, crew members would often cut people off or cross in front of then, rather than giving the guest the right of way. We thought that was kind of rude and I heard others making similar comments. There seemed to be an awful lot of selling going on no matter where you went onboard. Whether you were in the buffet, around the pool, in the lobby or participating in an activity, they were trying to sell you something. It got annoying. I think they need to tone it down a bit. We would have liked to have tried more of the specialty restaurants but didn't due to the added cost. I wish they would make it all inclusive like it is at a land resort like Sandals (where we've gone a few times). Even if it means charging a little more for the cruise, psychologically it would be different because you wouldn't be shelling out extra for each meal. It would already be paid for. In conclusion, I think a first-time cruiser would be very satisfied with NCL Dawn. An experienced cruiser, who is naturally going to compare it to prior experiences, may be a bit less satisfied because I don't think it measures up, at least not to the 3 previous cruises we've taken. We enjoyed it but expected a little better than what we got.

Loved Bermuda, bit disappointed with NCL

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by disneysteve

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2010
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
EMBARKATION:
This actually went quite smoothly. We did not encounter any problems or delays. The one minor issue we had was that my cousin's credit cards wouldn't work for some reason. He tried 3 different cards and the machine wouldn't read any of them. Fortunately, he wasn't traveling alone so my mother, his cabin mate, used her card for check-in. I'm not sure what he would have done otherwise.
We boarded about noon and they had announced that cabins wouldn't be available until 2:00 so we had lunch at the Garden Cafe buffet and saw a little of the ship before heading to our cabins (9070, 9072, 9076).
STATEROOMS:
The first thing we noticed was how tiny the room was. This cabin was 166 sq. ft. plus the balcony. The bed and sofa were on top of each other. When the sofa bed was open, you had to get in and out of it and the bed from the end - no access to the sides. That was a bit annoying.
When the sofa bed was open, which was most of the time, you also couldn't get to the balcony door. You had to climb on the bed to get out. Fortunately, we had an adjoining room with other members of our party so we usually went through their room to get onto the balcony.
Speaking of the balcony, shortly after boarding, I called the desk to have the adjoining cabin doors unlocked and the adjoining balcony doors unlocked. I also reported that we were short one life jacket. We had 2 adult and 1 child jackets but we needed 3 adults. In the same call, I told them that the beds in 9072 needed to be separated. The cabin doors got opened. The balcony door didn't until the next day and the beds didn't get separated until the next day. The correct size life jacket was never taken care of which is a major problem in my opinion. Doesn't say much for their safety priorities.
The 2nd day, we asked to have the other adjoining balcony door opened, between 9072 and 9076. They came up and the guy couldn't get it open. He said maintenance would have to do it, but the next day it still hadn't been done. We called again and they came up and opened the wrong door (9076-9078). We called yet again and they finally closed that one and opened the correct one. One problem with opening the balcony doors is that the door swings open to the fore end of the ship which blocked the opening of our sliding door, which was already blocked by the sofa bed. That made using the balcony quite a challenge.
The bathroom is quite small, especially the toilet compartment. I'm a thin guy and I had trouble maneuvering in there. I can't imagine how an obese person weighing 250 or 300 pounds could possibly manage. There was very good storage space in the bathroom - a shelf over the sink, the counter around the sink and a shelf under the sink. That was very nice. Plus a wire shelf in the shower. My family doesn't travel light in the toiletries department and we had plenty of space for our stuff.
There is a minibar and the prices were actually not that bad. For example, a can of soda was $1.95 on the ship and $2.25 from the minibar. One problem was that we didn't have a price list in our minibar. I got the prices from the next room. Another problem was that they never replaced items used from the minibar. We drank the diet Pepsi from our room one night and took the one from the next room the next night. They billed us for them so they knew they were missing but neither one ever got replaced.
The room was clean with one exception. The shelf over the TV was covered with dust. I just read another review written by someone else on the same cruise who was on a different deck and they said the same thing. Sounds like housekeeping needs to add that to their checklist because it isn't getting done.
ENTERTAINMENT:
Very good. We saw the magician, the Second City troupe (a couple of times) and the Band on the Run 70s show. All were a lot of fun and well worth seeing.
Bingo was pricey to play but the prizes were good. I think the smallest jackpot at the start of the trip was over $200 and by the last day, the jackpots were over $700. What we found annoying was them stopping in the middle of bingo to sell other things, like having a one-item art auction to promote the art auctions more. I didn't come and pay $30 to play bingo to have you try and sell me art. If I wanted art, I'd go to the art auction.
We attended several activities in the Spinnaker Lounge - game shows, trivia, Second City's improv show - and they were mostly a lot of fun. The Sing it if you know it game was kind of lame and that was the only activity we walked out of.
My wife and I are both frequent casino goers in PA and Atlantic City. On the ship, my wife couldn't even step into the casino because the smoke was horrendous. I went in and checked out the games and found the odds to be horrible. Full pay jacks or better video poker, for those familiar with the game, pays 9/6. Onboard, it paid 6/5. Anyone playing that was truly a sucker. The electronic blackjack, I game I enjoy in PA, was a single deck game paying 6:5 for blackjack rather than 3:2. I played that for a while anyway despite the odds. I didn't bother with any live table games. Between the smoke and lousy odds, I saved a lot of money.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE:
This was one of two areas (service being the other) where this cruise failed to meet our expectations. The Garden Cafe buffet was okay but nothing special. I thought breakfast was actually pretty good. Lunch and dinner were okay but changed very little from day to day (same for breakfast). One thing that really annoyed my daughter was that there was a special kids buffet but they didn't let anyone else eat there. My daughter is 14, so it isn't like she's an adult, but they chased her away from there more than once. And one day, the kids buffet was closed and they had the kids selections in the regular buffet line but would only allow kids to take that stuff. Considering that one of the items was french fries, it was pretty strange to have them telling all of the other guests that they couldn't have any.
One complaint about the buffet, and the ship in general, was the ice cream. On prior cruises, there was always at least one self-serve soft serve machine and it was open 24/7. On Dawn, there was one machine and it wasn't always open. It wasn't open at night after 9 or 10. And sometimes, it was manned by a crew member who served it for you, and they weren't very generous. There is also Sprinkles ice cream bar out by the pool. They give you a tiny serving, more like a melon baller than an ice cream scoop. Very stingy.
Another buffet service issue is that on each table was a wire basket that held salt and pepper, mustard and ketchup and rolled up napkins with silverware. The staff came around regularly to refill the silverware but was not at all polite about it. Numerous times, they reached right over us to get to the basket, never saying excuse me, never walking around to the side of the table closer to the basket - just reaching across the whole table.
We only dined at one specialty restaurant, Le Bistro, on Monday night. It was $20 per person extra. We did it for our anniversary. Even though they knew it was our anniversary, they chose to seat us at the table opposite the kitchen door - not very romantic especially since the place was nearly empty when we entered. The restaurant is very pretty, the food was tasty and nicely presented and the service was great, but neither of us felt that it was worth the extra $40. It wasn't anything above and beyond what the normal meals should be on a cruise.
Main dining rooms - We had mixed experiences here. The first night, we ate in the Venetian, the bigger of the 2 MDRs. We had no wait to be seated. I thought our waiter was okay though not overly friendly. My wife, who was seated at the other end of the table (there were 6 of us) thought he was quite inattentive. She ordered a steak medium. It came well done. She sent it back and he replaced it pretty quickly. Knowing she had a problem, the waiter never came back to check on her and make sure the second one was to her liking. Also, her baked potato was hard and underdone. That night, I had the french onion soup which was delicious and the grilled salmon which was good though just slightly dry. The tiramisu was very good.
Tuesday night we tried to go to Venetian again only to encounter a mob of people outside the restaurant. The hostess told me there would be a 45 minute wait. There was no way we were doing that, so we went to the buffet instead. That experience was a huge strike against the whole freestyle deal. Nobody should ever have to wait 45 minutes to be seated in the MDR. I read online, though, that that might have been the night lobster was being served in the MDR which can result in a big crowd.
Later in the week, the MDRs were much better. We had breakfast there one day and it was excellent in every respect of food and service. We were sorry that we hadn't done breakfast there earlier in the week on the sea days at least.
We had lunch at Aqua on Saturday and it was nice. The one complaint was that even though the place was only about 10% filled, they seated us at the table right by the kitchen door where it was noisy and servers constantly zipping by. We picked up and moved a few tables down since the place was nearly empty and we were fine. Our waitress was very good - actually had a sense of humor and joked around with us - the first time that had happened the whole trip. Food was just fine. No complaints.
Dinner at Venetian Saturday night was also very nice. We were seated almost immediately at a nice table near the back windows. Server was very attentive and took care of a couple of special requests with no problem and got her fellow servers together to sing happy birthday to my mom (we were cruising to celebrate her 80th). I don't know where that level of service was on the first 3 days of the cruise.
Blue Lagoon is another included place on deck 7 and open 24/7 (the only place that is). Burgers, sandwiches, soup, salad, etc. Service was spotty. The 6 of us all ordered together. Five of us got served fairly close together. My cousin's sandwich hadn't come so he asked a server who just said, "It can take some time" and walked off. Sorry, that isn't an acceptable response to a guest. "I'm sorry for the delay. Let me go check on that for you" is what he should have said. Soup was way too salty. Fries were not hot but the place is okay for a quick bite or a late night snack. Also, we asked our waitress for water and a couple of iced teas. She seemed to acknowledge us but never brought them. Turns out the drinks are self-serve but nobody bothered to tell us that. Kind of odd to have a sit-down, table service restaurant but have to get up and get your own drinks.
We also ate at the Bimini Bar on Deck 13 overlooking the pool. Burgers, hot dogs and fries. What is nice is they offer beef, turkey and veggie burgers. In fact, I must say that all of the restaurants are mindful of the vegetarians. My daughter, who is a vegetarian, never had a problem finding what to eat. I am not a vegetarian, though I lean that way, and I chose the veggie options several times and they were always quite good.
BERMUDA:
LOVED IT! This was our first visit and we will absolutely go back. We had a whole list of things we wanted to see and do and only got to a handful of them. We spent Wednesday in Hamilton, Thursday in St. Georges and Friday in the Dockyard area. Definitely get a transportation pass. I guess I should post a separate review of the port features.
GENERAL THOUGHTS:
This was a fun cruise. We had a good time. The ship is very nice. Food in the included restaurants could have been a bit better, especially the buffet. Service overall throughout the ship was kind of spotty. Many crew members always had a smile and a "hello" as you passed, but a great many more did not. There were numerous times that crew members essentially ignored guests, us and others. For example, walking in various places, crew members would often cut people off or cross in front of then, rather than giving the guest the right of way. We thought that was kind of rude and I heard others making similar comments.
There seemed to be an awful lot of selling going on no matter where you went onboard. Whether you were in the buffet, around the pool, in the lobby or participating in an activity, they were trying to sell you something. It got annoying. I think they need to tone it down a bit.
We would have liked to have tried more of the specialty restaurants but didn't due to the added cost. I wish they would make it all inclusive like it is at a land resort like Sandals (where we've gone a few times). Even if it means charging a little more for the cruise, psychologically it would be different because you wouldn't be shelling out extra for each meal. It would already be paid for.
In conclusion, I think a first-time cruiser would be very satisfied with NCL Dawn. An experienced cruiser, who is naturally going to compare it to prior experiences, may be a bit less satisfied because I don't think it measures up, at least not to the 3 previous cruises we've taken. We enjoyed it but expected a little better than what we got.
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 9070
Rather small - see my review. Good location mid-ship. Fold out sofa bed is hard, not just firm but hard. Fold out blocks balcony door. Bathroom is cramped but lots of storage space.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins