Norwegian Dawn Review

4.0 / 5.0
3,042 reviews

Fascinating itinerary, but flawed execution

Review for Africa Cruise on Norwegian Dawn
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wbeeman
First Time Cruiser • Age 70s

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Sail Date: Mar 2024

There are going to be a lot of very negative reviews for this cruise, and there were many problems with it. There were four missed ports, an itinerary change after final deposits were made, and a lot of difficulties with ports that were visited.

Additionally, the passengers on this cruise were exceptionally savvy travelers, and exceptionally sophisticated and experienced frequent cruisers with Norwegian. I was told by the passenger services manager that there were 700 platinum-level cruise guests and above out of a total of 2100 such passengers for the entire Norwegian "family of cruisers." There were 20+ Ambassador level passengers out of only 300 fleet-wide. Many had cruised on this ship specifically before. The guests were from every continent--one of the most broadly international cruise guest roster I have ever seen.

For most of the guests the itinerary of this cruise was the principal draw. Many passengers had a "bucket list" of countries they wanted to visit and some of the ports (Luanda, Sao Tome, Cape Verde, Gambia) were highly anticipated. I met more than a few passengers who had visited more than 150 countries. So when Cape Verde was eliminated from the cruise, and a stop in Gambia was not possible (navigation and tides), there was a great deal of disgruntlement. Norwegian only made a slight gesture at compensation for these itinerary changes (yes, we all know that they are legally permitted to do this under the cruise contract).

Port Reviews

Abidjan

We visited Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast's first capital with charming colonial houses and a very nice lunch by the beach. As a result we didn't get to see much of the capital, Abidjan. Time was limited, but this was still an interesting glimpse into Ivory Coast's history.

Alicante

The tour of volcanic landscape was beautiful and fascinating

Cape Town

I regretted not spending more time in Cape Town. The incredible variety of landscape, cultural activities and the natural beauty of the city and its setting are stunning.

Dakar

We arrived in Dakar on the day of the inauguration of Senegal's new president. Our rather expensive tour was supposed to cover African art, but the major museums were closed, so we could not visit all the places on the tour. Additionally, because of the inauguration ceremonies, the traffic was so heavy we had to cut the trip short. I would love to return to Dakar.

Lanzarote

One of the best tours of our cruise with fascinating volcanic landscape and a thorough tour of this beautiful island.

Luanda

Highly enjoyable tour of Luanda--a port rarely visited by cruise ships. Luanda is a modern city. Traditional arts and music and a visit to the anthropological museum of Angola was a highlight of the trip.

Principe Island

Norwegian did not offer organized tours on Sao Tome/Principe until close to embarkation, so we took a private tour, but ran out of time before seeing all the sights. Sao Tome is physically very beautiful, and quite poor, but with friendly people and a rich cultural heritage. This was the site where a group of guests on a private tour were left behind.

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