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This was our first cruise on NCL having cruised before on Princess, HAL and Cunard. In sum, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would recommend NCL. The best part of the trip was the staff who are, in one word, phenomenal. We had mainly Filipino wait-staff as well as Indian, Jamaican, Romanian and Peruvian. The staff were warm, wonderful, welcoming us at every turn. We read before our cruise on this forum that staff would ask if we were having a good day (or wish us one) and that they meant it; sure enough they did! How NCL trains and motivates their staff to be so friendly, without being intrusive, is beyond us, but we will return, if for nothing else, because of the way in which we were treated which was like royalty! The food in the Main Dining Room (MDR) and buffet, as we had read previously on the forum, was fair to good, nothing great except for the specialty restaurants of which we went to the Brazilian steakhouse and the French bistro, both of which were very good. Our only complaint was that the lunch menu in the MDR never changed (but it had our favorites so we returned time and time again) and that the dress code in the MDR of no shorts or baseball caps was not enforced at dinner. We liked very much NCL's Free Style so we could eat dinner whenever we wanted in the MDR and could dress casually, but come on fellow pax, the venue is gorgeous with white tablecloths and linen napkins, (electric) candles, ocean views, beautiful murals on the walls and soft piano music -- if you want to wear a tee shirt, shorts, flip-flops and keep your baseball cap on while you eat, then go to the buffet or the other dining room which is far more informal and let the rest of us enjoy the special surroundings of the MDR, please! Even the kids (of which there were many) were well-dressed (and well-behaved) in the MDR. As previous critics on this forum have pleaded, NCL, please, enforce your own dress code in the MDR to make it a memorable experience for the vast majority of us who want a special night out! The theater is amazing -- huge, with comfortable seats. We enjoyed 2 of the 3 dance/singing shows, left after a few minutes of the ordinaire magic show, and skipped the comedian all together. Each to their own, but there certainly is a variety of entertainment from which to choose. Not to be missed is the Dawn's staff show which was even better than the professional shows (kudos again to NCL for hiring and supporting an amazing staff). We did not utilize the pool (small) or hot tubs (plentiful, but crowded) or casino (which looked quite nice) nor participate in the art auction which, to our pleasant surprise compared to other cruise lines, was quite unobtrusive. Lots of pre-dinner time, posed picture taking which presented an obstacle course to navigate around in the Atrium, but was fun for people-watching. We liked being able to walk around outside on the promenade deck (6) and, especially, the two uppermost decks (12 and 13) to work off all the food we ate and even stopped a few times to play ping pong, shuffle board, giant checkers (they have a giant chess set too) and even basketball (we skipped the golf). There is also a video arcade next to the teen/kids area for more things to do. While the Dawn is not a luxurious ship with fancy public areas and fresh flowers found on some other cruise lines, we thought the layout very functional and interesting. The ship never seemed crowded and as we wandered the ship we could often find music to listen to without having to sit in a lounge (and have a drink). We spend a lot of time on our computers (we run our own business) and had no real problems with the Internet. WiFi in our cabin with a strong signal which was slow once during the cruise and the Internet Manager adjusted our bill for the problem. We chose Cabin 9170 in part for its location on the same deck as the Internet Cafe since we could not tell in advance from the NCL Website about the availability of WiFI in each cabin. Our cabin location was ideal, close to amidships and not too high so the ship's rolling was not bad at all despite Hurricane Irene chasing us up the east coast as we headed for flank speed to Bermuda from Boston. The cabin itself, while small, was totally adequate for our needs. The furnishings seemed dated but we liked having a flat screen TV which received a couple of cable channels (MSNBC and FOX) throughout the trip. Normally we might not have cared about cable TV, but since we wanted to track Hurricane Irene we were thankful to have the cable TV channels for outside news. We liked the layout of the cabin and bathroom and, especially, the sliding doors for the balcony and shower. We did not do any NCL shore excursions, preferring to find our own way ashore. The Fitness Center equipment (tread mills, elliptical machines and exercise bikes) was plentiful and mostly working, and we never had a wait to use their equipment. We used the spa once for massages and facials which was expensive but worth it as a treat. We bought the "6 to 8 bottles of wine for 20% off" special on embarkation day; we like to have wine with dinner and the selection was excellent, albeit prices were high as you would expect on a cruise ship, unfortunately (but, hey, they have to make money somehow and NCL's cost is reasonable to begin with). We did not like, as previous forum members have complained, having no choice but to pay $12 per day per pax for tips; we prefer the option offered by other cruise lines of being able to opt out of automatic gratuities so we can tip individuals directly. We went out of our way to fill out Guest Comment cards for a half-dozen of the staff who we thought were really exemplary. You can get these Guest Comment cards at the 'front desk' if you ask for them; we were told by a few of the staff that they are rewarded by NCL for receiving complimentary guest comments so we felt it was the least we could do for being treated so wonderfully by such seemingly unselfish and caring staff.

Boston to Bermuda, 7 days (8/26-9/2/11)

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by greatexpectations

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2011
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
This was our first cruise on NCL having cruised before on Princess, HAL and Cunard. In sum, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would recommend NCL. The best part of the trip was the staff who are, in one word, phenomenal. We had mainly Filipino wait-staff as well as Indian, Jamaican, Romanian and Peruvian. The staff were warm, wonderful, welcoming us at every turn. We read before our cruise on this forum that staff would ask if we were having a good day (or wish us one) and that they meant it; sure enough they did! How NCL trains and motivates their staff to be so friendly, without being intrusive, is beyond us, but we will return, if for nothing else, because of the way in which we were treated which was like royalty!



The food in the Main Dining Room (MDR) and buffet, as we had read previously on the forum, was fair to good, nothing great except for the specialty restaurants of which we went to the Brazilian steakhouse and the French bistro, both of which were very good. Our only complaint was that the lunch menu in the MDR never changed (but it had our favorites so we returned time and time again) and that the dress code in the MDR of no shorts or baseball caps was not enforced at dinner. We liked very much NCL's Free Style so we could eat dinner whenever we wanted in the MDR and could dress casually, but come on fellow pax, the venue is gorgeous with white tablecloths and linen napkins, (electric) candles, ocean views, beautiful murals on the walls and soft piano music -- if you want to wear a tee shirt, shorts, flip-flops and keep your baseball cap on while you eat, then go to the buffet or the other dining room which is far more informal and let the rest of us enjoy the special surroundings of the MDR, please! Even the kids (of which there were many) were well-dressed (and well-behaved) in the MDR. As previous critics on this forum have pleaded, NCL, please, enforce your own dress code in the MDR to make it a memorable experience for the vast majority of us who want a special night out!



The theater is amazing -- huge, with comfortable seats. We enjoyed 2 of the 3 dance/singing shows, left after a few minutes of the ordinaire magic show, and skipped the comedian all together. Each to their own, but there certainly is a variety of entertainment from which to choose. Not to be missed is the Dawn's staff show which was even better than the professional shows (kudos again to NCL for hiring and supporting an amazing staff). We did not utilize the pool (small) or hot tubs (plentiful, but crowded) or casino (which looked quite nice) nor participate in the art auction which, to our pleasant surprise compared to other cruise lines, was quite unobtrusive. Lots of pre-dinner time, posed picture taking which presented an obstacle course to navigate around in the Atrium, but was fun for people-watching. We liked being able to walk around outside on the promenade deck (6) and, especially, the two uppermost decks (12 and 13) to work off all the food we ate and even stopped a few times to play ping pong, shuffle board, giant checkers (they have a giant chess set too) and even basketball (we skipped the golf). There is also a video arcade next to the teen/kids area for more things to do.



While the Dawn is not a luxurious ship with fancy public areas and fresh flowers found on some other cruise lines, we thought the layout very functional and interesting. The ship never seemed crowded and as we wandered the ship we could often find music to listen to without having to sit in a lounge (and have a drink).



We spend a lot of time on our computers (we run our own business) and had no real problems with the Internet. WiFi in our cabin with a strong signal which was slow once during the cruise and the Internet Manager adjusted our bill for the problem. We chose Cabin 9170 in part for its location on the same deck as the Internet Cafe since we could not tell in advance from the NCL Website about the availability of WiFI in each cabin. Our cabin location was ideal, close to amidships and not too high so the ship's rolling was not bad at all despite Hurricane Irene chasing us up the east coast as we headed for flank speed to Bermuda from Boston. The cabin itself, while small, was totally adequate for our needs. The furnishings seemed dated but we liked having a flat screen TV which received a couple of cable channels (MSNBC and FOX) throughout the trip. Normally we might not have cared about cable TV, but since we wanted to track Hurricane Irene we were thankful to have the cable TV channels for outside news. We liked the layout of the cabin and bathroom and, especially, the sliding doors for the balcony and shower.



We did not do any NCL shore excursions, preferring to find our own way ashore. The Fitness Center equipment (tread mills, elliptical machines and exercise bikes) was plentiful and mostly working, and we never had a wait to use their equipment. We used the spa once for massages and facials which was expensive but worth it as a treat. We bought the "6 to 8 bottles of wine for 20% off" special on embarkation day; we like to have wine with dinner and the selection was excellent, albeit prices were high as you would expect on a cruise ship, unfortunately (but, hey, they have to make money somehow and NCL's cost is reasonable to begin with). We did not like, as previous forum members have complained, having no choice but to pay $12 per day per pax for tips; we prefer the option offered by other cruise lines of being able to opt out of automatic gratuities so we can tip individuals directly. We went out of our way to fill out Guest Comment cards for a half-dozen of the staff who we thought were really exemplary. You can get these Guest Comment cards at the 'front desk' if you ask for them; we were told by a few of the staff that they are rewarded by NCL for receiving complimentary guest comments so we felt it was the least we could do for being treated so wonderfully by such seemingly unselfish and caring staff.
greatexpectations’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 9170
good location (close to amid ship on relatively low deck), good WiFi, very quiet (not a connecting room), small but adequate interior space and balcony, furniture slightly dated, liked flat-screen TV and mini-refrigerator in room, liked sliding glass door for shower
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins