Fantastic Norwegian Dawn: Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by kittycrusin08

Norwegian Dawn 5
Member Since 2008
1,168 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Fantastic Norwegian Dawn

Sail Date: December 2011
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
The day prior to the cruise we took Amtrak from Tampa to Miami to avoid driving in Miami and just because we thought it would be a fun start to the cruise. We stayed at La Quinta in Miami Springs and it was clean, reasonable, had a breakfast bar and a free shuttle to the Port of Miami. At breakfast the next morning we met several of our Cruise Critic/FB members and it was fun to put names with faces. It was an excited bunch of cruisers as we headed toward the port. The first view of the Dawn was wonderful as it is anytime we take a cruise. We turned our bags over to the porters around 11:00 and got in the long line to begin embarkation.

We waited about 20 minutes in line, going through the checkpoint, having documents reviewed and then received our NCL cards to admit us to everything on the ship. Only one small error, my husband was not listed as a past cruiser but that was easily taken care of at Guest Services by friendly staff. We waited in the waiting area for about More 35 minutes and were on the ship by around 12:30. Kudos to Norwegian for having orange juice and cold water for us in the waiting area.

Another Kudo for Norwegian because they have carry on baggage check to use until your cabins are ready. We went to the pool deck for a DOD and to relax for awhile before having lunch. Every staff person you saw were smiling, friendly and helpful. Food in the Garden Cafe was plentiful and tasty. We did not feel stressed by the embarkment process and were ready to have fun.

When cabins were ready, we checked out our home for the next 11 days. The balcony cabin is cozy, smaller than some we've had but very organized. We loved the sliding door to the balcony and feel it makes the space more roomy. The bathroom arrangement is great and the sliding door on the shower is such an improvement over the "sticking to your leg" shower curtain. The size of the shower was wonderful, too. Small complaint, though about the bed and pillows being too hard. We could have asked for an egg-crate type cover, but we didn't so we really can't complain about the bed. The cabin, bath and balcony were spotless throughout our stay. This is because of our wonderful Steward, Delma. She always remembered our names, smiling and very helpful. She made cute towel animals each night and left them in the room to enjoy during the cruise.

The Norwegian Dawn is a beautiful ship and is tastefully decorated. Christmas decorations added to the decor and the Gingerbread village in the atrium was charming. The ship is in excellent condition and was spotless and attractive. The ship is a little difficult to navigate because all elevators do not go to all floors and the Venetian and Aqua dining rooms cause some confusion in getting to the right floor. We did not see this as a problem and made a joke about getting lost several times.

We dined in the Venetian the first night and several others. We found the food to be very good except the deserts. We dined one night in the Aqua but did not like this restaurant because of the noise level and feeling crowded. The ceiling is low and this contributes to the noise level. We tried two of the Speciality restaurants Bamboo and Le Bistro. Bamboo was excellent and does not receive the praise it deserves. Service was excellent and the food was flavorful with a nice presentation. The desert, cream brulee, is one of the best we have ever had on a cruise ship. Try Bamboo, you will like it. Le Bistro had very good food but the service was not what we expected. There were only 2 to 3 other tables in use but we were put in the middle with little privacy to enjoy our meal. We enjoyed the evening but really liked Bamboo better. The Garden Cafe was enjoyable for breakfast and lunch. Food was tasty and varied. Omelettes were great and breakfast breads, muffins & sweet rolls were good. Loved the fact there was so much fresh fruit to choose from.
We also enjoyed a Cruise Critic dinner in Venetian and the service for our group of around 22 was excellent. The staff were very accommodating in arranging this and the evening was so enjoyable.

Entertainment and Activities are varied and we found all to be enjoyable. We usually do not attend many shows but we did on the Dawn. We enjoyed the welcome show except for the comedian who is kind of out of date. We attended both Band on the Run and Bollywood and feel the performers are professional and very talented. The magician provided some very good illusions (Where did he get that helicopter?). The hypnotist was also fun to watch. We participated in a few casino activities that were fun but we were not winners. The White Hot Party was quite different and we are glad we attended. The New Season Band on the pool deck is great. Wish we had a CD of their music.

We really enjoyed the Cruise Critic meeting that Norwegian set up for us when notified by one of our roll call members. Staff provided coffee, rolls, juice, name tags and a room for our use. The Captain and Officers attended and were available to answer questions and for pictures. Kudos to Norwegian for being so friendly and accommodating. We had a great time meeting everyone and have many new friends. After the meeting we had a Round Robin gift exchange where we laughed and had so much fun as gifts were chosen and then taken away by each other.

We loved all our ports except Antigua where we did not feel comfortable and the tour was rushed and not very interesting. Samana was our first port and we were provided an "early Christmas present" because NCL did not charge for the tour to Cayo Leventado. The beach there was beautiful and there were plenty of chairs and shade, too. Shops were available to browse and had some nice items for reasonable prices. We really enjoyed the day and it was a relaxing start to prepare us for our other tours. In St. Maarten we had a non-ship tour that was especially fun because we had the whole tour bus filled with Cruise Critic members. What happens in St. Maarten, stays in St. Maarten we all agreed. Kidding but we really enjoyed spending time with these new friends.

Norwegian Cruise Lines hire the most friendly crew who are skilled and professional. All seem enthusiastic about wanting their passengers to have a good time. This philosophy is found from the Captain down to the crew cleaning off tables. We really appreciated the excellent service and also the time crew spent talking to us about their lives and homes.

Disembarking, sad as usual, was relatively easy. Kudos to NCL for letting you choose the time you want to leave rather than being told you are scheduled for a certain time. We did have to wait in a line for 10 to 15 minutes but that was not bad at all.

In summary, we really enjoyed our cruise on Norwegian Dawn. We did not, at any time, feel rushed or stressed. We enjoyed the free-style concept of being able to eat when and where we wanted. We are definitely fans of Norwegian and plan to cruise with them again and again. Less

Published 01/05/12

Cabin review: BC9216 Balcony

Cabin 9216 provided ample space and was well arranged. The balcony was very private and roomy. Storage was adequate. The cabin was very quiet and we enjoyed the location.

Read All Balcony (BC) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Non ship tour with private tour guide. We felt rushed during this tour although the tour guide was knowledgeable about his island. At a scenic stop, the tour guide did take our picture but again, felt he was rushing us to leave every stop. At Nelson' Dockyards we were supposed to have a tour guide but they did not show up. We wandered around but did not get to see very much of the dockyards. When in the shopping area, we did not feel comfortable and felt merchants were pushy.
Read 1191 Antigua Reviews

Well-organized tour by small rail-road open cars. Caves are stunning, beautiful and awesome. History is provided by tour guide and video prior to the actual tour. The caves are lighted so you can appreciate the formations and the train moves slowly so you can take pictures.. You do have the opportunity to leave the train a couple of times to take close-up pictures. A great tour, which we really enjoyed.

Our tour was to include a scenic drive, Harrison Caves and the beach. Since there was only one other couple joining us and we went in a car, we were allowed to adapt the tour to include a scenic drive through towns, countryside and Harrison Caves. We drove through several areas around Bridgetown, toured a Church and went to a park high on a hill where you could see the Atlantic below. We also toured several Parrish towns which included the small poorer neighborhoods to the homes of the rich and famous. Our driver was very knowledgeable and enjoyable. We drove by the beautiful beaches but chose not to stop. The tour was supposed to be 3 hours but we were on the tour for over 5 hours without any additional charges.

See Above

Enjoyed this tour to the Emerald Pool with an excellent tour guide. He was very knowledgeable about all the plants, trees and other flora surrounding the Emerald Pool. He was watchful of all of us during the walk since the misting rain had made the path slippery. The pool is mystical to view. Did not climb down to the pool because of the slippery rocks.

The tour operator drove us through the rain forest and explained the ecology of the forest. He was very knowledgeable and enjoyed the trip very much. We also stopped at Mr. Nice's Fruit Stand, which was a lot of fun. Scenic stops were also made to take pictures.

Last stop was to see the "Drunken Monkeys" One of the people on the tour brought a banana and she was able to feed the monkeys when we stopped on the road leading to the beach. We were all able to take pictures of the monkeys. According to Mr. Gray, the monkeys prefer bananas or mangos rather than alcohol. The beach was nice with a rustic bar. We sipped a drink while watching the sun start to set over the Caribbean. Wonderful tour

Our tour operator was very knowlegable about the history of Brimstone Hill and we enjoyed his narrative very much. The day of the tour it was very windy so we were unable to walk around to see all the buildings. It is a beautiful place with wonderful views below the hill.

Beautiful grounds with numerous exotic plans surrounds the Romney Manor. Our guide provided the names of all the plants and historical information regarding the Romney Manor. Toured the Batik factory which was enjoyable. Great tour.

Non-cruise ship tour with Bernards. Excellent tour of all the best in St. Maarten including both the Dutch and French sides of the island. Went to Orient Beach and also the Beach where airplanes land over the beach to reach the airport. Both were very interesting in their own ways. Stopped at the French outdoor market and was able to find some real treasures for gifts. We saw all the scenic high points of the island with The Mailman, our tour guide, who provided us with refreshments and his knowledge of the island. He was a funny man who kept the party going all the way throughout the tour. Since the bus was filled with Cruise Critic roll call fans this was a very special day filled with great memories.

We took the NCL tour to Jost Van Dyke. Transportation to the island was via a very fast cruise yacht. You do need to swim a very short distance to shore but the crew provides swim devices to assist weak swimmers. The beach is a lovely tropical setting to just relax. Went to the famous Soggy Dollar Bar and tried a Painkiller (fresh nutmeg grated on top) YUMMY!! Nice relaxing day and would recommend this tour. Captain and crew of the tour were friendly and helpful.
Read 1239 Tortola Reviews

Compare Prices on Norwegian Dawn Southern Caribbean Cruises

Read more Norwegian Dawn cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Norwegian Dawn Review >>

Compare Prices on Norwegian Dawn Southern Caribbean Cruises

Member Since 2008
1,168 Forum Posts
Enrichment Activities
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
Value for Money
Share feedback
Thank you!  Cruise Critic values your feedback.
How can we improve this page?
Skip X

See Norwegian Dawn deals up to 82% off:

September Deals
Norwegian Dawn 68% Loved It

7-day Canada & New England From Boston
See all Norwegian Dawn Deals >>