397 Norwegian Dawn Caribbean - All Cruise Reviews

We wanted to try another cruise line - we had only sailed with Celebrity before this. The ship was about the same size as our previous ships. The decor and common areas were nice and we had no complaints. The Garden Cafe food was less ... Read More
We wanted to try another cruise line - we had only sailed with Celebrity before this. The ship was about the same size as our previous ships. The decor and common areas were nice and we had no complaints. The Garden Cafe food was less than stellar. We ate one lunch here and one breakfast. The breakfast was good - the other meal was terrible. We did have great service and food in the Venetian main dining room. We like having the Irish pub open - to have a drink or a late night bite. This was nice. Hated the casino - as we are non smokers and this was bad with smoke !! The Cigar Lounge and Champagne Bar area -- were just as bad. We couldn't ever try these areas because of the smoke... absolutely terrible !! About half of the ladies restroom door locks did not work. Overall - they did push the sanitizing hands thing all over the ship - but most times the public restroom areas were not very clean - paper towels littering a lot of the floor. The entertainment was good. We went to most shows and tried most of the venues on the ship - besides the areas that were "smoky ". Service was ok. We were lucky enough to find a great waitress in the Venetian and requested her section nightly. Our room steward - never really touched base with us - but would say hello in passing. Customer service in the other areas of the ship were good. We did talk to a lot of people who were repeat Norwegian Cruisers - who told us not to judge Norwegian by the Dawn and this trip -- as they were disappointed too. We do plan on trying Norwegian in the future per this advice. Overall - our cruise was OK. Was not stellar - but we do love cruising so it was a good time. If you don't have a good time on a cruise - its your own fault ! We always meet and talk to so many people !! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Post cruise report: To start, I have to say the sanitary precautions on the cruise were outstanding. Every single day the crew washed down all the walls, doors, railings, etc. in every corridor, you couldn't walk two feet without ... Read More
Post cruise report: To start, I have to say the sanitary precautions on the cruise were outstanding. Every single day the crew washed down all the walls, doors, railings, etc. in every corridor, you couldn't walk two feet without tripping over a hand sanitizer dispenser, and the "washy-washy" (really, they say that) staff were constantly spraying your hands. They were worse than the perfume ladies at a Macy's, lol. You couldn't even get your own beverage at the buffet. A staff member had to dispense it and hand it to you. I was really very impressed. In addition, we brought our own clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, and a bottle of surgical soap to wash our hands. This was our first cruise on Norwegian and it was nothing short of amazing! The ship, staff, food, etc. were all first rate. I did upgrade our cabin to what they call an Owner's Suite for our 27th anniversary. The package included a 900 s.f. suite with both a forward facing and side balcony. We had a butler, personal concierge, 3-meal dining package (the specialty restaurants are outstanding), unlimited drink package, and wifi included. Owner's suite guests also get 3 full size bottles of liquor in the cabin as well as the refrigerator kept stocked with water, mixers, etc. I had also asked for a pitcher of unsweet tea and lemonade (the lemonade was fresh squeezed) in the fridge and the butler kept it refreshed every day. He also brings an afternoon snack every day - we asked for sliced fruit and a variety of meats and cheeses. You get priority check-in and the concierge meets you at the check-in desk and escorts you to your cabin and you don't have to wait in any lines. There was also priority disembarkation. Included was both breakfast and lunch in one of the specialty restaurants - we did not eat a single meal at the buffet or the main dining room. All this for only $2,000 per person for 7 days. For what we got and being made to feel like royalty, I thought it was a bargain. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We've cruised for the past few years at this time so we wanted to keep up the tradition even though this year would be without Dad, who passed away only a few weeks after our last cruise in march 2019. This ship was great in that ... Read More
We've cruised for the past few years at this time so we wanted to keep up the tradition even though this year would be without Dad, who passed away only a few weeks after our last cruise in march 2019. This ship was great in that it wasn't so large, so Mom could manage it easily, and it was going to a couple new places we hadn't been before. We traveled on it 8 years ago to Bermuda and although I don't remember it exactly from back then, the updates were fine. Some computer glitch hampered the embarkation but once on, things were good. Thought the meals were great, though not a fan of Bamboo. Shows were good and entertaining. Crew and staff were fine. Only had an issue with trying to get room changed that never happened but we managed. We left before the coronavirus blew up but we did notice that the buffet wasn't self serve for the first few days. Then once it seemed no one was seriously ill, it went back to self serve. Would definitely recommend the ship and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have been cruising with NCL for 19 years and we are Latitudes Gold members. We took this 14 day cruise because the itinerary looked fabulous. Overall the quality of this cruise was only average and NCL in general has declined. Gone are ... Read More
We have been cruising with NCL for 19 years and we are Latitudes Gold members. We took this 14 day cruise because the itinerary looked fabulous. Overall the quality of this cruise was only average and NCL in general has declined. Gone are the towel animals, lobster/shrimp dinners, midnight chocolate buffet, and other perks that simply made the cruise special. NCL has chosen instead to up charge everything. The cost of dining in any speciality restaurant without a purchased dining package is absurd, and would have cost our party of two over $100. A water package is $35 for a case of stale water that tastes like plastic. We got two free waters and a bottle of sparkling wine free in our cabin for being gold members. Despite cruising with them for 19 years we were not offered any upgrade or onboard credit. The latitudes program is just not worth it to stay loyal to NCL. Food: We dined in the Venetian restaurant every night and the food was just average, nothing special. The dress code is too relaxed, shorts and tee shirts are now allowed at dinner and we did not like it at all. Gone are the days of dressing up for dinner. The lunch menu never changed in the Venetian, for a 14 day cruise this is not acceptable. The buffet had a nice variety but we were scared of using the same tongs touched by many people. We noticed many people did not wash before entering the buffet lines. People were filling water bottles and coffee mugs despite signs saying not to do that and NCL was lax in that regard. A water bottle filling station is very much needed. Chairs in both the garden cafe and Venetian restaurants were dirty, they need to be deep cleaned. The decor in the Venetian needs to be overhauled, the paintings did not make any sense. Many people saved chairs around the pool and it was next to impossible to sit out in that area. Long lines were encountered during embarking and there was no real process for priority boarding for gold members. Disembarkation was very fast, we chose to walk off with our bags. We were simply directed out the doors to the cabs and bypassed any customs procedures. The ports were all fabulous although ST. Martin was hit very bad with hurricane Irma. The French side of the island was still devastated with abandoned cars, boats overturned and many buildings not rebuilt. We should have been informed of that situation before booking the island tour excursion with NCL. Cost of excursions in general has gone up. Also be aware, any bottles of alcohol are confiscated, we used to be able to board with a bottle of wine, now NCL charges $15 a bottle to bring one onboard. Our souvenir bottle of Guavaberry Liquor was taken, and we would never have consumed that on board. In general, the quality of a NCL cruise is just not there. I doubt we will cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We are loyal NCL Cruisers having sailed only with NCL. This is our 2nd time on the Dawn.... a great mid size ship..... big enough to have lots of amenities but small enough not be overwhelming. Perhaps because this was a 2 week cruise, ... Read More
We are loyal NCL Cruisers having sailed only with NCL. This is our 2nd time on the Dawn.... a great mid size ship..... big enough to have lots of amenities but small enough not be overwhelming. Perhaps because this was a 2 week cruise, the itinerary or the size of the ship, this Cruise was primarily people in their 50's-70's with very few children. So most activities and entertainment was geared to this age group and the Cruise Director and her staff did an amazing job. We chose this particular cruise because it was 2 weeks, went to many Ports in the Southern Caribbean that we had not been and when we booked (14months prior) we received great perks including a Distinctive Voyage Pkg. Embarkation/ Disembarkation - Due to a computer glitch, there was a delay Embarking, but once the process started, from security, through check in.... we were sitting at the Venetian for lunch within 30min. Disembarkation was the quickest we've ever experienced. Tampa Terminal is easy to get to. Parkway Parking was great. Cabin - Balcony - Deck 9 AFT - Our cabin was perfect for the 2 of us. NCL could upgrade their balcony chairs for something more comfy but all in all, all was good. Our Cabin Steward was friendly, always greeted us and immediately took care of any requests. We had him remove everything for sale out of our fridge etc which gave us room for our own water etc. Meals - We enjoyed all our meals in the main dining rooms and other Complimentary Venues. We did not frequent the buffet but if you want an omelet or fresh eggs cooked the way you like, you are better going there for breakfast. We usually took our breakfast from the buffet to Los Cabos or to the pool deck to eat where it was much quieter and less hectic in the morning. We enjoyed La Cuccina and Le Bistro was a special excellent dinner. Water - While NCL does not use 'single use' plastic water bottles and have implemented biodegradable water 'bottles', they really need to install water filling stations for the many people ( like us) who use our own refillable water bottles. Entertainment - We enjoyed the Stardust theater most nights. Jennifer Fair - great voice but we're not big fans of Opera type music, Soul Rockin Nights- the Dawn Production Cast were excellent. Jackson Rayne - Illusionist- very good. Tom Frankel - amazing pianist, singer and entertainer. Gary Lovini - great violinist. Derek Richards, comedian - good but can be offensive at times. Aaron Shaw- good singer, but also not one of our favorite styles. Elements - totally amazing Music Everywhere - There were 2 or 3 other entertainment options every evening in the Lounges, Atrium and or the Bliss Lounge. Sonata, Rockaway Duo, Al Vendetti, Angel Flavors and DJ Remy - all good with the Rockaway Duo being very popular. The 7 piece Dawn Showband were excellent - played Jazz as well as accompanying many other entertainers in their performances. Stephanie is an incredibly talented and versatile young lady. Bliss Lounge - The Cruise Staff were everywhere, very enthusiastic, inclusive and seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves. They led many Dances, 'game' show's and contests in the Bliss Lounge nightly and all around the ship at various times. Special Events - Chef JJ Johnson was a great addition. We did not attend any of the 'fee' events but enjoyed his cooking presentation in the Atrium. There was also the usual Art Auctions, lots of Photography opportunities, some 'workshops' in the Spa/ Exercise Area (all hoping to sell you something), 'lecture' with fung shei person (not so good) Bars- Staff at Topsiders and O'Sheehans were awesome. Also the staff at Cellars ( great wine bar) where we went most nights for a glass of wine before Dinner. Gatsby's had great staff as well, but the lounge area smelled like cigar/ cigarette smoke from the Cigar lounge and Casino which was too bad as there was good entertainment there as well. Also often crowded. Enjoyed the lounge on 9th floor surrounding the Atrium for Entertainment. We did not take advantage of the Spa, Pulse Fitness or Photography Service's so can't comment on that. Nor did we go to other Specialty Restaurants. NCL App - this was very helpful to check on Activities around the ship. Pool and Sun Deck - We're not always big fans of cruise pools or needing to have a lounge chair near the pool. Instead we found great sun time on the bow -deck 13/14 … a quieter, relaxing area with views of the ocean and not crowds of people. Ports and Shore Excursions: Grand Cayman - Friends who lived in Grand Cayman picked us up and we had a great, personal tour of almost the whole Island..... stopping in Hell, the Rum Beach for snorkeling, the Rum Factory for a few tastings, lunch, local beers and other points of interest not always on the tourist route. Previously we had snorkeled with the sting ray and on reef - a great experience. Aruba - Tour with Kukoo Kanuka - fun bus ride, learning lots about the local culture and sights while getting into a fun Island spirit. Enjoyed going to the little Chapel at Alta Vista - interesting ride up there, great views of the ocean and amazing amount of cactus. Casabari Rock Formation - neat to see and climb for views. Dropped at Surfside Beach -(near airport) ok but no snorkeling. Opted to stay longer and walked (15min.) back along the shore stopping at a Bar on the Beach (near Port) for a local beer. Bonaire - Champagne Fun Cruise & Snorkel- Captain and his 'mermaids' were a good crew of their 40 foot cruiser ( not catamaran). Smaller group was nice. Quite windy morning so may be why we did not cruise very far. Stopped twice on reef in Marine Park.... not far from shore to snorkel. Good. Complimentary champagne & snack. Double Dip Snorkel with Sea Cow in the afternoon was great if you really want to experience the reef off Klein Bonaire. This is a guided drift snorkel - great. Wandered around the touristy port and found the Bonaire Craft Brewery - okay. Barbados- Walked a ways from Port but since it was Sunday.... nothing open. Did the Harrison's Cave & Scenic Drive - not much of a scenic drive and our driver/ guide was 'soso'. He left us at the entrance to cave with no real explanation where we waited about 45min. to enter the cave. Found out later there were some trails we could have walked. The Caves were amazing and that part of the tour was worth it. St. Lucia - Soufriere by Land & Sea was a great excursion. Although we wish the Bus ride through, up & down along the very winding road from Soufriere was the first part, we mostly enjoyed the Catamaran part of tour and seeing the Pitons from the water. The staff were excellent. The waterfalls stop was refreshing. The Plantation was interesting and lunch was a typical Caribbean style affair. Antigua - Rainforest Canopy Tour - 12 ziplines, 4 swing bridges, staff were focused on safety and fun. A great adventure. Bus ride there was not guided..... just a ride. Walked through 'town' to St. John's Church... historical, beautiful. St. Martin - our 3rd visit here where we previously did Sailing Race, and a great day long boat tour all around the Island so this time we opted for a Bus Tour taking us from the Dutch side to the French & back. Enjoyed learning about the history & culture. Included was a 45min. catamaran tour of Simpson's Bay - best part of tour. On our own, we went to Caribbean Brewing - a new Craft Brewery only 5 min. walk from the gate of the Port. Met the owner and had a great tour and tastings - best beer we had at any of the Ports. If you like Craft Breweries, make this part of your day for sure. San Yuan - Bus tour to El Junque Rain Forest - Nice buses, excellent tour guide, very organized. A unique experience to be in the this well preserved rain forest. Wandered Old San Yuan on our own and found our way to LaTaberno - a bar with huge selection of craft beers. Interesting narrow streets and local culture. All in all, we were so glad to have two weeks on this cruise.... so much to see and do. Very relaxing and lots of fun. While there may be little things we could critique, there were minor in comparison to all the great aspects that we chose to focus on. Thank you NCL for all the ways you thought to make this an enjoyable experience and insuring our safety at Sea. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Relatively good cruise. It was our longest but it was over before we knew it. The embarkation process was problematic. We had to sit in wheelchair access section and wait to be called. That section was in the direct line of the sun. I ... Read More
Relatively good cruise. It was our longest but it was over before we knew it. The embarkation process was problematic. We had to sit in wheelchair access section and wait to be called. That section was in the direct line of the sun. I was sunburned before I got on the ship. Plus there was a computer problem that shut down the the baggage check just as we stepped up the the conveyor belt. It was a tediously & long (maybe 15 minutes) wait on a cane, after sitting in a hot sun-whipped melting chair before checking in. Waiting on staff with the wheelchair was an additional wait, but access went smooth after we boarded. The Dawn has been refurbished, but still ranked "old" for the wife and I. One of the main reasons is because it only had one U.S./American electrical outlet. Luckily we were smart enough to bring a surge extension that included 4 additional outlets & 3 USB recharge ports. We had a mini-suite on deck 11 (11572). The bathroom toilet area smelled of urine, but we did not alert the cabin steward because we did not want a bleachy and/or air fragrance odor applied. We had some issues with the room safe & had to call for service twice. It was discovered that my code would not work because at least 3-4 numbers on the keypad were not working. No new safes were available nor a technician that could remedy the situation so I just changed my code to include only those numbers that worked. Other than that the cabin was fine. Our cabin steward was Bernard and did did a great job of keeping our cabin clean (beds made, ice delivered daily, linen changed, trash removed promptly, etc.) Food: The main dining rooms were good (Aqua & the Venetian) and we had little trouble with our early dinner or breakfast arrangements. The Garden buffet was okay, but many times the beef & chicken entrees were dry & tough. The other choices were much better (i.e., salads, paninis, pizza, oxtails, fries, mixed roasted vegies, etc.) The loved Bamboo & Los Lobos but got some tough meat mostly beef) was served to us at Moderno. The chicken & filet mignon were exceptional. La Cucina, Le Bistro, O'Sheehans & Cagney's Steakhouse were all good. Entertainment: The Rockaway Duo was top-notch 5-star and we followed them every evening to the Atrium. The sound system was good & the ambiance of the Atrium venue (4- see-thru elevators behind the stage sandwiched in the middle by a 4-tier balcony, surrounded by a 2 level balcony for additional seating & listening enjoyment.) The song choices were mostly country with some R&B oldies mixed in. Unfortunately some evenings slow ballads were sung and that was a bad choice for folks who were generally older and getting tired anyway. We would have liked to listen to the jazz from the house band but they played too late at night. Music performed at poolside was generally good but more variety with reggae & Caribbean music should have been included. The workers: All of the servers, bartenders, customer service staff, room stewards, food servers/cooks & managers were excellent people....very courteous, friendly, easily approachable and ready assist. Our excursion: Since we don't walk that well in uneven areas, stairs & skip the beach scenes we only went on one excursion..in Puerto Rico. The Fiesta Latina which included performances & Latino history from 80-year old open-hand guitar legend Juan Carlos. He & the dancers were fabulous, but we had a few issues beforehand on where we were to meet for the transportation. By the time we figured out where we were to meet we were at the back of the line. No problem! Once we disembarked our air conditioned coach (& after 8-10 unexpected steps leading up & into the venue) we were treated to a tasty cup of sangria & then a great small stage show. Loved it. All in all our 14-day cruise was quite enjoyable. Initially we dreaded that it might be too long, but the time flashed by so fast we were envious of those staying on-board to go out again on the next sailing. We also met some great guests on-board that help make the cruise a bit more colorful. We can't wait to sail again. next year. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We like to avoid the Midwest winters so we have been somewhat regular cruisers (usually with NCL) since 1978 on the Skyward. Memorable cruises have included the Norway. We were on the cruise prior to the unfortunate, tragic 2003 Miami ... Read More
We like to avoid the Midwest winters so we have been somewhat regular cruisers (usually with NCL) since 1978 on the Skyward. Memorable cruises have included the Norway. We were on the cruise prior to the unfortunate, tragic 2003 Miami boiler room explosion that was the beginning of the end for that beautiful ship. Another memorable cruise was the slow passage by Monserrat shortly after that deadly volcanic eruption. The captain narrated the best "excursion" we have ever experienced as we passed the island and viewed the somber devastation. It was like an Alaskan glacier experience but more awesome in scope. So resuming, we had the "free air" package and flew from Chicago to Charlotte (about 1.5 hour gap) then on to Tampa on American. We had a nonstop return from Tampa on American. All went smooth including our one day in advance Park,Stay,andFly from Hyatt Regency O'Hare. For the price of a reasonable one night hotel stay we had parking provided at no additional cost for the duration in their covered parking tower. Shuttle was free to O'Hare for our morning flight. We paid the $25 deviation fee for our Tampa flight to insure we arrived a day prior. We know that snow and flight delays can cause anxiety and frustration to embarkation. So we stayed at the Holiday Inn Westshore the night before our cruise. Shuttle provided from airport and we arranged a shuttle to cruise port for $10 per person Waiting lines developed at Tampa cruise dock #2. A computer glitch was described as the cause for the delay. The mainly senior citizen crowd were surprisingly understanding-I think the boarding staff were quite surprised. All of the usual photo ops etc. were abandoned to avoid more delay. On board, we quickly observed the buffet had crew serving all the food, passengers were not permitted to self serve for three more days. Obviously Coronavirus was a concern to all passengers now and at that time. I was impressed with NCL's response. It was later rumored the prior cruise had a number of guests who had experienced gastrointestinal issues on their cruise. I won't elaborate, I have no proof, just hearsay but it might explain the food serving situation as we started our cruise. I thought the crew was doing an enormous amount of cleaning throughout the ship, especially in the lodging areas. At any rate, the food was always enjoyable from all the venues. We are Latitudes Platinum and had booked an obstructed ocean view, our bids for balcony were rejected despite being good on the for-cast meter. We were fine but we both missed the loveseat provided in balcony or suite. Sitting upright has some advantages but the view and natural sunlight were more than adequate. Despite being Platinum for years it was my first time attending the Captain's Latitude reception. Nobody really talks to the crew anyway. I don't need the recognition aspect but enjoyed the free beer. Am I describing myself too accurately? My wife and went on the "behind the scenes tour" for Latitudes members and enjoyed it immensely. Three categories were displayed-Stardust Theatre backstage, laundry facilities, and finally the galley kitchen area. It's incredible that the dancers and performers basically run behind stage and change costumes on stairwells and hallways. Their dressing rooms are further removed and not available during performances. The shows seamless transitions are remarkable. The laundry facilities were surprising in volume of activity but somewhat loud, I had trouble listening to the explanation of the tour. The galley or kitchens would impress almost anyone. We concentrated on the food prep areas. On a prior cruise tour I got to experience the frozen freezers and dairy coolers which I admire greatly having been in the supermarket business for my entire career. We didn't tour these reserve areas this cruise. The seas were some of the smoothest we have ever experienced although one or two people claimed they experienced some issues, none for us in that respect. Our internet service was probably the worst we've ever experienced. It took forever to get a connection. We had a 250 minute package but couldn't even use it-I could hardly get wifi. When I needed to confirm our return flights I went to the internet café and the mgr. got me right in so I admire him-he was helpful. We like to walk a loop around deck 7 Promenade, four times around is 1.4 miles. Some people walk or run around the sun deck however. The shows were always good to great as we think NCL always provides. I'm always ultra impressed with NCL's show bands. These professionals are always exceptional. All the entertainers were complementing Steffie, the female leader and sax player of the band. I won't go to much length about our excursions but Barbados was impressive-I wasn't impressed years ago. The la Soufriere volcano in St. Lucia was interesting although some of the poverty is depressing. In defense of Caribbean islanders, imagine what life would be like if one had to experience hurricanes frequently basically destroying all progress. The Grand Cayman brewery and distillery were fun, Aruba and Bonaire were beautiful and they are outside of the hurricane zone, maybe explaining their more affluent appearance. As we approached our last island, Puerto Rico, I expected to see a disheveled environment but was very pleasantly surprised. We have been there at least four times in forty years and the recent development was impressive. I was told that the more provincial areas are hurting but that the government has concentrated efforts in San Juan because of the tourism industry and it appeared true. The old downtown charm was nice and some of the change near the coast of San Juan was grand in appearance. I came down with a case of gastrointestinal issues near the end of our cruise. My symptoms were severe but short lived. I share this, not to scare anyone, but to say that stuff happens. I have no idea how or where I caught this as I am very careful but fortunately it was over swiftly. I self reported to the ship doctor and was isolated in my room for 24 hours. My wife never got ill despite being by my side much of the time. I never had a headache, fever, chills or body ache so after my initial discomfort was not miserable-just didn't want to infect anyone else. I'll probably get a bill for the doctor, but oh well. Our embarkation was perhaps our smoothest ever. We boarded a bus that took us to Tampa airport. They have become more sophisticated, disembarkation used to be so disorganized. A word about service, the entire crew was very congenial and helpful, couldn't have been much better. We plan to cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii in September. Although the cruise industry is projected to endure some bumps from Corona it's probably an opportune time to catch some respectable pricing advantages. We will see what the future holds. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
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, ... Read More
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 Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have cruised the Caribbean with RCCL, Celebrity, and Princess (the best, prior to this cruise); this was our first cruise on NCL, and we chose it as it was going to Antigua, where we wanted to take a cooking class there with our friend, ... Read More
We have cruised the Caribbean with RCCL, Celebrity, and Princess (the best, prior to this cruise); this was our first cruise on NCL, and we chose it as it was going to Antigua, where we wanted to take a cooking class there with our friend, Chef Nicole Arthurton of "Nicole's Table". It was an Excellent cruise, and we loved it so much that we bought (for the first time) the "cruise next" discount so we can plan another! This was our 15th Wedding Anniversary cruise and very special for us, and several members of the staff made it a really wonderful cruise for us, with special treats which we will always remember! (I sent NCL an email with the names of the great staff- hope they get raises!) For us, the staff can really make or break a cruise, and they made this one great! Our cabin wasn't huge, but we Loved our little balcony- we love having our Continental Breakfasts delivered to our stateroom so we can enjoy them on the balcony, and falling asleep to the sound of the sea... as well as great food and drinks at the Sushi Bar (and their excellent staff), the Cigar Bar and the nice people we met there, and the great bartenders at Gatsby's, and thought the entertainment was very good/excellent- especially their award winning show, which was a superb, Le Cirque-style spectacular! We got several perks which we enjoyed, as well: some On Board Credit, the drink package (which pleased and surprised us with such things as Brazilian Cachaça caipirinhas, special unfiltered sake & sake cocktails at Bamboo/Sushi Bar, interesting & yummy martinis & mojitos, excellent Israeli wines, & Jameson's...), internet (predictably slow, but usable), and two specialty restaurant dinners. We took two of the ship's excursions (we usually book all our excursions privately, and did so for 4 of the 6 ports on this cruise), and were very pleased and surprised at how good they were, especially the St. Kitts "rail and sail" excursion, which was truly excellent! I found several very good books at the ship's Library, and we also enjoyed indulging ourselves at the Spa with mani/pedis & a Couples Massage that was SO good that we did it twice! (We do wish they'd stop the "hard sell" for products at the spa, but that is the norm on all cruises, unfortunately...) We only wish that we had more time in port on the port days, so we could have had dinner in port, as we did on Celebrity and Princess cruises, where we were in port until 10pm... We stayed in Tampa for 4 nights prior to the cruise and 2 nights after, and that was great, too- lots of fun things to do there, esp. Sparkman's Wharf, and exploring historic Ybor City, and enjoying some great restaurants... It was a 12-day cruise, and we both wished it was longer! Can't wait to do it again!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our 9th cruise with NCL. We were looking for a relaxing vacation with warm weather to some ports that we hadn’t visited. We were on the Dawn several years ago. It is a mid-sized ship and easy to get around. We booked an aft ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise with NCL. We were looking for a relaxing vacation with warm weather to some ports that we hadn’t visited. We were on the Dawn several years ago. It is a mid-sized ship and easy to get around. We booked an aft suite which had a great balcony . By booking a suite we had access to Moderno for breakfast and lunch daily. Suite guests also have a butler and concierge which makes everything very easy. The cruise starts with 3 sea days and ends with 2 - very relaxing. We booked excursions through NCL at each port. They were all fun. The onboard entertainment was good. A great dance band nightly in Bliss. Music was also played nightly in the Atrium and the martini bar. The gym is large and we used it daily. I am pleased to report that NCL does not stalk you with photographers any more. They are always available in the Atrium but you aren’t hounded in all of the speciality restaurants. Fellow cruisers were friendly- it was an older crowd this time of year. Very few children. They need new ping pong tables and should put wind screens up so they can be used. A mini golf course would also be a good addition. They do not have enough outlets for cell phone charging. We had to ask for an extension cord. ( older ship) We had a great time ! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
From the beginning, when I made the reservation, there was miscommunication. After only about a month, I could not reach the Norwegian travel agent that I had booked with. I had several questions that never were answered. I had booked two ... Read More
From the beginning, when I made the reservation, there was miscommunication. After only about a month, I could not reach the Norwegian travel agent that I had booked with. I had several questions that never were answered. I had booked two cruises within two months with Norwegian and the travel agent disappeared from the face of the earth. Very disappointed. Embarkation was speedy, although the clerks seem to be crowded and unorganized; they were certainly friendly. I had a very enjoyable cruise. 12 days is perfect. However, I was on the Dawn for seven day cruise during the same time three years ago, services and entertainment seemed to be of a much higher quality then. I had specific problems with our room steward, pool side servers, staff singers, photo staff and Venetian serving staff. Also maintenance. Room steward I believe it must have been his first cruise. He did not speak or understand English well. We tried several times. The first day he did not get to clean our room until after 7 PM Things improved after the first couple days; although I think they reduced his workload. There were days that he did not put pillowcases back on the accent pillows. Almost every day he left a coffee cup, carafe, or miscellaneous obviously dirty item in our room. Every night I turned my comforter around because the duvet opening was at the head of the bed, rather than being at the foot of the bed. Isn’t this common sense? The poolside wait staff was almost nonexistent. We were in various places poolside, and always had to wait for an extended period of time to find a waiter. They weren’t very visible at all. I tip in cash, so I would think and hope that they would pay more attention. If I was being ignored, I’m absolutely certain others were also. I would have to rate the poolside service very poor. Please add staff. The photographers do not seem to be trained in actual photography strategies. There are ways to make people look good in images and they seem to be asking people to do the exact opposite. I noticed this with my photos, and watching them take photos with other groups. I had one conversation with multiple groups in the photography area where they were just as disappointed as I was. You would raise the sales on portrait images if the images that are taken were flattering. The poolside singers sang the same seven songs throughout the whole trip. I realize that they are singing with different languages and accents than they are used to, However, they are singing the incorrect words. With standards, it is a jarring mistake when the singer does not know the lyrics. The same entertainment staff was present at the Gatsby piano bar and the grand atrium. I would think that an upgrade would behoove the ship in this area. We absolutely LOVED our Aqua server SIVA (from India) he really made dining special. We brought several groups of friends back to meet him. Prior to finding him, we felt that the aqua service was just ok. It is, however, a beautiful dining room. The Venetian wait staff was attentive, but it seemed every time we went we waited an inordinate amount of time to be greeted at the table. I would also recommend that the menus have more seafood on them. Especially for a longer cruise, people would much appreciate the variety. Menus were very much the same throughout the whole trip. I would like to see things such as shrimp, escargot, clams, or even a lobster option. We complained daily for the first several days about our air-conditioning. We had to have it on high blast to keep the room moderately cool. Even after being gone for hours on excursions, walking in, the room was warmer than the hallway. It seem to occasionally catch up, or open fully, because there were brief times we turned it down only to have to put it on high blast again within the hour. Also, we had problems with our lights coming on, staying on, and constantly flickering. Of course, we had the same problems with the safe as most of the passengers were having. Many times it flashed battery meaning that the battery was low. They said that they did not have a way to change the batteries so we were very hesitant to use a safe that we may not be able to unlock when needed. They did did send out an “Electrician” that turned out to be another room steward to investigate the lights. The next day they said the electrician had visited us, along with the HVAC technician.We had seen neither of those people. The light problem has been corrected with the air-conditioning was not right the whole cruise. We spoke to the Service desk about all these issues several times, without any real solutions, then just gave up, it was a putting a pall on my vacation and I did not want to spend my whole cruise complaining. Again, I have to say that I enjoyed the cruise. The ship was kept very clean, everyone seemed happy and they took extra precautions to prevent illness after notice of the coronavirus being active on other cruise ships. there was plenty to involve yourself in if you chose to participate in the activities. The ports stops were top notch and the main reason we chose this itinerary. I would have liked a sea day in the middle of the six stops, to rest a little, but they were all very beautiful. The Dawn is a favorite ship of mine. It’s getting a bit older, and showing her age, with some care she can regain her Grace. I hope that the problems I outlined here can be addressed. Thanks for a good vacation! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We have been on many NCL ships, including the Dawn. Our cabin was great along with embankment and disembarkment and service. The ship was very clean and personnel were very friendly. However, we are not picky eaters, but when the best ... Read More
We have been on many NCL ships, including the Dawn. Our cabin was great along with embankment and disembarkment and service. The ship was very clean and personnel were very friendly. However, we are not picky eaters, but when the best thing for lunch was a hotdog, you know there are poor choices. How do you screw up the food on a cruise !! The selections on the buffet were just not good and we like to try different things, but some we just couldn’t eat. Primarily we ate in the dining halls and the buffet and did not do any speciality dining. Several selections had strange flavors and textures, dry and overcooked and mostly were subpar.Things changed while in San Juan with an inspection that occurred during breakfast, and from then on passengers were served by attendants instead of yourself at the buffets. That I like, as we encountered this with Holland last year. Since this was a 12 day cruise, many of the passengers were older. I am always surprised by the music selection played around the pool area when they know it is an older crowd and adjustments in the selections aren’t taken into consideration. When they did have a group playing classic rock,, everyone enjoyed them. Overall, we probably will not be sailing with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We have chosen Norwegian for the past 5 years for our cruises and have always had a pleasant experience. This cruise was no different. It was great! The embarkation - as well as the disembarkation - at the Port of Tampa was easy. While ... Read More
We have chosen Norwegian for the past 5 years for our cruises and have always had a pleasant experience. This cruise was no different. It was great! The embarkation - as well as the disembarkation - at the Port of Tampa was easy. While on board, everything ran smoothly, the staff was courteous, and our fellow passengers were kind. We always get an Aft-Facing Suite which seems to work well for us. Our butler, Manelito, was attentive and always met our requests in a timely manner - and always with a smile. Our concierge, Nashira, was also very helpful and kind. My husband uses a cane, but had no problem navigating the ship - except to access the Bimini Bar on Deck 14. Our only issue was with the Havana Nights Cigar Lounge My husband appreciates having a good cigar in the evenings. As every cigar smoker knows, the best way to enjoy a cigar is to linger in a relaxing environment with a good cocktail and pleasant conversation with fellow cigar enthusiasts. The Cigar Lounge on the Dawn is beautifully-appointed and in a great location. However, they allowed cigarette smoking in there during our cruise - even with a sign that says "Cigarette smoking is prohibited in the Cigar Lounge." The cigarette smokers came in for a quick cigarette and then quickly left. They were in and out all the time - and the cigarette smoke was overbearing at times. We were told that cigarette smokers were allowed in the Cigar Lounge on this cruise because it was difficult for most of them to access the cigarette smoking area on Deck 14 at the Bimini Bar. My suggestion would be for NCL to find a suitable (accessible) area for cigarette smokers on the Dawn. The restaurants and bars were great! We loved Cagney's, LeBistro, and Teppanyaki. We only had one issue and that was on one of the nights that we went to LeBistro. The captain was eating there with a group of 8 people - and there were nearly 6 staff people waiting on him and his group - giving them their full attention and getting all of their food to them in a timely manner. Meanwhile, the rest of us in the restaurant had a long wait for our food. In fact, we waited an hour from the time we ordered until our food arrived. Our waiter kept stopping by our table to apologize. It wasn't her fault. We knew it was because the captain got preferential treatment. But, the food was outstanding. The dinner in the main dining room in Aqua was outstanding as well. O'Sheehan's is always good and is a great place to people-watch. The entertainment was very enjoyable and the activities were numerous. The onboard musical groups - Sonata, Bryan, Rockaway Duo - were especially great and provided music for easy listening. Overall, our experience was great as usual. We like the size of the Dawn because it is a smaller ship and easy to get around. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We are avid fans of Norwegian Cruise Line and have been for a number of years. So this review is somewhat difficult for us to publish...We only ever sail on NCL... So here is our personal experience: Would we go on the NCL Dawn ... Read More
We are avid fans of Norwegian Cruise Line and have been for a number of years. So this review is somewhat difficult for us to publish...We only ever sail on NCL... So here is our personal experience: Would we go on the NCL Dawn again... Answer: NO... The crew were amazing but the ship needs to be retired. We experienced challenges with the public restrooms (most of them out of order for the 12 day cruise); the decor is aged and in comparison to the NCL Jade etc she just didn't cut it. Entertainment/Activities - were mainly focused on the 68+ age and pool activities were non existent. The shows were sporadic and if it wasn't for some fellow cruisers who we met we would have been bored stupid!!! Speciality Dining - is mediocre... nothing special on the Dawn. Actually we preferred the Aqua Dining Room. Their menu changed daily whereas Cagneys', Los Lobos etc did not. Now who likes to dance??? Cause we love too - "The Bliss" NightLife - it was us and a few others... The DJ eventually (come 12 midnight) started to cut out several surround speakers inside the Bliss Lounge; until he then put on the lights and we were kindly told it was bedtime/last tune... :( So dancing was very limited. The music was exactly the same every night too... I now know some new tunes lol Shore Excursions - are pricey!!!!! Not worth it... Be smart... PLEASE NOTE: For those of you who are thinking of purchasing "PRIORITY ACCESS" which is available when you check in online via NCL portal.... DONT!!!!!! You are throwing your money away!! You will notice it states $50 SPA discount for port days only... That is true only on Port Days but they don't tell you that you have to purchase a signature service of over $200!!!!! It is not very transparent; and basically I likened it to winning a booby prize for coming last in a competition. Priority Disembarkation - does not happen... you are the same as everyone else... Actually we purchased this and were last to receive our luggage and were held in a little tiny room in the port. Priority isn't Priority folks... thats what we were told. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I am going to start with the positives. The staff was wonderful; professional and friendly. We didn't do shore excursions so I can't comment on that but the ports were very nice. We ate only in specialty restaurants. The food was ... Read More
I am going to start with the positives. The staff was wonderful; professional and friendly. We didn't do shore excursions so I can't comment on that but the ports were very nice. We ate only in specialty restaurants. The food was excellent and the service was superb. The entertainment was great especially the Rockaway Duo who performed nightly in the atrium. Fitness center was good; many treadmills, machines and free weights. Plenty of room and storage space in our mini-suite. Now for the negatives.... We like to play some blackjack and possibly some craps in the casino. The smoke was so BAD walking through the casino that you could hardly breathe. Hence, we never entered that place again. On deck 7 there is an enclosed smoking room with a door that opens and closes inside adjacent to Gatsby's lounge. The air is so BAD from the smoke that pours out from that room. You can't even sit in Gatsby's to enjoy the entertainment. And, through the Gatsby's lounge is the entrance to Le Bistro, a specialty restaurant. To enter the restaurant I had to literally cover my mouth and nose with my sweater. The room should have had access from the outside deck. Regarding chairs at the pool...people were saving 8-10 chairs at a time, early in the morning, and were not returning to these chairs for hours. We actually watched some of these chairs and after one and a half hours we asked to see a supervisor. We were told that the towels would be removed in another hour. Those people were back in the chairs within 15 minutes; very suspicious. Furniture in room showed terrible ware and tare; ship definitely needs a "FACELIFT." Started feeling sick the day of disembarkation. Got home with an intestinal virus which I now hear was permeating throughout the ship. On the whole we had a great time and will continue to sail with Norwegian but NEVER back on the Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Had great difficulty getting reservations at the speciality restaurants. Travelling with friends, there were six of us. Kept telling us they couldn't accommodate six. Kept telling us to split up. Why, when you are travelling with ... Read More
Had great difficulty getting reservations at the speciality restaurants. Travelling with friends, there were six of us. Kept telling us they couldn't accommodate six. Kept telling us to split up. Why, when you are travelling with friends. Service was poor in a lot of areas. Did not measure up to the other NCL cruises we have taken and we are platinum members. Entertainment was certainly not what we have experienced in the past. Nothing new, same people just repeating with a little variation. Only five actual shoes. The ships performers were actually better than the headliners. One of our group had an accident and had to be treated in the medical center. We were not going to leave her alone and the doctor did not like that. Had to argue for everything. She had to be removed by ambulance and they had said they would help with getting her luggage off, but when it came time, they were too busy. If the paramedics had not helped, do not know what we would have done. Make sure if you cruise, you buy travel insurance. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The Dawn is showing signs of wear and tear but is in quite good condition for it’s age. Our cabin 10072 was a reasonably sized balcony cabin. I think we were a little unfortunate with the condition of the balcony as there seemed to be ... Read More
The Dawn is showing signs of wear and tear but is in quite good condition for it’s age. Our cabin 10072 was a reasonably sized balcony cabin. I think we were a little unfortunate with the condition of the balcony as there seemed to be something housed in the roof space and it was a mess and there was also a drain there which smelt on occasions. I also didn’t like the bathroom configuration. Although it was a decent size there were sliding doors on the toilet and shower which I constantly banged my elbows on. There was however, plenty of storage space and the bed was reasonably comfortable. It was also nice and quiet, with no noise coming from above or opposite. The food was generally of a good standard. We used the buffet and Venetian for breakfast, which was good in both. On sea days we used the Venetian for lunch, my only issue here is that it was the same menu every day so it soon felt limited. For dinner we preferred the Aqua main dining room which has a much more intimate feeling. We purchased a 4 dining package and used The Bistro twice (very nice both times) and Cagney's twice (excellent food both times, excellent service the first, but I think our server was having an off night the second time we went as the service was markedly inferior to our first experience). Our cruise was extremely casual, with many people not bothering to change our of their shorts and vests/T shirts for the evening. In my opinion NCL are in danger of allowing this to go too far. Shorts are not supposed to be allowed in The Bistro or Venetian restaurants in the evening, but we saw both men and women wearing them going into the Venetian. I think if standards continue to slide this will be the one thing that will eventually stop us cruising with NCL. I don’t expect people to dress formally, but a change of clothing and a smart casual dress code would be preferable to me. The experience of sitting behind a guy wearing a vest top and shorts that he has obviously been wearing all day in the theatre, when my husband has showered and changed into long trousers and a clean shirt, is off putting. We liked the Cellars wine bar in the evening. The bartenders in there were both excellent. This brings me to another issue. We had a drinks package as part of our cruise package and thankfully the bar gratuities were included. Had they not have been, we would have been very unhappy as getting a drink served to you was often impossible. Much more often than not we had to queue at the bar and sometimes for several minutes. How NCL an justify charging 20% service for no service, I really can’t fathom. That is the end of my gripes. The pluses were, Really nice itinerary visiting Caribbean Islands that we have not been to for many years and finding them little changed. Largely lovely weather. An excellent Cruise Director in Jodie, whom I guess was responsible for organising excellent entertainment. We have been on over 40 cruises, and I think the Elements show is possibly the best I have seen at sea. Fantastic, with a much more modern feel to it. Dropping one of the other production shows (which to be fair were quite good) for something else more up to date I think would be beneficial. We also really enjoyed the Pianist and the Female Vocalist that had been brought onboard, both were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
1st time on Norwegian, and most likely our last. Lots of positives (extremely dedicated & hard working waiters, bartenders, cabin staff...very comfortable cabins), but because we spent 5 of 7 days confined to the ship (sea days), ... Read More
1st time on Norwegian, and most likely our last. Lots of positives (extremely dedicated & hard working waiters, bartenders, cabin staff...very comfortable cabins), but because we spent 5 of 7 days confined to the ship (sea days), attention needs to be focused on customer experience. So here is a fresh off the cruise feedback. -Small ship because of the Tampa Skyway bridge restrictions. You may/may not like depending on your preferences. -Older ship (20 Years) that had been refurbished/pretty good shape (I was expecting worse) but still needs improvements. Not equipped well for the handicapped. Oversized persons may have difficulty utilizing the small bathroom layout. Access for Aqua and Venetian restaurant’s was confusing, but we finally figured it out. -I’m not a smoker, but they provided locations for smokers that was really bad for nonsmokers. Smoking permitted in casino - really? Not too far from the casino was a glass- enclosed room for smokers. It stunk profusely outside of the room, but was kind funny watching people inside a smoker! Smoking at the top level Bimini bar was segregated, but depending on the breeze, nonsmokers had to tolerate it. -Buffet on 12th floor; Breakfast- you're better off eating at the Venetian/sit down. Lunch was really good. Dinner; Absolutely the worst! On two occasions prime rib and brisket were served. I've had 10X better prime rib at a Golden Coral! (see attached picture). Brisket was served rare - really??? -Subpar dinner at 12th floor buffet forces you to the specialty restaurants (intended?). The only specialty restaurant we enjoyed was Cagneys. EXCELLENT all 3 times we ate there. Los Lobos mexican was the worst. Queso dip was like cheese intended for French onion soup or a pizza. Chicken enchilada was equivalent to warm/unseasoned chicken, wrapped in a flour tortilla, served with the tepid mole sauce that had an overpowering chocolate flavor. Subpar fajita equivalent to jerky meat. What happened to a taco menu? -The pool was small but the pool side bars & servers were outstanding! -Ports for excursions were good. Saint Lucia (Soufreire by Land & Sea) was OUTSTANDING!! Take lots of small dollar bills, as there are a lot of trinket opportunities- and please tip your servers & tour guides! -Entertainment was satisfactory for an older crowd. Comedy shows were good. We estimated 95% of guests were over 60 years old. BE ADVISED…HIDDEN COSTS.... There is a $15 service charge per person, per day for room stewards, restaurant staff, bus boys, etc. Also another service charge is added to your “liquor package” (that they say is free in promotional ads) is for tipping the bar tender/staff. So do your math, for a 12 day cruise for 2 persons, you will incur a $360 additional service charge after you disembark, and also, if you add the additional liquor package fees of $237 per person, It all adds up to an extra $834 bucks added to your bill. And, bottled water isn't included in any package. It’s an additional cost. We most likely wont be cruising with them again. Back to Celebrity Cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our 3rd time on the Dawn and wow has it changed, and not for the better. All the staff are friendly but slow. They are very hard to understand. I had a few repeat what they were saying but after the second time I just smiled. ... Read More
This was our 3rd time on the Dawn and wow has it changed, and not for the better. All the staff are friendly but slow. They are very hard to understand. I had a few repeat what they were saying but after the second time I just smiled. We were seated in the Aqua dinning room for 20 minutes and did not see our waiter so we left. The food on NCL has gone down hill. It seems that the perks they give you have taken a toll on the dinners. Most of the food for the dinners dishes seems like they have combined the leftover to form a new dish with a different name. Except in the special dinning. No ice in the cabin,No lobster night. No shrimp cocktail in the regular dinning rooms. No fancy desserts (baked Alaska or Cherries Jubliee) No towel animals. Our cabin person was great. He was always smiling and very helpfull. This will be out last trip on NCL Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We have sailed multiple times on Norwegian and also on other cruise lines. Most of the usual items on this cruise were fine. Housekeeping and dining room staff were lovely, polite, accommodating and efficient. It was a good itinerary ... Read More
We have sailed multiple times on Norwegian and also on other cruise lines. Most of the usual items on this cruise were fine. Housekeeping and dining room staff were lovely, polite, accommodating and efficient. It was a good itinerary with a nice balance off sea days and ports. The Dawn, while in need of a refurbishment, was clean and had the right amenities. The entertainment, especially the closing show Elements, was very good. There were no issues with embarkation or disembarkation. The food was good and most meals were first rate. The Indian food in the Garden Café was excellent! There was a problem with one meal in Le Bistro but the Maitre D dealt with it superbly. Everything so far is complimentary so why did I give the cruise a terrible rating? For 8 days, due to a glitch in the ventilation system, second-hand cigarette smoke (probably from the Bimini Grill which was 3 decks above) was randomly pumped into our cabin, neighboring cabins and the hallway. It was noticeable during sea days but when we were in port and there were no winds to carry the smoke away, the stench was overwhelming. Our cabin was next to the navigation bridge and it didn't help that a crewmember smoked out on the balcony of the room next to ours. Guest Services was completely indifferent despite numerous calls and it wasn't until we got the General Manager involved that things began to change. After the cruise, Guest Relations doubled down by lying about the extent of the problem (e.g. cigarette smoke is an "odor"), the number of times it happened and the action the ship crew took. The compensation they offered by way of an apology is insulting and given this will be our last cruise on Norwegian, of zero value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and wanted to do something a bit special. We particularly wanted to visit Caribbean islands that we hadn’t visited before such as Antigua and St.Lucia. It was disappointing that we were ... Read More
We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and wanted to do something a bit special. We particularly wanted to visit Caribbean islands that we hadn’t visited before such as Antigua and St.Lucia. It was disappointing that we were unable to dock at either of these islands due to bad weather. Whilst I appreciate that this was unavoidable, the replacement stop of Martinique was a big let down. We hadn’t sailed on the Dawn before, but we liked the idea of a smaller ship. Whilst the staff without exception were fantastic, the whole experience was very disappointing. Food in the main dining rooms were very mediocre. Service was slow and food often cold. We realise that Norwegian is freestyle cruising, but felt generally that standards have slipped. Whilst not everyone wants to dress smartly for dinner, it was sad to see shorts and flip flops to be acceptable in the dining rooms. Although the menu in O’Sheehans was limited, we ended up having breakfast and lunch there most days, where the service and food were good and it was generally quiet. As part of our package we were given four dinners in specialty restaurants ,but were unable to book any of them at a time or day we wanted because they were almost fully booked on the first day. We were still charged a service charge, for soemething we never had. As Platinum members we did get two specialist dining vouchers which we managed to use, The Bistro (fantastic) and La Cucina. Our stateroom was in need of some TLC. Handle broken on refrigerator door ,seal broken on washbasin so that it would not hold water (although this was eventually fixed). Safe locked and could not be opened. We later discovered that none of the safes were working on the whole ship. This should have been mentioned before the cruise. Entertainment was poor, apart from the show Elements which was fantastic Embarkation and Disembarkation were very smooth and well organized. We have another Norwegian Cruise already booked for next year, let’s hope that this turns out to be an improvement or we will be taking our loyalty elsewhere. Gratuitiy charges are rising at an alarming rate, but the standards are not. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I love sea days. The itinerary originally had 5 ports in the 11 day itinerary. The Tampa Terminal #2 is very small. Embarkation was slow. It really didn't bother me. It was very smooth and it seemed like the port employees worked as ... Read More
I love sea days. The itinerary originally had 5 ports in the 11 day itinerary. The Tampa Terminal #2 is very small. Embarkation was slow. It really didn't bother me. It was very smooth and it seemed like the port employees worked as hard as they could to keep the line moving. The Dawn is old. I think she is showing her age a bit. It was very windy for most of the cruise. The ship did roll back and forth quite a bit. It's no way a slight on NCL.. they can't control the weather. Many people complained about the smoke from the casino. I don't dispute their complaints, but this is something I expect on a cruise ship, and it is not something that bothers me. There is a cigar room near the casino and Gatsby's. It was supposed to be cigars only, but due to the high winds, they let people smoke cigarettes in there. Their only other option is Deck 13. I think the big problem is it seems to me like there was little to no filtration. There was no safe in my room. I was told they "expire" and most of them were not working and were taken out. I googled it. Safes do not expire. Again, this was something that upset a lot of people. I don't worry about stuff being stolen. The safe is somewhere I put things so I don't loose them. I think the ship should have informed us before we boarded. I had cabin 8017. It was a perfect location. Right up from the Stardust Theater. Not too far from O'Sheehan's. Easy to navigate to and from. I did hear some noises from the theater but nothing past 11 pm. Other than that, I don't remember any odd noises. I do use a white noise app.. so I could have blocked things out. The exclusive cocktail party for Gold and Silver Latitude Members was a joke. It's nothing more than a Cruise Next meeting. They used to have raffles and giveaways. They gave away one bottle of champagne to the couple who was married the longest and that was it. Then, proceeded with their pitch about deposits. If you are Gold or Silver, you know all about the program. This is my biggest and just about only complaint about the cruise. This doesn't say to me that NCL appreciates me as a returning guest. How about some games? Give away a t-shirt or two? Don't sell me something you know I am going to buy. In St. Thomas, I did the Kon Tiki sightseeing and beach break. This was a lot of fun. Get in line early if you want a good seat. It filled up fast and the upper level has no shade. The beach was beautiful. The guides were amazing. I highly recommend this excursion. Because of the windy weather, we couldn't port in St. Lucia or Antigua. They took us to Martinique. It was absolutely breath-taking. I did not do an excursion through NCL. A few of the other solos and I took a private taxi around the island. With meals and drinks, we spent about $150 each. They normally wouldn't take American dollars and you would have to buy Euros before you go, but since this was last minute, they were happy to take our dollars. Since we went off the beaten path, and didn't go to the touristy things, there was a bit of a language barrier, but we got by! It's my understanding that NCL normally doesn't port here. I hope after this, they make it a regular port of call. St. Kitts is my favorite island. I did the tour of the the Brimstone Fortress and Romney Manor. Views at the Fortress are unbelievable. Try to get on the first bus. As it gets crowded, the grounds fill up and cars are parked where they block some great photos. Romney Manor is beautiful. But.. if I had to do it again, I would just do the Fortress if that was offered. In Puerto Rico, I did a day pass at the Marriott on my own through resortforaday.com. There is Uber in San Juan... just in case I'm the only one in the world who doesn't know this. It was $14 in a cab from the port to the Marriott, but only $5 by Uber on the way back. Live and learn, I guess. Anyway, the wind did play a factor. The surf was very rough, so I couldn't go in the ocean, but the beach was beautiful. The pool area is huge. The food is amazing. With all the sea days, the ship had tons of activities on the dailies that I actually wanted to do. I did a few wine tastings. They were so much fun. If you drink wine at all, I would encourage you to do the Black Glass tasting. You can't see the wine. It's very interesting. The one where you try the same wine in different shaped glasses was another must-do in my opinion. Whatever you do, Earnest and Karina in the Cellars will take good care of you! They had the usual entertainment. I love the the shows. I'm always amazed at the good job they do. The juggler and the comedian were really good as well. One of the acrobats got hurt or was sick, so they only were in the last show, Elements. This was a bit of a disappointment to me. If you don't watch any other show, go see Elements. It's excellent. Get there as early as you can to all the shows. They seem to fill up very quickly. The food was good in the complimentary venues. I don't think I had a bad meal. Some of the other solos had grouper one night that they said wasn't good. But, that was one meal out of several. I always enjoy a basket of wings and people watching at O'Sheehan's. Cagney's is always great. Moderno was very good. Go when you are hungry. You get so much food! Los Lobos was surprisingly good as well. Book all of these before you get on the ship. They are hard to get into. I don't know if I will ever get into Teppanyaki. It would be nice if they did more seatings! I go on NCL as a solo. I stick with NCL because they are a the only cruise ship with a solo program. So far, so good. It doesn't seem like they are consistent with what the solo coordinator is responsible for. I wish they had like a template for them to use.... whether or not I am on a ship with solo cabins or a smaller ship. But, our solo cruise director did a great job. Disembarkation seems to go very smooth. I waited until 10 to get off, so it wasn't crowded by then. All and all, the cruise was great. Sure, it wasn't perfect. I love cruising and generally am not one to complain. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Our mini-suite was perfect. The balcony was just right for a evening nightcap and watching arrivals and departures. We were on deck 11, only 3 staterooms from the Spa! Such fun! A dip before we went on an excursion, then a dip after with a ... Read More
Our mini-suite was perfect. The balcony was just right for a evening nightcap and watching arrivals and departures. We were on deck 11, only 3 staterooms from the Spa! Such fun! A dip before we went on an excursion, then a dip after with a sauna and maybe a massage to relax before evening activities. Plenty of things to do, sometimes to many, but we had fun. The Special restaurants we chose were fabulous! La Cucina's Italian food was perfect, we went twice! Moderno's Brazilian cuisine was delicious, we ate to much but didn't care. Cagney's was great and Le Bristo was to die for. The excursions we chose, which was hard to do as there were so many, were just right for us. At Aruba we went on the Sea & See Island tour, just fun. At Kralendijk we chose the Bonaire Bus tour. St. George's was the Rhum Runner Party Boat that was exciting and so so much fun! St. Thomas we took the Kontiki Beach and Sightseeing boat, that was a hoot. There were other excursions we took but these stood out. Everything was wonderful. On board we enjoyed the shopping and went a bit crazy but it was fun! We also were very happy with the entertainment we found everywhere. The atrium seemed to always have some entertainment going, All the bars and shows! The Halloween entertainment was so much, nearly every one was costumed everywhere we went. The shows! magic and entertainment was on par with Broadway! There was so much to do and see, why sleep at all? What can I say about the service? We needed a step to enter the bath and Tristan, our cabin guy was able to find a step stool to help us. the morning and evening attention he provided made us feel special. Even though we we on board for 14 days it still felt way too short a time. We are planning another trip and have gotten two more friends to join us. We have to decide when to go even though its going to take a lot of planning. I hope this spring or late summer. Gotta plan. I want go right now! See you soon! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I selected the cruise by the stops the ship was making. Of course, the stops were quick stops & really not worth the expense of the cruise to spend 4 hours to 6 hours in port. The entertainment at the show room was less than good. We ... Read More
I selected the cruise by the stops the ship was making. Of course, the stops were quick stops & really not worth the expense of the cruise to spend 4 hours to 6 hours in port. The entertainment at the show room was less than good. We walked on three of the shows, but it could be the shows was not up to our standards. The worst part was that ship is being neglected, poor maintenance. Several of the cabins on deck 9 had serious problems that the crew was unable to patch or fix. Passengers on Deck 9 were, were & still are upset about it. Sad to say THE SHIP NEEDS TO BE SCRAPPED. The food aboard was fair, not great as you would expect. Breakfast is hard to mess up, but the bacon in the buffet was plumb terrible. CAGNEES Steak was great (all 3 times), no complaints there. Excellent meal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because of the terrific itinerary - 8 Caribbean islands, 3 of which we had never visited. Leaving from NYC was attractive, too, since we could take Amtrak there. We had cruised on the Dawn before but it was back in ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the terrific itinerary - 8 Caribbean islands, 3 of which we had never visited. Leaving from NYC was attractive, too, since we could take Amtrak there. We had cruised on the Dawn before but it was back in 2009 so we were interested in seeing how she had been refurbished. We enjoy the layout and size of this class of ship as well as the jewel class. Loved seeing the open atrium and various lounge areas since we miss them on the larger ships. Embarkation took a little longer than usual despite the fact that we are platinum Latitude members with expedited check-in. This was due to a change in terminals and not as much space for staff to work. Once onboard, we dropped our bags at the Bliss Lounge and had lunch in the Venetian Restaurant. Three sea days gave us plenty of time to relax and get to meet other cruisers. After that we did 8 islands in 8 days...Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, & St. Thomas. Since we chose mostly beach excursions, it was not as hectic as we had thought. It was nice to have 2 sea days headed home. We used NCL sponsored tours on 6 of the islands since we had the $50 shore excursion credit option. This was our first experience using that perk and it worked very well. Overall the cruise was very enjoyable. The staff were very professional, helpful and provided great service. Our cabin steward was one of the best we ever had. Senior officers were often seen out and about although the captain seemed to keep a low profile. Entertainment varied from excellent to good. The production number, Elements, was fantastic and very entertaining. Dining was the only area where things did not seem up to par with the previous NCL cruises we have done (17 total). Food was hit or miss in several of the complimentary restaurants. Often the food was warm - definitely not hot. Dinners in the Garden Cafe were especially affected with some hot entrees actually cold. The Venetian & Aqua Restaurants were very good as well as the specialty restaurants. Le Bistro & Moderno continue to provide outstanding food as well as service. Disembarkation was a nightmare. Strong winds several nights prior to our docking had damaged the usual gangways so last minute options had to be planned to disembark. Guests had to exit on Deck 4 forward, normally only used when going ashore at a port. Since only one person at a time could use the smaller gangway, there were long delays. Very long lines snaked through the I-95 crew corridor which became rather claustrophobic. Unloading the luggage took much longer, too, since workers were limited in access. Disembarkation was probably 2 1/2 -3 hours late causing many people to miss busses, planes, & trains. Fortunately, we made our train with 20 minutes to spare. Not only were there frustrated, angry passengers leaving the ship but there were frustrated, angry passengers (and their luggage) filling the terminal waiting to board the ship. Felt badly for the NCL employees who were doing their best but were getting lots of angry, rude comments. Not the way to end a wonderful, relaxing vacation. Despite a less than positive ending, we really enjoyed this cruise and plan to do a similar one on NCL next year. We continue to be fans of NCL and freestyle cruising. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Norwegian Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness & Recreation 4.5 N/A
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursions 3.5 N/A
Enrichment Activities 2.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.0
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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