222 Norwegian Dawn Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

wanted a short cruise and have always loved Norweigan and recommend it to others. This cruise offered very little in entertainment, things to do were lame (such as games). Found the elevators in the morning with spilled drinks and ... Read More
wanted a short cruise and have always loved Norweigan and recommend it to others. This cruise offered very little in entertainment, things to do were lame (such as games). Found the elevators in the morning with spilled drinks and food not cleaned up. Our mini suite was a dissappointment, old. Our steward was great, kind to two older retired people, always helpful!!! The excursion in Key west was terrible. Our guide thought he was amusing instead of informative. If anyone decided to leave the trip his reply was "get an uber." It was never stated that you would be walking for 2 hours. Just that if you were disabled, this trip was not for you. Wear comfortable shoes. We left and took a cab back to the ship. We had only two good meals on this trip. Breakfast in the Venetion and Dinner at the French restuarant. I do not recommend this ship or trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The guy with glasses where they sold liquor was rude. The hostess at the Asian restaurant by the theater was a bit of a snob. And then there was this guy where they serve the food, for the life of me I couldn't understand why ... Read More
The guy with glasses where they sold liquor was rude. The hostess at the Asian restaurant by the theater was a bit of a snob. And then there was this guy where they serve the food, for the life of me I couldn't understand why he was just standing when the honey sauce bowl was empty, me and another lady had to ask him for more sauce. Other than what I wrote I had a good time with my family. I would sail again with Norwegian but I doubt it will be on this ship. The shows they had in the theater was real good. I was good that everytime you came into a dining area they wanted to spray your hands with a disinfectant. They had a nice little area for my daughter go in a pool which had a slide. She loved it. The room we had was a nice size it was different from the other ships we stayed on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First of all I must say the cruise & weather was answered prayers all the way!!! Couldn't top that at all. The ship has some ups and down 1. ship renovation was really nice dining areas were fantastic, corridors looked great too. ... Read More
First of all I must say the cruise & weather was answered prayers all the way!!! Couldn't top that at all. The ship has some ups and down 1. ship renovation was really nice dining areas were fantastic, corridors looked great too. The balcony rooms showed some improvements aswell expected more but nonetheless ok for smaller ship. The pool deck area too small to accommodate the large amount of deck activity. Pool stayed full of kids along with adults and this was ok, except the adults usually had adult beverages. I'm not comfortable with that kind of exposure to young children. Harvest Cay was extremely nice, granted it was new and inclusive to us made it the more interesting, would have enjoyed more offered water sports at this location. Perhaps coming soon!!! Dan the Cruise Director was amazing very entertaining, loved his energy... to be continued look for Keep It Movin pt. The show Elements was amazing, real nice addition to the cruise Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Our first NCL experience. We have cruised on 4 other lines and wanted to try the "Free Style" cruise promised by NCL. We traveled as a retired married couple and had a balcony on the 10th deck. Our complaint is that there ... Read More
Our first NCL experience. We have cruised on 4 other lines and wanted to try the "Free Style" cruise promised by NCL. We traveled as a retired married couple and had a balcony on the 10th deck. Our complaint is that there are no places on board that don't have deafening noise from music. When the live music stops it is replaced by recorded music. Conversation is impossible anywhere but your cabin due to the noise. Everything else is typical with other cruise lines: food, shopping, etc. The exception was the entertainment which was consistently very good. There were several food venues available. The Bamboo Shrimpo Dinner had 3 shrimp which promted us to go to the buffet after eating (3 shrimp does noit make a dinner), the Venitian had the same food available at the buffet but took longer to eat due to the wait time for the serve staff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I'm not sure if it was because it was the staff's last week on the cruise, or if that's just how it normally is. The service was non-existent. On the pool deck I had a waiter walk up to me only once the whole cruise, and I ... Read More
I'm not sure if it was because it was the staff's last week on the cruise, or if that's just how it normally is. The service was non-existent. On the pool deck I had a waiter walk up to me only once the whole cruise, and I ordered a bottle of water and they came back with nothing and told me they were out of bottled waters at that bar. Compared to the Carnival Valor, the Norwegian Dawn treats you like a third class citizen. The boat was very rocky, the food was abysmal, the service was atrocious, and in-ship entertainment was practically non-existent. I had a broken shower door which kept falling off, and our room attendant just put it back on the tracks, and one of our light bulbs was flashing. They did eventually fix these issues when I brought it to guest services attention. 9 out of 11 in our group got a gastrointestinal illness and had diarrhea for 48+ hours. I can't even begin to list out the absolute laundry list of issues such as our server giving us a hard time for ordering too much food, or the cruise line losing one of our members luggage. Speaking to people throughout the ship this experience was typical. I am not going to highlight and positive experiences of this trip because they were quickly lost to way worse negative experiences. Do yourself a favor and avoid this cruise line and ship altogether. Next time I'm cruising Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
WE chose this cruise because of the great deal. First time with Norwegian -- have 2 more booked. Cruised before with Carnival - loved it - but it was really nice to get away fro the all night "discos" and actually have a ... Read More
WE chose this cruise because of the great deal. First time with Norwegian -- have 2 more booked. Cruised before with Carnival - loved it - but it was really nice to get away fro the all night "discos" and actually have a vacation. Evening entertainment was good, lots to do, the only disappointing thing was the small/limited choice of food late in the evening....sometimes you just want a pizza! WE did our own excursions, we like wandering on our own and usually book a taxi to take us on a driving tour if we are not up for the walk. The adult only deck had a hot tub, no pool which was a little disappointing. However, there were not that many children on the ship so the main pool was comfortable if we needed a dip -- not too much splashing or screaming. The staff, as always, amazing people. We always thank them extra for spending months on a ship looking after us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We chose NCL Dawn for its adventure into the Caribbean. Especially for its eastern stops in Aruba, Jamaica and Georgetown. Stops we hadn't ventured to yet. Loved the experiences. Overall it was a excellent vacation throughout its ... Read More
We chose NCL Dawn for its adventure into the Caribbean. Especially for its eastern stops in Aruba, Jamaica and Georgetown. Stops we hadn't ventured to yet. Loved the experiences. Overall it was a excellent vacation throughout its voyage. The Norwegian Dawn she was a beauty. Restored to her amazing grace of the sea. Embarkation went smoothly. Arrived in Boston at our pier time of 10am. Got our reservation checked in. Getting on the ship was smoothly. Enjoyed lunch ,relaxed and before you knew it. She was at sea. First night aboard we had dinner at Cagney's. Dinner and Wait staff was excellent. Every night there was a different show. We especially enjoyed Patti and Jose. They were our favorites. The Grand Atrium was where they were. The Elements performance was outstanding. The Dawn performers were amazing, talented group of people. We went off The Dawn at her ports of call. Favorite one was in Jamaica. We did the 4x4 Safari to Dunn's River Falls. The experience through the area and to taste and feel the cultural atmosphere is wonderful . And to walk up the Dunn's River Falls. Excellent location and experience. Disembarkation day. Port of New Orleans. We chose the walk off with your luggage. It was the most smoothest transition from ship to port I have ever experience. We did it early. And it was smooth . Got off the ship. Through the long, never ending terminal. Grabbed a taxi to our hotel and we were checked in at our hotel before 10am... Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our fifth cruise on NCL, our third on the Dawn. What impressed us the most was the friendly and attentive service -- from our cabin steward, to the servers in the dining room, those on the guest services desk staff. They were all ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise on NCL, our third on the Dawn. What impressed us the most was the friendly and attentive service -- from our cabin steward, to the servers in the dining room, those on the guest services desk staff. They were all friendly, efficient and eager to please. We chose this particular cruise because of its length (12 nights) and the fact that its final destination was Boston, not far from where we live. We had wonderful weather the whole way and enjoyed visiting Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. But with seven sea days we really had lots of opportunity to see how the crew on the Dawn goes to great lengths to make sure passengers enjoy themselves. There are plenty of activities for those who like lots to do, and plenty of opportunities to just chill for those who prefer to relax. Having cruised with other lines (Celebrity, Azamara, Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean) the one are where the Dawn disappoints is in the food. We dined almost exclusively in Venetian, one of the main dining rooms. The Venetian is attractive and bright. The lunch menu was adequate but didn't change much from day to day on our cruise. The dinner menu offers a mix of items that are offered every night and variety of "specials." Portions were more than adequate, and hot items were brought to the table when they were still hot. The servers were very familiar with the items on the menu. In summary we would say the food that while the food more than satisfactory, it was certainly not memorable. Twice we went to the Jazz Brunch which was served in La Cucina, one of the alternative dining venues. There the standard was much better. More attention was paid to presentation, and the entrees were much more enticing. We had the mini filet mignon and grilled ship one time and the chateaubriand the other, and they were both excellent. Foodies considering a cruise on NCL might want to consider purchasing a dining package which would enable them to eat at the specialty restaurants for less than the standard extra fee. Overall the Dawn was well maintained. The one area where the high standard of cleanliness doesn't seem to be maintained is around the Pool Deck and Sun Deck. Litter can lie around uncollected for an hour or more, and this detracts from the ship's appearance. Another disappointment in appearance is the condition of the tables in Blue Lagoon. The surfaces are cracked and warped. They should be replaced, or at least covered with tablecloths. That all being said, NCL offers exceptional value for the money and they go to great lengths to make sure that the service their crew members give will keep guests coming back. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Overall we weren't too happy on the Dawn. I had only been on one previous Princess cruise but I found it much superior. The staff on the Dawn were the biggest difference; they seemed unhappy to be there, weren't overly friendly ... Read More
Overall we weren't too happy on the Dawn. I had only been on one previous Princess cruise but I found it much superior. The staff on the Dawn were the biggest difference; they seemed unhappy to be there, weren't overly friendly and never went out of their way to make our trip special. We're a pretty easy-going couple in our late 20s but there were a number of occasions where both junior staff and management were rude. On one occasion a manager asked every table around us how their dinner was and blatantly passed ours. We were nicely dressed and the only thing we could think of was that the staff assumed we didn't have as much money to spend because of our age. We were 5 years younger on Princess and we were never made to feel like this. It's also unfortunate for NCL as we had money to spend but then purposely spent as little on the ship as possible and more at the ports. The average age on our re-positioning cruise was 66 and this also impacted the fun at evening parties as most people went to bed by 10pm. We definitely had a few couples come up to us on excursions excited that there were other younger people on the ship and they shared the same experiences above about the staff not being too friendly. I know NCL can't control who books certain cruises but we would have preferred a younger or more balanced demographic. Overall we found the ship very old and worn. Windows were smeared and dirty and it didn't seem as clean as it could be. A number of public bathrooms were disgusting (both men and women) and we ended up going back to our room whenever needed. The food was generally great but the food at the buffet was a bit dicey and we got sick once or twice and then never went back. Would avoid buffet at all costs even if it's difficult due to the lack of options at lunch. One aspect that we found better than Princess was the nightly entertainment as the shows were top notch and very enjoyable. The Second City murder mystery lunch, Bud Anderson comedy show and Elements show were highlights for me. More activities could have been scheduled during the day as especially the last day there were limited activities and it seemed like staff was more trying to get the ship ready for the next sailing. Overall we enjoyed the ports and had a relaxing trip but NCL could have done more to make the trip better. We tried to take into account the cost when considering the tired shipped but the staff could have been much friendlier. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise. We have been reading reviews on Cruise Critics for a year in prepartation for the trip. Thank you to all of those that shared their experiences. It certainly helped make our trip very enjoyable. We booked ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We have been reading reviews on Cruise Critics for a year in prepartation for the trip. Thank you to all of those that shared their experiences. It certainly helped make our trip very enjoyable. We booked through Casino at Sea and arived a few days early in New Orleans to tour the city. Boarding day was a little hectic, however the lines seemd to move well and we were through the process and on ship in about 35 minutes. Once on board we were not sure what to do so we found our room, which was not ready. The stewart introduced himself (Russel Gomes) and upon learning that this was our first cruise, provided us with a lot of information as to what to expect. We returned to our room an hour later after touring the ship. Dining: We only used the Freestyle dining options. I found the food and service in Aqua to be supurb. The Veniiantian food was good, however not consistant from night to night. The Blue lagoon was on our floor and it was great for breaskfast. Casino: Not too large and I found it to be very busy and full. Played slots on the first two nights, but found the smoke to be a little too much. Drink service was not very good. As a result I did not gamble too long and saved my money! We were sad to have the cruise come to an end as it exceeded our expecations for a first time experience. We learned a few things along the way that will certainly enhanse our experience on our next cruise. Disembarking: Lesson learned. We had a flight out at 1:15 PM so booked the NCL transportation to airport. Well, after and hour and 15 minutes once the walk-off crusiers were finished they started the rest of the process. It went fast until through customs and then we waited in long lines to get on our bus. The airport Sunday exidous was terriable and we waited over an hour to check our bags. This was the low part of a great 7 days! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Background: My husband and I have been cruising since 1981. We have been on many ships (20+) but are platinum on Princess. We wanted to sail out of New Orleans which Princess does not offer. We prefer to cruise because we like to dance, ... Read More
Background: My husband and I have been cruising since 1981. We have been on many ships (20+) but are platinum on Princess. We wanted to sail out of New Orleans which Princess does not offer. We prefer to cruise because we like to dance, preferably salsa but we also took three years of ballroom lessons. So, we stayed at the Hilton next to the dock and it was a great location. We went to Mulate's two nights which is across the street. They have a live band every night. We danced Cajun and ate great sea food. We arranged to leave our car in their garage for the same $16 a day fee the port charges. Embarkation: Terrible. One of the worst I've experienced. It was very primitive. They are still using paper files and folders. Then I was called aside during the security scan. They had detected I had a wine bottle in my carry on, not a security threat! They wanted a $30 corking fee for me to keep the bottle. I have carried on wine on Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean and didn't encounter this. All these cruise lines allow 2 bottles of wine. I told them to keep it. They returned it the last night of the cruise. It set the tone of the rest of the cruise. I definitely spent much less during the cruse. First Impressions: On boarding I was struck by how old the ship is. It reminded me of a gaudy double wide trailer in the 90s. We didn't have a map of the ship so we went to the purser's desk and asked for one. We were directed to a man who was answering questions by two ladies. After waiting patiently for him to finish with them, the person at the desk called us over and gave us a map which she had all along. (Actually, we were given a map as we boarded but weren't told it was on the backside of the information.) Very impersonal help from employees. We aren't used to such treatment from other cruises. Stateroom We had a balcony. We were happy with the size of the room. It was actually the size of a mini-suite on Princess. The bathroom has a separate shower, sink area and toilet. It has huge potential but the colors are kindergarten crayon box. There are no amenities. The hand soap, shampoo and hair conditioner are dispensed in tired old dispensers. On comparing notes later, my husband and I both wanted to jump ship right then and there but did not admit it to each other since we were trying to stay positive. Food It was overall pretty good. The main dining rooms were good. We liked the Blue Lagoon for breakfast. Cagney's we walked out because we weren't waited on after 20 minutes. We have a rule we don't wait that long in any restaurant. It also had tightly packed tables. Since I am allergic to perfumes that adds to the problem. No need to spend an extra $100 for bad service. We had a lovely lunch on the last day in Bamboos. Entertainment Well, almost non-existent as far as we were concerned. As I said, we are dancers. We danced one rumba in one week. We tried night after night. The band just played un-danceable slow ballads or jazzy numbers even when we requested music. We went back to our room and to bed. There were no movies in a theater. TV in our stateroom did not work most of the time. An example of a movie in our stateroom was Talledega Nights. We skipped the production shows. Ports: Cozumel: Ate at Las Palmeras Restaurant. Had fajitas and fish tacos. Great margarita. Made like a true Mexican margarita. Belize, Enjoyed walking around. Went to the Smoky Mermaid. Nice courtyard setting. Roatan, Honduras Went to the Two Doves Bar. Great view of the ship. Cheap beer and the strongest and cheapest margarita I've ever had. Cheesy bar but adds to the experience. Costa Maya: Great selection of souvenirs. Should have gone immediately to the beach because it is the highlight of this location. Take the shuttle outside the gate for a few bucks. Debarkation: Again, a pain. It looked like half the ship did like us, that is, decided to walk off with all their luggage. It took an hour to accomplish. Very stressful. Not a good way to end a vacation. Summary: Since the food was pretty good and we had a balcony, we enjoyed relaxing and reading. So, would I take this cruise again? Probably not. We loved the New Orleans location but not the ship.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We had a good time overall I will start with the good: Our cabin steward Christian was great, always greeted us by name. Room was always clean and well stocked. Embarkation was ok but had to ask which way to get on the boat then once on ... Read More
We had a good time overall I will start with the good: Our cabin steward Christian was great, always greeted us by name. Room was always clean and well stocked. Embarkation was ok but had to ask which way to get on the boat then once on the boat there were the washy washy girls ready to spray ya down. I thought the layout of the boat was somewhat odd compared to other boats I had been on. I got turned around a couple times. We were able to access our rooms as soon as we got on the ship. I did like that there were shows every night of the cruise which was nice, but missed comedy shows like you have on carnival. This was our first time cruising with NCL. I did not really care for Second City too much but then again I don't like improv. Now what I really didn't like: You see the kids all over the boat and while I love kids I don't want to see them running around without any parents watching them, the food was horrible with the exception of the buffet breakfast, and the pool was really small. For these reasons I think we will stick with Carnival next time, sorry NCL. As for the ports all were very nice but we did have to cancel our excursion in Roatan because it came a monsoon there. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
BACKGROUND: My wife and I are both retired and have cruised Princess, Carnival and Celebrity multiple times. We did the NCL Dawn repositioning from Boston to Tampa last November and decided to do the reverse this April. We booked an aft ... Read More
BACKGROUND: My wife and I are both retired and have cruised Princess, Carnival and Celebrity multiple times. We did the NCL Dawn repositioning from Boston to Tampa last November and decided to do the reverse this April. We booked an aft balcony on Deck 10 just 2 decks below the Garden Café & Fitness Center and 3 decks above the Venetian Restaurant. Since I spent 5 years as a teacher, I decided to give letter grades for each component I reviewed. ARRIVAL + TAMPA: We booked our American Airlines from Central New York State (Syracuse) to arrive the night before the cruise. The complimentary shuttle to the Quality Inn picked us up around 11:00 PM and had us at the hotel by 11:30 PM. Check in was a breeze, we set up a shuttle run ($8 p/p) for noon the next day and we settled in for the night. The next morning we enjoyed the complimentary breakfast and later took the 1:00 PM shuttle to the pier. The Quality Inn staff was helpful, professional and friendly and the price was a real bang for the buck. We’re planning to stay there for out next post cruise stay in early 2015. Hotel + staff = A EMBARKATION: By the time we got to the ship, the lines were gone and we breezed through with no problem. The cabins were ready so we dropped off our carry-on bags and had lunch at the buffet. Easy peazy (if there is such a phrase) Embarkation = A THE CABIN: We were on Deck 10 aft cabin 10706 – two decks below Lido. The balcony cabin was a little tight compared to a mini suite but there is enough storage space on the closet shelves and in the closet itself BUT the closet doors open toward the bathroom door so you have to maneuver around to get stuff out. The shower had great water pressure and sliding glass doors which were a nice touch but the toilet area was a tad small. We had no noise or cigarette smoke problems and there was no heavy elevator traffic or young kids running in the hallway. Our room steward Pablo Risco was very pleasant, helpful and never showed any sign of negativity (we gave him extra money on day 2, day 7 and day 12). We didn’t make many requests of him but when we did, he was quick to oblige. He also spoke English well so there were no communication issues and we even spoke at length about his home country of Peru and his future plans. Cabin = A-, attendant = A+ THE FOOD: We like the Freestyle dining so we can eat when and where we want. Venetian Dining Room: One side of the menu varies and one stays the same but that’s not necessarily a bad thing since I could enjoy the daily special one night and then order from the “usual” side the next. We had a great Surf & Turf dinner and the lobsters were full lobsters (not halves) and we were given two lobsters each. YOWZA!! A Aqua Dining Room: This is the more “casual dress” dining room where we had a couple dinners. The menu is pretty much the same as the Venetian and the food & service was of good quality. A Blue Lagoon: This 24 hours casual dining room in the Atrium area always has the same menu but it serves up some good breakfasts, fish & fries, chicken sandwiches, chef salad and a host of other food items. In addition, you can enjoy the entertainment in the Atrium while you eat. A Bamboo: We decided to try Bamboo specialty restaurant on this cruise ($15 p/p). We ordered scallops and the pork dinners and definitely didn’t go away hungry. A Garden Cafe: Once we found the best times to eat, things were fine. Sometimes you have to hunt around for what you want since not all drink machines are available all the time. BUT once you found out where stuff was, it was pretty much a certainty it would always be found there. The pizza on the buffet wasn’t that good but seafood, veggies, salads & fruit were my mainstay anyway and I never walked away hungry especially if there were sweet potato fries available. B Bar service: Mostly frequented the Spinnaker Grill. The bartender (Nyuman) was friendly & made good drinks - I tipped him extra each time. A Room service: Never used it. No grade Other Specialty restaurants or Bimini Grill: Never ate there. No grade Soda/drink packages: Never used them. No grade SHORE EXCURSIONS: More info for each is in the Shore Excursion Reviews Grand Cayman: Our Tiki Beach & snorkel excursion was a mixed bag but the beach portion of it was enjoyable. B Aruba: We booked no shore excursions and when we left the ship, we found out that all the stores close to the dock (even Diamonds International) were closed because it was a national holiday. The joke was “we went to Aruba but it was closed..”. No grade. Curacao: We didn’t book an excursion but shopped for souvenirs and had a couple beers at one of the open air restaurants. No grade but a good time. St. Maarten: More souvenir and alcohol shopping. There were some great prices away from the City Pier. No grade but a good time. St .Thomas: Our snorkel excursion was rescheduled and then eventually cancelled so I booked the Coral World SNUBA excursion. A OTHER SERVICES/MISC: Internet: We opted for the 100 minute plan + 10 minutes free (~$60 including activation) just to check e-mail a few times during the week. BE AWARE ----- the service is painfully S-L-O-W. On the last day when everyone is working on confirming flights, the system w/b really slow. There is Wi-Fi available but I don’t know how well it works. C We didn’t use the Spa although I used the gym in the early afternoons so I had no issues with finding an open T-mill, elliptical or life cycle. The treadmills, elliptical and pedal machines were in great shape and the weight machines were primo. Gym = A- We didn’t buy any photo packages and ignored most photographers who tried to snap our pix. No grade We didn’t go to the casino. No grade Cruise Director and staff were often seen before shows in the Stardust Theater and around the ship. Nice people without being annoying. A We used Passengers’ Service desk to get printouts of our charges and the staff was courteous and professional. A The boutiques/stores had their usual “sales” which were mostly for jewelry, old stock and watches. We only bought a couple of small souvenirs. C We didn’t go to any of the clubs at night – not enough time it seems but we did listen to Jose & Patti in the Atrium on a couple occasions. The Stanley cup playoffs were broadcast on a large screen in the Atrium during the last week. A We attended some of the Stardust Theater shows “Oh What A Night” (Part 1 + 2), the juggler, and a 60’s tribute featuring the show band along with Jose and Patti. Overall a grade of A DEBARKATION: We ate our breakfast in the Garden Cafe and then waited inside our room until 9:30 AM. We moved down to deck 7 and waited in the photo area until ~10:30 AM when they called our tag color to get in the final line which snaked around until we finally left the ship. It wasn’t a nightmare by any stretch but just one of those unpleasant things you have to do. The real surprise was the customs area where we handed in our customs form ………and then that was it. No standing in line, no talking to a customs officer or anything – we just picked up our bags and left the terminal. After that we took a shuttle to Logan Airport and got the shuttle to the Holiday Inn in Saugus. B OVERALL: What a great time – good weather, calm seas, lots of food, good value for the price but it ended all too soon. It was also great to start off with $200 OBC which we spent on the mandatory tips, shore excursions, drinks, specialty dining and internet. The ship never felt crowded. Just don’t wait until “rush hour” to eat or go to the shows. We’re already booked on the NCL Sun for a seven day cruise in April of 2015 but we purchased another $250 Future Cruise Certificate to use in the 2nd half of 2015. I would recommend this ship & itinerary and give it an overall grade of an A   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We are a couple in our mid sixties, and NCL is our cruise line of choice because we prefer a casual atmosphere when cruising and for the most part, feel that NCL delivers good value for the cost of the cruise. We made the mistake of opting ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid sixties, and NCL is our cruise line of choice because we prefer a casual atmosphere when cruising and for the most part, feel that NCL delivers good value for the cost of the cruise. We made the mistake of opting for thrift over being sensible and got up at 1:00 a.m on the day of embarkation to fly to Tampa and board the Dawn by 3:00 p.m. Not the best way to start a cruise & we won't make that mistake again, and next time will spend the night before the cruise in the port of embarkation. Embarkation was a breeze. Got on very quickly, though perhaps that was because of our relatively late arrival at the ship. Similarly, disembarkation was the easiest and quickest we've ever experienced. We've sailed on four other NCL ships - this was our first time on the Dawn. The ship was very clean and well kept up. However, our balcony cabin was tiny compared to other NCL ships we've been on. Very cramped - there was a run down love seat with a small table in front of it. There was also another small table accross from it under the TV, leaving an 18" gap to walk through to get to the balcony. Next to the TV table, there was a chair, which was impossible not to keep stubbing one's toes on since it was so close to the bed. On cruises with many sea days (which we prefer, as one has no choice other than to relax), we tend to spend quite a bit of time in our cabin, enjoying our balcony. The size of the balcony was similar to the other NCL ships we've been on, but there was only a postage stamp sized plastic table on the balcony, which was barely big enough for two cups of coffee and an ashtray. We usually enjoy getting a snack with coffee in the morning and enjoying it on our balcony, but the tiny table prevented us from doing so. Though we were extremely dissapointed over the size of our cabin and won't cruise on the Dawn again for that reason, the cabin was otherwise fine. The bed was firm and very comfortable. The bathroom was well laid out, and we appreciated the sliding door for the shower - no wet shower curtain to deal with. The shower was relatively large compared to showers I've experienced on other cruise lines. Unless you are a clothes horse, there is ample room for clothing. In addition to three drawers, there are shelves in the closet, too, though they are not easily reached, but functional. The TV had enough channels to keep one up to date and entertained. Our cabin attendant did a very good job, and was one of the few cabin attendants we've had who cleaned our balcony 2x a day. Since we consider the balcony the best part of cruising and spend a lot of time there, it was nice to have a cabin attendant who treated it as part of our living space. The crew in general seemed happier than the crews on most of our previous cruises. Perhaps that has something to do with the ship's officer who is the Hotel Director - Alain Magnier. He was THE most visible crew member on the ship. We saw him several times each day, always busy and keeping an eagle eye on what was going on. Once I even saw him removing "wet paint" signs, so it seems that he is the type of boss that does not think that certain jobs are beneath him. He could have easily asked a crew member to remove the signs, and I respected him for doing it himself. Maybe the crew respects him, too, hence the relatively happy crew. Dining - what can I say? I don't like cruise food and after 12 days I was happy to escape the fare that was offered. It wasn't bad, just average, but not good enough to look forward to the dining room in the evening, either. We ate more dinners in the Garden Buffet than in either Aqua or Versailles. In my experience, cruise food is cruise food. Either you like it, tolerate it, or hate it. I don't cruise to eat, and the cost of an NCL cruise does not warrant gourmet food, so I can't complain. However, I will mention that many of the desserts are primarily gelatin based and are not worth the calories, not to mention tasteless. The most obvious difference between this cruise and prior NCL cruises is that NCL is really cutting back, probably because of having just built two new ships with two more being built. We used to get a folio with writing paper and a pen in our cabin. A few cruises ago, the paper was no longer offered, and on this cruise, not even so much as a pen, which prevented me from filling out the comment cards that were given to us when we ate in the dining room. On all other cruises, our dining room servers had an assistant. Not so on this cruise, though except when one went to the dining room when there was a very long line, the lack of an assistant did not seem to impede good service for the most part. Also gone (but not missed!) were the little NCL pins we've always been given. We always left them in our cabin, so that was a reasonable cost cutting measure. There were other little things that were missing/lacking, but not enough to make our cruise significantly less enjoyable. The entertainment was so-so. We saw "Elements' for the second time. I found it cheezy the first time, and liked it less this time. However, most people seemed to enjoy it. My favourite entertainment on every cruise I've ever taken is always the crew talent show. On this cruise - our 4th to the Caribbean - instead of opting for beach/snorkel shore days, we decided to take tours to see other parts of the islands. An illuminating mistake, in a way. On most islands we saw many stray dogs. It was sad and disheartening, and I don't think I will take another Caribbean cruise and spend my tourist dollars in countries that do not address the problem of neglected animals. On the bright side, all of the dogs I saw on St. John were leashed. Will I take another NCL cruise? Certainly, unless NCL increases their prices in order to keep up with the cost of building new ships. If they do, then I may opt to try someone new, but for now, I'll stick with NCL because for the most part I've always had a pleasant cruise on their ships. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We did the Tampa - Boston reposition cruise. It was remodeled since our last cruise on her. The port in Tampa is only a few minutes from the airport which is fast and easy. It's a shame she's now being moved to New Orleans for ... Read More
We did the Tampa - Boston reposition cruise. It was remodeled since our last cruise on her. The port in Tampa is only a few minutes from the airport which is fast and easy. It's a shame she's now being moved to New Orleans for the next season. The few changes I noted were that Spinnakers was moved and smaller, but is still the place to be in the evenings. The ocean view however is missing. Also moved was the Blue Lagoon. Much better location above the atrium. Before it felt like it was in a hallway. The shows were really top shelf. They still have the old last show (which I've seen on all their ships) I think it's time for a change. Food in the MDR was quite good and we found a waitress who we really loved (Santi). By the 3rd meal the hostess knew who we wanted without even asking. Rarely was there a wait of over 10 to 15 minutes. If we wanted to modify a selection she told us the best way to do it to get it fast. The buffet was always well stocked and enjoyed as well. It was nice to see they had 1 juice machine with juice in it 24/7. Every staff member was always friendly and helpful. Our M&G was over 200 so they gave us a large room to meet in and several of the staff attended.. They helped make the Slot Pull a success by giving us a few bottles of wine (we started with almost $800 in it. Dingo Dan the cruise director attended our scavenger hunt and even a some of the crew attended to make it a great time. In short I love the ship and would cruise on it again. They have really toned down any 'hard sells' of Bingo, Art auctions, etc. The one thing they need to improve is the filing of pictures to the binder method on the Breakaway. I might have bought a few, but I was not going to spend hours searching through pictures. Still a great ship. You will enjoy her.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Got back home today after 19 days on the NCL Dawn. Let me start by saying I like Norwegian Cruise Line. This was my third cruise with NCL, one for 24 days in 2012 on the Spirit (lovely ship) and 7 days last October 2013 on the Epic. I ... Read More
Got back home today after 19 days on the NCL Dawn. Let me start by saying I like Norwegian Cruise Line. This was my third cruise with NCL, one for 24 days in 2012 on the Spirit (lovely ship) and 7 days last October 2013 on the Epic. I prefer the Dawn/Spirit size ship and many of my fellow passengers agreed with me. The Dawn shows a little wear and tear, but is still a fine lady! Love the cozy cave feeling of the inside cabins. In cabins over the theatre, you get the occasional thump, thump of the bass from some of the shows, but I wouldn't let it deter me from choosing 8525 again.The beds are very comfortable. Hair dryers on the Dawn are heavy and may pose problems with people with arthritis. They might be advised to bring their own light-weight one. Food on board is from good to great, depending on what you order. Desserts, take two. They are awesome! I found the roasts at the Garden Café to be very good and the variety of food there also fine. The Venetian is a beautiful room for dining and my choice by far for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the Aqua restaurant the food and service are on par with Venetian, but the room lacks any inviting ambiance and could do with redecorating.. My steward PUTU is a charming and humble man. I was always greeted every day with a bow, a smile and a friendly "Hello Miss Lesley". He did his best to make sure everything was perfect for me. I ended up with my extra bed being covered with towel animals which I took a picture of to show my grandchildren : ) Staff on board are there to help and will do there best to make sure you are well taken care of. Some things they simply can't do! Don't ask for miracles. If it is right and possible, they will do their best to make it happen! If you are considering the Dawn for a vacation...just go ahead and book it. Ignore the complainers and the nay sayers. I have found those people generally find something to complain about just to make their day! Book your trip. Have fun. AND...cruise like a Norwegian : ) Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We are in our early 50's and have cruised 5 times prior to this time. After reading some of the reviews (after I booked, gulp) I was a little nervous about the ship. First let me tell you, the ship was immaculate! And it was tip top ... Read More
We are in our early 50's and have cruised 5 times prior to this time. After reading some of the reviews (after I booked, gulp) I was a little nervous about the ship. First let me tell you, the ship was immaculate! And it was tip top from the minute we boarded until the minute we got off. Day 1 - There was fog on Sunday morning so the ship was 3 hours late coming into port. That meant a long wait time for us. But it couldn't be helped. No one has control of the weather. Once we got on, things were smooth sailing, literally and figuratively. Our cabin, and inside forward was fine. They are small, but laid out just fine. The desk probably could have had an angle cut, so it would be easier to get around it, but it was not a big deal. Bathroom was nice sized, plenty of storage. We were unpacked with our suitcase stowed under the bed in 20 minutes. We went to eat at Aqua, the more casual of the two dining rooms and watched out the window as the ship left port about 5:00 pm. The food in Aqua is average, I had pork tenderloin and my husband had steak and lobster. The service was excellent! We are not big foodies, so I will just say that our experience with the food was about the same each day B- - B+. We then went to the show at the Stardust, and the singer/dancers were fantastic~ The comedian was funny and the cruise director Dan Dan was entertaining. We were excited to see what they had in store the rest of the week. Day 2 - At Sea. We had a leisurely breakfast in the buffet area, I had a massage at the spa (this we the only disappointment of the trip, WAY overpriced at $210) and then we sat by the pool for a couple of hours. We commented many times on how smooth the trip was. WE could barely feel that we were at sea. Nice calm seas! We had lunch at the pool, had a nap and then dinner and show. WE are early risers, so we didn't do much after 9 pm. We saw the activities on tv each day so we didn't feel like we missed much. It looked like the late nighters had great fun~ Our steward, Agnelo was wonderful. He would somehow magically get our room clean and fresh when we left in the morning, and turned down with a cute towel animal during dinner. He was awesome!! Day 3 - Roatan, Honduras, I booked a tour through Trip Advisor at Roatan Adventure Tours Day Tours and it was great fun. Our tour guide Jeffrie was at our beck and call. Took us to see and play with monkeys, took us shopping, to lunch, beaching and gave us a full tour of the island. He even got us homemade pineapple cookies at the end of the day. Roatan was a great port of call and we had a wonderful time there. Another great show in the Stardust - which I believe was the ballet/aerialist couple. They were breathtaking. Day 4 - Belize, Again I booked a tour through Trip Advisor recommendations. We took a boat to Goff's Caye, a beautiful private 2 acre island. White sand beaches, snorkeling, BBQ (for an extra cost) Free punch, rum and otherwise and free water. We had a wonderful time. Weather was perfect, water was perfect... Couldn't ask for more. We chose not to snorkel (my husband was coming down with a cough, which ended up being pneumonia ) but you could either go back on the boat a bit off shore, OR you could go right off shore with a guide. Everyone that went seemed to enjoy it very much. We got back to Belize City in time to do a bit of shopping, which is entirely on the pier, so it was convenient. Back on ship, showered and ready to eat dinner and go to our show. Variety show/Comedy Day 5 - Costa Maya, We just went on shore with no plans. The town is built specifically around cruise ships I believe. There is a swimming pool and bar in the middle of the town square for anyone to use. It looked great although we didn't partake. We did a bit of shopping, watched a dolphin show (people swimming with dolphins) and went back to our ship. The pool was relatively empty so we sat there for a while then walked around the ship. We were constantly finding new things aboard the ship. New bars, little sitting areas... it was fun exploring. And again, I will reiterate, the ship was very well maintained in all areas that we saw. Day 6 - Cozumel, We took a taxi to Chankanaab Park. It's about $12 cab ride and $21 to get in, but there is a lot to do there. There are chairs at the beach, a dolphin experience, Mayan ruins or replicas (I'm really not sure) that are on a very beautiful jungle walking tour complete with waterfalls and a lagoon. You can dine at one of 3 or 4 restaurants, snorkel equipment is available, restrooms, showers... You could spend 6 -7 hours here. It's beautiful. It was overcast and drizzly the day we were there, but it was warm enough that it didn't matter. We had Civeche for lunch, and then got some snorkel gear (hubby was being a trouper for my sake) The snorkeling was great. Many many species of colorful fish just off shore. I know there was much more to see then we saw, but we did enough. I'm so glad we did it! We took the cab back to Cozumel and went to the "mall" There we were able to interact with some big birds and have our picture taken with them for $10. One laid on his back in my hands and another held on to my finger with his beak. I would say they weighed at least 7 - 10 lbs. But they were very tame. I was walking a bit ahead of my husband when I saw a box by a statue that said, Tips Welcome. I was pondering why anyone would tip a statue when the statue reached out and touched me! I went running and screaming like a wild woma! I turned around to see my husband an onlookers laughing with tears in their eyes. Jerks! HA! So beware of the living statues there. Back on the ship we made reservations at Tempanakee, which was a restaurant that would seat 16. The two chefs would cut, chop, juggle and entertain during the preparation of our meal. I had Lobster, scallops and Calmari, my husband had shrimp and scallops. This was an A+ meal. We were celebrating our 25th anniversary and the staff came out with a cake and sang to us. It was really special. There is an up charge of $25 per person, but worth it. There were 5 other restaurants on the ship, French, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian and steak house. Ranging from $15 - 25 per person. We only tried the one. Day 7 - Sea, We spent most of the day out by the pool, or walking around the ship. Another very calm day at sea. The evening show was a special goodbye, with all the show participants in a Bollywood number. It was great fun! The only show we didn't enjoy was the 2nd City Comedy troupe. Honestly, we didn't get most of the humor (generation gap? I don't know) But other then that, the entertainment was great. I should mention Jose and Patty. They sang most nights in the Atrium but were onstage in the Stardust a couple of times and were great fun. If you like Johnny Cash, or Neil Diamond, Jose is spot on! And Patty keeps him in line and has a beautiful melodic voice. Loved them.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We have sailed on a lot of cruises through Princess (13+), Carnival(12+), and Royal Caribbean (once). This was our first experience with Norwegian. The NCL Dawn is an older ship but they have tried to upgrade it pretty well. I loved the ... Read More
We have sailed on a lot of cruises through Princess (13+), Carnival(12+), and Royal Caribbean (once). This was our first experience with Norwegian. The NCL Dawn is an older ship but they have tried to upgrade it pretty well. I loved the metal art on the walls throughout the ship. I was a bit concerned with the limited elevators on this ship but we never had to wait too long for one. We "really" enjoyed the freestyle dining. The food was okay in the dining rooms. The service in each dining room was horrible. Our servers were forever getting our orders wrong. VERY disorganized. The Garden Cafe (buffet) was quite good but not much variety for the 7 days we were on this ship. The tables were cleared promptly, and we didn't have too much trouble finding a table. I really appreciated having the utensils and condiments on each table. We chose to skip the two dining rooms after the fiasco's in each one of them. We tried two of the specialty dining restaurants, the Moderno brazilean churrascaria, and the Bamboo. Both were good but nothing that spectacular. It still beat the two dining rooms. Our Cabin was a "BD" Oceanview Stateroom. We are used to bigger cabins. We walked in and had to laugh. We have never stayed in such a tiny cabin before. But as time went by, it did have all of our needs. You just had to plan your strategy when getting to one side of the cabin with two people in the room. The TV Station selection was very meager to say the least. Most were about the ship, 3 news, 1 sports, 2 movie, and a hit and miss with the other channel. I loved having a coffee maker in the room, a real plus! A small refrigerator which would have been fine except that they fill it up with a bunch expensive garbage. No one really like this stuff anymore! Our Bed was so uncomfortably hard, the cabin steward had to place a bunch of comforters on top so that I could sleep. I didn't sleep for the first 2 nights. Now on the matter of the bathroom, I laughed even harder when I saw it at first, it is so tiny. It was a nice concept but lacked some room. The toilet was separated by a sliding door which just was an annoyance. If they didn't have that wall, it would have been a bit larger room. The sliding door just rattled through the whole cruise. We did enjoy the shower. It was really nice. It had sliding doors and was roomy, had plenty of hot water with good water pressure. Our Cabin Steward, Rene, kept our room up wonderfully. I read some reviews but did have any bad experiences. He made our trip! We went to Reception to check on some charges on our statement, the receptionist was not too friendly but did answer the question. Another day, after a 15 minute wait, we had a question at the shore excursion desk about one of our shore excursions (we booked 3). The young blonde headed women was down right rude to us and treated us like we were morons. Our ticket's were marked 8:15 but our booking information said 11:00am. She just said to be there at 8:15 and that they do this every week. Short and curt. We ended up going back a little later on and was waited on by someone else and she informed us what was really going on! By the way, the shore excursions were wonderful. Now disembarkation process was really great, walked right off as soon as the ship arrived. Most cruise lines are doing this now. We valet parked, highly recommend! The entertainment was very enjoyable. Tim Kaminski, the comedian, was the best entertainer that we have seen on any cruise ship. Also enjoyed the Second City comedy troupe. Now lastly, the embarkation was a total nightmare! The worst one we have ever experienced. I know that the cruise line can not control the weather. The ship was detained from entering the port because of the fog which made the ship come in late, that I understand. However, I do not understand that not one representative was present outside the terminal to guide any of passengers who stood out in the heat for 3 hours, with out water (they brought our a water cooler that quickly emptied out), and no shade to explain any details of what was going on. At one point, we stood for 45 minutes without moving an inch. It was about 100 degrees in the sun and so hot. We didn't have our sunscreen on us, that was in the checked bags. I couldn't believe that they could treat people like this. It took me about 1 to 2 days to calm down from the embarkation process, but slowly, I started to enjoy the cruise. All in all, I would go again on a Norwegian, just not sure when. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Words can't describe this cruise. The boat needs refurbishing. The oceanview cabin was extremely small. There was even duct tape holding together a table. This is not a cruise for anyone under 50 years old. My husband and I are in our ... Read More
Words can't describe this cruise. The boat needs refurbishing. The oceanview cabin was extremely small. There was even duct tape holding together a table. This is not a cruise for anyone under 50 years old. My husband and I are in our 40's and I booked this from a priceline agent, who lied to me and told me how "FUN" and numerous activities to look forward to, including the "club" on board to go dancing. The average age of guests were 70-75 years of age. I heard "Sweet Caroline" playing a million times. There was even a "Neil Diamond" night. Everything was catered to someone over 70. There were tons of restaurants, but the food was not tasty. The "club" was a lounge without a D.J. and music from the 70's and 80's. I don't have issues with the elderly, but this is definitely not a cruise for anyone young or even families with young kids. There is nothing fun at night to do, except listen to oldies...not my thing. Put it this way, my husband and I were in bed playing cards at 10pm because we were so utterly bored. The shows are not the best either. The worst....yes, just keeps getting better...We were having a drink with a couple that was in their 30's and they informed us, that this was also a "old swingers cruise". Ewe...how disgusting is that! No wonder old men and women were trying to flirt with us. I will do my own research next time I go on a cruise. This was the absolute worse one I've been on so far. The activities were Bingo everyday (surprise, surprise). There were seats to sit in every few feet, so the elderly could sit down where ever they went. The room service food was just as bad. Just a few items to choose from and came cold both times we ordered. Plus after midnight, you have to pay a $5 service charge. We always tip either way. The only tasty food was when we went to the Hibachi restaurant, but of course it was an extra $25 per person. The ports were the only thing we looked forward too,just to get off the stinking boat. The disembarkment was terrible. We decided to just take our luggage with us, so we wouldn't have to wait on board any longer. We did the quick and easy, "leave with your luggage" disembarkment. NOT AT ALL. It took 2.5hours waiting in line to finally go through customs and go home. Overall....young people...stay off of this boat if you want to have a good time. Crappy boat, crappy food, crappy entertainment.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was our twelve cruise, 5th Norwegian and 3rd Dawn, but first as a disabled traveler after my husband's stroke. The cruise was a 2 night cruise to nowhere and a test for us to see how he could handle the logistics of getting ... Read More
This was our twelve cruise, 5th Norwegian and 3rd Dawn, but first as a disabled traveler after my husband's stroke. The cruise was a 2 night cruise to nowhere and a test for us to see how he could handle the logistics of getting around the ship. The disabled cabin was wonderful and embarkation and disembarkation were handled very well. Getting around the ship was pretty easy except since this was a weekend cruise, there were large groups of partyers. Usually we have encountered more relaxed cruisers, but this time there were too many drunk and rude travelers. It was especially noticed in the piano bars and at the elevator areas. The entrance to Aqua is in the middle of the elevators in mid ship and we couldn't even get close with the power chair. Fortunately the handicap entrance in the Venetian was always easy to access and we were met very quickly and seated immediately. We ate 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners in this venue. Once seated the service was very slow in the evening. The servers were polite but had no sense of urgency. We weren't trying to rush, but 20 minutes to order and 30 minutes to get your meal seemed very slow. Once again there seemed to be an unusual number of large groups of travelers (12-20 people). The large groups can throw off a routine for the staff. The show room had very limited seating for wheel chairs. If you don't get there 45 minutes early, forget it. This cruise only had one show each night which contributed to the crowded show room. We did stay in the back for the Tim Kaminski show.My husband stayed in his chair and I stood and peeked around guests that continued to come in and out throughout the show. Once again rude travelers. The biggest disappointment for me was the food quality. The best thing I ate was a salad I made the first day for lunch at the buffet. My husbands favorite was the ice cream cones at Sprinkles. They were small but he had 2 one day and 3 the next. The steak and Lamb shanks were tough, the eggs Benedict cold, Hot wings in Blue Lagoon were SWEET not HOT, Appetizers soggy. Thank goodness it was only 2 days. The common areas were so freezing cold that we couldn't even sit and have a cocktail. It sounds like a total disaster.....but it was not. We found out that we can travel with a power chair on a cruise ship. We found out that a weekend cruise will probably Not be a relaxing getaway. We found out to trust the reviews as there were many recent Norwegian Dawn reviews that panned the food. It's probably back to Holland American or Royal Carribbean.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This ship is old needs a lot of repair - the crew are over worked and very unhappy many to not smile and are very robotic, They know the get an automatic gratuity so the could care less tips should be earned. Only two free dinners ... Read More
This ship is old needs a lot of repair - the crew are over worked and very unhappy many to not smile and are very robotic, They know the get an automatic gratuity so the could care less tips should be earned. Only two free dinners restaurant 's Aqua and Venetian the menu does not change except for a chef special every dish has some kind of over salted / spicy sauce to cover up the taste the food is awful service is poor at best . the crew never comes back to ask if meal is ok or if you need anything The food in the Garden Café for lunch and dinner. so much better than the Venetian or Aqua much better and friendly environment . The cruise directors staff and the operations staff were not on the same page very unorganized pool games cracker beer and try to whistle???? The cruise Director Paul only could laugh on the tv filming of information and his recommendation were very questionable . Many crew members staffs were not communicating well enough every time you asked a question to any crew you got different answers. Only great crew member and happy was the washy washy happy happy lady in the garden café. The pool deck is over crowded and pool full of people and the pool got hot and dirty with suntan lotion and god know what else fast. they need more crew onboard and better service (like they care) if you travel alone or a gay couple look out the single you out and service is worse . NCL is like riding greyhound bus lines or flying spirit airlines.. every thing is a cost on board .   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This trip was for my Siblings, my Daughter, and myself.. We flew into Tampa the night before and stayed at the Comfort Inn at RJ Stadium, BIG Mistake. Bed was Broken, Phone didn't work ( no wake up call) Lights went on when you sat on ... Read More
This trip was for my Siblings, my Daughter, and myself.. We flew into Tampa the night before and stayed at the Comfort Inn at RJ Stadium, BIG Mistake. Bed was Broken, Phone didn't work ( no wake up call) Lights went on when you sat on the bed, and the best was we had some unwanted Pets ( Roaches), we stayed because we didn't arrive until 11:00pm and there were no other hotels that had openings.. They offer a free breakfast BUT unless you are there early Forget it, i heard one person ask for waffle batter and was told it was all gone, bacon was gone was well, and the coffee well you could see right thru to the bottom of your cup, best part of that hotel was leaving.. They did however bring us to the port for a fee.. Embarkation was smooth and easy we filled out a few health questions, got our Key cards and sat down for about 10 minutes and they called our section and we were on the boat.. We were greeted by alot of people and every person we saw had a genuine smile and a warm Hello. We went straight up to the pool and waited for the rooms to open up, while we were there they had a Barbecue with Chicken, steak, hamburgers, and hot dogs... Finally the rooms opened up 1/2 hour early so we went to check out our room. We walked in and made a Be-line for the front desk as we booked this room as we were Assured by our PCC that it had 4 seperate Beds, WRONG 2 twin beds and a Pull out couch, we went down to the desk and we were told they could put in a roll away bed which we were Fine with so we went back up to our room and waited for this bed, and waited, and waited.. 6 hours later our steward came in and asked if his supervisor had spoken to us yet we were getting a bit angry cause we had sat there waiting, soon the supervisor came in and said there was NO way they could put a cot in the room, back down to the front desk, we actually got the Supervisor Claire who was Super nice and we realized this was NOT the Dawn's Fault but Our PCC, after about 10 minutes of trying to figure this out we were told that the head of house keeping would meet us in our room in 5 minutes, true to her word as soon as we walked in our room there she was, her name was Patricia and she was Awesome within 2 minutes she had an answer to our problem, we could put a Mattress on the floor at night and every morning it would be taken out, Problem SOLVED!!!!! Off we went to enjoy our first night on the boat.. Day 1 Sea Day: Had the CC meet and Greet and there was ALOT Of people.. I did get to talk to a few people but didn't hang around long because my daughter wanted to go to something else.. It was beautiful out so my Daughter and myself decided to go lay out on the pool deck, we found 2 chairs right away in fact Yes there were ALOT Of chair Hogs but we never had a problem finding a chair.. My daughter however managed to fall asleep on her's and well i am sure you know how that ended, yup she looked like a lobster. After that we did the Cabin crawl and go to see Several different Cabins it was really a fun time.. After that we decided to go get dressed and go to Aqua for dinner.. We didn't have to wait long for a seat at Aqua I ordered the steak which was not good at all.. First i asked for Medium and i think the poor cow was still alive, sent it back and next one was a little better but way to much fat and gristle, My sister ordered the chicken and it was still pink in the middle, sent that back, all in all i didn't really care for Aqua.. Day 2 Ocho Rios Jamaica, we Didn't book through the boat we went out on our own and found a Great Excursion through Island Marketing, we first went to Dunn's river falls and climbed the falls which was VERY Beautiful, we then got back into our Van and we went Tubing down a river it was beautiful and they stopped 1/2 way so you could have a drink , swing off a tree swing, and has a platform about 15 feet off the ground that you can jump off of, after that we were dropped off just outside the port gate and we had every Jamaican trying to sell us stuff Very aggresive but we managed to say no and got back to the boat, that night we ate at the Buffet which i must say was so much better than the Aqua. Day 3 Sea Day we Kind of just laid low and explored our New home for the next 10 days... Talked to ALOT of the Crew and everyone we came across was Very Nice and Helpful.. Spent some time in the Casino not alot of choices but we still found something to do.. I Came out Ahead that night... Once Again ate at the Buffet and the food was Great!!!! Day 4 Curacao Again we didn't book an Excursion from the boat we booked through Irie tours and went on a tour of the country. We stopped at a rum Distillery and got to sample different rums, our tour guide took us all over and ended up at the beach where if we chose we could stay and they would pick us up later or you could stay for the allowed time which was 1 hour. After that we just wandered around shopping at all the stores and the little stands that were everywhere, we were docked till 11:00pm but made sure we were on the boat before dark. Again we ate at the buffet.. Day 5 Aruba got off the boat and walked though the stores alot of them were the High End like Coach, gucci, Le coste, but we did find a market when you walk out of the port was had reasonable prices... Again we went out on our own and took a private tour of Aruba, very beautiful, we went to an old Indian Church, saw all the beaches, and Tourist Area it was about a 3 hour tour and didn't cost a quarter of what the Boat was charging... Most nights we did eat at the Buffet as we found their food quite good, and a good Variety... Day 6 Sea Day, we didn't really do alot except enjoy the boat and all the Activities.. We saw 90% of the shows that they had at night and i must say all were AWESOME, Our favorite was Justino & Daniella from Extreme Vegas, Unfortunatly they left the boat in Boston as they are about to have their first baby.. We Met the entire Cruise director staff and this is probably the hardest working group i have ever met, they were everywhere The Cruise Director "Gio" in my opinion is the best i have ever seen he was so energetic as well as making sure we were all having a good time.. The team Kass, Daniel, Justin, Wally, Patrick were so nice and were always around to make sure everyone was having fun, from dancing on the pool deck, to calling Bingo, to Kareoke, white hot party, 70's dance and everything that was a theme party they were dressed up for, this team gets an A++++.. Day 7 St. Marteen was our Favorite Port off all.. We took a water taxi for $7.00 All day and we went to the shopping area where we found a taxi that would take you anywhere. We managed to get him down on price since there were a few of us going and we got him for $15.00 a person, the tour was actually close to 3 hours and we went all over both the Dutch and French Side, we went to Maho Beach, Orient Beach, a little outdoor market.. After that we walked around the stores and that was where the Bargains were.. a Must is The Chocolate Box YUMMMMM!!!, also that was the Cheapest if you are planning on bringing Back Cigarettes, and Liquior, after that we went to the Beach which was right by the dock to get onto the water taxi, great day i would of liked to stay longer there... Day8 St Thomas We didn't do an excursion here as we were tired, we went though the stores here some were Ok.. and some were expensive. But we did get a taxi and go to the downtown area and found a hidden jewel called Magic Ice, it was an Ice bar comes complete with Coat, leg Warmers, and gloves, you can wander around at 25 degrees, yes it was Cold but there was a slide you could slide down and alot of ice carvings, when you got 1/2 way through they had an Ice bar where the Adults got a Shot of rum and also a free shot glass we thought it was a great deal for $20.00, and you can stay as long as you want, or until Hypothermia sets in choice is yours, after that we just wandered around the town like the locals but still managed to have fun... Day's 9,10,11 Sea Day they had alot of Activities on the three Sea days they had a Passenger talent show which was actually good, than the next afternoon they had the crew talent show which was really good, this crew was really talented.. At night we saw Bollywood, Justino's Final Show, "Oh what a Night" which was a tribute to the four seasons but still very good.. I would have to rate the Entertainment on this boat A+++++.. Also we Decided to eat At a Pay Restaraunt and picked Cagneys if you go here Please Starve yourself first because there is ALOT Of food and Very Good.. I Have the NY Sirloin and it was bigger than the plate, everything we ate on this trip was very well prepared, never once did i get cold food ( Unless it was meant to be cold) we also decided to give Aqua a second Chance and sorry folks it was still bad!!!! Day 12 Disembarkation was very scary.. we waited in the Atrium like a heard of cattle because you had to be out of your rooms by 9:00am.. We had both anytime and colored tags to get off but at around 8:30am they were still looking for people that wouldn't show up for Immigration... Once they started us moving it went pretty smooth until you got to the Elevators ( which most of us were told they would be shutting down) people were coming off of them and cutting into the line which made it even longer.. we were supposed to be off by 9:45am but ended up more like 10:30am, That was about the only bad thing i can say about this trip... we were VERY Pleased with the Dawn as well as the Entire Staff, None of us wanted to go home... Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
My husband and I sailed on the Dawn as our 26th cruise. We have cruised the Mediterranean, Baltic, Caribbean, Alaska, and Asia on Carnival (1), Disney (1), Princess, Royal Caribbean, NCL (4), and Celebrity. We have also traveled widely ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Dawn as our 26th cruise. We have cruised the Mediterranean, Baltic, Caribbean, Alaska, and Asia on Carnival (1), Disney (1), Princess, Royal Caribbean, NCL (4), and Celebrity. We have also traveled widely throughout Europe and Japan, so you can judge that we are experienced cruisers and travelers in general. Demographic: In terms of this cruise: me. 65, reasonably mobile, and chubby. There were a handful of children on board, some truly ancient people, quite a few elderly running along a continuum of disability, and a few dozen younger adults, but for the most part, the average person on this voyage was my age and shape. This, of course, influenced the dress and behavioral norms on the cruise. Yes, I did see the odd person with fuchsia hair or orange hair and the odd drunk, but for the most part dress and behavior was conservative. Embarkation: It seemed to take forever, but it actually involved an hour's wait. We got there about 12:30 and were on board shortly after 1:30. NCL handled the volume of people well, with those who were waiting seated in rows of chairs and called by row. Of course, there were people who cheated, seating themselves in areas that they should not yet have been in or entirely skipped the rows of chairs and directly got in the last line for check-in, but most everyone was orderly and considerate. Food: I would give A's to the breakfast and lunch buffets. The breakfast buffet had all the major players including omelets, and the food-- even the potatoes-- was warm. We always ate when the buffet opened, as we are early risers and there were few people around then. One of NCL's strong suits is its breads and rolls, and they were good at all meals. Lunch was fantastic. I could not believe how many choices we had. The possibilities boggled the mind. You could eat in the Blue Lagoon (which used to be better), Bimini Grill, pool grill or you could have a regular hot lunch, pasta, pizza, wok food, Indian food, hot dogs and hamburgers and chicken kebobs, even barbecue. It was the best lunch buffet I have ever seen. That said, I do prefer the food station arrangement over a single line. There are always those who appear to have died standing up in the food line so motionless are they. In a few cases I felt like grabbing the spoon and putting food on their plates willy nilly, just to move them along! There were also the people who walked over to the children's eating area and removed full plates of cookies out from under the "for kids" sign. Somewhere on the Dawn there were cookie-less children.I also have to say that I was happy to see skim and regular milk and half and half offered at every meal in the buffet as well as the usual lemonade and ice tea but also two flavored waters. Apparently, the flavored water was a big hit, as I saw one woman filling up a half gallon jug-- yes, a half gallon jug-- every day-- much to the chagrin of a grimacing waiter. The only change I would make at the buffets is that I would drop the girl who yells, "Washie, Washie, Happy, Happy," over the side of the ship. Is there anyone not annoyed at that expostulation yelled in a terminally perky manner at 6:30 in the morning? Now we come to dinner. It was usually not inedible. The only time it was inedible was when I was rash enough to order the Kung Pao chicken breast with (3) peanuts and fruity sauce. What I got was a pressed mass of chicken shaped like a breast but which did not look like chicken meat and did not flake like chicken meat. The texture was disgusting. Now, chicken technology has been mastered by KFC, by Cracker Barrel, by Long John Silver's, and they don't have head chefs in all their outlets, so what's up with this? I felt like hunting down the guy they introduced on the first night of the cruise as being responsible for our food and forcing him to eat that Kung Pao travesty. I had steaks in Aqua and in the Venetian. They were so thin as to be very nearly transparent, but they weren't inedible. They were just flavorless. A bottle of Worcestershire, of A-1, or a marinade would help. Ditto on the pot roast but it was saved by gravy. The turkey was turkey roll, a beast that does not exist in nature. No cranberry sauce was served although it was served the next day on the buffet where they carved a real turkey breast. Did the sauce refuse to accompany the turkey roll and hold out for the real McCoy? No shrimp cocktail was ever offered. Lobster was served the first night. Lobster tail. A small lobster tail. My husband tried the snapper and said it was ok. The French onion soup was missing both cheese and onions. Maybe there were two spoonsful of chopped onions, but the soup was mostly broth a quarter of an onion walked through with a small slice of rye bread. Yes, I could have eaten in the premium restaurants for dinner, but I do not eat there because I disapprove on principle of premium restaurants on ships. They have led to the so very mediocre meals we are served at dinner in the dining rooms today. The cruise lines want to force us into the premium lines by giving us pressed chicken breasts. You go! I won't. The Aqua is the smaller restaurant. I don't know why it was named thus when there seemed to be a lot more red than aqua in the room, but --. The Venetian is the very large restaurant with gorgeous hand-blown Venetian glass feather chandeliers. Just lovely. Not as attractive as the equivalent restaurants with the Romanov or Hawaiian themes, though, in my opinion. Service seemed much faster in the Venetian than the Aqua. Desserts were very average overall, the high point being the flourless chocolate cake, my personal favorite, and the nadir being some of the reputed mousses which lacked the very texture of a genuine mousse, resembling instead foamy aftershave. The Ship: Is just like the other NCL ships we've been on what with certain elevators not going to certain floors, needing to go to one floor to walk down a staircase to get into a restaurant on a different floor, needing to enter the internet room by going down one floor and walking up another. I'm thinking NCL did not want to pay for a new blueprint and has used the same one over and over. These ships are chopped up into small areas. The atrium was packed every time someone was singing in there. You had to sit up on other decks and look down or line the staircases, etc. I think the effect they are going for is cozy but it's just uncomfortable. There were people standing five and six deep behind the lounge in the atrium watching a show. They were told twice that chairs were on their way, but they never made it. And while I am on the subject of chairs, I would like to say something about the chairs I encountered on this ship. I did not sit in all of them. I was going to walk around the last day at sea, on a quest to find a comfortable chair, but I took a nap instead. So bear with me and forgive me if I missed a haven of comfort hidden on the ship, but as far as my experience goes, the chairs on this ship were not made for American behinds, and it is mostly American behinds floating around out there on the NCL ships. Take the chairs in the buffet. They are ice cream chairs. Little round seats on little wickery legs. They didn't look as if they would support half the people on the ship. Ditto on the bar seats. I saw a man who must have weighed 300 pounds haul himself up on one of those, and I held my breath. He didn't stay long though. He must have realized he was in peril. Then there are the silver vinyl internet chairs. Narrow, teetering, easy to topple much like the high, narrow stools in the mini-suites which I nearly rolled off of three times. The chairs in the Stardust Theater are just dreadful. Narrow as heck, they slope down, so that you have to keep scrunching up to stay in your seat. High arms, too, and no place to put a drink. The chairs in the Spinnaker are an improvement but still were not wide enough to welcome half the behinds on the ship. I did think the chairs in the Venetian were excellent: wide, sturdy, velvety. Who could ask for anything more? The stores were perhaps a little better stocked than on most ships, but the prices were set for Donald Trump, not Jane Doe. $12 for a extra large Cadbury bar. On the last day they brought out good quality tee-shirts marking each port and the ports as a whole. They were reasonably priced at $17, buy 2, get one free. When I got home, I washed and dried them. They shrank somewhat but not terribly.Cabin: We were in a mini-suite, cabin 11122. It is not huge, of course, All cabins on NCL seem smaller to me than those on other lines. That's why we get a mini-suite when we go on NCL. Plenty of storage. A coffee maker and fridge. Bathtub. One of those partitioned bathrooms with the toilet behind a screen that must make it hard for some larger sized people to enter the area. The first night we came back from the shows and found our room had not been made up. Even more, the steward was still halfway down the hall! It was then 9:30. I wondered just how long it would take him to get to us, so I went to him and got ice and a schedule and called it a deal. This is the first time in 26 cruises that our room had not been made by the time we got back from dinner, much less shows. The second day he arrived to make up our room shortly after noon; the third day, shortly after 1; the second day-- seeing a trend here?-- it was 2:30. I was beginning to wonder if the two room cleanings were to be merged, if he were going to make up the bed, leave the room, re-enter and turn down the bed. We told the steward that we hoped he could get to our room by 8:00 p.m., and he did. But how can it take from 8 a.m. when he started cleaning until 3:30 to get 13 rooms cleaned? What was he doing all that time? He did keep our room clean and gave us ice most of the time. He filled our requests for an additional pillow and additional towel. He just wasn't up to par with the other room stewards we have had. In his defense, he seemed mentally slow, so perhaps that accounts for it. The bed I found most uncomfortable. It was very, very hard. And the pillow situation was bad. There were two mega-pillows, big square pillows, that were of no use for sleeping. The pillow would have been as far down as your waist had you tried to sleep with it. And there were two very thin, very, very thin other pillows that raised your head maybe ½ inch from the mattress. Entertainment: NCL really gets its use out of its performers. I think for the most part the entertainment was good or very good. Jose and Patti seem to know every song known to man and are very popular. I enjoyed them the first couple times, then Jose's very bad impersonation of Neil Diamond started to get to us, and we skipped Neil Diamond night. Him doing Neil for every song would have sent us round the bend. Here's the thing: they performed 18 times in 6 days. Ditto for Jump, another musical group with good voices and pleasant personalities. 18 times! And they did not know as many songs by far. I did not care for the piano player who tickled the ivories from 4-8. That's a lot of tickling. I thought his voice was decent; I just didn't care for his style. The production shows that I saw were very good. I didn't go to Bollywood, having heard bad stuff about it from cruisecritic members. I don't really like circuses anyway. The best of the production shows was Band on the Run. I liked the songs and the energy very much. All four of the main singers were very good. The male dancers were much better than they usually are on ships. Now we come to the worst of the entertainment. NCL did not include individual comedians who I generally like. Instead they have the very sophomoric group, Second City, whose members think they are hysterically funny. Everything they did was dumb. It was not funny; it was annoying. Like watching a class clown who thinks he's a hoot missing the mark entirely. Ditch them! People did laugh, but it was later in the evening and the liquor had been flowing. I am sure they sounded at their best if you were drunk. Shore Excursions: We took the Calypso Tram around Belize. It was an hour long and was okay. Nothing great, but then, I did not expect it to be. We then went to the craft market directly across from the entrance to the tourism village. I would encourage you to buy there the same things you will see in the tourism village. The latter will not benefit the locals. Yes, you will have to put up with vendors but so what? The people of Belize are terribly poor. Give them a break. They can't compete with the cruise lines. I also encourage you to try Moho chocolate with lime juice and chunky salt. We also took the Salsa and Salsa excursion in Cozumel. It would be great for a girls' night out. Be aware that although it sounds like you practically get lunch, you get very little food other than tortilla chips and the salsas you make, some of which you won't like. Other than that, each couple gets 2 tortillas with cheese between them and cut into four pieces. So each person is getting one tortilla. Then later you get two tortillas filled with chicken per two people. So again, you are getting one tortilla with a dab of chicken. You do get a few margaritas and, surprise! What happens with people drink but aren't eating? I would not say that drunkenness was a real problem, but a number of women were indeed drunk. I would not take my grandsons there. The resort where the Salsa and Salsa event was held was beautiful on a sunny day and the presenters, charming. In Costa Maya we took a tour with Native Choice. I am in favor of supporting locals. Let me preface my review with that, as I am not trying to deter you from taking the tour. But I don't see a whole lot of difference between boarding a bus with 30 other cruisers and eating lunch with 30 other cruisers on a private tour than doing the same on a cruise ship tour. We were told several times that only we out of all the other cruisers were going to a real Mayan village. Well, yeah, but... the much vaunted real Mayan village we did not see more of than driving by a few huts and a school. What we saw was a Disneyfied Mayan home that was purpose built for this tour. We did get to make our own tortilla and say "Good morning" in Mayan, but that was about the extent of our "interaction with the Mayan people." They did not speak English from what I could tell. Lunch was fine: chicken, veggies, tamales, and for dessert, very small cups of custard, fruit and mashed pumpkin. A very good hibiscus tea, too. We did see Chaccoben ruins in groups of ten which was nice. But the tour guide would simply not shut up. It was as if he had to tell us every last fact he knew about the Mayans. Most everyone was bored witless and wanting to get on the bus. The ruins are quite extensive. Once at the Mayan village, when it was already after 1 o'clock, we were all hopeful of eating, but he droned on for another half hour while we made tortillas, until we were ready to charge the food that had been sitting there all that time. The silliest thing to me was that before we could make tortillas, we were told that we had to all line up to wash our hands at two sinks that were hanging off a bathroom out back. Like elementary school kids. I know we were going to make a tortilla, but we were the ones going to eat our own tortillas not cook for others. If we wanted to wash our hands, that was our business, as far as I was concerned. Plus, after 30 people dry their hands on the same two towels, how clean can they be? Disembarkation: It looked like 1/3 or more of the passengers chose walk-off at 7:30, so there was a lengthy line that did not clear for over an hour. We were the second group off after them and did not get off til 9:15, so don't plan to take an early flight out of Tampa. We went through very fast at 9:15 simply because so many people had already exited. Valet parking is well worth the extra money. We had a ten hour drive ahead of us and wanted to get off quickly. That allowed us to leave as quickly as possible. We were on the road at 9:20. Final word: The midship elevators are just plain too small. The sign says they can take 20 passengers. If they can take more than 15, I would be surprised. What makes things worse is the total lack of manners on the part of most of the passengers. They simply refuse to step to the back of the elevators to let others on every time. I almost applauded when one ancient lady with a walker shoved her way on, forcing people to step back. A man who hadn't wanted to let the two prior passengers on said to her, "Really???" But she happily ignored him, and there was plenty of room for her. Overall: I would give the cruise a B. We booked early and got a very good rate. I have nothing huge to complain about. The cruise was fine. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
My husband, my sister, her husband, and I arrived at the port and were on board in less than 10 minutes ... probably the best embarkation of any of our 10 cruises. Went immediately to the pool for celebratory cocktails and hooked up with ... Read More
My husband, my sister, her husband, and I arrived at the port and were on board in less than 10 minutes ... probably the best embarkation of any of our 10 cruises. Went immediately to the pool for celebratory cocktails and hooked up with two of the best servers on the high seas ... Jessie and Jeff. The two of them gave us the best drinks service we've ever experienced for the duration of the cruise. Their enthusiasm, sense of humor, friendliness, attention to detail and competitive spirit contributed mightily to our enjoyment throughout. Our stateroom was clean and well maintained, and we were fortunate to have a terrific room steward ... Gi. He did a wonderful job of staying on top of our needs, met us each morning with a smile, and, despite our considerable cruise experience, presented us some of the most creative towel animals we've seen. Kudos to him. Only complaint on the cabin was an extremely uncomfortable bed ... its extreme firmness made for fitful sleeping and the ultimate need for sleeping pills nightly. I would have killed for an 'eggcrate' to throw on the mattress! Food was plentiful but I must agree with others that quality and service in the Aqua 'free' dining room was subpar. It's obvious that Norwegian would prefer you eat in the specialty dining rooms, where, I understand, you can actually get a shrimp cocktail! But I paid for the cruise and refuse to pay extra for food. Norwegian needs to re-evaluate the amount of space they put into speciality dining rooms and improve the main dining experience. We did enjoy breakfast topside ... the lines moved quickly, the gentlemen preparing eggs were the best, and, despite a shortage of tables many morning, no major complaints. The entertainment was just okay. We love the piano bar experience, and were sad there wasn't one on the Dawn. The band on the pool deck was great, and the singer had incredible range ... very eclectic selections and all done well. The headline shows were disappointing ... seriously, a mandolin player? One night featured an awesome pianist, but most were less than memorable. We loved the daily game shows, although the entertainment directors need to be sure the same passengers don't participate every night. And we loved the pool deck games ... such fun! We had been at all the ports before. Beach in the Dominican Republic is beautiful but crowded, and we heard many negative comments from those who went into Samana. Participated in a rum party in Tortola ... our third. Missed our old friend Esmerelda, who has led it in the past. Inclement weather in St. Martin led to cancellation of our excursion, but we enjoyed a walk-around. Definitely recommend the zip lining excursion in St. John ... 12 lines and an AWESOME experience. Stayed on ship in Dominica because, despite its beauty, not much happening there. Highly recommend visiting the BoatYard bar and beach in Barbados. Our second visit and we loved it. Hung out in a bar in the port at St. Kitts, which is a really brief port visit, but had a ball with new friends from the ship. We rolled off at disembarkation and the process was flawless ... love that about Norwegian. Negatives included a fairly senior body of passengers, some of whom were REALLY unpleasant (how can people be unhappy on a cruise?), subpar food and service in the main dining rooms, the terrible mattress, and some disappointing entertainment. But, overall, we had a wonderful time on the Dawn and wouldn't hesitate to repeat the experience. So grateful for the hundreds of people on the Dawn who made our enjoyment possible. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Background: This was our fourth Caribbean cruise, but our first on Norwegian Cruise Lines. We have enjoyed at least one cruise each year over the past 5/6 years. We fully understand if you schedule a cruise in early-to-mid January it is ... Read More
Background: This was our fourth Caribbean cruise, but our first on Norwegian Cruise Lines. We have enjoyed at least one cruise each year over the past 5/6 years. We fully understand if you schedule a cruise in early-to-mid January it is likely that most fellow cruisers will be Seniors, and that was indeed the case with this cruise. Hotel: We stayed at a Double Tree by Hilton near the Airport and found it to be a very nice moderately priced hotel with very nice rooms and a pleasant Bar/ Restaurant area. The van to the cruise port must be scheduled as you arrive at the hotel and cost $10 per person. The Hotel had a free airport-to-hotel shuttle that ran every 30-minutes. Embarcation: We traveled to the Miami Port such that we would arrive around 11:30 am for a 4:00 pm sailing. Our experience was that Norwegian had the easiest embarkation process with no real wait time. Rooms would be ready around 2:00 pm (actually announcement was made 20-min. earlier). Luggage was in the room by about 2:30 pm. Ship Info: The Norwegian Dawn (2002) was recently refurbished and is not a super-sized ship. I believe we had about 2,300 guests on-board. This ships architecture was similar to that of similar capacity ships from Holland America, but actually felt smaller in most if not all of the public areas. The atriums were small as was the main dining room. The starboard side hallway, was the only one that could take you on the entertainment and main dinning deck from all the way forward to the ship's stern. The Port side had at least one area that was not accessible unless the ships shopping area was open. Stateroom: We had a Mini-Suite on Deck 11 and found the cabin to be similar in size to other ships veranda cabins. The room had far fewer drawers than the other ships we have sailed on but that turned out to be no issue as there were plenty of shelf areas which met our needs. There were no robes in our Mini-Suite, but we inquired and robes were delivered quickly. The bath area was very nice with a separate sliding door for the toilet, deciding it from the sink and tub area. The balcony was nice-sized and had a chair and a lounge chair. We had a friend in the next room whom was solo so we added one of their chairs to our balcony and still had plenty of room. We have typically requested that our friends balcony and our be opened, but they said it was against Norwegian's safety policy to do so. Dining: We found the dining options to be quite similar to other cruise lines, with the exception that this was Free-Style Cruising and as such did not have an Early and Late seating. We elected to eat in the Main Dining Room for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on most occasions. We had to get a pager on two evenings but that was because on those evenings we had gone to the early show and then wanted to go directly to dinner. The idea of never having the same wait staff is certainly different from all of our other cruises and you feel that something is missing in not getting to know these typical very accommodating service oriented people. The food was always good, but we felt Norwegian has fewer good choices for the main entree than our other cruising experiences. We also learned that Norwegian does not cater to the "No Sugar Added" crowd the way the HAL and Celebrity do. There was always only one choice for a No-Sugar-Added desert and it more often than not looked like a jello molded creamy something of different color and flavor each evening. On two or three occasions the No-Sugar-Added desert was a real desert that looked and tasted like something you would want to eat. We also don't thin Norwegian has "Pastry Chefs" or at least the Norwegian Dawn didn't appear to have one. The breakfast rolls and muffins were the same every day with a very limited selection. The wait staff were all pleasant and courteous, but often brought items that were "warm" at best. Activities: We also found the number and selection variety of on-board activities to be less than our other cruise experiences. There were not a lot of seminar type sessions with the exception of How to improve your memory and how to overcome insomnia. They also do not emphasize their food preparation and artistry via offering kitchen tours, or cooking seminars. In general the activities were limited. The Sail-a-Way Party and the White Hot Party were great. Entertainment: This is the area where the Norwegian Dawn shines. The Dancers and Singers put on several exceptional shows and the other Entertainment included a very good Comedian, an impressionist, a Hypnotist, a Concert Pianist and a Playing Card Magician. Ports: We visited Dominican Republic, Tortola, Antigua, Dominica, St. Maarten, Barbados, and St. Kitts. Disembarkation: This was absolutely easy. They offered every option. You could do Early Unassisted Walk-Off, Airport Transfers, Miami Excursions, or mid-morning departure. We left the ship at 10:30 am with our large luggage and Carry-Ons and grabbed a Taxi to the Airport. We learned that the Miami Airport allowed us to check or larger bags many, many hours prior to our actual flight. This was great. The Taxi was $25 and we saved the $20 we would have had to pay for the Cruise Line to take our larger luggage and send it to our home destination. There were three of us so we also got from the Sea Port to the Air Port for less than half of what it would cost with the Bus Transfers offered by the Cruise Line. The Taxi wait time was about 15 minutes. Summary: We had a great time on this cruise and found Norwegian Cruise Lines to offer a good value. However due to the overall Food selection and Activity Options we would choose Holland America or Celebrity if the Cost and Itinerary were equal. This could be just do to this particular ship as we met many guest that aware by NCL. Many indicated their Norwegian experience on other ships was much better than this particular ship/cruise. Don't get me wrong ...this was a fun cruise with very good service and outstanding entertainment. You well have a good time and enjoy the Norwegian Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Norwegian Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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