15 Norwegian Dawn Cruise Reviews for Holiday Cruises to Caribbean - Western

Choice based on rates and available dates. This one fit our needs best. Covered Christmas which we would have had without kids for the first time. Also covered our 40th Anniversary on 12/26. Cruise was great overall. Smaller ship ... Read More
Choice based on rates and available dates. This one fit our needs best. Covered Christmas which we would have had without kids for the first time. Also covered our 40th Anniversary on 12/26. Cruise was great overall. Smaller ship than we had on Carnival but not necessarily a bad thing. More intimate. We met some great people. Destinations were womderful. Climbing Maya ruins on Christmas Day, tubing on a rain Forrest river (in the rain) on our Anniversary with a Maya guide. Next day being smooched on by an amorous Capuccin Monkey. Great times. The staff was friendly for he most part and went out of their way to make us feel special. A couple of bartenders were less than the best but they were more than made for by the rother st. I would recommend this route and cruise line to anyone. We may we'll do this one again. On the down side, though, there were a couple of significant aspects that prevent this from being a 5 star review. First, the center of the top deck by the pool was taken up by a stage. That seriously limited the space for guests. More, though, the Gand that played on that stage was a reggae style band and LOUD! Speakers all around the stage blasted their music into every corner. Lest you think I am just an old fogey who doesn't like loud things, I have been around concussive blast waves. They do bad things to your internal body. This volume felt like one long slow explosion and was painful for me. There was literally no way anyone could carry on a conversation when they were playing. We had to grab whatever food or drink we wanted and head up a deck, and maybe away from the pool area, to get a sound baffle from the glass and other structures in order to enjoy sitting out in the sunshine. The other thing was that we had a card in our room congratulating us on our Anniversary. That was very nice. The card said to give it to the matre de at whatever restaurant we went to on our Anniversary. We chose the French restaurant, Le Bistro. Handed the card over as instructed and were seated. As we were eating a small group of people appeared and sang Let Me Call You Sweetheart to a nearby table. I looked at my wife and speculated that they might were supposed to be singing to us. But, whatever. Shortly the couple at that table came by and asked us if it was our Anniversary since we were the only people in the restaurant tha looked like we were celebrating such an event. He said that they were not even married and he didn't take our cake. Then he went to tell the staff of their mistake. A while later the same people appeared at our table and repeated their performance and placed a very pretty cake on our table, right after we had ordered desert. In fact, our desert showed up in the middle of their singing. We thanked them and asked, since we already had desert, what we were to do with the cake. They said the would box it up for us. That was nice. We finished and we're sitting at the table. Ready to go, we wondered what we were to do about the cake. We got our waiter and asked. He said they had sent it to our cabin. Well, you guessed it, no cake. We never did see that cake again after it was placed on our table. Now, to be sure, we didn't go on the cruise for tha cake. And, had there been no card in our room, we wouldn't have even noticed. But the gesture was made ... and then abysmally executed. We are not looking for any kind of refund and not even sure an apology is necessary. But I have worked in customer service organizations and this was definitely not that. So here is the feedback. Cost you a star. As I said, though, we may we'll repeat this cruise and with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We had a great Christmas cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. My wife, the teacher, and I, the plumber, had inside cabin 8595 while our three adult children (27, 26, 22) shared inside cabin 9095. Both rooms were located mid ship close to the ... Read More
We had a great Christmas cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. My wife, the teacher, and I, the plumber, had inside cabin 8595 while our three adult children (27, 26, 22) shared inside cabin 9095. Both rooms were located mid ship close to the atrium. I found the Dawn to be a great ship. It is well maintained and the staff and crew were hard working, friendly and very helpful. We did not buy any food or beverage packages. My wife and I did buy the spa pass and thought it was well worth it. The cost compared to the cost of some of the excursions. We ended up using the spa once or twice a day during the whole cruise. Besides the great food, the ship board high lights for me were the stardust shows, lounge singers in the atrium, christmas carols sing along in the atrium, second city show in the spinnaker lounge. The promenade on the deck 7 was a great place for walking and enjoying the warm nights. I am an early riser so I would get some coffee go up to deck 13 and watch the sun come up and "supervise" the ship coming into port. If you want to lay in the sun away from the crowds there are some deck chairs by the giant checker board deck 13 that go unused until late morning. We attended the Christmas Eve non denomination service. Three guests officiated the service, a catholic decon, baptist minister, and a main stream pastor. The house piano player provide the music. About half of the people in attendance were staff and crew. It was a good service. Our excursions consisted mostly going to a beach or shopping. My two boys dove in Cozumel and really enjoyed it. In Costa Maya we went to The Beach Club. It was a beautiful beach with lots to do. We all took advantage of the all you can drink bar. No one got stupid, but we had a good time. This was our second cruise and first with NCL. I thought the Dawn was a wonderful ship. The crew and staff met or exceed our expectations.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We went on the Christmas cruise 2014 with extended family. Embarkation was a nightmare. The worst experience being when we turned over our luggage to be organized and taken on the ship. The man scoffed at our $10 tip for our bags. He ... Read More
We went on the Christmas cruise 2014 with extended family. Embarkation was a nightmare. The worst experience being when we turned over our luggage to be organized and taken on the ship. The man scoffed at our $10 tip for our bags. He actually said that if we wanted our bags safely on board it wasn't much of a tip! We gave him more to make sure our bags got onboard... After proceeding through the chaos of the line of cattle we finally got to our rooms. The rooms were fine. The were clean, the room steward was great. Food was great. We chose to eat most of our meals in the garden cafe (the buffet). We did eat in the Venetian 3 nights, which turned out to be a 3 hour event. Not our cup of tea, but I'm sure some people love waiting for tiny servings. At least we did have another option. Entertainment. Wow. I felt like I was at our home town high school musicals. The second city comedy show was dumb, some people did seem to enjoy it though. And we were PACKED in a bar to watch this show, I'm sure some fire codes were broken there. Most of the other entertainment was not free, and it was to make NCL money, for example, bingo, raffles, casino, and the like. The booze is pushed from early morning on. Since this was a Christmas cruise, I fully expected beautiful decorations. Nope. A few cheesy cardboard wall cut outs, some gingerbread houses, one christmas tree. Not too festive Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Cruise detail: back to back on NCL Dawn for Christmas and New Year's Eve 2014. Rooms: 11020 and 9000 Concierge: Kerabi Butler: Edward Cruise director: Dingo Dave Review Tweet version: The Dawn is a wonderful ship perfect for your ... Read More
Cruise detail: back to back on NCL Dawn for Christmas and New Year's Eve 2014. Rooms: 11020 and 9000 Concierge: Kerabi Butler: Edward Cruise director: Dingo Dave Review Tweet version: The Dawn is a wonderful ship perfect for your family vacation. She is not a new ship nor I don't think anyone working the ship would claim that she doesn't have some things that need improvement. The Dawn is like that old sweatshirt that you have. It's older maybe there's a tear in it but it's comfortable and it's warm and it's the first thing you grab when you come home on a cold winter day. That's the Dawn, comfortable and filled with warm people ready to help you. Review long version: Food: We ate in the main dining room, Le bistro, the Italian restaurant, the Chinese restaurant, buffet and Teppanaki. I did make reservations each morning for the desired restaurant. There were no pacing or service issues in any of the restaurants; in fact I would go as far as saying it was spectacular service. Biggest surprise was the Italian restaurant. I ordered something not on the menu and they created the most wonderful tasting eggplant creation. By far the best of my two weeks on the ship. I always found food that I wanted on the buffet. I primarily eat vegetarian style so the Indian dishes for me were very enjoyable. Highlight of the Indian dishes was the spinach with fried tofu, I could have eaten that all day long. Of course now that you've just read that I praised the spinach you might question my food savviness. Bottom line: no issues with the food, the service or the quality. Main areas of the ship overview: The ship was decorated for the two weeks for Christmas and for New Year's Eve. Midway through the New Year ’s Eve cruise they started taking down the Christmas decorations. There were a couple Christmas trees and several opportunities to have your pictures professionally taken in front of the trees. On Christmas eve there were Christmas carols in the atrium and Santa Claus arrived on Christmas morning handing out presents and taking photos with anybody that wanted to. When I didn't choose to sit on my balcony and wanted to go up on deck there was never an issue finding a chair. I did not see people reserving chairs for any long period of time. Tip: Front of the ship on deck 13 is a quieter area. Internet: The closer you were to the Internet café the faster the speed. I noticed when I was in my room with the door closed it was not as fast, connectable yes fast no. Tip: remember to logout. I saw several people in line complaining that they had additional minutes charge to them. They did not realize or know that they had to log out, the system does not automatically stop after your minutes have been used, it will continue to bill you. Fitness Room: I worked out every day sometimes twice. Once people had left the ship for the ports I would then run laps on the running track. I believe I figured out it's about five laps for a mile maybe a little bit more. All the equipment in the fitness room were operable and clean. There were weight machines, weights, treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, spin classes for a fee, Ab classes, stretch classes. yoga rooms for relaxation, stretching and individualized workouts. State rooms: If you are a family of four for me there is no better suite room than 11020. There's an amazing living room area, small bedroom with bathroom, and then a larger master bath and bedroom. Plenty of space for myself, husband, sister, and 20-year-old niece. Towel animals were made each night. The steward always changed where he put the towel animal. Sometimes in the small bedroom, the master bedroom, or hanging from the ceiling. It was fun! The second week of the back to back we were in room 9000. Just two of us this time. it's comfortable for two people. I'd be hard-pressed to say you can fit four adults in their comfortably. But what I like this room for is the balcony. The balcony seems as large as the room. We had a great time!. The service was wonderful. Tip: go to trivia, you might actually meet some great people and have a good time.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We are seasoned cruisers having been on 38 cruises. We booked the thanksgiving cruise with our two adult children and their wives on the 5th floor with windows. We had been on the Dawn when she was new and enjoyed it but this time was very ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers having been on 38 cruises. We booked the thanksgiving cruise with our two adult children and their wives on the 5th floor with windows. We had been on the Dawn when she was new and enjoyed it but this time was very much a disaster. Our wing with rooms 5232 and 5236 always smelled of sewer. Our steward was great. The room was clean but even on the first night we had lots of noise. We found out the galley was above us and below us were loud broken stabilizers. :(. We had some rough seas and about every 5 seconds we heard loud banging and vibrations. It was un bearable. We called three times asking for help. Nothing. The next day we went to guest services asking for a room change. We said we would take an inside room or just about anything to get sleep. Finally after begging them to come listen we got moved on a Thursday. We found the ship to often smell moldy and mildewed especially in dining areas and gathering areas. Drinks were awful. Very weak. The spa charges were horrendous with 18% gratuity and they wanted you to also tip! TV was not good. Our power went out in our new room and it took three hours to get it back on. The food was not good either. The thanksgiving dinner was the worst. Mushy dressing and very slow service. No pumpkin pie. Desserts were poorly made and tasteless. Embarkation was the worst we have experienced. It just was very disappointing. Workers told us that the clanging noise on that floor has been a problem for years and they were so apologetic. Anyway if you have a room on that floor be prepared to not sleep. NCL did away with the adult spa area and now charges!!! It is just not quality. We will not sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was my first cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. I have previously sailed on Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Cunard. I booked this cruise with a friend. We wanted a relaxed and informal atmosphere for our cruise, but had low ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. I have previously sailed on Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Cunard. I booked this cruise with a friend. We wanted a relaxed and informal atmosphere for our cruise, but had low expectations based upon feedback from my travel agent who indicated other clients did not enjoy their experience on this cruise line. I am an experienced and flexible traveler and as the port (Tampa) was only a 2 hour drive, we signed on. This was a holiday cruise and there were many multi-generational families on board which I expected having been on a Christmas cruise previously with Holland America. The cruise was sold out. There is a convenient parking garage across from the NCL terminal where we left my car for the week. Embarkation was a breeze - the fastest ever for any cruise I've been on. Our mid-ship balcony cabin was adequate. It had plenty of storage for 2 people and the beds were comfortable. We dined at Le Bistro and El Moderno specialty restaurants. I enjoyed both restaurants, but Moderno which featured Brazilian cuisine was exceptional. The food in the main dining rooms (Venetian and Aqua) were good as was the service. We had to wait to be seated in The Venetian for Christmas Dinner and were given complimentary glasses of champagne while we waited which was a very nice touch. I'm not much for buffets, so only ate in the Garden Café twice for a late afternoon lunch. The entertainment on board was an A+. I really enjoyed Second City and the comedian (Tim K.). Lots to do in the evening - dancing, audience participation shows (loved Dancing with the Dawn Stars and The Quest), music in several venues, parties and more. No reason to be bored and head to your stateroom early unless you wanted to do so. The cruise staff were friendly and accommodating, wanting to make sure everyone had a good time and good service. They couldn't have been nicer. Getting off and back on the ship at each port (Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya, Mexico, and Cozumel, Mexico) was easy. Security staff were efficient. I liked that disembarkation allowed passengers to select their time to leave the ship. I have not experienced this before and it was a big plus. Overall, I had very good experience on this ship and would sail NCL again. If you're looking for a fun, relaxed time, don't want to dress in tux and gowns in the evening, this is the ship and cruise line for you. I'd definitely cruise again with NCL in the Caribbean. What NCL does, they do very well. THIS WAS A FUN CRUISE!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I'm writing this to warn any and everybody of what a sad trip I just had on the Norwegian Dawn. And this was supposed to be a very special Christmas Cruise. It was anything but - except the outrageous price. This occurred during the ... Read More
I'm writing this to warn any and everybody of what a sad trip I just had on the Norwegian Dawn. And this was supposed to be a very special Christmas Cruise. It was anything but - except the outrageous price. This occurred during the week of Christmas 2013. I've cruised several times before on Carnival and Royal Caribbean and never had such a forgettable trip. First, it took forever to check-in. My family and I arrived at about 12:45pm and there was a huge line. It took some two hours before we got into our cabins. I don't know what they use to disinfect the elevators but they all had a persistent nauseating odor - simply awful, for seven days. We thought we paid to be on a Higher deck (we were actually on deck 4) and we ended up on the lowest floor for passengers. We heard all sorts of knocking and pinging every day and night. We don't know what but it was probably normal 'crew' type activity. The free-style dining wasn't working - each night a huge queue of people (us too) with no pre-assigned dining time or table waiting for up to an hour for dinner. That is unless you opted for the buffet - again huge queues and waits. The food was good though lacked imagination and variety. Again this was CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!! And we paid a fortune for this cruise. The staff was largely a foreign crew that had only mediocre english skills - many simple questions were met with a curious "stare" - like "what did he say?" There was only one pool for adults and it was always packed - The kids had two private pools! The entertainment was abyssmal for a holiday cruise. There was a very un-entertaining comedian that seemed to dominate cruise evenings. He was featured on four different evenings as a headliner and he was awful. The Norwegian dancers were good - not great but weren't featured enough. The best entertainment was a duo of Russian Ballet dancers who were excellent. Other than them the singers weren't good and the comedians weren't funny. Correction - Second City was funny with their rehearsed skits but not the improvisation. The cruise director was forgettable with his constant "Now here's the plan of attack" after yet another joke of a performance. There was one silver ling - our Cabin stewardess, Kim, was courteous and polite and kept or rooms tidy. Overall I'm ashamed for having paid what I did for this cruise. There was almost no Christmas atmosphere on board, Norwegian will never get another dime out of me.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We were on the Dawn over Christmas, Tampa to WCaribbean. After reading all the pretty dismal reviews, including one from someone who had actually CANCELLED their Dawn cruise due to all this negativity, we were more than pleasantly ... Read More
We were on the Dawn over Christmas, Tampa to WCaribbean. After reading all the pretty dismal reviews, including one from someone who had actually CANCELLED their Dawn cruise due to all this negativity, we were more than pleasantly surprised by most things we found on board. Embarkation was not too bad at all, although I realse this was made much better by the fact that our cruise date did not include pick ups in Cozumel. However, it was made worse by a bizarre situation at the cruise checkin desks, where non US citizens such as us from UK( although we had obviously already been admitted into the US via strict border control, ESTAs granted etc etc) still had to have their passports re-entered into some computer by someone slowly using "one-finger" typing for each passenger. This led to long queues at his workstation, holding up every other passenger in every check in queue! Surely, if this is necessary, it would be better to have a check-in desk, or two, just for non-US passengers. This would allow the others to board more quickly. I am sure the US passengers would be very happy! Our balcony cabin, 9192, was fine. Smallish, but lots of storage space. Bathroom tiny, separate wc behind a screen was miniscule! Looking at the size of some of the passengers, I can only imagine they were in large suites...no way would they get in the wc! Food..we ate mainly in Venetian, we cannot stand the "Zoo" that is the buffet, although the food selection looked good, specially at breakfast, to see fellow passengers pushing & shoving to pile their plates with bizarre food combinations is not my idea of a good time! This does not reflect on NCL, only on the passengers!! What greed some have. Freetime dining did not work well over Xmas, due to herds of people all wanting to eat at the same time. Lots of vouchers for free bubbly were given out by patient staff at the Venetian check in desk(Well done Gen!!) & buzzers used to the max. Teppanyaki was great, best steak all cruise(worst steak was Prime rib in Venetian, just inedible, although all other meals good there) Coffee & tea was poor (to our taste) everywhere, take your own & use the equipment provided in cabin! Le Bistro was adequate...no more, no less. We dine in France often..believe me,Le Bistro is not good standard French cuisine! No-one eats al-dente potatoes!! But the chef for Le Bistro obviously thinks they do!! Wouldnt go there again for a surcharge. Service was mainly good, especially in the Venetian, although we did feel it was a little false, with expectations of further tipping. Some were surly, but I suppose thats life, & happens anywhere! The Spa was great, well worth the extra cost. The jacuzzis were great, the pool a little cool, but welcome to escape the children. The on-deck hot-tub at the front of the ship, behind the Bimini Bar, was also a good find, really quiet most days, plus lots of sunbeds available there. Entertainment was good, Paul, the cruise director(a fellow Brit!) was excellent, although we felt sometimes his British humour may have gone straight over the heads of some passengers. We got totally fed up with the "shopping woman" wittering on constantly about buying diamonds, watches etc etc. We went to what we though would be an informative presentation about some ports, to find it was a Diamond Hard Sell...Thanks, but No Thanks! A little disappointed by the comedian Tim Kaminski, he relied very much on audience participation, but if that was poor(Wizard of Oz nigh!!!) then the whole show dragged on & was very flat. Second City were much better...impro at its cleverest. Bollywood was glitzy, we enjoyed it more than we had expected. So, all-in-all...a great value Xmas cruise! Well done NCL..this was our first cruise with you, we may well return!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
What a lovely way to spend Christmas with family on this gorgeous ship! We don't care for crowds but were prepared as this was a Christmas cruise and was pretty well booked to capacity. Of course you are going to have to tackle ... Read More
What a lovely way to spend Christmas with family on this gorgeous ship! We don't care for crowds but were prepared as this was a Christmas cruise and was pretty well booked to capacity. Of course you are going to have to tackle queues. A little patience is all that's needed, no one is going to go without. Make the most of the time waiting and take time to say hi to your fellow passengers, after all, it is Christmas. Ports - The ports were ok but very busy due to several other cruise ships in port the same day. We were always happy to be back on board. Nothing special here to write about unfortunately. Food - Absolutely fabulous. Considering how many people that have to be fed, we were amazed at the quality and efficient service. Everything ran like clockwork. First night was steak and lobster which was cooked to perfection. Also did Moderno Christmas Eve and had best seat on the ship for Christmas Eve carols. We loved the food here and have to say, it's our favourite. A very special night. We ate at Teppenyaki another night and it was worth every cent. Other nights we ate at the Venetian or Aqua and enjoyed every morsel of food that was served to us. Entertainment - We only went to a couple of shows as we decided to eat late to miss the rush. I was a little unsure of the comedian at first but by the end of the show was crying from laughing so much. Despite the large crowds and the small pool we did enjoy ourselves. We could always find somewhere quiet if we needed to escape the crowd. We would like to thank every single staff member for sacrificing their Christmas away from their family to ensure we had a very memorable Christmas. Looking already to book our next cruise with NCL, next time more days at sea, after all, the ship is the destination. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We sailed on the Dawn during Christmas. First off, we really enjoyed the embarkation procedure in Tampa. As it is a smaller port than the one in Miami, it was so much nicer and everything was facilitated professionally and with great ... Read More
We sailed on the Dawn during Christmas. First off, we really enjoyed the embarkation procedure in Tampa. As it is a smaller port than the one in Miami, it was so much nicer and everything was facilitated professionally and with great ease. We found that the cabin noise was unbelievable. We could hear the person next door to us snoring and we could hear the kids on the other side of us complaining about not wanting to go on the day excursion...we could hear their tv also. The food was mediocre. We chose the Dawn for the "freestyle" dining, which was complete fiasco. We waited over 45 minutes for supper in the Venetian dining room (which wasn't that great anyway) and were told that if we were willing to share a table we would get in faster...which sort of defeats the whole purpose of freestyle dining doesn't it!! We ended up eating most of our dinners at the buffet, which actually was just as good or better than the main dining room. the entertainment was quite good. Nathaniel Reed on the piano did a great job of performing special songs from Ray Charles/Cole Porter/and was a wonderful pianist. There was a duo that performed often, which were basically singing to back up music off of a laptop...think Karaoke!! not the best there. Greg London and Second City were a nice treat and we enjoyed their shows immensely. The staff productions were the usual cruise/all inclusive type shows. Dance numbers, loud music and costume changes...but we didn't come for the anyway so didn't really care. ports of call were unfortunately just a place to spend money on hand made souvenirs that were all the same. We took an excursion to the Chaccoben Ruins in Mexico and loved them. We wish we had taken more excursions because there wasn't much else to do. In Roatan, we were taken to a beach which was so crowded that we left after 2 hours. Make sure you get the taxi driver to take you across the island to the lesser populated beaches. Cozumel was just more of the same shopping. A shame, because we were there 20 years ago and it was a wonderful place to visit. Unfortunately, to us a good holiday is superb food, restful nights and great ports of call and we felt that this cruise was below par for all three. Customs on the ship was unbelievably slow and a waste of time. We will not be travelling NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
December 30, 2012 to January 6, 2013. We arrived to La Quinta Hotel on Saturday December 29. Great flight and nice weather in Tampa. We arrage the transfer from the hotel to the pier to take our ship on the next day. The line, check ... Read More
December 30, 2012 to January 6, 2013. We arrived to La Quinta Hotel on Saturday December 29. Great flight and nice weather in Tampa. We arrage the transfer from the hotel to the pier to take our ship on the next day. The line, check in and boarding the ship was fast. As soon we got on, we contacted with friends traveling with us. The ship was full. Next day December 31, New Year's Eve, we expected to have a great time but we got a big surprise that night. We sat in the atrium and all the passengers sitting there were like nothing. They were so bored. As latin, we expected to have some latin music but we didn't listen anything. We were 28 in our group and e made a little party to see something happy for this night. Sorry for those people who didn't liked our party that night but we came to celebrate the New Year and not to sleep or get bored. In this week, nothing but nothing latin on this ship. I've been on 39 cruises and this has been the most boring ship I've ever taken. I also see that they do not have any control with teens under 18 years. They are everywhere drinking and smoking. About the food, we ate on the Aqua Restaurant. The Venetian Restaurant was so dark that the waiter had to give us a light to read the menu, because we couldn't read it. Only 2 shows were good but the others were bored. I heard that this ship was refurbished but I would like to know in which part. We had a mini suite and we could barely use the balcony because of the smoking of passengers of the cabin next to ours. The ceiling in our balcony was leaking, the floor was so awful you can see that it wasn't clean all week. About the pool (which pool?), only 1 and it ws so little like the bathtub that I had in the mini suite that we were. Good things - Mark our cabin steward and the Washi Washi girls. They were smiling and happy all the time. I will have to think about taking another Norwegian cruise ship again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We had planned this vacation in May and were all looking forward to Christmas in the Carribean. It was my wife, myself and our teenagers. Arrived in Tampa at 4:00AM after a 19 hour car ride and it was 31 degrees! Found a hotel room at ... Read More
We had planned this vacation in May and were all looking forward to Christmas in the Carribean. It was my wife, myself and our teenagers. Arrived in Tampa at 4:00AM after a 19 hour car ride and it was 31 degrees! Found a hotel room at Holiday Inn Express where they had free breakfast and found out that for $30 we could park the car all week and they would give us round-trip transportation to the ship! Great start.... Getting on the ship was very easy and we were on-board within 10 minutes...much better experience than Miami. Kids got beverage card and we were offered the "adult" beverage card. All you can drink for $49 a day....now that's a deal! We were all dressed for the pool so we did not need our luggage but luggage arrived very fast to our room. We had a mini-suite with a balcony which we were very happy with. Bathroom had tub/shower, vanity area and a toilet with its own door. There was lots of closet space and drawers for clothes. The ports were very good too... When in Roatan, Honduras we hooked up with Bodden Tours and the driver took us to a shopping village with amazing views, a zoo where we got to hold monkeys and then we chose a resort called Bananarama. The shopping village we could have done without since it was in opposite direction of everything else. I would not pass up going to the monkeys! They climb all over you...open your water bottles and stoe my wife's sunscreen from her bag. Bananarama is amazing. Charged us $10 each and that included a lounge chair on the beach but they were out of lounge chairs. The owner came up to us and gave us each 2 drinks at the bar for the inconvenience. Food cheap too! Two slices of pizza and soda for $5.00. $6.00 with a beer. It is a beautiful beach! We did not realize there is no beach in Beize and did not want to spend up to one hour taking a boat to a beach. I grabbed us a cab and we went to Cucumber Beach which is only 5 miles from the port. It has a swimming lagoon, Tarzan rope swing, big water slide, volleyball, music and restaurant and plenty of lounge chairs. Cab driver asked what time we wanted to be picked up and he showed up. We did not pay him until he dropped us off at the port at end of the day. Charged $15 round-trip per person. NCL charged $49 per person!! In Costa Mya we stayed on the port. Gave the teenagers their first taste of Senor Frogs!! Coo port...lots shopping, pool with swim up bar, beach with hammocks and lounge-chairs. All free of charge! Be sure to check out the artist who uses only spray paint to create his work. In Cozumel,we grabbed a cab and headed to Paradise Beach. $12 gets you to use all facilities including pool, lounge chairs on beach, very cool water activities, kayaks, etc. Banana boating only $15 for a very long ride and para sailing for $45. Do your homework and plan your own excursions. We were at every beach at least 45 minutes before ship passengers arrived and they left before us. Service on ship was great and Kinan the bartender is amazing! He knew our names and our drinks by second day. He got us so pumped for the new ship Breakaway that we booked it for August. Make sure you see Impact...an incredible band and Second City Improv Group. Enjoy the rooster calls at the Garden Cafe in the morning...he is hilarious.. I do not know how anyone had a bad cruise that week. The lines at the free dining rooms were long if you didnt make a reservation. We would go there, they would give us a beeper and we would go to bar and when table was ready they notified us...big deal! Kids had great time and met many friends. EnjoYY Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
To honor my In-Laws, my husband and I splurged and gave them a 50th Anniversary Cruise... booking us all in Suites. They had a Family Suite which was recently added to the fore of the boat. It was very nice, with floor to ceiling ... Read More
To honor my In-Laws, my husband and I splurged and gave them a 50th Anniversary Cruise... booking us all in Suites. They had a Family Suite which was recently added to the fore of the boat. It was very nice, with floor to ceiling windows. The bathroom in particular was long and spacious with a separate bath/shower. They had plenty of room, and even though my sister-in-law roomed with them, there was space to spare. My husband and I had an aft Penthouse, which we've had before. Both of these Penthouses have butler/concierge service, which truly makes a cruise memorable. We also had the privilege of dining at Cagney's (a specialty restaurant) for both lunch/dinner. We sailed on the Pearl this past summer, and I in particular had been very disappointed in the food. However, the Dawn's cuisine was MUCH better, I thought. I'm rather picky when it comes to seafood. There was only one meal I didn't like, and that happened to be at lunch at Cagney's. The Venetian main dining room had delicious fish and shrimp. Two dishes stood out: the Thai chicken and shrimp (absolutely awesome!) and the Norwegian specialty salmon, which is served as an option every night. I got it two nights, it was so excellent! Both times I loved it. We also dined at the Moderno Churriscarria, and it was quite good. Copious amounts of food! The ship staff was very friendly, I thought. This is our 6th sailing with NCL, and even though this is an older ship, it was spic-n-span and the reviews I've read about the crew seeming "tired" or "weary" didn't necessarily apply. Most of the people we spoke to on board were very positive and good-natured regarding their staff positions. Most seemed to enjoy what they did, despite working such long stints before time-off. I found that impressive. The itinerary was quite good. This was my 2nd cruise to the W. Caribbean, and also my second time to Roatan & Belize. This will be my last visit to Roatan. The poor population of Honduras is so terribly impoverished that there were armed guards in Coxen Hole to prevent mishap. When I say armed guards, I mean they were EVERYWHERE, and they were carrying automatic rifles, shotguns, revolvers, you name it!!!!!!! This was the very first stop on our trip, and as an experienced traveler, I can tell you, I did NOT feel safe. I KNOW my poor in-laws were nervous! My prediction is that NCL won't be continuing their port service to Roatan, as such a daunting presence of armed guards isn't something tourists will embrace. Nor will anyone wish to stroll through town surrounded by hoards of begging children or natives hawking their wares. I hadn't been so heckled since I visited Egypt! As suite passengers, we had tender privileges, so didn't have any issues with waiting in lines for a ride back to the ship when we needed one. NCL is VERY good about seeing that their suite passengers get first-class service. However, I felt bad for the people waiting in the LONG lines in both Belize, then especially in Cozumel. Apparently, NCL boats in Cozumel rotate docking privileges from week to week, and we had the off week during our cruise. I heard nightmare tales of people waiting for over two hours in line to get back to the boat! That really is VERY poor service. One night, we had a cake served to my In-laws in the Main Dining Rm. It was very nice, and the staff sang "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" to them in honor of their Anniversary. They thoroughly enjoyed their "first cruise" experience and My husband and I love Bingo, and during each game, we found the Dawn to have especially generous pay-outs. I wound up winning the last game on the boat, which had a payout of over $2000! I split it with another gentleman who won the same time I did, so we both pocketed over $1000 cash! I would definitely continue sailing with NCL, especially in Aft guestrooms. Our room steward, David was very good. He had a real gift with towel art. Our butler (Lazi) was very gracious, and our concierge (Virginia) was TOPS! With a larger party of five in two suites, she was so helpful. She even got my sister-in-law and I scheduled for an extra shore-excursion. We truly enjoyed our Thanksgiving Anniversary cruise! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
No airport transfer to the Howard Johnson Plaza ($45 taxi) the 1 night in the hotel was on a great beach (surfside) but the hotel was very basic The NCL Dawn itself is very impressive and clean with an abundance of staff onboard. food ... Read More
No airport transfer to the Howard Johnson Plaza ($45 taxi) the 1 night in the hotel was on a great beach (surfside) but the hotel was very basic The NCL Dawn itself is very impressive and clean with an abundance of staff onboard. food was good although the pay for restaurants offer a better choice and quality which is annoying since you pay as full board. The buffet restaurant has just about anything for anyone from salad to fruit cooked meats rice currys chinese and if you walk to each different part in the garden restaurant you can find hot dogs burgers sandwiches ice cream,as i said just about everything. If you go off the ship they charge you for bottled water to take so we just got our own bottle and filled it in the restaurant before leaving. Raychel in the star bar (waiteress)is brilliant she can tell you where to go and what to do at every port as well as get your drinks,she is a great ambassador for NCL My only gripe with NCL is the $12 per person per day gratuity charge and then you get charged 15% tip every time you buy a drink. We spent around $700 whilst on the ship $350 was tips. As we dont drink a lot someone who does would have had a much bigger tip bill at the end although on the flight home some people said they went to reception on the last days and requested their cabin charge money back which we were told they got. All in all the ship is fantastic never any hastle getting a sunbed the food was very good and the staff were brilliant we only had 2 rude members of staff during our whole visit. on the last day of cruising everyone tried to get into the venetion or aqua dining rooms (free ones) so the wait was long with many people either paying for the other restaurants or going to the buffet which is what we did. i would definetly book this ship again but next time ask for my gratuity money back, Ps any alcoholic drinks you buy or try to bring onto the ship are confiscated until your last day on the ship when they return it all, Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Overall, the Dawn is a nice vessel. The weather was good, the destinations (Cayman and Cozumel with two relaxing days at sea) fun and company was fantastic:) The ship is well maintained but showing age. Common areas are in better shape ... Read More
Overall, the Dawn is a nice vessel. The weather was good, the destinations (Cayman and Cozumel with two relaxing days at sea) fun and company was fantastic:) The ship is well maintained but showing age. Common areas are in better shape than the rooms or halls. Carpet on 10th floor routinely wet from various ceiling leaks (i.e. seeing buckets in the hall to catch dripping water while boarding doesn't leave a good first impression). Things like the rails on the balcony in 10716 definitely need attention. Cramming two twin beds together to make a queen leaves a giant lump in the middle that is uncomfortable. But, having the balcony provided a great escape from the post holiday throng of children and rowdy teens on the vessel. Cleanliness could be improved....things like the stray "private" hairs from the prior guests in our bed the first night indicated that our cabin steward was not cleaning adequately. The spa is very nice, with a wide variety of services. Prices are decent for services. Unfortunately, during an hour long pedicure and manicure, the attendant would not stop trying to sell product. The woman became far too aggressive trying every sort of manipulation tactic to sell over-priced products. We have been to many spas and we have never encountered this level of obnoxious over-selling. The cruise line should let guests enjoy the spa without being harassed for an hour. It was rude, way over the top and completely unacceptable. Food was mediocre. The food in the restaurants with the cover charges was better. Desserts were routinely awful - even in the paid restaurants. Things were routinely over-salted and served lukewarm...particularly the fish. Avoid dessert - by night 3 we were getting our sweet calories from dessert martini's instead (which were outstanding!). The service at La Bistro, Impressions, Salsas and Cagneys was good. The Sushi restaurant was also good. Entertainment was generally beyond cheesy. The 2nd City troupe was ok. The 3 pianists were entertaining and kept the lounges packed. The dance troupe was downright awful...high school recital level talent, badly choreographed and set to bad arrangements. The acrobats were entertaining. Service overall was fair. The mandatory $12 per day per person fee to the cabin steward meant that she made very little effort to please or to clean. The automatic 15% tips also gave the staff little incentive to try harder. I have been on NCL, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Celebrity....this was by far the least "inspired" group to serve and I believe it is attributable to the automatic tip structure. The "walk-off" disembarkation process was great. Every other prior cruise would require hours of waiting in a common error and a brutal luggage identification and transfer process. This is definitely an improvement. The wine program should be avoided. You get a 20% discount if you pre-pay for 4-6 bottles. The bad part is that it only includes a couple vintages which all happen to be about $50 per bottle. The complete wine list has bottles of better vintage for less money than the discounted price. Plus, pre-paying for the wine means that the server who eventually delivers the bottle doesn't get automatically tipped....so service suffers again. We tried to attend the art auctions - but they kept getting delayed or cancelled. One example, the bulletin said it started at 3pm, when we arrived they said 3:30pm and by 4pm they cancelled due to lack of attendance. In summary, I enjoyed and escape from Detroit and the week in the warmth and sun. Decent food. Fair service. I am glad I wasn't relying on the entertainment...the sun, a good book and great cabin mate was all I really needed. With better food and more effort from NCL staff - they could have turn good to great. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
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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