29 Norwegian Dawn Caribbean - Southern Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise for 3 main reasons: cost, ports of call and our time on a future cruise credit was expiring. If you like a casual atmosphere in dining times, options and dress, this is the cruise for you. They have 3 options for ... Read More
We chose this cruise for 3 main reasons: cost, ports of call and our time on a future cruise credit was expiring. If you like a casual atmosphere in dining times, options and dress, this is the cruise for you. They have 3 options for breakfast, lunch and dining that don’t require extra costs or making reservations. Shorts and t-shirts are acceptable in all venues, including dining, which surprised us. At other lines, pants are required at dinner. This was a little too casual for us since the condition of some of the shorts and t-shirts wouldn’t qualify for appropriate. Food was typical of a cruise, nothing really outstanding, if anything, several items were repeated during the 10 day cruise. They do ask if you are allergic to any items and will offer to personalize dishes. We happened to stay in an interior room, cabin 10167, which presented a noise problem. This room has a ‘Hotel Store’ on one side and one above it as well as an electrical room above. This created constant noise issues late at night and very early in the morning. We complained on the 2nd night after figuring out what was happening. They apologized and said they would investigate. It happened the 3rd night and I called immediately when I heard the banging and the thumping and the dragging of something across the floor. They sent someone out to investigate. It happened the 4 night, and suddenly, we received a tray of 4 chocolate covered strawberries. This did not solve the problem. It continued to happen throughout the cruise and nothing was resolved, nor were we offered a change in cabin nor a credit. The entertainment was excellent and the quality of the shows and variety of entertainers too. The ports of call were one of the highlights, absolutely beautiful! The ship offered excursions that were very expensive and one minus is that they are conducted by local people who happen to be the driver as well as the guide, and some were not very understandable. Many of us struggled to understand. Embarkation was very smooth but disembarkation was a little confusing since they had us going up and down and from the front of the ship to the middle, while carting our luggage. We really don’t think this line is the right one for our type of cruising. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The Ship is nice. I like the layout and the pool deck layout as well. The food was good and 99% of the staff was really amazing. I had the following issues. We were seated in Venetian the first night and after 15 minutes had to find ... Read More
The Ship is nice. I like the layout and the pool deck layout as well. The food was good and 99% of the staff was really amazing. I had the following issues. We were seated in Venetian the first night and after 15 minutes had to find someone to help us because no one was. Then we got great service. After dinner we went to the pool deck to look around and noticed a lot of the lights strung across of the top of the ship were burned out, which made me sad. That should never happen and should be fixed between every cruise. Normally our casino cards are in our room the first night, but they never showed up. I was told they may have went to the room we had before our upgrade was processed. I've gotten upgrades in the past and that didn't happen. Normally our cabin steward introduces themselves formally the first or second day. We met him only because we went to the room and he was working on it. He didn't formally introduce himself. Also when i inspected the cabin the first day there were hairs in the sink and on the table. I was relatively clean but the hairs were a first for NCL for me. Never saw that before. The Café (Buffet) was fine, but the choices were pretty limited. It would have been nice if they utilized the entire length of the buffet on the one side so there were more choices. Okay, now for the positive. I loved the Casino Staff. They were amazing. I felt like i was going to meet with friends every night i went in and was welcomed by everyone. Awesome job in the Casino. Bartenders were amazing and very attentive. I rarely had to wait long for a drink which is tops in my book. Restaurant Staff was amazing and attentive. The food in the complimentary restaurants was very good. I wish there was one or two nights with something a little more special like Escargot or Lobster night or something that would have had one night stand out. But i like the options that were available and everything was cooked perfectly. The destinations on this cruise were great and the tour options were good. I really enjoyed the cruise overall and have to say that the Staff made up for any shortcomings. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We booked B2B over Christmas and New Year's on Dawn out of San Juan because of the itinerary and we had never sailed from San Juan. Most things I found in my pre-cruise research indicated that the recent refresh of Dawn made it more ... Read More
We booked B2B over Christmas and New Year's on Dawn out of San Juan because of the itinerary and we had never sailed from San Juan. Most things I found in my pre-cruise research indicated that the recent refresh of Dawn made it more modern and user friendly. Let me just say that the public spaces and restaurants are very nice and updated. The rooms on the other hand are still showing their age. There had been some sort of leak above or cabin previously and while I noticed no leaks during our stay the ceiling had never been properly repaired. Since there were public restrooms above our cabin I can only hope it was just water. The boarding process was fast and efficient. Since the ship did not sail until 9pm it seemed that there was not the usual rush for everyone to immediately board. We arrived at the terminal at 1245pm and were onboard in 20 minutes. The staff aboard this ship was absolutely top notch. They went out of their way to learn your name and engage with you to help in anyway they could. Our room steward, Gilbert, made sure we were always taken care of and had everything we needed. The Staff at the Bamini Bar and Gatsby's were the best, especially Nathaniel. I think we have just gotten spoiled by the multitude of entertainment and activities on the big ships. Even with the Holiday activities and the 5 ports on each week we still felt a bit bored at times. There are also some strange quirks about this ship. There are several areas that you can't get to from the deck that they are on. After you figure this out it's not an issue but until you learn it can be difficult. Lack of an adult's only area and limited entertainment options were really the things that brought this review down to 3 stars. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We took some notes during our most recent cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. I’ve tried to organize them into some kind of order that makes sense. Please keep in mind our personality while reading this review: mid-40’s, husband & ... Read More
We took some notes during our most recent cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. I’ve tried to organize them into some kind of order that makes sense. Please keep in mind our personality while reading this review: mid-40’s, husband & wife. Low-Maintenance & not very social by nature. We try to avoid conflict when possible. We’re from the midwest, so give us a chicken breast, steak, and/or potato, and we’re good. No fancy meals really required. My occupation deals a lot with process improvement, so I always see things differently. Keep in mind that everyone has different preferences. For example, I’ve read reviews where people complained that they didn’t make enough announcements over the PA system. I personally LIKE cruise directors who are constantly in my ear! So, here it goes... DAWN, IN GENERAL The Dawn seems like an average NCL ship. This is our fourth NCL cruise, and for the most part, the Dawn is true to NCL. We like this size of ship. It (usually) makes things go fairly smoothly compared to some of the bigger ships. We were disappointed that the Dawn came out of dry-dock in 2016 missing some major improvements. No interactive touch screens near the elevators like on the Epic. No USB ports for charging in the rooms, and NO power near the bed at all. Attention USA Travelers: At least in our room, there was only one semi-usable 110 volt outlet in the whole place. (Outlet #2 is in the bathroom and really only usable for razors.) The Dawn’s sister-ship, Jade, was recently outfitted with plugs and USB ports, but the Dawn has yet to be modernized like that. The Dawn had some weird layouts, but overall, it is a solid ship. For example, there are two (uneven) sides to the Garden Cafe, but only one Ice Cream machine — and it was way in the back on the side they usually closed after the dinner rush. So when you wanted cookies, snacks, and ice cream in the evenings, you had to get the cookies on one side, and then walk all the way around to the other side to get your ice cream. Not terrible, but just a nuisance. The stair towers are clearly marked as to what floor you are on, but this ship does not clearly identify which stair tower you are in. Can be confusing at times. We did figure it out after 4-5 days. The theater seems appropriately sized for this size of ship. Plenty of seating, especially when there are two shows in a night. I’ve read reviews to the contrary, but there was always room at our showtimes. We didn’t use it, but the kids area seemed very nice. Their own pool, some small slides, etc. On a 10-day cruise like this one, there aren’t a lot of kids anyway, but the ones that were there were well-entertained. We didn’t like the fact that they played quite a few games & trivia at the Gatsby’s bar area. This area is adjacent to a cigar bar, smoking area, and the casino isn’t far either. You couldn’t even walk above it on Deck 7 without smelling smoke. We are sensitive to smoke smell, so we avoided that whole area for the entire cruise. This meant missing out on some activities, but I was able to spend more time getting some sun instead! DINING The food was good, as expected. The Aqua dining room was good, but nothing wowed us. The buffet seemed repetitive. I get the repetition at breakfast, but not the other meals. They didn’t seem to have a lot of “theme nights” at the buffet, though. On past NCL cruises, there was always signage at lunch indicating what the theme of the night would be. Sometimes it’s nice to not do the dining rooms and just hit a buffet when you know it’s “Mexican Night” for example. Just an observation. And why can’t cruise lines figure out how to make a good pastry? ENTERTAINMENT We went to most of the shows in the Stardust while onboard. We typically went to the early show, but the 7:00 and 9:00 are supposed to be the same. We believe the entertainment in the theater was the best we’ve had on any of our cruises. Comedian/Juggler Dan Bennett is awesome (we’ve seen him before), the Newlywed/Not-So-Newlywed game didn’t disappoint, Michael Somerville had a very good show, the aerialists were impressive, magician PJ Wen was amazing (I was sitting there shaking my head multiple times), and the Elements show was very entertaining as well. Solid lineup, in our opinion. CRUISE-SPECIFIC ITEMS We believe the following items were specific to our itinerary, or port, so they are grouped here: On this cruise, there were PLENTY of deck chairs on the pool and sun decks, even on a sea day. First time we’ve ever experienced this. We’re theorizing that since we embarked in San Juan (and we know there were quite a few Puerto Ricans on this cruise), that Puerto Ricans don’t cruise to lay by the pool and catch rays. They can do that at home! 1:00 arrival in St Lucia. CRAZY trying to get off the ship. Everyone trying to leave at the same time. It took us over 30 minutes to get off the ship. Luckily, we still made our excursion meeting time. Barely! TIP FOR NCL: When you arrive mid-day, get the people with excursions off the ship first. Then let the others go. Note: we heard that the forward gangway was a lot better, but can’t verify that. If that WAS the case, it would have been nice to announce that fact over the PA system. We were disappointed that they waited until the last night to break out the chocolate chip cookies. Plenty of oatmeal raisin, but my wife was really holding out for the CC! I won’t go into port-specific items here. Our itinerary was awesome. Lots of stops and only one sea day. We love waking up in a different country every morning!! NCL TRAVEL AND TRANSFERS Due to promotions and incentives, this is the first time we allowed NCL to book our travel. The hotel was very nice and it was nice to have to have NCL worry about finding a suitable hotel, given that our original hotel (and even the 2nd choice) seems to be behind on hurricane recovery efforts. We had a room, and didn’t have to worry about anything. Flights are another story… We were in the very back of the plane each time. I’m sure NCL chose the cheapest seats they could. I’m inclined to never allow them to schedule airfare for me again. And as indicated before, the debarkation was WAY to early for the return flight. The transfers themselves went well. On the way in, we were met at the airport and taken directly to the hotel with no issues or delay. Same from hotel to port. The story of the transfer from port to airport has more to tell, though. As far as the Port of San Juan, the NCL transfers we had seemed to be the way to go. There seemed to be quite a bit of chaos in the port, with a HUGE backup of traffic coming into port. Our NCL transfer was easy to get to and we were out of there… However, the 8:45 debarkation time for the transfer was WAY too early for our 3:30 flight. We had to wait around for over an hour before we were even allowed to check our bags. And there are no seats other than the hard floor! Then we sat for five hours, before our four hour flight. And after a brief layover, it was another two hours before getting home. It was a long day that really didn’t leave us with a “WOW” feeling about our vacation. One thing we might look into next time in a similar situation is to book an excursion with airport transfer included. NCL considers San Juan a “port” so if you’re getting a credit per port, that should apply there as well. Something to look into... Will we go on NCL again? Absolutely! Was this the best NCL cruise we've been on? I think it COULD have been, but the room location just took too much away from the experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Embarkation was very good. We did arrive around 2, not crowded therefore it was fast. The cabin was good. My disappointment happened whe the bathroom got clogged. Did call and was told they were taking care of the problem due to a fire. ... Read More
Embarkation was very good. We did arrive around 2, not crowded therefore it was fast. The cabin was good. My disappointment happened whe the bathroom got clogged. Did call and was told they were taking care of the problem due to a fire. After half hour I went down to customer service and they told me the problem was with the line and to used the public bathrooms. I was very upset when more than 2 hours past and nothing was done. Close to 3 hours my went down and ask what was going on and if they can not fix the problem to change us to another cabin. The front desk said no. They we ask to speak to the manager and told him it was not right for us to be sent to use the public bathrooms and that nothing was done in close to 3 hours. When the manager call to have the cabin service it was done in five minutes. At that time the smell in the cabin was horrible. The whole situation was handled in a very unprofessional way. Like that is not enough we go to the Bamboo Restaurant and the Maitre D give us a lecture as to why we need to make reservations to eat there ( I did not see that requirement written anywhere) Two days later we go to Venetian for breakfast and they told us it was closed, when we asked why (the conversation is in English), the lady gave us an answer in English and then slowly in Spanish. Please don’t patronize people. That is disrespectful. In this cruise I noticed staff with a long face and not helpful. They looked tired The food was not as tasty as in previous cruises. We have to wait 25 minutes for the waiter to come and finally ate after an hour in the restaurant. It happened twice. At this point we are Gold members and had been either very satisfied or happy with my cruise experience. Not this time. Definitely after all of the above I can say it was not a pleasant vacation I have to say, two people in the staff were extremely pleasant. A waitress, Mylene in the Aqua restaurant and the Maitre D in the same restaurant Imelda Salazar. I wish you will have more people like them. Pedro Serra, always nice a pleasant. We have been in 3 cruises with him in charge of entertainment. I would love to be more positive about my review but, I ca only write what I experienced. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We are seasoned cruisers but first time on Norwegian. No problem with embarking or disembarking ship, very smooth. Smallest balcony cabin we ever had. We didn't care for layout, felt like we were in each others way all the time. ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers but first time on Norwegian. No problem with embarking or disembarking ship, very smooth. Smallest balcony cabin we ever had. We didn't care for layout, felt like we were in each others way all the time. Bathroom very small but decent shower. Sore back everyday from the mattress, it had to be mattress, because I was fine when I got home. Entertainers and shows were great, better than some other cruise lines. Did not like that NCL is always trying to nickel and dime you, especially trying to get you to buy lottery tickets before shows. Very tacky! The service was excellent. The food in Buffet was horrible, like a hospital cafeteria and the layout was very congested. The food was ok in the dining rooms but nothing special. The specialty restaurants were excellent. It was as if they are steering you to the specialty restaurants. No lobster night, what a disappointment! No lobster in specialty restaurants either. NCL really catered to smokers with the whole one side of pool deck for smokers, a smoking lounge off the regular lounge which came right out into the public areas and while you were sitting in the regular lounge you would get blasted when the door opened. The same in the casino. It was a great itinerary with 9 islands in 11 days. My husband and I like sharing tables for breakfast and dinner on cruises as we like to meet new people but it was discouraged on NCL, when we asked they said they would see what they could do but never did. The ship was nicely appointed but public areas were very crowded. We don't know if we will use NCL again unless it is for the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The cruise destinations were fabulous. The food, was not. Worst cruise food ever. I've had better at cheap buffets. Even the food in the restaurants was flavorless and options lacking. Same menu for lunch in the Venetian every single ... Read More
The cruise destinations were fabulous. The food, was not. Worst cruise food ever. I've had better at cheap buffets. Even the food in the restaurants was flavorless and options lacking. Same menu for lunch in the Venetian every single day for lunch, and if you're vegetarian, forget it, one option, a horrible, flavorless Spanish frittata every day your only option. Buffett foods equally as bad. Flavorless and no taste. Choices the same every day. Even the appearance was not appealing. Very limited choices for even a salad. Fruit was under ripe. Even the food in the specialty restaurants was lacking and flavorless. Salt and spice is something never heard of on this ship. In addition we were double charged for our water package. Even after having to spend money for internet minutes to prove our card had been charged for water months ago, they still claimed we hadn't paid and charged us almost $60 again for our bottled water. Service was poor. Servers arguing with each other in front of passengers, repeatedly. Meals in main dining rooms taking 1 and half plus hours because servers disappeared and wouldn't take orders for long time after sitting or meals took forever to come after ordering. This was our 4th Norwegian cruise. Had this been our first, it would have been our last. Get with it Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
My husband and I joined his brother and girlfriend on this cruise. The port of Boston was very convenient for them. I had been on the Norwegian Pearl earlier this year - and found the Dawn a bit disappointing. While the staff and food ( ... Read More
My husband and I joined his brother and girlfriend on this cruise. The port of Boston was very convenient for them. I had been on the Norwegian Pearl earlier this year - and found the Dawn a bit disappointing. While the staff and food ( for the most part) were great - the ventilation system from the Cigar Bar was terrible. We sat in the bar just outside of the Cigar Bar one night - and my hair and clothes picked up the cigarette smoke smell (not so in the Pearl ) - so there was entertainment at Gatsby's Champagne bar we could not enjoy. The whole 6th floor smelled like cigarettes. I think the Bliss lounge was a bit outdated and I missed the Spinnaker lounge and outside seating with the Buffett that is on the Pearl. Cagney's restaurant is worth going to - i wish we had gone more than once. I found the meat in the Brazillean ? restuarant dry - and would not recommend. One thing I would say about the Dawn - is that the bar staff/cocktail servers were great and attentive. On the Pearl we sometimes got tired of waiting for a server to come to our table - and went to the bar ourselves. Great Margarita's in the Los Lobos bar ( thanks John!!) and great mojitos in the Mojito bar. I would give the cruise a 4 star - but the smoke was an issue for me. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I was interested in seeing the southern Caribbean, had done Western several times. I liked to cruise with NCL until this cruise, it had always been my favorite. Embarkation was a form of torture. Had I not booked hotel and transfer, ... Read More
I was interested in seeing the southern Caribbean, had done Western several times. I liked to cruise with NCL until this cruise, it had always been my favorite. Embarkation was a form of torture. Had I not booked hotel and transfer, it would have been fine, but with all the buses arriving together it took over an hour just to get in the building from the bus parking lot. The Dawn was reconditioned in 2016 and I think what they did was just put in more “specialty” restaurants that you have to pay for. The buffet was below average for any ship I’ve been on. Every night there was a lot of Indian food. Set up for the buffet was ridiculous, instead of going in a circle, each side ended, making it constantly crowded. O’Sheehan’s had the best food, it was great and the service was great. The entertainment was great. Lots of variety. The itinerary was just what I was looking for. Key West,Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire,Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman. Cabin service was good, pleasant employees. I would love to do this itinerary again on a different ship. I had issues with the booking and very disappointing response from customer service. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was our 4th NCL cruise and 10th cruise total. We had an early time to check in at the port but then had to wait two hours to embark. I guess they are trying to stagger folks but I don't think we would have shown up that early had ... Read More
This was our 4th NCL cruise and 10th cruise total. We had an early time to check in at the port but then had to wait two hours to embark. I guess they are trying to stagger folks but I don't think we would have shown up that early had I know we wouldn't be able to get on for 2 hours. We got the Ultimate Beverage Package and certainly enjoyed it. We had an inside room this time. We are definitely used to having at least a balcony but the folks we were traveling with only wanted to pay for an inside and we wanted to stay close together. It was actually fairly large with quite a bit of storage and shelf space for being an inside room. The ship layout could be a little confusing but we eventually learned our way around. The entertainment was great! We loved all the shows and also the karaoke, bandaoke (we had never heard of that before), the White Hot party and Sailaway party. That was all a great time. The food was just okay. Our first night we went to Aqua and dinner took almost 3 hours (and we left before dessert so we could get seats for the show). We watched other tabes sit after us and leave before so I think it was just our table. We also never got refills of water. We had great experiences in both main dining rooms every night after that so I'm not sure what happened there. One thing that is disappointing is the lack of special dishes on their "formal" nights. Most other lines do something extra nice for entrees and desserts those nights but not NCL. Also I was under the impression that the Venetian was the more formal of the two and had a dress code but that was never enforced so even the dress up or not night had folks in their tshirts and shorts there. Our room steward was also disappointing. She was very friendly but when she would make up the room, it was done pretty haphazardly, there was only ice a couple of times, no pen or paper to write a note, and we are fairly certain that she rehung our wet dirty towels from the floor multiple times. They would even be folded on the rack and still wet. We only ever asked her for one thing, an egg crate because the bed was so hard. We never got it and I never asked again. Even our water glasses were left dirty multiple times. Also, at least 3 of the public women's rooms were overflowing water on the floor. I get it's an older ship and will have its problems, but three different restrooms for the entire cruise? Gross! The last reason I rated this cruise just "average" is because of all the cigarette smoke. They allowed smoking on the entire right side of the pool deck (which meant you were enveloped in a cloud if you just needed to walk through that side) but also the smoke smell carried well over to the other side of the pool. We couldn't even enjoy the hot tub. It was also allowed on the right side of deck 7 (the outdoor deck) which made it difficult to be out there if you just wanted to walk or if we were porting and you wanted to watch. Maybe smoke doesn't bother everyone but it gives me an instant headache when I smell it. So in summary, we thought the room was awesome as far as the size. The entertainment was great and the ports were great. The bars were always a good time too and had several yummy cocktails. The food was just okay, nothing special. Our cabin steward was a bit of a mess, and the allowed smoking was pretty crazy. Plus the women's public restrooms were gross. We would still probably go on another NCL cruise in the future but definitely not this ship. I also don't feel like I get much for being a Latitudes member so that doesn't really entice me much. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
flew to Miami arriving morning of the cruise (7 am). Killed some time at airport as was too early to head to Port. Took a cab to port I believe $24 fixed fare (2 cab as was traveling with mu wife, 5 children and our teenagers friend). ... Read More
flew to Miami arriving morning of the cruise (7 am). Killed some time at airport as was too early to head to Port. Took a cab to port I believe $24 fixed fare (2 cab as was traveling with mu wife, 5 children and our teenagers friend). Short drive to Port. Porters checked in our luggage. Then waited in a short line (which grew longer) as they had not yet opened the doors to check in. We has arrived at port approx 9:30 am. They were checking in the ship employees first. Then went through security and checked in relatively quickly. We are seasoned cruises but his was our first NCL cruise. Typical check in process except they automatically activate all the people in cabin (even young children) stateroom key to be active with the credit card. The check in person advised us when on ship to go to purser to deactivate the children's charge ability as in recent cruise a child had spent $900 at the video arcade without his parent knowing until the end of cruise. All other ships I have been on children were automatically not connected to the credit card. Was short line on ship to get the kids cards deactivated. Not a big deal but seems like a unnecessary step. Waited about 1 1/2hrs before they started boarding the ship. quick board. Not able to go to cabin until about 2 or 3 pm. I will not do a day to day review: Just some thoughts: dining: I like anytime dining. most cruise lines have this now as a option not mandatory as with NCL. Only had to wait 15-20 mins for dinner (prime time) for our party of 8 first 2-4 days of the cruise after that no wait. FOOD: I was disappointment with the variety of food on the open seat dining rooms. We ate dinner mainly at the venitian. Found the atmosphere there to be more like other cruise lines. More elegant then the Aqua. Both dining areas serve basically the same dinner choices. Desserts were fair, sometimes good but very limited choices on the changing menu. They have s set menu everyday with appetizer, entree, dessert choices the same the entire cruise. Then each day a appetizer/entree/dessert selection that changes. Even with those "changing" menus there was not very much variety. They have a "chefs special" entree that changes each night as well. Unfortunately it is not printed on the menu. Your waiter tells you what it is (many times hard just before you are ready to order). Would be much more helpful to have it posted at the door or a card with it on the table. Food itself was good. But again was disappointed with the variety. Luckily we went to dinner the the first (i belive perhaps second night) this was the only time they served lobster the entire 11 night cruise. Cagneys steakhouse has lobster $8 (in addition to the $25) specilaty charge. Lido deck buffet: ate breakfast there always. over all good. not to hard to find a seat. had a nice "kids" section which my 7,8,10 yr old liked (small child chairs, tables and there own small buffet line with food). Lunch was ok. not great. Had a deli daily and a hot buffet line and desserts. Late night snack was very limited. Pizza good, some desserts and hamburgers/hotdogs (not very appealing). Chocolate buffet (one time event i believe 8-10:30 Pm) had a good variety. It was in the lido deck buffet. The time of it was not ideal as too soon after dinner. Should have started at 9 and went to midnight. There is a 24 hr free restaurant with a fixed menu: has a decent breakfast choices, It is sit down, order form a waiter. Nice area with views out the ship or views down to the atrium where there is a late night movie and 7-11 pm musical entertainment. Lunch/dinner there is fixed menu (cheeseburger, fish and chips, chicken wings, panini sandwich. starter wonton soup or chicken noodle, spinach/cheese and tortilla chips and for dessert cheesecake or strawberry shortcake. The burgers were great (angus beef-much better than the buffet) and the wings were good. You could also order food there to go. Never had a wait. We did not eat at any of the specialty pay restaurant. Was going to eat at Cagneys steakhouse but never got around to it. Plus the added cost was higher then i wanted especially traveling with 8. By the way the steak in the "free" dining rooms was not very good. Could tell they chose cheaper cuts otherwise so as not to be close to competing with the specialty restaurants. Specialty restaurants never seemed to be busy. Always had openings. Many times seemed empty. SHIP ITSELF: typically cruise ship. Had no complaints. Show room was good. Pool was good. Cabin we almost always get a inside. Use our money for other things. Cabin was very small compared to all the other ships I have been on. Layout was poor. When bunk was down could not see the tv. Closet space very limited. I would avoid this cabin and this part of the hall. Ship layout plan gives no clue that it is a ship crew "party area". Noisy, laughing, music, partying form the crew starts about 8 pm and goes on until early in the morning EVERYDAY. We were happy we at least had 3-4 cabins away form the "emergency only/crew only" door that ended the hallway. STAFF: excellent overall. cabin steward was great (even stored some of our luggage that would not fit easily in our cabins). Wait staff overall good. Aqua dining room wait staff did not seem to be up to par. I have never seen wait staff stand around and "talk" with each other so much. Entertainment was good on board. variety good. The comedian they brought on board was horrible though. Kids Crew (kids club): Our 7,9,11 yrs old liked it. But the variety of activities was limited. Also activities in port were not included you had to pay extra for these. I have never had that on any other cruise lines. Smoking: we do not smoke. Smoking around the pool was annoying. Also the "cigar" lounge needs much much better ventilation the smell goes very far down the hallways and into the other non smoking areas. I am always amazed that the engineers can't have better ventilation that "sucks " the smoke out. SHORE EXCURSIONS: We had booked Samana Zip line months before the cruise.(we actually had done zip line in Samana on a Holland America cruise dec 2011. When we arrived at the ship first day was a note form shore excursion stating the tour had been cancelled. Talked to shore excursion person later who told us they have not done that excursion for months because of safety concerns. Not sure why they still have it for sale on the NCL website???? frustrating. The free shore excursion to Cayo isaland in Samana was great. Well appreciated. This is like other "private" cruise line islands we have been on before. Some members of our party did zip line/canopy excursion in Dominica and liked it but it was not just zip lines. Was other "obstacle course like things" Which was "scarier" to my wife. She "did not feel safe". The guides on the excursion were not very helpful. She enjoyed the Samana Zip line and felt much safer in December. Dominca: took taxi ($20pp roundtrip) to CHampagne neach (is a rock beach) excellent snorkeling best the entire trip. champagne like bubbles stream up in some places on the reef. Overall I enjoyed the cruise. But there has not been a cruise that I have not liked. I am not sure how this cruise compares to other NCL cruises/ships. Before This cruise ewe were planing on a Dec 2012 cruise on the same ship but have decided against it. Compared to our other recent cruises (Holland America, carnival and more distant RCCL and Princess) we are planning to to book with one of those lines for our next cruise this year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
I must agree with the previous review of the first time cruiser on NCL Dawn. This was our 7th cruise and 3rd with NCL. We chose NCL because it is slightly more economical to book, plus some of our group like the freestyle dining. ... Read More
I must agree with the previous review of the first time cruiser on NCL Dawn. This was our 7th cruise and 3rd with NCL. We chose NCL because it is slightly more economical to book, plus some of our group like the freestyle dining. However, in the end it isn't more economical because you are "nickel and dimed" to death. We opted for the wine package and after selecting three different brands of red wine it came to $240. The guys bought the buckets of beer which weren't too bad. I had two "drink specials of the day" which also came to about $10 with the 15% gratuity. The dining is really terrible. Since I feel that I paid for my meals in the cruise package, we avoided the specialty restaurants. We used the Aqua and the Venetian on most nights. Both were overcrowed and noisy, and the service left quite a lot to be desired. Service was slow, it was really understaffed, and the menu was unimaginative, and no shrimp cocktail available. The regular menu only changed once during the ten days. The first night I ordered key lime pie and the waiter got everyone's order wrong - then it was never on the menu again. We ate once at the buffet because it just seemed simpler! We also had lunch in the Blue Lagoon one day and checked the availabity for other days but the menu was the same every day, including dinner! We had breakfast everyday in the Garden Cafe because the Venetian closed at 9:30. We also found this breakfast buffet terrible for the same reasons. You just couldn't find a table to sit at. We were a party of four and usually had to take our meal to the pool deck. We also found that many of the activities had a charge added, so we avoided those as well. We went to the spa twice. The first time the girl literally took my arm and sat me down to give me her best sales pitch, so I left abruptly. My second trip was for an advertised "skin analysis" at a specified time. When I arrived 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time, I was advised that I would have to make an appointment for a one on one analysis. I wasn't looking for a one on one but thought it would be a group activity since it was posted on the daily event calendar. I again left abruptly!!!! We did get some very nice towel animals on our bed on most nights but we also experienced some lack of attention in our cabin. One day we left our used towels on the floor of the shower and they were never picked up. Do you think the shower was cleaned that day? On another occasion a cleaning rag was left on our bedside table. Every morning we were awakened at 7:30 by the cleaning staff assembling their bins and equipment outside our door! We were the last cabin at the end of that row. In general we didn't find the staff to be particularly friendly and only got to know a couple of names, after we specifically asked them. The nicest waiter we had in the Aqua was WAYAIN from Bali. Most of the others were too rushed to even speak to. We went off the ship in every port but didn't take any of the excursions because they have become way to pricey. When we cruised with NCL in 2011 we did several and they came to more than the cruise itself. Then there is the matter of the service charges - $12 per day per person - for what? Just for doing their job? And in many cases not doing it too well! I would have gone and had it removed but my husband was too embarassed to have me do that so to keep peace we paid. So for my opinion, this will be the last time we sail with NCL !!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We have had several cruises with other lines, but this was our first with Norwegian cruise line (NCL). If you have never cruised before, you will think that this is a perfectly respectable cruise line, a perfectly respectable ship with ... Read More
We have had several cruises with other lines, but this was our first with Norwegian cruise line (NCL). If you have never cruised before, you will think that this is a perfectly respectable cruise line, a perfectly respectable ship with perfectly respectable food and service. But if you have cruised with other - even non luxury - lines, such as Celebrity, you immediately notice the differences and those differences start bugging you after a while. In our opinion, the biggest draw of NCL - the so-called freestyle cruising that allows you to eat your dinner at any time - is their biggest mistake, their Achilles's Heel. in most other lines, you are given a time to come to dinner and you have a fixed set of servers, who get to know you and cater their service according to your taste. At NCL, you go whenever you want and therefore sit at wherever is available. Hence, a different server every night. Since the servers are not going to serve you again, and since the gratuities are fixed and billed to your stateroom, they have no incentive to go the extra mile, and guess what? they don't! To make matters worse, we were told that starting soon, NCL will not allow you to contest the gratuity, and it will be charged to your account no matter what. If that happens, then there will be no decent service. Food: Completely uninspiring. Your standard American fare. If you want anything ethnic, you need to go to their specialty restaurants and pay extra - on top of what you have already paid! On celebrity, for example, there is a sushi bar where you can eat to your heart's content (and good sushi, too!). On NCL, you have to pay extra for the sushi... or the Chinese...or even the Italian for heaven's sake. Yes, you read that right, you have to pay for pasta! How about some more creative cuisines, such as Thai, Turkish / Greek / Mediterranean ...? Fuggetabautit! Ship: Dawn is an old ship, as far as cruise ships are concerned. It has been refurbished in 2006, but still shows it age. In our cabin, the shower control dials were broken, and there was mold in the shower tank. Rooms are small, which are to be expected, but not as well designed. While the room size is probably similar to those of other lines of the same category, it feels like the room is smaller. The ship also has relatively fewer amenities. No rock climbing wall, no second pool, no mini golf or similar other activities. Cruise Director: The Dawn has the worst cruise director we have ever seen in a ship. The guy tried too hard to make jokes, all of which were bad. Staff: The most non-diverse staff of any line we have seen so far. In general, you will see a very rich diversity of nationalities among the staff. It seemed like 80% of Dawn's staff are from Philippines. Few were excellent in all respects, but some could not even speak proper English. Itinerary: This was the biggest draw for us. The ship called in Samana, Tortola, St. Martin, Antigua, Barbados and St. Kitts in a 10 day cruise. With the exception of Samana - which has great potential to be an excellent port, perhaps in 10 years - all ports offered excellent beaches, history, vistas and shopping. Entertainment: Their main stage shows were - with the exception of one comedian - were surprisingly good. However, a couple of them were guest shows and may not be on the Dawn the next time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was a ten night cruise to Barbados and other islands in the Lesser Antilles. It was our third time sailing on the Dawn, our tenth with NCL and our thirty-third cruise overall. We live on the Southwest coast of Florida so cruising out ... Read More
This was a ten night cruise to Barbados and other islands in the Lesser Antilles. It was our third time sailing on the Dawn, our tenth with NCL and our thirty-third cruise overall. We live on the Southwest coast of Florida so cruising out of Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami is most convenient. We usually drive over to Miami the day before the cruise to avoid any last minute rush or unanticipated travel glitches. We stay one night in a Quality Inn near the airport which allows free parking for up to 30 days and also offers free shuttle service to the port. There are several excellent Cuban restaurants nearby to help set the mood for a Caribbean cruise and the hotel includes a complimentary breakfast. Then, it's off to the port arriving around noon to see an undisciplined line of humanity snaking out of the building, down an alley, back up the alley and ending about another 300 feet later. Somehow, the majority were inside within 15 minutes. Check-in at the counter was also seamless and efficient and it should be since they conduct this rodeo multiple times each week. The good news ends there. Having successfully side-stepped the photographers minefield we arrive at the Garden Cafe, better known as the Feeding Trough, at peak feeding frenzy. NCL offers a bag check service for carry-on's but few take advantage of it, preferring to double-park their stuff under the crowded, undersized tables and in the sparse traffic aisles. This circus occurs on every ship on embarkation day. To avoid this you can grab a poolside table and take turns bringing food back or check to see if the main dining room happens to be open for lunch while in port. It rarely is. From here on we'll hit the high points and low points only. I assume you don't care to hear about anything that's considered average, standard, mundane or simply boring. The Dawn went into dry dock in May and converted the popular Spinnaker Lounge on deck twelve into suites. No longer can guests enjoy the 180 degree view with a bar during sail-away. It was also an excellent gathering space during the day plus a nighttime venue that was regularly filled with dancers and groups of partiers. The Spinnaker has been moved aft to a windowless lower deck and when we dropped in for a drink before dinner, only one other couple occupied a table. While on board we discovered this conversion had also taken place on the Dawn's sister ship, the Star. We have cancelled our April, 2012, 14 day Star repositioning from Tampa to New York. Overall, the ship is in relatively good shape if you can overlook a broken mirror in the elevator, duct tape over old signs, and some out of order public toilets. In keeping with management's marketing obsession the atrium is now cluttered daily with tables offering discounted merchandise that people didn't want on previous cruises. This greatly impedes traffic, distracts from what could be an attractive lounging area and causes generally docile adults to morph into "Black Friday" shopping mode. Our cabin on deck 9 served its purpose but if it had been six inches shorter in either direction it would have been most uncomfortable. The dirty, stained, paper thin carpet must not have gotten the memo about the dry dock refurbishing. Our efficient Room Steward did a marvelous job of cleaning the room but there wasn't anything she could do to improve that nasty carpet. Breakfast in the Garden Cafe offers everything anyone could possibly want including omelets, eggs to order and even pizza one morning. Sticky buns loaded with pecans were a welcomed surprise each day. The staff is overly accommodating and friendly for this time of morning and the "people watching" is always entertaining. Some even arrive in their PJ's and a big smile. The Jazz Brunch sounded like fun, but there was a fee attached so we passed on it. Lunch, in the same place, offers a large variety including an excellent deli, steam table fare, salads, soups, Italian, Indian, German and a hit or miss carving station. Hits include a moist, perfectly roasted turkey and a gigantic, melt in your mouth, bone-in pork roast. Where do they find hogs this size? Misses include a small, skinny, dismembered chicken and a rectangular piece of tough, tasteless beef that they would drag out every few days, saw off a few slices and return it to its cage. Another strange entree was beef stroganoff that included beets and red bell peppers. Colorful indeed. Dinner in the Aqua dining room is much quieter than in the MDR, which enhances conversation and the wait staff seems to enjoy your company. We received excellent service every night and made it a point to arrive for dinner by 6:00pm, thus avoiding waiting in line for a table. What ever happened to shrimp cocktail? With the exception of cheesecake, desserts seemed to be the product of some experiment that went terribly wrong. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to mess up a chocolate dessert, but it was done daily. Other abundant items appeared to be cloned Twinkies injected with a kind of gelatinous paste that I suspect would glow in the dark if given a chance. Breads, while light and airy, contained little flavor and I think were simply marking time before they could be used for bread pudding. Highlights on the entertainment calendar included an excellent house band, CD Paul Scally's act, Sinatra night in the Atrium and the high energy, high volume dance troupe. The Jean-Ann Ryan dance troupe is now history on the Dawn, the Pearl and I suspect other NCL ships as well. We were on the Pearl in January and the house band was also missing. All dance numbers were done rather amateurishly using "canned" music. Poor management decisions like these contribute to my impression of NCL having become the Walmart of all cruise lines. The unique itinerary and price combined to make this an interesting and affordable cruise with our balcony cabin on deck nine costing little more than a window cabin on a lower deck. This cruise included ports in the Dominican Republic, Tortola, St. Maarten, Antigua, Barbadoes, Saint Kitts and three days at sea. The rough edges of Samana, D.R. were smoothed off by the ship offering free tender service to the private island of Cayo Levantado which has a picture perfect beach and beautiful palms offering plenty of shade. Be sure to visit Saint Kitts shops and pick up several bottles of an excellent, locally produced vanilla flavored rum. Strange Behavior: Having our dinner interrupted by a staff member wanting to sign us up for a special Indian dinner at a special price--NCL now charges for a ship's tour, how tacky?--Watching a guy order two steak dinners and finishing them before we finished one--Hearing the Captain describe Samana as "Rustic" and having the CD announce it was too rough to board tenders for town but tenders are now available to take passengers to the private island--Watching a featured performer drop two slices of bacon on the floor, ignoring them, then shelling two eggs littering the table top with shells, discarding the yolks and eating only the whites with ketchup. Yucky and poor manners to boot. Disembarkation in Miami went smoothly until we were told by the Taxi dispatcher to stand in a very long line while she tried to figure out how to get us into taxi's. As we obediently waited in line, several disembarking passengers walked up and hopped into taxi's, bidding us farewell as they left the port. While the line got longer and longer we suggested the dispatcher should get some help since it was obvious she didn't know what she was doing. What a mess! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I booked this trip nearly a year in advance directly thru NCL. The cruise was selected primarily because of the itinerary - specifically Tortola. Had I read some of the Cruise Critic reviews before booking, I may have done something ... Read More
I booked this trip nearly a year in advance directly thru NCL. The cruise was selected primarily because of the itinerary - specifically Tortola. Had I read some of the Cruise Critic reviews before booking, I may have done something differently, but nonetheless, we sailed. Our trip began on a Sunday, we left the airport hotel around 11am with a shuttle - I believe it was $20/person, and arrived comfortably at the ship's terminal about 25 mins. later. There was already a line forming outside the doors, so we had our luggage whisked off and we began the snaking of the line thru security, and up to the check-in window. All when relatively quickly, no hitches, and we were on the ship shortly after 12:00pm. The hallways to all the rooms were sealed off, so we took our overnight bags with us and headed directly to the spa. It's our habit to book the spa pool packages whenever available. We both enjoy the peace and quite; the extra $30/day was worth it to us ($149/person). The passes are limited to 50 male/50 female, so we make sure we've secured a pass. On this particular sailing, I don't think they sold out. There was only one day that we felt a bit of a crowd, and I believe that was our first port day where the spa advertised a $30 port day spa pass. I would say that we never saw more than a dozen people in there at one time after that. Once we had our passes we headed to lunch in one of the two main dining rooms - The Venetian. We were one of only 3 tables seated when we arrived (not that many more seated by the time we left). Our service was attentive, but not intrusive. We found the waiter to be pleasant, unhurried (as he should have been), and we had a nice relaxing lunch. We ordered the tampande' as a starter, I had the Cobb salad, and I honestly can't remember my husbands entree, but we both were satisfied with the meal. After lunch, we moved to the pool area while checking out some of the other public rooms. The pool deck was nice enough. We ended up spending a lot of time there over the course of the cruise. The only day that I recall there being a shortage (or so it seemed) of chairs was the last sea day before returning to Miami. That was our best weather sea day, and the last; both my have played a factor. As a matter of fact, the chairs were in so short of supply that a couple next to us had a manager come by and remove article that another couple had laying on their chairs (saving them) since 7:30am - we know, because we had been out there continuously since then, the couple NEVER showed up. About 2 hours later, a woman came by and acted indignant that her belongings had been set to the side. Well, after a short protest with the couple next to us (and we had their back), she realized she had no leg to stand on - picked up their things and left. The was the ONLY time I saw the management act on the "no saving chairs" policy. Usually, after 2:30-3pm, the pool area begins to empty out. Our room was ready around 2:30 so we headed back. For the first time, we booked an aft balcony. I was a bit unsure after reading some comments on the message boards here about possible noise issues. I can only speak for the two of us, but we did not find any sounds too loud or disruptive. There is no "engine" noise whatsoever, and the sound of the water we found to be comparable to any balcony we've ever occupied. We would totally book another aft room! As for the room it's self - it's exactly the same size (both room and balcony) to any other standard balcony on the ship. This is not a suite size room. I will also say that on the last day, we were one of the last to leave our room (9am was the deadline), and the doors to the other aft-facing rooms were open. We peeked in and I can tell you that they were not much bigger than ours - these are not penthouse rooms by any stretch! Personally, we were very happy with our choice. The bathroom, while tiny per usual, we found to be nice in that the toilet had its own dividing door, and the shower was a walk-in with a sliding door. There was an adequate amount of storage with a shelf below the sink and a built in waste basket. The ventilation was good as well. The bedroom consisted of a queen bed, sofa and small square table. There was a built-in desk and shelf area, and a second built-in mirrored "make-up" area. The closet and draw space was plenty for us, and of course your bags get stored under the bed. Room was clean, carpet was clean; it was nice. Now the downside of the room: Our bed was VERY firm. VERY firm. Neither of us is overly picky about our mattresses, but we do sleep with memory foam at home. I asked "Mo" our cabin steward (who, btw, was a doll and we tipped heavily at the end of the cruise for his extra efforts) for an egg-crate type mattress pad, and he brought us one that next day, and it was on the bed for our second night. Made a huge difference! If you like a softer bed, ask for the mattress pad. Second negative about the room - the lowest drawer would not stay closed, at all. Not just with the boat motion, it rolled right back out as soon as you tried to close it. Needless to say, the first couple of days we had some 'ankle-biting' going on! We asked for a repair that never happened. The last "negative" about the room was our mini-frig. I wasn't cold at all the first day. I thought maybe it had been off for some reason and took a bit to cool down again. By the second day we realized it simply wasn't working. We called for maintance on that and saw a requisition copy in our room the next day. Apparently someone from maintainence came in and worked on it, but it never really got "cold". It was cooler; you could tell it was on, but definitely not a refrigerator. Those last two items may be minor, but I don't think they should be insurmountable fixes either. Let me jump to entertainment: We saw all but two shows onboard. We thoroughly enjoyed all of them. My husband was brought onstage during the magician's act, and I was hypnotized on stage the next night! The last show, "Bollywood" was excellent! Much better entertainment than we've experienced on previous cruises. The two comedy acts were the weakest of the bunch, but even those were entertaining. The band by the pool was good, if not repetitive (same song, different day). We were never awake late enough to catch the DJ in Spinnaker, but everyone who did seemed to enjoy. Overall, I would give the entertainment a "THUMBS UP". The cruise director John Salley was a hoot, and his comedy show (second to last night) was a good one to catch. Now for the food: I'm not going to give you a meal by meal run-down. Let's just say that the main dining room experience was completely under-whelming. The cover charge restaurant meals on the other hand were all tasty - La Mondero, and Le Bistro being worth the cover, La Cucina not so much. We're not gourmets, nor are we picky eaters, but honestly, this was the worst cruise ship food we've had in a long, long time. We had breakfast every morning in the 'cafeteria'. It was fine, no complaints there - what you saw was what you got. Lunches were varied. We had two of the pool-side barbeques that were fine; good burgers and grilled chicken. The salads were ok, uninventive, under seasoned, but ok - same as what you found in the cafeteria. We had 2 lunches in Venetian, the rest were either in the cafeteria or in port. Dinner is where they fall flat. My advice, skip dessert altogether - with the exception of the flan in La Mondero the first night, there was not a single dessert that we tried for the rest of the 10 days that was worth the calories. The meals in Venetian, Aqua (where we ate twice), and Blue Lagoon I would equate to sitting down at your local chain lunch/dinner restaurant. Passable, but barely. TGIFriday's served on white tablecloths. We traveled the menu searching for something tasty, but were disappointed over and over. The food experience left us with a sour taste (no pun) for this cruise line altogether - so much so that we have informally decided it was probably our last NCL cruise. It's not that they CAN'T produce a good meal, they do in the specialty restaurants, they just want to charge you (AGAIN) for it. We didn't feel that this cruise warranted an additional $40-50/night for a good dining experience. Why should we $400-500 for the food we should be served in the first place? Ports of Call: There again, good and bad. Let me start by saying we did not book any excursions thru NCL. OK, Samana- BAD. I don't want to take the space here to go into all the gossip about the day, but let's just say that NCL will divert their passengers to Cayo Laventado - a small island off the coast of Samana - for a free beach day. Don't pay for this excursion, you'll be offered it for free. We both enjoyed our beach day there, but we didn't try to get to Samana as some others had (and were denied). We LOVED Tortola because we had booked an excursion outside the ship with BVI 360. Sam Henry is the operator - pleasant guy. He drove us over to the West End, where we boarded a small boat to whisk us over to Jost Van Dyke. IF you are beach people, DO NOT MISS this trip. Jost was the best beach we experienced on this trip. Also, don't be put off by the note that you need to "swim to shore". Neither of us are swimmers (does dog-paddling count?), but the distance was probably 50 feet tops. After 5 or 6 strokes you can touch bottom - no worries there; AND they summoned a dingy to carry our belongings over to shore, so if need be, you could ride in that. Our least favorite port was Antigua, but we never ventured past the shopping district, and the vendors and street people there were obnoxious. We did here good things about the beaches there! My husband loved St. Kitts. I enjoyed it as well, but Jost was still my favorite. On St. Kitts we got a cab outside the terminal gates with "Sam the Man". He was a hoot. If you want/need a safe ride in St. Kitts, look for Sam. Anyway, he drove us to Shipwreck Bar & Grill on Friar's Beach. Lovely "cast-away" sort of feel. Rustic, but comfortable, relaxing - a perfect last port of call for us. We really enjoy our beach time. Other friends we made on board did a lot of the cultural tours and most I think were happy with those. Being from the far north, we knew our days of sun and sand were very limited, so we took full advantage! One of our routines on board was a night-cap in the Star Bar up on Deck 13, opposite Cagney's. It was always quite, with a piano playing until 9:30 or so. Rayshelle was a delightful waitress; and the bartender mixed up a mean martini. That was one of the most pleasant memories of the ship. Now, a word about the "service charge" that NCL dictates. I mentioned that we tipped our cabin steward as we left the ship. When I handed him the tip, I explained that I wasn't sure how much of our $25/day he would see, so I wanted to make sure he got what he deserved. He told me that even he wasn't sure how much he got because it was simply part of his salary. Hmmmm. So, basically, these employees don't receive a "tip". How do we as passengers even know that they receive anything? I mean, are their wages that much higher than other cruise lines? Maybe, I don't know. But our take on that policy is that the employees basically have no financial motivation to go 'above and beyond'. All and all it was a good cruise. With some extra effort in the dining rooms it could have been a great cruise. But, I think we'll be back with Celebrity on our next sailing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We just come back from this 11 day southern Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. The boat was beautiful but the public spaces lacked seating. The Stardust theater was big and the seating was done that everyone could see. The leg room ... Read More
We just come back from this 11 day southern Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. The boat was beautiful but the public spaces lacked seating. The Stardust theater was big and the seating was done that everyone could see. The leg room was a bit short. The bathroom in the cabin was the biggest one we have seen on any of our other sailings, especially the shower. The cabin was a bit small. With the two twins pushed together, there as only space on the one side of the bed to get out. The other person had to crawl over the bed. The food at the main dinning rooms were good but lack variety. Half the menu did not change every night. It stayed the same for all 11 days. The other half did change but did not offer a great variety. I felt like if I wanted variety, such as Italian, Mexican or steak, they wanted us to go to the special restaurants that had an up charge to eat there. We choose not to eat at any additional charge restaurant. The Garden Cafe was average, no better than say the "Golden Coral". It had a big variety, but just the same each day. The one item I did like was the carving station. The meat there was tasty. The seating in the Garden Cafe was so tight, that once people were seated you could not get through the aisles. Very tight. We did eat at the Blue Lagoon, after we found out there was no up charge. The food here was good and offered several meals, but once again the menu did not change. My husband manage to catch a cold on board and we went to see the doctor. Upon walking in the door we were told the charge was $110.00 to see the doctor plus and prescriptions medicines. We walked out. They should have a fee more like $20 to $30 plus medication and passengers would use them and then not infect other passengers. By the time we arrive back in Miami, many people on board were coughing and sick. Drinks were too expensive at $8.95 or more each and draft beers at $5.50 is too much. I usually play Bingo but when I saw the prices that start at $39 up to $69 I choose not to play. The winnings were only $150 per game and I had to spend at least $39 to have a chance. No thanks. The best part was the entertainment on board. All the shows were great. The ship board cast were very good and talented. The comedian was funny and the shows had good variety. Before each show, the Assistant Cruise Director was selling pull tabs. Just another way to get money from the passengers. Seems like every time you turned around, NCL was looking for money. Another money maker for them was the internet. They offered several packages, one at $150, $100 and a pay as you go, at $.75 per minute. I did use these services on a pay as I go plan, which I thought was very expensive. I only used it to communicate with our son a few times during the voyage. Many of the passengers took their laptops off the ship with them at port and used the free Wi-Fi there. We have cruised many times over the years, we like some of the changes, like freestyle dinning but don't like up charges and all the other additional charges and overpriced drinks, bingo and internet. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Here is a review of the 11 night cruise that sailed on 11/02/11 and returned 11/13/11. This is my first time on NCL and unless I get a knockout deal like I did this time, it may be my last. My wife and I were able to get a mid-ship ... Read More
Here is a review of the 11 night cruise that sailed on 11/02/11 and returned 11/13/11. This is my first time on NCL and unless I get a knockout deal like I did this time, it may be my last. My wife and I were able to get a mid-ship mini-suite with balcony while our 2 children sailed for free. Embarkation out of Miami I thought was a breeze. There was a minimal wait, 15-20 minutes, but once things got flowing it went very quick, with no hitches at all. In fact it may have been one of the smoothest boardings in the 10 cruises we have done. Once on the ship, the staff was pleasant enough, but soon after we noticed a lot of small things that were really minor, but I guess we were surprised that they were not addressed. Especially since the ship sailed empty from Boston so there were a few days to really go over the ship. Things like missing elevator buttons, missing and or broken signs in the elevator. Small trim around the ship, again damaged or missing. It just seemed odd, as we sailed on Carnival twice before and the rest with RCL i think we were expecting a step up in "class" if you will from those other 2 lines. Once in the room, we found it spacious, neat and clean of course. Balcony was of decent size, with one reclining chair and one regular chair with matching small table for our use. Looking out from our balcony to the overhang from deck 12 we noticed large sponges wedged in a few places on the overhang for a reason I can't even guess at. Unsightly but not bothersome. One huge difference from RCL and a major sticking point for us was the fact that the kids camp was free only when we were sailing. When docked it is $10 an hour for 2 children, which altered our plans on port days. Admittedly I did not look into this as i assumed they were like RCL, and you know what happens when you assume. Anyhow, the kids seemed to like the kids camp, but were not crazy over it like on RCL. It seems that they kept playing the same games, and there was not much free play. The children did say they staff was friendly and really like "Animal" and "wiggles", 2 members of the kids camp staff. The food was overall just OK, with the Aqua dining room, serving fairly bland tasting dishes, with shockingly poor service, on every night we went there. Orders were wrong, no bar service whatsoever, coffee served 10 minutes before dessert arrived. Again a lot of little things. Venetian dining room seemed to offer a bit better tasting food with much better service. Waits were minimal on most nights for both dining rooms. The Blue Lagoon on deck 8 serves comfort food, wings, burgers, chicken fingers, fish and chips. An decent option from the buffet slop on deck 12, but again the service in the Blue Lagoon matched the Aqua. The staff was mostly inattentive and one time down right surly. Once cheesecake was served, with the coffee that was ordered with it showing up 5 minutes later, another gaff was getting numerous bones stuck in my throat from the fish. In 35 years of eating fish & chips I have never come across bones in that meal until the Dawn. Once again small details that they missed, though the fish bones goof was kinda major & a bit scary until I dislodged them. The Garden Cafe on deck 12 is the buffet, and it is was most buffets are , mass quantities of bland food. The carving station selection was always dry, never were green vegetables offered unless they were in the Indian section and that was only occasionally and was always steamed broccoli. I know onion adds a lot of flavor to dishes, but it seemed like ever side dish, rice with veggies, or the hash browns etc had onion in them. Being allergic to onions, made my options slim in the cafe, but seeing the food was pretty much uneventful I don't think I missed much. More cafe misses were the oatmeal. Every day but one it was as runny as soup. The orange juice is not really orange juice but an orange juice cocktail with high fructose corn syrup listed as one of the first ingredients. Yes I looked at the empty carton as a worker was refilling the station, which he snatched out of my hands as if I was trying take his wallet or something. On the plus side for the cafe I found the made to order omelet stations on point, and the happy, happy, washy , washy lady spraying hand sanitizer seemed to be genuinely liking what she was doing. The Bimini Bar & Grill on deck 14 which serves burgers, dogs and fries from 2 to 6 pm was a decent choice, as most of the crowd choose the Garden Cafe buffet on deck 12, it left us no fighting to find a table, or waiting for more food to come out, though it was a bit windy up there at times. We did not eat at any of the numerous specialty restaurants on the ship, but I will say it did smell great as we walked past them. The best meal I had was when they did a cookout on the pool deck on one of the sea days. Burgers, dogs & chicken cooked over charcoal was a nice break from the bland dining rooms. They had a killer looking giant wok filled with pasta, sausage and veggies, which i had to avoid do to the onions. It sure looked and smelled great. Sprinkles the Ice Cream bar on the pool deck was a really nice feature, serving what seemed to be real ice cream from 12 to 5:30 or so. On one of the first days on board we checked a game of Monopoly out from the Library. I was shocked to find the game was missing 90% of the pieces. I understand a few things may go missing but the game had no dice, no money etc, who checks these things? This is the stuff that bugs me. We found the entertainment on board pretty boring, especially the special guests. I understand comedy is subjective, some find certain things funny that others don't, but the fat comedian, was exceptionally boring, and he is the Grandfather of the Dawn, so i guess it's just me on that one, because somebody must like him if he's around that long. The trivia games are usually read by someone whose English is obviously a SECOND language, with many interruptions to repeat, or spell out something they just read. That got old by day 4. They kept saying your playing for cheap, crappy plastic prizes, and hats off to NCL for being upfront. The giveaways were truly throwaways. Better prizes are certainly needed down the road. The music talent on the ship was decent, with the reggae band the best of the lot. I found them to be very listenable no matter what venue they were playing in. The highlight was the cabin and the person who was responsible for it's upkeep. He did a fantastic job and really kept up with giant messes me and the kids made. On won't go into the ports, it's all in what you do there. I will say one thing, Samana avoid it at all costs. Overall it was an OK cruise we had a great time on all the Islands after Samana, I just think that the Dawn needs more polish and attention to details, it was a good cruise for the price. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
My wife and I cruised w/ another couple both of us having cruised similar itinerary on the Pearl in 2008.Our 4th NCL and their 2nd NCL cruise.Our 7th cruise and their 10th overall.So let me begin. EMBARKATION:a breeze once they started ... Read More
My wife and I cruised w/ another couple both of us having cruised similar itinerary on the Pearl in 2008.Our 4th NCL and their 2nd NCL cruise.Our 7th cruise and their 10th overall.So let me begin. EMBARKATION:a breeze once they started process.We arrived at port 10:30 and on boat 11:30.No problems. CABIN:usual small inside deck 10 midships.Lot of noise from behind cabin at night.Asked for eggcrate for bed which helped a lot.Cabin steward exceptional.Had problem w/ water in sink/shower that would not get below scalding.6 phone calls and 45 min wait for plumber.Entire shower appliance replaced later so no further issues.Closet door hinge broken but not a big issue as ship headed for dry dock in April. PUBLIC AREAS:Generally well maintained but needing refurb.1 hot tub down entire cruise.No water slide.Small pool.Usual too smokey casino.Way too lax w/ smoking policy for those of us not wishing the stench.Slow,slow ,slow elevators??Nice atrium area. DINING:what happened NCL??Aqua way too small.Venetian nice but wait staff slow beyond reason (3 hr dinner 1 night)and disorganized.Menu selections were a joke when compared to the Pearl or other lines we have been on.$10 pp for mexican food, are they nuts???Lobster night; so add fish and lots of rice to plate and hope we won't ask for more lobster, is this the new plan???No cold soups offered.Desserts were just plain boring and w/ few selections other than the anytime ones.Strawberry souffle was the only great one we had.Tappenyaki @ $25 pp.Only 2 grills.I got 2 shrimp5 scallops,approx 4 oz steak, 5 bites of lobster, and all the rice I wanted.Not even close NCL.The Pearl this ship is NOT!!Thank God for the Blue Lagoon and Garden cafe.Had breakfast in Venetian 1 am.Cold food,cinnamon on the cold buttermilk pancakes and just generally poor quality.Back to the Garden cafe from then on.Blue Lagoon many nights for great wings,won-ton soup,burgers,etc.Pool side B-B-Que served burnt to a crisp burgers and wok style items that were generally good.Well maybe next cruise will be better. BARS:better priced than Carnival Spirit 12/10, and good service and quality.2 for 1 martini's at the Star bar were great deal.Need better priced beer buckets and better selection of drafts. ENTERTAINMENT:comedian was funny,magician so-so,shows so-so,2nd City very funny,game shows O.K.,need more late night comedians/variety.Pool side band good when they played.Would play 15-20 min then break for 30-60 min???Had a DJ that played canned music w/ good variety. DISEMBARKATION:walked off w/ luggage at 9:30 w/ no problems. SUMMARY:not what we expected of our beloved NCL in terms of food or entertainment.If not for Matt Baker the cruise director, the entertainment would have been a complete flop.We will be looking at other lines in the future unfortunately as our Dec/2010 Carnival cruise food was so much superior to this cruise food and the entertainment was better as well for far less money.Perhaps NCL can clean up their act and this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Having since cruised "back" with Carnival Cruise Line, I stand by my original review of the Norwegian Dawn. It seems that nothing has changed on the Dawn. We were on the cruise last February 2011 where the Dawn was ... Read More
Having since cruised "back" with Carnival Cruise Line, I stand by my original review of the Norwegian Dawn. It seems that nothing has changed on the Dawn. We were on the cruise last February 2011 where the Dawn was incapicitated by the loss of its engines and we limped from port to port; ports not originally on the itinerary. From the inconvenience of cancelling our excursions to the poor customer service received, the inability of the room stewards to clean our room, the poor quality of the food and the overall shabby condition of the ship, to the overpriced and slow internet service, we were happy to return to the great services that Carnival has always provided. On a positive note, the waiters and bar service was great on the Lido and the Bimini Bar has the best burgers and fries!! Probably the best time on the Lido of any ship we have cruised on! We will only ever cruise with Carnival. I can honestly state that we have never had a bad experience on any of their cruise ships. We cruised Carnival this summer and will be onboard again in February. I understand that every cruiser has a different expectation of good service and I respect their perceptions and opinions on what constitutes a great or poor cruise experience. I was especially shocked at the attitude of some of the members on this website who felt that they could criticize my perception of the service we received and my experiences of a vacation that did not live up to my expectations. This forum should be free from negative comments aimed toward the reviewers' opinions. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Background This was my family's first NCL cruise after two previous Carnival cruises. I am 33 and my husband is 39. We have three kids, ages 14, 9, and 7. Pre-Cruise/Miami We stayed at the Marriott Biscayne Bay in Miami ... Read More
Background This was my family's first NCL cruise after two previous Carnival cruises. I am 33 and my husband is 39. We have three kids, ages 14, 9, and 7. Pre-Cruise/Miami We stayed at the Marriott Biscayne Bay in Miami in a port view room. The hotel is pretty nice and it suited our purpose, a place to sleep for the night. We took a cab to Bayside ($10 + tip each way), browsed the shops, ate at Bubba Gumps, and stopped at CVS on the way back for some soda to take on board. We woke up to see our ship, Norwegian Sky, Carnival Imagination and a Royal Caribbean ship I couldn't identify right off hand in our view. Embarkation We left the Marriott at 10:30am and spent $10 + tip in taxi fare get to the pier. The porters were very friendly; they took our two bags and pointed us in the right direction to board. The boarding process itself was pretty typical; through security, to the NCL check in counter, and up to the lounge to wait. We sat where we were directed until we were told when we could head on board. While sitting and waiting, we overheard two NCL badged employees talking (not quietly and in front of a lot of passengers) about how "none of these idiots listen when we tell them to" and gesturing to a crowd of people in the seating area....wow....OK....but I'm not letting a few dolts ruin my first impression of NCL. We were on board and eating at the Garden Cafe by 12:20. Our luggage arrived around 3:30. Meet and Greet I did get to attend our roll call's Meet and Greet, although I was a bit late as we got lost (yeah, laugh now! lol) trying to find Impressions. We actually had found it but there was a cooking class or something going on in the room in front of the door so we walked by it several times. It was nice to meet everyone (minus a few...we had almost 100 signed up but I think only 40-ish showed up) that I've been chatting with for the past year or so. The Ship Cabin: We initially booked two connecting ocean view cabins (Category H upgraded to D due to promotion) but we accepted an upsell to two connecting BA cabins, which were 10688 and 10690. Yes, the cabins on NCL are smaller than Carnival but we knew this and were prepared. Despite the smaller size, the cabins on NCL are very nicely appointed. If you like hard beds, you'll love the beds on NCL. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people so this was a long 9 nights of uncomfortable sleep. The Dawn has mini refrigerators in all of their cabins which we found very nice and useful. We were pleased overall with the cabins. Our steward was great, bringing us the few things we asked and always a pleasure to speak with when we saw him in the hallways. Dining: I really like the Freestyle concept. We always had somewhere to eat that was "appropriate" for our style of dress. Jeans and shorts were welcome in the Aqua but not in the Venetian so on the nights we didn't feel like wearing khakis, we either went to the Aqua, the Blue Lagoon, or the Garden Cafe. No big deal, there really is something for everyone. *Main Dining Rooms: We chose to dine at the Aqua our first night. We were seated immediately but the service from that point was not that good. It took us three hours to get through our meal. I sat with an empty water glass for 45 minutes at one point and getting our waiter's attention was just not happening because we never saw him or only saw him fleetingly and could not get his attention. It got to the point where two other waiters took over his service and got us through our meal. The food was OK, but lukewarm at best. We ate at the Venetian on a few of the other nights. The service there was better as was the temperature of our food...but still slower than it should be. *Garden Cafe (Buffet): We enjoyed the breakfast options at the buffet. The omelets were great and there was a very nice selection of fresh fruit every morning. They do need to scramble their eggs a bit longer though, they are quite loose almost to the point of runny. Apple, cranberry, and orange juices were offered along with milk, coffee, and tea. We ate dinner at the buffet for one night and found it adequate but not our favorite. Thank you my Cruise Critic friends for alerting me to the pretzel rolls because they are the BEST. We all loved them. I wish that there was at least one other juice option outside of breakfast like a lemonade or something. We brought Hawaiian Punch single packets and a 32 oz Rubbermaid drink container and kept that in the mini fridge for us to drink along with the soda. ' I like that there is a "Kids Cafe" available for the younger kids to be able to serve themselves and to have the option of some more typical kid fare to choose from. *Blue Lagoon: We loved, loved, LOVED the Blue Lagoon. The service is excellent and the food is absolutely delicious. The fish and chips, the buffalo wings, and the grilled chicken sandwich were all great. I don't think I ordered anything that I did not like. We chose not to dine at any of the specialty restaurants because with 5 people dining we decided that our money was better spent in other places. Kids Club We signed up all three kids for the Kids Club and got the brochures showing the kids' respective age group schedules. The girls participated in a slumber party (on the last night until 10pm...not sure if that was the best planning), colored their own t-shirts, made flower leis, and had free play time. My son reviewed the brochure and didn't see anything that caught his interest so he did not go. There was only one other kid his age signed up for the program anyhow. Shows, Casino, and Miscellaneous Thoughts We had a very nice photographer (Antonio) one night who took some excellent photographs of my family...better than any cruise or studio photos we've ever had taken. He was also very friendly and patient as well as talented. We saw him several times throughout the cruise and he always remembered our names and stopped to chat. Thumbs up for NCL who, at the request of several passengers, found a way to broadcast the NFL games everyone requested! We tried the casino one night. No winnings (didn't expect it either! ?) and we found the selection of slot machines somewhat lacking. We did shop somewhat on board. There is the typical jewelry selection (which my husband did buy a tanzanite ring that I liked) and a limited selection of NCL merchandise. We found more of the Del Sol and other items from the "ports of call" than anything else. There is a large selection of different types of cigarettes available. We saw the "South Beach Rave" show and it well, wasn't that great. We also saw Charles Peachock's show (he's a juggler) and he was awesome. My girls did a round of karaoke on two nights and everyone in the audience was really nice to them. We ordered the Bon Voyage backpacks for the kids which were not in our cabin when we arrived. I had read here that we would have to take our certificates up to the Kids Club to get them but I'm still wondering what is the point of a Bon Voyage gift that we have to go fetch...and this would have been probably fine except for the fact that we didn't have the certificates either so it was a big hassle getting them from the Kids Club even with a receipt that I brought along. They were really nice about exchanging the t-shirt sizes though. Disembarkation I really like the Freestyle Debarkation process. You go to the display and pick the tags for the time you want to go and wait for them to call that color (if you don't self-disembark). We chose when we wanted to leave (10am) and the process was really painless. No crowds, no long lines....much smoother than any debarkation I've done to date. Overall Impression: The Dawn needs her drydock. We saw several buckets in the hallways and public spaces catching leaks when it rained. I do like the overall dEcor though and it is a really clean ship. The ship was also pitching more than what seemed normal for the sea conditions. Several other people commented on it throughout the cruise, so I am confident it wasn't just me. It seemed to me that a lot of the crew members just didn't want to be there; the smiling, happy, "What can I help you with?" crew was definitely in the minority. We were grateful for those we did encounter and made sure they were recognized on the STYLE cards. We found the activities on board somewhat lacking; especially for the kids. There wasn't as much of a variety as we had expected...or maybe it was that we couldn't find much that was our style of entertainment. Either way you see it, that's how we felt. I actually wrote most of this review while on the cruise because I had time. As for whether we would go on another NCL cruise or recommend one, I'd have to say maybe...if the price and ports are right and NCL beats the competition. The ports made this cruise a good one for us more than the ship itself. I very likely wouldn't cruise NCL with the kids again. I think Carnival was a better fit for them and they said so as well. That last part being said...for those who are looking for our opinion of NCL vs. Carnival, because I know this question gets asked a lot....here's my scorecard with the "winner" noted: Ship DEcor and Layout: NCL Cabins: Size - Carnival, Appointment - NCL Food: Dining Rooms - Carnival, Buffets - NCL Service: Carnival Activities/Entertainment: Carnival PORTS OF CALL: Samana I would recommend that you book SOMETHING in Samana or stay on the ship; there isn't that much out there that we could see that you would be able to do on your own. We booked the Sea Lion Encounter through NCL. We met in the Stardust Theater at 10:45am and proceeded to our tender. The Sea Lion Encounter was amazing. We were in groups of 10 and were able to feed, pet, kiss, and see the tricks of a female sea lion on shore while our guide taught us about the animals. We took a short walk down the water and were able to get in and play with a male sea lion. We pet him and watched his tricks. Pictures are not allowed during the encounter, as is the standard with excursions like this (think Dolphin Swim.) We were able to purchase a CD with 55 pictures of our family interacting with the sea lions and with about 10 pictures of the island included for $65. I was amazed and pleased that so many pictures cost so little vs. the hundreds that we spent on Dolphin Encounter photos on other stops. This is a fun excursion for kids and adults alike and I would recommend it. Tortola We booked a tour of the Baths with Tortola Charters for this port. For $260 total our family of five was promised a cruise aboard the "Sea Ray" to the Baths for a guided tour lasting four hours. To be provided to us were flotation belts for the kids, bottled water, snorkel equipment, and for purchase sodas, t-shirts, hats, and other souvenirs. We were scheduled to leave at 10am for the excursion, but the ship was a bit late clearing so we were not able to get to our meeting point until 10:05. When we arrived we found that our excursion had left without us (which strikes me as odd considering most tours know when the ships are running behind) but Tortola Charters left us, another couple, and three younger girls in the charge of Egbert. Egbert informed us that we would not be snorkeling from the anchored boat but rather that we would be brought ashore on Devil's Bay instead. This was OK because we figured this would work better for the kids and getting all of our things on shore. Egbert (who most definitely did NOT give a good first impression; very abrupt and bossy) led us to his maybe 20 ft. fishing type boat (NOT our private charter we were promised) and ordered us to stow our belongings under the bow and "sit in the back." His dinky little boat took us to the Baths on the Devil's Bay side. We were never offered drinks of any sort. Approaching the island, he ordered my husband to GET TO THE BOW, JUMP OFF, AND BRING THE BOAT TO SHORE. Yes, my husband had to get out and pull the boat ashore and was YELLED at because he "wasn't doing it right." We were dumped on Devil's Bay and told to "get to the other side and find Egbert's brother who would sell us t-shirts and drinks." The other people on board agreed to a 4pm pick up time and off Egbert went, leaving us no guidance, no water, no nothing. We attempted to get through the Baths but with three kids in tow and the crowds coming through from the other side, we only made it half way before we had to turn around and go back. We spent a few hours on the beach but after a little over 4 hours with no water, we were all getting tired and just wanted to go back. We decided to take it upon ourselves to hike back up to the car park and get a cab down to Speedy's Ferry Service and go back to the ship. We did let the others know we were going so that Egbert wouldn't have to wait. The tour has a written satisfaction guarantee or you do not pay, so we chose to invoke this and leave. We managed the hike up and got our cab; catching Speedy's 3:30 ferry back to Tortola. Speedy's has a very nice boat and had us back to their pick up point in a half hour. We almost made it back to the ship when we were literally accosted by Egbert, inside the ship's "secure" area, demanding "his" money. I explained the reasons we were dissatisfied and that I was willing to at least pay for the ride he gave us to the Baths, but I would not pay full price as we were not satisfied at all. He completely flipped his lid, pulled out his phone, and called the police. I said fine, I'm not paying any of it then. At this point, my husband is getting more than irate and the yelling between them started so port security (*snort*) got involved. After the police arrived, we showed our papers indicating the satisfaction guarantee and were told that we would have to pay Egbert and take up our refund with Tortola Charters. I got Egbert to sign a paid receipt (which was my email), threw him the money, and got back to the ship in tears from anger. I immediately got on board the ship and used my cell phone (I don't even want to see that bill) to call Tortola Charters and explain what happened. I spoke to Bill and I was told we could have the refund and that he was sorry, that Egbert doesn't work for his company and that he only uses him as a last resort so everyone gets to "experience" what they paid for...and he says that Egbert will no longer be contacted to take his customers. We did receive our check in the mail today from Tortola Charters. While I am appreciative for getting the money back and Bill's prompt response to our disastrous experience, I still am disappointed that we did not get to get the true experience of the Baths and that we had to go through all of that. It was quite scary thinking about having been involved in a potential legal issue in a foreign country, especially with my three kids witnessing all of it. If I learned anything from this experience, it is to make sure you have all of your confirmations, conditions, and phone numbers IN HAND if you book private excursions. My husband used to tease me about bringing my "folder of fun" (a 3 ring binder with all of that information in it) but now he knows why I do it...because you just never know. Antigua We took a cab to Sandhaven/Runaway Beach for $8/pp round trip. Our driver was exceptionally courteous and offered to return and pick us up as well. We have visited Sandhaven in the past and enjoyed our visit this time as well. Since our last visit three years ago, the beach has somewhat eroded and isn't as wide as it used to be. There are also now lifeguards on duty. Barbados We booked an island tour with Cameron Reid (Scenic Barbados) on Barbados. It was $165 for a four hour tour for our family of 5. He told us via email where to go and he'd be there with a sign with our names and he was right where he said he would be. We had a private van and as promised, Cameron took us anywhere we wanted to go. We returned to Foul Bay where we got married and Cameron took us literally around the entire island. We saw all of the sites and learned a lot about the history of Barbados thanks to Cameron. He is a lifelong native and is very proud of his home. I would highly recommend his services; he is professional, friendly, and delivers what he promises. St. Kitts We booked a tour with Rose and Jim's Taxi on St. Kitts for $41/pp. Rose met us right on time as promised and Jim showed us all the highlights of St. Kitts, including the Brimstone Fortress, Black Rock, and the exact point where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, which was really cool. My son is a military history buff and really enjoyed Brimstone. We had to almost drag him away! Our day ended with an hour stop at Cockleshell near the Reggae Bar and Grill. We didn't eat anything there. The beach here is small and getting out in to the water is a bit rocky. I would watch your step or wear water shoes. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This was my first time on NCL and we went on the Dawn out of Miami. I have been on 18 other cruises 11 with Royal Caribbean and 7 with Carnival and I have to say this will probably be my last with NCL. I was not impressed. We arrived at ... Read More
This was my first time on NCL and we went on the Dawn out of Miami. I have been on 18 other cruises 11 with Royal Caribbean and 7 with Carnival and I have to say this will probably be my last with NCL. I was not impressed. We arrived at the cruise terminal at 11 am after driving from Orlando. We didn't get on the boat until after 1 pm something about homeland security checking the ship. We traveled with 3 other family members who flew in from NJ. Our cabin was very nice and the bathroom rather big which was nice. You can tell this was an older ship it had a lot of wear in public places and in the room The safe had all the numbers worn away on it. The dining room food I was not impressed at all. The same dining room menu for the whole cruise. None of us liked that and even what we did have in the dining room was just ok. We did the buffet a few nights and the food there was not bad. I have never been on a cruise where there were so many people in the buffet for dinner. Not a good sign. All the other cruises I have been on the buffet had hardly anyone in them which is a good sign that people were eating at the dining room. We ate at Teppanyaki and Salsa specialty restaurants and that was also just OK. The specialty restaurants were empty almost all cruise. Only one pool on this ship(besides the Trex pool for kids)and thank god the ship was not sold out otherwise you would not be able to move in that one pool. The shows were not that great. Comedian was funny along with the ventriloquist and the only other show I liked was Bollywood. The ports we went to were Dominican Republic,Antigua,Tortola,St. Kitts and Barbados. I would do these ports again but probably not Dominican Republic. I chose this ship for the itinerary but next time I will look to other cruise lines. I will stick to Royal Caribbean and Carnival where I have always had great times with great food and entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was our 9th cruise, 4th with NCL. After positive experiences on the Spirit and absolutely FABULOUS EVERYTHING on the Jewel, we booked the Dawn. We booked waaaaay in advance and were pre-assigned our "balcony" room ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise, 4th with NCL. After positive experiences on the Spirit and absolutely FABULOUS EVERYTHING on the Jewel, we booked the Dawn. We booked waaaaay in advance and were pre-assigned our "balcony" room which appeared to be in the perfect location; midship forward. The pictures on-line looked just fine and it was an upgraded balcony room. Expensive, but we thought worth it since it WAS a 9 day cruise. EMBARKATION: A breeze. Zip, you're on. SHIP: We weren't prepared for a VERY WORN ship in need of MAJOR repair or replacement of elevator buttons, carpeting, pool tiles (color completely worn off), everything wood/teak, faded plastic palm trees (rather funny), etc. Generally good layout, easy to get around. Card rooms, plenty of lounges, theater big enough to seat everyone. Loved it. Pool area has tierd lounge chair areas so you always have a good view of the tiny pool area. There's not much room to dance on the pool deck and none at all if the lounge chairs are out. STATEROOM: "Ugh, we have to live in this for 9 days? and look at .... that?????" We opened the cabin door and looked straight out at a huge, floor to ceiling, wall to wall steel plate with a giant window cut out instead of the balcony that was in the pictures both on Internet and in print. The paint was flaking off & had covered the flooring & dark blue fabric of the chairs, rust stains were streaming down the white paint, the light fixture was literally HANGING OUT of the ceiling. It was like a slum apartment. Interior cleaning & maintenance of room so neglected that drips of some scary, unknown substance and dust were covering the walls, pictures & mirrors, hair filled the air intake on the blow dryer and the buttons on the safe were completely worn off. There were directions on the door but with no way to read the buttons, you couldn't use the safe!!! Let's not even talk about the carpet. We kept our shoes on. BEDDING: Lumpy, hard pillows, a mattress of iron and pilled, crispy sheets. Go ahead, ask: How did we sleep? BATHROOM: A bright spot. Clean and everything worked. YEAH! It was better than the room. But, forget any simple cheap "luxuries.". No, no no! No tiny toiletries for us! We spend almost $2,000 for a cruise but we no get shower cap, solid soap nor conditioner. I may not even use them, but the cheapest of hotels these days provide those things!!! Come on, NCL, make me feel just a little special! SERVICE: We reported problems to the front desk and they just kept elevating it to another level, another person, another non-english comprehending nodding head. We gave up. There was only so much time we were going to spend to get things repaired and cleaned. No other balcony cabins were available, we were at sea, we were STUCK & NCL knew it so did nothing. They all smile and are very, very nice, but just NOTHING gets changed. You feel like your in the "Twilight Zone" at times. DINING: The buffet is all you need. Really. We're food snobs from New Orleans and that buffet is so international and extensive we LOVED IT! Lamb, shrimp cocktails, hearts of palm, fresh crepes filled with chocolate, eggs benedict - YES! All on the buffet. For a little steak or one night of lobster, or if you like dressing up more go ahead and go to the main dining room but it's not as interesting as that international buffet. SPECIALTY DINING: Save your money. The ambiance is really nice and we had a good time but the food was very bland. For instance: Bamboo - $15 upcharge. Unremarkable menu, shrimp fried in wanton wrapper with no seasoning whatsoever on a bed of lettuce, the sushi downright terrible and the desserts were not so hot. They did go out of their way to find a bottle of pinor noir for us when it wasn't on the wine list. It was the young, smart, energetic waitstaff that made it an evening, NOT THE FOOD. ENTERTAINMENT: Really well done. CD was very energetic, fun and dedicated. He seemed to love people and his job. Dancing with the Stars was absolutely brilliant and the show dancers, musicians & singers were first rate. Nice that many of them are able to move about and interact with the passengers. The singers were the best we've ever heard. They had a Tina Turner wannabe that sang and acted her heart out. The other full time band could turn out believable 40's to the current tunes; even did Led Zepplin. That was one talented, hard working band. Guest DJ's did their best to cater to the crowd and the white night disco dance had lots of energy. Outside Reggae gets monotonous. How much liberation and discontent music can you stand to listen to even if it is done with steel drums & a Carribbean beat??? ACTIVITIES: Lots of them really, But, they lean too heavily toward gambling. More dancing outside and interactive games would be nice. The seminars and workshops with the comedians were a step in the right direction. PORTS & EXCURSIONS: Sun, surf & even a UNESCO site. Very good. You will always find something interesting to do no matter what your interests are. Samana is a challenge - not sure why they go there. Skinny dogs and dust?? We didnt' quite get it compared to the other FABULOUS ports of call. SPECIAL ALERT: Everything's an extra: Want orange juice after 10 a.m. from room service? That'll be $1.95 per glass..... no I'm not kidding! Tour of the ship which used to be a free activity we all attended ... sorry, FEE APPLIES!! A 45 minute workout? $35 plus tip!!! This goes on and on ........ SUMMARY: Next cruise we'll go on Cruise Critic to literally see the balcony type & room position, check the age of the ship or time since a refurb and probably try another cruise line. NCL's cut back in a lot of areas to save money. Some understandable but not necessarily a good idea. The crew are what brings people back to NCL, not the hotel. We're still cruisers but it'll be a while before we're ready to go NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Our NCL Dawn Experience- My husband and I are avid cruisers and have decided that freestyle cruising was definitely for us. We have sailed on 6 different cruise lines and never, never been as disappointed in the food as we were on this ... Read More
Our NCL Dawn Experience- My husband and I are avid cruisers and have decided that freestyle cruising was definitely for us. We have sailed on 6 different cruise lines and never, never been as disappointed in the food as we were on this cruise. The first night we tried to keep an open mind even though the dining room did not serve as nice a meal as any of our local chain restaurants. The 2nd day was at sea, we expected as usual some special offering in the main dining room. After going to the cruise critic members meet and greet we were very discouraged to see the menu for dinner. It involved the regular menu which was a left page full of things you could have every night, like chicken, fish and chips, and a small steak---and the right hand side would have one soup, one salad, and 2 new entrees and 1 vegetarian dish. That night it was braised short ribs and a vegetarian dish that sounded awful. We asked an officer at the meeting why the food was so disappointing so far. She said that they had a new chef and were experimenting with a new menu. She was sure we would get more "special" meals offered later in the cruise. So, we decided that that night would be a good time to try a specialty restaurant since there was nothing on either menu that sounded tasteful. IF you don't want to be a passenger guinea pig for the NCL menu testing, read further: We made a reservation and went to the Bamboo, and ate their "Asian Fusion" menu. Being from California and having eaten oriental food from around the world, we did have some high expectations. The first course was a little promising as the Chicken salad dish was a bit unique. But after ordering 10 other dishes to eat family style, as they were very small portions, we found we could barely swallow some of the items down. The "sauces" were all the same and ketchup based. All the meat was in large, flavorless chunks and there were almost no Chinese flavors we recognized. My husband grew up near China town and is somewhat of a experienced Chinese food expert. We ended up leaving the table with most of the dishes barely touched. We felt that if we were going to eat those kind of calories at least they should be tasty and worth the workout in the gym which we had planned. The "pork ribs" where short ribs from the dining room's menu with some brown sauce and sesame seeds. Communication with NCL: We felt like asking for our $30 back that we had to pay to dine there. We went to talk to the Latitudes lady hoping that someone would explain what had gone so wrong with the food. After all we had recently sailed on the NCL Sun, twice actually, and never had any complaints about their food except that we had wanted an offering of shrimp cocktail once in awhile in the dining room. The Latitudes lady acted surprised and said that was her favorite restaurant, and we looked at her in stunned surprise. Then she did admit that the DAWN was doing an experiment with their menus for the fleet, by not changing the left side main menu and offering the same exact thing every night with just a few new entrees on the right. We told her the experiment wasn't working and we were very disappointed that NCL chose to cut corners on this so much. We understand economic realities, but doesn't most everyone go on cruises in part to have good dining experiences and have quality meals? She said she would give our cabin number to the man in charge of the restaurants. He did call us back the next day but his only reply was that Asian Fusion was different and should not taste like any Chinese food we have had before. (Which is quite interesting considering the dishes had names like Kung Pow Chicken, Mandarin Shrimp, Fried Rice, Sweet and Sour Pork, etc. just like any other Chinese restaurant....) He offered to make us a reservation at any other restaurant or the dining room, which puzzled us as we knew perfectly well how to make a reservation. That was clearly not the problem--rather that there was no where we felt confident we could get a good meal. During the rest of this 9 day cruise we would like to report that the food improved. However, this did happen only once, when they offered Prime Rib the 2nd to the last night before the cruise ended. Unfortunately all our impressions had been solidified by that point. We had one night with olive oil soaked Mexican skirt steak which left us the rest of the evening to try and cleanse the taste away. Another night with Pork Scaloppini that my husband had to spit out after taking a bite, and I just put to the side for the server to take back. It was a breaded pork cutlet, I think, but all we could taste was the baked on bread covering. They did have a lobster night, but it consisted of one small piece of lobster (overcooked by the comments of everyone at tables around us) and a much bigger piece of grouper. And again no shrimp cocktail as other lines had offered every night. The desserts were passable but they basically just changed the flavor of the cheesecake every night to have something "new". The chocolate mouse on the left was very good and rich, but not to have it every night..... By the way the breakfast and lunch menus never changed. At the last 2 sea days we decided to try the buffet upstairs, which we usually never go to on other cruises, as we like more quiet and relaxed dining, but we were desperate for some variety. Unfortunately we went through the line with the mobs of people, and had only been able to select some fruit that looked appealing. They had run out of many items early on this cruise, or else were rationing them to make it through--this included such things as pineapple, brown sugar, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. Actually the highlight of most meals was the soups--they did have an excellent soup chef. Their salads however were mostly lettuce and mediocre. Now for the good news--If you happen to go on this cruise the best place to eat was open 24 hours and was called the Blue Lagoon. It was the same kitchen we think that made the room service food, but it was set up like a little diner and although it had a very limited menu, those items were delicious!. It billed itself as comfort food, and offered a wonderful tomato bisque soup that was so hot when delivered we had to wait for it to cool, along with buffalo wings, chicken strips, fish and chips (much better than dining room), hamburgers and hot dogs. It also offered fresh hot breakfasts of omelets, eggs, french toast, etc. All these items were cooked immediately after ordering and brought hot and fresh to your table. We resorted many days to eating here when the dining room menus were terribly uninspiring :-) This became "our place" when we wanted a hot, quick, and tasty meal we could count on. We even told the head of the food on the ship this was our favorite dining place. At first we had thought that we might be too picky about the food??? But then everywhere we went we heard other people complaining about the food. The only ones who didn't say anything were first time cruisers who hadn't known exactly what to expect--although a few of them said they were disappointed from what they had been lead to believe. All the experienced cruisers we met on shore excursions, in the halls, at the shows, etc. were dramatically upset about the food. Several had paid extra and tried all of the so-called specialty restaurants and said they had wasted their money. The only one that seemed to serve the quality that was expected was the Tex-Mex restaurant. We ended our cruise with this being a dark mark against the whole experience since we faced it every day. No matter how wonderful the ports--and they were for the most part--no matter how excellent the stewards were in their cabin service--and they were for the most part, and no matter how fun the entertainment was--and it was exceptional, probably the highlight of this particular cruise, ---the taint of the disappointing quality and variety of the food seemed to always come back to us. Cabins-nice sized cabins but a bit smaller than on the last ship for a balcony and it took us 6 nights of request to get the middle "bump" in our bed with some padding so we didn't wake up with a back ache. Entertainment was very well done--only objected to P-G 13 gestures and humor at 7:30 dinner shows that families were at. Wish they'd keep the suggestive dancing and dirty jokes for the later evening "adults only" entertainment. As a side note--the embarkation was smooth and efficient as NCL always does. This has been our 4th NCL cruise and the disembarkation did surprise us. We were walking off the ship on our own to catch our plane and had to wait more than an hour on the outside deck in a line with hundreds of people before we could begin walking towards customs. As if that wasn't tough enough, there were no cruise officers or personnel overseeing this "line"--no roping off of the area where we were supposed to line up--so several of our fellow passengers came out 5 minutes before we got off the ship, with their drinks in hand, decided they were too good or something to go to the end of the line and wait like the rest of us. So when the line started moving at least 50 people just merged in right ahead of of those of us who had formed an orderly line and waited by that time 80 minutes or so. They ignored the cries of those in line to go to the end of the line and just muscled their way forward. NCL does need to monitor these disembarkation lines if they insist we form them and have to line up so long in advance. We are debating rather to sail on another NCL cruise after this experience. We are one cruise from Silver status but don't know if it is worth chancing the bad dining room experience and overall poor food quality...... We will put shore excursions here: Samana-Went to Cayo Levantado and it was excellent. After hearing about everyone else's excursions think we made the right choice and would do that private beach again. Tortola-Had done the Baths on earlier cruise so did Clear Waters of Van Jost. Very nice but way too crowded with private yachts. Should cordon off place for swimmers or visitor's from cruises or something. No where to snorkel. Antigua-our original excursion on Sub-Cat was cancelled by company so we did Pirates on Black Swan. Fun crew and swinging off boat on rope and gang plank, but beach was mediocre. Would not repeat. Barbados-our favorite excursion to swim with sea turtles. They were wonderful and we would go see them again. Beach was not worth it but should stay by boat and snorkle. St. Kitts-beautiful volcanic island--took Island tour and loved the Fortress on top of the hill. Think we've see it all however and would probably not repeat. Would definitely not go to Cockleshell beach as there was no swimming or snorkeling to speak up, and no-see-ums let their marks on our legs as souvenirs. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We cruised on NCL Norwegian Dawn from Miami to the southern Caribbean. The ship was very nice and we took the advice from a cruise reviewer and went directly to the Venetian Restaurant for lunch when we got on the ship. Our cabin was small ... Read More
We cruised on NCL Norwegian Dawn from Miami to the southern Caribbean. The ship was very nice and we took the advice from a cruise reviewer and went directly to the Venetian Restaurant for lunch when we got on the ship. Our cabin was small but the shower in the bathroom was the largest we'd ever seen on a cruise ship.The square table in the corner was a real nuisance trying to get around that edge of the bed. We were disappointed in the surcharge at most of the restaurants. They tried to tell us that the cost was what we'd pay for a tip back home in a restaurant, but we've never paid $10 per person for a tip, let alone $25! We ate all our breakfasts and lunches in the Garden Cafe- the food was very good, and our dinners in the Venetian. The food there was adequate but nothing spectacular. The staff was very nice except for a few exceptions. Our toilet wouldn't flush on 5 of the days, but after reporting it, it was taken care of fairly quickly - something to do with a problem with the vacuum lines. They offered to move us to another room after the 4th time, but we stayed put as we were pretty well settled in by then. The entertainment was excellent. We found the Dazzle Lounge show with Jose and Patti to be exceptional, and spent most evenings there, before and after the shows in the theater. The shore excursions were very expensive, so we found our own tours in the ports through local taxi companies.There was a $2.50 charge for a bottle of water when you left the ship in port, so we bought water in the port for less than 1/2 the cost and brought some back on board with us to refill bottles for future days. There weren't very many chairs out on the decks for sitting. On sea days, we found the Spinnaker Lounge to be a nice quiet place to read during the day, the card rooms were nice to play cards, but be sure to take a sweater. The Salsa restaurant also was a great place to play cards during the day.The pictures taken were disappointing - mostly only 8x10's. If you wanted to get 5x7's, you had to buy the 8x10's first. Our first port was Samana, Dominican Republic. We didn't find an excursion we wanted to spend the money on, so we didn't go ashore. We were advised that it wasn't safe to go ashore unless you were going on an excursion. Many of the excursions sent boats out to the ships to pick up passengers. Many of us stayed aboard ship. We couldn't understand why they would even stop in a port that wasn't safe for people to go in to. Very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Machines fail. Big machines, with lots of moving parts, fail. But when a cruise ship fails, as the Norwegian Dawn did on a Friday morning on the cusp of the Caribbean, the organization responsible for the machine and to the passengers ... Read More
Machines fail. Big machines, with lots of moving parts, fail. But when a cruise ship fails, as the Norwegian Dawn did on a Friday morning on the cusp of the Caribbean, the organization responsible for the machine and to the passengers aboard should not fail. Norwegian Cruise Lines failed big-time. Oh, the ship didn't sink. There was plenty of food. They didn't run out of alcohol. The never-ending huckstering didn't let up. And we eventually got back to Miami. Where NCL failed was in communications. Friday morning, enroute from St. Kitts to Miami, everything stopped. For an hour or two after the electrical system stopped, the people in charge of the ship seemed to have their act together. The captain was on the PA system every 15 minutes or so with brief updates. Not much in they way of information, and nothing passengers didn't know (it was hard to miss the fact that the ship was dead in the water and the lights were out), but it was reassuring to know that the captain was keeping us informed. Hours after we lost power, we watched one smokestack after another came to life. The ship attempted to resume its run to Miami. Then the systems failed again. The captain announced that we were going to San Juan. After that - silence. An enormous information vacuum. Passengers were left to learn what they could without help from NCL or the ship management. We shared information and rumors. We made repeated trips to Deck 7 in the vain hope that we might learn what was happening. Deck 7 midship is where people book excursions, pay bills and get information. Call it Norwegian Dawn Central. After the captain announced that we were going to Puerto Rico, lines quickly formed as people sought information so they could make plans and notify family. Norwegian Dawn Central would become the one point on the ship every passenger visited, sometimes hourly. The problem was that nobody knew anything. No, that's wrong. People at corporate HQ probably knew what was happening. The ship's command may have known. But no one else did. Certainly the poor crew members behind the information desk had no information. All they cold do was hand out a business card with the number for NCL corporate headquarters in Miami. At some point late Friday afternoon, an officer appeared in Norwegian Dawn Central and announced to the hundred or so people who happened to be there that NCL was arranging charter flights to Miami. Half a dozen crew members at the information desk, suddenly no longer the center of attention and irritation, stood in a group and listened. One said, "Why didn't they tell us that?" They was a frustrated as the passengers. (The crew shared our misery and continued to be as attentive, positive and responsive as they had been since the cruise began. From the day we sailed, the Dawn's crew were friendly and energetic and provided superior service. Only near the end did they seem to lose interest, probably because they were not receiving direction from supervisors. While empty glasses, beer bottles and trash accumulated in the pool area, crew members were hunkered down on the promenade deck, using their laptops.) Friday night, needless to say, was tedious. People found a breath of air where they could, sleeping on balconies, sleeping with stateroom doors open, sleeping on deck. Air conditioning has made wimps of us. Saturday morning. Up bright and early. With flights back to Florida in the offing, we were packed and ready to go ... nowhere. Through word of mouth at breakfast, we learned that some passengers had found notices outside their stateroom door that they had flights (that system proved to be hit or miss as flights were added and some passengers were never notified that they had been scheduled for a flight.) Passengers learned from each other that three flights had been scheduled. Many hours would go by before word of additional flights was passed from passenger to passenger. In Norwegian Dawn Central, a single copy of each flight manifest was posted. Scores of people jostled and pushed to looked for their names. The only reason it wasn't hundreds of people searching for their names was that the bridge never announced that the manifests were available. As flights were added, one or two of copies of those lists were left on counters for people to peruse. Sometime Saturday afternoon, the cruise director came on the PA system to inform us that everyone would have a flight assigned by dinner time. In the meantime, stay away from Norwegian Dawn Central, he said. Folks there didn't have any information. (And besides, he might have added, our priority is that passengers settle their accounts before they leave the ship and frustrated passengers were interfering with that process.) As it turned out, near day's end a handful of hotel staff showed up at one of the information desks to help passengers find out when they would fly out of San Juan. Most of Saturday passed with no useful information coming from the bridge. What would I have liked to have known? And when? The when part is easy - immediately and constantly. What? For starters, I would have liked to have been told the plan at the same time that management was trying to spin the story with the news media by showing NCL as caring, safety-conscious, fair-minded, generous and concerned about their passengers. The cruise line sent out a self-serving news release on Friday afternoon. Passengers didn't receive the same information until the next morning. I would have liked to know that they were working to arrange charter flights. Here's a sample announcement that could have come from the bridge on Friday: "NCL headquarters in Miami has an emergency plan in place. The staff there is working with pre-identified charter carriers to arrange flights from San Juan to Miami. As you can imagine, this may take some time, especially since it's Thanksgiving weekend. However, we will be on the job non-stop until every passenger has a flight." I would have liked to know that flights had been arranged and the rationale for selecting which passengers flew first. Try this: "Ladies and gentlemen. So far, we have been successful in arranging three charter flights for Saturday. We estimate that 600 passengers will be able to travel on those three flights. We have given priority to passengers who are members of our Latitudes program and travelers who must make international connections." It didn't matter whether we were on the first flight or the last. Frequent travelers have dibs on certain benefits. Families with small children should have priority. Just tell us what's happening. Amazingly, as NCL or the Dawn scheduled passengers to fly back to Miami, they broke up families and couples - people sharing the same cabin. They assigned a man to one flight while his wife and infant son were assigned to another. Possibly more amazing, they didn't tell passengers who were booked to continue the cruise from Miami to the Western Caribbean that second leg of the cruise had been cancelled. I broke the news to the English couple on our evacuation flight. They thought they were headed to the Miami cruise terminal for five more days of sailing. Or this: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are now posting the flight lists on Channel 2 on you cabin televisions. The lists will scroll continuously and we will notify you over the public address system when a new list is available." What an amazing idea! Use technology to inform passengers instead of the endless blather about shopping and cruise line destinations. It didn't happen. In fact, they could have planted the chatty cruise director in front of a microphone and had him read the names. That didn't happen either. Emergencies happen. Well-run organizations have emergency plans in place. Give NCL the benefit of the doubt and assume they have a playbook for emergencies at sea. But every good emergency plan has a communications component. In an emergency, people need information. They need to be able to plan. They need reassurance. They are entitled to know what is being done on their behalf. NCL and the people in charge of the Norwegian Dawn failed their passengers miserably. They seemed to think that as long as the booze flowed (full price, of course), food was shoveled onto plates and the Caribbean band played, we would behave like docile, obedient children. The attitude, actions - and inaction - of the cruise line and the ship's command were unprofessional and insulting. Read Less
Sail Date November 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

Find a Norwegian Dawn Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click