20 Norwegian Dawn Caribbean - Southern Cruise Reviews

This is maybe my 15th or 16th cruise; but it was the first for 5 of my family/friends to celebrate my 55th birthday; all adults. I was completely disappointed, so this is my first cruise review. Know before you go!! Especially, if you ... Read More
This is maybe my 15th or 16th cruise; but it was the first for 5 of my family/friends to celebrate my 55th birthday; all adults. I was completely disappointed, so this is my first cruise review. Know before you go!! Especially, if you plan on being on sailing on the NCL Dawn. 1) The ship setup is choppy at best. Everything is separated by great distances and inconvenient to get to. There will ALWAYS be extensive walking or need for taking the stairs. Not good for folks with any type of physical disability or ailment. 2) Dinner reservations are needed for ALL complimentary and pay-as-you-go dining rooms, except the Garden Café which is pool side. Good luck with making reservations for a reasonable hour if you have to make reservations while on the ship. Our options were 5:30 (1730) or 8:45 (2045), that's just for a few, there were later times available for others. The Aqua and O'Sheenan's was ok, but great if you want you food hot. The food in the Garden Café, general dining area, is less than flavorful, bland and is always lukewarm. The Garden Café is the go-to, if you don't have reservations. Unfortunately, the only foods that didn't taste like school lunch were their Asian cuisines. Nachos are offered for late night snack, but your cheese is slide American. Burgers were frozen patties and never above warm; ie. don't add your own cheese, if won't melt! If you're a late riser, FORGET about eating bacon or an omelet; when they run out that's it and there won't be any coming no matter what they say!! The dinner reservation desk has bankers hours. 3) I'm working on my third Master' Degree, so I purchased Premium Unlimited WiFi for $34.99/day. It's neither Premium nor is it Unlimited. My WiFi went in/out the entire cruise. I purchased the WiFi so that I could do homework, which was virtually impossible on this ship. The Manager was the least helpful. Yes, she reiterated that I needed to completely login and use logout.com, but that was the extent of her assistance. On what should have been the last 24 hours of my services, my WiFi went out for 6 hours. It came back on a few hours before it was supposed to be disconnected. No refunds!! 4) They advertise 2 pools. HaHaHa!! There are 2 pools; 1 has a max capacity of about 25 if you don't want to knock someone over getting in/out with 4 (yes FOUR) hottubs that surround it. The other is a small water area for kids. Guess where all the kids hand out? Yep, in the pool and hottubs with the adults near the bar. Oh, there's another hottub at the front of the ship. Yeah!! 5 hottubs on a Southern Caribbean cruise. By the way, did I say that the kids water play area is right next to the gym that has floor to ceiling glass looking out onto the area. Both a positive and negative. But there's a full-court basketball court. :( 5) Our Steward was wonderful and ensured that our privacy was respected when the do not disturb sign was out; the suite we had wasn't worth the cost. The tub is too high for people short in stature, I'm 63", and presents a safety hazard. As a suite, the only extra space you get is where the couch is located that sleeps to more people and is separated by a drape. 6) Watch out for the unlimited drink package, an Irish Coffee will be free; but if you want a Chai Latte you'll have to pay out of pocket. Also, if you're at a US port you'll have to pay taxes drink package or not. Another tidbit that we weren't told about until getting on the ship. 7) We prepaid transfer fees to/from the airport to the port. When we arrived at the airport we had to help the transportation folks find our names on what looked like emails with names. They had us listed to arrive at the time we originally left BWI in Maryland. We sat in the airport for almost 2 hours, because they couldn't get transport large enough for our party of 8. Yet, we watched people get off of flights from Canada and Europe with larger parties that were taken to transport immediately. Luckily enough, the return trip to the airport was much better because they had a list of names with room numbers. 8) If you're an avid cruiser, you're accustomed to hearing the Cruise or Entertainment Director(s) on the intercom telling you or reminding you about all the great activities planned that day and where they're located. Nope, not so much! If you don't read the nightly 'Free Style' or watch the cruise channel you find things out word of mouth from other travelers. 9) Embarkation was good, Disembarkation even better! 10) We didn't explore our departure before or after due to the times of our flights to/from San Juan, PR. However, the shore excursions were WONDERFUL!! Chose wisely, a few just take you shopping, others to beaches you can get to yourself for $7-10 roundtrip. Well that's my story....Know Before You Go!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Value, cruised 8 times prior, this was the worse! Billed for more than should have with no reason, took 3 days to correct it. Premier eatery was out of Ribeye steaks and had been for 3 weeks. Failed to have proper glasses for wine ... Read More
Value, cruised 8 times prior, this was the worse! Billed for more than should have with no reason, took 3 days to correct it. Premier eatery was out of Ribeye steaks and had been for 3 weeks. Failed to have proper glasses for wine served all in small white wine glasses, even offering “wine classes, then not following through. La Bisto was right next to the music venue, making the restraint very noisy, almost unbearable. The wine cellar was a plus, wine steward knew her wines, very knowledgeable. Carney’s was still the best, wait staff and others, reservations were on time, excellent food. LaContina was the surprise very, very good, food, might say almost the best speciality. Very arrogant photo staff, all they wanted to sell was pictures, talk down to folks asking advice. Submit comment cards during the cruise only got one response from Raj the beverage manager, satisfied my question. Latitudes get together was very quick all they talked about was “CruiseNext” nothing about NCL and what was on the horizon, what is coming. Found information very lacking concerning future cruises. Will make me think twice when choosing my next cruise did not sign up for my next CruiseNext. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Having barely survived, the installation of an updated kitchen, .... This was to be, that pre holiday break, that was so dearly needed. That was the hope, and that was the plan, .... But the Norwegian Dawn, .... Would quite frankly, fail ... Read More
Having barely survived, the installation of an updated kitchen, .... This was to be, that pre holiday break, that was so dearly needed. That was the hope, and that was the plan, .... But the Norwegian Dawn, .... Would quite frankly, fail to deliver !!! This ship, was such a disappointment, in so many ways, .... That one could easily fill this page, .... And still not cover it all. Suffice to say, that complaints were a normal occurrence, of just about every day. Ranging as minor as, internet minutes, .... And as major as disfunctional / overflowing toilets. Ours, had a fill valve that did not close completely. Which resulted in a flooded bathroom floor, by morning !!! Several attempts, by our cabin steward, resulted in no response, .... He finally suggested, that we should call, and perhaps they would listen to us ( What ??? ) When we did call, .... It took several attempts to resolve the problem, .... As this was obviously not unique, to just our particular stateroom !!! More importantly, .... After many years of cruising, Platinum on Norwegian alone, .... We are forced to conclude, that the so called “Norwegian Edge”, .... Or whatever they choose to call it, .... Is strictly a marketing term, that pathetically fails to deliver, in a real world sort of way !!! One only needs, to sample the food offerings, .... To put things into a crystal clear perspective. At entry level pricing, .... Norwegian feels no particular obligation, to feed you like a King. Offering their up priced, signature offerings, for those that are willing, to reach into their pocket. While quietly spoiling, suite’s and above, in a private dining area !!! The most glareing disappoinment, .... Could be found, in the Ocean Cafe, .... Where the monotony, of the day to day offerings, .... Would only be upgraded, on the very last day’s of the cruise ??? Norwegian would like to have you leave, with only good thought’s .... If one can somehow absorb, the constant pressure to sell, .... You may not be quite as patient, with the charges, on your Mini Bar Purchases, .... Which seemed all too common in scope !!! In our particular case, .... After repeated requests, for more soft beverages, we resorted to stalking it ourselves. We left a note, for our cabin steward, advising him of such, .... And still found a charge, on our final bill .... We challenged this, with the “Stone Faced Service Desk”, .... Only to be told, that we should take this issue up, with our Cabin Steward ??? The same one, that could not get our toilet fixed ... We are not so naive, .... As to not get this folks, .... Things do happen & things do break, .... And should be remedied, in a quick & professional manor, .... Sans intervention, by the customer themselves !!! We however, find ourselves in a physiological war, with Norwegian, .... And have to seriously assess, .... That if one needs to reserve a Suite or a piece of the Haven, to get a fair shake, .... Then our vacation dollars, just might best be directed, to a more appreciative cruise line !!! Hope this helped someone, .... In some small way ‘)) Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The rooms were fine and overall the ship was nice. This was my first NCL cruise and since I am in my 40s I figured I would be Ok with NCL, since the crazy young crowd isn't always my thing. (we didn't have children with us ... Read More
The rooms were fine and overall the ship was nice. This was my first NCL cruise and since I am in my 40s I figured I would be Ok with NCL, since the crazy young crowd isn't always my thing. (we didn't have children with us either) The travel agent encouraged us to try it and I can say I like Carnival much better. The staff was just so so, not as friendly or engaging. Food was SUB PAR in comparison to Carnival. Entertainment was weak. I prefer comedy clubs and some dancing, doesn't have to be a crazy party but I was honestly bored on my cruise aside from the ports of call and my departure city. I won't give NCL another try, just not worth it. I can say that my CABIN STEWARD was fantastic. Otherwise the staff were just lack luster to say the least. They allowed for children to hog hot tubs and areas that were supposed to be more adult as well. I am sorry, (not) but as an adult I paid more to be there than your kids did and in my opinion, the rules should be followed, otherwise why have them. On a plus side embarkation and disembarkation were seamless (the baggage handlers were great as well). Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
First of all, We have cruised with NCL before and will do it again, but NOT with the DAWN.. We whare expecting a nice ship that was refurbished some years ago... But I was very disappointed, the overall feeling was that the whole ship was ... Read More
First of all, We have cruised with NCL before and will do it again, but NOT with the DAWN.. We whare expecting a nice ship that was refurbished some years ago... But I was very disappointed, the overall feeling was that the whole ship was a "cheaper" issue of some of the sister ships... The reason we keep on going back is the freestyle dining, this is a system we enjoy very much, and is the main feature that we go on with NCL. We had great expectations for the big trip with our children and grandchildren that we wanted to experience both the cruise and the caribbean. For people from Norway this is a very adventorous journey filled with exitement and very different life than we are used to.. The embarkation was very good, we where boarding quite early and it was smooth and quickly served... Guiding to the cabin and the cabin itself was also good enough, we had 3 cabins beside each other with balconies so that was very good from our agency: Cruisedeals.com , Mr Eric Muhlitner did a great job for us.. On our first days that where at sea, we enjoyed the ship, and saw our first disappointments.. First, the main restaurant, The Garden Cafe, it was not nice. The whole system felt cheap, and like an old ship , stressful, food was quite ok, but the whole feeling of the restaurant was like an old McDonalds restaurant. The other issue we knew, but we had not thought much about it before entering the ship, is that NCL in our opinion has more and more restaurants wich all has an extra payment to eat there, it seems thay need to earn some more money. And in out opinion this ship looked like they dont have enough money to make it nice.. Venetian Dining rooom was a bit better, a bit more style, but the staff was very stressed, the food took a very long time, even if it was breakfast or dinner, lots of bad seatings with staff running arount the tables for getting to others, we had not any real good experiances here actually. Breakfast was good. Dinner was just OK.. AQUA Main Dining, was a very "closed" restaurant, the dinner was also just ok, good meat, but the rest was average, but staff was a bit less stressed here, and lokked like thay had a bit more time, and they also served quicker than at the Venetian. BAMBOO restaurant,was a mixed experience, good staff, food was one evening excellent, another evening it was no good, not warm, and not good... very few visitors, and overall an average experience. TEPPANYAKI, we had experienced this at other NCL ships and enjoyed bothe the food and the show very much. This time it was not any experienced chef, the show was really poor, he lost knifes , spatels and the trics was not very good. The food however was good as always, but the show was a disappointment, and even more as you pay 25 dollar per person extra, it was no good... The Bars and grills at the pool was ok, and we did not feel any pushy staff for getting drinks or anything, they where very good actually. The food is always average at such places in my opinion. easy to make an ok burger and chips... It could however improved the icecream for children, we had great problems finding it for our grandson, and for the whole main pool area was not very friendly for children.. And for the children area I will come back after this restaurant review BLUE LAGOON, nice place for a snack, but too few snacks, and again, very different result... Chicken wings was great, good and tasty, some of the other plates was no good, served cold etc... staff was late, and took a long time to serve.. CAGNEY STEAK HOUSE. Should be the top of restaurant at the ship I guess... Not very good winelist. menu was ok, but not more.... Meat was very mixed, some was very good, and some was just average.. But service was good, and overall feeling was that this was a nice place, but the food was not as good as expected. LA CUCINA.. Sorry to say, another average restaurant.. especially as there is an extra fee... A very good thing here was the pizza we took every time as a "starter" on the middle of the table for everyone to take, that was really good and tasty. But the rest of the experiance was average, small menu, som food good, but also some that did not taste anything, especially the pasta. LE BISTRO we did not visit, when we checked the menu, it was nothing that we felt like eating at that time, by all means this was 8 days out in the cruise so we was a bit "tired" of much food.... MODERNO CHURRASCARIA... Again a mixed experience.. We, the parents, did really not see any of the meat other than well done, and a bit too chewy, in our opinion then not the best meat from the start... Those of our children that like most of their meat well done, they enjoyed this place very good.. One of the problems was also that the meat came too fast, there was no time to enjoy the different tastes of the different meat until they came back, and we did not understand if there was any system on the serving, and the different meat, so the whole experience was a bit of a mess... Not a place for us, but for those whol like a well done steak, it will be ok. SUSHI we did not try, as we are not very fond of that, but the restaurant was not very cozy, more like a fast food place in our opinion. The room service (used mostly for an early breakfast enjoyed at the balcony) was very nice, they came mainly 15 minutes before we orderd but called in beforehand and all was good, the meny coul maybe be chenged some from day to day ? Overall , the eating at the ship was a very mixed experience, but the average is quite far below what we expected after our past cruising. And also, amny of the restaurants and staff seemed to be a result of that the ship needed to save money, and to cut costs, so we will never cruise with DAWN again.. ALSO, an important change with DAWN from the other ships we attended, the aft outside restauirant. THE GREAT OUTDOORS is not at the DAWN, that is a great disappointment for people wanting to sit outside while cruising.. At DAWN it is the childrens place.. This childrens place is small, but nice, but it could easily contain some more things to do for children.. And may be somewhere to get water and maybe icecream as thay wanted to stay there for a time.. The worst thing was actually to find it.. For most people we had to go thruogh the spa/training area to come to this part of the boat... As a boat newly renovated this was quite unbeleaveble, the designer should have been fired.... Actually also whenwe experience several other restaurants (As the Garden cafe) and others , they have done a bad job in our opinion.. Another issue is the children department inside.. When a child comes from Norway, it of course speak norwegian and not english, not a problem from child to child, but if there are some things needed to be said from adult to child it needs to be understood.. Maybe in terms of crisis, or just some messages to be told... Our Grandson , wich is 3,5 years, could not attend here, as he did not want to be with someone he could not understand, and as his mother or father wanted then to be with him, that is not allowed, and they where sendt to another room for infants, and of course with infants toys... This was a great disappointment. I understand the safety issue for having unknown adults in the department, but then there really should have been some possibilities for such cases, this a huge disappointment in our cruise with our family. The shows at evening was great , many nice evenings at the theatre.. The dancing evenings is not our thing, so we did not attend.. That is actually one thing I could suggest on the ships and that is to have some "conserts" with more themes, like blues, pop, jazz in special rooms.. where there was also possible to sit and talk and listen.. This ship was overall a bit like a cruise for older people all over in our opinion, should be a good ship for children with families, but in my opinion absolutely the opposite feeling.. THE PORTS. SAMANA, No one wants to go to this city obviously, it is our second stop here, and last time visitors just went back to the ship after 20 minutes in land. This time NCL had given foc the tour to the beach at Cayo Levantado, and that beach is really very nice.. Only problem is that there are not enough sunbeds when you come late, but the sand is nice and white, the water is amazing, just a very nice experience at the beach. But as said before, no one wants to go ashore to the city.. TORTOLA, A nice harbour and island wit some beautiful beaches... Take a trip oout to the other side of the island and have a look at the beautiful scenery while you go over the hills... No actual shopping place in my mind. We stayed the day at Long Beach, very nice,, ST. KITTS, a very nice place to shop, good prices a lot of shops, and easy to reach... The beach is right on the other side of the shopping street and is also nice... Do a lot of shopping here.. Here we did shop some jewelry, and then stayed the rest of the time at the city beach. ANTIGUA, has some of the really best beaches I have even seen... We just took a taxi out to a beach that the taxi driver reccomend us, and it was a true beautyful place.... As they have 360 different beaches I guess it is nice also to have a drive through the island, and there are also a lot of celebrities having houses on this island, Eric Clapton has his house an rehab centes Crossroaeds at this island also.. DOMINICA is truly the island , likely to SAMANA that I dont understand why is in the programme..The city is truly badly looking, dangerous to walk in the city, and no beaches... They say it is important as a rainforest place, but then it shoul not be so much tourism there I guess.. But the place gave us nothing. We and our grandson went ashore for 30 minutes and then went back to the ship.. Our children went to go on the ziplines and had a good time. BARBADOS, again a nice place, to shop, to go swimming, nice town, we found a great beach right outside town, and I dont remember the name.. As our main point is to relax, go swimming, lay in the sun,most of these islands is perfect for us.. So the initiary was good, but Samana and Dominica could be chenged into more exiting places.. An overall opinion about this cruise.. The ship in our opinion is not very nice comparing to others... NCL should improve the restaurants and the menues on those that are paid extra , this was no good value for that money. Childrens should have better premises, those who comes from countries not speaking english has a problem at this ship, so we suggest to try another one, may be another cruise line also.. The initiary of the trip is good, and we love the cruising vacation. Staff is always ready to help, and are very nice and do their best. Bu, sorry to say, we will not og with DAWN again... we loved to go on the SUN, wich has a much more stylish lay out, even though it is the sister ship, it gives you a whole different atmosphere, and seems more quiet, not so stressful, and much, much more style.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This cruise was a replacement of the 12 day Holy Land cruise on Norwegian Jade we booked but was cancelled because of the continuing violence in that region. It was the cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and comes after a ... Read More
This cruise was a replacement of the 12 day Holy Land cruise on Norwegian Jade we booked but was cancelled because of the continuing violence in that region. It was the cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and comes after a wonderful 7 day Baltic cruise we did in July 2011 on RCL Vision of the Seas. PRE-CRUISE STAY: Airport to Port: Had been in Miami since Jan 1st and has been doing a self tour of Miami before setting on the cruise. This include going on a Everglade tour at one of the coldest day in florida - at alomst 2degC, where crocodile would not move or surface to show their face even if prodded. We stay at the Holiday Inn, Doral and was driving around Miami on a Thrifty's car. The benefit of renting a Thrifty car is that they provide free bus shuttle from the airport to the cruise port. BOARDING THE SHIP: Arrived at the port at about 11am and there were already lots of passengers getting out of cars, vans and bus to offload their baggage to waiting baggage handlers to start their cruise to board the ship. Our shuttle driver helped our luggage and even without any request for tips, we tipped him $6 for his effort. However the baggage handler saw this and before he handle our baggage had brazenly asked for a tip before touching our bags. We have always tip for well deserve service and definately not when asked up front, so we were left to unload our baggage to another cart, remote from the cart where all the baggage handlers were unloading the other passenger bags. Other than this, boarding the ship was great and went like clockwork. Joined one of the two lines entering the cruise terminal, went thru security and then into the checking desks. In less than 20 minutes, we had cleared all the check in desk, got our cruise room cards and went upstairs in the waiting area to be boarded by calling card numbers. It was another 20 minutes of wait and we were walking into the ship where folks can have buffet lunch at the Garden cafe on the 12th deck level or the Venetian, a sit down-served restaurant on the 6th deck level. We had been on freestyle cruising with Norwegian and love these the freestyle sit-serve first-come first-serve restaurant like Venetian. Being one of the early bird, we had our choice table - table 5 or table 1 where we have a window view for a table of 2. We thoroughly enjoyed the lunch and stayed till they open the cabin at about 2pm. CABIN 5075 - Inside starboard. Entering the room, I can say that the size is typical of many inside cabin of most cruise liners but the layout is definately better than most as the washroom is larger with the toilet on one side and a decent size shower on the otherside with the wash basin with a decent standing area in the middle. There was more than ample drawers, shelves and hanging room in the closet for one who came on with almost 1.5 large baggage full of clothes. The hair dryer was strategically located in one sitting area with power supply while the 19 inch flat inch sit on top another sitting desk which did not have any power supply. This ship was built in 2002 and has some upgrading done in May 2010. Unfortunately in the next 4 days we start to notice small little things that did not stand well for this particular cabin. We start getting concern when my wife set off the inside cabin fire alarm on the 2nd day at sea when she had a hot shower. This cause an immediate phone call to the room and a visit by the safety officer to inspect the stateroom. The front desk and safety officer indicate this might be the steam from the hot shower that somehow have flow out of the washroom and affect the fire alarm 3 feet outside it. We dismiss this incident as an isolated one but 2 days later the fire alarm got set off again and another visit by the safety officer with my wife in the shower and coming out of it to quickly get dress to attend the visit. This set off our own check on what may cause this and it appear the top part of the shower divider is not covered and the cabin exhaust does not seem to keep up with exhaust of the mositure or steam from any hot shower and hence the washroom mirror get fogged up and steam accumulate and get leak out of the washroom. Even then the fire detector should be able to discern smoke or fire from steam but it did not in this two cases. As part of this check, we found that the laundry line and the shower liners was black with mold in many places, probably due to this humidity problem ,which was bit disconcerting. The first night of sleep reveal that the cabin walls and-or ceilings creaks during sailing and prabably thin or not properly sound proof as we can clearly hear all conversation of the neighbouring cabin folks. Located on the mid-ship starboard mid floor and just below the 6th floor Le-Bistro and piano lounge, we can hear songs and music and sometime thumping noise coming from the 6th floor above us, well into 11pm. However this quiet off after 11pm. Then for men, the toilet seat will not stand up by itself in this cabin as I have to hold it up by hand to discharge any fluid without messing up the toilet seat for use by my wife. Another area that need improvement is the satellite TV reception. The 19 inch LCD TV does not do justice when many a time the reception is spotty. Cabin service is excellent with daily and well timed replenishment of towels and toiletries. The attending steward is always smiling and knows when we were out to change or turn down our room. The toiletries come in separate wash and shampoo containers unlike some which provide a generic single wash-shampoo. We have our own shampoo, soap bar, wash and conditioner as my wife is not used to generic shampoo and bath gel. Our only wish for better room service is that for such long (10 days and over) cruise that they should try to also change our bedsheet and pillow case at least once. PUBLIC FACILITIES AND SERVICE. The layout and furnishing of the ship was pretty comparable to the many new cruise ships with nicely decor and functional restaurants, theatres and public walkways. There is 3 banks of elevators and access up and down is pretty fast. We did not participate in much of the activities or use all the facilities but the facilties we use a lot are the 5-6th floor Stardust theatre, the 12th floor fitness room (love the separate entrance to it from the spa center entrance) and the dining area (Aqua, Venetian, Garden cafe and one time Bistro). On public area service, this is spotty. In the last Norwegian cruise we did in Jan 2010 on Norwegian Jewel, the folks are so friendly, many smiling and most waiters ready to serve and be recognize. This cruise many were just doing their job with the occassional smile and eagerness to serve. Most food order was basically take your order, serve it and bye. In past cruises we have done, many waiters try to discern what clients like and try to recommend certain dishes on the menu. For example, in the July RCL cruise the waiter knowing our interest in authentic Indian food arrange with his supervisor approval got a dish from the crew lunch kitchen and reserve it for us. Same thing occur in the Norwegian Jewel cruise of Jan 2010. Such things make the event a real sparkling and memorable one. The exception here is our experience in the Le-Bistro where the food is great and the service par excellent and they pull off the 30th anniversary celebratory salute on us - This was the only good memorable experience I had on this cruise. The fitness center was busy in the morning during sea days but otherwise we had no problem enjoying its facilities. It is adequately equipped for similar size of cruise ship. FOOD The first day on board we really enjoyed our lunch at the venetian with Sirlion Steak from the standard menu and the baked fish special of the day. The menu for lunch and dinner has on the right side a standard menu and on the left side the starters, salads and burgers and a line of the special entree of the day. Getting such a menu with only 1-2 change is pretty repetitive and after 6 days into the cruise become pretty boring. The entree special is mainly fish or a pasta dish and do not have any wow factor like those serve in the specialty restaurant. Additionally the portions was small and we see many passengers who had dined with us in the sit-down restuarants like the Venetian or Aqua heading immediately upstairs at the 12th Garden cafe for further fillup of their lunch or dinner. In almost all past cruise we do get occassional surprise excellent entree for the general restaurant menu (similar to those provided in the specialty restaurants here) but none was provided in this 11 days of cruise for the general restaurants like Venetian, Aqua or the buffet style Garden cafe. SHORE EXCURSION DAYS - DAY 3 to DAY 9 One of the best thing of this cruise is the port itineraries as this cruise include stops at Samana-Domician Republic (day 3), Tortola-British Virgin island (day 4), Phillipsburg-St MarteenSt Johns(day 5), St Johns-Antigua (day 6), Roseau-Dominica (Day 7), Bridgetown-Barbados (Day 8) and Basseterre-St-Kitts(Day 9). This islands visited only once each unlike some cruise which may visit certain caribbean stops 2-3 times, has unique characters, prosperity, settings and feel in each shore visit. We did not take advantage of any of the ship shore excursions as we are used to personal-tour like the one we did in Dominica and Barbados or pre-arrange local group tours of group not exceeding 10 in St Marten, Antigua and St Kitts or just an adhoc hop-on tours in Tortola and Barbados. Having gone on many cruises we like small group and privacy in our shore excursions even though those private tours may cost more than the ship shore excursions. So we cannot comment on the ship shore excursions. However one thing this cruise does put off many passengers on the first shore visit in Samana is that in the tender process, they give all their passengers with shore excursions to get on the tenders to start the journey first before allowing the other passengers with private agenda go last. The way they promote this was crafty in that they anounce that their tender will be first to the island of Cayo Levantado which is a free visit to all and then once that is done the tender to Samana will start giving the assumption that Samana tender will start 1 hour later. It also stipulate that all non-ship excursions passengers have to take a tender ticket starting at 8pm for the next day tender. Getting this tender ticket was a real wait taking almost 45 minutes as a long line prevail at 8pm and only one crew member was serving it at the initial 30 minutes. Then the next day we were informed that we have to wait for the signal to use the tender which for some did not come till 2 hours after tender process start and not knowing that the ship has squirrelled off all their ship-excursion passengers to both Samana and Cayo Levantado since the start of tender. This delay almost cost me the cost of my private tour which I arrived over 1 hour late. This was my first experience where the cruise ship differentiate ship-excursion and non ship excursion passengers and actively descriminate their paying passengers. Past cruise discourage passengers from going on non-ship shore excursions but never did discrimate passengers at time of tender or getting off the dock ship. Other than this incident, there was no descrimination on ports exit where the ship dock and all passengers were allowed to walk off the ship once docking is clear by local custom officials for disembarkment. For passengers on this cruise, one should make an effort to get off the ship and take advantage of seeing the local beauty and variety in the different stops. Each port has a unique characters and life-style ranging from abject poverty in Dominican Republic to more progressive islands like St Kitts, St Marteen and Antigua. SHOWTIME: This is a hit and miss also but overall the standard of show is average and comparable to other cruise lines. The first two days of show with the "Welcome Aboard" and "Band on the Run" was lively and interesting. Day 3 was Dave Heenan and trying to put up a 1hr comedian solo show is pretty difficult. Did not like a splashing of some crude inference in a part of his comedy. Day 4 was Siobhan Phillips night a solo singer cum comedian show - back by the Dawn band. Her rendition was pretty good and you can see in the audience who was excited and participate right through the show. Day 4 was a magician show with Greg Gleason which is an average show with some sparkle of disappearing act. Day 5 was by far the best show on the cruise with Ventriloquist Kenny Bird. The passengers participation part with hand motions and ventriloquist act by Kenny is so hilarous. The hynotist show by TerrenceB on Day 7 was difficult to watch in trying to engage the audience. Day 8th was a variety show which we did not attend. Day 9th again involve the grandfather of NCL comedian Dave and we did not stay thru the presentation once a crude refernce was used. Day 10th involve rock impressionist Greg London but the songs he sing does not sync up with the general audience who are mainly of my age or older (that is 50 and up). It was also an extremely loud session. Then on the last night there was the Bollywood show which also has acrobatics. This show is one of the above average presentation show. One of the problem of shows is that many of these shows which involved comedy or songs do not dwell more in the golden oldies and goodies as majority of the audience are older folks like us who love to be taken back to the time of their first love .... the late 60s, 70s and early 80s or some of songs in 2000s like those of Celine Dion which are modern repertoire of those days. DAY 12 and DISEMBARKMENT This was the day we were all packed up, settled our account the day before and all ready to hop off the ship. This ship offer early diembarkment at 8.15am for all that do not have any checkout luggage - that is they have all the luggages and can carry them by themselves off the ship. This is a great option for folks like us who want to hit the road or catch the early plane out and not be descriminated by stateroom type or lattitude level. As a result we never bother to get any color-timed luggage tags the day before from the Deck 7 service area and was all prepared to carry off our 1 large luggage and 2 small baggages in tow. The unfortunate thing is that at 8am a queue has formed on Deck 6 snaking its way on portside 1/2 way across the deck and up. I was about 50 odd passenger front the startline in the queue and it was a 35 minute wait and by 8.40 I were out the door. One pleasant surprise on the day of disembarkment is getting the last account statement at early morning (probably 2-4am) showing a reversal of onboard account credits and rejection of any credit that exceed all expense before service charges of $12/passenger per day. All previous account statement in the past 10 days on request would show the net balance include application of onboard credit to accumulating service charges. As a passenger who did not use ship shore excursions, and one who don't drink (hence no alcohol expense) and have over $350 on board credit to start with, this policy cause over $70 excess credit to be disallowed and the full service charge of $264 to be charge on my credit card. At 6am of disembarkment there was already a line when the account desk open with many passengers with similar complain. This policy was not shown in the website or any document we received from NCL and the account desk was hard pressed to provide written evidence of such policy. Base on principal, I have to request and deduct this $70 from the service charge which is a discretionary charge to ensure a proper accounting balance. This I fear as what exactly would be credited to the crews who really should earn the full amount of service charges and plus more that I would normally provide for passenger service rendered. SUMMARY This 30th wedding anniversary cruise would have been a memorable one especially the moment of bliss and enjoyment at the Le Bistro (excellent food and service). The general staff service and shows are average and the ship public facility is comparable to many other cruise ship. However the 3 unforgettable incidents of being a 2nd class passenger by being held back by more than 1hr in the tender process to Samana and almost missing my private tour, my wife getting the safety officer visit not once but twice due to trigger of the faulty cabin fire alarms while taking her shower and lastly the last minute accounting adjustment did make this trip a cruise a memorable one albeit the worst cruise we want to forget. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We picked this cruise because of the ports, and in that respect it did not disappoint (aside from the Dominican Republic, which is a terrible stop, the other 6 were fabulous). In most other areas it fell a bit short of expectations. To ... Read More
We picked this cruise because of the ports, and in that respect it did not disappoint (aside from the Dominican Republic, which is a terrible stop, the other 6 were fabulous). In most other areas it fell a bit short of expectations. To give some background I have cruised on Norwegian before, as well as RCL, Celebrity, and Princess. I've sailed on NCL the most but it's been about 4 years since the last cruise with NCL. More recently I've been on RCL, and other members of the party were on Celebrity. Overall I felt like things were a bit lacking on the Dawn. Try to go to the buffet at breakfast and find a seat - we generally had to scout people who were about to leave, because there weren't any free seats. The pool area, or any deck area, was similarly packed. We ended up on our balconies (thank goodness for them) every sea day, since there was no space on deck, or if you happened to spot one deck chair it was elbow to elbow with the people next to you. I've never had such a problem finding somewhere to sit on any cruise before. And good luck exchanging your towels, I never once saw someone staffing the towel desk, they generally just left a pile of towels there, and if they were all gone when you showed up you were out of luck. The food was also the worst I've had on a cruise before. The buffet for breakfast and lunch was fine (never ate dinner there), but the main dining rooms left much to be desired. We only ate in the main dining rooms on 3 of the 11 nights, because the food was mediocre and the menus just not that interesting. We ate in the Venetian once for dinner and vowed never to go back because it was unbelievably noisy, we could barely hear each other talk. And the lunch menu never changed (for 11 days!). The specialty restaurants were hit or miss (we tried all but the Brazilian), most had some good dishes and some not so good. Le Bistro was the best of the bunch. Service in the restaurants was also lacking, especially when it came to getting wine. Even when we brought a bottle with us we'd often be well into the appetizers before they had bothered to open the bottle and pour it. At Teppanyaki we had finished all 3 appetizer courses before they opened the wine - they just took it when we walked it and ignored it for the next half hour. Our stateroom was fine, and our stateroom steward was very good. We did have issues with trying to open the balcony dividers (other cruise lines we've been on recently had no problem doing this). One person said it was a fire hazard, another said it was hazardous in bad weather, and the woman at the guest relations desk refused to explain any further other than saying it was not possible, and there was no one else to speak to. Not being able to open them was frustrating enough, but hearing multiple excuses left even more of a bad taste (Fire hazard, really? There are gaps below, above, and to both sides of the doors - they're not stopping anything). On the positive side the entertainment was really excellent. The nightly shows in the theater were all very good, and Greg in the piano bar in Gatsby's was excellent. As I said before, we picked this itinerary for the ports and in that respect it didn't disappoint. But all members of our party were disappointed with the ship and the food - seems like the standards have really fallen since we took our last cruise with NCL, and the prices were no cheaper than cruises we've taken recently on other lines. If there was another itinerary I really wanted to do that only NCL offered I might give it another try, but otherwise we'll be staying clear of NCL for the forseeable future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
This was our twenty-first cruise. We have sailed Cunard, Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, and NCL. Norwegian cruises are typically lower in price than other mainstream cruise lines. We won't be taking another NCL cruise. They are ... Read More
This was our twenty-first cruise. We have sailed Cunard, Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, and NCL. Norwegian cruises are typically lower in price than other mainstream cruise lines. We won't be taking another NCL cruise. They are entirely too "bare bones" for our taste. Embarcation: The process was smooth and efficient. NCL does a good job with this. Cabin: Our cabin was large with plenty of storage space. The colors are garish and tacky. Our room stewardess was terrible. We had to ask for towels five nights out of eleven (she said she forgot to replenish), ask for liquid soap, etc. It wasn't the end of the world, but it wasn't customer focused either. Dining: Dinner in the Venetian Room was pleasant enough. The food is slightly below average and the service feels rushed. The buffet was always crowded and the quality of the food way below average. Public Space: There was not a single fresh flower on the ship. Plastic arrangements everywhere. So tacky. Entertainment: The Production Shows were good to great. The individual performers were above average. No complaints with the entertainment. Disembarkation: Smooth and efficient. Summary: The Norwegian Dawn caters to people who don't care about aethetics or finer things. It was an okay experience, but the ship was the worst one we have ever been on. Won't be sailing NCL again. There are too many nice ships. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
After my 19th cruise, I've decided to write my first review about a cruise. I'd hate to judge an entire cruise line company by just one cruise, but after many cruises with other companies such as Royal, Costa and Carnival, we ... Read More
After my 19th cruise, I've decided to write my first review about a cruise. I'd hate to judge an entire cruise line company by just one cruise, but after many cruises with other companies such as Royal, Costa and Carnival, we decided to try NCL. The only reference we had about this company was the food was great. We were also intrigued about Freestyle Cruising. Well, at the end what Freestyle Cruising meant to us was: THE BAD - Long waits to get into a restaurant, especially after 8 p.m. - If you want to use the sauna, steam room and all those amenities other companies include in the price you pay for the cruise, you have to pay $160, a fee that covers the entire trip. For a family of four, that is $640. - If you want a small bar of soap to wash your hands (or other part of your body) like you should, you better try the ports of call. You won't find one bar of soap on the ship, even if you ask for it. Unbelievable! - The Norwegian Dawn is dirty, even after a recent renovation, and some members of the crew are not as courteous as other cruise lines. - The bathroom of our cabin 4409 was real dirty with mold and stains in the shower (a real shame because the shower compartment is bigger and more comfortable than comparable cabins on other cruise lines.) - No towels available regularly on the pool area. - There is no Solarium area on this ship. - Breakfast menu is boring and the menu options are much less than other cruise lines. - We missed our free 5 pm sushi that we eat on Carnival every sailing. If you want to eat sushi on NCL, you have to pay extra at one specialty restaurant. - Cruising to us (a family of two adults and two children) is about value. We couldn't find that concept sailing with NCL. - The fourth bed in the cabin (when you book for four with other companies they put you in a cabin with two beds and two bunk beds) was a pull out bed, a bit bigger than my 11 year old petite daughter. A total shame! This seems to be the practice onboard of Norwegian Dawn because one of the crew members confirmed it. - The only show we went to at the theater was the worst we've seen on a cruise ship. A real turn off. - Many members of the crew seem to be tired and demoralized. THE GOOD - The classic NCL menu at the two restaurants that are included in the cruise fare is phenomenal. We did not try any of the many specialty restaurants onboard; some of them are as expensive as a fancy joint in Miami Beach. The classic menu is one that never changes and is offered daily together with another daily menu. - The itinerary was exceptional: Cayo Levantado (DR), St. Marteen, Tortola, Dominica, Antigua, Barbados and St Kitts were great exotic destinations. We thought we knew the Caribbean for the many times we have sailed to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Costa Maya. We were wrong, the Southern Caribbean is the real thing. Each island has its own flavor and characteristics, in topography and culture. - The buffet personnel encourage passengers to use hand sanitizer right at the entrance of the restaurant, and they make that practice fun and pleasant. I don't have to point how important this is on a cruise ship. SUMMARY: Though it's probably unfair to judge an entire cruise line based on one trip and one particular ship, I don't think we'll sail again. The Freestyle Cruising philosophy does not seem to be working well. I'd give you all those specialty restaurants for one bar of soap. This final consideration is for the connoisseurs: We'd rather sail with Carnival departing from the Port of Miami paying a cheap cruise fare to the regular Caribbean (Bahamas, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel). Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Its a telling sign when those who once followed you now chase you. For years NCL has been our favorite cruise line. As veteran cruisers (19 for me and 23 for my wife) we are very familiar with several cruise lines and many ships. NCL ... Read More
Its a telling sign when those who once followed you now chase you. For years NCL has been our favorite cruise line. As veteran cruisers (19 for me and 23 for my wife) we are very familiar with several cruise lines and many ships. NCL Dawn is BY FAR the worst we have been aboard. The design is very disjointed and public areas have suffered to offer tens of thousand square feet of unused pay restaurant space. There is no "Great Outdoors" dining area or Aft dining which is on most ships. The pool deck is crammed with chairs, tables and loungers leaving little access. This ship is plagued by a staff that loves to hear themselves talk over the ships intercom. Messages are BLASTED throughout the ship making it impossible to relax. If the ship docks at 7AM a lengthy diatribe will be unleashed, blasting into every nook and cranny. ART AUCTION!!! BINGO!!! Simple messages take several minutes to deliver. On days you tender it is non stop for hours in 3 languages. If you have booked this ship and cannot change bring Bose headphones. There are some positives on this ship. By far the best pastries in the buffet you will get on a cruise ship. The buffet is also the best place to eat. We ate in both main restaurants as well as "Cagneys" and La Cucina. The food is good but the service is terrible. There is no bar service in the main dining rooms, so if you want a drink or a bottle of wine, you are just adding to the work load for the wait staff which is already heavy. The Bimini Grill is a great place for lunch and the bartender, Emmerson and his staff are the best. There is good entertainment on this ship. The piano bar "Gatsby's" has fantastic options and excellent service. Don't miss "Band on the Run" in the Stardust. You can enjoy yourself on this cruise when you stop thinking of how much better it could have been. It took us about 5 days. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We went on the 9 day southern Caribbean cruise out of Miami that left port on April 22nd. We arrived at the port of Miami about 11:30 and check in went fast. We were on-board about 12:15. Our cabin would not be ready till after 1:00 so we ... Read More
We went on the 9 day southern Caribbean cruise out of Miami that left port on April 22nd. We arrived at the port of Miami about 11:30 and check in went fast. We were on-board about 12:15. Our cabin would not be ready till after 1:00 so we headed up to the buffet on deck 12. I walked around the stations and was disappointed on the selection that they had. I tried the pizza and was tasted like it was from frozen. On Princess and Royal Caribbean you can make a meal from there pizza I took a bite and left on the table. Most of what they had tasted like it was left over from the past cruise or from a mix. This ship is set for dry dock after this cruise and not a minuet too soon all over the ship was bucket to catch leaks from the ceiling about 10- 25 buckets and towels around the ship. we went to our cabin an inside on deck 10 and it was fine, the bed was comfortable and had a real shower not a tube shower on most. I have been on 25 plus cruises in the past 20 years this it where NCL needs to step it up. Food! Looks like there cutting back on that the selections were not great a lot of pork and chicken. Forget about a scrimp cocktail if you want that $15 the food for the most part came cold and took a while till it got to you. on the night they had lobster tails it came cold and rubbery. The entertainment was good. We had Matt Baker on his last cruise with NCL. This man is a talent was most enjoyable and will be hard to fill his shoes. I know that all cruise lines are cutting back but NCL takes to a new level. On the night they had scrimp I order the scrimp scampi. It was 3 yes 3 small scrimp with some rice that was the entree. They almost want you to go to there 8 per fee restaurants just so you can get a decent meal.I went to check out the spa from the moment we want in the sales pitch began we had a 20 minuet tour and ask about using the steam room guess what they charge you a minimum of $35 a day just to use an on board facility. I don't think Princess or Royal Caribbean does. Based on the other Cruise line we have been on NCK didn't measure up. I would not recommend this line when there are other choices out there Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Feb 25th to March 6th 2011 Found this cruise to be so/so .It did not live up to our expectations, We found the food to be O.K, no standout meals to speak of, but nice variety and always something found. The kids loved the Blue ... Read More
Feb 25th to March 6th 2011 Found this cruise to be so/so .It did not live up to our expectations, We found the food to be O.K, no standout meals to speak of, but nice variety and always something found. The kids loved the Blue Lagoon. Aqua was fats and efficient, Venetian , slow and lots of errors in plates, but beautiful room decor. Matt Baker is hilarious! and perfectly suited for his job, as for the rest of the entertainment crew...not so much. On our previous cruises we felt much more attached to the personnel, they spoke to you, made you feel like a family, in a very sincere way, I found NCL personnel focused on their own interests rather than the guests. Jose and Patti...fabulous!! Magician...Great!! Production shows and Comedian...not so much Cabins were very workable, lots of small storage areas, especially with 4 in a room. Stewards were stealth like, very good. Ship was a mishmash of themes and decor, none of which I found tasteful or elegant. Great pool area, always a seat somewhere to be found, stadium seating is a great use of space. Annoyed by the constant drink, art auction, bingo, casino, announcements, photo poses...I felt like I was constantly being pitched at. We did have 2 very negative events during our cruise and bad enough to make me not consider another NCL cruise anytime soon. Both were reported on board/ Guest Services/Maitre D, and by email to the corporate offices, no reply yet. We still enjoyed the islands , the weather, time with our kids and just being off work. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
My husband and I sailed NCL dawn Feb 11- 21 2011. A few hours after boarding, I believe, It was announced ,but not in the staterooms, that there was engine problems and we wouldn't be stopping in Samana D.P.. These engine problems ... Read More
My husband and I sailed NCL dawn Feb 11- 21 2011. A few hours after boarding, I believe, It was announced ,but not in the staterooms, that there was engine problems and we wouldn't be stopping in Samana D.P.. These engine problems were known months before but they continue to sail and take peoples money. They let some individuals and possibly some travel agents know there were minor problems and that they would be arriving late in the Dom. Rep due to engine problems, never that it would be cancelled totally. Our travel agent absolutely got no info on any problems. Lying by omission. They said there was an engineer on board and they would have it fixed by the time we arrived at what is now our first port. We got to the other 2 islands on our itinerary, Tortola and Antigua. When sailing out of the second port, again the captain announced , not sure if all areas received this one, that we are having more engine problems and would not be going to Barbados and St. Kitts our last 2 ports on our itinerary. At first we thought it was a joke but I guess not. We would turn back towards Miami and stop at St. Maartin and St Thomas to make up for the islands missed. These island shop keepers seemed to know weeks ago that we were coming but NCL made it look like it was a instant decision because of unforeseen problems. The itinerary is not looking at all like we booked. Two out of 5 islands are as scheduled, 60% failure. We chose the itinerary strictly for the ports it had outlined and now we are not going there. Quite an expensive adventure, not to see what we paid for. Our stateroom was on deck 11 just below the gardens cafe. All hours of the night and early in the morning we could hear pots, pans and carts moving . It sounded like there was vents leading right into our cabin .We told the desk about it the first 2 consecutive nights and they said they would do something about it and never. This continued every night. We bought ear plugs for the remaining days. On the 3rd night when we never bothered to say anything anymore we were awakened in the night by a worker walking into our room asking us if the noise was still bothering us. What a shock to find someone entering our room ,awakened by the light from the hall shining in. It seems they arrived a few days late or received the message late, not a shock with this ship. Plastic buckets lined the ships halls and stairwells catching water leaking from light fixtures, etc. Quite a fire hazard, I think. Mildew smell prevelant. Trim was held up with duct tape .A lovely feature on a ship??? Elevators not working. Not all coffee stations working. Freestyle cruising means you stand in line at the dining room doors for and hour and wait to get in when there is a table available, no mentioning earlier that you can book a table which then isn't freestyle to me. This ship is a WRECK .The straw that broke the camels back was the letter received a few nights before disembarking from the captain. He stating that he announced the engine problems prior to us leaving. I beg to differ We believe we were already sailing or at least minutes away .He stated these problems were unforeseen and that it was announced , but main desk admitted it was not announced in the cabins ,therefore only some people got the announcement, but they CAN make announcements in the cabins. Not sure why they wouldn't. He also stated that we had a choice to disembark. This part was not announced and not known. Maybe we were supposed to jump overboard to get off. .The stories just kept contradicting each other. He is trying to dig himself out of a hole as people are now furious. The next night, after 11:00pm an announcement was made, even in the rooms this time, if you can believe it by now, code BRAVO, BRAVO, Baggage dept. was called to area deck 4 and crew to respond. Twice this was announced. The passengers in these areas were evacuated with no reasons and were just to stand in the staircase areas with pj's on and walkers and given no further instruction. Some crew were in and out of a meeting room right next probably being told what to say to passengers, like every other problem, the reasonings from the workers sounded all rehearsed. Some of the passengers called the desk and were told it was a fire drill, he wondered why at this time of the night. NO truthful answer again. Now people want the captain to tell them what is going on and he finally admits a fire but says the area of concern is the incinerator and nothing to worry about. Just smoke Isn't that what an incinerator is for. It is getting harder to believe anything they say. NCL saved thousands of $'s by not going to Barbados , reducing fuel consumption and we also traveled at half speed to all our ports also reducing fuel usage. We never received compensations for this other than $200. credit towards our account and a whopping $5.90 in taxes, it's hard to believe that they think we are that gullable. That does not begin to add up to their saved costs which we should have received. This ships sailing with not all engines working could have been putting passengers at risk if seas would have been bad and not enough power to ride them to safety. I wouldn't send my dog on any of their ships as who knows where you might end up. Their deceipt is unbelievable. They take your money and run. Didn't know FREESTYLE CRUISING meant they will pick any port as they feel like it that day. We will never go NCL again. By the way, this same ship was continuing on, a back to back cruise with some of the same passengers for another 5 days. They were a little concerned they would have to paddle their way there. DISASTER!, DISASTER!, DISASTER! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We arrived at the Dawn for a 9 day cruise at around 1:00 pm and it took us 1 1/2 hours to check in. Very frusterated passengers in line, especially the elderly folks who had a hard time standing that long. After everyone was on board the ... Read More
We arrived at the Dawn for a 9 day cruise at around 1:00 pm and it took us 1 1/2 hours to check in. Very frusterated passengers in line, especially the elderly folks who had a hard time standing that long. After everyone was on board the Captain announced that we had engine trouble and would not be able to make our first port. Disappointing. So, we had two enjoyable days at sea. We made our first stop in Tortola which was originally planned. We were then told we would be able to make Antigua, however, with the engine trouble we would not make it to Barbados or St. Kitts, instead we would go to St. Thomas and St. Marteen. Both beautiful islands, however, when you have seen them both 3 times you would not spend the time nor money for a 9 day cruise to visit only 2 new ports of call. To top it off we did have a fire on board which made us very nervous for about 45 minutes and did cause some evacuations but they did get it under control rather quickly. We later learned that they had been having trouble with the engines for weeks but choose not to advise us of such and communicated it very poorly and followed up with a letter that basically said "stop complaining". The food was very good in the speciality restaurants but expensive. Very average in all main dining rooms and the buffet. Casino crew was spectacular as was the entertainment. Spa was very average in appearance but the staff and the treatments were excellent, and decent daily specials. Cabins are pretty small and I would say very average. I feel like (more on this cruise than my previous 4) that all NCL wants to do is add expenses to your bill. Water is outrageous, the good restaurants are outrageous, there were ever options on the room service menu that you had to pay for??? Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
My husband and I sailed on the Dawn 2/11/2011 through 2/20/2011. The first indication we had of something not quit right was when the captain came on the Public Address at 6:30pm(2 hours after we were supposed to leave)to let us ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Dawn 2/11/2011 through 2/20/2011. The first indication we had of something not quit right was when the captain came on the Public Address at 6:30pm(2 hours after we were supposed to leave)to let us know that there were finally sailing but we had engine problems and we would be skipping our first port, Samana Dominican Republic. He said there were technicians on the ship to help fix the engine trouble and that he expected they would be able to resolve the problem. Next, our stateroom was directly above a door that the crew used 24/7. It was constantly being slammed so hard that our cabin shook! We called guest services at 4:30am when I couldn't stand any more and asked to have our room changed. We were informed that the ship was full and so we had to stay where we were. We were told that the problem would be investigated and that if we were still hearing the noise in a few hours to call back. We called back later that day. My husband went to investigate and discovered that the pressure was such that this huge fire door had to be slammed or it wouldn't close. I stood in front of it and it was like being in a wind tunnel! Guest services sent a carpenter to meet us in our room, he said he had fixed the problem but he hadn't. My husband had to go down and show him the problem. All over the ship there were plastic buckets to catch water leaking from the ceilings. The smell of mold and mildew was so strong as you walked into the main theatre that I gagged every time we went through the hallway. Most times as I used a public bathroom at least 2 of the toilets were out of order and the ones that were working didn't lock. Next, we received an announcement by the captain that the engine problems had not been resolved so he was cancelling our last 2 ports, Barbados and St Kitts. The good news was that we would be going to St Maartens and St Thomas instead. Yippee, if I had wanted to go to those ports I would have booked a different cruise. Fire on board! Imagine being woken up by the captain over the PA, "Code Bravo, Code Bravo" Guests had to be evacuated from their rooms. Luckily it was put out and no one was injured. The last and greatest indignation was a letter from the captain we received 2 nights before the cruise ended. In it he stated that he had made an announcement prior to our departure regarding the engine problem and offering a refund to those who wanted to get off the ship. First of all, that announcement was never made over the public address system. Second of all, where were we going without our luggage?! We didn't receive our bags until 8pm, well after we had left port. I asked at the guest services desk about the supposed announcement and was told that it had been made at 3pm. I asked if there was any public record of this as we had heard every other announcement made the day we got on the ship and never heard this one. We were told no. NCL knew about the engine problem before we set sail and had ample time to inform it's guests(I think they should have let us know when we checked in). Why are they continuing to let this ship sail? I believe that they are putting their passengers and crew at risk and I hope and pray that no one is hurt by their greed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
The itinerary was cut from 4 stops to 3 and instead of 2 days at sea we had 3. St. Maartin was substituted for Barbados. St. Thomas was substituted for St. Kitts. Before the cruise, we spent time reviewing and selecting excursion options ... Read More
The itinerary was cut from 4 stops to 3 and instead of 2 days at sea we had 3. St. Maartin was substituted for Barbados. St. Thomas was substituted for St. Kitts. Before the cruise, we spent time reviewing and selecting excursion options for each stop. We didn't have a guide to the Caribbean on the ship, because we thought our homework was done. Online research was not practical as internet at sea is slow and expensive. It was frustrating not having information about our two new stops. The only excursions offered were to the beach. We aren't big beach people. We'd planned to see the Green Monkeys on Barbados and ride the train through sugarcane fields in St. Kitts. The extra day at sea made the trip more boring. We simply ran out of interesting things to do on ship by the last day. Dawn issued letters to passengers suggesting it gave notice before departure from Miami that engine trouble would lead to a slower traveling speed and reduced itinerary. This is not how we remember it and our recollection is validated by others on the ship. Nothing was said about the two substitute stops or the unscheduled 3rd day at sea until we left Antigua. Overall, we had an impression that management was trying to finesse the situation rather than be candid. I leave it to others to read internet postings regarding past mechanical/engine problems with Dawn to decide if NCL is promoting cruise itineraries that may simply be too optimistic. The fire onboard seemed to have been handled o.k. It did frighten us and others. Due to earlier communication confusion about itinerary cuts and changes, we did wonder for a moment if Dawn was giving us true information by describing the fire as small. Our stateroom was not on the decks temporarily evacuated because of smoke. Posts of previous Dawn travelers here and at other websites tend to be accurate. The crew was mostly helpful and friendly. The entertainment was good. The food was o.k. and Aqua restaurant was as satisfying as some of the surcharge restaurants. The gym was nice. The ship is a bit shabby. We did see buckets in public areas catching leaks from the ceilings and there was a bad mildew smell in a stair and hallway. The furniture on our balcony was very dirty and there was peeling paint and noticeable rust. Stateroom furniture and fixtures were somewhat worn. The Garden Cafe did close earlier than published hours at least once. One day the Cafe had no lemon for tea; another day, no skim milk. Don't plan a laptop rental. Upon arrival, we were told the ship had only 2 and both were taken. Our room had only one U.S. style electrical outlet. Bring plug adaptors and/or a power strip. In sum, if you're already booked, have realistic expectations and are prepared for some possible problems, it may not be the most fantabulous experience, but it probably will be o.k. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We have sailed twice with NCL before this cruise, the last time was in 2001(excellent cruise from Bangkok to Singapore!) Compared to our last cruise this one was a huge disappointment. Our balcony cabin was great, lots of space, king ... Read More
We have sailed twice with NCL before this cruise, the last time was in 2001(excellent cruise from Bangkok to Singapore!) Compared to our last cruise this one was a huge disappointment. Our balcony cabin was great, lots of space, king size bed, fluffy towels, the TV was small and very old, but who comes on the cruise to watch TV anyway? The balcony was very nice except for having the neighbours that smoked. I am allergic to smoke and I come on the cruise to breathe the beautiful ocean air - well smelling the cigarette smoke several times of the day totally spoiled the whole experience. I asked at the service desk to be moved and I was told there was no other balcony cabin available and there was no "no smoking" section on the ship. At this day and age (specially in Canada we are used to have no smoking allowed in any public spaces), this should be normal to have no smoking policy. The extra fees: we were shocked how many things on this ship were "additional fee". The first night we chose to eat at the Tex-Mex Salsa restaurant, because in the blue binder in the cabin it did not say there was an additional fee. To our surprise when we were seated they told us there indeed was a $10 fee. Well, I've read very good reviews about this restaurant, so we stayed and it was worth the price, I have to admit. The warm lobster tacos and the nachos and different dips and guacamole that were refilled constantly and sangria were worth it. However we booked a reservation for their Caribbean night with the curry lobster dinner which was a huge disappointment, the lobster was tough, the spices strange - they should just stick with their Tex-mex menu. Another surprise on this ship was that if you wanted to have coffee after your dinner anywhere but buffet you had to pay extra. The juice was only available for breakfast. The fitness club was big and well equipped, however the additional cost of some of the classes was ridiculous - $36 per class? I pay that for a whole month at my gym at home. I went to their seminar about the "flat stomach" which was basically a sales pitch to buy some algae to clean your system at $200/month (but you need at least 6 months worth for it to work!). The whole ship felt like they were always trying to sell you something, from art auctions, jewellery, drinks, excursions... We did book one excursion - $85.99 pp to go sailing and snorkeling in St Kitts. They advertised excellent snorkeling experience.The water was cloudy, I did not see any coral reef as advertised and the fish we saw was no different than what we could see on any other island right off the beach. Even the open bar on the catamaran didn't make this experience worth the price we paid. The embarkation and disembarkation process was smooth enough, except for the more than 1 hour wait at the airport for the bus on the arrival. However after spending over US$ 550 for all the the extras on the ship the final insult to the injury was when checking our luggage with the American Airlines we were told that we had to pay additional $25 per checked luggage. Apparently when we flew with Air Canada do Miami from Toronto, it was an international flight, i.e. no extra charge for the luggage, however when going back home, AA considered Toronto a domestic flight, therefore the extra charge for the luggage! How is anyone going from Canada in December to Miami on a cruise not supposed to have any checked luggage is a mystery to me. More money making schemes?? Needless to say, we will not be cruising with NCL again. Had we known that the FREE style cruising is a misnomer, and that all it means is that you can wear jeans and a T-shirt to the main dining room for dinner (don't people like to dress up a little anymore??), and that you get charged a $12/day service charge for a service you may not receive (our cabin did not get cleaned every day, we had to ask for clean towels, we didn't get butter with the dinner without asking, the waiter told me to keep my dirty cutlery because I was having a salad after I used it to eat my appetizer! - where are these people getting their training - in China??, the public restrooms were dirty with a toilet overflowing...etc...). I will be happy to tip on the "formal" cruise when I get a service I expect. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Embarkation: Flawless. We were on the ship within 20-25 minutes of arriving at the Port of Miami.Disembarkation: Flawless. We "self-disembarked" and were off the ship by 8:15.Cabin: Our inside cabin was the smallest we ever had. ... Read More
Embarkation: Flawless. We were on the ship within 20-25 minutes of arriving at the Port of Miami.Disembarkation: Flawless. We "self-disembarked" and were off the ship by 8:15.Cabin: Our inside cabin was the smallest we ever had. However, the shower was probably the biggest.Entertainment: On the whole above average. The stage shows were good and Jose and Patti were fantastic! This cruise line doesn't know what they have in this duo!Housekeeping: The carpet in our stateroom wasn't vacuumed until day 7, even though there was sand everywhere from day 3. There were stains and cigarette burns in the carpet. The roof in the outside hallway was leaking in various places, and there were buckets and debris evident the entire cruise.Food: This was the absolute worst food we have experienced in 12 cruises. The breakfast buffet didn't change for 9 days. 9 days of potatoes with green peppers and onions! The dining room food at dinner was a bland, tasteless. tough conglomeration of barely edible choices. We wondered if this wasn't done by design to force you into one of the surcharge restaurants to get a decent meal. This is the first cruise we have ever been on that did not feature escargot or creme brulee at least once during the cruise. However, if you wanted to pay $25 to eat at Cagney's both items were on the menu. Every dessert I tasted on this ship tasted like it came out of a Jello box. The chocolate extravaganza was heavily promoted and drew many people who were hugely disappointed in what was presented.Casino: Another disappointment. 6 to 5 Blackjack payoff is a ripoff. $10 minimum on crap table was ridiculous and kept people off the table.Summary: Back to the "traditional" cruise lines for us! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This was the 6th time that we have had the privilege to travel with this incredible group of people but this was the 8th cruise overall for DW and I. It was the first for my Sister. Over the years my DW and I have cruised on Carnival, ... Read More
This was the 6th time that we have had the privilege to travel with this incredible group of people but this was the 8th cruise overall for DW and I. It was the first for my Sister. Over the years my DW and I have cruised on Carnival, Princess, RCCL, and now NCL. We do get off in all ports and tend to stick to shopping and gambling where available. We normally do not book excursions choosing instead to hire a local cab to show us the island or city. With that being said let's begin the review. EMBARKATION: This was by far the best embarkation I have ever experienced. We arrived at the port at 11:10 and were met by the porters. We tipped the shuttle van driver, tipped the porter and headed inside the terminal. Since we had no carry on luggage we walked right through security and straight up to the check in desk where there were no lines to be seen. 3 minutes at the desk and we are heading upstairs to the boarding area. We had group 11 tags and were called before we could even sit down. Quick photo and we are handed a glass of champagne onboard the Dawn. It doesn't get any faster than that kids. Due to the prior trip being cancelled, we were able to go directly to our cabin where we found the first disappointment of the trip. This was the smallest cabin I have ever seen. We went with the inside cabin due to the fact we are going out again in May on the Carnival Spirit to Alaska. I could not believe how little room we had to work with. We went up to my Dad's cabin to see the balcony cabin and it was just as small as ours. The rooms were clean and the beds were very comfortable with nice linens. We figured that this was a minor problem and no need to dwell on it. Went up to the Garden Cafe for lunch and quickly found out why everyone dogs NCL for the food. The food was cold and tasteless. The lines were formed in a way that put people right in the way of the walkway. This would not be the last design flaw on this ship that made life a little less pleasant. My main issues with NCL are with the service and the nickle and dime approach. The dining room menu is a joke. The service is nothing to write home about. Food quality is average at best. NCL is obviously trying to steer cruisers into the fee based eateries. Well it worked. We ate at Cagney's 3 nights and Teppanyaki 1 night. I will be heading back to Carnival and staying there!!!!!! Goodbye NCL forever. First 2 sea days were nothing to write about. Normal stuff. Let's get to the ports. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We just returned home on May 4, 2007 from the eleven day Exotic Southern Caribbean Cruise on the NCL Dawn out of New York What has happened to NCL? It was such a great cruise line but this cruise was totally disappointing. We had ... Read More
We just returned home on May 4, 2007 from the eleven day Exotic Southern Caribbean Cruise on the NCL Dawn out of New York What has happened to NCL? It was such a great cruise line but this cruise was totally disappointing. We had booked a complete Sea and Air package through our travel agent as we always do. Our overall impression of this ship was poor. We have done seven of our twelve cruises on this line and found a whole new atmosphere on this ship. Many of the crew members were rude. Don't get me wrong there were some great crew members as well. We booked a Sea and Air package with the line. Transportation from La Guardia Airport was horrible. The driver had seven people going to the ship in a small van and picked up a private fare along the way and took this person way out of the way to his home first. Made the trip one and one half hours long. Embarkation was a zoo with nobody telling us where to go as Latitudes members or what to do. As a result the ship left one hour late. On the first evening we found the food at the main restaurant only fair and the sever service poor. It never improved for the rest of the cruise. One evening around the seventh day of this eleven day cruise I finally got up and walked out of the restaurant. I had been sitting there for twenty five minutes without anybody coming to the table. When you complained to a manager you were told rudely, "that's the way we do it here". It's a shame that we had to pay an additional service fee to go to one of the specialty restaurants in order to get a really good meal and good service. Room housekeeping left a lot to be desired. Getting towels was a hassle. One day they never turned down our room or gave us towels. We arrived back at our room at ten thirty PM to find wet towels on the floor and the bed not even turned down. We complained the following morning but were just told, "we are sorry for the inconvenience". The ship had a great pool area but it was it was spoiled by the fact that they allow all ages, ( 3 years old and up) of children in the pool and the hot tubs. This is the first time we have encountered this. They literally took over the area, yelling, running and splashing. Very hard to rest or read which is what we go on a cruise for. One of our fellow traveler took a bad fall on the pool deck while carrying her breakfast to a table. The deck surface was wet due to a recent rain shower. She was definitely hurt and is still hurting today. A crew member walked by her while she was laying on the deck and stated, "the sign says the decks are slippery" and kept walking. Other passengers witnessed this comment and had to help her to her feet and sit her down. Management finally came to her aid. We tried the remainder of the cruise to get a copy of the incident report but were unsuccessful. She will be seeing her personal doctor this week. Disembarkation was well done with the new system of letting US citizens off first. Transportation back to La Guardia Airport was again a zoo. NCL ordered that the bus couldn't leave until they got a wheelchair person off the ship and onto the bus. The other thirty plus people on the bus were ready to riot. We sat there for ninety minutes. As a result some of the travelers missed their flights. Now you tell me that's right. They probably had to pay an additional fee to get a new flight. We have two future cruises booked but definitely not on NCL. We have always found Royal Caribbean and Disney to be a giant step above NCL. Too bad as we had five people traveling together on this past cruise and have six people traveling on RCL in the fall and eight people traveling on Disney the following year. All we can say is, "what a shame". We book good balcony rooms and don't question the price. All we ask for is good food and good service. That's what's cruise lines were all about. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Norwegian Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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