56 Norwegian Dawn Caribbean - Southern Cruise Reviews

We really enjoyed the cruise. Normally we prefer the larger “fun” ships with NCL such as the Epic, Getaway and Escape but with five ports of call and only one day at sea it really didn’t matter not having the waterslides and other ... Read More
We really enjoyed the cruise. Normally we prefer the larger “fun” ships with NCL such as the Epic, Getaway and Escape but with five ports of call and only one day at sea it really didn’t matter not having the waterslides and other activities found only on these ships. Some (negative) general comments first. Although we still enjoy cruising with NCL, we have noticed increasing costs and certain cuts since we first started with them 6 years ago. Perhaps they are just following a trend in the industry but the changes have been noticeable. Some examples: - Adding a room service fee, first for overnight orders and now at all times. - Not allowing people to bring food to their room (thankfully that ended very quickly when it was announced!) - Not allowing people to bring non-alcoholic beverages on board. - Charging extra for certain dishes in the main dining rooms (looks like this was stopped) - Sharp increases in the cost of their drinks as compared to bars/restaurants on land. A couple of years ago they had these “premium” drinks such as a Dark and Stormy for $18 as compared to $12 for other drinks. These prices were not on the menu on this cruise. - Less interesting options at the buffet during theme nights. They had crab legs in the main buffet on our first cruise on the Epic. - Charging $2 more for the same volume of Heineken in a draft at O’Sheehan’s than what you get in the bottle. Both the glasses they use as well as the bottles are 12 oz. You can buy both! Maybe it is just me but I would have assumed a pint class would be used at a pub. I think it is important for passengers to provide their feedback, both positive and negative, directly to NCL for these and any other items you want to bring up. I normally do after each cruise! Now moving on! Itinerary - We started with one day at sea, followed by stops in Barbados, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. - We would have preferred having the sea day on our last day of cruising. Would have been a great way to relax after getting off the ship five days in a row. However, I think this would require reversing the order of the stops as Barbados is the furthest destination. The ship - As I mentioned earlier, the ship is smaller and doesn’t have the water slides, rope courses, climbing wall, large sports deck (though it does have a smaller one), etc that you will find on some of their bigger ships . - Some of the areas (such as the theater and main restaurants) were really cold, more so than I would normally expect on a cruise ship. It was mentioned by a number of other travellers we spoke with too. I would suggest bringing a shawl, light jacket, long sleeve shirts, etc. The theatre was probably the worst. Getting on and off the ship - Embarkation went smoothly. We boarded between 1:00 and 1:30, with our cabin being available within an hour or so. - Our cabin was on deck 5 which made if very convenient to get on and off the ship from deck 4 at each port of call. - Disembarkation was really easy and stress free. We used the self assist option so we were able to keep our bags with us overnight as opposed to leaving them out by 11 pm the night before. One major difference here with self assist is that we didn’t need to rush off the boat early as we have experienced on the Epic, Getaway and Escape when using this option. Transfers between the airport and the Pan American Pier - We spent the night in Isla Verde before the cruise and used an UberXL to get there for around $14. In general, Uber is an inexpensive and convenient way to travel around San Juan. - On the day you disembark, you have multiple options for the airport when you exit the terminal. - NCL’s is probably the most expensive of them all and I would not recommend it. - When you first leave the terminal, there will be a series of private shuttles charging $10 per person. They will also wait until they feel they have enough passengers. I would also suggest that you skip this option. - If you walk a little further, maybe 40 feet, you will find the regular taxi line. Fares are regulated and costs $21 plus $1 per piece of luggage to the airport. You will first speak to a dispatcher who will provide you with a paper confirming the cost. On our day, there was an exception where they were adding an extra $3.50 because the usual route to the airport was closed due to construction. - It does appear that Uber is an option but the fares at the time were similar and involved a bit of wait before a car could arrive. Cabin - We were on deck 5 with a window. Note, on deck 4 the windows are portholes. - We were three, 2 adults and a child. There is a bunk bed that folds out from the wall. I don’t see how a second child could be accommodated in this cabin as there is no convertible sofa or anything and little to no room for an extra cot. - There are plenty of drawers (6) as well as some shelves in the closet. However, we still found it useful having brought magnetic hooks as well as some extra hangers. Food - We find the food at the complimentary restaurants to be more than sufficient for us so we don’t typically eat at any of the speciality options. - Of the two main dining rooms, we preferred Aqua over the Venetian. This has nothing to do with the food since they have the same menu but rather we found the service to be faster. Not sure if this has anything to do with the fact it is smaller. - The food at O’Sheehan’s was excellent. - The food is also excellent at Bamboo but reservations are required if not at least recommended. - We had supper one night at the buffet. It was ok but it is not as good as we experienced six years ago when we first started cruising on NCL. The theme nights and associated options just seemed better back then to be honest. - There is room service but NCL charges a convenience fee of close to $8 per order. When we first started cruising with them, there was no fee. Then they added one for overnight orders which looks like they have extended to all hours. Bars – pay attention to the glass size used for drafts at O’Sheehan’s - Didn’t really hang out at any of the bars on this trip but we did have supper one night at O’Sheehan’s, where the food is very good and is complimentary. - They only had two beers on tap, one of them Heineken. I would have expected more at a pub to be honest. - Note, they are serving their draft beer in 12 oz glasses, not 16 oz (pints) that you would normally be accustomed to at a pub. You can also order Heineken in 12 oz bottles. - For some reason, the same size in a draft costs $2 more than the bottle. The reasoning provided was that the quality is better with the draft something that I don’t agree with when it comes to beers like Heineken. I wished I had noticed the size before ordering the draft. Activities - The fitness centre is more spacious on the Dawn as compared to the bigger ships. You don’t have that cramped feeling. - The jogging track is on deck 13 and also has less traffic than what I am accustomed to on the Getaway and Escape. - On deck 7, you can walk, not run, along the promenade all the way around the ship. - For the first time we played shuffleboard. Our child was really into it and became his new ping pong obsession/replacement while onboard. There are two on deck 7 and one on deck 13. - Speaking of ping pong, there are two tables on deck 13 near the sports deck. However, they are in a spot that receives a lot of wind when the ship is moving so it really affects the ball. Pool, hot tubs and chairs - There is one pool and four hot tubs on deck 12. There is an additional hot tub at the front of the ship on deck 13. - The kids’ area at the back of the ship has another hot tub as well. - We didn’t have any problems finding chairs either in the sun or in the shade during our one sea day. Entertainment - The production shows are not at the same level as the ones we’ve experienced on the Epic, Getaway and Escape. If you are expecting something similar then you will be disappointed. - The comedian on the other hand was fantastic. He had two nights of shows in the main theatre, one family friendly and one 18+ and both were great. There is no separate comedy club having nightly shows. Splash Academy – Kids club - There weren’t as many children on this cruise and consequently not many using Splash Academy, including ours. - The staff members were really friendly and trying to get children involved but I can see how with few other kids around at the kids club, your child may not want to spend much time there. - Luckily, ours was meeting people on the sports deck and playing with them after getting back on board at the end of the day. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This cruise visited 6 islands in addition to Puerto Rico and was a new itinerary for us. We like the smaller ship and were familiar with the general layout of the restaurants and activity areas. Our restricted view cabin had great ... Read More
This cruise visited 6 islands in addition to Puerto Rico and was a new itinerary for us. We like the smaller ship and were familiar with the general layout of the restaurants and activity areas. Our restricted view cabin had great storage but was small and had no chair or small couch other than a stool at the desk/vanity, so I guess one sacrifices storage for seating. We had four dining experiences in the specialty restaurants and found the experience to be very nice. The main dining room can be a bit noisy and we found we liked going to Aqua better since it was a bit smaller. I think NCL trains their staff well as everyone we encountered was friendly and had a word of greeting. The entertainment was rather predictable, some I liked better than others, and the staff offered a wide variety of activities. The cruise director, Robert, was excellent, one of the best we have every had. He was friendly and interacted with everyone he met. I liked going to the Library and getting the daily puzzles. We were able to find some sheltered areas to enjoy (not too much sun or wind). On this particular cruise we took all but one of the ship's excursions per port. Only one of them was a bit disappointing, the afternoon beach break on St. John's. I wish we could have stayed a bit longer in each port since most of the islands were very close together but I understand the port authority and costs to dock may influence the hours the ship can be at the pier. I am not sure that I would do this same itinerary again since the islands seem a bit of the same; however, in the winter, the weather can't be beat. Maybe we will have to try the Eastern Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise of the Southern Caribbean so we could visit some islands we had never been to. Staff: As usual, the NCL staff is their strongest asset, and the crew could not have been nicer to us (and everyone) during the ... Read More
We chose this cruise of the Southern Caribbean so we could visit some islands we had never been to. Staff: As usual, the NCL staff is their strongest asset, and the crew could not have been nicer to us (and everyone) during the cruise. Our steward, Flavia St. Rose, provided exceptional and friendly service, taking care of our requests to use ice bucket liners (which we provide) and to empty the fridge in stride. Poolside service was uneven, but generally ok. Pool bars great. Restaurants/Bars: Jeffrey, a bartender we met on a previous NCL cruise was also aboard and that was a great time in the Mojito Bar. Everyone has a favorite, and Jeffrey is ours. Meals and service in the Venetian(main) dining room were great as well. We did not care, once again, for the food or service in La Cuchina, and did not try Moderno this voyage. This was our first encounter with the Los Lobos restaurant, and we enjoyed that very much. It's a tequila themed bar and Alexander made us several great drinks, the chicken mole enchilada and the Carne Asada were great. Make sure to get the elote (mexican grilled corn) and table side guacamole. They will take the corn off of the cob for you and it's a great dish to share. Le Bistro continues to provide upscale experience if you can make it through the smoke in Gatsby bar (more on that later). Cagney's was great thanks to the help of Matthew, their sommelier. Garden Court buffet was uninspired and best avoided. Public Areas: Pool furniture is pretty uncomfortable and old. Atrium is nice. Quiet space: They have taken the quiet space at the front of the ship and turned it into the Bliss Lounge. During the day it's always set up for Art auctions. I'd much rather have a quiet area to go and read other than the library, but then, reading is not spending money, is it? Still. The art auction thing is starting to get to be a pain. The ship's tour (Behind the scenes) through cruise next was great although I've now seen the stardust dressing room in each ship I've been on but never the stage or backstage or the control booth. Cruise Next was present and got their message out but not obnoxious as it can be some times. Embarkation/Disembark: Both very very smooth, by far the smoothest in the 10 cruises we've taken. All that is well and good, but here is the one major problem with this ship that will keep us from booking another cruise on the Dawn. Smoke. Smoking is allowed in the Casino as well as the Cigar Lounge, and they both open into the area making up Gatsby bar and entrance to Le B. The smoke leakage into that area make Gatsby bar unusable (for us). It didn't matter if the door was closed, smoke was wafting into the common area. Several smokers also mentioned the smoke inside of the Cigar Lounge was intolerable. Perhaps they were having a mechanical difficulty with the ventilation. For those so inclined, smoking is also allowed in the Bimini Bar (Deck 13 outside) and (it seems) all along deck 7 promenade. A letter (Dear Tony) to the Hotel director about the smoke from Casino and Cigar Lounge in Le Bistro and Gatsby received no response. Cabin: Standard balcony. Comfortable bed, couch just ok. Water was cut off without warning one morning for maintenance, according to Guest Services. Our toilet ceased to flush for several hours but was fixed somewhere else since no one ever came to our cabin or bothered to let us know the problem was resolved. TV is very small but adequate. Lack of electrical outlets (1) is a problem. Be sure to bring some kind of outlet strip, getting one with usb ports helps as well. Disembarkation: I notice a lot of people who should not be doing the walk-off doing it, struggling with their luggage and essentially ending up getting assisted walk-off. If you're out of breath just getting your luggage to deck 7, you should let them move it. Just saying. Kudos to the security staff being so polite and keeping their cool during the whole embark/disembark process. Getting there: Easy $25 taxi to/from Cruise Pier, surcharge for extra bags, make sure to ask rate before getting in. Taxi kiosk immediately outside baggage claim. Uber is available. I would be fine with this cabin again were I to book on the Dawn. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
While I have cruised before, my partner and his daughter were both first timers. I liked the itenarary as it would visit 5 islands which is a bonus in case either party was proned to seasickness. I also liked the size of the ship. Many of ... Read More
While I have cruised before, my partner and his daughter were both first timers. I liked the itenarary as it would visit 5 islands which is a bonus in case either party was proned to seasickness. I also liked the size of the ship. Many of the larger ships can be overwhelming to new cruisers and I wanted us all to have a more intimate experience. The cruise was wonderful. Had a mini suite room with a balcony offering lovely views at each port. The ship had a wide range of food and entertainment options, none which were ever over crowded. The Dancing with the Stars was spectacularly entertaining and the professional acts were visually stunning. The people on the ship were friendly and helpful. My only reason was lowering the rating to a 4 is a had some frustration getting bottles of wine from the wine package I ordered. We wanted them for our balcony, but unless the restaurants were open, we struggled to find a place that could give us one. Water fountains would have also help bump this cruise ratings but we hydrated in the main dining area. As for dining, there was enough options that our picky 9 year old had no problem finding delicious things to eat. Hooray! My traveling partners ended the trip committed to becoming cruise people and we will for sure be booking again at some point. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Friends and family suggested we experience NCL.We chose a cruise out of San Juan to the Southern Caribbean. (Airfare was extremely pricey.) Everything went smoothly both embarking and disembarking. We enjoyed Karaoke each evening and a ... Read More
Friends and family suggested we experience NCL.We chose a cruise out of San Juan to the Southern Caribbean. (Airfare was extremely pricey.) Everything went smoothly both embarking and disembarking. We enjoyed Karaoke each evening and a couple of dance competitions. Elements was a good finish to the week. The Irish bar was a daily stop and we thoroughly enjoyed the bartenders. All other servers and staff were good, too. Aqua was our preferred dining experience over the Venetian. It was more intimate, with less hustle and bustle. We also had the dining package. The French bistro was our favorite. The chef was excellent and entertaining at Tappanyaki. We least preferred Cagney's Steakhouse. Service was good but the food was bland. At each port, we took part in various excursions and enjoyed them all. St. John beach escape was our favorite. St. Lucia catamaran was not as good as our last cruise. The ship is good and easy to navigate around. Smaller than previous cruise ships. Our mini suite was spacious and inviting, along with the balcony. Our one complaint is that our room was on the 11th floor, directly below the Cafe. The constant scraping of chairs across the floor above was annoying. I would recommend you look closely at the ship layout before confirming a room. Your cruise planner can also assist. In summary, it was a great week with family and new friends that we met. We already miss cruising so we've booked again for the summer. This cruise is on the Breakaway, a larger ship with more amenities. We can't wait. Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We are avid cruisers, this itinerary offered an opportunity to go to many places we have not been able to visit. That being said, the time offered for each destination is not enough. We felt that most of the excursions we booked through ... Read More
We are avid cruisers, this itinerary offered an opportunity to go to many places we have not been able to visit. That being said, the time offered for each destination is not enough. We felt that most of the excursions we booked through the cruise lines were tourist traps; not enough time at the attraction. Pros: Our cabin was amazing, the cabin staff was not. The servers around the ship were incredible.. very happy and eager to please. This was most probably the fastest we have boarded and disembarked. We had a few issues on the boat, the response time was very slow, but all were remedied. At all of the destinations we felt safe and welcome except for one. We booked three resort days, well worth the money, and an exceptional experience. We have some great snorkeling pics throughout the islands, there are so many places to snorkel on this cruise. The boat was in good condition, this is our second time on the Dawn. Now for the Cons; We had a huge issue with our original cabin steward. The linens were torn, the room was mot made up, and my purse dissappeared (it was recovered) It took two hours, standing in line, waiting to get to guest services and security. We made the mistake of going on the Jolly Roger tour.. it is a party boat, overloaded. There were not enough buses to take us back to our boat so we were forced to board another, the bus was full (this is a tour bus with flip down seats in the middle of the isle) when one of the crew members from the Jolly Roger dumped an inebriated (passed out) person in row 4 in the middle seat. A gentleman who needed assistance (he had a walker) was forced to sit in the middle seat in front of her.. enough said. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
It was a great way to see a number of islands in the eastern Caribbean. The value seemed like a deal and the 10 day length gave me enough time to see several islands on one trip. I scheduled several shore excursions and purchased a 7-day ... Read More
It was a great way to see a number of islands in the eastern Caribbean. The value seemed like a deal and the 10 day length gave me enough time to see several islands on one trip. I scheduled several shore excursions and purchased a 7-day specialty meal package. I was a little disappointed my travel agent didn't take advantage of the "Free at Sea" promotion Norwegian was running at the time. It offered unlimited bar, free wifi/internet, a few free excursions, and several specialty meals. Now - to the trip. The embarkation process was fairly organized and with a little patience, not too bad of an experience. The cabin was as described - I suppose a little roomier than a standard balcony stateroom, but certainly not large. My biggest problem was - the location ... it was under the deck floor for the dining/pool area. Every morning at 4:30am, I was lucky enough to have a built in wake up call. The crew would BANG, DROP, DRAG and scrape the furniture across the wood deck ( which happened to be my ceiling) without consideration to time or where they were working. I went up the first day to explain to them they were above people's cabins and they looked at me like I was from MARS. Needless to say, it continued for every day of the cruise. If I cruise on Norwegian again, I will NEVER make the mistake of not knowing where my cabin is with regard to floors above and below. It was enough to make my cruise experience not a good one. The food on the cruise was better than average - I found the specialty restaurants were very good and the RSVP process was easy. The shore excursions were fun - not cheap - but easy and very well organized. Overall, it was a good trip ... however, I'm on the fence if I'll use Norwegian for my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because of the number of islands in the Itinerary and the fact that it leaves out of a port that is basically already there (less sail days). We also wanted to experience an NCL cruise on a smaller ship with less ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the number of islands in the Itinerary and the fact that it leaves out of a port that is basically already there (less sail days). We also wanted to experience an NCL cruise on a smaller ship with less people, we were not disappointed. We realized that there would not be the amenities that the larger ships have like a Margarita Ville and the outside bars and restaurants - we missed this on the Dawn. There are very few outside bars and restaurants have no outside seating. On our previous cruises (Getaway and Breakaway) they played fun music across the ship. I did not realize what a difference that made. The Dawn plays much older fashioned music and the entertainment was really geared to an older (70+) crowd. We also found that the specialty dining is different. The restaurants are very small and they ran out of food types (we were restricted to 6oz filet minion at the steakhouse restaurant. Cabins - you get what you pay for. We splurged for our wedding anniversary and had an owners suite (Park Avenue Suite 10506). This cabin is fantastic! There are two decks, one of the front of the ship and one on the side. There is butler service and all the perks that come along like priority boarding and disembarkation (no lines) and many other great things. This ship does not have a Haven but the service and extra perks are really worth it. We booked excursions almost every day at each port. I recommend doing this so you can get a feel for the island to see if you might want to return. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We booked an 11 night Southern Carrib on the Dawn a year in advance. Price could not be beat and we had the Drinks package, Dining package, $100 per port shore credits and internet and calling home from out room. Internet worked ok after ... Read More
We booked an 11 night Southern Carrib on the Dawn a year in advance. Price could not be beat and we had the Drinks package, Dining package, $100 per port shore credits and internet and calling home from out room. Internet worked ok after hearing horror stories. We just knew not to do more than basic stuff. The specialty dining was a godsend because we have noticed h big drop in quality in the main dining room. There were three of us and every night one of us was dissappointed. We did Cagneys, Le Bistro and the Italian rest and Bamboo one night. Food was terrific but no more choices in Cagneys except Filet Mignon and Tbone. Nothing else available the whole cruise. We had a handicapped balcony cabin on deck 9 aft. 9708 and everything was fine. Good cabin steward and room and balcony were fine. Beds seemed better than our last three times on the Dawn. Last two rooms we had were uncomfortable at best. Be carefull with the shore excursion staff. I am Gold and should get 10 percent discount. Had to go stand in line there to have my discounts applied and the way the billed out the shore excursions and credits was very poor. It seemed we got away with a few free excursions so I did not say a word. Most of us saw the nightly shows and as usual they were all good. Can still get drinks there if you get there early enough. And the Drinks package works very well now all over the ship except if you are in the hot tubs and want something.You can get two drinks each or a double, even double servings of wine at dinner. We visited 9 islands in 11 days and the only place we did not like at all was Grenada. They took us to three places and on a four hour trip we just rode around in a poorly built bus for all but maybe 30 minutes. All other ship shore excursions were ok. We only used NCL excursions because of the $100.00 per port credit. All in all it was fine. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was my first time on the Dawn, second on Norwegian. We had cruised on the Escape in February so I wasn’t sure I would be very impressed with the older ship. The interior was beautiful and tastefully done. Our suite was fantastic. ... Read More
This was my first time on the Dawn, second on Norwegian. We had cruised on the Escape in February so I wasn’t sure I would be very impressed with the older ship. The interior was beautiful and tastefully done. Our suite was fantastic. The only minor disappointment with the suite was that the middle windows were permanently discolored, so the view was partially obstructed and these windows had an air leak in the seal that whistled when we were cruising or if it was windy. The crew was amazingly friendly and attentive. The biggest disappointment was the food. On the Escape, we were all very happy eating at the buffet in the Cafe. On the Dawn, the food was terrible and unappetizing. Burgers looked as if they were hockey pucks, roasts sat under heat lamps and dried them out so they looked like shoe leather, and choices were quite limited. Cagney’s did not have ribeye steak during the entire cruise. La Cucina gave us reservations for 7:15 and when we arrived we were told there were no tables inside for us “because they had a large party of 9” so they could only seat us in the outside area that was smoky from the nearby cigar lounge and impossible to hold a conversation because of music being played at Gadsby’s bar. It is not the best environment for an up charge restaurant. The wait staff at the restaurants are well-trained and every server we had was pleasant and attentive. The servers in Moderno and Cagney’s were our favorites. Beverage servers in O’Sheehans and Gadsby’s knew our names and remembered our favorite drinks. The crew seems genuinely happy for the most part and that helped make our trip a good one. I would travel in the Dawn again, but would love to see them up their game in the food department, especially the Garden Cafe. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I chose this cruise because of dates and itinerary, also offered better rates as compared to other similar alternatives. Always is a plus in my case that NCL offers a solo program, which I was looking forward to experiencing. The solo ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of dates and itinerary, also offered better rates as compared to other similar alternatives. Always is a plus in my case that NCL offers a solo program, which I was looking forward to experiencing. The solo program is fine, no pressures at all, met very nice people and shared dinners and nice conversations. Average entertainment (very good The Elements and PG Magician). Very good complimentary restaurants (specially Venetian and O'Shelly's). Lots of dining options for extra payment. Drinks packages and Internet extremely expensive. Great staff. Cabin looked old but was perfect for 1/2 guests (although it accomodates 4, please do not!) I enjoyed Old San Juan in my 2 days prior to embarkation. One day would have been enough. Cannot comment on shore excursions, I just got off the ship in every islands and looked for the nearest beach, which I found very accesible in all cases, just a shared taxi and a fee for the chair/umbrella. Do not need to book shore excursions to go to the beach. Ship is old but very well maintained, medium size, rare distribution, but I would no doubt sail on it again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I needed a cruise to get away and relax and I have always wanted to do the Caribbean. Looked into cruises and this one gave me the most islands for the dollar.yes it is an older ship with some flaws but the staff and crew seemed to go out ... Read More
I needed a cruise to get away and relax and I have always wanted to do the Caribbean. Looked into cruises and this one gave me the most islands for the dollar.yes it is an older ship with some flaws but the staff and crew seemed to go out of their way to make sure I had an enjoyable time. Only negative I had was in the spa. After a massage I got the hard sell to buy their products. Even after saying no a couple of time they kept trying to sell me product. After meeting a crew member once they knew my name and always smiled and said hello. Public rooms were always nice and clean, pool deck had plenty of room and always music or something fun going on. Nightly game shows were fun to go to. Excursions were good and a lot of variety in the choices. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I chose this cruise because I live close to the home port the itinerary included some islands I have not yet visited, and because I could book a balcony at a reasonable rate for a solo traveler. Embarkation and disembarkation was very ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I live close to the home port the itinerary included some islands I have not yet visited, and because I could book a balcony at a reasonable rate for a solo traveler. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth. The activities, entertainment, cabin and shore excursions were all fine. I particularly enjoyed the attention paid to solo travelers. Also, I treated myself by paying for open access to the spa's facilities. I always had that pool and hot tub to myself and I avoided the crowds at the outdoor communal pool. I admit that it is not my favorite ship but it is not my least-favorite ship. This is the first time I have been on a ship that had a telephone app that could be used for finding out activities, etc. This is a nice feature, but frankly I was not ready to carry my phone around with me. I enjoyed that St Thomas was the last port of call before heading back to San Juan, because St Thomas is included in my cell phone's basic plan and I could call home to confirm disembarkation arrangements. There are two things that would make the overall experience better. First, when you get off the ship and waiting in the hot sun for your ride, there is no place to sit down. Second, when you try to access the NCL website in Puerto Rico, it defaults to Spanish and there is no option to change the language. You can get around this by using a VPN and/or using Chrome as the web browser because it will translate to English. But most people would not really care about this, so for most people it is a non-issue. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We wanted an early winter mini-break so booked a 9-day out of Boston on the Dawn. We have been on the Dawn before and found the re-furbishing a major disappointment, and the reason for four stars vs five. Space is even more cut up than ... Read More
We wanted an early winter mini-break so booked a 9-day out of Boston on the Dawn. We have been on the Dawn before and found the re-furbishing a major disappointment, and the reason for four stars vs five. Space is even more cut up than before with flow through just about nil. We enjoy the main dining menus and food and see no need for the many, many specialty restaurants taking up all the common space. Our cabin (mini suite with balcony) seemed smaller than usual (11102) due to the different layout. We usually cruise mid-ship but on the Dawn the mid ship mini suites are under the pool so did not want to hear the chairs scraping. One of our drawers did not stay shut but cabin steward had carpenters fix immediately. Plenty of storage (prefer the cabins with more drawers vs shelves, but still plenty) Entertainment was again, excellent, with a good variety in the various venues. Food was good - not exceptional, but good, lots of variety and plentiful. We did try LeBistro (disappointing), LosLobos (nothing special) and Cagney's (Excellent) with our "free" perk for distinctive voyage/Latitudes Platinum. While we would go back to Cagney's (with our Latitude rewards, NOT to pay extra), we find plenty of variety and excellent choices in the dining room. We never eat in the cafe (I have a food allergy and don't trust the other diners not to cross-contaminate). Service was wonderful throughout the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and price. First time ever chose the transfer and hotel package - will not do that again. Hotel was fine but transfer was awful. It took several calls and we almost ended up calling a cab because ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and price. First time ever chose the transfer and hotel package - will not do that again. Hotel was fine but transfer was awful. It took several calls and we almost ended up calling a cab because they were so late. Only good part of that was that we had no lines at embarkation! We have sailed on this ship before its renovation and liked the old version better. Remodel has it very chopped up so they can accommodate all of the specialty restaurants. It was rough the first day and half due to weather but staff handled having everyone inside all day very well and had many activities. I was disappointed to find so many of them were infomercials however. I do not buy art, wine or beauty items onboard. Prices for Bingo and Lets make a deal seemed high, but had a wonderful time anyway. I am a trivia fan and wished that the times were better for those (had general tirvia at 9AM and 5PM) . The guitar player in the Gatsby lounge was terrific, other venues were okay. Food was good but repetitive. Excellent chips in Cagneys and burgers in O Sheehans was excellent.. One of our party has a severe shellfish allergy and I am diabetic, Mr. Q took excellent care of us. We stayed overnight in Puerto Rico and had arranged a private tour with a couple of other cruise critic members. It was excellent. My favorite excursion was in St. Maarten. We chose to make our own perfume. What a terrific experience I would say this was not to be missed. So much fun and so informative and I love my 'personal' perfume! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We had a lot of fun on this cruise. We went to many beautiful beaches with some great people that we meet on the ship. The ship is really clean. The staff work quickly to clear the tables to accommodate other guests in the dining ... Read More
We had a lot of fun on this cruise. We went to many beautiful beaches with some great people that we meet on the ship. The ship is really clean. The staff work quickly to clear the tables to accommodate other guests in the dining rooms. The menu choices are great! There seemed to be something for everyone. We really liked having the Distinctive Voyage Package. We ended up with 5 specialty restaurants, because we are Platinum too. Also, I loved having the phone benefit. I have an elderly Mother at home, and it was great for her to hear my voice. I wish that they would add something like that for a Platinum benefit. Just 30 minutes would be perfect! We had an early flight home on this trip. It was the first time that we used the early Latitudes disembarkation. It was amazing. We got off the ship so fast that we even had time to kill at the airport! We can't wait to go on our next cruise. The entire staff on the ship were so friendly. We also enjoy NOT having to dress up. Vacations are to relax! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
In some aspects the Dawn excelled, In some she didn't do very well. For the most part I'd say our recent trip on the Dawn was middle of the road mediocre. First of all the cruise was far from full and had just the right ... Read More
In some aspects the Dawn excelled, In some she didn't do very well. For the most part I'd say our recent trip on the Dawn was middle of the road mediocre. First of all the cruise was far from full and had just the right amount of people for my liking. There were plenty enough people to have fun without overbearing crowds. There were no lines or waits for anything for the entire 9 days and the one time I had to change a reservation at a specialty restaurant, they were able to accommodate us without a problem. Although she was remodeled in 2016, Dawn is showing signs of her age and hard life. There were considerable maintenance issues from minor cosmetic issues such as paint and rust to more significant issues, such as broken tiles, cracked glass in an elevator windows being inoperable with broken and missing hardware and plumbing malfunctions in many of the public restrooms. With the exception of one nasty female bartender at Gatsby's the staff were happy and helpful all over the ship. Our Cabin Steward got it just right! We start each trip the same by asking for 3 things, that the mini-fridge be emptied, an mattress topper be put on the bed and that robes be brought. He took care of our request promptly and without complaint, unobtrusively while we were out. He wasn't pushy about cleaning several times a day at awkward times. He cleaned while we were away and had the bed turned down in the evening whenever we returned from the evenings events. He never bothered us on days we wanted to sleep in and just "be" and linger over a late brunch served in our cabin. The food was all over the place. We had had fantastic meals in specialty restaurants, especially Cagney's and Moderno. O'Sheehan's was much better than it was on last years cruise The Main dining rooms were pretty good. However a few meals seemed like buffet fare plated nicely and served elegantly. The Buffet was hit or miss, repetitive and lackluster. That being said I didn't turn away from it for snacks and light fare. We enjoyed cocktails all over the ship. Topsider's near the pool seemed to water the drinks down especially the premixed drinks of the day. The beer and wine was always good. Ray a server there, was always upbeat, fun and helpful. The entertainment was great! Shore excursions were hit or miss. An afternoon beach break which should have been low-key and pleasant turned out to be anything but. We ere brought to a beach around 25 minutes ride from the ship. Chairs were provided. We found our spot raised the umbrella, and settled in for a little while before going into the water. Once in the water we saw a man going through our belongings and then take them. We caught up with him and he complained that we hadn't paid for the umbrella. We paid and got out things but were uncomfortable leaving our spots together after that and were not able to freely enjoy the beautiful beach. Now comes the steady stream of panhandlers, a man carrying a bird feeder collecting money for the birds, a woman carrying aloe leaves asking for money to rub you with them. A man selling USB thumb drives with "island music installed," another man approached selling sea shells. In retrospect,$59 per person was a lot for what amounted to a ride to a public beach. For the price charged, I think Norwegian could do a better job, perhaps securing a private beach at a resort would be less menacing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I picked this cruise up at a good solo traveler price when I was looking for a relaxing vacation. As it was a repo cruise, it had some sea days which I wanted to see how I liked and was my first cruise over 7 days in many years. I ... Read More
I picked this cruise up at a good solo traveler price when I was looking for a relaxing vacation. As it was a repo cruise, it had some sea days which I wanted to see how I liked and was my first cruise over 7 days in many years. I booked a guaranteed balcony which was deck 8 forward. A good location for me. I spent a lotmof time in the cabin so the extra sofa and loads of daylight was just what I wanted. The cabin is forward of the elevators, so hall was quiet and only used by those sleeping in the area. Embarkation and disembarkation were fine and went smoothly. I stayed onas long as I couldasmy flight was mid afternoon and aswewere docked at Pan Americana (not downtown), there was no point going anywhere but the airport. Ship was well maintained, quiet and comfortable. We sailed with about 600 people less than full capacity so loads of room andno lineups. I used the main dining rooms for most meals. One visit to Bamboo and one to Los lobos (birthday dinner). MDR had good service, but dinner serving sizes werehard to predict and inconsistent across the menu. One dinner had a standardsized prime rib meal and the same day had a pork belly meal that had perhaps 1/3 cup of sweet potato puree, 1/3 cup of veg and big palmsized piece of pork belly. However, there was less than 2 ounces of meat on it. Primerib dinner was 6 oz meat, 8 oz baked potato, but only one small broccoli floweret. Appetizers were also inconsistent for size. I did few activities as many were in Gatsby's but I couldn't attend due to allergies and too much smoke in the area. I attended most evening shows in the theatre and enjoyed them. Hypnotist and magician were good. I did not take any organized shore excurions and didn't visit every port. I wasdisappointed that we used a cargo dock in St.kitts despitespaceat the main pier in town. Shuttle buses were long waits so i didn't even leave ship. Service was always considerate and pleasant, but my cabin steward was only adequate. Infrequently seen, few smiles and all business. He did try to accommodate my request for early room make up in the morning, but several nights I turned in before evening turndown. No big deal, as I don't need much and maybe he is just naturally reserved. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I spoke with people at the ports we landed at who were on different ships and their time at the ports were much shorter than NCL, I feel NCL gave us longer port days. Everyone on the ship that works there go above and beyond to make ... Read More
I spoke with people at the ports we landed at who were on different ships and their time at the ports were much shorter than NCL, I feel NCL gave us longer port days. Everyone on the ship that works there go above and beyond to make sure you have the best cruise. The staff was extremely friendly and they would go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable. Entertainment was good, I enjoyed the different activities throughout the day, we would meet in the Atrium or Gatsby's to play trivia games. Personally, I found the pool deck too noisy. I prefer a quieter area to relax, but the other cruisers seemed to enjoy it. I also prefer to cruise when the kids are in school. There were not many children on this cruise due to school, those that were on it were all well behaved. It's just a preference I have to cruise with more adults than children. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We have been on the Dawn before and really liked it. This cruise we won a bid and got upgraded to a suite. The service was impeccable. Our stateroom was incredible. The only negative would probably be the food. We went to the main ... Read More
We have been on the Dawn before and really liked it. This cruise we won a bid and got upgraded to a suite. The service was impeccable. Our stateroom was incredible. The only negative would probably be the food. We went to the main dining room and often did not Like the choices, the buffet was pretty much the same every day and when we went to LaCucina, the specialty restaurant, we ended up with a pizza because the offerings were just not what we were looking for. The entertainment was superb. The best we have seen. Our Butler, Jonathan was simply the best. The ports we visited were amazing. We especially liked Antigua and Tortola. They were so clean and beautiful. I sometimes feel the kids/employees are worked too j hard. They do not seem to get much downtime. Many of them seemed tired through their beautiful smiles. All in all, this was a once in a lifetime trip that I would take over and over again if I could. We love Norwegian and free style cruising and all of the perks they continue to give. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Out of Boston and back to Boston. Liked going to 7 islands. Enjoyed shore excursions for the most part. Like bigger ships usually. Enjoyed specialty restaurants. Drinks very expensive. Room on the small side. Most of entertainment very ... Read More
Out of Boston and back to Boston. Liked going to 7 islands. Enjoyed shore excursions for the most part. Like bigger ships usually. Enjoyed specialty restaurants. Drinks very expensive. Room on the small side. Most of entertainment very good. Elements excellent.Shouldn't have to ask for toilet paper or tissues. Dining room. Best table was 101. It seems to be better when sitting at one table. Get to know waiter and assistant waiter. Hypnotist had a good show but not very friendly off stage. So called drink package free but wasn't. Over $200 each person in room for taxes and tips. Patti and Jose sang in atrium every night. Very versatile and excellent singers. Hard time finding a seat in atrium area. Shore excursions had $50 off each. Still very expensive. Enjoyed games and prizes at the end of cruise. Bean bag baseball, ring toss, etc.Too much cigarette smoke on deck 6. Casino and smoking room. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We would definitely choose NCL again. The variety of ports was very good and the time in ports was just right (all day). The only drawback with leaving from Boston was the 3 days down and 3 days back with no sea days in between ports. ... Read More
We would definitely choose NCL again. The variety of ports was very good and the time in ports was just right (all day). The only drawback with leaving from Boston was the 3 days down and 3 days back with no sea days in between ports. Understandable given the distance and length of cruise so not a deal-breaker. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze both in Boston and at ports of call. We had friends in Boston who dropped us off and picked us up. It was not a difficult port to get to or through from that standpoint. Roughly 85% of the cruisers were from Boston and most had been on the Dawn many times. We were told it is the friendliest NCL ship of the line and our experience would confirm that. Guest services was very helpful, everyone acted like they were enjoying their jobs, the entertainment was very good and the food was excellent. We did four specialty restaurants on a dining package: Le Bistro, Cagney's Steak, Tappenyaki, Moderno. All were very good but I think we were most impressed with Moderno. Given the size limitations who would have expected a great Brazilian steakhouse on a ship? Not us! But it was just excellent. I also liked the fact that the food service staff was very sensitive to people with food allergies and could accommodate or make menu suggestions for my GF issue. I could always find something to eat and did not get sick at all. Overall, I would recommend NCL cruises and in particular the Norwegian Dawn. It's not a huge ship but definitely a good one! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We like the freestyle cruising of Norwegian. There is no appointed place or time for a given room. The list of things to do is extensive on sea days and even enough to keep most busy even on port of call days. Activities include: ... Read More
We like the freestyle cruising of Norwegian. There is no appointed place or time for a given room. The list of things to do is extensive on sea days and even enough to keep most busy even on port of call days. Activities include: Fitness center, small library, Trivia, Sudoku, Ping Pong - Shuffleboard - Beanbag toss tournaments. Presentations on books and subjects, dance and card playing basic instruction. Entertainment included - comedians (yes more than one) - singing, shows, entertainment provided by the crew, game shows, sing alongs, piano playing, dancing Food - 7 specialty (for a price) Restaurants, 1 informal buffet, several grills, 2 -be served restaurants. We ate at them all (except the Sushi specialty restaurant). And of them the best was the non-specialty main dining room Restaurant (Aqua) on prime rib night. The meat was perfect as was the rest of the meal. Of the Specialty eateries - We liked them all - Japanese, French (escargots were excellent), Italian, Chinese, Steak House, Brazilian, It is hard to chose the best. BE AWARE - reservations are required at the Specialty Restaurants, if you do not plan in advance times can be a little odd. This seemed to bother some guests far more than others - it was fine with us. The Activities staff was wonderful as was all of the Restaurant Staff. Housekeeping was average. I went on one Shore Excursion - Advice - AVOID Palm Beach Reef Snorkeling on Bonaire in Kralendijk - the Reef is pretty dead (but is coming back slowly). Fitness center was quite nice. Generally we liked the ports of call. Nothing Specific to say about them though Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We just returned from our 12 day journey on the Dawn. We were a family of 5 traveling in two different rooms (my sister was the lucky duck with a gorgeous suite and we had a balcony). We had a wonderful time as usual. Most of the staff ... Read More
We just returned from our 12 day journey on the Dawn. We were a family of 5 traveling in two different rooms (my sister was the lucky duck with a gorgeous suite and we had a balcony). We had a wonderful time as usual. Most of the staff were awesome. One of the bar servers, Shem, was most amazing! After our first drink, he knew who we were by name. We were fortunate to spend a lot of time with him. He was from St. Lucia and he told us all about his country. My husband was reading a book on all of the different islands and Shem gave him a "homework" assignment to read about St. Lucia, which my husband happily did. Shem gave him a "quiz", which my husband passed with flying colors. Shem made us feel more like a friend than a guest and it was appreciated. The majority of the cruise director staff were great as well, with our favorites being Joey, Alvin and Franco. I know they get paid to make sure we have a great time, but it felt like they enjoyed what they were doing and enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed theirs. We tried to do as many activities as time and scheduling would allow and particularly liked the trivia with Franco. It was always a good time. We also went to karaoke quite a bit (I was actually tied for Karaoke Idol winner). I would say that although we had fun doing it, that activity seems to be more of something they have to do than something they want to do. I'd recommend they actually invest some money into it. There were quite a few of us there and it always felt like it was just a pain in the rear end for them and they didn't seem to enjoy it. There was no enthusiasm at all and most of the staff that did it, didn't know how to run the equipment. Bandeoke was also another activity that I think they would rather poke their eyes with hot sticks than do it. My two cents is that if you are going to offer the activity, don't treat it like it's a chore. The only real negative is regarding the lack of organization when we had to go through customs in St. Thomas. On paper, it looked great, but it was a mess! Those of us with excursions were supposed to have priority, but there were no staff members making sure that happened and so people without tickets for excursions lined up when they shouldn't have which meant people that followed the rules and waited until we were supposed to line up stood in long lines panicking that we weren't going to make our excursion. Having never done an excursion before, I didn't realize that they would wait for you and the staff didn't let us know that so I stood in a long line thinking I was going to miss my excursion (just a little anxiety there!). We did a lot of dining in the specialty restaurants and they were all great (especially Cagney's). I did notice that the buffet seemed to serve the same thing day after day and for a 12 day cruise, that can get a little boring. The shows that we saw were all good, especially the Oh What a Night tribute. We also did the Mystery Lunch with Second City and had a blast. We caught a couple of the game shows as well and thought they were great (especially Joey and the Jeopardy game show!) The casino was okay. Being someone who partakes in that "sin" quite often, I found their machines a little "tight". I also thought the bingo was a little expensive compared to what I'm used to paying for a whole night of bingo versus 45 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was my 2nd time on Dawn & I wasn't that keen on it the 1st time but being with the Cruzin Cuzins & seeing all the places we did made me like it a lot. Maybe it grows on you. The group really made the cruise for me as a ... Read More
This was my 2nd time on Dawn & I wasn't that keen on it the 1st time but being with the Cruzin Cuzins & seeing all the places we did made me like it a lot. Maybe it grows on you. The group really made the cruise for me as a lot of them had cruised together before so they arranged a lot to do on the ship as well as got group hotel bookings for the pre & post cruise hotels, It was nice to be part of a group as I was cruising solo again! I arrived in Boston the night before the cruise & stayed at the Embassy Suites which was a great hotel with included breakfast & also snacks & a drink in the evening, both plentiful & yummy. It was a rainy cool day in Boston but I still accomplished my goal of eating at Wahlburgers by taking the commuter ferry over to Hingham. It would have been a lovely trip had I been able to see the sights! The hotel had a free shuttle that took you to the airport where you could access transportation to the downtown area. Went by the prearranged shuttle ($10) around 10:15 & was on the ship quite quickly since I had gold status. I went for lunch to Blue Lagoon & had 2 bowls of the tomato soup I had enjoyed last time as well as the strawberry pound cake. Went to sign up for internet, saw my cabin 4616 a porthole cabin by the medical centre so very quiet, then went on the ship's tour with Alvin. I had never seen so many people on a tour, there must have been 100 of us!! I went to pretty much all the shows which I enjoyed, only played Bingo once as it was expensive, used my last slot play coupon in the casino & did crafts with Shirley or Alvin quite often. The Cuzins got together on sea days to play LCR which was a lot of fun. We also had a cabin crawl/poker run with branded items given at most stops, did a slot pull, had a large M&M with gift exchange & a horse race which was exciting & profitable to some. We had a group photo taken by the stairs to remember the cruise I found the cruise staff to be great. The CD was good, the other activity people like Alvin & Shirley helpful & fun, my cabin steward Gusti very good & the internet guy, Murray was a gem. He helped me so much with my new smart phone & I phone when I had problems & was very patient & pleasant. Patti & Jose were great as before & managed to fill the theatre on the 2 occasions they performed there.The hypnotist was good too & did several shows.. I had not liked the theatre on Dawn last time but maybe it was because I was recovering from knee surgery & the seats were quite close together. This time I sat in more spacious seats in the balcony where one could set their drink on the floor since there's no table or cupholder available. I did trivias, watched a movie, cooking demos, games shows just generally kept busy having fun. I grabbed a popcorn most nights from Pearly Kings to eat while I watched tv. I must say the channel choices on NCL are poor, Carnival is so much better . I ate at Moderno, LeBistro (thanks Anita) & Bamboo pay restaurants & enjoyed them all. There was a mini buffet some mornings outside Moderno which was a nice option but overall I tried all the free places & never had a bad meal. I had been to all the ports on this repo cruise before except New Orleans but found something new to do at each place. Thinking back on this cruise, the nice people I met & the things I saw makes me very happy!.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
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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