742 Norwegian Dawn Caribbean - Western Cruise Reviews

This was my 26th cruise and it was by first NOT enjoyable one. The first time I didn't gain weight and the first time we couldn't wait to get the hell off that annoying ship. The food was absolutely the worst Ive ... Read More
This was my 26th cruise and it was by first NOT enjoyable one. The first time I didn't gain weight and the first time we couldn't wait to get the hell off that annoying ship. The food was absolutely the worst Ive ever had on a cruise. It reminded me of school cafeteria food. The first day we hit the buffet for lunch and both of us were shocked at the lack of selection and low quality. We thought it was a fluke at first but unfortunately, it was the standard. We also tried the "specialty" restaurants. The French restaurant was anything but special. There I had the worst tenderloin I've ever had in my 57 years! This was the first time I've ever eaten less than half of my steak. It was so full gristle I couldn't eat it. This steak would have given my bulldog a run for his money. My husband only ate a couple of bites of his dish as well. Actually we ate just a few bites of everything. The waitress didn't bother asking if anything was wrong. She didn't care. They weren't busy at all either. Then we went to the Italian restaurant where I had the absolute worst meal I've ever had on a ship. Again, we ate about 2-3 bites off each dish and pushed it to the side. The waiter didn't ask if we wanted something else, how was it, is there a problem, etc. Nothing! Then we went to the steakhouse. We both had decent steaks but the rest wasn't so great. The lobster bisque was like tomato soup with a minute amount of lobster on top. Again, the waitress didn't ask how things were. It's obvious to us, nobody gives a crap on this ship! I think they're told to NOT ask if things are ok. The buffet is worth avoiding at all costs. It doesn't matter what time of day, its really low-quality food. The main dining rooms were both very disappointing as well. By day three I was dreading my next meal. We both were. We love to eat but we do have some standards. If you like McDonald's then you'll love their food. If you like Ihop you'll love those horrible omelets with pancake mix added to the eggs. I dont ever eat crap like that! The layout of this ship was so annoying! We kept getting lost and finding that elevators didnt go to every floor so finding your way away around this ship is a real hassle to say the least. On a funny note, we kept running into other people getting really annoyed with the same thing. The overall service was very poor throughout the ship. Although it was amazing how suddenly so many employees were smiling and acting like they gave a crap on the last night. Hoping for tips I guess. They say this ship was recently renovated but I saw many things that needed work. Our balcony had a lot rust on it. When it rained our balcony quickly flooded and chipped paint was then covering our balcony floor. Our toilet stopped working night 4 but it was quickly fixed. Come to think of it when we first got on board I had to go to the bathroom. I went to the first one I could find which was near where we boarded. When I opened the stall I noticed right away there was no toilet paper in that stall. This was a sign of things to come I guess! Our favorite part of this terrible cruise was the music by the pool. That's the only highlight. Never, ever, not even if it's FREE, will we ever cruise NCL again! Actually, the last night we met other people and compared notes. They couldn't get off that ship quick enough either. I'd rather go camping, and I hate camping. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We selected this cruise based on the length and ports of call. We did not encounter any of the complaints that others had posted about this ship. The staff were all very attentive and appeared to enjoy their jobs. The entertainment was ... Read More
We selected this cruise based on the length and ports of call. We did not encounter any of the complaints that others had posted about this ship. The staff were all very attentive and appeared to enjoy their jobs. The entertainment was great. The food was all very good. This was our 1st time cruising on Norwegian and we would definitely cruise with them again! The only downside that we can report on is the stop in Belize. We would have preferred being on the mainland, vs the private Island to have the ability to really experience Belize. We like exposing our children to other cultures and did not find that on Harvest Caye. We especially enjoyed Costa Maya and Roatan Bay where we ventured out on our own. We appreciated the attention put towards decreasing risk of illness. The staff were always wiping down hand rails and other high touch areas. Being in the Family Suite, we appreciated the ability to experience priority boarding and disembarkation. That was awesome! We would definitely recommend this cruise to others. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Just got home from our cruise on the Dawn out of Tampa. I have to say that I was really disappointed in our cruise this time. I am a dedicated NCL cruiser but I have to say this cruise was a big let down. We have been on the Dawn before, ... Read More
Just got home from our cruise on the Dawn out of Tampa. I have to say that I was really disappointed in our cruise this time. I am a dedicated NCL cruiser but I have to say this cruise was a big let down. We have been on the Dawn before, as a matter of fact we did the the same ports on the Dawn, but nothing like this. The first problem was the smoking area, I know smoking is bad for you but I am a smoker like many others. The smoking area consisted of 4 possibly 5 tables on the 14th deck only accessible by stairs. It was so packed that honestly you felt like you were in a can of sardines. Also the the non-smokers wanted the entire 14th deck and constantly complained about the smokers in the designated smoking area. Next was the problem with the ports. Out of the 4 ports only the private island wasn’t so congested with people that you could move. There were only 2 ships there. Costa Maya, Roatan, and Cozumel had a minimum of 5 to 6 ships in port. Also we had to tender into port for Roatan and the winds and water was so rough that many passengers didn’t leave the ship because of the delay. Lastly many of the crew was not the friendliest. I was in the garden cafe and found that my Cajun chicken was raw. I spoke to one of the officers and explained the issue and he brought the chef out and this chef decided to argue with me that I didn’t know what raw chicken was. I am sorry when you see pink meat and blood that to me means it was raw. Needless to say I think we will re-think sailing on the smaller ships from now on. Thanks for listening to me and this is only my observations. I am not trying to make a stink but just put my thoughts out there. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Me my wife and 20yo son decided on doing a family cruise. Our son is on spring break from UF and he wanted to do a cruise for his break, and it's been 5 years since our last cruise.We chose this cruise because we live 30 minutes from ... Read More
Me my wife and 20yo son decided on doing a family cruise. Our son is on spring break from UF and he wanted to do a cruise for his break, and it's been 5 years since our last cruise.We chose this cruise because we live 30 minutes from the port of Tampa. Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 10:30am. We parked the car in the parking garage across the street and carried our bags over.We went through security, filled out the health questionnaire. We were then directed to the counter to have our documents checked and take our picture. They gave us our key cards then went to sit down. Check in was a breeze. Took a total of about 15 minutes from security till we sat down waiting to board. At 11:00am they started the boarding process. They now board by status, and being gold with NCL we were one of the first groups to board. After boarding we went to O'Sheehans for lunch. They were good not great but good. Cabin: They were ready just after 1:00pm. Our cabin was a mini-suite on deck 11. Number 11070 starboard side. The cabin was roomy and clean. Our steward was awesome. His name was Gede and took great care of us. The only problem was the seas were a bit rough and the cabin would squeak like and old wooden ship would. I kinda liked it but the wife is more of a light sleeper than me so it bothered her a bit. The cabin was only making the noise on the sea days cause like I said the seas were a bit rough. Food: This is always subject to peoples different tastes. I thought the food was good, not great. I had some kind of meat every night. They were hot, cooked to my desired tastes and served with good sides. My wife is a vegetarian and didn't have a lot of choices. Now they have certain items on the menu that are on the menu everyday plus the days new choices. They had 3 cheese ziti and fettuccine alfredo on the menu everyday that she ate a couple of times because the choices on the menu for that day she didn't like. Our son found items to eat from the menu like I did. The desserts were also good but not great. They included lava cake(the best dessert they had in my opinion), cherries jubilee, crème brulee among others. We ate at the Venetian, Aqua and the Garden café and O'sheehans. Breakfast was usually at the Garden café and was good , but the same food every morning. We did not partake in any paid venues. Entertainment: We enjoyed a lot of the shows we attended. The comedian was very good his name was Clay Strong. The Element show was good also. There was music pretty much everywhere we walked on the ship. We did bingo(we lost). My son was called on stage for Deal or no Deal and won 80 bucks. He had a blast doing that, pricey games. The casino was fun also. First night of cruise the slots seemed to be hot, after that, not so much.hmmm... There were smokers but I didn't find it overwhelming. Our son had a knack for the coin game where you drop coins to push money over the edge. I think he made almost a hundred bucks doing that. Gym: We only went to the gym once and it was well equipped and well maintained. Ports: We went to Costa Maya, Harvest caye, Roatan and Cozumel. Get away from the port area when you get to costa maya., take a shuttle or taxi to the fishermans village about 10 minutes away. We reserved some chairs at Malecon 21 at the fishermans village.(they have a website, and are recommended). Highly recommend this place, as it is at the end of the malecon(strip), its so nice and is not crowded(take a taxi directly there, because its at the end, or you'll be walking a distance to get there). All the other places close to drop off are more crowded .Malecon 21 was very good and I would go back in a instant. Harvest caye we had to tender as the pier had been damaged a few weeks before, so we decided not to get off and enjoy the ship. It seemed a lot of people had the same idea cause the ship was still full. Roatan we also had to tender, we were moored at Coxen hole. I asked why we had to tender and the other 2 ships there were docked because we were the smaller ship, thought that sucked but alas what can I do. Cozumel was our final stop and we docked a Punta Langosta which is the downtown port. We just walked off the ship around 11:00am and just shopped and walked to the square where we had some lunch at a place called Frida's. Food was good and HOT(habanero). The beer was cold and we enjoyed it. Then as we were walking back the sky opened up and it poured for about 30 to 45 minutes. The weathered finally cleared and we went back to the ship. All in all we enjoyed the ports we went to. We have been to all of them a few times each except for Harvest caye. Disembarkation: Being gold members we got yellow tags and were off the ship around 8:00am. We got our bags and got in line for customs, Get a porter so you avoid long custom lines. If you have porter you get thru customs much faster. We parked our car in the garage across the street. So we got in the car and drove home, being Sunday there was no traffic YAY. Summary: We had a great time. Was everything perfect. No, but what in life is. Life is what you make out of it and we made a great time of it. Heck we are on a cruise. The ship was very full even with the coronavirus in the news. We were not nervous about it at all. Already looking to book another cruise for later this year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
The food was cold at every station, even the fine dining. Cold and served raw hamburger. I was quarantined from gastroenteritis complications. Symptoms of hot and cold runny nose soar throat brain fog muscle break down fever loss of ... Read More
The food was cold at every station, even the fine dining. Cold and served raw hamburger. I was quarantined from gastroenteritis complications. Symptoms of hot and cold runny nose soar throat brain fog muscle break down fever loss of appetite cough diarrhea, vomiting. I was so sick the ship hospital cost me 4K. So I paid for something that ship infected me with! I was also treated with disrespect at a time when I could not defend myself. The cabin smelled like diesel fuel and I could not get fresh air. Smoking on the ship was everywhere. There was no relief, even in the non smoking section people would light up. Every little thing cost money. Bingo for example the best deal was $69. US. Ridiculous. The entertainment was limited and clearly cheap. The administrators had problems with technical equipment. It felt has if the workers had zero experience. I could not wait to get off that damn ship. It was a horrible experience! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our 1st cruise and it didn't disappoint. The ship looked great. Layout a little confusing at first but after day 1 no problems. We had a balcony cabin and we liked sitting out there is the morning drinking our coffee. ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise and it didn't disappoint. The ship looked great. Layout a little confusing at first but after day 1 no problems. We had a balcony cabin and we liked sitting out there is the morning drinking our coffee. We didnt like the garden cafe so we ate in the main dining rooms mostly. We did do the Japanese steak house, must do again, Brazilian steak house, go hungry, and the French restaurant, our waitress was fantastic! We loved all the entertainment, we went to all of it. The comedian was so funny and we got to talk with him after the show. All of our service was outstanding, very friendly and willing to help. Shout out to Angelo and Vladimir you both made the trip. All shore excursions were great. We will be coming back. We got 2 vouchers for our next cruise. Now have to decide where to go! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
With the Beverage package, 3 free specialty restaurants, internet minutes and discount of $ 50 on the excursions included in the price of this cruise it did not feel like we were nickeled and dimed to death! This really helped make our ... Read More
With the Beverage package, 3 free specialty restaurants, internet minutes and discount of $ 50 on the excursions included in the price of this cruise it did not feel like we were nickeled and dimed to death! This really helped make our cruise more inclusive and frankly less stressful not worrying if we were spending too much at the lounges. Pros, pretty good entertainment, food was average to good, crew mostly friendly and smiling, a few on the first day were not happy, (O'Sheegans hostess was beside herself as people were coming into restaurant in the wrong direction and she was getting upset, need to make sign bigger or put Exit only on the non entrance side)! But overall with a few exceptions most staff we interacted with were nice, some were exceptionally good. Kudos to the internet manager who understood our dilemma and fixed it. Excursions we took were very good, Costa Mayo excursion was cancelled due to being too windy, Costa Maya itself is just a small area with a bunch of shops we didn't go out of this area but while we were there, a total of 3 cruise ships came in so it made for a very crowded experience. Harvest Cay, we took a electric boat ride was OK free Wi-Fi and rum punch made it a lot more enjoyable and listening to the captain explain Belize life. The pool and beach there in this private area were very good, clean and inviting. We had to tender there and back so it made for a hot and sticky ride. Didn't see much of Belize but this was our fault. By far Roatan was the most interesting excursion we travelled by bus to the Gumbalimba Animal Reserve and this was very interesting, with Parrots and small monkeys crawling over you. Was a great experience, especially funny when a monkey stole someone sunglasses, climbed up the tree and tried to put them on, you are warned about this that they will take things from you not secured!! Cozumel is a big tourist trap but if you like shopping this is the place for you. We went to the manatee and Sea Lion encounter and it was also really good , got to kiss and be kissed by the sea lion and also swam with some manatees and interacted with them, holding them, feeding them and yes kissing them they are wonderful animals. Cons: small room, busy buffet area for breakfast and lunch, noisy room where you could hear everyone scarping there chairs on the balconies and it sounded like they were in your room. Probably one of the better cruises we were on for value and entertainment not so much for seeing the countries visited but we could have taken excursions that were more in-land that may have helped this. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This is my first cruise, and honeymoon. I spent a good amount of money on the room with the specialty dining package, drink package, and excursions. From what I’ve been told the food is really good and drinks plentiful, I guess we will ... Read More
This is my first cruise, and honeymoon. I spent a good amount of money on the room with the specialty dining package, drink package, and excursions. From what I’ve been told the food is really good and drinks plentiful, I guess we will see. Day 1: Onboarding Arrived at Tampa Port via Uber, nice lady, she was distraught by the law enforcements persona, the way they “directed” her. Exiting the vehicle freshly married and ready for our destination we were hustled by our luggage carrier, in the middle of a fleet of incoming traffic, we were ridiculed by one worker while I halted a bus to allow our passage to the line. Little distraught, we marched toward our destination. On board and only 3 hours of sleep, I had a blast, lots of booze, and old people, more than I expected. The room with the balcony was very nice for an upgraded cabin. Food was decent. We had Bamboo this night, it was very good. ***Breaking News**** Extra precaution is taken for citizens onboarding the Norwegian Dawn: Fact: There was only a paper survey filled out and no temperatures were taken upon boarding this ship. This will be referenced later… Day 2: Sailing Woke up after an amazing night of sleep in the comfortable bed, the swaying of the sea knocked me out. Unfortunately, the next morning after a bunch of celebratory booze and the sway, the Vancian was super warm and in the back of the ship where I was not a happy camper after receiving my eggs. After taking some motion sickness pills and touring the spa, which they wanted more money for and walking a few rounds around the deck, I was able to get some real food, so we headed to the Irish Pub – the wings were breaded and not enough blue cheese , drinks were on point the entire trip, corn beef reuben could have been better. Dinner was at Aqua, my steak was served with French fries. Mashed potatoes and gravy would have been nice, maybe some broccoli and cheese. There was a nice couple from Montreal sitting next to us, and when they were replaced with another couple, the man was clearly sick. Red face, coughing and sneezing in his table napkin. Thankfully we were wrapping up desert, and we notified the staff. Day 3: Costa Maya All day trip to the ruins of Kohunlich and Dzibanche. Our guide was very informative, but the drive there and back was about 2.5 hours. Pretty sketchy on the way, but once we arrived, it was worth the trip. If you are not comfortable going on walks through the woods, you will not like this. I suggest good walking shoes, and something lite to wear so you don’t get too hot. Almost forgot to mention, the guys sitting next to us at dinner the night before, he is in a stretcher getting off the boat the next morning as we were getting off the ship. Day 4: Belize – Norwegian private island I grew up working in a seafood restaurant, I know how to cook and love great food, so my opinion may not always be the same as others regarding food: Finally, good food, even though I had to pay for it. The fish taco’s and plantains on the island were amazing. Bought a bunch of overpriced drinks and hung out in the big pool, the pool on the Dawn is easily overrun. Another ship ran into the dock (it a Norwegian island) and we had to take a tender boat to shore, it was hot and uncomfortable. The group that escorted us parasailing was on point, this was our first time. We have this specialty dining package, and little to my knowledge, getting a reservation to one of these places is tough. One of the staff was clearly put off by the fact I did not understand this reservation thing. I mean how do you reserve the WHOLE restaurant. When I asked to be put on the waiting list, she said she would call my room... I’m like… I’m not staying in my room, waiting for you to call, have you heard of a paging system… Even when I wanted to go to the bar and eat, I was told only chips and dip at the Mexican place. The places do not open until 5:30pm, and most places we could not get seated until at least 6:30 I typically eat my heaviest meal at around 3-4, that is how my body works… So, the “freesytle” theory did not work with me. I was pretty pissed this night; we went to the Venetian for dinner and the food was disappointing. The comedian performing in the theatre came through though and had me in tears. Day 5: Honduras – Rotan Rotan is a very beautiful island; we went to the west side of the island where we enjoyed local beers $2.50 and amazing views. Our excursion included a ride on this part sub-boat, where you can see the coral reef and all the fish, I strongly suggest this tour for families. We ended up using one of the specialty dining packages for sushi at Bamboo back on the ship. I was very impressed with the sushi. Day 6: Cozumel – Playa del Carmen – Xcaret The water was very rough, and we took this Jetferry to Playa del Carmen. I have been looking forward to this stop since I booked the trip. The Xcaret Park is a must do for the family. There is some walking, but nothing extreme. I would bring water shoes for this day. The park is mainly shaded with areas of direct or dappled sun. Our authentic Mexican meal and views from the park was grand. Back on the boat: 2nd Specialty dining at the Italian place – The seabass and snapper was good, I expected some noodles being in an Italian place, but the service and atmosphere was great. We were seated just outside the restaurant where we could still enjoy the live music from the champagne bar. Day 7: Rough day at Sea home Since it is the last day, people were out having a great time. The weather was super windy and cold though. The “Elements” show was good. 3rd Specialty dining at the Mexican place – I’ve been looking forward to this place, because I love Mexican food. The food was okay. Day 8: Back in Tampa The Aquarium was nice, we were able to check our bags in and tour the park and surrounding area since we had a late flight. The food at the park was good, I loved the live music and amount of family’s having a good time. Summary: The food is okay – don’t do all reservations for your specialty dining, if you sell it, you should be able to support it. Fix the coffee machines in the buffet area, it is way too strong with no options for good coffee. Most of the people on the boat were friendly, but some were not. People may not remember what you say, but they always remember how you make them feel. Good job having people with sanitizing hand wash everywhere, but you should have been taking temperatures. As a first time cruiser, I thought it may just not be for me, I like the stops, but the boat should be just as enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Tampa is a convenient port. Easy check in and local parking. Like Harvest Caye. Nice beach. We were only ship there that day so not crowded. Specialty restaurants a bit disappointing. Location and shape of Cagneys is weird - and too much ... Read More
Tampa is a convenient port. Easy check in and local parking. Like Harvest Caye. Nice beach. We were only ship there that day so not crowded. Specialty restaurants a bit disappointing. Location and shape of Cagneys is weird - and too much foot traffic with servers going between kitchen and Modesto next door. La Cucina was meh. Le Bistro did not disappoint. Don't miss a quiet happy hour in the wine cellar. Worth stopping by. Note: the glass-walled "cigar bar" filled with cigarette smokers is centrally located and unsightly. Dining room is great for 'sit down and be served' breakfast. But I wish it didn't close at 9:30. We're on vacation. Don't need to set the alarm. All and all, it's a good value for the money. Everything felt clean. Public restrooms well maintained. The staff was universally great: servers, bartenders, hosts, stewards, etc. Love the casual dress code. Suggestion: charge a bit more money and do less nickel and dimeing of guests all week. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I decided on this cruise to provide a special experience for my daughter and granddaughter who wanted to see wildlife of Central America. The Roatan Honduras stop would provide that. Picked up the cruise package that included free ... Read More
I decided on this cruise to provide a special experience for my daughter and granddaughter who wanted to see wildlife of Central America. The Roatan Honduras stop would provide that. Picked up the cruise package that included free airfare. Hint: ncl booked the cheapest fare which may not suit your travel needs. In my case they booked a 1;10am sun flight with plane change which got us to port at noon on sun. So from west coast over 24 hours without sleep. At port the typical crowd was awaiting boarding. It was fast and smooth and our cabin was ready for us to catch up on some sleep. We were on the 8th deck and liked the overall access to the restrauants and level 7 from our room. The cabin was clean and functional. Here is what as a return ncl traveler I discovered abd missed. No more togga or white night cekebration. No prime rib special night no chocolate night and no more animal towels in the room eack night. Those were things I looked forward to having my guests experience. We took several excursions but only one with ncl which was snorkeling at Harvest Cay. I would have preferred a true cultural experience of porting in Belize City as ncl used to do before developing their own island. Debating in Tampa was fast as we did walk off. Customs took about 30 minutes. For those who want to get through faster, pay a porter to bring the bags to curbside. It speeds the wait through the line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have cruised over 15 times, the last four ( with in 2 yrs) with NCL. This was disappointment from the time we entered the ship. We always upgrade to a suite and have been very pleased. This is the first time I used a NCL ... Read More
We have cruised over 15 times, the last four ( with in 2 yrs) with NCL. This was disappointment from the time we entered the ship. We always upgrade to a suite and have been very pleased. This is the first time I used a NCL representative to book and I feel he talked us into the worse suite on the ship. It has a water sealing door instead of an extended window. It was in front of the ship so very, very windy. If we would have been advised, we would have picked a different suite. I feel I would have done better on my own on the website. When boarding the ship there was confusion with the concierge, while we asked to purchase an additional dining package, we were hurried onto the ship and Christopher assured us that this could be done thru the Dining reservation desk. Needless to say, it was never taken care of. It was an issue two nights at diner. We booked a "Catch and Release" fishing excursion. We met in the show room 5 minutes early. We went right to the front and asked the person in charge if we could show him our tickets, to confirm we were in the right place. He asked us to sit down without looking at our tickets. 20 minutes later when again, I indicated we were past the time, he asked what excursion we were going on, radioed someone and then let us know we missed the excursion. This individual was rude and had no customer service skills. We were able to do a later excursion at a higher price. We paid extra for a suite to include Butler and Concierge and I felt as if we were a bother to them. One evening, our Butler knocked on the door and wanted to pick up dirty items. I was in my robe and my husband was in the shower. I indicated we did not need it at the time, he insisted on coming in to clean up. We were advised to meet our concierge by 9:30 on the day of departure. We arrived at 9:00am and waited until 9:30. He did not show up. We got off the ship and that is not the point. We paid to upgrade to get a higher level of service that we did not get. It felt as is the ship was understaffed and service was mediocre. On a positive note, our room steward, Rusty (sp) was great. He always greeted us, watched for us to leave and made up our room. The suite has one electrical outlet. The Dawn does not make up the animals out of your towels that most people have come to expect. The attention to detail is absent. I have learned a couple of things; look at the age of the ship carefully. Just because it has been renovated does not indicate it has spruced up and book your room yourself. Do the research and you will be better off than using a NCL sales person. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I didn't know much about cruises before booking this as my first (my plus one's second), and I started to get nervous once I saw poor reviews for the ship after paying in full. The food was better than I expected and always hot ... Read More
I didn't know much about cruises before booking this as my first (my plus one's second), and I started to get nervous once I saw poor reviews for the ship after paying in full. The food was better than I expected and always hot (we did no specialty dining - ate mostly in the Venetian) but my +1 had eaten lobster and filet frequently on his Carnival cruise so was a bit underwhelmed by the options. We weren't impressed by 95% of our servers. The room was decent for inside, our steward was excellent and made our bed twice each day. We didn't do many activities on board aside from every one of the shows, but we were only strongly interested in a handful of the other options per day. We would have liked to do some of the fitness classes or gameshows or tastings but weren't interested in paying extra. The pool area seemed too small for the ship. Our tender to Harvest Caye wasn't fun and the Tampa port staff for embarkation/disembark got the job done but the staff seemed rude. We didn't find the Sugarcane mojito bar until the last night, which was a bummer... head there first! This trip got the job done for the money. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My wife and I usually choose Norwegian as our preferred cruise line, although we have used several others. We like the casual attitude, the overall friendliness of the staff and the Free Style dining and, so far at least, have preferred ... Read More
My wife and I usually choose Norwegian as our preferred cruise line, although we have used several others. We like the casual attitude, the overall friendliness of the staff and the Free Style dining and, so far at least, have preferred the smaller ships to the new mega-giants. This was our fifth NCL cruise. In fact, our last time at sea, two years ago, was on the Dawn and the same itinerary. We enjoyed it enough then to try it again, although we had been somewhat disappointed last time in both the entertainment and the food. But I believe in second chances and it fit our schedule and budget, so we booked it again. The ship still looks great; fresh and bright and clean. The embarkation process was relatively quick. We were aboard and looked forward to a relaxing week. We were not disappointed. We did book three specialty dinners (Teppanyaki, Cagney's and Le Bistro). Frankly, we've often found the specialty restaurants to be overrated in the past but not this time. All three were excellent. I'm not usually a fan of French cuisine but thought we'd try Le Bistro and we unanimously picked it as our favorite of the cruise. The mussels, mushroom and French onion soups and peppercorn tenderloins were off the charts great! Teppanyaki was not only entertaining but delicious and Cagney's was premier as well. Great prime rib! O'Sheehan's served great American food and both complimentary restaurants served fantastic meals and the wait staff was terrific. We literally had no complaints whatsoever. Service on board is always good and the Dawn's staff did not disappoint. They were outstanding. Our cabin was small. We're used to that on NCL but it's efficient, at least. I do think in the future we'll spring for a larger cabin, though. It's a bit cramped but we spend little time there. The entertainment was much improved over two years ago. I'm a fan of guitar players and there was an excellent one on board. Angel played a wide variety of songs and sang well. He could appeal to virtually any audience and I was impressed with his relaxed style and his talent and ready smile. In addition, the main band also displayed an amazing playlist from disco to Queen and the Beatles, all of which was played and sung beautifully. My only regret is that the cruise only lasted a week. More great memories were made on this, our fifth NCL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Just off the Dawn. This was our 12th cruise. 10th with NCL. We have done this itinerary before, but this was what was available from Tampa, a day after a wedding we attended. No issues with service from staff, from stewards to waiters ... Read More
Just off the Dawn. This was our 12th cruise. 10th with NCL. We have done this itinerary before, but this was what was available from Tampa, a day after a wedding we attended. No issues with service from staff, from stewards to waiters to bar staff, all good. We had the 3 day SDP, and went to Moderno, La Cuchina, and Cagney's all were good. We did one night at Bamboo, our first time it was OK, not great. We had one dinner at O'Sheehans as we wanted to make the early show, quick service. 2 nights in MDR. It seems that menu choices are declining. Had lunches in the Buffet, we always found something to eat, but again the food choices just don't seem as good as when I started cruising years ago. I would like to say the General Mgr Alaine from France was very visible, saw him several times during the week, and he is very personable. We enjoyed the week, but we were not wowed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
this was an easy local cruise because we live in the Tampa area. So it is convenient. This time we used Terminal 2 which is small and does not accomodate the crows on enmabkation day. The ship is old and in need of updating and cleaning. ... Read More
this was an easy local cruise because we live in the Tampa area. So it is convenient. This time we used Terminal 2 which is small and does not accomodate the crows on enmabkation day. The ship is old and in need of updating and cleaning. The food was very good in the Buffet. We though that the Bistro has gone down hill as has Cagneys. Moderno was very good. The ship layout is not good and is confusing. We had been on the Star which is a sister ship and still had issues getting from point A to point B for a few days. The service staff was on the whole great except for the bartenders an the Mohito bar which was slow and surly. We didn't make it to any shows so can't comment on those. Not to be snobish but a lot of the crowd did seem like thw circus just arrived in town. I think Norwegian is going to have to stop the free booze program if they want any decent people who are not drunks to cruise with them. They used to be a better value than Royal but I will not cruise with them again for a one week carribean cruise unless somthing changes Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We sailed on NCL because of the Harrah's Casino At Sea Program, otherwise we might have picked another cruise line. The balcony room had only one 110v plug, not really enough in this day of cell phones and other electronic ... Read More
We sailed on NCL because of the Harrah's Casino At Sea Program, otherwise we might have picked another cruise line. The balcony room had only one 110v plug, not really enough in this day of cell phones and other electronic devices.Bring an adapter to plug in multiple devices. Food was fine in main restaurants, service was excellent in speciality dining. The smoking lounge, a glass box, next to one of the bars was always filled with hazy smoke and when people exited the smoking box the smoke drifted out with them. Want to smoke, just walk down the hall and you will find the room, the smoke smell is that strong. This ship did not have the kid friendly race cars and water slides of the larger NCL ships so if you want to keep the kids occupied this may not be the ship. Lots of music options at the bars, but a bit too loud for socializing. A piano bar with background music would be a good addition. The ship was very clean and the staff attentive. We booked our own tours in ports via the internet and there were also many trip options just at the end of the pier for last minute planners. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I am a BIG NCL fan. I love the service and the friendliness of the crew. I believe Norwegian has the friendliest crew at sea. Same could be said for the hard working men and women on the Dawn, but the Officers are not as friendly as ... Read More
I am a BIG NCL fan. I love the service and the friendliness of the crew. I believe Norwegian has the friendliest crew at sea. Same could be said for the hard working men and women on the Dawn, but the Officers are not as friendly as they are on the Escape #1 and the Getaway coming in at #2 (so take a lesson Dawn officers). To my horror there was no Latin band on board. They had plenty of musical entertainment which had very, very good attendance throughout the cruise, but no Latin on this 2 week cruise. There were terrible dance classes by offered by the staff, but good line dancing classes taught by Jodie the C.D. Jodie was great but her staff was a bit inexperienced. The Production shows were packed, I only attended a few. All and all the cruise was ok for me but the lack of a Latin band was a tough pill to swallow. The Pool area is a joke on this ship the pool is so small for 2300 plus passengers. I found the food to be very good in the main dinning rooms and service was excellent, sometimes we encountered cool food temps in the buffet. I would rate the food from good to very good throughout the 2 weeks on board. I would not like to cruise out of Tampa again unless the cruise is a super giveaway. There is always some type of ridiculous delay at that antiquated port. Last year it was 3 hours to board the Pearl this year it was 2 hours to board the Dawn. Years before this, the same thing. The ship is going to get a 100 million dollar refurbishment. It will become an adult only after the dry dock some time in 2020. Happy cruising to all. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Ship was old but in good condition. Rooms could use some updating. Cagney's Steakhouse was not a steakhouse steak house steak and sided were bad. Teppanyaki was good and we had a good time. O'Sheenhan's bar food ... Read More
Ship was old but in good condition. Rooms could use some updating. Cagney's Steakhouse was not a steakhouse steak house steak and sided were bad. Teppanyaki was good and we had a good time. O'Sheenhan's bar food was average but the drinks and bartenders were good. Venetian and Aqua were average but had no trouble getting seated even with 5 without a reservation. Garden Café breakfast and dinner were ok. Always had seating available and clean tables. Servers always made sure there was plenty of food available. Customer Service people were very helpful. Can't say the same thing for the excursion desk. They were very rude and short with people. Entertainment was lacking. Magic show and lounge singer in the main theater come on. . Getting on and off the ship was not a problem. We had a full ship and didn't have to wait in long lines. We did 2 excursions with the ship. Book yourself save some money. The private island was the worst port we did. Couldn't use our drink package and had to pay for our food. land Shark was below average and way over priced. Private Luxury Beach Villa was very nice. The staff was friendly and nice except the shore excursion staff. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
we chose this cruise because of the Tampa port and time of year, first time on NCL line, have been on Holland and Royal and both were better than the NCL cruise IMO; pros: food is really quite good and the specialty restaurants are great, ... Read More
we chose this cruise because of the Tampa port and time of year, first time on NCL line, have been on Holland and Royal and both were better than the NCL cruise IMO; pros: food is really quite good and the specialty restaurants are great, getting on and getting off boat were great, very organized,some staff was very good, but most were not. weather was fabulous and the ports were good. entertainment was overall very good, except DJ Remy, he was kind of rude and played the same stupid music all the time, the band Flavors was AMAZING, VERY NICE and super talented. our steward was very nice and efficient. CONS: service was not very good, we had a broken safe and no one cared, we called about it and was told "it has been broken for the last 8 cruises, over 400 of them are broken" then don't advertise that there are safes in the rooms, you cant use them! very rude customer service person regarding that issue, overall the service needs improving, some few were very good, but not enough. cabins are very small, smaller than any balcony rooms we have had on other boats (this boat is on the smaller side though) excursions need to be explained better and details about them. also asked months ago if i needed to make reservations at the specialtiy restaurants and was told no, but when we got on boat, was told almost all the resos were full ! really ? Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Rather than socks and sweaters, we decided to give our family a cruise this year to build some quality memories. This was our first cruise on NCL, having been on several other trips with Holland America, Princess, Carnival and Cunard. We ... Read More
Rather than socks and sweaters, we decided to give our family a cruise this year to build some quality memories. This was our first cruise on NCL, having been on several other trips with Holland America, Princess, Carnival and Cunard. We are not cruise snobs, but certainly not newbies, either. As others have noted, the Dawn is a little tired, but overall clean. However, the smaller size of the Dawn is a big plus, making it feel less crowded overall. We had a balcony room, which had an oddly placed table and the door was extremely heavy and difficult to open. Our kids had outside view cabins on a lower deck, but had issues with noise and smoke coming from the casino and cigar bar areas. Again, these rooms were adequate, but not outstanding. The biggest disappointment was the port of Harvest Caye. I get why NCL built this property, and they spent allot of money doing it. However, there is very little to do: jet skis were inoperable or not offered, paddle boards and other water craft were restricted to a very small area, life guards harping at everyone to stay off a small jetty and to get off the beach swim area due to "foam in the water"? While it is an NCL only island, you cannot use your cruise card or credits for anything while there. Spent over $200 for lunch and drinks for 6 people...and, unless you walk back to the ship, you have no other place to go. Overall, this trip was everything we expected. We had a nice family vacation, but Harvest Caye and the constant "upselling" for everything kind of dampens the fun. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We are not "cruisers"...my wife and I took our 3 teenagers on this cruise as a way to get some warm weather and have some fun. In short, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I had been reading all the reviews about the Dawn the past few weeks ... Read More
We are not "cruisers"...my wife and I took our 3 teenagers on this cruise as a way to get some warm weather and have some fun. In short, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I had been reading all the reviews about the Dawn the past few weeks and was scared to death what we had gotten ourselves into before departing. For those of you who have booked this ship, let me ease your fears and let you know that you will have a great time. This is only our second cruise as a family so we did not "nit-pick" the ship like other reviews. What I can tell you is the rooms were nice, the service was fantastic and the food was very good. If your expectations are a 5-Star restaurant then I would recommend the Ritz-Carlton. We had 2 connecting mini-suites on the the 11th deck. The rooms were big enough, the balconies were spacious and we were surprised that each bathroom had a tub so actually larger than expected. The ports were as expected, with lots of fun stuff to do or you could stay on the ship. A couple of things we really enjoyed were the Mexican Restaurant, the Tappanyaki Grill and even the Buffet was really good with lots of variety. The package we purchased included the drink package and 3 Dining Credits for the ala carte restaurants which worked out great. If you plan to drink, get the package as drinks are expensive and all have a +20% gratuity charge. The casino was nice, but got VERY smokey in the evenings (Note, that smoking should be eliminated on the ship). The Fitness Center was adequate, with lots of cardio machines. There were lots of planned activities on the ship, we enjoyed the "Behind the Scenes Presentation and Q+A with the Captain" and attended the card magic learning session which was a lot of fun. The ship was a blast for New Years Eve....champagne toast, 4 different parties depending on your music preference and lots of party favors for everyone. The staff on the Dawn provided service with a smile, some of our favorites were Noberick Molina who made crepes from 5:30-9:30 each night in the Garden, Made from Gatsby's bar and Antonio in the Italian restaurant. The shows were above average, especially the Magic Show with Jackson Rayne and the Elements Show on the second to last night. Again, overall it was a great trip and would recommend the experience, just set fair expectations going in. Cruise ships are crowded, many of the ports on this cruise were either islands owned by the cruise line (Harvest Caye) or ports created by the cruise line (Costa Maya). Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I was so excited about this cruise! Let's start with what went well: +smooth embarkation process, very fast +large and cozy cabin +fun excursions +the singing shows were pretty good! The disasters -The air in the ... Read More
I was so excited about this cruise! Let's start with what went well: +smooth embarkation process, very fast +large and cozy cabin +fun excursions +the singing shows were pretty good! The disasters -The air in the cabin was so dry that I would wake up with my nose bleeding every morning and I eventually got terribly sick. I asked multiple times to borrow/rent/buy a humidifying device but the staff could not understand me and when they finally did they could not really provide any solution. This also was partially the cause of something that ended up taking me to the ship's ER for a very simple procedure and left me with a rather shocking $1700 bill -the food was rather mediocre, especially when compared to royal carribean. The salad was always mushy -I contacted the customer support after all this happened and they refused to do anything at all about this Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
A very good cruise with a very good itinerary The embarkment at Tampa was slow, and it was confusing which port to go to (port 2 is supposed to be Carnivial only but we left out of there). It was a Holiday Cruise. Christmas ... Read More
A very good cruise with a very good itinerary The embarkment at Tampa was slow, and it was confusing which port to go to (port 2 is supposed to be Carnivial only but we left out of there). It was a Holiday Cruise. Christmas decorations were fun, christmas show was adorable. But being Jewish, I was impressed with Hannukah. I expected the menorah in the atrium, and even the nightly candle lighting (electric), but they made latkes, jelly donuts, and served manashevitz wine every night. We had up to 60 people!!! THe itinerary was excellent. I took a NCL excursion in Costa Maya to two Mayan ruins; was overpriced, but it was far and excellent and have no comoplaints In Belize, we just stayed on their private island. You can go back to the boat to eat for free, they should have a bbq like other cruise iines. I ziplined for 49 dollars which was overpriced but fun as well. Beautiful clean beach. They have a little zoo for free worth checking out as well In Honduras, I privately booked the sloth and monkey hangout directly through Daniel Johnson. For 55 dollars per person they picked us up, drove us, gave us a tour of ROatan, got to hold sloths, monkeys, and parrots, and took a boat to a reef and snorkled for an hour. Amazing day In Cozumel, I booked a jeep tour through aviator. The jeep was old and not safe (seatbelts didnt even work) but the excursion was amazing. Went tequila tasting, went to 2 beachs, went to a cenote, had lunchj, and snorkled. Very fun day. So yes, the itinerary was amazing The band caled Sonata was excellent. they played rock, pop, soul. The piano man played well but sang fair. there was a guitarist who was also okay. aniother soul band was pretty good the entertainment was good. I have seen their shows, they rarely disappoint. They comedian was pretty good. The magician I had seen before, he's pretty good too. The acrobats -- i think one may have gotten sick becauysewe they didnt do a solo show. The girl did perform at elements tho The main casual dining room, aqua, is too small. We got sent away and told to go to the dressier dining room even tho i was in shorts to accomodate us. Food in the dining rooms was pretty good overall. I liked Osheenans a lot. the food was better than I expected (turkey, buffalo wings, fish and chips) I had a drink package and they were generous with their pours. I got my money's worth on that I paid a little extra for a midship inside cabin on a high floor. The room was smaller than I expected. And at times I heard too much noise from the atrium. The cabin steward was amazing, and the bed fairly comfortable and my wife approved of the bathroom size The pool area was crowded but they did hjave enough chairs if you went up to the 13th deck. the hot-tubs were good but i wish they had adult only hot tubs, too many kids in them to enjoy I won a poker tournament in the casino. the rake is way too high during their cash games but it was a fun tournament. Overall I am a big fan of norwegian, and for a small old boat (2300ish passengers) I think it is a great time Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose Norwegian based on reviews after our last cruise with Carnival. Also, we wanted to experience a different firm and ship. Norwegian is much more expensive than Carnival. We expected a much better experience; sadly, our expectations ... Read More
We chose Norwegian based on reviews after our last cruise with Carnival. Also, we wanted to experience a different firm and ship. Norwegian is much more expensive than Carnival. We expected a much better experience; sadly, our expectations were belied. The ship had an Indian chef as Head Chef, and the most horrible food on the buffet was Indian. It was as if the chefs need urgent crash course on preparing Indian dishes. The buffet had a lot to be desired, especially for vegetarians. The Aqua and Venetian dining halls are very nice - sadly the food leaves a lot to be desired. Specifically, the Gnocchi served to us was stale and smelling, and we sent it back. Apologies all round from the servers. But this is just not expected! So, yes, food on Norwegian Dawn is a big letdown. The onboard entertainment (except for the Elements show on the last day) were poor. The comedy guy should be banished from entering a cruise, and the magician should be retrained. Poor lighting and sound provide an awful experience for movie watchers - perhaps the Stardust theater could be opened up for movies when it is free, instead of running movies in the lounge where there is very little seating and lot of noise. The fundamental problems could not be covered by the crew, who, admittedly were trying very hard. Hats off to them. The cabins were nice. The crew was also helpful and courteous during port visits and made getting off and on ship a breeze. Bottomline: Avoid Norwegian. Not recommended. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The Christmas decorations on the Dawn were mediocre to say the least. Cardboard cutouts of candy canes and paper snow flakes in the theatre were tacky. The Christmas caroling was cut short with only one verse of songs sung. This should ... Read More
The Christmas decorations on the Dawn were mediocre to say the least. Cardboard cutouts of candy canes and paper snow flakes in the theatre were tacky. The Christmas caroling was cut short with only one verse of songs sung. This should have been a magical moment and yet it was way too short. They should have even had it more than once. The Bliss lounge's dance floor is too small and the DJ plays the same songs over and over. If you request a song, he says he'll play it but he doesn't! We had two staterooms and one safe was missing and the other was broken! Food was really good at the complimentary dining areas. We didn't go to the specialty restaurants. Overall, the staff was quite pleasant. The NCL app is well worth it to communicate with members in your party or those you meet on the ship. I like the size of this ship as it wasn't too big and it was perfect for us but it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the bigger ships.So that you are prepared with what to bring, they had an ugly Christmas sweater contest, 70's dance party, 80's dance party, and a glow party where you wear white clothes and they provide a big glow wand for you (we brought extra glow sticks). We were in Harvest Caye for Christmas day so everything was open. Christmas dinner was good but no cranberry sauce. No lobster or shrimp in complimentary restaurants. If you prefer a praticular dining time, it's good to make reservations but we also showed up 3 nights without reservations and were seated immediately - we like to dine early. There is only one 3-prong plug in inside and balcony cabins. Although lineups were long to embark and disembark the ship, it went rather smoothly. Just be prepared for it and it won't be shocked. It's good to arrive at the evening show at least 20 minutes early to get the seat you want. We booked shore excursions through third party providers and will post reviews on their particular threads. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
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 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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