Sail Date: April 2013
Just returned from a good to great week on the Dawn. We were a little apprehensive as we previously sailed on the much-newer Epic but the Dawn has a lot to offer. Getting on was a breeze, getting off was delayed for some unknown reason. ... Read More
Just returned from a good to great week on the Dawn. We were a little apprehensive as we previously sailed on the much-newer Epic but the Dawn has a lot to offer. Getting on was a breeze, getting off was delayed for some unknown reason. We carried off our bags and headed out to line up at 7:30am. Go figure, a long line had already formed and we all stood around grumbling about the delay - by 8:30 the ship was cleared through customs and we were on our way. Shame on us for booking a 9:45am flight but we made it after all. Balcony room was nice though small, much better layout than the Epic. Towels could definitely use updating, we noticed all other cruise ships had much nicer beach towels in port - seriously, does anyone attempt to steal these ratty things, I think not. Casino has lots of games to offer but our week was super tight. In fact, we never witnessed a single jackpot getting paid out and we gambled a lot. DAWN Management - if you read this message, please do something about the smoke in the casino. The low ceilings do not help, there has to be a way to better ventilate the area!Food quality was excellent in the paid venues, not the case in the main dining room or buffet. Do not waste your money on the Blossom but all others are definitely worth the upcharge - Le Bistro and Cagney's were great, La Cucina and Teppanyaki very good. The buffet manager needs to check out the Epic's set up... dining stations with different fare opposed to the same offerings day after day. One can only be expected to eat so many hotdogs and hamburgers in a week! The main dining room's food was okay but way too many people for our taste. The paid venues offer excellent service and an intimate setting. Entertainment was good, we attended almost every show - not exactly the Epic but good. Lots of talent on the ship... Overall the service was good and the staff helpful - no real standouts but everyone we encountered was pleasant and hardworking. Ports: We loved this itinerary and booked all of our own excursions except golf. Golfed in Roatan, Cavetubing.com in Belize, Tropicante in Costa Maya (our favorite stop) and Mr. Sanchos in Cozumel. Had a great time in each port and had just enough time to do what we needed to do without rushing. We'll definitely cruise again, particularly if the cruise is 'free' through Casinos at Sea. I'd recommend NCL and the Dawn - so much can go wrong with thousands of passengers and seven days at sea... NCL gets most of it right - no small task, I'm sure. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
My teenage daughter and I (Mom), took this cruise in February 2011. Our third cruise with NCL, but first without the guys in our lives! The Dawn isn't as run down as many on this forum have said. We found it to be clean and ... Read More
My teenage daughter and I (Mom), took this cruise in February 2011. Our third cruise with NCL, but first without the guys in our lives! The Dawn isn't as run down as many on this forum have said. We found it to be clean and comfortable. Our oceanview stateroom was a decent size. The TV in it was old, but who goes on a cruise to watch TV? The most worn out areas I found were the public washrooms - easily avoided. What we like about NCL is eating when and with whoever we want. Also we like not having to dress up if we don't feel like it. What we don't like is the constant pressure to spend more money - at Bingo, art auctions, jewellery 'seminars', and virtually every other event they offer on sea days. Dining: We found the 'free' cafe buffet to be quite good. The restaurant meals were great and I did not think the cover charge was exorbitant. We ate at Teppanyaki, Salsas and Impressions and thought all 3 were great value. On others recommendation we ate breakfast at Blue Lagoon - we did not enjoy it. Although the food was adequate, the hostess bordered on rude. Entertainment: The Second City comedy shows were terrific, as was the magician, Greg Gleason. We did not find the comedian, 'the phat funny man' to be funny, mostly old repetitive jokes. Grand Cayman port: We did not take an NCL excursion, but instead booked the jet-ski tour to see the stingrays with Fat Fish Adventures. This was by far the best excursion we have ever been on! There were only 6 of us plus our guide feeding and holding the stingrays. (The cruise ship excursions had hoards of people crowding around a few hapless stingrays.) The jet-skis were new and extremely fast and powerful. The water was a bit choppy which made it a bit difficult for this 49-year-old woman to get back on the jet-ski. Also, the salt spray will sting your eyes, even with sunglasses. Wear cheap sunglasses or goggles and take an underwater camera. Don't be afraid of the stingrays, they are very gentle and friendly! After the jet ski excursion we did a bit of shopping in town (the shopping isn't as good as Cozumel), then had a 'lunch' of ice cream from the Haagan-Daaz shop... MMMMMMMMmmmmm! The tendering process was tedious, we stood for 1 1/2 hours in the hot sun to get back on board - they had only one tender running! I don't think an elderly person could have taken this. Once back at the ship, it took a further 40 minutes to unload the tender! If you find yourself in this situation, don't stand in line. Sit in the shade and only join the line when it is almost done - they won't leave without you if there are people still in line for tender. Cozumel Port: Thankfully no tenders here, you walk off the ship onto the dock. We went on the Atlantis Submarine excursion booked the day before through the shore excursion desk on-board. It was a lot of fun. Enjoyable for all ages and fitness levels. The Atlantis employees work very hard to make it a good experience. Bring $10 cash to buy a picture of yourself in front of the sub - but no pressure to do so. There is a gift shop and washroom facilities at the site from which their ferry leaves to take you to the sub. After the excursion we spent time shopping in town. For lunch, the noisy, busy Senor Frogs did not appeal to us, so we wandered down the main street. We were approached by an older gentleman to come up to his restaurant up a narrow flight of stairs. We followed him up and enjoyed a wonderful lunch at his restaurant, "Toro's Place" overlooking the main street and harbor. I highly recommend this restaurant for authentic Mexican food - we saw cruiseline staff there, so knew it must be good food at a reasonable price! To find it, if you are on the main street facing Senor Frogs, turn to your left and walk along a short ways - it's just past McDonalds. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
First of all let me say that I love the "freestyle" on NCL. I can go eat when I want and not have to dress up to do it. For families with small children they have a special section for the kids with kid size chairs and furniture. ... Read More
First of all let me say that I love the "freestyle" on NCL. I can go eat when I want and not have to dress up to do it. For families with small children they have a special section for the kids with kid size chairs and furniture. Hot dogs, Hamburgers and french fries are an everyday item. For the grown ups there is more formal dining if you want. The 7 day cruise out of Barcelona is fast paced and requires a lot of walking. Hiring a car took about 3/4 of that away and let us see more places in a small amount of time. The packages offered aboard ship are very expensive and I used the first one for Florence, my mistake. Florence has cobblestone streets and sidewalks, it is very hard to navigate if you have knee or hip problems. The tour itself took us to a leather factory first which was a nice stop. The tour was called "Florence on your own".   Rome was packed and we arrived on Sept. 1st the first day back to work for the locals. They have the whole month of August off and I understand if you can stand the heat it is the best time to go. Even so the temperature was in the high 80's but like I said lots of walking. With the company I got in Rome; Access Italy our driver Francesco got us as close to everything as humanly possible; he was helpful and informative and very very nice. They even provided a personal guide for the Vatican, (Serrena, she was great) that was very helpful. If I could say that one place in Italy where people did not help you out with the language was the Vatican, everywhere else we did not seem to have any problems. In Naples we decided to skip the city itself and set off for the cities of Pompei, Sorrento, Positan, and the famous Amalfie Drive (this involves 600 hairpin turns). Carmine, I love you! We could not have asked for a better or more passionate driver for our tour. Him and his cousin run the company and I will recommend him to all my family and friends. The Cruise ship will exchange your currency for you however, each time there is a $10.00 fee. I suggest you visit your local bank at home for the pocket change you will need. I started out with 400 Euro's and had to get another 400. The Spa is one of my favorite stops and I usually get a facial and pedicure. This time I got a haircut and I have to tell you a week later, I still love it. Spa time books up fast because most of the available times are when your tours are going on, evenings are hard to get the appointment, and I really could have used a foot cooling pedi. The casino is one of our favorite places, this one had a fair assortment of slot machines, quick hit, frog prince, aztec a good mix of wheels and digital, not the best machines but good, the staff in the casino is great. Our stewarts for the room were attentive and courteous. The room was confortable and clean. Room service is always a treat when we are away. Yes, you can get room service on this cruise, it was always delivered in time for us to make our tours. This way we didn't have to fight the early morning crowds in the buffet. I really love NCL and your vacation can be as good or as bad as you make it. Do your homework and know what you are getting and what you are entitled to. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
i went on this cruise with my sister, I was 21 and she was 19, and we had the most incredible time. This was my 3rd cruise and my sister's 4th. We loved the atmosphere of the ship, along with the food and public areas. We had a ... Read More
i went on this cruise with my sister, I was 21 and she was 19, and we had the most incredible time. This was my 3rd cruise and my sister's 4th. We loved the atmosphere of the ship, along with the food and public areas. We had a beautiful balcony room and were so comfortable in those beds after our strenuous days walking for hours through the destinations. I thought it would be helpful for future cruisers to have some tips, so I added a lot of info about the ports in the port review section. I definitely recommend doing a lot of research beforehand (including researching the train schedules), because to be able to see all you can and make the most of your vacation, you need to be pretty travel savvy. We didn't use any of the excursions offered by the ship and we saw everything for much less! It's definitely possible to do it on your own and on a budget. Just wake up very early and get off the ship first! This isn't a "restful" vacation the way most cruises are, unless you don't care about seeing much in the Western Mediterranean. Oh, and I definitely, wholeheartedly, recommend the Italian specialty restaurant, Impressions (Mangia! Mangia!) WOW! So delicious! I couldn't wipe the smile off my face, it was so yummy! We loved our first NCL experience and we'll be on the Dawn this summer to Bermuda. :) Read Less
Sail Date: June 2008
What a wonderful way to europe and the ship was fantastic. My wife and I are cruise veterans.....My dad once told me I should have joined the Navy. Sailing on the new Gem through the around the inside of the Italian Boot was our best ... Read More
What a wonderful way to europe and the ship was fantastic. My wife and I are cruise veterans.....My dad once told me I should have joined the Navy. Sailing on the new Gem through the around the inside of the Italian Boot was our best cruise ever. Barcelona is a wonderful city from which to start and end your cruise. The city has lots to see and do..Try to come in or stay a least a couple of days. Love the city tour and architecture was simply amazing.....even stunning was the growth and friendly people. The port is modern and the embarkation are well planned. The on-line registration makes the boarding process a breeze. We booked a balcony on the very back of the ship. I love the balcony cabins, but what a surprise to find a penthouse suite waiting for us. Never seen anything like it on a ship. A cabin facing the aft was delightful change from the side of the ship. We enjoyed Freestyle Cruising and the dining choices. It was the first cruise in which we never even made it to the buffet. I also like the ability eat when and where we wanted with little or no planning. I also like getting the time back to do other things, as opposed to spending a hour and half dining. Also like the romance of dining together each night where it was our choice. We really enjoyed the Steak House and found the service to rival any ship or steak house in the world. The seven day cruise was jammed packed with most do shore excursions. We have one day a sea as we sailed from Barcelona. Great weather and everyone was at the pool. It was crowded, but little trouble finding a spot to enjoy the sea and sun. It was a restful day thankfully, because we were on the move everyday after that. The island of Malta was the first stop, we booked the Taste of Malta tour and got a great overview of the island its history. We stopped at the Medina Glass works where they make the most colorful blown glass. Also visited a winery. Sailing from Malta north to Naples was amazing. The ship hugged the coast of Sicily and we had a wonderful view of the active volcano of Endo. With the sun setting behind the plume, it made for a wonderful view from the Italian Restaurant. Its worth staying on the balcony for the passage through the Strait separating Sicily from Italy. It is one of busiest sea lanes in the world and the land converges to almost nothing. Naples was next, I would say seeing the area around Naples is the key, the city itself was...well in need of a good cleaning. We toured Pompeii in the morning and visited the beach for the afternoon. The coast south of Naples is absolutely stunning with cliffs and water so blue. Next was Rome, which can not be seen in a day, but can be enjoyed in a day. Its a long day as you leave the ship at around seven am and return just before seven pm. Plan for heat and taking lots of pictures. The City is amazing and having guide showing the sights and giving insight into so much history was fantastic. We did a walking tour from the Tevalia Fountain through streets to the Tiber River.....You end up taking in so much, you may strain your camera shutter finger. The next stop was Livorno which serves as access to Tuscany, Pisa and Florence. We choose the Pisa and Beach tour....but Florence may have been the better choice. Pisa is fantastic, small city of 30,000 surrounded by the beautiful farm lands and villas. The tower rises above everything and is really something you have to see to believe. The final stop was Cannes, with bus tour through Nice to Monte Carlo. Wow do you see how the billionaires scare the millionaires on this trip. So many wonderful sights, boats and beaches. It is easy to see why this is a exceptional place in world. No problems getting off the boat, we did use a luggage shipping service to send most of your belongs home as we were headed to Dublin for a couple of days. The service worked great, except I used my TSA luggage locks and UPS need to contact me so that Customs could open the bags....They were nice enough to call and not just cut them off. I think the cruise was a great way to see Europe. With a floating resort taking you to a different port each day, I thought we got GREAT value. With the US dollar being weak it was far more cost effective and allot let hassle, and we saw so much in seven days. My first Aft Cabin. Wonderful. I liked the larger cabin, lots of room and view from the balcony was great. Read Less
Norwegian Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.5 0.0
Enrichment 2.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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