Sail Date: May 2006
To give this review some perspective, I am writing it as a frequent cruiser, having cruised 8 times with Carnival and once with Princess within the last 4 years. I cruise with my wife, friends and sometimes our children who are in their ... Read More
To give this review some perspective, I am writing it as a frequent cruiser, having cruised 8 times with Carnival and once with Princess within the last 4 years. I cruise with my wife, friends and sometimes our children who are in their mid twenties. We are in our mid to late 50s, but are active for our age and enjoy beaches and snorkeling in most ports. We cruised in late May to Bermuda, Nassau, and Great Stirrup Cay. As we usually find with any trip, some things were good, some things were not so good. Overall we had a relaxing and enjoyable cruise that was well worth the money we spent. However, we decided that we would not cruise NCL again for two reasons: 1. The food quality was well below what we have had on the other cruise lines and 2. NCL doesnt seem to be able to handle crowds of people as well as other ships we have been on. This was our first time to cruise out of NY. We took the train to NY, and caught a taxi to the port with no problems. I hesitated to leave my luggage with a handler near the street curb, but I was assured by a few nearby staff that it would be OK which it was. We started boarding about noon, a pretty much routine and painless process. My impression of the Dawn was that it was a beautiful, colorful, classy ship with marble staircases, lots of greenery and art, and showing little or no signs of wear. The staff seemed very friendly and did their job well. We had an interior room that was nicely appointed, but because of the closet location, it was annoying that my wife and I kept bumping into each other in that room. The bathroom seemed fine and relatively roomy. Beds were very comfortable. The digital temperature control on the wall worked well and we were able to maintain a temperature that was perfect for us. Now heres the big comment: the menu was boring and the food was rather poor in quality. Each night when we read the menu posted on the dining room (the same menu in all 3 main dining rooms) we couldnt find anything that sounded exciting. It seems that NCL must want to cheap it up on food so they served lots of pasta, rice and crowd-type dishes. Dinner desserts also were, for the most part, not very exciting. For example, one main dish was oxtail stew. So I ended up eating fish most nights which was almost acceptable. My beef-loving wife couldnt find beef anywhere, so she ended up ordering chicken twice that must have been sitting under a heat lamp for hours since it was all dried out. And the tasty shrimp and lobster that we always get with Carnival was nowhere to be found unless you went to one of the three pay-extra specialty restaurants. Both of us did love the freestyle dining concept though that allowed us to show up for dinner at almost any time between 5:30 and 10. The lunch time buffets and sandwiches also seemed inferior to what we were used to with the other cruise lines. Each item was given a fancy name, but the substance looked like something out of a can. The burgers and fries seemed OK if thats what you want. The lunchtime desserts were the worst. On Carnival, there were always several great looking desserts making it a hard decision which to pick. But on the Dawn, the desserts all looked like the same boring pound cake with a little bit of color on top. Fortunately, there was fruit which was always my dessert. And fortunately again, Im eating more vegetarian these days and NCL had a few mediocre vegetarian dishes. I suppose one could get by with what they provided if you weren't too picky. The Dawn did offer three pay-extra restaurants which I found very difficult to reserve. We did try the French Bistro and the food there was good but not great. I was, however, impressed as we ate dinner inches from a priceless original Van Gogh painting. I'm sure I enjoyed that more than dinner. There are 4 priceless originals in that restaurant. On a few lunch days, NCL has a barbecue by the pool that includes hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and ribs. This is pretty cool .. but. the burgers are a bit dry and I spent ten minutes looking a rib over for something edible on it other than sauce. Also the ice cream they hand out by the pool is a baby cone that shows how cheap NCL is with the food. The ice cream was tasty though. Of the free beverages, the only thing you can get is tea and coffee. And NCL serves the ice tea in those cute little glasses that annoyingly hold only about 5 ounces. I guess they think that 5 ounces of liquid is enough in the blazing Bahama sun. Either that or they want you to encourage you to purchase the alcoholic drinks. Watch out for that beverage line because the main traffic passes through the same aisle and you are very likely to be bumped and spill your beverage. After leaving NY we had an enjoyable day at sea and we arrived at Bermuda at Kings Wharf. Bermuda was beautiful! Kings Wharf is a bit isolated from the rest of Bermuda, but ferries and bus service were readily available. We chose to walk to the nearby snorkel park which was only a ten minute walk, but I didnt snorkel since it was early in the day and the air hadnt warmed up yet. So we decided to grab a bus and head for Horseshoe beach. This beach was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen (and Ive seen many beautiful ones). The big rocks sticking out of the water added lots of character. The sand was wonderfully soft and pink, and there was a lunch stand at one end. I did snorkel here a little and found the 73 deg water to be pretty nice. Saw some nice coral and some fish and took lots of photos. I hope to return there soon. Again a day at sea that was great and relaxing, although deck space for sunning seemed hard to find. We did manage to find a spot that worked for us. I couldn't seem to get a table in the pool area to enjoy an outside lunch. The next day when we arrived at Great Stirrup Key, a storm front had passed through leaving rain and waves too high for us to tender to shore. So that port was canceled and we went earlier than planned to Nassau. A bit of a disappointment but you cant plan the weather. Our stop in Nassau went well and we visited the Atlantis and saw all the aquariums. The beach there is very big and probably the best beach around. Time at this port is broken up. You only have a few hours in the evening and a few hours the next morning. But some people managed to do and see more than we did with that time. After Nassau, we headed back to NY and had another great relaxing day at sea. For our entire cruise, I found the seas to be remarkably calm. Possibly also the ship may have stabilizers that help a lot. Maybe we just got lucky. I didnt find much on the entertainment listing that interested me so we didnt take in any shows. Maybe others would like the entertainment they provide. We did however like the little on-board movie theater that was showing good movies three times a day. We also liked the gym which was spacious and well equipped. Having a little time to work out is a luxury that I don't normally seem to have. Also the indoor pool area near the gym was very nice and we enjoyed uncrowded time in the pool, hot tubs, and saunas. We arrived in NY on time. Disembarkation seemed pretty routine. We did have difficulty getting a taxi from the port. I had expected a bunch of taxis to be there but found only one or two. So we were forced to drag our (overpacked) luggage downstairs and across the street to a taxi stand&but still we couldnt catch a cab. Finally we paid twice the cab fare and caught a limo. All in all we did enjoy this cruise. I don't think that there is such a thing as a bad cruise. If you don't care much about the food, the Dawn might be OK for you. But next time we will cruise with another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
Overall I had a wonderful wonderful cruise. I have no regrets sailing NCL and the Dawn is a beautiful clean ship. Overall the food was reasonable and save for a dud cabin steward service was good. The freestyle option was great.. I was ... Read More
Overall I had a wonderful wonderful cruise. I have no regrets sailing NCL and the Dawn is a beautiful clean ship. Overall the food was reasonable and save for a dud cabin steward service was good. The freestyle option was great.. I was able to totally relax and managed to leave behind all my cares and worries and to me that defines a vacation. Nonetheless there are issues that had the potential to significantly detract from our vacation and there is no doubt that over the years as cruising gains in popularity the lines have realized that they need to deliver less and less to the cruising public and clearly more and more is being cut from the quality product that was cruising. This is true among all lines and NCL is no different. We were booked on the Norwegian Dawn out of NYC on May 13  May 20, 2006 Embarkation: An absolute dream. Arrived at around 12pm and we were literally in the atrium within 30 mins. With one ship in port (aside from Freedom of the Seas) there was no traffic and no fuss and I could not have asked for an easier or more hassle free process. Whether that was NCL, P&O ports or NYC my hats off to them all. Entertainment: Superb. The shows were incredible and featured a hypnotist (Dr Trance) who had a G rated and then a PG-17 show both of which were hysterical. The comedian/magician was excellent and the ships on board entertainment crew were very good. The cruise director was superb although on the last night learned unfortunately that his nephew was sick and had to leave the next day to Australia. Drinks and drink selections The daily drinks were a little on the pricey side esp when given in a souvenir glass that you dont really want. One of the bar servers offered me the option of the souvenir cup but most just brought it anyway. The standard drink menu though was very reasonable in pricing and very broad in options. I did not get a soda card but found the sodas very reasonable in price. Kids Crew Excellent, kids loved it and did not want to leave at the end of each session. The kept them well entertained and made it special for them. It would be nice though if the port hours were better. The kids pool was excellent although a couple of times parents had to intervene when older teens got rowdy and put the little kids at risk. It really should be NCL that polices that an not a parent. Kids menu was great and the Kids cafe is a really nice touch Ports of call. Nice choices although the hours slated for Nassau do not allow any real sightseeing. The ship arrives at 8pm and leaves at 11:30am the next morning. Great if you are an all night casino fan; lousy if you want to do something beachy. We had to miss the private Island, which was disappointing, but to stay would have been crazy given the weather. It seems that most passengers accepted the captains decision in good faith and I heard little in the way of grumbling. Cabin: This was my biggest issue: The cabin in general a minisuite (11100) was attractive and well laid out. The separate toilet and bath were a nice feature and the walk in closet like wise a nice feature (walk in if you are not a 6 footer). It is somewhat deceiving in calling it a mini suite as the reality is that it is no bigger than RCLs D1 category balcony cabin or Disney's standard cabin and in truth if you are two adults and two kids, a minisuite is the cheapest balconied option. Had it not been for the CC boards I would never have known that we had the services of a concierge and his cards introducing his services to us only arrived on day 3. Our cabin steward was lousy and that is the best word I can find to describe him. On our arrival I opened the coffee maker to find the last guests coffee sachet still in the brewer and the coffee jug dirty. The lasts guests pacifier was on the counter and the draws featured a bathing suite also from the last guest. The bathroom featured a razor from the last guest as well. Now whilst I do not for a moment believe that I am the first occupant of any room I like to forget that my cabin has been used by thousands before me and generally a clean cabin goes a long way to making me forget that. When however the personal effects of the previous guests are staring you in the face it is harder to forget that fact. I like to believe and I hope and pray that at least the sheets and comforter cover were changed. Both of these were not changed at all during the cruise and whilst I dont think that they need to be changed daily a midweek change would have been nice. The pillow covers all had little fluff balls on them suggesting their age. The ice bucket had grime on it and dried milk was streaked down the cabinet. The rest of the ship was immaculate and so I have to believe that my cabin was just the victim of a very lazy Steward. The cabin service the remainder of the week was mediocre at best. He made one towel animal  a feature, which my kids love and missed and did a mediocre job of organizing. Smoking: I know that this is an emotional issue but cruise lines need to wake up. The reality is that more and more US cities are becoming smoke free and with little debate as to the dangers of second hand smoke I wonder why ships are so slow in banning smoking in common areas. I am happy to say that I can, as a combined resident of NYC and NJ, go for days without even smelling the waft of smoke and yet on vacation I have to be affronted by it at every turn. I do not want to deprive the smokers of their rights but we have rights as well and my right not to have to come out of a public gathering coughing, choked up and smelling is something that NCL and others ignore. I wanted to go to the art auction but within 15 mins of getting my paddle and tagging pictures the smoke arrived. No matter where I moved there was smoke following me. The result was that I left the auction. Now believe me I was not planning on buying a 60K Chagall but at the same time I usually spend a couple of K on artwork  on this cruise I did not. Then off to the casino and here again I was affronted with the smell and so I left  here again NCL lost out on my donation. If NCL wants to do the right thing they should make a couple of bars smoking bars and the rest non smoking and any bar that is being used for a public gathering like lecture or auction should be non smoking. The casino should likewise have a smoking and non-smoking section. I at least could leave the poor croupiers have no choice but to suck up the smoke into their lungs all night. It always amazes me that if I went around passing gas I would be considered socially inappropriate and yet smoking is not  funny as natural gas does not destroy the lungs or permeate your clothing and yet cigarette smoke does Food: At the outset let me say that I dont buy the fact that because a cruise is preparing for 2000 3000 odd souls that we should have to put up with poor food quality. All of us that cruised in the height of the golden age (7-10 years ago) know that even then the ships were almost as big and the food choices were superb and quality was excellent. I also dont think that after paying the prices that some of us are paying for cruises that we should have to pay a further 80 dollars for a family of four to have to go to a pay restaurant for a decent meal. Having said that I found the food on NCL Dawn to be the ultimate paradox. Dishes that are usually difficult to do well were done superbly an (vegetarian curry choices, chicken Tikka, Tuna tartar and a host of others), and dishes that should be a cinch to carry out were a dismal failure (pasta with marinara sauce, in fact most pasta choices were overdone and devoid of taste). Overall I would say that 30% of the food was excellent; 40 good and 30% really bad. The barbecue was very disappointing as on the first day they had chicken and ribs and every barbecue thereafter was hot dogs and hamburgers only (I stand corrected  one day there was a paella.) The desserts at dinner were mostly very good but the ones at the buffet and chocolate buffet were mostly tasteless although they looked amazing. The buffet I see gets a lot of complaints but I was impressed with it. The hours were very user friendly and between the Deli, the pizza, the make your own soup, the vegetarian curries and then the regular food the selection was excellent. Since the buffet food invariably sits out longer it naturally is going to be a little less gourmet and a little overdone than restaurant food. When compared with a recent Disney cruise I would say that Disney had more interesting options but the quality and taste was better on the dawn. Disembarkation: As much as a dream embarkation was so disembarkation was a nightmare. Granted there were three ships in port that day but I was led to believe that free style allowed a leisurely breakfast and then disembarkation at your leisure &NOT&. breakfast was cleared by 9:30 am and by the time our color was called was 11:45 am. Let me repeat again -- Despite all I had a wonderful wonderful cruise. I have no regrets sailing NCL and the Dawn is a beautiful clean ship. Overall the food was reasonable and save for a dud cabin steward service was good. The freestyle option was great. My next cruise is on RCL EOS and then FOS and I am looking forward to both. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
My husband and I cruised on the Dawn 7-day Bermuda/Bahamas, 5/20-5/27/06. We were enticed by this itinerary because of the addition of Bermuda, which is our favorite destination and the 3+ sea days. Since theres numerous reviews of the ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Dawn 7-day Bermuda/Bahamas, 5/20-5/27/06. We were enticed by this itinerary because of the addition of Bermuda, which is our favorite destination and the 3+ sea days. Since theres numerous reviews of the Dawn, I will try to discuss the differences between this cruise and our previous trips on the Dawn 2004 and 2005. Embarkation: With 3 large ships in NYC the pier was overflowing with people. We arrived at 11:00 AM with slight delay up the ramp. DH dropped me off with the luggage at the curb and parked the car. The porters were only helping disembarking passengers so we rolled our luggage to the entrance and porters loaded them on large carts. We waited upstairs in the latitudes/suite waiting area and boarding began by 12:30 and on board by 1 PM. Very smooth process with many NCL employees to direct passengers and answer questions. The ship was a little late departing, 5 PM, and they took attendance at the muster drill. Since it was windy outside, we watched sailaway from the Garden Cafe windows and decided to view the NJ/Staten Island/Statue of Liberty side &. Ship and Cabin: The fire doors to the cabins were closed with notices that they will be available at 2 PM. Since we booked a few weeks before, we chose an Inside GTY and was given an inside cabin midship deck 10. Very convenient for using the stairs, 2 decks up to the pool, several decks down to restaurants. Having balcony BB in the past we were very surprised how small this inside cabin was, but we managed just fine and enough room to store our clothes and toiletries, and put the luggage under the bed. We actually liked the bathroom better, same sliding glass door for the shower but the toilet was not in a closet& seemed more spacious. The cabin was not serviced the first evening, bed not turned down, no fresh towels, ice and glasses, just the next days newsletter shoved under the door. We thought we were in for a fun week and neglected since we had an inside, as opposed to the great service for balcony cabins on the previous 2 Dawn cruises. (we really hate to complain, but will if necessary). Well, no need to worry, the cabin service was good all week beginning the next morning. Food/Meals/Drinks: (see 10 day menus posted by nj_cruisers, the days are different for this cruise but the menus are identical): Thanks nj_cruisers, for posting. http://community.webshots.com/album/546965658SXugcy We enjoyed each meal except where noted. Sat- Bon Voyage dinner (Day 1 menu) we ate in Le Bistro this night Sun- French dinner (Day 7 menu), optional formal, grilled strip loin and monkfish; steak was cooked medium as ordered Mon- Chef's dinner (Day 3 menu), beef stroganoff and salmon in honey glaze Tues- Italian dinner (Day 4 menu), grilled swordfish, and risotto with baby shrimp; could they spare the shrimp? about a teaspoon of 1/8" shrimp on top- couldn't even taste them Wed- Caribbean dinner (Day 5 menu) both of us had tortellini with chardonnay sauce; was actually alfredo sauce but very good, ordered steamed vegetables on the side Thurs- Captains dinner (Day 2 menu)  both of us had lobster tail, a funky brownish sauce on top but the lobster was good, regular single lobster tail not the smaller half tails served on the last 2 Dawn cruises Fri- Freestyle (Day 6 menu) grilled leg of lamb and tandoori chicken; was a boneless chicken breast, a little wet on the outside and slightly spicy, no vegetables served with the chicken. While we are not picky eaters, we sometimes were not thrilled with the menu choices. On the past Dawn cruises, there were several entrEe choices each night which appealed to us but on this cruise it was often difficult to get excited about one. We were fortunate to be seated near the windows on most evenings and ate in Aqua once, Impressions twice, and Venetian 3 times. The service was wonderful in all restaurants except for the 1 dinner in Aqua. Le Bistro was wonderful but the only problem was when requesting a 7 PM reservation on the first night, they were filled, so we chose 6:30 PM but the restaurant was only half full the whole evening. My husband ordered the Fire Star and he was in heaven.. what a presentation. My filet mignon was excellent and cooked as ordered, medium. We passed on the chocolate fondue this time but the crème brulee was to die for and DH enjoyed the vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberry sauce. The service, as usual, was wonderful. No discounts for any specialty restaurants this cruise. We thought the quality of the food in the buffet for lunch, was better than in the past. The desserts were mainly tasteless and DH kept asking me if we took the sugar-free by mistake. By contrast, the desserts in the main restaurants were very good. Dont miss the made to order pasta& didnt find it till Wed. since it was in the middle of the vegetarian counter. DH asked for pesto sauce, one day, and since it was not offered that day the server insisted to go downstairs and get it, but DH told him it was not necessary. Now, thats service! Breakfast in the buffet was not great, with the same offerings daily, food cold, soggy pre-made eggs, smoked salmon not offered daily, and long lines for the made-to-order omelets/ fresh eggs. We managed to eat breakfast in the Venetian 3 times and the service and food quality were excellent, with several different offerings daily. The Bimini bar offered hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries daily. The poolside BBQ was offered 3 times, with different offerings each time in addition to hamburgers and hot dogs; ribs, sausage, chicken, pasta stir fry, rice stir fry & The chocolate buffet was offered one night at 11:15 PM as opposed to mid afternoon on our previous cruises. We preferred it at this time but others complained of the change.. Maybe Ill start a poll? We enjoyed the choices we made and managed to get a variety. We attended the Margarita tasting $15/person but you can share.. a variety of 4 full size drinks & woohoo, lotsa fun was had by all & We love the pina coladas on this ship and manage to have several a day. We would order the regular size for $5.50 (plus 15% tip) as opposed to the $8 (+ tip). Never measured the difference.. is it a bargain? The last sea day they offered us the $8 drink for $7& They brought back the beer buckets (actually champagne buckets)& buy 5 beers get the 6th free. DH liked the standard gin martini, up w olives .. $7.75 for Beefeaters, large size. Good prices for drinks and beers compared to our usual NY prices at home. DH ordered a bottle of wine in Le Bistro, drank half, and had the rest 2 nights later in Impressions. The waiter made a face when we said it was from 2 nights ago, but we joked and got him to laugh & no problem & Entertainment: We really enjoyed Dan Hodge in Gatsbys &, Modal Magic in Spinnaker. Fire & Ice, Caribbean Wave, and Best of Friends were OK. We found the Star Bar for the first time this cruise and Steve Garey is very good; this bar is smoke-free. We love production shows and NCL probably has the most talented musicians, singers, and performers of any cruise weve been on. Having seen South Beach Rave and Bollywood in the past we chose to skip them. We enjoyed the magic/comedy of Ed Alonzo.. laugh out loud for us. The hypnotist, Dr. Trance, was entertaining and amusing but did not embarrass or humiliate the volunteers. We caught one game show The Weakest Link (between dinner and main show) and thought it was pretty lame and only about 10 people in the audience. We thought the Liars Club was hilarious, but not for everyones taste, and definitely risquE and the Spinnaker was standing-room-only. We missed the the crew show (always a highlight, but afternoon this cruise) but caught the Fountains segment on TV & silly but very funny. The cruise director was Mike Szwajkowski and he was young, pleasant, funny, witty, and entertaining& what a pleasure. Ports: We have been to Bermuda many times before, most recently last Oct. so we planned on winging it. Our favorites from the Dockyards would be a bus or taxi to Horseshoe Bay Beach or the ferry to Hamilton. It was very windy this day but clear skies mid 70s. We walked off the ship at 9 AM and went to the shopping area which opened at 9:30 AM. Stopped at the Snorkel Park, no admission charge, and heard its very good snorkeling here. Although small, the beach is pristine, the water clear and brilliant blue, and they had chairs and umbrellas for rent (although none were up; maybe the high winds). Theres a snack bar with outdoor, bar pavilion upstairs. We had our favorite Bermuda drink, Rum Swizzle, and sat on high deck chairs with beautiful views of the beach and water& pure heaven & There was a group of NCL officers (~8) meeting with Snorkel Park management & wonder what they were planning? Back on board, by 2 PM and had the forward hot tub to ourselves and great lounge chairs with wonderful views for sailaway. BTW, the ship left about a half hour late due to passengers who arrived late, after the ship pulled away from the dock and were imposed a hefty fine (didnt see them, but surmised from the captains announcement and chatter on board). We had been to GSC before so we chose to remain on board and get prime lounge chairs on the stadium seating. We had breakfast in the Venetian with a window view of NCLs island and RCLs private island, with a ship anchored there.. who knew the islands were right next to each other. It rained early morning and was cloudy most of the day but the sun came out mid afternoon and with no wind, we decided to move to the shade. We have never seen the ocean so smooth; not a wave or ripple. The ship departed at 4 PM and we were lucky to get a rear window table in the Venetian for dinner, as the ship pulled into Nassau; .. what a wonderful view. We had planned on taking a taxi to Atlantis (been there before) for some gambling and to view The Digs but stayed on-board instead. A few NCL sponsored shops in town were open till 10 PM. We ventured into Nassau for some shopping the next morning at 9 AM and was back on board by 10:30 AM and again got our prime lounge chairs, in the shade, for sailaway. Sea Days: Since were early risers, and prefer to be away from the pool crowds, we never had a problem getting lounge chairs before 11 AM. Although we had many cloudy days the weather was good for relaxing, reading, swimming, hot tubs &. This was probably one of the smoothest seas weve had. Weve cruised out of NY many times and have experienced the sea condition gamut and got lucky on this one. The chair hogs were in full force and people were upset when they left their towels on the chairs, to return and find them taken. Signs were posted that your belongings would be removed after 30 min of non-use. DH and I would take turns to get a plate of food for lunch or drinks, and bring it back to the chair & no problem. Disembarkation: We signed up for self disembarkation on Thurs. and upon bringing the form to the reception desk, they verified we were US citizens and we must be able to carry off all luggage unassisted. We docked early, 7AM (docs said 10 AM) and announcement for self assist was made at 8 AM. We were on deck 10 and tried to get an elevator for 10 min -impossible, carried our luggage down to deck 7, and followed a very organized line off the ship. Took the pier elevator to the parking level, walked over to the next pier where our car was parked and was on the Henry Hudson parkway by 8:30 AM& excellent! We had a wonderful cruise on the Dawn and it was very relaxing. The service was great in all venues and every crew member pleasant, friendly, and seemed happy to be there (except once in Aqua mustve been a bad day for him). The ship was very clean and crew members constantly working. We really enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising which works very well on the Dawn and will keep us coming back. Were pleased with the changing itinerary from year to year out of NY, and would not hesitate to cruise on the Dawn and with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
Norwegian Dawn Review Sail date: 5/27/06 to Bermuda and The Bahamas Background information: I traveled on the NCL Dawn with my 76 year old mother. She picked this cruise line after seeing it on The Apprentice and because it sailed out ... Read More
Norwegian Dawn Review Sail date: 5/27/06 to Bermuda and The Bahamas Background information: I traveled on the NCL Dawn with my 76 year old mother. She picked this cruise line after seeing it on The Apprentice and because it sailed out of New York City and seemed like a good value. I booked air travel from my home in Texas on my own to New York, met up with her (she lives in NYC) and we traveled on our own to the port. Stateroom: We booked guaranteed outside and got a cabin on deck 8 with an obstructed view, though we could see out very well. The room itself was comfortable. Bathroom had shower only and with just a curtain to separate it from the rest of the bathroom, it more or less flooded the bathroom with every shower (there are drains, but depending on the motion of the ship, they didnt get all the water). The cabin had a small table, plenty of storage space for clothing, and a vanity area that I used more as a desk. It has the only electrical outlet in the room. I wish Id brought an extension cord or power stripthere is only the one power outlet in the room and I have way more than 1 gadget that needed to be recharged. It is a grounded (3 prong) outlet. There is also a 220 volt outlet for the hair dryer and coffee maker. Ship Info: The ship is a beauty. Very new, clean, nicely decorated. There are a ton of public rooms on the ship and all are very nice. Only complaint is that it was tough to find a lounge chair in the sun (or even the shade). Not nearly enough chairs for the size of the ship and despite the posted signs saying it is not allowed, people reserved them all day long by leaving their stuff on them. Dining: The food was the worst part of the experience. The food in the main dining rooms (Venetian, Aqua, Impressionsall have the same menu each night) was not very good at allmeat and fish were routinely overcooked (if you want medium, order medium rare). I was disappointed in nearly everything I tried. A lot of the items are variations on a theme (I swear I had the same fruit cocktail 4 times with different names but tasting exactly the same). Even the desserts were often a disappointmentorder 2 or more so youll find something you like. Portions also were small. Food temperatures often were not right either. We didnt get to try the specialty restaurants (getting a reservation after the first day on board was nearly impossibleapparently the rest of the passengers had heard how not-good the food was in the main restaurants and had made advance reservations). The food at the buffet reminded me of the cafeteria at my college, which isnt a compliment. But there was plenty of food there and it was almost always open. We ordered room service for breakfast most days and it was delivered on time or early (they call first, which is a nice touch). It was an acceptable continental breakfast. Activities: Bingo is completely insanefor $75 you could purchase a wireless computer with 72 cards on it that you just hold and watch as it automatically records the numbers called and tells you when you are 1 number away and when you have bingo. You can buy the regular paper cards (3 per game for $25 or 6 for $35) but the only people who won at the 1 bingo contest we attended all had the computers. The casino was equally priceyonly a few slot machines took quarters, the rest were dollars. The nice thing is that the casino is at the far end of the ship instead of in the middle of everything like on most ships. We went to a few other on-board activities (mostly on sea days) and they were enjoyable and interestingparticularly a class on improving your memory. You have to pay $60/cruise (or $15/day) for access to the indoor lap pool, sauna, hydrotherapy pool (it rocks) and relaxation suite. The pass is money well spent. I often had the place to myself in late afternoon and evening (its open until 10pm). If you want a quiet place to swim laps, relax, or sit in the hot tub or hydrotherapy pool, its a great investment. The fitness studio was a great size and I enjoyed using it very much. There were a dozen or more treadmills, 4 elliptical machines, and a collection of bikes and stair-climbers, plus free weights and Cybex equipment. Classes (which I didnt try) are offered for a fee (yoga, Pilates, spinning). Service: Our room steward was very friendly and did a great job, though I wish hed kept a more consistent schedule of when he came through in the morning and evening. My mother spent a good deal of time in the cabin (she was hesitant to venture out alone and didnt always want to do what I was doing) and she didnt want to be in his way, though she often was. If we knew when generally he was going to be making up the room, we would have been certain to be elsewhere, but it varied by several hours depending on the day. We tried all three main restaurants. The food is the same, but service was best in Aqua (its the medium-sized dining room). But even there it was often rushed and inattentive. My water glass often sat empty for 5 minutes or more and on a couple of dining occasions it didnt get refilled unless I asked. The waitstaff were generally nice, they just seemed overwhelmed and werent working as a team. Often people were waiting to be seated when there were plenty of empty tables because the hostess didnt have anyone to show the people to their tables. I didnt understand why she didnt just do it. We waited about 10 minutes one night when we were told no one was available to take us to a table. Entertainment: We didnt go to a lot of the shows, but the ones we went to were generally good and better than previous cruises Ive been on. The cruise director was a nice enough guy and pretty funny. Shore Excursions/Itinerary: I think this is a fairly new itinerary for NCL. We sailed from NYC, at sea, in Bermuda 8-4pm, at sea, GSC private island 8am-3pm, Nassau 8pm-following noon, at sea, back to NYC. Bermuda is beautiful and a million times nicer than most of the Caribbean (more beauty, less poverty, super-nice people). I did the Rising Son Catamaran Sail & Swim excursion. The crew was fun, but the boat was crowded. Decent snorkeling at the beach where they stop. Plenty of rum punch. The private island was OK, but again not nearly enough lounge chairs (they had maybe 50-75 of them and all were taken by the time I got there, and I was on the second tender). The rest are sand chairs where you are sitting up straight. There were more than enough of those, but they arent as comfortable. I was surprised to see so many fish with all the people in the water. Take a packet of cereal with you if you really want to see lots of fish (but be warned that they will swarm youtoss the packet a little ways from where you are if you dont want to see the fish THAT close up). Also, be sure to pick up a tender ticket the previous day as soon as they start handing them out, or youll be stuck on the ship for hours waiting for a tender to the island. Nassau was nice for shopping, no really incredible deals but good duty-free shopping. Some of the shops were open from 8-10pm on the night we docked, but downtown was pretty abandoned and unless you wanted to take a taxi to the Atlantis, there wasnt much to see or do. The following morning I went ashore to shop at 8:45 and discovered that the stores open between 9 and 9:30. We had to be back aboard at 11:30, which didnt leave much time. If you chose a shore excursion in Nassau you would have had no shopping time at all. Embarking/Disembarking: In general, the cruise was very well organized. There was minimal waiting on either end of the cruise and plenty of helpful people around. NCL seems to have thought through ways to avoid crowding, except when it comes to their restaurants. I took the NCL transfer back to the airport and my mom grabbed a taxi without a problem. One other thing to note: if you arent from NYC, you might think twice before booking any cruise that departs from there. The vast, vast majority of the passengers were from New York and they were generally rude, pushy, impatient, loudeverything New Yorkers are famous for. Having grown up in NYC and then living in the Midwest and then the southwest the past 18 years, it was interesting for me to watch the non-New Yorkers on the ship react to the New Yorkersits a clash of cultures (and FYI, the New Yorkers dont think theyre being rude at all, its just their way). If you dont think youd like living amidst a NY crowd for a week, think about departing from somewhere else. Summary: All in all, Id say we got what we paid for, which was a value-priced cruise on a very lovely ship and a nice time away in beautiful places. The food and service in the dining room was the only downside, but if you booked early for the alternative restaurants, you might have a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
OK gang, let me begin by telling you that this was my 4th cruise, having already sailed on Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean before embarking on this NCL cruise. Embarkation- Not really a problem. The setting in NYC is rather ... Read More
OK gang, let me begin by telling you that this was my 4th cruise, having already sailed on Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean before embarking on this NCL cruise. Embarkation- Not really a problem. The setting in NYC is rather gloomy- you step into a building resembling a large aircraft hanger, which is typical of the facilities used by cruise lines. The staff charged with "greeting" new passengers was a mix of happy and less than ambitious folks. Since we live only an hour away and were traveling with our 10 month old, we opted to park upstairs and pay the weekly rate of $180 (a RT limo would have cost just as much). Arriving at 11:45 we were onboard by 12:30- check-in was a breeze. Public Space- The Dawn is very easy on the eyes. The common areas, including the atrium and pools, are well appointed. The ship doesn't really show any wear and tear in these areas. As it relates to the main pool deck, be reminded that since this ship is on the "smaller" side of the megaships, deck space is at a premium, regardless of whether you desire a deck chair in the sun or table and chair in the shade. The "chair hogs" were out in full force, especially on the days at sea. I've mentioned the main pool, and the ship also offers a "kiddie" pool. Note that if your child is in a stroller, it is IMPOSSIBLE to get to the kiddie pool deck without going down a staircase. There is no elevator access and the only other means is to cut through the gym aerobics studio- one of the trainers even remarked as to "how stupid of a setup" it was. The pools were overwatched by men whose job it was to point and whistle at every little deviation from appropriate pool conduct. Walking too fast? Whistle. Raising your voice? Whistle. At one point, there were whistles every other minute, and their routine grew tired quickly. Upkeep on the pool deck is big for me, as we tend to spend a lot of time outside. One thing I noticed on NCL as opposed to Celebrity is that their deck personnel are less than motivated. By this I mean that their personnel would let glasses/dishes accumulate on an outside table, to the point where you couldn't put any fresh glasses or plates down, and only by your asking did they remove the offending pieces. In my eyes, if you as an employee pass an empty glass, pick it up, it's that simple. The same goes for towels which are not being used, such as those rolled up into balls and laying on the deck. Cabin- We had a BB Balcony Cabin amidships on deck 9. It was myself, my wife and our 10 month old in the cabin. The cabin was well appointed in layout and amenities. The balcony was a nice size, enough for 2 deck chairs and a small table. The cabin was also appointed with a pull-out chair which doubled as sleeping for the 3rd person, but we of course opted to bring out own pack-n-play along for our son to sleep in. For those parents in a similar setup, don't rely upon the cruise line to supply the crib or pack-n-play if it can be avoided- from what I saw of the pieces in the hallway BEFORE they were set up, they are old and dirty- not what you would want your child sleeping in by any means. Stateroom attendants were courteous and responsive, but did not go over the top. One thing which struck me as odd was prior to the lifeboat drill, I approached our steward and requested a lifejacket for my son. He told me that he would bring it to the cabin later in the evening. Now, wouldn't it make more sense for the jacket to be provided to you in advance of the drill, so as to ensure full compliance? No towel animals (I don't care one way or the other) but I know that it's a big deal to some of you. The room was turned over promptly by the Steward, made even easier with the "wheel" outside your room, whereby you could select "do not disturb," "turn down bed," and "make up cabin." Storage was ample, with plenty of room in the closet for 2 large suitcases and clothes hanging above, coupled with additional space in the adjacent shelves and drawers. Central air control is a nice touch. Shower was roomy enough for me, though the toilet is somewhat claustrophobic- but what can you expect- on a cruise you know what kind of bathroom you will end up with so there aren't any surprises. Sheet quality- poor, very pilly and felt as if they had been washed since the ship first took to the water. Upgrading the linens more than once every 4 or 5 years may been in order. Dining- Ah the important category for many of us. We did not partake in room service, so I don't have a comment for you there. Breakfast buffet- good. They have enough stations so that waiting time is very limited, and food selection was good. I like that everyone is asked to use the "sanitizing station" to clean their hands prior to picking up a tray- you can never be too careful. Lunch buffet- just "OK". The dishes tended to be repetitive and lines were somewhat longer. Note that you do have free iced T, juice and of course coffee, milk and hot tea/hot chocolate available at all times. Dinner- We ate in one specialty restaurant, Bamboo- opting for the Hibachi with private chef. We were in a group of 13 and the room held up to 20- 10 people to a chef. Food presentation was good, quality was very good and it was certainly entertaining. For main dining purposes, you have 3 options for traditional dining room settings- we opted for the Venetian which was on deck 4 AFT. Let me begin by telling you that I walked in with a certain expectation as far as quality and presentation of the food was concerned, and the expectation was not met. The menu was "average" at best and presentation was less than original. Ordering that shrimp cocktail? Beware, you will be presented with a small bowl of "egg roll shrimp"- very, very mini. Appetizers were adequate but not stimulating, but deserts seemed to be the hit of the table. In the end, I guess that you could say the food was sufficient but if you asked me to give you details as to any entree consumed in the main dining room, I wouldn't be able to do so. Ask me the same question about a Celebrity Cruise from 3 years ago and my eyes will immediately open as I give you detail upon detail. Entertainment/Casino: Onboard entertainment was good, especially the "Bollywood" show. The Stardust Theater is beautiful, great sightlines and plenty of room. If the juggler/comedian is on your cruise, do everything possible to avoid the show- it's a complete train wreck. I've never met anyone who was so "un-entertaining"- 90% of the audience members had left by the midpoint of the show, myself included. Casino is a good size and while I'm not a big gambler ($40 spent on this cruise), it did seem like there was enough variety to go around. Itinerary- Very important. The stop in Bermuda can't be missed. Be sure to take the ferry to Hamilton and do some shopping. The downtown is very well-kept and you could certainly fare much worse, like downtown Nassau, which we spent all of 30 minutes in. The in-between for us was NCL's private island, where tender service brought you to a beach with chairs, umbrellas, facilities and a buffet lunch. Do yourself a favor and sign up for a tender early the day before, it will ensure that you get to the island before the masses later in the day, and that you can still land a pretty decent spot on the beach, along with umbrella/chair. Nassau I can do without- Atlantis doesn't really impress me much and I've been to the Bahamas already, so I imagine that a first time visitor will certainly have enough time to see a sight or two. Recap- All in all, it was a good cruise, since we didn't have to hop on an airplane and the port is less than an hour from our home. The food wasn't up to our expectations but the cabin was pleasantly surprising. A cruise like this is certainly what you make of it. We didn't walk on thinking that it was a Raddisson or Silver Sea cruise, and I feel as though NCL did "just enough" to justify your paying decent $ to travel over the memorial day weekend. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
Wife and I sailed to Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn. This was our first cruise. I would have preferred a Transatlantic, but people advised us to take a shorter cruise to see " if we liked it". Apparently (and surprisingly) ... Read More
Wife and I sailed to Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn. This was our first cruise. I would have preferred a Transatlantic, but people advised us to take a shorter cruise to see " if we liked it". Apparently (and surprisingly) cruising is not for everyone. We are in our fifties, both very active, but also not very sociable, and somewhat snobbish. Overall we enjoyed the trip despite two unfortunate events that could have turned this into a cruise from hell. More about that later. We will sail again and now know what to look for . We flew to New York from Western Canada and had an excellent 3 days in that great city before embarkation, but that put us $2500 in the hole even before setting foot on the ship and encouraged a certain reticence about splurging on the ship. Embarkation: We arrived at the pier at 12 noon and were in our cabin by 12:30 and this is despite throwing a hissy fit when NCL tried to take our passports from us . The poor woman we were dealing with immediately called her supervisor, who calmly gave us a disclaimer to sign and let us keep our passports. The whole episode took 4 minutes. I was impressed.We had originally booked an inside cabin but a week before sailing we got a call from NCL to upgrade on a "special deal" to an outside cabin with balcony. I took it and that turned out to be a very good move. The BA cabin was superb. I know a little bit about interior design and this was a master class. The balcony itself was the icing on the cake, because I found that the thing I enjoyed most about the cruise was sitting on the balcony reading a book, dozing off, or just looking at the ocean. First bad event: I wanted to use the seven days to upgrade my fitness.. Thus early morning on the first day at sea I got on the treadmill. The sea was quite rough and the boat was lurching which you notice immediately on a treadmill. After a few minutes on the treadmill, we seemed to hit a bump in the ocean which threw me off stride and somehow I managed to jar my back. This left me bent over and crippled in some pain for the next few days. Can't blame NCL for that though. After hearing one of our travellers complain about paying $50 for a bottle of wine with his meal, we decided to abstain for the length of the cruise consoling ourselves with the "soda fountain" option only. This is unlimited pop over the week for $40 paid up front. Frankly it was a ripoff. Not once did I get a decent Coke. It was always heavily diluted. I asked for cans but they wanted to charge me extra for them. Beware of this nasty little scheme. Service on the ship was exemplary. That goes for the waiters, cabin cleaning staff and miscellaneous crew. They were so friendly and efficient, it was unnatural and almost creepy. Still high fives to the staff. As part of our cheapskate approach, we decided to eat only in the main restaurants which were included in the fare. I think that is not a bad plan. Overall I consider the food very edible, occasionally very good and rarely did I leave something on my plate. Deserts were perhaps the weakest part of their suite. This food business is all relative of course. If you live in a city which has good cuisine - say NY or New Orleans - and you are accustomed to eat out often, Norwegian food will disappoint you. But for us, where most restaurant food at home is quite pricey but little more than mush, it was very acceptable and I looked forward to meals. We always asked for and received, what I think was the best seat on the ship, right at the back of the Venetian Room, having an unhindered and expansive view of the Ocean. Second bad event: After two days, my wife developed a sore throat which led inevitably - ho hum - to a bad cold which clipped her wings quite a bit. Can't blame NCL for this either.I thought the entertainment was pathetic, particularly that offered in the main Stardust Lounge. The magician and the hypnotist - both main attractions on separate nights - were so bad , I was embarrassed for them. We left. The Ann Ryan dance group that put on two separate "extravaganza's". Let me just say that I have seen high school shows better than those. Also the cruise Director - Matt somebody- started to get on my nerves after a while. Americans are in awe of anyone who speaks with a British accent. Not me. I thought he was a twit. Compliments to the behaviour of my fellow PASSENGERS. What a cross section of ages, genders, languages and origins! But everyone behaved quite civilly. Excursions: For the day in Bermuda we took the local bus to Paradise Beach (?) and had a good time there. It was the finest sand I had ever seen on a beach, and slightly tinged pink. But while very good, It was not a world class beach of the type we have experienced in Australia and South Africa. Also the water was cold. Nassau? The less said the better. Though I liked the aquarium at Atlantis, the whole place is a dump. Maybe even a dangerous dump Toward the end of the cruise we became friendly with a few couples who were very experienced cruisers. While we had enjoyed ourselves, I noted that they were not particularly impressed with NCL and both couples, independently, recommended that we take our next cruise with Princess. We shall see. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
As a first time cruiser, I was apprehensive about this trip. It could not have been better. Living in NJ, we left at 11:00am and reached the pier at 11:45am. We were greeted by a porter who took our luggage & guided us to the ... Read More
As a first time cruiser, I was apprehensive about this trip. It could not have been better. Living in NJ, we left at 11:00am and reached the pier at 11:45am. We were greeted by a porter who took our luggage & guided us to the embarking station. We sailed thru the photo, doc check and credit card area (just a tip-complete the customs form BEFORE going thru this area) and were on the ship by 12:20pm. After a quick look around, we went up to the buffet to grab lunch. We were pleased with the selections. Next,they were offering tours of the spa and we tagged along. All of the facilities were beautiful and the massages sounded great but VERY expensive. Our room (stateroom w/balcony-deck 10) was ready at 2:00 and we found our luggage already there. The room was immaculate and having the balcony gave us the feel of a larger space. The shower had a glass door which gave some privacy. There was a shelf above the bathroom sink that easily fit most of our toiletries. The closet was stocked with hangers and we had plenty to spare. By putting the suitcases under the bed we had no problem with space. We brought soda & water but didn't really need it. Hubby bought the soda card-worked out fine. The only problem that we had with the room was that it took 2 days to get the cabin steward to remove the fridge contents. We tried to take advantage of a lot of on board activities-Had a ball at both margarita clinics-good buy too-4 drinks for $15. Met lots of interesting people from around the world. Did some of the trivia games- lots of fun- art auction (do people really spend that much money on art on a cruise ship?) Went to Makeup clinic-( a real push to buy the product).The ship entertainment was very good-Second City comedy was probably the best, but Bollywood and the Dance Troupe were very good too. I liked the fact that they came out after the show to visit with the audience & take photos. Matt Baker,the cruise director, was outstanding. Where he gets his 24/7 energy, I don't know! Pool activities were hampered on several occasions by rain, but when it was nice, the staff made the most of the time-hairy chest contests, ice sculpting, calypso band, barbecues, pool olympics, etc. Also went to the towel animal making class-fun to watch. The lounges were nice places to relax, the main band (Best of Friends) always drew a lot of people. They sang a nice mix-Beatles, Eagles, Show tunes, light music, etc. Drinks were cheaper there too. The pool was always pretty full-people had to make up for the rainy days-I enjoyed the hot tub even though it was a little crowded. The smaller section of the pool-the 4' had a very steep ladder which was hard to get into. The food was good-not great. Free style is nice, but you still have to make reservations at the specialty restaurants. I had the best salmon ever at Aqua. My daughter loved the Italian and my husband liked Cagney's (cover charge) the best. The Venetian was great for sit down breakfasts, but avoid the pasta with almond in alfredo sauce for dinner-Gooey & absolutely no flavor. There was never a problem with a jean issue-saw no one in jeans at any meals. The Staff- everyone- was wonderful-friendly,courteous, accommodating, and many staff members even remembered and called my granddaughter by name. Tours- we did the Long boat tour in Bermuda with a stop in Hamilton-very good history of area & plenty of time to shop. Parasailing on the private island was great- but nervewracking-skip the City tour & Pirate Museum in Nassau- going thru poor areas with debris & decay is not an enjoyable site. The Museum was very good though. My daughter did the Atlantis tour & said it was great. We docked at 8:00am, had breakfast at 9:00, thru ship debarkation & customs by 10:00am and home by 11:00. It can't get any better! Overall Opinion- Beautiful,immaculate ship,wonderful staff, lots to do, food quality & selection needs to be upgraded. Met wonderful people-even one of our cruise critic members! Too bad NCL doesn't have a meet & greet for us! Am already planning when we can go again!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
Norwegian Dawn - Bermuda/Bahamas 06/03/2006 This was our first ever cruise, we chose NCL because of free style cruising, price and sailing out of NY. Embarkation I am not a US Citizen so when we arrived we got to go on the Non-US ... Read More
Norwegian Dawn - Bermuda/Bahamas 06/03/2006 This was our first ever cruise, we chose NCL because of free style cruising, price and sailing out of NY. Embarkation I am not a US Citizen so when we arrived we got to go on the Non-US line which was much faster and pretty much got to walk straight on to the ship. We arrived at about 2pm so got to go straight to our room. The NCL staff at the port were very friendly and efficient. The Ship The Dawn is a beautiful ship and was very easy to navigate around; we were in an aft balcony cabin on deck 9. It was very spacious and well organized, and having a balcony was great. I spent quite a bit of time reading on the balcony. All the staff we met were very friendly, courteous and helpful and all were smiling. The entire ship seems to be very well maintained and very clean. They seem to be very conscientious about hygiene and health, which is very reassuring. Our only complaint with NCL was the itinerary. We did have one small issue with our cabin, in that the bed sheets did not seem to have been changed from the previous sailing, but we made a complaint to the room steward and it was rectified immediately. Itinerary As this was our first cruise I think we were a bit disappointed with the itinerary, probably because we had such high expectations and we didn't realize how long a day at sea could be. If we cruise again it will be on an itinerary with less sea days. We had 3 which was too many for us. Bermuda was our first port of call and despite rain, we still went on a glass bottom boat snorkel trip and then had time to take the ferry into Hamilton. And had a great time, we would definitely like to go back to Bermuda. We then had another day at sea, which we decided to spend in the Spa, mainly because the weather wasn't great and the pool deck was too loud and crowded. The Spa was practically deserted with its own pool and 2 hot tubs. The next stop was Great Stirrup Cay, we got tender tickets the day before for the 2nd tender of the day but decided to sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast before heading over. We arrived at 11am and were still able to find 2 chairs under an umbrella. We went snorkeling which was great and swam with rays and enjoyed the beach BBQ. Nassau was a bit of a let down, we arrived in the evening when everything was closed and there was nothing to see or do, the whole area seemed very seedy and run down. The next day we went to Paradise Island which was ok but not very interesting. I don't think I will go to Nassau again. Food We pretty much ate nearly everywhere so here is a brief run down. We found alcohol on the ship to be very expensive even compared to NYC. We did not get the soda card as for us it did not work out as a good value; I think we spent less then $15 on soft drinks when the card cost $45. Venetian -- one of the main restaurants. We ate lunch here on one of the sea days, though very beautiful, the service was terrible as was the food and menu. We never ate here again. Impressions -- one of the main restaurants. We had dinner here on formal night; the atmosphere and service were very nice, though it took a long time to get a glass of wine. We had the steak and lobster, everything was good and it was very relaxing, especially when compared to Venetian. Le Bistro -- Pay restaurant $15 per person. I loved Le Bistro, it was very quiet and the service was excellent as was the food, also who can beat sitting next to an original Van Gogh. If you go here definitely try the chocolate fondue, it is to die for. Cagnys Steak House -- Pay restaurant $20 per person. Service was slow, but the food and wine was excellent as was the atmosphere, highly recommended. We can't decide if Cagnys or Le Bistro was better. Garden Buffet -- Included restaurant. We ate breakfast here every day, good selection and made to order waffles and omelets. Lunch and dinner selections were ok, but got boring after a while as they didn't really change. Trattoria -- Included restaurant. Only open in the evenings when they converted part of the buffet to make an Italian eatery. Atmosphere was ok, as always service was good, menu was a little limited but if you like salad and fresh pasta it's pretty good. Salsa -- Included restaurant. Salsa was a bit disappointing, we had heard a lot of good things about it. It is located in the atrium and there is usually a band or piano playing below the restaurant which is nice. Service was ok, but the food was terrible. And we did not go back. Blue Lagoon - Included 24 hour fast food joint, very good wings and fish and chips, but service was very slow and disorganized. Entertainment There seemed to be a lot going on on the ship, but we didn't take part in any of the activities. We attended an art auction out of curiosity, and saw the Bollywood show which was great kind of a spin off of Moulin Rouge. We also tried out the casino and hung out by the pool and in the spa. Overall We enjoyed ourselves, but I am not sure we would cruise again. We did not like being on the ship's schedule and prefer to go off and do our own thing. After a couple of days, the ship felt a bit claustrophobic. If we go on another cruise we will look at the itinerary very carefully as we would want more time in the ports of call. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
Embarkation was a breeze. My sister and I flew into LGA from different originations and met at the baggage pick up. Took a taxi to the cruise port ($40) arrived around 1pm. We were on board by 1:20. We first ate at the buffet on the 12th ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze. My sister and I flew into LGA from different originations and met at the baggage pick up. Took a taxi to the cruise port ($40) arrived around 1pm. We were on board by 1:20. We first ate at the buffet on the 12th floor, then went on a self guided toured of the ship. We made reservations at each gourmet restaurant as we passed by. Getting on and off the ship in Bermuda was a breeze. We took the public bus to Horseshoe Beach. Fantastic beach, waves sometimes large enough to body surf into the beach. It was everything we had hoped for in a Bermuda beach. Public transportation officials were adamant that folks were dry and clothed prior to entering the vehicles. There is a charge for use of the Spa. Last year it was free. I was surprised and disappointed that the steam room, sauna, lap pool and two Jacuzzis were available only at an additional cost. The private Cay took longer. NCL provided tender tickets the afternoon of the day prior for those willing to wait in line for hours. We didnt. Picked ours up late in the day when there was no line and reached beach about 10:30 am. Fantastic beach again, water was wonderful, many fish swimming with us! Typical cook out foods available. We did hear folks complaining that there was no ice tea available. The shows were great (we didnt attend the night we ported into Nassau). Both Ann Ryan productions had excellent dancers and performers. The lead female vocal in Miami Nights was a little weak. The comedy show is well worth seeing and we were very impressed with Action comedian. Nassau disembarkation was a breeze. We ate prior to leaving the ship and noted many folks coming back onboard as we departed about 8:30. We took a taxi over to Atlantis. The aquarium walk around was excellent and is as good as the Baltimore and Boston aquariums -- its also free. There are multiple denominations of slot machines at Atlantis. After hours of playing nickel, dime and quarter machines, we found the dollar Wheel of Fortune machines at least paid some money. The Straw Market is about two blocks away from the dock. There were bargains to be found if you were willing to negotiate. The most unusual trinkets were flowers made from fish scales, being crafted as you watched. These unique items were produced in different colors and were made into brooches or necklace icons. Cagneys Steakhouse: Excellent Boston Lobster and Filet Mignon. Seating at solid tables and enough space between tables. Side dishes of vegetables were good and the dessert was excellent. Le Bistro: Excellent Filet Mignon, Sea Bass was not mild, but the sauce and vegetables were to die for. Seating was crowded; if you were on a deuce the table next to you was less than 4 inches away. We were also on the aisle, with wait staff constantly hustling past you. We recommend that you request a wall table when you make your reservations. Teppanyaki: Typical seating and fare for the Japanese Hibachi. There are two hibachis which seat a total of 19 diners. Dinner reservations are accepted for 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30. We enjoyed the chefs entertainment and both of us ordered the Imperial Feast for an additional small fee. The Imperial Feast included a piece of sushi, soup, salad, fried rice, vegetables, filet mignon, shrimp and scallops. The only disappointment was the green tea and coconut ice cream, which were not as good tasting as we are accustomed. Overall, it was an excellent meal with healthy portions. Bamboo: Offered a variety of Korean, Chinese and Japanese dishes. We actually ate here the evening of the Captains dinner. We were seated quickly at one of the main dining halls. The noise was unbearable. We made a quick decision to try Bamboo instead of having the Lobster tails and the loud confusion. It was an excellent choice for us. Salsa: There is no charge here, but requires a reservation. The service was outstanding in this establishment. Food portions were excellent, the food tasty and desserts great! The seating is an open balcony over the live easy listening band in the lobby coffee shop. A great variety of tapas are offered as well as Mexican dishes. After eating here, we made it a point to have late afternoon coffee in the lobby bar to listen to the band. Sushi Bar: The conveyer belt brings selected sushi to patrons. You may also order a la carte from the extensive menu. It was an excellent lunch! The buffet was a disappointment. We could never find pieces of fresh fruit, with the exception of the melon and pineapple cut fruit combo on every buffet. The quality and selections were limited, though there are three different food lines. The desserts were the same gelatin creations almost every day. Last year in the evenings they had a soup cart set up and ice cream cart set up, which they have now incorporated into the deli line. Compared to other cruise lines and past NCL cruises this buffet scored the lowest in our book! The Bimini Bar has a grill which served burgers and hot dogs and fries, daily for lunch. The quality of burgers was good, but how many burgers do you want for lunch on a vacation? The cruise offered the typical contests by the pool each day at sea, and the Spinnaker Lounge audience participation events each evening were very entertaining. The younger crowd seemed to be having a wonderful time late into the morning hours in Dazzles. (We noted on our way to our cabin after spending hours in the casino each evening.) We enjoy gambling and vacations frequently include casinos. We were shocked that twice during this cruise; casino managers went to tables and asked for money from patrons they said had been paid out in error. We had never seen this in our lives! Here you have a patron betting $45 a hand and the casino wants $15 back??? From three hands ago? Another time it was at the Craps table. The manager wanted a $5 side bet paid back, supposedly paid out in error. If this were a land based casino we would never ever go back. This was the most disturbing event of the whole cruise to us. Disembarkment back in NYC was delayed. We both missed our flights and had to change the reservations. NCL allowed us courtesy calls but didnt offer any other assistance. Leaving the ship, it looked like more than 50% of the guests were taking the Express&carry your own luggage off. NCL never announced on the loud speaker that Express folks could leave the ship. We were in the hallway and followed the crowd out. Taxis were plentiful from those arriving for the next cruise. All in all we enjoyed the cruise. If we hadnt been on other cruises we wouldnt know the difference in food quality provided on the buffet. The ports were excellent as were the gourmet restaurants. We lucked out with perfect weather for the whole cruise. We are looking at Royal Caribbean or Holland American for our November cruise as we have never been disappointed in their buffets nor seen casino managers asking for cash back based on dealer errors. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
We went with NCL because we were honeymooners and liked the freestyle cruise atmosphere dealing with the food. We did not want to have to eat with other people! We also liked the itinerary, I wanted to see Bermuda. Getting on the ship ... Read More
We went with NCL because we were honeymooners and liked the freestyle cruise atmosphere dealing with the food. We did not want to have to eat with other people! We also liked the itinerary, I wanted to see Bermuda. Getting on the ship was bad, we sat at the pier for 4 hours, the ship did not get back into port until 11:00, one hour late. I would suggest getting there early, no later than 12:30 or you will be sitting in line forever! Once on the ship we went straight to our cabin, Mini-suite AF on deck 11. Our luggage was delivered less than an hour after we got to our room. Our room staff was great! We never really gave them enough time to clean the room, but they managed with what time we gave them! Reservations: Make the week's reservations on the first day. We made the mistake of waiting till that day to try and get in at one of the speciality restaurants. We only made it to Cagney's ($10 pp cover charge) and Salsa (both of which were amazing) We ate in the Garden Cafe for breakfast and lunch and ended up there for dinner most nights too! The soda card was worth it ($50) and sneak some alcohol on if you can because the drink prices were outrageous!! Look for the late night 2 for 1 deals in the casino to get you money's worth! Bermuda was beautiful. Take the bus to horseshoe bay and then hang around the dockyard. I would skip the private island. It was hot and crowded. But the fish come up and swim around your legs, so if that is something you like, then go for it. Nassau was such a short time, we went to Atlantis and did enjoy that. The public beach nearby is very nice. Went to Senor frogs and got a $13.00 margarita! It was fun though! Do the express disembarkment we were out within an hour of docking. Matt Baker was the Cruise Director, he was ok, but his staff was great. Go to the pub crawl and the trivia nights. Overall the ship was beautiful and the staff was great! Don't tip because it is already included with your drink bill and at the end of the cruise ($10 pp per day) We will cruise NCL again, once you are Lattitude members you get better perks and easier check in and out! Enjoy! 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

Find a Norwegian Dawn Cruise

Email me when prices drop