90 Norwegian Dawn Bermuda Cruise Reviews

Mom and I have taken this cruise for the last 3 years and have been fairly happy with the food and very happy with the friendliness and service of the staff. Something has definitely changed on the Dawn...not sure if they are cutting back ... Read More
Mom and I have taken this cruise for the last 3 years and have been fairly happy with the food and very happy with the friendliness and service of the staff. Something has definitely changed on the Dawn...not sure if they are cutting back on the quality of food and number of staff...but will think twice before taking this cruise again. Food quality was inconsistent and sometimes didn't even eat it. Eggs benedict were fine sometimes or they could be hard boiled...Meat was not the quality we are accustomed to on Norwegian. Meats were either very fatty or tough...fish was dry and overcooked. Staff was not friendly or smiling like we are used to on the Dawn nor was the service the same. Was difficult to get drinks in the casino especially. Had to ask for a server every day! And even then it took quite a bit of time to get a drink. After the show honoring the staff on the ship, my 79 year old Mom started shaking hands as usual ...one of the officers refused to shake her hand and said, "We don't shake hands!" Well isn't that nice???? Maybe that is why the staff on this ship has become unfriendly. Need to improve cleanliness in the buffet as well as the pool deck. Often the tables were left dirty and sticky...especially along the edges. Tip for those of you who may experience this; I now take my napkin and place it under my plate so I don't have to touch the table, then place remainder in my lap. I think I will pass on the Dawn and either try another ship or another Cruise Line! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Hello, I have been on approx 20-25 cruises. This is the 1st time ever on a cruise that I wasn't served lobster during the week, NCL just stopped it on this boat. The other food was very good though. They have about 6 specialty ... Read More
Hello, I have been on approx 20-25 cruises. This is the 1st time ever on a cruise that I wasn't served lobster during the week, NCL just stopped it on this boat. The other food was very good though. They have about 6 specialty restaurants on the ship that take up a lot of the ships space and they Charge you $20-30.00 pp to eat. RCL doesn't make a business out of it, there food is mostly FREE like it should be. Drinks are approx $10.00 apiece. Even room service is $7.95, on RCL it is FREE. Everywhere you turn they will charge you, and you can honestly feel the GREED! I was really getting upset about it. NCL is losing the fun factor because of it. The benefits for frequent cruisers cannot be compared to RCL in anyway, NCL literally STINKS in this area. ON RCL you get FREE Drinks from 4:30-8:00, it's a Huge bonus. Also on RCL Free special Lounge area with snacks (coffee, chocolate covered strawberries, ect), robes, in room goodies, discounts, ect! I am not exaggerating when I say they are getting Greedy, I have been on many cruises. The good parts are, service was very good, some shows were excellent (David), Atrium with walk around deck is nice. If you want to build up frequent cruiser benefits then absolutely go with RCL. If you want to get Nickel and Dimed $10-30 bucks at a time then go with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Two first days at sea with nothing to do but be held hostage by all the jewelry salesmen. Freezing cold and very rough waters. I was really surprised that they didn't schedule any entertainment or activities during the day. The hard ... Read More
Two first days at sea with nothing to do but be held hostage by all the jewelry salesmen. Freezing cold and very rough waters. I was really surprised that they didn't schedule any entertainment or activities during the day. The hard sell on all of their trinkets was very annoying. They even had an "activity" that was a cosmetic surgeon trying to drum up business. The food was mediocre and I was surprised how much indian food was on the buffet every day. The deserts were inedible except for "Le Bistro" where the food and service were lovely. When we got in to port there is not much to do in Bermuda. We were steered toward St. George by the staff but when we got there we found a hand full of shops selling trinkets and 3 restaurants serving overpriced terrible food. I tried to order a pancake off the breakfast menus where it says "Hot off the griddle" it was rubbery and strange, the waitress was lovely and told me that all the pancakes are frozen and defrosted the night before. The shops all closed at 3. It was very strange, it was a bit like visiting a ghost town. We had been told that there was nothing to do in Hamilton but we ventured in on our second day and it was lovely, it is a city with lots of shopping, pubs and good restaurants. The beach was fine but the water is very cold and I think to describe the sand as pink is a bit of an overstatement. Everything seemed overpriced and very cheap. I did go to look at the spa and was signing up to use the thermal spa but them was told it was all booked up and that If I wanted it next time I would need to book it in the first day on board. The pool area was very small and the "hot tubs" were barely lukewarm. The staff was friendly and helpful except for the customer service desk. I was with family so we made our own fun but I hate that a vacation we had looked forward to became a thing to endure and have fun "in spite of having to be here". Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I have been on many cruises. Probably about 20 of them. I've lost count. This one overall was ok, but there were enough things wrong with it to keep from returning to this cruise line. Specialty dining, having paid for the dining ... Read More
I have been on many cruises. Probably about 20 of them. I've lost count. This one overall was ok, but there were enough things wrong with it to keep from returning to this cruise line. Specialty dining, having paid for the dining package, left a bit to be desired. A major food allergy was ignored and when an attempt was made to correct the problem, the same steak was put back on the grill 3 times until it resembled shoe leather. The Brazilian grill failed to live up to its advertising. Tiny portions of meat pre-cooked and served on a spit. Some were to tough to be edible. No midnight buffet. No food after 10:30 pm unless you want a horribly prepared hamburger and want to wait for it to be cooked to order. No pizza anywhere, at any time of day without paying a service charge of $5.00 per pizza and have it delivered by room service staff. Which, by the way was equally bad. Almost 2 hours to deliver the worst food ever on a ship. Room service refused to answer the phone on many occasions. How do you mess up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? By putting it on hard stale bread leftover from days past. No child would ever consider eating it. No adult would eat anything else on the limited room service menu. Really, I'm not that fussy. I'm used to budget-cruising, but there where some serious issues with after-hours food, and also some periods of the day, where you just couldn't grab something for yourself. Also, there was a lot of weird ethnic foods with little other choices. I'm all for trying new things, but I really don't want curry or over-spiced Indian dishes while on a moving vessel. They didn't offer a lot of choices. No use of locker rooms without paying a fee of $30 per day! Rediculus. Another scam to take your money. You can use the gym, but no access to shower or sauna without paying giant service charge. Gross sweaty people right outside of dining area. I was seriously irritated that I could not enjoy this part of the ship without paying for a "club membership". Everywhere on the ship there where further attempts to nickel and dime you to death. Also visible signs of them cutting back. No more self-serve ice cream. You must be served by staff and only during certain hours. Less choices and smaller quantities of buffet foods. NCL claims to be a "green" organization, and yet they print thousands of photographs which are just trashed at the end of each cruise. Why do they not use a digital alternative?? On three different occasions, i found there was no toilet paper in three different restrooms. Defective merchandise (name brand watch) fell apart within hours of purchase and the ship staff was reluctant to give a refund. Later in the trip, the same watch had been repaired, returned to the showcase presented as "new" and had a higher price tag on it!! Guest relations: although the food allergy issue was seriously addressed and refunds given for the poor experience at the steak house, there are clearly other areas of concern. When I approached the guest relations desk, I asked for a "complaint form". The guest relations representative looked away from me, pointed at a rack of forms and said "they're over there". He never made eye contact. He never asked me what my problem was or if there was anything he could do to help me. Steer clear of this one. There are better options out there. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I've been on 6 other cruises in the past including ones with Royal Caribbean, Holland America & Carnival. My review will focus solely on the on ship experience because it rained entire time & due to a hurricane our on island ... Read More
I've been on 6 other cruises in the past including ones with Royal Caribbean, Holland America & Carnival. My review will focus solely on the on ship experience because it rained entire time & due to a hurricane our on island time was cut short a day. Understandably this was in no one’s control other than Mother Nature. We had two rooms – one Aft facing penthouse suite on floor 9 (room 9236)and the next door balcony room. The penthouse suite was very nice and had a table for 4, couch seating area, large bed, dressing room area and full bathroom w/tub, large balcony. It came with Butler service which was nice for room service, getting DVDs to watch (as it rained entire time), etc. Our butler was very nice (Marc) but our room steward was the highlight of the cruise (Rodrigo Ortega). The downside to the room was we were constantly going out to cigarette butts on our balcony and lounge chairs from the room upstairs. Nasty! They also apparently cleaned decks above w/buckets of water w/out warning you…..be VERY careful or you’ll end up w/a head full of water after spending an hour getting ready for dinner. Not fun. They should warn you when they will be cleaning so you can avoid going out on balcony during those times. The room came equipped w/blow dryer, complimentary espresso machine (saves you a ton on coffee/espresso at the Java bar on the ship), DVDs, robes/slippers, room service, lots of free snacks/chocolates/treats delivered daily, we received free flowers and champagne on our first day, etc. The next door balcony room was nothing special (room 9238). It was small w/just a bed, 1 seat, small bathroom w/shower only and a small balcony. Nothing to write home about….though certainly better than in interior room. The food- barely edible. This was the worst food I’ve ever had and honestly, I was shocked! I’ve always had such great experiences with past cruises that I could not believe it was so bad. It was often stale, barely warm, tasted off/funny, etc. Service was just as bad. Staff seemed unengaged and unhappy. The ONLY time we got good food and “ok” service was when we paid extra for Cagney’s Steakhouse ($30 per person). The Venetian, Aqua, Garden Café, Grills at pool were horrible. I came home 4 lbs less than I started. Who is supposed to lose weight on a cruise?!?!? The activities on board were boring and all upsells. We were stuck on this ship for a long time due to the rain and the hurricane. The activities were things that revolved around the shops- learn about watches (then buy one), learn about rocks/stones (then buy the jewelry), learn about art (then attend the auction), deal or no deal (buy a ticket), bingo (again…buy a sheet), etc. Not a lot of fun at all! The illusion/magic show we watched was entertaining but short (40 min max). If you’re not a late night person then you will never get to enjoy the “party” and dance. All of those activities started at 11pm. If you have kids read the ages carefully before booking this cruise. The “teen” activities are for 13-17 years old w/NO exceptions. Our kids are 12 (13 ONE WEEK after cruise ended) and 14. They could not both attend teen club. We didn’t want them separated so they were unable to participate at all. The other age group is 2-12. Really? Toddlers w/my 12 year old? Is she being paid to baby sit?? Because that is a very large age gap. She was turning 13 one week after cruise ended but they refused to make any exceptions for us to keep our children together. We left Bermuda 1 day early and would have loved to get back to Boston a day early as well but no such luck. We were lied to and told that it took longer to get back b/c they had to sail “around the hurricane”. Not true. We saw the path of the storm and it wasn’t something to sail around. Also, we sailed back at a snail’s pace compared to the pace down to Bermuda. The truth is they don’t want to pay hotel costs, airplane change fees, 1 day credit to all passengers, etc. So instead we were all trapped on board for one more on sea day. BORING is a drastic understatement. Tips/Service Fees- every passenger is charged approx.. $12/day/person automatically on their credit card account. TAKE THIS OFF! Go to the customer service desk and request this be taken off 100%. They will have you sign a sheet of paper and it will be removed w/no issues at all. Just write that you will tip cash as appropriate. You will be charged 18% automatically on all drinks/services anyway (watch this because there is still a tip line on the slip…you already paid the tip!). The butler, if in a suite, is not included in the tip share so you’ll still want to provide him w/cash at the end. So why am I paying this very large automatic surcharge when I already paid thousands for the cruise? And 18% on all services? No thanks. I removed this $333 charge and left cash for my butler and room steward. My overall recommendation- avoid NCL and stick w/other cruise lines. I’ve never had such a bad experience and would never take a NCL cruise again.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We are a family group, age from 3 to 73. this is our 6th cruise, but 1st with NCL. Overall, not that impressed. The first problem we experienced was during the embarking process. It went smoothly until passport check. They experienced a ... Read More
We are a family group, age from 3 to 73. this is our 6th cruise, but 1st with NCL. Overall, not that impressed. The first problem we experienced was during the embarking process. It went smoothly until passport check. They experienced a computer down and that apparently messed everything up for us. It finally took the agents (yes, it took 2 agents, 2 supervisors, 1 tech, and still not solving the problem so at last one of the agents had to call some authority on the ship) about half an hour at the counter to finally clear things up and let us on board. The food experience overall was average. We have dined at the Venetian's more than other places. The dinner food in main dining rooms was very good. Everybody could always find something that they craved. But the waiting time was too long. It took at least hour and half for a meal. The longest for us was two and half. Later on we learned the trick of ordering desserts at the beginning of meals. That sped things a little. Our breakfasts were at Garden Café, typical American breakfast options, eggs, meats, fruits, and the same selections for all the days. Lunches were with plenty of choices. The chicken wings on Deck 8 were exceptional. We also tried the French specialty dining once, finding it not worth the extra cover charge comparing its food with its peers on land, or with the main dining room options. So we cancelled other bookings and stayed at main dining rooms for the rest of the trip. I also found the dining room service quality to be average or below. I suspect this is due to the tipping system of NCL. Because of the freestyle, it becomes impossible for having the same waiting staff at the dinner table. The staff was generally warm and did an adequate job, but I did feel the lack of personal touch and the will for going above-and-beyond. By default the same amount of service fee is deducted automatically for each guest every day. I can imagine how this may impact the enthusiasm of the service staff too. Like I said, Dawn was an old ship. It showed many signs of aging. In particular its IT and electronics system lagged pretty far from other cruise companies. The TV programs were still standard definition, but with flat screen LCD TV, which made picture quality very bad. I did not find any ways to access my on board account other than going to the customer service desk, while on ships from other cruise lines that could be done through interactive TV for example. This may not be the same on NCL's newer ships. But clearly the 2011 refurbishment of the ship did little in this aspect. So overall, a below average experience. In planning for future cruises, I do not think I will put NCL high on the list. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
When you spend $24,000.00 for a cruise in the Garden Villa you have an expectation. Not unreasonable expectations but a few. How shocked we were regarding the penny pinching of this cruise line. When you first board you are taken ... Read More
When you spend $24,000.00 for a cruise in the Garden Villa you have an expectation. Not unreasonable expectations but a few. How shocked we were regarding the penny pinching of this cruise line. When you first board you are taken through a labyrinth of sales people trying to sell you dining, drinking and spa packages. Nothing included with the Garden Villa. Let's start with the spa. We wanted to take a quick look around but no, this was not permitted. We had to take a 45 minute plus tour which took you from station to station showing you the different services offered and of course how much they cost. How shocked we were to find that after our $500.00 plus of services we were expected to pay an additional $35.00 to sit in a lounge chair at the spa. One would think this would be included with our room or the astronomical spa packages. Restaurants: In the past when in the Garden Villa reservations were not necessary. We had a table waiting at any restaurant which was released when we decided where we would like to eat. Not anymore, on day 1 we were told by our concierge that many restaurants were already booked and we couldn't eat at them when we wanted to. The food is ok but not special at all. There was a special breakfast each day served for the Garden Villa where we were told we could get an English muffin and an egg but couldn't get the egg on the English muffin by our waiter. Later on in the week we had a different waiter that said of course and it was delivered without question. All request used to be met with an "of course". They are now met with a no first, then maybe a yes..... The butler: He delivered some nice breakfast items and afternoon treats to the room but in the past no special request went unmet. On this cruise never a request was met. Whether for a special breakfast item or even just extra butter the answer was "no" first then a possible yes maybe. We are the easiest going people and only expected what we received from previous cruises and from other cruise lines. We have been on this cruise in this room before and only expected the same. Didn't think the cruise line went so far downhill. Even asking for extra soap in the bathroom was a problem. Shows: We used to have reserved seats for shows. Now we were told that the seats are reserved but anyone can sit there???? I had to leave dinner early to sit in the seats reserved for us and hold them for our party. The seats are supposed to be for Garden villa and owners suites. No longer, now it's just a suggestion and anyone can sit there. Concierge: Our previous cruise experiences were always wonderful. This concierge was non existent. Trying to make the simplest reservation was impossible. Every request was me with a no. We finally went to the manager of the "hotel" when we were told that the service (just the basics) we expected would only be given if we travelled on a different ship. The Norwegian Dawn was only for people of lower class and if we expected upper class services we would have to travel on a different ship. I didn't think extra soap, dinner reservations, and an omelette was an upper class request???.??? Room steward: Excellent! Great guy. Always met every request with a smile. Room Service: $5.00 for delivery, please. Stop penny pinching. This cruise line in ala Carte: You are charged for everything regardless of your room. I expected to see turnstiles leading into the elevator and change machines in the decks. There is no special feel. You are a dollar sign nothing more. This cruise line has gone way downhill. Per our concierge we will never travel in the Garden Villa again. We will take our $30,000.00 elsewhere. We were spoiled by our previous service on this cruise. If you are looking to be treated like a customer rather than an inconvenience you don't want this line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
I went on the NCL Dawn from Boston to Bermuda. The food was terrible. It was under coked and contained too many spices and additives. The variety of food was also lacking. The coffee machine was broke for 2 days and the crew didn't ... Read More
I went on the NCL Dawn from Boston to Bermuda. The food was terrible. It was under coked and contained too many spices and additives. The variety of food was also lacking. The coffee machine was broke for 2 days and the crew didn't have enough sense to put a note on it. Instead many people got frustrated trying to get it to work. The ice machine ran out of ice on a regular basis. If you wanted Coke or Pepsi you had to pay extra. Only Ice tea and water were included. There were many college kids on the cruise so the pool atmosphere was like spring break. The staff encouraged this by focusing on loud music and promoting lots of alcohol. It was not relaxing at all. The walking area around the pool is also very slippery. You could easily fall and hit your head if you're not careful. The shows were not anything to brag about either. The performers seemed like rejects from show business. The waiters at night were obnoxious and also seemed like show biz rejects. The only thing that was done right was the rooms were clean and comfortable.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Just came back from our cruise and will never cruise NCL again. First we didn't get on the ship until 1:30PM due to port problems. Then our luggage was lost until 9:30PM that night. Then we went to diner in the Aqua. We arrived at ... Read More
Just came back from our cruise and will never cruise NCL again. First we didn't get on the ship until 1:30PM due to port problems. Then our luggage was lost until 9:30PM that night. Then we went to diner in the Aqua. We arrived at 5:30PM and didn't get out of the restaurant until 8:00PM. We sat down right away and was taken our selection we wanted. Then we waited and waited. Finally we got our salads and rolls. Then we waited and waited for our food to come out of the kitchen. When that arrived it was cold and not cooked they way we wanted it. We never got dessert or coffee. We were told that it was a new menu and the kitchen wasn't use to it. The following night we tried the Venetian and that was worst. We finally talked to the maître de and he met us at the Aqua the following night and he made sure the meal came out on time and cooked right. The following night it was the same thing all over again. We were finally told from a waiter that NCL had taken many waiters from the ship and sent them to the Breakaway in New York leaving the ship short of waiters and taking buss boys and making them waiters. It wasn't the waiters fault he was just learning and trying real hard. Then it came to our cabin steward and they were short as well for workers. Our room didn't get cleaned until the afternoon and the room didn't get turned down for the night until 9:00 PM. Our room was very nice and you couldn't ask for a nicer steward. We had a great time in Bermuda. The port is great. The casino did open up at 9:00 PM when in port for the first time in history we were told. Some of the shows were great. We have cruised many years and have never come across this. Hope NCL gets it act together but we will never cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We booked this cruise looking for an easy and relaxing getaway; the itinerary was perfect. But there is no way I would ever sail on the Norwegian Dawn again. The food was mediocre at best, the only exception was Teppanyaki. We tried Aqua, ... Read More
We booked this cruise looking for an easy and relaxing getaway; the itinerary was perfect. But there is no way I would ever sail on the Norwegian Dawn again. The food was mediocre at best, the only exception was Teppanyaki. We tried Aqua, Venetian, Cucina, and Moderno and I wouldn't even rate them as average. Service in the restaurants was slow and the wait staff seemed completely uninterested (again Tepppanyaki was the exception and they put on a great show). The entertainment was nothing to write home about either. Our Steward and Butler were outstanding and made the trip bearable. The thermal suite in the Spa was also very nice and we spent a lot of time there to get away from the smokers. Smokers were over represented in this crowd; so much so that the Promenade Deck was unpleasant for walking and the Casino was simply intolerable after about 7 PM. And, unfortunately our room was on Deck 8, just above the Promenade Deck (and all the smokers), so using the balcony while we were in port was next to impossible, which was unfortunate because the weather in Bermuda was spectacular. The room was also very noisy with the beat of drums & base coming up through the floor, and the TV in the next room coming through the wall. The price was right (so we thought), but now we know why. Very nice size room with a good layout. The balcony wraps around the corner of the ship, but it's only about 3 feet wide. Carpet was starting to show some wear and was coming apart at the seams (not bad though). Curtains were missing some hooks but again nothing terrible. Loved the Espresso machine in the room! The Butler and Steward were very attentive. The room was very noisy, both from the lounge below and also the TV in the room next door. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The cruise left out of Boston on a Friday and we were to spend a day and a half at sea before arriving in Bermuda. I don't know if it was the cruise port of Norwegian but it was very confusing as to which line you were suppose to be ... Read More
The cruise left out of Boston on a Friday and we were to spend a day and a half at sea before arriving in Bermuda. I don't know if it was the cruise port of Norwegian but it was very confusing as to which line you were suppose to be in to board the ship, luckily there were people there to assist you..moving on... i dont know if it was because the ship left out of Boston or if the Norwegian Dawn is always like this, but it seemed to be more of an old person cruise. I've cruised previously with Royal Caribbean and not only was the entertainment outstanding, but so was the food. On Norwegian Dawn, the only 24 hour restaurant is the Blue Lagoon and every time I ate there I would get extremely sick, my boyfriend and his family got sick, and some random lady on the ship started talking to me about the food and told me she'd also gotten sick from the Blue Lagoon. There were other restaurants to go to on the ship but you either had to pay for them, or have the same meal every night because the menus rarely changed. Another thing that bothered me about the Blue Lagoon was that every time I would ask for a side of sour cream, they would act like it was such a hassle to get it when they weren't doing anything in the first place. Every night on the cruise they would have musical entertainment in the common area on the ship, and every night it was the same two country singers and nothing but senior citizens in the audience. Besides not being able to eat my entire time being on the ship, there was nothing to do. My boyfriend and I were outside playing ping pong at 6 pm and a staff member came up to us, took our paddles and locked everything up. Yes Thats Right! All outdoor activities (checkers, chess, ping pong, shuffleboard, basketball, etc.) close at 6 PM!!!! i couldnt believe it! and the arcade is cool but once you start to win too many games it will cheat and take your money and its about 1.50 per game, and no you don't get extra lives. ON TOP OF EVERYTHING ELSE! coming back was 2 1/2 days and arriving only took 1 day and a half which made the trip feel extremely long. A lot of activites they had planned for certain nights didn't happen because people from Boston wanted to watch the RED SOX game so they wanted to accommodate all of them. Last but not least, disembarkation, they said we would be arriving around 7 in the morning and able to leave the ship at 8:30 if we please and of course that didn't go well, We didnt get off the boat until about 9:30 or 9:45 and I was so thankful to be off that ship and in the USA. I'm sure many of the older people on the ship enjoyed it, but I didn't and will be cruising with Royal Caribbean from now on or maybe not cruise at all. I lost 5 lbs on this trip. Im so done with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I had read that the Dawn had paper thin walls and was noisy. It's all unfortunately true. Our much needed week of rest and relaxation was not that due to the lack of sleep from noise between midnight and 3AM. We decided to try our ... Read More
I had read that the Dawn had paper thin walls and was noisy. It's all unfortunately true. Our much needed week of rest and relaxation was not that due to the lack of sleep from noise between midnight and 3AM. We decided to try our luck at going with a guaranteed Ocean View cabin category since it was on the promotion. We were hoping NCL would treat its Latitudes members well. We had set our expectations low and anticipated being on Deck 4, but thought we lucked on out on Deck 8 with a sideways cabin! The arrangement of the cabin was fine for us and was a little tight where he bathroom and changing/closet area are together. Our obstructed view wasn't bad either and our window was between two lifeboats. The location of our cabin was the worse, next to the elevators. It was extremely noisy all night long, especially midnight to about 3AM. We even had someone bang on our door after 1AM, kids running up and down the halls after midnight, and the live music from the atrium was bothersome. We were glad we brought earplugs. We have been cruising since the 1980's (started young!), and believe since the weekly cruise tips are now mandatory and added to your bill, we find the service to have digressed, particularily on NCL because of Free Style. This was our third NCL cruise. Food service was inconsistent, but better in the up-charge restaurants. Le Bistro was the best service and food. Cagney's (the most expensive) service disappointing, but the food very good. There is only one main pool on the Dawn, with four hot tubs around it. Two hot tubs are marked adult only, but there were many children in them and NCL was not monitoring this. There's a single hot tub in the front of the ship. There's a children's pool in the back of the ship with animals and small slides. We found this arrangement really poor design. Most cruise ships have more than one pool, one for families, one for adults only, one for children. Past passengers told us there had been a second smaller pool, probably for adults only, but it had been removed. You are given a beach towel per person in your cabin, which you must exchange at the Towel Station if you want a clean one. If you want more towels, you must sign off on the $25 deposit. The fitness center was nice with great equipment. The few free group classes are 15 minutes long at 7AM and 7:30AM. There is a per person fee PLUS tip for all other group classes like yoga, pilates. We did one yoga class and the instructor did not teach to different abilities - only the more advanced poses. We did one free 7AM stretch which was fine, but did not return. Typically we indulge at the Spa but decided to pass at $159 per person for the week. The Spa pool and hot tubs were fine.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I departed from Boston on 6/7/2013 to Bermuda with my parents and three brothers. Everybody was over the age of 18. The cruise did not start out on a good note. The Boston Bruins were playing the Pittsburgh Penguins in game four of the ... Read More
I departed from Boston on 6/7/2013 to Bermuda with my parents and three brothers. Everybody was over the age of 18. The cruise did not start out on a good note. The Boston Bruins were playing the Pittsburgh Penguins in game four of the Semi Finals and many Bruins fans were onboard (the cruise did depart from Boston). The first thing the family did was head to the sports bar to ask if they would be playing the game. We were greeted with a "what do you want?" by the bartender. I asked if the game would be playing and he said no but we could pay for the internet to watch it. The internet was $100 for 250 minutes. That is a terrible deal. I assume he was annoyed by us as we were not the first or last group to ask him this question so we left. We headed to the front desk to ask what was up. They said they couldn't play the game because they didn't have the rights. I asked if they could at least broadcast the free radio transmission of the game (provided at no charge by the NHL) but they said no and suggested again that I pay for the internet. This bummed me out. Also, the sports bar was doing Karaoke during the NBA finals game. I understand that this isn't a huge deal to a lot of people, but I promise many guests were surprised that the Bruins game wasn't being shown. On the intercom, the Cruise Director apologized and said they would try and broadcast game 1 of the finals against Chicago. This also did not happen. My room steward was spot on. I don't remember his name but he made some awesome towel animals and kept our room clean. The room itself was tiny and the bathroom smelled like low tide. The toilet seat was also broken and wouldn't stay up. This made it hard to aim while sailing through that tropical storm. I had an inside cabin room with no window. I wouldn't normally complain about how small the room was but this cruise cost me more money than any I had ever been on, including The Queen Mary 2. We saved $80 dollars a person by not using the Shore Excursion desk on the ship for our golf day. I know it's not a huge surprise to most, but I would suggest never using the ship to book excursions. That is not specific to Norwegian. The dining was fair. Some days were better than others. The family at at Moderno and it was very good. Comparable to even some of the Brazillian steak houses in Vegas. And at $20/person it was a nice change from the bland dining room food. The salmon tartare was delicious though. I got it everyday along with another appetizer, always as a backup. It was the most consistently delicious dish I had eaten on the ship. The pizza was laughably bad and it blew my mind that they charged $5 for it to be delivered but a burger was free. The most inconsistent part of the cruise was the alcohol. For the prices you had to pay, every mixed drink should have been a home run. If you ask for scotch, you'll get a glass of Dewar's White Label. I'm pretty sure you could buy a whole bottle of that stuff for how much one glass cost. I know, I sound silly for complaining about prices on a cruise, but it's more about quality. This is not my first cruise, I am used to paying outrageous prices, but the quality usually makes me feel better about it. Not in this case. I got back to back long island ice teas. One was delicious, one was disgusting. As far as the entertainment went, I found it enjoyable. The Second City was great, especially their smaller improv show in the Spinnaker Lounge. The comedian wasn't terrible, but I feel like he had more in him. I was pulled onstage during his show for a bit that was about 20 minutes too long. Something about the Wizard of Oz and I was a flying monkey. It was pretty lame and took forever. Band on the Run was very entertaining. There was a dude up there dancing like nobody I've ever seen. Like if he stopped dancing they would throw him overboard. I was impressed. So overall, I felt the service was lacking except for our steward. The state room was outrageously small given the price. The food was not very good outside of the specialty dining and the entertainment was pretty great. I personally would not cruise with Norwegian again based on my experience. I understand people have different expectations, but my family and I did not have ours met. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I'll start by saying that I've been on many cruises so I don't expect gourmet food or great entertainment. I had a very good time on this cruise because of the people I was with and because I don't stress out over the ... Read More
I'll start by saying that I've been on many cruises so I don't expect gourmet food or great entertainment. I had a very good time on this cruise because of the people I was with and because I don't stress out over the little things. I'm not someone who says the food is awful just because my toast was cold, so this review is an honest overall review comparing Norwegian to the many other cruises I've been on: ROOM: Room was small, but okay. Beds and pillows were very hard and uncomfortable. I woke up every day with back pain and met several other people in the jacuzzi complaining of the same thing. I did ask for a foam mattress cover which helped a little. ENTERTAINMENT: The usual cruise stuff. The comedian was very funny. The live music around the ship was okay, but the singers were lacking in talent and mostly boring to watch. The band by the pool was okay. The pool deck party was ruined because they had the volume up so loud, I literally could not stand it and had to move to the upper deck to get away from the speaker. (No, I'm not 70. Even the 20 somethings complained about this). DINING: This is my second Norwegian cruise and they have the worst service and worst food by far, and that includes the cheap Carnival cruises. They say "free style", but to me this just means you can go to one of two dining rooms which both serve the same food, and then wait in line to tell them how many in your party and then get a beeper until they have a table ready (30-45 min every night). It took 30-40 min to get our appetizers and then another 45 min to get our dinner. I think that because everyone is coming in at different times, it throws off the flow of serving so every night we ate at the dining room was 1.5 to 2 hours. You can either do this, or go to the buffet, which is a the usual nightmare of waiting in line, everyone touching everything, and then finding a table, or you can pay extra for "specialty restaurants" As for the food, I would not say anything we had was actually good. Some of it was okay and some of it was not edible. This includes the breakfast and lunch served inthe dining rooms. SPECIALTY DINING: LaCucina- $15- Food was awful and service was worse. We were there 2.5 hours. One of the meals was so bad, we returned it and they still tried to charge us for it. When I told the waiter that the food was not even edible, he said "Yes I know, but the manager said you have to pay". I told him I wanted to speak to the manager and then he came back and said I didn't have to pay. Steak House-$30-I should have learned my lesson from the first time. Extra money spent for mediocre food and slow service. SERVICE: This is where Norwegian really shows how lacking they are. Even on the cheapest Carnival cruise, you get bartenders and waiters that smile and act like they're happy you're there. Just like my last Norwegian cruise, no one ever smiles and everyone looks unhappy to be there. The bartenders barely acknowledge you and all the drinks are made with some pre-made mix added to a shot of alcohol. Example: I asked for a bloody mary and got some cheap bottled mix with a shot of vodka. On other ships, they actually put in the Worchestire sauce, salt pepper...etc. I had to ask for that and he handed them to me so I had to basically make my own drink. The Pina Colada was a tasteless, watery mix with a shot of rum. They add 15% to every drink so I guess there is no incentive for the bartenders to care and it shows. SPA- Had a massge treatment that was supposed to include scalp massage, but she never did that. Massage was okay, but they add 18% to that bill so again, no incentive for her to care. OTHER CHARGES: In addition to all these extra tips, they also add $12 per person per day to the bill to cover everyone else that you haven't already tipped. The tips actually added several hundred dollars to our cruise cost. EXCURSIONS: We did not go on any ship excursions as it is completely unnecessary in Bermuda. Your best bet is to look online and book things yourself using Trip Advisor as your guide. This worked out very well for us and we saved money as the ship charges about 20% more than doing it yourself. OVERALL: I will never take another Norwegian cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I think it is worth while to read this not so flattering review if you (like us) spent(or may spend)several thousand dollars to go on this cruise.. Embarkation was easy, and the luggage arrived quickly to our room. The room steward ... Read More
I think it is worth while to read this not so flattering review if you (like us) spent(or may spend)several thousand dollars to go on this cruise.. Embarkation was easy, and the luggage arrived quickly to our room. The room steward introduced himself to us on the second day and only because we almost ran into him leaving our room.. He did an ok job. He did not go out of his way at all. The food was mediocre at best. A lot of meals were bland, cold and a bowl of onion soup my husband had included a piece of plastic. If the pool had towels they were filthy. Several times no on was even there to give you a towel. A few of our towels in our room were filthy as well. I thought the pools were good. Both the T-rex and main pools were both clean and not over crowded. Oh, don't plan on using a room credit to pay your gratuities. They changed their policy and on day 5 told us of this change.. after a fight with them, they allowed me to use it. The kids club was ok, they did not follow the program so when you dropped my child off, he was disappointed that they did not do what they were supposed to. Bermuda was beautiful.. we did the catamaran sunset swizzle cruise.. well worth the money. staff was great! We also went to Horseshoe Bay and Snorkel Park.. This was most likely our last NCL cruise. This was the first cruise I have taken that I was actually looking forward to getting off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This cruise was very disappointing. Freestyle cruising sounds great but there are so many food venues that not one of them is exceptional. Since both main dining restaurants are open at the same time for breakfast, lunch and dinner the ... Read More
This cruise was very disappointing. Freestyle cruising sounds great but there are so many food venues that not one of them is exceptional. Since both main dining restaurants are open at the same time for breakfast, lunch and dinner the only other option is the buffet or the Blue Lagoon. The Venetian is supposed to be the better of the 2 but the Aqua had a much friendlier & attentive staff. The Blue Lagoon, the 24 hour option is fine as long as you enjoy slow service and cold food. The buffet was plentiful the variety was good, but quality was horrible, with the exception of the fresh fruit, salad fixings and breakfast. We also ate at the pay for restaurants, La Cucina was disgusting! Teppanyaki was great the food was good and the chef was alot of fun! The cabin never felt clean and there was pink mold/bacteria around the tub, dirt on all the door creases. I think we saw our room attendant once and only received the daily sheet 4 times out of 7. Disembarkation was a total disaster, it took almost 2 hours of standing in line to get off the ship...don't do the "easy walk off" it was nothing less then absurd! The spa, very inexperienced staff in the salon. They messed up my daughter's eyebrow waxing & took a big chunk out of one of them & when I was irate they told me she had a scar. She did not have a scar, why they thought as her mother I would not be aware of a scar, I still think is pretty funny. I spoke with the salon manager and requested they comp her manicure as well as the cost of the eyebrow wax as it will be months before her eyebrow fills in, her reply was NO because there were no issues with the manicure but she would refund the cost of the waxing. lol We did have alot of fun, but mostly because we are fun people! The itin was nice and we enjoyed having ample time in Bermuda. If you have not booked yet & want to do Bermuda, I would def recommend exploring other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Let me start by saying that I have only cruised three times. About nine years ago, I took my young children and wife on a Norwegian Cruise out of Miami to the Western Caribbean. The ship was spotless, the entertainment was outstanding, ... Read More
Let me start by saying that I have only cruised three times. About nine years ago, I took my young children and wife on a Norwegian Cruise out of Miami to the Western Caribbean. The ship was spotless, the entertainment was outstanding, and the crew had a wonderful, upbeat and accommodating attitude that made us all feel very special. Three years ago, I took my two girls on a Carnival cruise from Tampa, once again to the Western Caribbean. It was horrific! All of the activities were very alcohol-centric, and the entertainment was quite poor. After that experience, we decided that we would not be inclined to take another Carnival cruise again. I was excited to plan this most recent trip on the Norwegian Dawn, out of Boston to Bermuda. The excitement lasted only about fifteen minutes into the cruise, however. The crew was somber, appeared to be exhausted, and missed a lot of little things. For example, since we had made a reservation in Cagney's specialty restaurant, a bottle of wine was left in our cabin as a "thank-you". However, only one wine glass was left (not a big deal, but there were numerous small things that seemed to add up). After ordering room service, many people placed their dirty dishes in the passageway outside of their cabins. Sometimes those dishes sat for more than four or five hours! We did thoroughly enjoy our dinner at Cagney's specialty steak restaurant and feel that it was well worth the extra $50 for the two of us. The other food that we ate during the cruise was awful! It was consistently overcooked, flavorless, and in some cases not even palatable. One evening the cruise featured a "chocolate night." There were chocolate deserts of every shape and size. It looked wonderful...but after tasting several, they also proved to be pretty much tasteless. Much of this cruise is spent aboard ship at sea. During those days, it seemed that most activities centered around alcohol. We drink, but it seemed to be the focus of at-sea activities. I found that I was troubled by the seemingly endless announcements about special sales at "this" or "that" shop. I felt that Norwegian was committed to emptying our pockets of every last bit of cash we might have. Speaking of shopping...I was interested in purchasing a watch and had waited to see what prices were like in the gift shop. I was interested in a Tag Heuer and was surprised that Norwegian's $2850 price, was almost $400 more than my local jeweler is charging! The size of the swimming pool is tiny, on the Dawn. There were so many people in the pool that we never even had a chance to put our feet in the water. Overall, it was not restful or relaxing and service was not close to our expectations. If you feel like you might want to visit Bermuda, fly there and stay in a hotel. It was truly lovely! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
First, as this is not a positive review, let me tell you something about myself. I have fun where ever I go. When I hear people complain, I often will tell them to focus on the good , relax, and enjoy. My husband and I split our living for ... Read More
First, as this is not a positive review, let me tell you something about myself. I have fun where ever I go. When I hear people complain, I often will tell them to focus on the good , relax, and enjoy. My husband and I split our living for many years between Boston and Manhattan. I can just as easily enjoy eating a street corner hot dog or a Macdonald's Big Mac, as I can dining in some of the most fantastic elegant restaurants both cities have to offer. I have actually NEVER been on a vacation and come home disappointed, until now. And I have been on a couple of vacations that some people would call....disasters :o). I love a great loud party as much as I revel in my quiet solitude. In short , I am easy to please. That being said , here goes. I have two positive things to say about The Norwegian Dawn, both involve the staff. One is, the staff was one of the most accommodating, happy, willing to help staffs I have ever encountered. They continuously went above and beyond expectations in all efforts, from question answering , to friendliness and making every effort that was in their control, to help us have a great cruise. But there is only so much they could do to save this basically horrible cruising experience.The casino was another positive note.It too was filled with accommodating friendly drink servers. They offered many different slots to choose from and it never seemed crowded.I took refuge here a lot.Now the negatives. First, the food. I took this cruise with a friend who loves a good buffet.The buffet was atrocious. I mean downright rotten. We both know what to expect at a buffet and were not expecting the cruise line's best food, but this was ridiculous. The smell in the room , until you became accustomed to it, was enough to make you think twice before filling your plate. There was an odd displeasing aftertaste to all of the meat products, except the hot dogs and hamburgers. There was very little variety day to day, so expect odd tasting meat , and the same awfully prepared Indian dishes every meal !!! We were able to find 1 or 2 things we could eat , and because of what I called the "no variety rule" , we were able to eat those for lunch repeatedly. By the forth or fifth day of the cruise this was no longer true. The potato salad, I had at least enjoyed previously, had now been doctored up with some new ingredients , making me wary that it was getting old and they were attempting a cover up. Same story with the macaroni salad. I just stuck to green salad and hot dogs. The included dinner venues were not that much of a step up. Food tasted mass prepared ,exactly like high school cafeteria food. You could eat it , but certainly wouldnt say any of it was tasty. The third night in I had a nice piece of salmon. I decided to order it again the next night and got a skinny tough piece of fish that definitely was NOT salmon, yet it was pink?!?! This caused me a lot of concern. Another evening my friend ordered the turkey dinner. The top piece was a dry slice of turkey and the other two small pieces underneath were pork medallions !!!! We had given up at this point and didnt even send it back. These are just a few examples ; I will tell you every night was the same type of experience. So now we have had it. We give in to the specialty restaurants. The first one we try is Le Bistro. My friend's fillet has the same funny meat aftertaste we experienced in the buffet. My swordfish is frozen and on par with maybe a Friendly's or some other kid's chain restaurant. Our appetizers, certainly nothing special. We truly give up now. We mainly eat at the 24 hour cafe. Their chicken wings are fine, cold , but ok., and the pannini is almost good. The desserts broke my heart. Lil' Debbie must have been somewhere on the ship. Enough said. On to the pool. Notice I say the pool, not the pools. There is one small pool for 2000 passengers !!!! I saw a children's pool somewhere, but most parents understandably , want to keep their family together. So everyone , all together , off to the one pool ! The pool was so over crowded on the at sea days , that it was impossible to go in to cool off without rubbing up against the bodies of other passengers. I am not giving in to exaggeration here. The pool was tiny, uncomfortable, and not able to accommodate the amount of passengers Norwegian had crammed on to this ship. I fled to the adults only deck. Alas, I couldnt stay there long , as it is mid August hot and the adults only area is on the 12th deck , with no shade , and you guessed it, no pool. They did provide a hot tub , seriously , a hot tub , to cool off in the hot southern sun.I would have appreciated even a cooling shower head, but this was not the case. I end up spending $119 to use the spa for the duration of the cruise. There is a small private pool and very few people there. It is inside, so no sun, but at least I could be in a pool,something most of us associate with a cruise. Maybe this is Norwegians goal, to make us spend money on things we thought would be included in our vacation. Well in one sense it works. I did spend the money to use the spa. In another sense ,it is the very worst of ideas, to not give people even their lowest expectations, as I will never , not ever , cruise on The Norwegian Dawn again. The activities I expected were nonexistent. The fun dance lessons I took with my husband on our last cruise didnt exist here on Norwegian Dawn. The cooking classes my friend attended on her last cruise were nowhere to be found on the itinerary, I guess we should be thankful for that omission. The bingo costs $20 and was only one called game and one winner. It lasted all of 15 minutes.Most of the workout classes were of course extra cost and there were very few to choose from . I simply walked the 7th deck every day, and did my push ups in any unoccupied corner. The bigger shows and entertainment are not really my thing,I am hard to please when it comes to shows. I think it is only fair that other people's reviews are looked to for a fair critique of that type of entertainment. My cabin was fine. Nothing special or outstanding, but it did have comfortable beds. The balcony was old and dirty, but we sat on it and enjoyed it everyday. The water didnt work on three separate occasions on this cruise. That is unacceptable. Three different days and three different times there was no water available to shower or wash up. My friend and I laughed hard for 8 straight days. We enjoy each others company and managed to have a great time with very little help from Norwegian Dawn. Our great time was, I stress, in no way related to The Norwegian Dawn. Please spend your hard earned vacation time and money elsewhere.I can only review the ship and warn you of our experience, please go somewhere else.I wrote this review in the hopes that some people would take it to heart and not waste their vacation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Being our 8th cruise, we were excited to try "freestyle" cruising(We had done Princess, Royal Carribbean and Carnival in the past). We had booked Norwegian months in advance as we wanted to go out of Boston to see the fireworks ... Read More
Being our 8th cruise, we were excited to try "freestyle" cruising(We had done Princess, Royal Carribbean and Carnival in the past). We had booked Norwegian months in advance as we wanted to go out of Boston to see the fireworks beforehand. Checking in on the ship was a breeze and took less than 5 minutes. We did have to wait about an hr to board the ship, but that also went smoothly. Once on board we were directed to the Garden Cafe to eat lunch. I was not to impressed with the menu and didn't recognize alot of the international cuisine on the line. The thing that really caught our attention was the fact that the drink machine on one side was out of order and remained so the entire week. Also the fact that the waiters only cleared the tables and there were no carts going around to refill drinks as we were use to seeing done on other cruise lines got to be a real pain. Once we checked into the room, I was extremely dissapointed to see how small the room was. I could not even make it around the bed without hitting against the desk/chair. The room was clean enough but little did I know what awaited that night. The first night I was awakened by the loud clanking noises coming from some type of central air conditioning unit next door and also the noise from the above Garden cafe. (We were originally on the 11th floor) The next day I went to the guest relations desk and told them about this. The gentleman I spoke to assured me they would have that checked. He really didn't seem to concerned and I really didn't believe him so about 4 hrs later I went back and complained again. This time I noticed a sign there saying not to ask for a room change since the ship was completely full. I explained to (Wilson) a new guy that I needed to get sleep since I suffered from fibromyalgia and going without sleep increased my pain level. He was nice enough to show us another room (8093)which we took on the 8th floor and was much quieter and a little bigger. He was even nice enough to call and tell us that they would credit our account $100 on board spending money and he also sent chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of wine. I cannot say enough good things about Wilson, but the rest of the cruise just seemed to lack something. The cruise director Johnnie Cash Sanchez was funny enough, but never seemed to be around. The entertainment was so so but would have been better if they would have had a magician or comedian. They did have second city and they were pretty funny in all honesty. They mostly used the dancers and singers from the ship to do the shows. The grand finale show "Bolywood" was kinda weird and creepy. Worst show I think I've ever seen. We really did enjoy the acrobatic skills of Russian couple. Don't remember their names. Another dissapointment was the kareoke. It was held in a small narrow lounge where it was mostly taken over by drunk 20 something crowd who couldn't sing. To top it off, one drunk kid got up and sang the song American Idiot. Very insulting song they need to remove from their books. There really just didn't seem to be enough to do on sea days either. I enjoy going to the afternoon teas other cruise lines offer. The two main dining rooms, Venitian and Aqua were very beautiful but the service was very slow as if they didn't have enough waiters to keep up with the amount of people. Food was just ok and nothing to rave about except the salmon and the key lime pie were amazing. There just didn't seem to be enough variety on the menu and NEVER once were there shrimp cocktails for the appetizers. Probably the best highlight of the ship was the chocolate buffet since I am a chocoholic. Bermuda itself was beautiful but I was dissappointed by the shore excursions thru the ship. We did the glass bottom boat ride/snorkel. The snorkel part was ok, but they really didn't take us where you could see alot of fish. Didn't see one colored fish but only a school of grey fish and a big turtle. Horseshoe Bay was a beautiful beach but beware if going there as you have to pay 11 dollars plus 5 dollars deposit to rent a chair or umbrella. Not much shade there so you almost have to rent an umbrella. Towels provided by NCL. We also did the 5 hr Island tour. Our guide was great but we only got to get off the bus for one bathroom break and a 1/2 hr break in Hamilton for lunch on your own. Mind you, a hamburger and fries were 15 dollars alone. We chose not to eat but enjoyed having a 1.50 ginger beer there. Hamilton was very pretty but be prepared to spend alot of money if you want any souvenirs. Getting off the ship was a long line that wound around the ship. They definitely need to figure a way to get people off the ship in a more efficient manner. All in all, I don't think we will be doing Norwegian "freestyle" cruising again. I think we will try Celebrity on our next trip to Bermuda now that I have found out all the places we should have gone. ie, botanical gardens, crystal caves, zoo, aquarium and snorkel beach (close to where the ships dock) Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Embarkment Process It was pretty painless parking and boarding from Boston. We got there early and were one of the first people on the ship. The rooms were ready about an hour after we got on the ship and the bags were ready about 2-3 ... Read More
Embarkment Process It was pretty painless parking and boarding from Boston. We got there early and were one of the first people on the ship. The rooms were ready about an hour after we got on the ship and the bags were ready about 2-3 hours later. It's worthwhile to get on board early for lunch while waiting for the rooms and bags. Room Room was filthy. There was a baby bottle with milk and an empty milk carton underneath the bed. There was a booger on the desk and what could be fecal matter from diaper on the rug. There was filth that was left on another table top and a long black hair that wasn't ours by the glasses and bottles of water. The toilet seat wouldn't stay up and the toilet had a horrible stench. The shower had additional hairs that weren't ours when we first entered the room. There were parts of the room that haven't been vacuumed in a while and covered in dust and debris. We basically sprayed down our room with Lysol and after we complained the room was cleaned to a standard it should have been in the first place. Our cabin steward maintained it to the same level through the rest of the stay. We were placed in an inside room right above the Spinnaker Lounge where the late night entertainment kept us awake the entire week. There were other rooms available mid-ship on the same level so I don't know why they put in us the aft of the ship. When we complained initially we received earplugs which didn't work that well when you can feel the bass through the floor. They gave us another room we could sleep in and we didn't have to move our items. But we also didn't want to go through the same scrub down process again with another room. We would have been happy with the new room had we received it initially. Definitely bring a power strip since there is only one 110v outlet in the room, they should provide one with the room. Towels and linens generally had holes or stains, particularly the pool towels. Restaurants Food was generally over salted but otherwise bland, I guess the salt is to compensate for the lack of flavor. Napkins and towel frequently had stains even before using them Garden Cafe (Buffet) -- Usually a zoo during prime time, you need to get there either early or late during meal service. Poor layout and the waffle station created a big bottle neck in the morning. People on the cruise weren't well schooled on buffet etiquette i.e. eating while standing in the buffet line and using their hands to put items on the toaster instead of using tongs. About 1 out of every 7 or 8 items would be decent but nothing that would be a wow. Guacamole was about 95% sour cream and 5% avocado and that's being generous. The fruit was fresh for the most part and I enjoyed the watermelon and the cantaloupe. The lemonade/ice tea dispenser was frequently out of service as in empty. The English muffin on the eggs benedict was stale from sitting around too long. Pizza was horrible as was the roti. Even the Chocolate buffet special wasn't anything to write home about except for the people eating directly from the buffet. La Cucina -- wasn't worth it and the food wasn't very good. The Osso bucco is pork and not lamb and there is no mention that it's a pork osso bucco. It was also way over salted. Le Bistro -- we had a nice meal here and enjoyed the lamb chops, service wasn't the most efficient given the number of tables Sushi Bar -- had decent sushi. The fish was reasonably fresh and the rolls were well made just don't expect more specialty items like uni or even ikura (Salmon Roe) . I ordered the Singapore noodles one day extra spicy and they were drenched in sauce vs. just adding additional spice. The Singapore noodles in the buffet were much better but not anything to brag about. Blue Lagoon -- Biggest waste of space on the ship, we had two meals (breakfast / lunch) and both were horrible. We waited 30+ mins for cold eggs/bacon/hash browns. Any decent diner can turn this meal out in minutes and more importantly hot. The worst part was that the restaurant wasn't busy at all and now we know why. We had bite of the breakfast and just left. The previous day we had lunch there and ordered buffalo wings that had more skin than meat and bleu cheese dressing had the consistency of skim milk. I ordered a wonton noodle soup that tasted like sea water and contained neither wontons nor noodles, only some julienned carrots. The "grilled" chicken had artificial grill lines on it and was either boiled or microwaved but was most definitely not grilled. The cooks in this kitchen must hate their jobs and there is zero quality control. Not really 24/7 service since they take breaks in between breakfast and lunch so you can't order. Venetian -- more civilized environment vs. the buffet but the hours are very limited since it closes for breakfast by 9:30am. Another ploy to get you to capitulate and pay for the specialty restaurants Aqua -- Food was decent and service was friendly, more efficient at some times than others. We had dinner here three times and they were decent though nothing was memorable except for the cheese plate which was probably the best of the ship including the one at Le Bistro. All the blinds had to be closed or open at the same time forcing people to miss the whale / dolphin sighting and ruining the ambiance. Brimini Grill - good burgers, fries are a bit salty but my chicken sandwich was undercooked as in still pink. Chef's Table - Fun experience though don't expect any Michelin star worthy dishes. The wine glasses were always filled with quality wines but they were insistent on pouring white when you ask for red. The room was way too hot and took away from the experience. Nothing fancy but definitely better than the standard fare on the ship. Wine -- the wine on the ship is way overpriced about a 3-4x markup. It's definitely worth paying for the $15 / bottle corkage fee to bring your own wine on board. The ship security screening is primarily focused on screening out alcohol vs. security. I had some pepper spray I forgot was in my bag that was never picked up since they were focused on assessing the corkage fee. We had two bottles of the house red and wine on the ship and it can be best described as aged vinegar. Coffee -- was from concentrate and reheated, $ required if you wanted fresh brewed coffee. Ice Tea -- not available in the restaurants, just the buffet Pool The best way to describe the environment is spring break, it's ridiculous that a boat of this size basically has one pool for everyone and is more of a wading pool at that. Hot tubs were frequently crowded with kids. In general the pool area is a zoo, people will talk loudly in the quiet areas and people will invade your space by trying to squeeze in more chairs. Staff does nothing to enforce the posted rules. Ship Even though the ship went through a "multi-million dollar" renovation in 2011 there were parts of the ship that are well worn. The toilet seats in a lot of the restrooms need replacement. There was stained carpets in our corridor and in our room. We saw the staff cleaning and fixing things frequently. Some of the higher volume restrooms need more frequent cleaning and maintenance. Certain seats in the theatre were broken and need repair. Casino Was fine, wasn't very crowded. The craps table was usually empty. Staff was friendly. Very smoky in the casino, they can do a better job with ventilation. Most of the focus is on slot machines. The blackjack rules are very unfavorable until you reach the $50/$100 tables i.e. 6:5 payout on blackjack vs. 3:2. Never saw a full table for hold'em outside of the tournament. You have to pay for drinks even while gambling. I broke even on the trip. Don't plan on playing for comps since they're very stingy in the point accumulation. Also beware of the promotional chips since you must play with them until you lose or draw. Yes, they will take it away when you push in blackjack because you technically didn't win versus typical promotional chips where you must play at least one round before you can cash out. You can never cash out your Norwegian promo chips. Shore Excursions We didn't sign up for any of the shore excursion through Norwegian since they seemed overpriced. When we checked the prices at port there was a 3x markup if you purchased through Norwegian. Staff Overall, the staff was friendly and some were more functional than others. We didn't really come across anyone that went the extra mile. The buffet needs better management to deal with the workflow since that's the de facto dining area since the Venetian and other venues have very limited windows for service. So much for freestyle cruising. At Port / Excursions Getting on and off the ship at Bermuda was very efficient while we were docked at port. We didn't go out with the initial horde getting off the ship as soon as it was docked so we never had to wait in line. Disembarkment It was a zoo to get off the ship, it took us about 45 minutes to get off the ship after winding around the ship with our bags in tow. It was definitely not a pleasant experience. We carried our bags to the parking garage and were able to get out of the area quickly. Overall We booked at the last minute and had a good rate on the cruise but with Norwegian, it seems that you get nickeled and dimed for everything to make up for it. The wine screening at security, forcing you to pay for a specialty restaurant if you don't want to go to the buffet since Venetian and Aqua are usually pretty packed and/or have limited service hours. Photos are a huge ripoff at $20 / photo as is internet access at $0.75/minute for very slow access. This was my girlfriend's first cruise and my first on Norwegian. We booked it as a last minute birthday trip since she had booked another Norwegian Epic Cruise in September and this was meant to be a test run. We didn't get any room upgrades even though another single woman booked at the same time and price and got upgraded to a balcony when we were stuck in an inside cabin which wouldn't be an issue except that it was right above the lounge where all the nightly and late night entertainment took place. Ear plugs work to a certain extent but don't work when you can feel the bass through the floor. Not sure why they put us there when there were rooms in much better locations on the ship. The initial filth in the room just made a horrible first time impression of the ship and cruise line. Not sure if she'll go forward with the Norwegian Epic 9/23/12 departure. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Booked directly through the cruise line and went on the cruise during the last week in July. We booked a balcony room on the 9th deck and were pretty psyched to discover how big the room was. The bed & pillows were firm and comfy and ... Read More
Booked directly through the cruise line and went on the cruise during the last week in July. We booked a balcony room on the 9th deck and were pretty psyched to discover how big the room was. The bed & pillows were firm and comfy and we felt there was enough closets & drawers to put our stuff away for the week. Although the bathroom was small, the shower had really great water pressure. You are allowed to smoke (cigarettes) on your own balcony. We had a gorgeous view of the Commissioner's House while docked in Bermuda. There was a minibar we never touched. We could control the temp in the room and we never heard our neighbors. I titled this review "Mediocre" because of the staff, the food and the lounge music on board. STAFF: They looked & acted haggered and totally exhausted. I mean it - everyone we came in contact with were working really, really hard, but every bar & restaurant appeared to be totally understaffed. The ship was totally sold out (over 2800 passengers) so every restaurant, pool, bar, hot tub & activity was really, really crowded. We could hear the staff bickering & complaining to each other as well. Very little eye contact. There are LOTS & LOTS of things to do on the ship, everyday, which was cool, but the activities staff frequently appeared to have a flat affect and appeared to be tolerating the various activities instead of facilitating them. FOOD: I also titled this review "Mediocre" because of the food. We ate at the Garden Cafe, Blue Lagoon, Aqua, Venetian, Cagney's Steakhouse, Bimini Bar & La Cucina. Cagney's was the best ($25pp cover charge). The best food & the best service. Everywhere else was mediocre. Mediocre food & mediocre service. Not horrible by any means, but just not that great either: just......mediocre. LOUNGE MUSIC: Every music venue (Star Bar, Java Cafe, Spinnaker, Gatsby's) had live music every night. The Spinnaker had a band called "Southside" which played only 2-3 lines of a song for 20 consecutive songs. I never heard them play one song all the way through. That was awful. The performers at the Star Bar & Java Cafe had beautiful vocals, but they used pre-recorded electronic drum machines, background vocals and bass lines which ruined their obvious vocal talents and made everything sound uber cheesy. Again - not horrible, just not great either: just... mediocre. NOT MEDIOCRE: 1.) The guy on piano at Gatsby's. Very, very talented guy. I think his name was Ariel. The ship's band joined him one night, a Broadway singer another night, it was awesome. The service at Gatsby's was outstanding as well. Perfect place for a nightcap after dinner or a show. 2.) The shows were pretty fun as well, after the nightly 20-minute pre-show sales pitch. Get there early (at least 30 min.) for a good seat - they serve drinks there. Balcony seats are deceiving. Sit in the pink seats down low. We went almost every night and loved it. Good stuff. 3.) Drink prices were pretty reasonable; $5-$6/beer (12-16oz), $7-$12/wine, $8-$15 for mixed/blender drinks. Free water, milk, juice & lemonade during restaurant meals and also in the Garden Cafe all day. We also purchased one adult soda package, which was worth it. Make reservations for any of the speciality restaurants before 6pm and they give you a free bottle of wine (house merlot or chardonnay), which was really cool. Some things we learned about Bermuda: 1.) Get ready to sweat - the humidity is oppressive. 2.) Plan to spend a long day at Horseshoe Beach - it's absolutely gorgeous. 3.) Do Snorkel Park on the last day - it's a smaller beach & walking distance from the ship. 4.) The transportation pass is worth it - the busses & ferries are frequent & efficient. 5.) Scooters/ mopeds are overrated and really, REALLY slow. 6.) St. Catherine's Fort, The Unfinished Church & Tobacco Bay are worth the trip. Fantastic. 7.) Most shops in Hamilton are closed on Sunday and close at 5PM during the week. One last thing - we could feel the ship moving every minute we were at sea. No joke. We took ginger pills a couple times each day and they really, really worked. No drowsiness! We brought Dramamine just in case, but never opened the package. We've been home now for 2 days and we can still feel phantom swells. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was our first trip on NCL. All former and future cruises will be on Royal Caribbean. Getting on board and checking in went smoothly. The lunch and staterooms were running extremely behind due to what we were told was a check from ... Read More
This was our first trip on NCL. All former and future cruises will be on Royal Caribbean. Getting on board and checking in went smoothly. The lunch and staterooms were running extremely behind due to what we were told was a check from health inspectors. That set the tone for much of the week. The first disappointment on the Dawn was the amount of children on board during our cruise. I almost thought for a moment I was in Disney instead of being on a cruise ship. Granted, it was late in the summer and going towards the beginning of school, but I never knew so many people brought their children on cruises and was extremely disappointed in the lack of supervision going on. There were nights when we would be up late enjoying the Spinnaker Lounge and the events (i.e. The Quest) that were specifically for adults and there were children in attendance. The second disappointment following a cruise on Royal Caribbean was the dining. I was bored of the food (and actually was sick a large part of the cruise that I can only attribute to the food not agreeing with me) by the third day on board. The buffet had quite a few choices, but when you pay for a cruise the food is just as important as the rest of the vacation. We ate in both dining rooms and with the "Freestyle" dining, there was a lack of attention given to us at dinner. One night when I was not feeling well I asked to have my dinner brought to my stateroom and it took over 45 minutes for it to come down through room service. I missed the groupings and meeting a variety of people that came along with the scheduled dining on Royal Caribbean. It was myself and my mother, and I love her dearly, but I eat with her every night at home. The scheduled dining with other people really allows you to immediately make connections to other people on the ship. One of our shore excursions was cancelled due to low enrollment. Also, the guest relations desk was extremely rude and unresponsive. One night there was banging outside our stateroom until after 2 am and I had to go out on deck myself, found a crew member and at that point after calling the desk three times to address the issue demanded that it needed to be fixed. They were also very unfriendly when I received my bill to review and did not understand some charges. They basically told me that was how it is and they would not do anything about it. The ship was slightly difficult to navigate. It took us the first three days and asking directions to find both dining rooms. Also, it seemed as though there were some things on the ship that were not up to date or in the best condition. The other surprise for me was the single pool. Seeing as there were probably 900 children on board, it was not easy to enjoy the pool as adults. It was only free to adults only very early in the morning and around dinner time in the evening. One of the days at sea someone was sick in the pool and therefore it left everyone without a pool for almost a full day while at sea. There were also quite a few extremely rude people on board, and being a very friendly and social person, I find it difficult to be rude to people you have to share a ship with for a week! The one positive of the cruise was the cruise staff and the events on board. The cruise staff were phenomenal and the shows, comedians, etc. were wonderful as well. In the future I will not use NCL. I was not satisfied after cruising Royal Caribbean. The food, the ships and the attention to detail is much better on Royal Caribbean. It is worth the extra few hundred dollars to get the finer details that Royal Caribbean provides. However, if I could take the cruise staff with me, I definitely would. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This is going to sound like a rant, but i want you to get the real picture of the Dawn and NCL I love the ocean and paid extra for a balcony however, there was construction banging and sawing beginning at 8 a.m. every day. Forget about ... Read More
This is going to sound like a rant, but i want you to get the real picture of the Dawn and NCL I love the ocean and paid extra for a balcony however, there was construction banging and sawing beginning at 8 a.m. every day. Forget about lounging on the balcony with a book. The service staff, while very nice and polite, did not speak English very well which was a problem at times. The fee for dining restaurants were odd - why would you want to pay another $25 p.p.to have dinner? This just gave them the excuse to offer crap at the buffets which were disappointing and more like cafeteria food -yuck. The pool is small and crowded. No place to sit and read a book as there are constant band and dance events to encourage drinking and spending more money. The shops inboard all sell crap - embarrassing! I guess some people like that stuff but not me. Overall, entertainment was goofy and activities uninteresting. Even the dumb magician was hocking his magic trick CDs!Bermuda was OK, but we didn't have much time in port and the only things you could really takepart inwere those sponsored by, yes, you guessed it, NCL. I wish I had rented a beach cottage instead - it would have been more enjoyable and less expensive. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
The Dawn has far less on-board activities and things to do than any other ship I've been on. We also spent much less time in port and then wasted time barely moving at all to get back to Boston. The Northeast to Bermuda trips on other ... Read More
The Dawn has far less on-board activities and things to do than any other ship I've been on. We also spent much less time in port and then wasted time barely moving at all to get back to Boston. The Northeast to Bermuda trips on other ships only have 1 sea day each way which is far better. The food was average and none of us (there were 68 people in our group) were big fans of it. We ended up spending a ton of money eating in Bermuda instead of the food we'd already paid for on the ship. The Garden Cafe and Blue Lagoon are the worst of it and they're usually already out of a lot of things by the second day. In the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants the food was much better but be prepared to wait, sometimes a couple hours, for a table for 2-4 people. In concept Freestyle Cruising is great but then you end up with all 2000+ people on board trying to eat at the same time. The one redeeming part of the cruise was The Second City. DO NOT MISS THEM. Best comedy show I've ever been to. If you have kids they also do another family show and an improv workshop. There's an adults only show the last night too. On the other hand though, don't waste any time on the other comedian, Dave Heenan, who's by far the worst we'd ever seen. The "V" Show is also terrible, just some random singers tossed together one after another. Very slow-paced and didn't even have an MC. Most of their singers are pretty good but one with an extremely baritone voice that we just couldn't stand kept showing up in every singing show. Staterooms are ok, nothing great but nothing bad about them. The room stewards work very hard but have way too many rooms to do. It was already time to turn down the rooms before they finished making them up from the mornings even though they were working nonstop. The "library" (aka 1 bookshelf of worn books) is in the internet cafe now, which sounds fine but they're on an open level above the atrium and the music from the atrium below is SO loud you can't even think to read or type an email. We came to the conclusion there was nowhere quiet on the entire ship. If you do the Boston-Bermuda trip you can watch for whales and dolphins about 50-100 nautical miles from Boston; we saw at least 12 whales and several dolphins throughout the last at-sea day. Overall it's ok but having been on so many much better cruises I would never do this one again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Just returned from Boston to Bermuda (1st week of June). Other ships we had gone on (3) had common areas to sit and people watch. All they had were clubs/clubs/clubs..We are not big drinkers and could not sit anywhere without always being ... Read More
Just returned from Boston to Bermuda (1st week of June). Other ships we had gone on (3) had common areas to sit and people watch. All they had were clubs/clubs/clubs..We are not big drinkers and could not sit anywhere without always being asked for drinks 24/7. A Bit too much. Buffet was good in am but limited for lunch and dinner. We didn't pay for all inclusive and then have to pay to eat at other restaurants. More and more they are adding places that require additional money. I like to see peoples faces when they receive their final bill on the ship. The shows were not the best. They were the same people with different songs. The BEST thing about the WHOLE cruise was the Comedian Dave. Never laughed so much he was worth the trip in itself. Can't wait to go see him in Boston sometime. Spa...What a joke. I researched the gym-sauna-steam room..before we left. All reviews said opened 24/7. Just wanted to hit the steam room for 10 min daily. Yea, you can with an additional $189.00. Mostly everything on the ship is a la carte...Money...money...money...Plus don't forget a $12.50. charge per day per person, for tips..Be sure to go to service desk and request that you want to waive those fees. Which they did. Bermuda..Discourage renting scooters, a lot of people returned injured. Roads are too steep and narrow. Takes 2/1/2 hours from Dockyard to Hamilton..Don't go on Sunday...Everything is closed. Have to hang around Dockyard, but you only have the afternoon. Wanted to go to Snorkel park..Admission $5.00 pp and $$$ for chairs etc..So, that day was a bust. 2nd -day-full day..Could only see a few places takes a long time to get from one place to another. Next day basically half a day by the time you have breakfast and get off the ship and get to where you want to go. There isn't much time left. Stores-very expensive..Why would I buy anything there when I can get it cheaper at home? It took a day and a 1/2 to get there but 2 1/2 to return. They could very well stay there an extra day. Didn't go for the ship wanted to see Bermuda.But, they don't want you leaving the ship. They want you on the ship( chaching/chaching/chaching. 4 1/2 days on ship. So, it's 1 1/2 days on Bermuda. Can't see much the first day..Expensive shops/pay to go to Beach...$$$$ For a couple of thousand dollars for the cheapest room for 2. Not a savings and not worth it. Be sure to ditch out a lot of extra bucks. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Norwegian Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.0

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