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14 Night Caribbean Cruise from Tampa

14 Night Caribbean Cruise from Tampa

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Norwegian Dawn
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Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Tampa
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Grand Cayman
  • Day 4
    Cruising
  • Day 5
    Aruba
  • Day 6
    Bonaire
  • Day 7
    Cruising
  • Day 8
    Barbados
  • Day 9
    St. Lucia
  • Day 10
    Antigua
  • Day 11
    St. Maarten
  • Day 12
    San Juan
  • Day 13
    Cruising
  • Day 14
    Cruising
  • Day 15
    Tampa

Norwegian Dawn

Norwegian Dawn - Norwegian Cruise Line

Pros

Tons of dining, bars and activities keep everyone entertained; refurb is modern, not tacky

Cons

Less-than-perfect ship has confusing layout and occasional maintenance issues

Bottom Line

Enthusiastic crowd has a fun time onboard, despite upcharges and an older ship


Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: April 2019
We had a wonderful first cruise experience! Our cabin had an outside partially obstructed view. It was very nice, the lifeboat was low and we could see out the whole window. Our family of four fit well on the queen, trundle and fold down ... Read More
We had a wonderful first cruise experience! Our cabin had an outside partially obstructed view. It was very nice, the lifeboat was low and we could see out the whole window. Our family of four fit well on the queen, trundle and fold down beds, but they were all pretty uncomfortable. We took small collapsible luggage, that helped a lot. There is a closet, shelves and a few small drawers. The layout of the ship was VERY confusing, as many others have said. The refurbishment was very nice and we didn't have any trouble with plumbing or any other age of the vessel issues. Our Steward kept us stocked with fresh towels, ice and a clean room. We bought the soda package for the kids, not sure that it was worth it for us. The lemonade in the Garden Cafe was very good as well as the coffee. Other than that, my husband and I stuck to water. The dinners were delicious, we ate at only complimentary restaurants. The menu was slightly tweaked daily to give a nice variety. Service overall was efficient, but we found O'Sheehans to be very slow. The main pool was crowded, and we frequently couldn't find a chair. The pool side ice cream was one of our favorite treats, especially on days they had coconut ice cream. Our kids enjoyed the kids pool and slides, we spent most of our pool time there. The furniture is all kid sized, but it worked fine. Our kids went once to Splash Academy and really disliked it. They said the Staff was "mean". They asked to not go back. Our biggest disappointment was that there was no beach at the port in Costa Maya. There was a beautiful shoreline to view, but no ocean access. If I were to do it again, I would book a beach excursion or take a cab down to Mahahual. The port pool, however, was large and we enjoyed cooling off there. The markets and shops as well as the rest of the port had an "Epcot" feel to them. Not authentic, but nice nonetheless. We took in a few nightly shows and the whole family enjoyed them! We have younger kids and found the atrium and hallways noise to be pretty excessive, even well past midnight. We were just down the hall from O'Sheehans, I do think a lot of our noise was from our location. Embarktation was a bit chaotic and slow, Norwegian said they were having network system outages. We did the self assist disembark and were off the ship by 8:30am - very smooth process. Overall, a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first time cruising with Norwegian and it was a disaster. We decided to go on the Dawn the day after our wedding so we booked a suite and brought 38 of our friends and family on board. When we entered the terminal, we were ... Read More
This was our first time cruising with Norwegian and it was a disaster. We decided to go on the Dawn the day after our wedding so we booked a suite and brought 38 of our friends and family on board. When we entered the terminal, we were brought back to the priority boarding area since we had a suite. When we entered, we were offered refreshments but were never told about any of the VIP perks to being in a suite. When the gentlemen gathered the group to take us to our room, he was walking 20 feet ahead of us and didn't show us around the ship or offer any suggestions. The next day, we had booked a couples massage since one of our friends bought us a gift card to the spa. When we showed up to the spa, they placed us in the relaxing area and didn't come in for over 20 minutes. Then when someone did show up, they indicated they didn't have the couples room available and that they had to split us up. My husband decided to go in but I wanted to reschedule for another day. I was so disappointed that we didn't get to experience it together....I mean it is part of our honeymoon! Also, when we booked our cruise they gave us a credit for an offshore excursion so we booked the catamaran with our group and they cancelled the morning of so it was to late to try to book anything else with our group and I guess the credit was wasted since we didn't use it. As the cruise continued, we noticed the staff wasn't friendly and we had no idea that we could have taken advantage of VIP seating for all their entertainment shows, VIP breakfast and lunches and the list goes on. When I made the complaint to guest relations, they indicated there were letters in our suite indicating these benefits but we were so busy with our 38 guests on board that we didn't have time to sit and read all the letters. This should have been discussed in our pre-board meeting. Other issues include backed up toilets, a piece of small plastic found in my husband's BLT, gluten items sent up to the suite when I requested weeks prior to the cruise gluten free items. All the food they sent up the first two days ended up in the trash. I was so very disappointed with this cruise and will never take the chance to cruise with them again. We have gone on a few Royal Caribbean cruises and the service and attention to detail is A PLUS. And the saddest thing of all is this was our wedding cruise and it was the most frustrating vacation we have ever had. Won't be sailing with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first Norwegian cruise after sailing twice on Carnival and wanting something different. We sailed during "Spring break season" for us New Englanders, so prices were higher than we had experienced in the past on ... Read More
This was our first Norwegian cruise after sailing twice on Carnival and wanting something different. We sailed during "Spring break season" for us New Englanders, so prices were higher than we had experienced in the past on Carnival, so I personally had high expectations for everything on this 5-day Western Caribbean ship. We booked our flight through the NCL Air promotion. We had a difficult experience getting to the ship, as our first flight with American Airlines was delayed and subsequently cancelled the morning of the cruise. After contacting the airline and Norwegian's Emergency Air Hotline and discovering they couldn't get us on any other flight, we had to decide to last minute drive to NYC (3.5 hours getting into the city during rush hour) and incur a $250 parking fee which we had not planned for. I was very worried about parking and getting through security at the airport so we didn't look into other options. Thankfully, security was quick and we had an hour before boarding. We dealt with our return flight later on in the cruise, as the AA rep said she did not want to alter an existing reservation that morning, before we boarded our flight to Miami. NOTE: EVEN IF YOU BOOK AIR THROUGH NORWEGIAN, GUEST SERVICES ON SHIP WILL NOT MAKE NEW ARRANGEMENTS FOR YOU/BE EMPATHETIC OR KIND. When we spoke to them about fixing our return flight, they first of all did not understand our problem (our return flight was now to a different airport where our car was not parked) and insisted our return flight was not cancelled (yes, we know!). Then, once they understood the problem they said the only thing they could do is email American Airlines and wait for a response in the morning (What? It's an airline. They're open all the time. *eye roll*). The representative also said that we "should have come to guest services sooner to address the problem" (this was the second to last day, and when I spoke to the American Airlines rep they said we would have no problem even doing it the day we returned to Miami). I asked the NCL rep, "so you're saying this whole problem is our fault and you won't help us?" "No, ma'am, that's not what I'm saying." OKAY. Whole experience left a bad taste in our mouth. Rep was rude, condescending, and un-empathetic which are exactly the things you should not be as a customer service agent. I believe this was a supervisor. I will say there was another Guest Services rep who chased after us to understand our problem correctly and make the email, which was nice. Basically, all in all we had to take an hour of our own time out of our vacation to call the Airline and make the appropriate arrangements ourselves, even though we booked the flights through Norwegian. Maybe I'm foolish, but I thought they would handle that for you if you booked through them. Anyway, moving on! THE SHIP 5/5: The ship itself was very nice. We have only cruised on some of the older Carnival ships with the tacky Vegas-style decor, so this was a nice change. I really did like the style and decor of the ship throughout. It was a little hard to navigate at first, but we learned quickly. OUR CABIN 4/5: We originally booked interior but won an upgrade for oceanview with a nice large picture window. This was new for us, and we loved it! We did experience our light going out in the shower on the 3rd day, which was fixed by the next day after telling our steward. Steward also left several empty drinks in the room for a whole day without taking them. Maybe he didn't see them... not sure, but had never experienced that before. DINING 3/5: I thought the food in the free dining areas was okay-good. First meal at O'Sheehan's after boarding left me perplexed: I ordered fajitas and received no plate on which to make them, and received huge strips of meat that were way too big for fajitas. However, they tasted good. First night in Venetian was best meal in MDR, I got bruschetta, caesar salad, chicken milanese, and a sea salt caramel chocolate tart which was out of this world good. However, on other nights, the MDR dinner menus just didn't speak to me. For the rest of the cruise when I sat down to look at the menu I had a hard time deciding because nothing jumped out at me (never remember experiencing this on Carnival). We were very impressed with specialty dining, however. Los Lobos was the highlight of our dining on the ship! Our waiter was awesome and we only ordered sides, apps, and margs and were stuffed to the brim! A great value. We also experienced the Brazilian steakhouse which was a new experience that we greatly enjoyed as well. I really did not like the morning breakfast buffet, which is strange for me because I usually don't mind buffets. Lunch buffet was okay. As for drinks, they seemed to take a long time to be made no matter where you went. Forget about even trying to get one out on the main pool deck. When I tried to get one at Bimini Bar, it took a good 20 minutes. Long lines everywhere. EMBARKATION 5/5: Don't remember too much from this, I think it went smoothly and quickly! ENTERTAINMENT 4/5: We saw two shows and one comedy routine. The first show was the "Soul Rockin" musical show, which I personally did not enjoy very much. Perhaps because most of the songs were older and I didn't know them; I also thought many of the performers did a very poor job lip syncing. However, my mom really enjoyed it so maybe it's again just because I wasn't familiar with the songs. The Elements show was phenomenal! Really felt like an experience you'd have off-broadway. We were both blown away by this one. Loved the magician who was in it, and we were bummed that we couldn't make it to see him the last night. I always love comedy on the ships, so we saw the last night late-night adult only show. Francis DeLorenzo was pretty good and I laughed quite a bit. Yes, I know the comedy is for adults, I just thought the routine was trying a bit too hard to be all about SEX !!! Lmao. ACTIVITIES 5/5: I enjoyed the onboard activities that the ship offered. Never felt like we were bored or didn't have something to do. We enjoyed one round of Bingo (the caller was a riot), a painting class (new experience for us which we thoroughly enjoyed), dance parties (mostly people watching for us lol), shopping, and the live music. We also purchased the spa pass and went there 4/5 days -- very relaxing and worth it. SERVICE 4/5: Now this one is hard for me to describe. I guess overall, we had more exemplary service than not. But we did have a few notable times when service was disappointing: first moments on ship at O'Sheehan's with waiter, spa rep who was affronted when we did not want to try his teeth whitening sample, and of course our guest services friend. Overall though, we had more great waiters than not, and the live band Azaelea sought us out after their Fleetwood Mac set to thank us for staying! We thought this was super nice. SHORE EXCURSIONS: We only booked one excursion through NCL and that was the "Monkey River Eco Tour." The tour did not depart until 2 hours after scheduled time because our ship got into port much later than expected due to rough seas. This excursion was pretty good, but it made for a long grueling day in the heat and sun, and we were left with little time to explore Harvest Caye. Our tour guides were very good. Other guests seemed taken aback that we did exactly what the tour specified - a boat ride through jungle river and a hike through jungle looking for howler monkeys (which we did see plenty of them). I think just due to the later timing of the activity (starting at 12pm instead of 10am), people were drained, dehydrated, and exhausted at this peak of the day for such an outdoor activity. The other excursion we booked through Native Choice tours and was fabulous. VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5 I just feel like we spent SO much more for this cruise when the services received were very similar to Carnival. It also honestly felt like the addons and extras were around every corner and pushed way more than on our past cruises. Like I said, I did really like the updated ship, but I'm not sure if that it is entirely worth it to me for the price I paid. Read Less
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