Sail Date: August 2019
My review - NCL Dawn This is my 10th NCL Cruise and my 1st on the Dawn. I've been on the Gem and the Breakaway and was very very happy. Also - the last 4 cruises I have been in the Haven. So I definitely have an expectation for ... Read More
My review - NCL Dawn This is my 10th NCL Cruise and my 1st on the Dawn. I've been on the Gem and the Breakaway and was very very happy. Also - the last 4 cruises I have been in the Haven. So I definitely have an expectation for a level of service - and have always thought that NCL was a *bit* better than others. it's a good mix of 'mr. sexy legs' and 'quiet reading on the deck'. We got to the dock and have always left from NYC/NJ. I also continue on NCL because I am Platinum. When I got to the dock - no one seemed to know what to tell me. We were discouraged by two folks to not go to the VIP/Platinum line. I finally asked where to go, the lady rolled her eyes at me and said - ok - over there. Hmmm. I also want to mention that this was after my friend (who has MS) would have had a very difficult time waiting on the 1 hour line for security and then 1 hour to get checked-in. He asked if he could use the handicapped line (which he has plenty of documentation) and she again rolled her eyes. She said, “you can’t use this line without a wheel chair”. (Lots of folks have disabilities that don’t require a wheelchair). So we asked for a wheel chair. “Well… we don’t have them (they do).” The entire process seemed very uninformed and unprofessional. The check-in was flawless and was on the ship about 30 minutes later. We arrived around 11:30 am so getting on the ship around noon/12:15 is pretty good for me. I try my best to avoid the buffet usually - but especially on embarkation day. As I had read in other reviews - the main dining room is open - but many MANY NCL crew members try to steer you away and towards the buffet. I'm glad I knew better. It was quiet start to the cruise. Always start your cruise with a rebellious fish (or two or three). Ship: The ship shows its age - but the crew does an excellent job on keeping her VERY clean and sparkling. Once in a while I found an 'out of order' sign - to be expected - but it was always cleared up the very next day. I found the ship very familiar experience to the Gem which I found very comforting. I loved the Breakaway (and will take the Escape in October) - but it's so very large. This size of ship - to me - is perfect. Not too big - not too small. Cabin: The first one or the second one? :-) Here is my story - I booked a balcony state room - and was offered an upgrade. I did this once before and got a Haven Spa Suite - so cool. So we bid on the upgrade and hoped for the best we could get. They did upgrade us - from a balcony to a mini-suite. YES! oh no! The older ships the better rooms are on higher up decks. That means the mini-suites are DIRECTLY UNDER THE POOL DECK. But I roll with the punches - it's going to be a great curise!! I love crusing! Nope - first night - they were moving deck chairs - and when I say moving - I mean DRAGGING - the deck chairs at midnight - then at 1:30 am - then at 2:30 am - then again at 5:30 am. Now the Dawn is an older ship, as I said - and they don't have a huge pool - they have many more deck chairs on multiple stepped levels - all facing the pool. That's important. So - it was a restless night - no amount of extra rebellious fishes could have solved this problem. Long story short - AVOID the rooms under the pool deck if noise bothers you. I've heard - the rooms under the buffet are worse. But then - during the day? Anytime there is something going on the pool deck (read: pool party) then you hear the sound in your room. I like a nap after time in the sun - but there are generally lots of music happening all day - and then a break for dinner - and then again until about 10/10:30 pm. It was so loud - we really would strain to hear a conversation on our balcony over the loud music on the pool deck. My advice - for the bit of extra room - and extra $$ - stick to the balcony rooms on older ships like the dawn. It's just not worth the extra aggravation. Bright lining - after my cabin mate - complained (not really the right word :-) they *found* me a new room. Still a mini-suite, but just about 5 rooms from the end of the ship (next to the spa). Now - if you really want a mini-suite, that's the best location. Plus - I always get the spa pass - very easy access to spa - main dining room, etc... a great room. My advice: pay VERY close attention to what is above you and below you. And if you are 50/50 on getting the room - be conservative - and careful. It wasn't an upgrade at all. Original room: 11072 . New Room: 11676 Dining: We at at 3 specially restaurants and the Aqua Restaurant. Moderno: Churrascaria. I have to admit that I'm very spoiled living in NYC with GREAT steak places and churrascaria places. They have one of the BEST salad bar I've had. They tell you not to fill up on salad - go for it. The meat - was tough - overcooked - and over-salted. We all made sure we took our BP medication that night. Cagneys: Steakhouse. Here is where we diverged. I had a T-bone and so did my friend. I loved mine - his was VERY tough. But it's a great stop. Le Bistro: French - the best meal of the cruise. The mushroom soup is a NEVER miss item. We had many many drinks and entrees and the service was impeccable. We had our other meals in the Aqua - because you can wear shorts - and it's the same menu as the Main Dining Room. The food was hit-or-miss. I had some spectacular meals (the lamb shank for instance) and had some lack-luster meals. Overall a solid B+/A- My advice - don't be afraid to order more than one thing - and ask for another if you really enjoyed the dish. And if you don't like something - get something else. They will bring you as much and whatever you wish. Don't be timid. Entertainment and Activities: We did a few of the shows. I know they vary by weeks - the performance shows - the Showdown American Idol type of show was blah (remember I live 20 minutes from Broadway) but entertaining enough. The Elements show was quite good. I always like the comedians. Other than that - it was OK. But by idea of a good time is drinks by the pool all day. I don't cruise for the shows. Service: This is where the cruise was hit or miss. One thing I really like - and please don't think I'm petty - but I like a pitcher of water in my room to drink in the evening. It was everyone else's problem - no one could find one and deliver one. I was always told - you can call this one or call that one. Plus - we wanted to re-arrange reservations for the specialty restaurants - and we had the concierge to help us. After leaving a message for two days - I was told (lectured really) that I should call sooner because he can't make changes last minute. And then kept going. I hung up. Ports and Shore excursions: Again to be fair - my cruise mantra is - I pay all this money to get on the ship, why would I pay again to get off the ship?!? The one thing I want to everyone be careful about - in Florida - there were a few other ships in dock - and we got the LAST parking spot. This meant that it was a 15-20 minute walk to the place where you can meet your shore excursion transportation. It was HOT and HUMID and I would have not appreciated that walk... but again - I didn't get off the ship. Plus - remember in Florida - you get in at 1 pm and must be back on the ship at 8:30 pm. The only way I get off the ship is to do Disney. That's not that long in the park - especially when it's super busy in the summer. Overall - it was a fun vacation - lots of great drinks and good food and had a blast. I love to cruise - but some things could have been better. Oh - and I always get the Thermal Spa week pass - what a great value. A few days I was the only person in the spa!!! I swear the pool is bigger than the deck pool - and it's sans kids!! A great value! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This was my 6th cruise... 4 on Norwegian, 1 on Royal Caribbean and 1 on Carnival. NCL remains my top choice and its not even close. The dining is tremendous, however you MUST have a specialty dining package. NCL offers so many promotional ... Read More
This was my 6th cruise... 4 on Norwegian, 1 on Royal Caribbean and 1 on Carnival. NCL remains my top choice and its not even close. The dining is tremendous, however you MUST have a specialty dining package. NCL offers so many promotional upgrades there is really no reason why not to have it. We ate at Moderno, Cagney's, La Cucina, and Los Lobos. All were fantastic, with Cagney's being as good as any steakhouse on land. We were in a balcony room and it was as good as any stateroom on any other boat. Not a ton of storage and a small bathroom but that is life on a cruise ship. Our steward was not great, but not bad and really did not diminish the trip or add to it in any way and mainly stayed out of our way which was fine. The entertainment was unreal. The comedian Troy Thirdgill was as funny as any comedian I have ever seen, never mind for a cruise. The dancers and singers were fantastic and we often went to their other performances elsewhere on the ship. The magician was okay, not great. The acrobatic performance was amazing also. This was my 3rd time doing the florida and bahamas itinerary and it is starting to get old. The Florida stop is a waste. Coco Beach is no nicer than the Jersey Shore and the prices are through the roof for anything there since it is the only beach to access from Port Canaveral and they know it. Nassau was beautiful and we went to Balmoral Island for the first time this year. Got us away from the riff raff of the island on other beaches while offering far lower prices than Atlantis. Its rained some on the private island but we made the most of it and the sun came out in the afternoon. The island there is beautiful. The ship itself felt old. There were not many places to "hang out" outside of a small Gatsby's bar on floor 6 where there was often a below average pianist playing. Could use another place outside of that or the nightclub to have a drink. Could also add more to the pool area but that is just my taste. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
First time cruising since childhood, and just like in the early 90s, I was with my parents. We live in Manhattan so it was beyond easy to get to the Dawn. We boarded around 12:30 and since my parents were already onboard a lovely check-in ... Read More
First time cruising since childhood, and just like in the early 90s, I was with my parents. We live in Manhattan so it was beyond easy to get to the Dawn. We boarded around 12:30 and since my parents were already onboard a lovely check-in attendant skipped us ahead in the line and saved us what was probably an hour of waiting. Which turned out to be a theme: the gracious, genuine, cheerful staff. I thought the service rivaled and surpassed some of the best hotels I’ve stayed at anywhere. SHIP Not a cruise expert but I enjoyed the ship. Most of it looks pretty modern with a few exceptions. The Venetian restaurant, which is quite grand, also seems to have missed the renovation — except for some “classic” Venetian artwork which has bizarre blocks of color painted over it, in my guess, an attempt to modernize without spending. But most of the venues are pretty nice with that cruise-bling-flair. I agree with some others that they layout can be confusing. The pool deck is a lot of fun (though pool itself seemed small to me) and the gym is big with good equipment. CLEANLINESS The housekeeping is amazing. The room was cleaned twice a day (scrubbed!) and the public areas were spotless. Minor requests handled immediately. Lovely team. ENTERTAINMENT Not really my jam but we were never bored and enjoyed using the app to find things to do. We saw the Elements show which was impressive. The trivia stuff was fun. FOOD & DRINK Great! I was really so surprised. I actually liked the included dining (Venetian, Aqua, and Garden buffet) better than the specialty (pay up) options. Los Lobos was just okay. Italian was just okay. Churrascaria was impressive. French was pretty good. The Premium Beverage Package was awesome. All top shelf liquor and drinks included. There is another level above that which I think might include Starbucks but we absolutely didn’t need anything more than PBP. EXCURSIONS Now here is where I’m going to be a little critical. Kennedy Space Center was fine and I thought we had enough time there. Great Stirrup Cay turned out to be a bit of a bust because it was hot and rainy. The tendering process was stressful in getting on and off the small boat due to choppy water. Literally caught a woman who almost took a major fall boarding. We found out while on the boat over that our first activity (waverunner) was canceled from another guest. Would have been good if an announcement was made prior. Hung around the island for several hours having drinks which was actually really fun waiting for the second activity (swim with pigs) which was then canceled about 5 minutes prior to starting due to weather. We were refunded the same day for both as a ship credit. Nassau, we just did it all wrong. I had been to Nassau many years ago and remembered it to be a little edgy but interesting. We decided to explore on our own (DON’T) and it’s now a total tourist trap where you are bombarded with people trying to sell you on tours, taxis, insanely repetitive souvenirs. We finally wandered to the National Art Museum which was charming. If given a do-over, I would have either done an organized Atlantis excursion or just stayed on the ship. Frankly I enjoyed the at-sea days so much more than the excursions. Not an excursion per se but on an at-sea day we did the behind the scenes tour of the ship and I LOVED that and found it totally worth the money. They limit it to a very small group and it isn’t listed anywhere so book at the excursions desk on the first day before it fills up. The insane cleanliness of the food prep areas only made me want to eat more! STAFF Five stars for the staff all around. They were just wonderful. OTHER I agree there is a lot of selling going on. Activities that are at an extra charge. Spa treatments with a heavy handed attempt to hawk products. It could be toned down (a lot). VALUE We took advantage of all of the included food, drinks, activities and I thought for a seven day vacation it was a tremendous value and a lot of fun. I would do it again. And will repeat myself here: the staff is great all around. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We've sailed on many cruises and we've had rooms all over a variety of different ships. Our room on this ship was 8661 that was directly over the Bliss Lounge, which is really the only place for nighttime entertainment on this ... Read More
We've sailed on many cruises and we've had rooms all over a variety of different ships. Our room on this ship was 8661 that was directly over the Bliss Lounge, which is really the only place for nighttime entertainment on this small boat. Needless to say our room was SO LOUD until 2 am every. single. night. I could sing every single word of every song that the band or dj was playing because the music was SO LOUD and the walls were so thin. We are a younger family with two kids (8 & 11) so we were back in the room by midnight each night and we all struggled to sleep. Unless you plan to close the club down every single night and you won't hear the noise because you'll be out anyway, DO NOT BOOK THE AFT ROOMS ON DECK 8! As far as the ship itself, we were disappointed. We have sailed on a smaller ship with Norwegian (the Gem) that we absolutely LOVED and we thought this experience would be similar. Unfortunately, it was not. There was one pool for everyone on the ship and it was TINY. You had really only two dining options for free food and the rest was for pay and very expensive for our party of 11. The Gem was also a smaller boat but had a bunch of other free options so we had a nice variety. The public areas on the dawn were also very limited space-wise so there was less variety of things to do than other ships we've sailed on. I would cruise with norwegian again but definitely not on this ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Love NCL, always cruise them, never cruised any other Love the freestyle , played back atmosphere. Love the ship, homey feeling, service was awesome, our room steward Francis was the best. The dining package was worth every penny. ... Read More
Love NCL, always cruise them, never cruised any other Love the freestyle , played back atmosphere. Love the ship, homey feeling, service was awesome, our room steward Francis was the best. The dining package was worth every penny. Have another cruise booked for 2021 and will possibly will do the New England cruise in 2020. The entertainment was great, the seats in everything theater on every ship are very uncomfortable. But still love the shows. Hid dyxjs for the first time also found ducks for the first time . It was fun Our steward made towel animals for us and my room was decorated for my 60th birthday The pool was awesome, we had no trouble getting chairs. They did not put them out until 8am so plenty of time to eat and then go to the pool. The game shows were fun, played Bingo once and Deal or Bo Deal everytime. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This cruise and this ship were, all-around, an excellent experience. Friendly and helpful crew, top notch entertainment, excellent food and food venues!! Smaller ship with many passengers so it was full of energy and crowded at ... Read More
This cruise and this ship were, all-around, an excellent experience. Friendly and helpful crew, top notch entertainment, excellent food and food venues!! Smaller ship with many passengers so it was full of energy and crowded at times,but, never-the- less, a relaxing vacation where you could set your own pace and schedule. Beautiful decor throughout the ship, easy to access all areas and easy to learn the lay-out in a very short time. Specialty restaurants were wonderful with masterfully prepared food that was just the right size portion. We can say enough to praise the pastry chefs on this ship. Every day different creations were delicious, as were all entrees. The view of the sunsets and sunrises from our cabin balcony was breathtaking at time. Organization of debarkation for Castaway Cay was poorly done with poor oversight in the lobby area (Atrium) so confusion reigned! However, this is the only negative I can say about this cruise. For the first time cruisers that we were, it introduced us in a wonderful manner to cruising....we will most probably return in the future! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our 5th time on the same cruise, which we love because of the convenience of leaving from NYC and not having to fly to get to the departure port. Boarding was an absolute breeze and we were on board by 11:30am. The mini suite we ... Read More
This was our 5th time on the same cruise, which we love because of the convenience of leaving from NYC and not having to fly to get to the departure port. Boarding was an absolute breeze and we were on board by 11:30am. The mini suite we were in was fine, and we selected it because it was on the 11th floor, just 3 doors from the Thermal Spa, which we had purchased the week long pass. The dinners in the Venetian Main Dining room were fabulous, with great selections every night. We also did 3 nights in the specialty restaurants (Moderno, Cagney's and Le Bistro), which were also wonderful, with great service and selections. Lunch was generally at the buffet, which was adequate, but better than the main dining room which had the same menu every day for lunch. Breakfasts at the Venetian were outstanding, but the service for breakfast was generally slow and it took a long time, which was ok most mornings as we were in no rush. Entertainment was generally good. The aerialists and the magician were exceptional, but the singers and the comic were just ok. We did the therapy spa package for the week, which was nice, but there were several times we had to complain to the front desk that people in the spa were obnoxiously load and there were no signs that it was supposed to be a "quiet" zone. Spa staff apologized to us but I don't think they did anything about it. The spa on the Gem was much nicer with a much better use of space. First day of cruise was fine, but on the 2nd day I began having heart palpitations, which was not something new for me, but they usually end quickly within a few minutes. This time they lasted for over 24 hours, so on Monday 7/22 when we were due to dock in Cape Canaveral, I finally broke down and went to the medical center on board. After the doctor did an EKG he determined I had Atrial Fibrulation (AFib), but within 1/2 hour of my arrival in the medical center the palpitations ended and my EKG was normal. The doctor demanded that I remain in the treatment room and they connected me to an IV glucose drip and did a lot of blood work, chest xray etc. My partner and I were both asking how long I would need to stay there and the doctor pulled my partner aside and told him he didn't understand the magnitude of the situation. The doctor then informed my partner that he needed to go pack all of our bags and collect our passports because we were to be evacuated from the ship by ambulance to the nearest ER as soon as we arrived in Port Canaveral. We both questioned the need for such extreme measures, but the doctor on the ship was determined that we were to leave the ship and would not be returning for the remainder of the cruise. Having no other recourse, my partner packed all of our bags and got our passports and the ambulance came to the port and loaded me up. As the EMTs were taking me off the boat on the stretcher, we were stopped at the gangway by NCL staff who had to swipe our cruise cards. They came up to me on the stretched and told me I had a credit on my account and needed to take care of it before I could leave the ship. The charges thus far for the medical care I received on board were $3800 and they wanted there money immediately! For at least 5 minutes, while I was supposedly in such great need of immediate medical attention, the EMTs were not allowed to remove me from the ship until NCL was certain they would get paid. They already had my credit card account set up at the time we checked in on 7/20, so the charges were already on my credit card. We also found out the there was a mandatory $800/person fee required to end the cruise early, regardless of the reason or circumstances, which NCL already charged on my partner's charge card, prior to our leaving the ship. They finally let the EMTs remove me and take me to the Cocoa Beach Hospital ER. The service at the ER was superb and I was taken in and seen by a doctor within 10 minutes of my arrival. after being there about 4 hours, and after several more EKGs, bloodwork and another chest xray, the doctor came in again and basically questioned why I was even there. We explained everything to him, and ultimately he gave me 2 prescription for my newly diagnosed AFib and released me. I told him the doctor on the ship specifically stated that he would NOT allow us back on board without a written medical clearance from a doctor at the hospital. The ER doctor wrote me a note of clearance to travel, and we were on our way in time to get back to the ship by around 6;30p. The ship set sail at 8p and passengers had to be on board an hour early, so we just made it in time. This whole day in Cape Canaveral was supposed to have been a pleasant day with our family who were driving up from Ft Lauderdale (4hrs each way) to meet us and then go with us to Kennedy Space Center. They ended up spending the day with us in the ER and then driving us back and forth from our ship and to 2 area pharmacies for my prescriptions. My real issue was that the physician on the ship couldn't wait to get me off the ship and remove any liability they might have for my health etc. If it truly was such an emergency then how can they possibly explain why we were literally held on board the ship and the EMTs were not allowed to remove me by stretcher until they had my account settled? The ER staff ultimately determined that my medical condition was not urgent enough to terminate my cruise, so thankfully we were allowed to return to our ship and they did remove the fee of $800/person for early termination of our cruise. NCL needs to seriously look at their policies in terms of both customer service and their medical policies. I would advise anyone who books a cruise on any cruise line to strongly consider buying the trip/medical insurance policies. They would cover the $800 per person fees for ending your cruise early and they would also cover many of the emergency expenses. We will never travel again without trip insurance. I truly hope this helps someone avoid going through what we went through.... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Advertisement was for low price and dining and drink packages that’s not what we received It was ok, overall some of the staff were very nice but some were Cranky and inconsistent. Everyone seemed very confused and not on the same ... Read More
Advertisement was for low price and dining and drink packages that’s not what we received It was ok, overall some of the staff were very nice but some were Cranky and inconsistent. Everyone seemed very confused and not on the same page, ie. disembarked for the Private island was chaotic The room #11097 sheets were never changed They charged my daughter $4 for a bandaid. I was told I couldn’t bring dessert back to my room for an ill guest in my cabin- but then I saw passengers with covered plates being taken out of the Aqua restaurant. Overall the waiters on the top deck taking drink orders were great, but the staff in the buffet and mAin dining areas were grouchy Also, the pool had way too many kids in it- like under 3. Many days the pool was Closed due to children defecting and vomiting- on a very hot day to close the only pool for hours was insane. There is a kids pool, a nice one at that. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Omg the 1st time I ever went on a cruise and it was amazing the cruise director was amazing my housekeeper was Amazing as well the boat was fun and exciting and the ports was easy to get off and on. I love trying new experience and ... Read More
Omg the 1st time I ever went on a cruise and it was amazing the cruise director was amazing my housekeeper was Amazing as well the boat was fun and exciting and the ports was easy to get off and on. I love trying new experience and I'm glad I did it with norwegian. Already set my 2nd cruise. The entertainment was amazing as well. The bingo was good too a lil expensive but it was fun. I enjoyed everything on this ship and I recommend this to anyone trying to experience their 1st time cruise. It's the best and I was a judge for the sexy man legs. It was super fun. The director kept us busy at all times. The magic show was a plus. My family and I truly enjoyed the private island that we ported at. The water was blue and the sand was white. U could swim with the pigs imagine that.the ports was easy to get to. The shopping is amazing but be careful and don't get duped my the locals they are a little dishonest I saw when they was charging people 2 dollars to use the public bathroom and they like to over charge so be careful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
My family really enjoyed the cruise. The food was delicious, the entertainment was amazing and my kids loved the splash academy! Food comment: We are at the main dining room Venetian and Aqua everyday and most servers were very ... Read More
My family really enjoyed the cruise. The food was delicious, the entertainment was amazing and my kids loved the splash academy! Food comment: We are at the main dining room Venetian and Aqua everyday and most servers were very nice especially we tipped them extra every night. Jonathan Santos and several of females Servers in aqua (from Thailand and Philippines/ forgot their names) were so friendly and attentive to our family and children. The food was amazing and delicious. The only comment I have is on the food at Bamboo was very salty that no one in my family could even eat it. The servers were very friendly though at Bamboo and a manager came to speak to us to see if we wanted something else. Not sure if the chef mistakenly put salt instead of sugar that night as the presentation of the food looked great but was just so salty. Entertainment: the cruise director was amazing ! He was always so friendly and energetic and all his entertainment activities were fun! I don’t know how He had so much energy but he was awesome and entertaining ! He really made the cruise really fun for us and made us feel welcome and he was really funny! The elements show was our favorite. It was amazing and so professional! All the live music was so good too including the crew entertainment show ! Kids club / Splash Academy: this was so great our kids and their cousins wanted to go everyday (multiple times a day too) as all the events were so fun for them (mini olympics, glow party night. Super hero night, pirate themed night etc ..) they loved it and gave us parents a nice break while they were there. We also felt it was a safe and secure environment and all the youth counselors were so nice (my son and nephew was in the age 4-6 group) . Thank you for having this kids club for the kids ! Really made a big difference for parents ! House keeping was also very friendly . I never saw stateroom steward but my parents who was in the room beside me (room 8090) had the nicest and sweetest steward from China. She was so friendly and also so nice to our kids - she was always around in the morning and evening chatting with us and she even gave my kids some really good candy. My parents really liked her too! Thank you :) Stateroom : We will likely book a Norwegian balcony room though as we didn’t know we booked an obstructed window room and both my parents our room basically could see nothing but a lifeboat our our window. It was completely obstructed so definitely not worth paying more for. Just a few improvements suggestions would be in the following areas: - guest services - both myself and my parents had awful experiences with two staff members was helping me and was so rude and not friendly at all. I asked if we could Pay to upgrade a room and she was so rude and said they were full and there is no way I can upgrade . I was very friendly to her and polite but she did not even smile once and was rude. Also my parents was speaking to another gentleman to tell them that luggage staff broke our luggage handle and he was also so rude to my parents and told them they would need to buy a new luggage and pay for it themselves if Norwegian cannot fix the handle. In the end Norwegian indicated they fixed the handle but it actually fell off the 5 mins after we left the ship while we were waiting at customs which Made it very difficult for my parents who were flying back to canada in the airport. While I was waiting in line I observed the other guest services staff team was really nice but the two people we dealt with were terrible and should not be working in guest services if they cannot smile and give professional and good customer service ... Embarkation took forever and the day we had to take the tense to the private island also had significant delays which can be improved on . Overall we had a great cruise experience and will come back on a Norwegian cruise. Thank you to all the crew for making a great vacation for us :) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We are seasoned NCL cruisers and have been on the Dawn before (most recently in 2013 before her renovation) and I can say that this was one of our favorite cruises ever. From the embarkation process (less than 30 minutes from parking ... Read More
We are seasoned NCL cruisers and have been on the Dawn before (most recently in 2013 before her renovation) and I can say that this was one of our favorite cruises ever. From the embarkation process (less than 30 minutes from parking at the pier to waiting to get on the ship) to the last morning the staff went above and beyond to make everyone's vacation great. Bartender at the pool knew our names and drinks after our first order (evern my 3 year old daughter's shirley temple). Pool area was well laid out and even though the pool itself got crowded (we had 7 days of 85 degrees and sunny) there was never an issue finding a seat due to the stadium seating. You could always find a bartender at the pool to take your drink order and there were people cleaning up used plates and cups everywhere. We participated in almost everything the ship had to offer and I enjoyed everything from the buffet (great breakfast) to the specialty restaurants (run don't walk to Los Lobos) as well as Trivia (lots of fun), the pool, the spa (best spa on any NCL ship I have been on), the casino, Deal or No Deal (we actually WON), and the kids club (my 3 year old enjoyed all of the activities). The cabin was quite small even for NCL standards as our balcony felt tight with just 2 of us in it. Our room steward was good and was always around if we needed anything which was nice though. Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau were wonderful ports (we rented a clamshell on GSC and took the Blue Lagoon excursion in Nassau which I highly recommend to anyone who likes the beach). We did not get off in Port Canaveral as we have been there before and didn't love the stop. Glad we decided not to go to the beach as there were shark sightings and no one could go into the water the day we were there. We will be sailing again in the next few months and I would recommenced this ship to anyone looking for good food and lots to do. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We usually travel with Celebrity and had not gone with NCL since 2008. We thought we would give them another try, and we were so happy that we did. The ship itself is beautifully appointed and very clean in all public areas. It is a ... Read More
We usually travel with Celebrity and had not gone with NCL since 2008. We thought we would give them another try, and we were so happy that we did. The ship itself is beautifully appointed and very clean in all public areas. It is a “smaller” ship, which we love; never too far to any event and easy to navigate. The main dining room we ate in was The Venetian which was great food each night, along with impeccable service from our waiter Komang. There are plenty of food options should you wish to pay an additional fee, but we found The Venetian satisfactory for our needs. Our only gripe on this cruise was that the Garden Café buffet was lacking in variety and taste. We only went one time as it was not very good compared to other lines we’ve been on. Onboard entertainment was good, especially the show titled “Elements.” My family and I have never seen such a well produced show at sea. Absolutely breathtaking! The Cruise Director and his staff did an excellent job of entertaining and making passengers laugh and feel at home. A special shout out to Pablo F on this team, who made our cruise with his wit and charm. What a great guy. Having taken this cruise with this fabulous, attentive crew would absolutely make me consider NCL in the near future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
I chose this cruise because I always wanted to go to the Bahamas and it was a reasonable price with reasonable package prices as well. I’m so glad I decided to go. Everyone on the ship was very polite and a joy to be around. We had tons ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I always wanted to go to the Bahamas and it was a reasonable price with reasonable package prices as well. I’m so glad I decided to go. Everyone on the ship was very polite and a joy to be around. We had tons of activities and things to do. Richard was a great director and the activity staff was awesome as well. Also, the bar tenders in bliss lounge were so caring and understanding. They knew when we needed drinks and when we didn’t. We all were a family. They all were great!! The staff and everyone on the ship were very diverse and we got along just fine. I’m not sure if I would want to be on a different ship for my next cruise. Can’t wait to plan another sail and see all my favorite staff members. I can’t thank the house keeping enough, they were awesome. And they kept our cabins near and tidy. They understood we were on vacation and needed to be pampered!! Such a wonderful ship to be on! I had a blast!! Until next time Norwegian Dawn Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I choose this cruise because I was just on The Escape ....last year we decided last minute to do The Gem... and we so enjoyed the small ship feel... so once again we decided to sneak in yet again another fast last minute getaway!!! We ... Read More
I choose this cruise because I was just on The Escape ....last year we decided last minute to do The Gem... and we so enjoyed the small ship feel... so once again we decided to sneak in yet again another fast last minute getaway!!! We are so happy we did!! The Dawn did not disappoint!!! We had the best time. The staff we exceptional....NCL to me has the absolute best staff ever... i always feel like family when I enter any NCL boat... kudos!!! I do this itinerary quite often ... so we really only get off at the private Island and it’s always a PERFECT day! Restaurants are all good... Sugar Cane/Gadsby all fabulous The food is actually better than on the larger ships... if you are thinking of doing the Dawn don’t hesitate you will have a great time!! It’s really a terrific ship with a terrific staff!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Family of 5, we chose it for the destinations. The Kennedy center in Port Canaveral was very interesting and fun. Stirrup Cay was breathtaking. The buffet was great. Lots of choices. Market area pretty cool, lots of fun items. Even saw ... Read More
Family of 5, we chose it for the destinations. The Kennedy center in Port Canaveral was very interesting and fun. Stirrup Cay was breathtaking. The buffet was great. Lots of choices. Market area pretty cool, lots of fun items. Even saw iguanas. Naussau also had a great beach which we walked to from the pier, sure if take a taxi or bus can find a quieter and secluded beach. Pretty city. Great morning taxi tour by charles and son zack. Free samples of rum cake, chocolate, teas and wine. Got what i wanted seeing the Queen's staircase. Beautiful pictures. Cruise staff was very kind and sweet. We dinned mostly buffet because of variety, everyone was happy and ate a lot. Dinned at the venetian and aqua few times also very good, service great. Overall great vacation. Only complaint I have is the size of the one main pool. For the size of ship and amount of guests its way too small. With 2 days of cruising it got quite crowded. Had to wait for later hour to be able to soak comfortably. Activities, games, shows all really fun. Lots to do and can also find a quiet spot to relax. I do recommend this ship and this itinerary. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We have taken various Norwegian cruises over the last 7 years and have always enjoyed the boats as part of the vacation experience. Although it is not my first choice to go on a smaller boat such as the Gem compared to a boat like the ... Read More
We have taken various Norwegian cruises over the last 7 years and have always enjoyed the boats as part of the vacation experience. Although it is not my first choice to go on a smaller boat such as the Gem compared to a boat like the Escape, I decided out of allegiance to Norwegian to try the Dawn this time. Unfortunately, the boat being a smaller one was the least of our issues. First of all, I bought all four of our passengers spa passes for the week. My husband and I enjoyed it so much on the Escape that we wanted to share the experience with our daughter and son in law. The passes were most definitely NOT worth it. This spa has a lap pool as opposed to a pool with jets and a waterfall. Why anyone needs to do laps at a spa is something I do not understand, but it is a big waste of a pool as no one in the pool did more than wade around. Other than the lap pool there is One Jacuzzi with limited jets in it and it does not accommodate more than four people at a time. Then, there is the mineral pool which is strange bubbles brewing in treated water. I am not sure what is in it but my daughter broke out in a rash that night so we stayed out of it after that. There are a few heated stone loungers that are useful but other than that it is a very small spa. My son in law said to be sure and try the Ice Bath in the girls locker room. Although we saw signs for it, my daughter and I could never find it. My daughter finally asked an employee who stated that the signs were put up when the spa was built but the bath has never existed on the women’s side and they never removed the signs! My last complaint about the spa is that at least twice each time we were there, the smoke alarms went off and ran for more than a few minutes which is the least relaxing thing you can listen to in a spa. Apparently the alarm is too close to the men’ sauna and goes off if someone does not shut the door properly. On to our next issue, whoever was running the main dining room should train the servers to ask for drink orders. We had to ask ourselves if we could order bar drinks on more than one occasion because no one asked. I have been on many Norwegian boats and never have I felt like this was an inconvenience before. One morning we went for breakfast and did not receive coffee until again, we asked if we could have it, and again it was a big inconvenience to find someone to serve it. Coffee. At breakfast. We met several of the same servings working in different parts of the boat on the very same days. I have never felt so much evidence on a cruise before of how OVERWORKED these poor employees are. This is also the first time we consistently asked for a drink order and received something else in return. We had the drink package so I didn’t complain but it happened more than a few times which indicates some kind of breakdown in communication. The first day we had an excursion we expected to walk downstairs and right off the boat as we have so many times on so many other boats. Instead we were directed to basically stand in a very long line to disembark which wrapped around the inside of the boat and almost made us late for our excursion. I am still not sure why they decided to do that as it was only the first day. On our trip to Atlantis we were carted on to buses to get there. They did a head count as we got on the bus, but then they had people who were standing in the isles like my son in law, pull these make shift seats that were attached to the arm rests of the isle seats over, and use them as seating. These were extremely dangerous as was the seat in the very front next to the driver, and the fact that they tried to split up parents and children with these man made seats. I am sure that these islands do not have the same safety regulations as we do, but I was hoping I could trust Norwegian to keep my family safe while in their hands and I do not feel that is true anymore. Lastly, the boat itself was not taken care of properly. We often saw empty drink glasses sit in places for long periods of time rather than be picked up. My room was straightened up but definitely NOT cleaned. Especially the bathroom which I personally wiped down myself with soap and water just to feel comfortable. The whole trip was a disappointment and I will rethink my allegiance to Norwegian next year when I plan. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Our parents' room with our daughter was right next to the laundry room or some kind of equipment rooms. On the first evening after the evening show, they returned to a repetitive winding sound, which sounds potentially like clanking ... Read More
Our parents' room with our daughter was right next to the laundry room or some kind of equipment rooms. On the first evening after the evening show, they returned to a repetitive winding sound, which sounds potentially like clanking of ventilation fans. My mother complained to the front desk and a staff person came to discern what we were complaining about. The staff listened and said that it was likely ventilation sounds and that it was a boat and so one should expect some level of noises. My mother came to our room which was on deck 12 and there were no such noises. the noise only comes in the evening during sleep hours and so even after complaining, we were told that the ship was fully booked and nothing was able to be done. With that, my parents and daughter lived with the whining noises for 5 days out of our 7 days of cruise. There was reporting back on the second day of the cruise after we complained but the noise did not stop. Some complimentary gifts were delivered but that did not help the noise which was the issue to begin with. Second last day of the cruise then had an increase of noise to a patterned banging which repeated in a cycle of 5-10 mins. My parents assumed that it may have been a washing machine or something like that. The first occasion woke my daughter and my parents up at 1am and then again at 3am which then woke my mother up enough that she stayed awake until 6 am with little to no good sleep for the day. During the day, on the other hand, is quiet in the stateroom. My mother again reported it to the reception and my daughter also called at 3 am or so to report the noise. It did not help other than the front desk staff offering the solution of my parents and daughter to wear ear plugs in order to block out the noise. I do not believe that it is for the staff to suggest this kind of suggestion if we are paying the same amount that one room requires ear plugs in order to perhaps get some hours of rest. The last full day before disembarkment, we report again the noise and the head of the customer service said that she was unable to provide any compensation or to do anything for us. There was an open stateroom but it was already the last evening and there was not a point to move. Because of the inability for the staff to solve the issue, to provide any understanding of what the circumstances were, and the fact that it made us feel like we were making more of a deal than it was, it was a terrible experience. The noise was bad enough that my mother considered taking a beach towel and to sleep on the deck. Our room was satisfactory but it should have been advised that children beyond 10 years old should be in their own room or that we needed a larger room. It was a hazard for concussions because half of our double bed was under the pull-down bed. My husband and son hit their heads several times during the cruise and it was similar to traveling on a train across several evenings. Not expected for a luxury cruise experience. The highlight of this cruise were some of the restaurant staff, especially the managers, and the housekeeping staff. The restaurant staff were very attentive to my nut allergy to ensure a safe cruise experience. Some wait staff were very abrupt and the ones in the Venetian were better than the ones in Aqua, though I know that they rotate. I commend the managers to come and check in to make sure i could pre-order. The pre-order was only available during the first day as after the first day, the staff were either not aware to offer me the next day's menu or too busy. I know it was available and it was just not something I wanted to push for while the staff seemed very busy with all of the orders. As for the buffet in the Garden Cafe, the availability of food were originally stated as 24 hours but when the time comes to be, everything seems to be unavailable after 11 pm. There were supposed to be the availability of pastries or such for snacks during the day and even if I were willing to purchase, there were not a lot of options. The freestyle cruising seems to have offered a different crowd to be present on the ship. During the glow party, we observed very vulgar behaviours where a young woman was openly sticking her posterior in the air while dancing and her female friends were spanking her with a stick. Then she got on top of her female friend onto a wicker round couches and straddled her. Then she felt it appropriate to grind her hips while straddling her female companion. This was near the pool in front of other people and while two young children were dancing nearby. This was not an adults party and I had wished this was not in the open. Furthermore, one may reconsider to charge someone if first aid is to be performed to support the survival of the casualty. To have a price for performing CPR to keep someone's body viable in order for advanced medical help is beyond unethical. The cruise was good because our family made it enjoyable by taking frequent walks around the walking deck 7, played shuffleboard, which were insufficient for the number of people wishing to play, listened to music, and to enjoy dinner together and family time. We enjoyed the beach times and also the time in the sun. The dance classes were great for family fun but most were geared towards shopping and gambling. Perhaps a clearer indication that this was not a family friendly cruise. I had two occasions where individuals were behaving rudely to me. One person made stereotypical Asian speech noises behind me while I was walking towards the elevator. I turned around and the person apologized. Then another group joked about how Canadians speak "funny" and say "aboot" instead of "about." I wonder if a different price range or ship would change the crowd that gathers? The cruise director and staff were spectacular in helping the cruise participants be entertained. However, it seemed that it was limited with resources. This was my first cruise and it did confirm my suspicions that perhaps cruising is not something that is suitable for our taste. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Maybe we are just too easy to please on a cruise vacation, but we had another great sailing on the Dawn! We have sailed on her twice before her 2016 dry dock and twice after. We booked this cruise around Christmas 2018. We originally ... Read More
Maybe we are just too easy to please on a cruise vacation, but we had another great sailing on the Dawn! We have sailed on her twice before her 2016 dry dock and twice after. We booked this cruise around Christmas 2018. We originally booked an inside cabin, then kept an eye on the price and available rooms and eventually upgraded to porthole ocean view, regular ocean view and finally balcony for almost no additional cost. It never hurts to call and ask! We drove from our place to Manhattan in a few hours. Left the car at Park Right on 43rd at 10am. Have used them before and been pleased. 10 min walk with our bags to the ship. We arrived at the terminal around 10:30am. This is our second platinum cruise so we were ushered to the vip line. Made it through security and check in in about 12 minutes and were group ONE to board. Waited about an hour and were having lunch and drinks in O’Sheehans by 11:15! DINING We had two specialty dining’s meals due to platinum status and we had the 3-meal dining plan as well, and we always eat in Bamboo the last night. So we never ate a dinner in the main DR. We ate at LeBostro, Los Lobos 2x, Cagneys, Moderno, LaCucina, abd Bamboo. All were very good! Best meal probably at Los Lobos, but we love it there. Excellent service everywhere. We do like to eat around 5:30-6. We find it less crowded then, servers seem less rushed, and we get out in plenty of time for the shows. Don’t miss the coconut avacado ice cream in Los Lobos! They make it there and it is unique and delicious! We ate many breakfasts and lunches in O’Sheehans and had good food and service. Also a few leisurely breakfasts in the MDR which were very nice. ROOM Loved our balcony! Julie did a great job except for one day that our room was not made up until 1pm, and we had been by the pool since 8am so not sure what happened there. Final day at sea our room safe DIED. Made a weird noise and refused to open. Our passports and all valuables in it. They sent someone to check it out within 10 minutes of our call. After a few tries they finally got it open so we could get our valuables out but it no longer would lock. We were told they would bring a replacement but might be a while. Ughhh. Well low and behold it was replaced within an hour while we were at dinner! ENTERTAINMENT we loved the comedian Jim Colliton and saw all 3 of his shows! The 2 on the same night were very similar but he does a lot of banter with the audience so course that is different every time. Loved Elements and Showdown. Those singers and dancers work their tails off and always give 100%! Loved the aerialists, wish they had a show of their own! Finally got to see Jose and Patti! Have read so many nice things about them and they did not disappoint! Caught their act in the atrium every time we could. They need their own lounge act! Loved their positive vibe and stories of their years traveling and performing! Enjoyed CD Luz and her sidekick Vo. Favorite shows were the not-so-newlywed game and The Perfect Couple show. Laughed til I cried. EXCURSIONS Have been to port Canaveral so many times that for once we just laid by the pool and stayed on the ship. It was awesome! We had the UBP which we made good use of. Made it to GSC!! We have missed the island several times in the past due to weather but the weather was great. We rented a clam shell for $35 which counts as an excursion so we were on the first tender. The clam shell was HOT, Luke being in a tent. And we walked down the path a ways and found a very nice shaded area with picnic tables that was much nicer than our clam shell. Live and learn. Water was perfect, lots of fish. Island felt very uncrowded being that we were on a smaller ship like Dawn. This island has to accommodate the larger new ships, so it worked out well for us. Ate at the make your own taco bar which was tasty! I think my only suggestion for the Dawn would be more chaise lounges by the pool. There are very few that are right around the pool, and they don’t set them up until at least 7am or later. We never had a problem getting two chairs until the last day. A number of us were all waiting for the chairs to be set up and it was getting close to 8am. One grumpy lady shoved her way over very rudely and grinned chairs that other people had been waiting patiently for an hour to get. It wasn’t worth arguing with her. We wished her a nice cruise and selected two different chairs a row away. It’s vacation, folks! Relax and smile! I know we sure did! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I had only been on one cruise prior to this voyage and I can honestly say it was an exceptional trip. The ship was exceptionally decorated, the public rooms and restaurants felt more upscale than advertised... having said that the layout ... Read More
I had only been on one cruise prior to this voyage and I can honestly say it was an exceptional trip. The ship was exceptionally decorated, the public rooms and restaurants felt more upscale than advertised... having said that the layout of some spaces left something to be desired. The two-story atrium where the champagne bar is located is not well devised because the Havana Cigar Club lounge, even if segregated by partitions and glass walls is poorly ventilated meaning that the fumes of cigars and cigarettes leak into the atrium and spoil the ambiance of the space. On another note, live music that plays by the champagne bar spoils the atmosphere of the 'Le Bistro' French Restaurant, the 'La Cucina' Italian Restaurant and the Bamboo Restaurant on the second level because either the live music blasts into the dining room when the doors are left open (Le Bistro) or it just spills into the restaurant because its entry has no doors to begin with (La Cucina & Bamboo). There is nothing more deflating than to be enjoying Edith Piaf while eating Escargot when suddenly you hear the roar of someone doing a cover of Ed Sheeran because the doors suddenly burst open... I'm sorry, unless the ACTUAL Ed Sheeran is playing outside I don't want to hear it with my French dinner! On another note the art displayed on the art auctions and art gallery is trivial and gimmicky... I would have been more impressed if they had displayed talented unkown artists from the ports of call (Canada and New England in this case) than to see Thomas Kinkade and Romero Brittos whose work is only seen in their own bloated brand-gallery shops in Mid-Western Mega Malls. Give your passengers the chance to purchase something based on real artistic worth not on notiriety and brand-image. On the last note layouts of some restaurants seemed remote and out of the way such as the 'Los Lobos' Mexican Restaurant which was my favourite restaurant in the ship but seemed lost in the maze of corridors to the rear of the ship. And the Venetian Restaurant's Decor looks like it came out of the 1970's even with some of the contemporary art spread throughout the room. Out of all the restaurants the Venetian's Decor was the odd man out of all the other public rooms. Having said all that my experience with the staff, excursions, and dining was wonderful and I had the best time in my life... I will definetly come back to Norwegian Cruise Line in the future and I might return to the Norwegian Dawn Just to see the crew and entertainers again (shout out to the band who played the Jazz Standards... I forgot the band's name but I love that they played all the songs I suggested). They all deserve a raise... Just please fix the sound and smoke issues and I might raise my review rating from very good to excellent. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because our daughter and son-in-law were going along and the time frame fit their schedules. We have cruised on Norwegian many times but never on the Dawn. Prior to going, I read several negative reviews and was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because our daughter and son-in-law were going along and the time frame fit their schedules. We have cruised on Norwegian many times but never on the Dawn. Prior to going, I read several negative reviews and was hesitant that we chose the right cruise for their first time. We had a wonderful time. Our cabins were always immaculate, there was no smell anywhere as I had previously read from past passengers. The food was good, especially in Cagneys. On previous ships we did experience food that was not hot, but not this time. All our food was served hot and quickly. All the staff that we encountered were friendly and helpful. The entertainment was good in all locations. All the common areas were well maintained and immaculate. The only problem that we encountered was in Newport where you have to tender to the pier. There were six tenders, not two as I have read, but it took quite some time to tender all the passengers. We have learned to always book a shore tour when we tender so we can get off the ship with the tour group. Tendering in Bar Harbor was easy. We had a great time and I would recommend the Dawn to anyone. Yes, it is an older ship but it does not show a ton of wear and tear. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I used to carry on a bottle of wine to enjoy in my cabin, and there was no charge. They would only charge you a corkage fee if you took it to the dining room to open and enjoy. Now, they stop you immediately after TSA and make you feel ... Read More
I used to carry on a bottle of wine to enjoy in my cabin, and there was no charge. They would only charge you a corkage fee if you took it to the dining room to open and enjoy. Now, they stop you immediately after TSA and make you feel like a criminal! I asked the guy taking my information to charge me, when this rule came to be and he would not answer me. I guess the nickel and diming will continue! Our bathroom flooded twice because the drain backed up. Thank god it was not the toilet! There was no offer of any compensation, almost as if its a regular occurrence. They did clean my sisters pajamas, which got wet. We did enjoy the food, went to 3 specialty restaurants, all of which were spectacular. Also, the Venetian dining room was wonderful all 4 times we went there. Service around most of the rest of the ship was just average. Something must have been up with the employees, because they were the least friendly bunch in all of my 19 cruises. The ports were all great, with the exception of St. John. We left on time, every time and got into port on time, every time. If you are going to Newport RI, make sure you book a tour so you can get off the ship quickly! They tender in and from what people said, they waited for hours. Then only had a few hours on short, then we ALL had to wait in an hour long line to tender back to the ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I truly don’t know how to adequately express how disappointed we are in our first cruise with Norwegian and first cruise ever. I have always heard that this is the elite of the cruise lines and this is who we should take our first cruise ... Read More
I truly don’t know how to adequately express how disappointed we are in our first cruise with Norwegian and first cruise ever. I have always heard that this is the elite of the cruise lines and this is who we should take our first cruise with. We had 3 rooms for this cruise and spent over 16,000 for rooms, 5,000 for airfare, and spent 4,000 on the ship in extras. We saved up for this trip and had such high hopes but were quickly disappointed. We all had rooms 11116, 11126, & 11128. We were on the 11th floor on the Dawn, which is directly located under the Garden Grille which does not have carpeted floors ( I would truly like to know who thought this was ok) and we heard chairs scooting around from 5:00 am (which we assume the crew started getting ready for the day) till 1:00 am at night. We never had more than 4 hours sleep due to this excessive noise. We heard kids running back and forth all day as well. In room 11128 there was a constant pipe noise coming from the ceiling as well, that the party in this room did not get any sleep. Also, when we booked our cruise the reservation agent told us we could take the divider out from the rooms 11126 & 11128 to have one big balcony, which turned out to not be true at all. We upgraded our rooms because of this misinformation. This was a complete lie and we were misled. We spent 2,000 on spa services and a spa pass. The spa had very dirty windows you could not see through and we feel we didn’t even remotely get our value for what we paid. ( I am attaching pictures of this). We did not get our full value for port day #5 in Newport, RI. We only had two tender boats and we did not get to land until 1:30 and had to be back by 3:00 and the lines were ridiculous to get back and forth. We were supposed to have 10:00-4:00. I must say this was the most unorganized cruise. I also heard this from several other passengers, as I had nothing to compare it to. Then the kicker is, we bought 8 Next Cruise Deposits for a total of 2,000 because we thought hey, we will give them another shot maybe this ship is just old and a fluke. We booked on ship for our next cruise and they said over and over we were getting upgraded to a balcony mini-suite but that did not happen at all. It was only a balcony. We asked at least 10 times and they said yes. I think that you really should have English speaking people that understand how things work, when it comes to Next Cruise onboard a ship because language and communication was a huge hurdle when buying and booking the next cruise. The food was awful! My kids and parents had been on the Pearl and loved the food but there was no variety on this ship when compared to others, and no seafood which is really sad when you are going on a Canada/East/Atlantic cruise. I am just so disappointed after saving up for so long and having an experience like this. I wish I could just dispute this charge with my credit card company because none of us got any sleep. It was not an enjoyable 7 days at all and honestly, I think we should be compensated quite a lot for this. This wasn’t just a bad night’s sleep in a hotel, we saved and spent thousands on a trip we got no sleep on and I just don’t feel that is right. The singing acts were awful on this ship as well.I know there has to be better singers out there willing to work on a cruise ship. Drinks were very watered down. The selection of shore excursions was pitiful when compared to other companies. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Overview (C): We rated each category A-F based on our experience on the NCL Dawn. Overall the ship was okay... nothing exceptionally glamorous but not terrible either. Our main issue with the Dawn was terrible communication and ... Read More
Overview (C): We rated each category A-F based on our experience on the NCL Dawn. Overall the ship was okay... nothing exceptionally glamorous but not terrible either. Our main issue with the Dawn was terrible communication and transparency especially when it came to logistical problems such as boarding the ship (which took over two hours and we were there at our allotted time) and two different tender ports which precluded us from getting off the ship for the first two hours. People on Cruise Critic talk about the layout being confusing and not as easy as more updated cruise ships and they are correct. We LOVED all the ports and had great excursions. If you are a loyal NCL cruiser and like smaller ships, you will love the Dawn. All the people we met that like "less crowds, smaller ships, NCL perks, etc." loved it. But, if you are more loyal to Royal Caribbean or Princess and slightly larger ships (ex. Princess Royal at 142K tons and holds 3600 people or RC Adventure of the Seas at 137K tons and holds 3100 people vs Dawn 92K tons and holds about 2300 people), you will likely be disappointed. Dinning (C-): In comparison to RC and Princess, the food quality was subpar. We ate at four specialty restaurants (three were included in our "package" and one was free but mandatory reservations). We felt even at those places the food was okay - not great. They have two main dining rooms - we tried them both. We felt Aqua had better ambiance than Venetian, but they served the same food. The food was never impressive no matter how many options we ordered. Also, we found there to be a lack of dining options outside of 5:30-8pm. For breakfast it was only the giant buffet (for a brief time the dining room would open up, but it was the same food and it took 30 min longer to get). There was no "all the time sandwich, pizza, sushi, ice cream bar, etc" open all day and at all hours of the night which is different than what we've experienced on RC, Princess, and Carnival. The Dawn did have dining options out on the main deck, but they were closed 5 of the 7 days due to "inclement weather" which we were told was because of the temperature (which it was between 55-69 every day). There was one rainy day, but even in the 60s in the sun it was nice on the main deck so we were confused why there wasn't food being served. Also, there was NO room service without a charge! I know RC and Princess will charge during late-night hours but at least they have complimentary breakfast you can order to your room in the morning or a mid-day snack if you wanted something. Entertainment (C): All the entertainment was lackluster at best. Our one day at sea should have been the "Super Bowl" for the cruise director and it was just as pitiful as all the other days. Typically they had four things going on every night: the main show on one end of the boat, karaoke on the other end of the boat, the cruise ship musicians in the main atrium, and a guitar player next to the Champagne Bar (which was also right next to the Cigar Bar and the Casino - so it reeked of smoke all the time). None of the shows on this ship compared to the RC or Princess. Drink Package (B): The plus is you can buy two drinks at a time with one card. You still have to have both people in the room with drink packages, but it is nice to pull out one card. We did get up to $15 for any drink, but NCL also has higher prices in in comparison to the other cruise lines. What I was REALLY disappointed in was their wine selection...especially in the Wine Bar. They had about 30 wines, but only about 10 were within the package. I wasn't impressed and considered them "drinkable." Also, they only had about two types of liquor in each category as part of the package. On the other ships, pretty much everything except one "top shelf" was included. The most disappointing part of the drink package is NCL does NOT include coffee or water like the other major cruise lines. Even if you pick the drink package as one of your "free" options, they are still going to charge you an additional fee (ours was $139/person) to compensate for the additional cost in comparison to the other "free" options. Please note that if you are in a U.S. port, even with a "free" beverage package, they still charge a "port tax" on every drink purchase. It isn't much, but it will appear on your bill and would be nice if NCL informed you of that. Spa Package (C): We ordered this in advance because we loved the one on Princess so much. We don't regret buying it ($139/person in advance, $186/person once on the ship and they only let 60 people in). But, in comparison to what Princess had, it was not nearly as impressive. This ship had a very small "lap pool" as they called it, but if you are a true swimmer, you would spend more time doing flip turns than swimming. They had a hot tub and a hydrotherapy pool. The hydrotherapy pool was half the size of what was on the Princess and it looked very industrial versus the sleek and upgraded design on Princess. Princess had four temperate and scent showers (cool mist that smells like lavender, warm mist, waterfall, etc), but there was nothing like that on the Dawn. The Dawn had sauna and steam rooms - but segregated between men and women which was disappointing for us because we could do that together on Princess. Also, the men had both a warm and cold plunge tub, but neither for the women. Both ships had the stone/tile heated chairs, but the design on the Dawn was too curvy which contorted your body versus the Princess Royal which was more ergonomic. The only plus for the Dawn was you could sit in these chairs and see out the back of the boat - but the drawback is it was always very light in there versus Princess who kept it dim lit like a spa. The Dawn did have "Reflection Rooms" which allows you to see off the back of the ship as well and just relax anytime the spa was open. One final thing - if you do the spa tour on day one, it seems like the various exfoliating scrubs are included, but actually that was just for show and then it was an "upcharge" if you want it. Again, lack of transparency. Logistics (D): MUTLIPLE times they really messed up the logistics. The first day just getting on the ship was a nightmare. NCL is the first line I've ever had to "select a time" to board when I was filling out my registration. I even called customer service to ask if I got there early or late, what would happen and she said we would have to wait until everyone in the designated time had boarded and then we would get on afterwards. That was NOT true. There was no time for anything. No place you reported for your specified time. We got there 20 min early just to make sure we would be in our boarding time and it took us TWO HOURS to get on the ship! I also asked customer service prior to our boarding if we boarded at noon, would our rooms be ready (because on other lines, they normally aren't ready until between 1:30-3pm). She said yes - but the answer was no...rooms were not ready until after 1:30pm. When we hit our last stop, Newport, RI, they only had FOUR tenders. NCL was NOT transparent with us that it would take this long nor did the Captain, Cruise Director, or Transportation Direction make any announcements about why this was the case. All the Cruise Director kept saying was to be patient. We tendered at 11am and were not allowed to leave the ship until 1:15pm. We had to be back at the tender station at 4:30pm, so we only had three hours to explore this port which was very disappointing. Another fact NCL was not transparent about was that if you booked an excursion with them, you were first off. So, anyone who did an excursion with other vendors or no formal excursions were not allowed to leave for over TWO HOURS! When we went to ask about it, guest services said it was a port limit that we couldn't have more than four tenders; whereas that might be the case, communication and transparency is essential. When you disembark the ship, they let people who carry their own luggage off for the first hour and they get to the colored bag tags. We got off near the end of the "self-assist," and it took us less than 10 minutes to be out of the cruise terminal, including customs. Maintenance (B): We had our toilet go out for about 18 hours. Not ideal, but we know accidents happen and apparently it was a whole block of rooms due to a "clog." Again, no one notified us it was more than just ours until I started asking questions. Even when we returned the maintenance people couldn't tell us how long it would be. NCL did send us a bottle of Chardonnay and some chocolate covered strawberries two nights later, but honestly, even that was not transparent. It was a simple guest services card that said, "Thanks for traveling with us." So I didn't' know if it was for the toilet issues, because we were in a balcony, because we were first time NCL travelers, or because the logistics in Newport was so terrible. Also, there was always a few coffee machines that didn't work for breakfast in the large buffet which always created a cluster. Kid Friendly (A): They have an area on the back of the ship that is the best I have seen so far. It is perfect for kids ~3-7 years old. All shallow, a few slides, giant dinosaurs, and other fun things. It's at the back of the boat so you are somewhat secluded. The downside for our trip was the cooler weather, so people only really used it the first and last day. But, for other locations, it would be great. We also met a lady who said her kid was 12 and was in the 8-12 group and had such a fabulous time he never wanted to leave. She said the hours are great and they do lots of fun events with them. They have classes for all ages and even the tiny babies/toddlers have a place parents can bring them and let them play with the toy in a safe environment. Recommended Excursions: Halifax - Segway Nova Scotia (only one in town) - the crew here is very friendly and the tour is beautiful. They do a very thorough job making sure you are fully trained on the Segway before they take off on the tour. St. John, Bay of Fundy - Moosehead Brewery Tour - very informative and TONS of free samples to include one inside their vat that is 3 degrees - the freshest beer you'll ever have! We booked this through NCL and they provided transportation to and from the brewery which also included a drive by the reversing rapids. Bar Harbor - Bar Harbor Whale Watching - location was literally right off the tender boat which was great. But, if you get sea sick at all...DO NOT TAKE THIS TOUR! Many people on the boat were sick because they go 25-33 miles off the coast to see the whales and even on a beautiful day like ours, the wind was so strong the boat was rocking very hard. If you are not typically sea/motion sick, you will be fine and have a great time. We did get to see a Fin Whale (2nd largest on earth behind the Blue Whale) - but that was the only one we saw, so they actually gave a voucher to go again in the next three years for free. That is a great thing about this company - if you don't see a whale, they will give you a 3-year return voucher. Specifically we did the Whale and Puffin Tour and the only thing I would say is don't expect to see a puffin up close unless you have binoculars (which they do rent for $5 on the boat). Portland - Maine Food For Thought Walking Food Tour - this is a MUST to do it with this particular company (which I booked through Viator, but you can book it directly with them). It's rated #1 on TripAdvisor for Food Tours in Maine and there is a reason for that. Every place is upscale and/or unique and Brice (the owner) really knows his stuff! He's well educated and takes the "farm to table" discussion to another dimension. Newport, RI - We did not plan a specific excursion for this city and instead took the trolley to the Breakers and walked the 3 mile (1.5 miles each way) coastline and saw the amazing mansions which brings it so much popularity. We would have done more, but this was the stop NCL really messed up the logistics and we only had a few hours. Fortunately you tender one block from the Visitor's Center which is where you can buy tickets for the trolley to take you to the coastline. Everyone was very friendly and helpful to get you the right ticket on the right trolley. 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Sail Date: June 2019
My wife and I decided to do a quick 1 week cruise out of New York and traveled with my daughter and 11 month old grandson in a separate cabin. We had sailed the S.S. Norway and had such a bad experience we stayed away from NCL. We have ... Read More
My wife and I decided to do a quick 1 week cruise out of New York and traveled with my daughter and 11 month old grandson in a separate cabin. We had sailed the S.S. Norway and had such a bad experience we stayed away from NCL. We have 34 cruises under our belts so it was NCL, not cruising, we avoided. This was our least favorite of 13 cruise lines. I know they have their loyal following and it may be like preferring vanilla over chocolate ice cream but this was not what we have experienced on any other cruise line. Embarkation was a long and tedious process but I don't blame NCL and the fault lies mainly with the company they contract with for the whole process. This was on me but I have always brought the usual one bottle of wine per adult for cabin consumption allowed on every other line we sailed. Not this one but, again, that is their policy and I didn't do my homework. I had to pay a corkage fee for each bottle. It didn't matter that I had the beverage package. It made no sense. As soon as we boarded we headed to the Lido as all of the other lunch venues were packed. But I'll discuss dining later. The ship is older but we have sailed several old ships that have been maintained. This has not been maintained. We stayed in a mini-suite that was spacious enough but very worn. The AC was great and responded to changes very quickly. It also had a very musty odor like old sneakers. The cabin was well located mid-ship and was relatively quiet. The balcony was the standard size. What I was pleased with was the number of outlets it had if you knew enough to bring European and UK adapters which we did. Some of the outlets we located where a piece of furniture must have been since they were in the middle of the wall over an empty space and there were severe rub marks counter height. We had a full length sofa and the seating area was separated from the sleeping area by a curtain. The mattress was very hard for my taste and, by the end of the week, my back was sore. The bathroom was fine although I prefer a shower stall to a tub/shower. Water pressure was great. Generic soap dispensers and hand soap were plentiful. Now, for the musty odor, there was a major leak from the tub that saturated the carpet in the closet and soaked all of our clothes in our hamper. Our daughter had a balcony cabin that we found to be very small. We had a pack-n-play for the baby that took up all of the available floor space in front of the loveseat. The door to the balcony was almost frozen shut but was eventually able to be repaired by maintenance. She too had a major leak in the bathroom with standing water. Another call to maintenance. So, two cabins with leaks should not happen. We found out later that we were not alone with this problem. There were several great bars located throughout the ship and they all had a good vibe. Drink service was excellent. I also liked the fact that you could order top shelf alcohol and only pay the difference above the drink allowance. Out favorite bar was Gatsby's but it always smelled of smoke because of the adjacent smoking room. Other areas seemed smokey as well but couldn't find the source. The casino was another area that had a lot of smoke was the casino where it was permitted and we had to pass through it to get to the show lounge or go to a different deck. The layout of the ship is very poor. We ran into several dead ends until we learned the lay of the land and also discovered which elevator went to where you wanted to go. However, only on elevator went down to the Venetian Dining Room which was a challenge for all of the wheelchairs and strollers. With a ship of such poor design we should have been given maps. Not a good ship for newbies. The elevators did come quickly which was a big plus. Another big issue I had was the nickel and dining that went on. I should have anticipated this since we had to pay gratuities on our "Free" perks. There were non-stop announcements for every thing imaginable they were selling. Even returning to the ship after tendering we were greeted with raffle ticket sales after security. Before the shows the cruise staff was also selling raffle tickets. This I did not like one bit. Constant photographers greeted us at every meal. Enough is enough. Getting to the food, this was a major disappointment. The Garden Cafe was worse than my hospital cafeteria and I was turned off by people grabbing food with their bare hands. Again, this is not the fault of NCL. The layout also didn't allow for a good flow since it was U shaped and you couldn't go around in a circle. And, seating was difficult to get. Our only MDR experience was The Venetian since we preferred the ocean views. Breakfast and lunches were best in the Venetian. Dinner was nothing special. Most nights we dined in specialty restaurants. Believe it or not, we loved Los Cabos. The food reminded me of when I lived in Mexico. The queso fundido was delish as were the guacamole, chips and our main courses. A spicy Margarita is not to be missed. La Cucina turned out to be a big disappointment. Service was terrible. We waited 45 minutes for appetizers. The fish was awful (a repeating theme on this ship), my risotto was very undercooked but my osso buco was good. Cagneys was also good if you like a steak house. Good food and service. Two nights we dined in Le Bistro and enjoyed them both. The Maitre 'd was exceptional and very accommodating. My grandson dined there and was an angel. Food was also very well done with fancy French service. One thing I found lacking was a good observation lounge or someplace quiet to read. Even the library seemed to be very busy. Maybe I wasn't looking in the right places but that was something my wife and I missed. We did no cruise ship excursions which, if you have tender ports, I recommend you do since they had the worst tendering service. Our first tender port was Bar Harbor which was also where we had to clear immigration. We cleared early but we weren't able to get to port until 1 PM. I would book the cheapest excursion and bail just to get off the ship at a reasonable time. The line went all the way up to Deck 7 and almost down to the show lounge. This was the worst. It was slightly better in Newport but tendering is never fun. Debarkation was a breeze. You essentially get off when you want. we were in the first group but all of the luggage was already on the dock. It was strange that you don't get debarkation instructions ahead. This is also Free Style. The luggage tags are at guest relations and you just pick what you want and leave when you want. There were no crowds and we just walked off. What did I like. The crew. I found them to be extremely friendly and efficient. They were always willing to help. Guest relations was efficient and well staffed. As mentioned before bar service was excellent. Did I have a good time? How could I not with my grandson in tow. The itinerary was great. Would I sail NCL again? No. The competition has a much better product. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I really like Norwegian ships. I have only been on several, but plan many more. The ship was clean and the food was good. I booked the last minute as a solo traveler. I did not have any of the specials (food or beverage packages). The ... Read More
I really like Norwegian ships. I have only been on several, but plan many more. The ship was clean and the food was good. I booked the last minute as a solo traveler. I did not have any of the specials (food or beverage packages). The comp restaurants were great. The Solo Hostess made the experience fun and interesting. She made sure there was a solo meet-up every day. Made sure we had reservations for dinner as a group. It really made a difference having an active hostess for our group. I made many friends and enjoyed tours and meals with other solo travelers. I drove to NYC. Can't say that was easy. $280 to park is excessive. Otherwise, on and off the ship was easy. However, it was a long walk with luggage upon returning to NYC. We returned to a different pier. Cabin was very nice. I had easy access to the atrium and glass elevators. It was nice to be able to dash down to the pub. I was happy with the location of the cabin. Especially since they assigned the cabin. This was a busy cruise with 5 ports in 7 days. One of the main reasons I picked this itinerary. My favorite ports are in NE and Canada. I did not have time to enjoy many of the entertainments but the aerial act was impressive. Note: Most of the group were ladies. Some married, some single, some widowed. I t was fun meeting people from all over the country. Read Less
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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