1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Dawn
We've been on several cruises, with Norwegian and others, and chose this one for the itinerary. Departing from Puerto Rico has the advantage of being able to hit several islands with only one day at sea, so it seemed a great choice. I think to keep this as short as possible I'll just say that the Dawn had the feel of everything being second-string. Not the worst, but not top shelf either. Balcony cabin was ok, our steward was great, and everything worked. Two twin beds pushed together do not make a queen though, and the gap makes sure you sleep on your uncomfortable side and no snuggling. The balcony and exterior had a lot of rust, but it was useable for a little late night wind and relaxation. The food was average, about what we expected. For all the complaints the Garden Cafe (buffet) wasn't bad. Be selective and understand it for what it is. O'Sheehan's was below average, and the Bistro was overpriced and overrated. Don't even bother with the sushi. I know it's a cruise ship, but if you're going to feature it, do it well. Service went from good (Le Bistro) to indifferent (O'Sheehan's) to just plain bad (Sushi), and we overheard several complaints. All the bars were hit or miss. Anything poolside was a coin flip, and the roving servers didn't seem to get better or worse with or without an extra tip. Typical over-sugared and under-liquored "tropical" drinks, and I even ordered some liquor+mixer only drinks that tasted odd. I'll never understand why the beer selection is so poor, especially with the explosion of micro-brews, and with most of the islands having their own beers why not feature some of them? Easily fixed, but I won't hold my breath. Gatsby's was the lone exception, with better music (Charlie), overall atmosphere, and martinis - a few of which were pretty good. It was also rarely too crowded, and the service was fast and friendly. Proximity to the cigar room is a minus for some, but I was ok with it. Huge complaint with the music. I mentioned Charlie in Gatsby's as a huge plus, Jose and Patti also good, and VIP was fine also. Whomever booked Sabor Latino should be fired, along with the person who scheduled them poolside every day right after you'd typically board the ship after a day ashore. Forget chilling by the pool. Nice people I'm sure, but unlistenable. Again, I heard lots of complaints. Stick to the DJ. Every island has its charms and shortcomings, so I won't go into that. I will say that we did far better with locally booked or non-NCL booked excursions. Better price, better variety, and a more personalized experience. Do a little research and you'll be happy. Overall it wasn't horrible. Typical nickel and diming every chance possible, but the crew just didn't seem with it. There was some great service, but mostly everyone acted like they wanted to be somewhere else. Not awful, but not "first string". We had a good time, but the value wasn't there. I don't think we'll be going on the Dawn again.

Some Highlights.....but TOO MANY Lowlights!! 2nd String Overall.

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by Wescoast001

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
We've been on several cruises, with Norwegian and others, and chose this one for the itinerary. Departing from Puerto Rico has the advantage of being able to hit several islands with only one day at sea, so it seemed a great choice.

I think to keep this as short as possible I'll just say that the Dawn had the feel of everything being second-string. Not the worst, but not top shelf either.

Balcony cabin was ok, our steward was great, and everything worked. Two twin beds pushed together do not make a queen though, and the gap makes sure you sleep on your uncomfortable side and no snuggling. The balcony and exterior had a lot of rust, but it was useable for a little late night wind and relaxation.

The food was average, about what we expected. For all the complaints the Garden Cafe (buffet) wasn't bad. Be selective and understand it for what it is. O'Sheehan's was below average, and the Bistro was overpriced and overrated. Don't even bother with the sushi. I know it's a cruise ship, but if you're going to feature it, do it well. Service went from good (Le Bistro) to indifferent (O'Sheehan's) to just plain bad (Sushi), and we overheard several complaints.

All the bars were hit or miss. Anything poolside was a coin flip, and the roving servers didn't seem to get better or worse with or without an extra tip. Typical over-sugared and under-liquored "tropical" drinks, and I even ordered some liquor+mixer only drinks that tasted odd. I'll never understand why the beer selection is so poor, especially with the explosion of micro-brews, and with most of the islands having their own beers why not feature some of them? Easily fixed, but I won't hold my breath.

Gatsby's was the lone exception, with better music (Charlie), overall atmosphere, and martinis - a few of which were pretty good. It was also rarely too crowded, and the service was fast and friendly. Proximity to the cigar room is a minus for some, but I was ok with it.

Huge complaint with the music. I mentioned Charlie in Gatsby's as a huge plus, Jose and Patti also good, and VIP was fine also. Whomever booked Sabor Latino should be fired, along with the person who scheduled them poolside every day right after you'd typically board the ship after a day ashore. Forget chilling by the pool. Nice people I'm sure, but unlistenable. Again, I heard lots of complaints. Stick to the DJ.

Every island has its charms and shortcomings, so I won't go into that. I will say that we did far better with locally booked or non-NCL booked excursions. Better price, better variety, and a more personalized experience. Do a little research and you'll be happy.

Overall it wasn't horrible. Typical nickel and diming every chance possible, but the crew just didn't seem with it. There was some great service, but mostly everyone acted like they wanted to be somewhere else. Not awful, but not "first string". We had a good time, but the value wasn't there. I don't think we'll be going on the Dawn again.
Wescoast001’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Norwegian Dawn price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BB 9072
A little dated, but everything worked. Lots of exterior rust on the balcony. Two twin beds do not make up a nice comfy queen bed no matter what you read. A little more cramped than I expected as far as useable space goes.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews