Cruise Ratings
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was my 1st cruise ever. I received a voucher for an inside cabin from the casino where I am a rewards member. A friend recommended NCL so I decided to accept the offer. I paid additional to upgrade to a balcony cabin. I also ... Read More
This was my 1st cruise ever. I received a voucher for an inside cabin from the casino where I am a rewards member. A friend recommended NCL so I decided to accept the offer. I paid additional to upgrade to a balcony cabin. I also purchased a soda package and three shore excursions through the cruise line. To begin with, the embarkation in NOLA was a complete mess. No one to assist you with questions, extremely long lines and wait time. Our check-in was between 12 & 12:30 PM. We finally got checked in and were able to board around 3:30 PM. Due to the extremely long wait to embark, I was unable to eat lunch. After boarding the ship I began to have a diabetic low. I went straight to the 24 hour O'Shea's to get something to eat but was told they would not serve me because the muster drill was about to start. I could not get any of the NCL staff to assist me in providing either juice, soda with sugar, or something with sugar or high carbs (such as candy or crackers) because the muster drill was starting. I asked at least 15 staff members to assist me and was told instead that I had to attend the muster drill. Finally, when I was shaking so bad that I had to sit down in the floor, one crew member realized what was happening and brought me a glass of orange juice to drink. Due to a medical condition I requested additional pillows and egg crate foam mattress cover for bed in cabin from special services in February after booking. Was assured that my request would be fulfilled. When we arrived at our cabin, there were no extra pillows or foam mattress cover. Went to Guest Services 3 times and asked for my request to be fulfilled. Nothing! We finally met our Cabin Steward and he was able to fulfill our request for the extra pillows, but we never received the foam mattress covers. I asked to speak with then Guest Services Manager to discuss the service issues and was told by the Guest Services desk rep that the manager was on the way to my cabin. The Manager never showed up to speak with me throughout the entire cruise. Service from the wait staff was terrible. Spent a lot of time either waiting on our food to be served, or trying to get a soda refill. Staff was more interested in selling you additional stuff than in providing you with what you had already purchased. In fact, service was so poor for the entire cruise that I requested that my prepaid gratuities be refunded. Dining was not a pleasant experience. Food was bland and unseasoned, either over cooked or under-cooked, and choices were limited. Bread was completely inedible. Had the consistency and taste of hard tack. Service was terrible. There were some tasteful deserts. Ship elevators were slow for the entire cruise. Ended up taking the stairs 90% of the time while on the cruise. Shore excursions were good and well worth the money spent. Enjoyed shopping in each of the scheduled ports. Entertainment in the Stardust Theater was also good. We enjoyed a variety of different shows. Over all, for a vacation that I planned and looked forward to for so long, the cruise left much to be desired. I will be cruising again, but definitely not on NCL. Nor will I recommend NCL to my friends and family. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
For my first cruise it was okay. I wasn't sure what to expect but found very little guidance onboard on where to go, how things work, etc. The Dining experience was good. We had an awesome waiter at the Aqua and continued going ... Read More
For my first cruise it was okay. I wasn't sure what to expect but found very little guidance onboard on where to go, how things work, etc. The Dining experience was good. We had an awesome waiter at the Aqua and continued going back and requesting his section. The bar experience wasn't all that great as we tried to order certain drinks that they said they couldn't make. Also, had a very difficult time finding Mountain Dew for my son even though we had a soda package for him. The entertainment was pretty good - was only disappointed in one show. Really enjoyed the SoulDuo show and the crew talent show. The dancers were good, too. Did not really enjoy Norwegian Belize Island. Traveled with my teenage son but he did not participate in the teens activities even though I tried to get him to go often. Our cabin steward was very attentive and great. Am looking into our next cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We are first time cruisers from Canada, a married 40 year old couple with a 4 year old son. We chose a cruise, as opposed to an all inclusive resort holiday, so that we had a high level of service, great accommodations, excellent food, ... Read More
We are first time cruisers from Canada, a married 40 year old couple with a 4 year old son. We chose a cruise, as opposed to an all inclusive resort holiday, so that we had a high level of service, great accommodations, excellent food, varied ports, and a kids club for our 4 year old son. We chose this particular cruise because of its port (New Orleans) We wanted to go somewhere unique that we’ve never been and spend a few days in addition to our cruise. We were also attracted by the ports. We were excited about Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, and Cozumel. All in all we had a great time on the Norwegian Dawn and it met a lot of our expectations. Here’s what we liked: 1. The food was excellent. We ate in the complimentary restaurants only, and enjoyed the Garden Cafe the most, Aqua was nice, and so was O’Sheehans pub. There was a ton of healthy options, the hot buffet was really fantastic, there was a lot of children’s options (mac and cheese, hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, fries). The breakfasts were especially great with every imaginable option. You can't beat a soft serve ice cream machine either! That was a hit with my boys. 2. The service was excellent. The staff are from around the world and we had a great time hearing their stories and learning more about what lead them to work away from their families (and children) for up to 8 months at a time. 3. The ports offered a lot of variety. We really loved Cozumel (more on the ports below); Costa Maya (the town of Mahahual was amazing); and Roatan, Honduras were wonderful. 4. The stateroom was very good. We were in an inside stateroom and it was actually just fine for us. Our son slept in the top pull down bed and we had our big king bed. The bathroom was a nice size with a good sized shower. We were on the 8th floor aft (back of the ship) and it was nice and quiet. The limited channels even offered quite a few kids shows. 5. The kids club on the 13th floor was fantastic! The staff were so skilled and friendly. Our son was in the 3-5 age group and joined in on the two sea days, as well as for an hour in the evenings so that we could go for dinner. This was totally worth the price of admission to the ship in my opinion as it gave him an opportunity to play with other kids, and us an opportunity to get some alone time. 6.The kids pool was also really great. It is little, and very shallow (only 2.5 feet deep) which is ideal because our boy didn’t need his water wings/lifejacket to go in. There are hot tubs and slides, and he played in there for hours. Here’s what we didn’t love: 1. There were way too many costs associated with this cruise! I wouldn’t do this again simply for all the add-ons to everything. Want a pint of beer? That’ll be $9 plus an 18% gratuity, on top of the $40.50 per day we are already paying for gratuity. Want to do a shore excursion? That will be $350 to go snorkeling with your family for 6 hours. Need the internet? That will be $79 per day! Want water? That is $60+ per week for bottled water. We are not cheap people, and have traveled extensively around the world, but I have not seen this level of price gouging of guests before. In addition, being Canadian, we were adding an additional 30% onto that price due to the exchange rate. Our bill at check out was over $600 just from mandatory gratuity and about 10 alcoholic drinks over the course of the week. Instead of excursions we decided to do our own thing in all of the ports and had a great time! Here’s how…. Ports: Cozumel - We got off the ship, got a cab for $15, and went to Chankanaab beach adventure park. We paid $56 usd to enter, $10 for masks and snorkels, and then $50 for beers and food. We enjoyed sitting under a palapa and had a waiter bring our drinks and food out. We watched the tour groups from all the ships marching by us so this is a reputable beach where many of the excursions go. We were there all day and had a blast! There is a little kids beach as well which was ideal for sand castles and wading in the water. The snorkelling here was really great. As well, they have dolphins, crocodiles, iguanas, a pool, a sea lion show, and several beach bars. Tip - bring small bananas or bread to attract the fish. Total cost to us : $150 usd Roatan Honduras - We loved this port! This was such an amazing and authentically beautiful island. The ship excursion to Gumbalina was around $425 for 3 of us so we decided to do the day on our own again. We hired a cab for the whole day for $50. He took us to the top point of the island for a view picture and some small little shops up there (they are really ready for the cruise ships to come in and make some money!); we then went to the butterfly farm for a $20 entry fee (my son was free) and saw a diverse array of butterflies, they had monkeys, parrots, and sloths. We then wanted to head to West Bay Beach, which we heard was a fantastic place to spend the day. He drove us all over the island, through the small villages and out to West Bay beach. He took us to the Grand Maya Beach club and we paid $20 (my son was free) to get in. That gave us nothing as far as I could tell but it said that we could sit on the beach chairs on the beach. The beach was packed with people! The water was beautiful and clear (reminded me a lot of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic), and the sand was soft and white, and the hawkers were out in full force. We couldn’t even get one minute without someone approaching us to sell cigars, bracelets, sunglasses etc. I always smile, say no thank you and they move on, but it certainly wasn’t relaxing. We ate lunch at Beaches grill with a fantastic outdoor patio overlooking the beach, that was about $35 for some ceviche, margaritas, a grilled cheese sandwich and fries. We spent a few hours at this beach and that was plenty, we then moved on to the rest of the island. We stopped and bought some rum, took some pictures, my husband wanted a haircut so he went to a local shop for a $5 cut and then back to the boat around 4pm. It was a great day for around $140 usd. Tip: Look into Tabyana beach instead of West Bay beach - if I had it to do over again I would have tried that one instead as I have a feeling it wouldn’t have been so crowded. Belize: This was not Belize. This was a custom built island 20 minutes from the real Belize. I will go to Belize one day and I’m sure it will be lovely. This was basically a beach day for the entire population of the ship to move from the ship to a beach, sit on the beach, shop, go to the kids water park, pay to eat in the restaurants and then get back on the boat 6 hours later. We spent about an hour in the kids splash park (kudoos to the architect, that is a stellar kids spash park!!) and then went back to the boat since it was mostly empty. There are excursions to the real Belize and I would encourage you to go on one to get a sense of the real country. Costa Maya/Mahahual: This port was a sleeper hit for us, as I thought it would be another custom made port. We walked off into the Costa Maya port which is a huge custom built port with restaurants and shopping and immediately got a cab into Mahahual. We paid $6 each way for a cab that goes about 5 minutes into the real town. This town is really chill, we found a nice little beach for free, sat there all day under palapas, went in the beautiful water, ate lunch at a great beach grill and then got a cab back to Costa Maya at the end of the day. Total cost was around $50 usd and we had a wonderful relaxing day on the beach. Would we do a cruise again? Yes! But I wouldn't choose one that nickeled and dimed me at every turn. I would also ensure that I was aware of all of the ports as I am just not interested in seeing fake ports. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
My husband and I had cabin 12201 Carnival dream, spa balcony cabin. It was our first cruise.Cabin was beautiful .Spa was great ohhh thalosopool how i miss you, and the relaxation room. Everything was wonderful. Scarlett dining room staff ... Read More
My husband and I had cabin 12201 Carnival dream, spa balcony cabin. It was our first cruise.Cabin was beautiful .Spa was great ohhh thalosopool how i miss you, and the relaxation room. Everything was wonderful. Scarlett dining room staff are the tops!!(Iputoo and Bido)not to mention how much fun shoooowtime is!! Very professional and made you feel special.I loved our 815pm assigned dining made you feel very formal and dressy! Very friendly and gracious.The food was delicious, shrimp cocktails,salmon cakes,ceasar salads,prime rib and the lobster tails were great!! We had so many romantic quiet evenings. I didn't think we would like the dive in theater but it was a great way to relax watching Batman snuggled in a blanket. The serinity area was great for sunning and having a pina colada. Show in the encore theater was fancy and enjoyable!! The dream was magnificent!!! I cannot wait to go again!!!! 5 stars and the towel animals were lovely.(husband also misses pizza pirate!!!!!) Excursions : Deluxe beach catamaran and snorkel in Cozumel cannot be missed!!! This crew is very professional and fun!!!! I read so many reviews about bad snorkeling groups, i was worried. Fury Catamaran was the best!!! Organized ride to snorkel spot that was beautiful, coral,schools of fish,good equipment it was fantastic, then the ride to the beach was fun,music,drinks,soda , family friendly, even though we had no kids with us,No one had any troubles, and there was plenty of space to snorkel.It was our first time snorkeling and we did great . I will also add in i have arthritis and there catamaran has stairs that go down into the sea so it was easier to get in and out of the water.Jesus group was great!! Beach was lovely, sea was beautiful i would do this again defintely!! Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
I'm a 52 yo male and this was my first ever cruise. We chose Carnival because we live near NOLA and we thought that a 5 night cruise to Cozumel and Progresso would be a good starter. My wife has been on two previous cruises and we ... Read More
I'm a 52 yo male and this was my first ever cruise. We chose Carnival because we live near NOLA and we thought that a 5 night cruise to Cozumel and Progresso would be a good starter. My wife has been on two previous cruises and we traveled with our 2.5 yo son. Our two daughters, 16 and 23 shared a separate cabin down the hall. The cruise was really for them and the son was along for the ride. The Triumph Everyone knows this ship is a little old and the colors and decor is a little dated. But the bars, deck lounging and seating was plentiful. The pools were crowded. The nightclubs, restaurants, and lounges all had wonderful classy atmospheres and ambiance. The elevators were all functional and timely even though the LED floor/up/down indicators weren't always accurate and were hard to read. You don't see many public restrooms nor trashcans. The corridors get over crowded during photograph viewing and yes Carnival does take plenty of pictures for you to purchase. The Food and Drink We purchased the Cheers drink plan. Bars are plentiful and bartenders are all great mixers. We enjoyed dinner each night at 6PM in the Paris Dining Hall. Here is where Carnival excelled. The food was always served hot and its presentation was wonderful. Our 6PM dine time conflicted with the start of many entertainment shows but that was our choice. Entertainment I do not believe you can enjoy all of the entertainment offered. It is constant, round the clock. Plenty of singing, dancing, comedy, magic, is available all over the ship so plan ahead and squeeze in dining when you can. We don't gamble but the casino is large and offered everything. For the Kids Our son enjoyed about 3 hours of Club Ocean. It appeared safe and engaging for them. I'm sure he had a good time the one day he went but he pitched a fit when we tried to bring him back we think only because he was having a better time running around with us. Our 16yo daughter enjoyed the teenage niteclub nightly. She made some friends there and spent a lot of time with them. The Crew Well you want find any Americans working on this cruise ship. These men and women are the most dedicated, hard working people I have ever had the pleasure of watching work. Its unfortunate of their employment conditions that they labor under. I've read some of the horror stories online since we got back on shore. TIP THESE FOLKS, TIP THEM! The Stops Ok first, God bless America. We left the comfort of our home and ship and stepped into Cozumel and Progresso, a third world country wrought with blight and poverty. So be warned. Summary Overall a extraordinary experience that I would enjoy again and again albeit in more civilized destinations. Our cruise made for a fantastic summertime family vacation whose price was a little more expensive than a week in a condo on a Florida beach but cheaper than a week in Disneyworld. Not only would I cruise again, I would choose Carnival and highly recommend the experience for any first timers considering going whether it be a family vacation or a romantic getaway. Well done Carnival, well done. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We went on the cruise to try to get our love back but I ended up getting food poisioning from the blacken mahi mahi and was confined to my room until Tuesday I finally get a chance to go out with my wife and walk into the hall and smell ... Read More
We went on the cruise to try to get our love back but I ended up getting food poisioning from the blacken mahi mahi and was confined to my room until Tuesday I finally get a chance to go out with my wife and walk into the hall and smell the worst odor that I shouldn't have smelled. The room ac was never up to par especially after the heavy black smoke came from the smoke stack n the captain saying theirs no reason to be alarmed. the service for room service was horriable I got raw uncooked bacon on my BLT and they ran out of things that we ordered. I really was looking forward to this cruise and was very disappointed. I'm sorry for anyone that experienced the same as I did and I will not recommend the carnival dream as a cruise to take on my next journey of my endevours Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was my 1st time cruising. We have a 10 & 11 year old (and brought my mom as well), so we thought this would be a nice short trial run to see if we liked it for future opportunities. We had already planned to visit New Orleans ... Read More
This was my 1st time cruising. We have a 10 & 11 year old (and brought my mom as well), so we thought this would be a nice short trial run to see if we liked it for future opportunities. We had already planned to visit New Orleans over the kid's spring break, so we thought this would be a good time to check it out. We booked 2 rooms (Balcony on the Verandah deck- V34 & V36) next to each other. Getting on the ship was relatively easy and the process went smooth. Before arriving on the ship, my mom bought all 3 of the adults the "Cheers" program (the alcohol beverage program). As soon as I got onto the ship, I went to guest services and asked how to activate it. I was told, just got to a bar and it will activate. I asked a bartender and they said, once you give your room number at the bar, it will activate. We ordered a couple drinks and then I noticed some other people with "Cheers" stickers on their room key. I asked how they got those and they said you have to ask for the cheers sticker. (Long story, ask for the Cheers sticker as soon as you get on the boat. We were charged for the drinks we bought as soon as we got on the boat. This was pretty frustrating.) (BTW, the "Cheers" program is a good value if you are going to have more than 4-5 drinks per day. Even during days in port. Otherwise, just purchase.) The room was actually more spacious than we were expecting and I thought it was great. Having the balcony was nice, but we didn't use it very much. Interesting that there is pretty limited drawer space, but a huge amount of space for a bar underneath the TV. Seems like not a great use of space. Our crew steward Richard did a great job, went above & beyond request and was always happy. The ship itself didn't feel as large as it seems and never felt overly crowded. The ship does seem to be getting a little older and may need some TLC (peeling paint, won out exterior areas). The pool area was relatively small and not too exciting for the kids. I read that this was one of the ships that did NOT receive the overall for the Carnival experience and it showed. I assume bc they use this for shorter trips and not many "at sea" days, but my kids bored of the pool relatively quickly. The food was a little less than I was hoping. I figured out pretty quickly to just eat cereal in the morning and I would order a few different things at dinner to have a few bites of each. Our service in the dining room was OUTSTANDING. Our head waiter, Andrew, was outstanding and actually made coming to dinner each night something to look forward to. Super nice guy and very attentive. We went to a couple of the shows on the ship and they were fun & entertaining. Not exactly top-notch, but I feel the value for money was good. Getting off the boat at the local stops was extremely frustrating. They have everyone stop at the end of the walk-ways to take pics. PLEASE TAKE THE PICS WHEN THEY GET OFF THE WALK-WAYS. (They must make a fortune on taking pics, but they take tons & tons & tons of these... every night they have back-drops set us and whole families come down to do formal pics) We did excursions through private companies I found on Trip Advisor and I was very happy with all of those. Getting off the boat seemed like it would be easy. We decided to let them take our luggage the night before and get off at our leisure. The issue is, you have to leave your room bc they need to prep for the new arrivals. So you are out in the areas with all the other people looking for areas to sit down. Then, they called so many people to disembark at the same time, it was very very frustrating. MY BIGGEST & MOST SERIOUS COMPLAINT. When I registered all of us for the cruise, I gave cc# for myself & my mom to be linked to our rooms. My kids, 10 & 11, were staying with my mom. After a couple of days on the ship, my kids started talking about the arcade. We decided to go check it out after my daughter came back to the room with about 20 rubber duckies. Well, it turns out they have an arcade that cost a lot of money. We told them they were done with the arcade. We had over $450 dollars worth of arcade charges by the time the cruise was over. Never was I informed that we could put limits on what our kids could charge and I never even knew that that the arcade existed and that they would have options for kids to run up charges like that. This part of the ship is a TOTAL SCAM. It actually makes me mad just writing about it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Background - This was our first cruise and we were very excited to go. Ship Information - There is not a lot to do on the ship if you don't drink or gamble. Activities - Laying out by the pool, Game shows, Name that tune, ... Read More
Background - This was our first cruise and we were very excited to go. Ship Information - There is not a lot to do on the ship if you don't drink or gamble. Activities - Laying out by the pool, Game shows, Name that tune, Dance lessons, Theater Shows. Service - The housekeeper was wonderful. His name was Rennee. Most of the time, the waiters in the main dining hall was great, though a few times they were slow. Port and Shore Excursions - We booked ahead of time with Sunset Beach (Cozamel), Club Natal (Roatan) and Golf's Key (Belize City). We had booked with Yaya Beach (Costa Maya) but that port was cancelled. They gave a refund. We loved visiting all of these places. Cabin - We had a balcony which was nice. We could step out and see the sunrise/sunset. Children's Club - no kids on the trip. Entertainment - Singers/Dancers, Magician and Second City were good. We didn't care for the acrobats. Disembarkation - The Dawn had to tender people off for Roatan and Belize. Tendering takes quite a bit of time, so I recommend waiting for the tickets 45 min to 1 hour before they are handed out. It didn't take a long time at all to leave the ship at the final port. Summary - We will probably cruise again, though it may be another ship. We loved the excursions we went on. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
The ship and staff were awful. The food was gross.There is entertainment unless your a kid or a drunk, They catered way to much to partying. You had to wait in line behind all the drunks to even get a soda. The same bartender 2 times said ... Read More
The ship and staff were awful. The food was gross.There is entertainment unless your a kid or a drunk, They catered way to much to partying. You had to wait in line behind all the drunks to even get a soda. The same bartender 2 times said "what" as i went up for a drink. the ship was clean id say it jut had nothing fun to do. The shows were boring not enough variety once again if you wanted to go to a deck beach party and get drunk EVERYNIGHT then there was something to do. The servers were slow you couldnt understand them they acked dumb so they didnt have to help you. The internet cafe just took my money i couldnt get it to wrok they wouldnt do anything to make that right we talked to other people on the ship who got it for half the price we did but i think that was our awful travel agents doing. Getting on the ship in LA was a breeze but the lady who checked us in didnt say anything the entire time didnt give us info of anything or pointers all the agents around luckily so i listened. Our room stewardess was awesome his name was ricardo. I wont be taking a crusie again everything about this ship ruined the idea for me! this was supposed to be out honeymoon but it was a big drunk fest until we got off the boat! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
My wife and I took our first cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. To be honest it only took us 35 years of marriage to take a cruise, we often go to the islands but were very nervous with the thought of being a captive audience on a cruise. After ... Read More
My wife and I took our first cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. To be honest it only took us 35 years of marriage to take a cruise, we often go to the islands but were very nervous with the thought of being a captive audience on a cruise. After reading many reviews we decided on the Norwegian Dawn. We arrived in New Orleans a day early (stayed at Harrahs New Orleans) to make arrival to the ship a relaxing experience. It was, and I have to tell you that the ship staff made the entire boarding process fast, easy and enjoyable. We got to the port at 100PM and were on the ship by 200PM. Our room was 11612, located midship directly off the elevators. I would highly recommend this room which had a balcony but most important was located one floor below the pool and the garden buffet. Our room had the perfect location! We unpacked and decided to check the ship out. We were told it was a smaller ship not like some of the newer mega ships but it still seemed large to us. However it only took one tour to figure out where everything was. After a brief safety orientation we disembarked to our first destination, Cozumel. After we got home all of my friends asked which was my favorite part of the cruise. We were lucky, the weather was perfect in all 4 ports. Each day we had a wonderful excursion to a private beach to enjoy our time together, However my favorite part of the cruise was the ship staff and how they bent backwards to make us comfortable and happy every step of the way. We travel often but I have never experience customer service like I did on the Dawn. When asked if I would take another cruise my response is absolutely. In fact I would take the same cruise on the Dawn. If you do not have a great time on the Dawn it is your own fault. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was our very first cruise and one of very few vacations taken together as a family. (we are self employed). Absolutely loved it. We drove to New Orleans. Parking facilities were provided by the cruise line. Check in was a breeze. We ... Read More
This was our very first cruise and one of very few vacations taken together as a family. (we are self employed). Absolutely loved it. We drove to New Orleans. Parking facilities were provided by the cruise line. Check in was a breeze. We loved all the fun activities. Our son loved being part of the teen entourage. Service was exceptional. We did not opt for excursions and instead explored the ports on our own. Dining at the Garden Cafe and the Venetian was an experience in itself. The staff was very friendly and helpful. We made a lot of friends and many memories that we will forever cherish. DJ Anonymous was simply the BEST DJ ever. The cruise director Mr. Matic (Mr. Magic) and his fantastic group made all our evenings superbly fun and entertaining. They even had a library. The shows featured in the Stardust theater were a real treat. My wife's birthday was on the 27th, the day we disembarked. But the cabin crew simply made it extra special the night before by decorating our mini suite with birthday banners and candy, not to mention the towel art. It simply took us by surprise (a very beautiful one), when we returned to our cabin after dancing at the Spinnaker lounge. They simply went above and beyond. We will cherish these memories forever. We are looking forward to more cruises in the future. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Best experience anyone could imagine unless their are more hours in a day. Staterooms, bath, and balcony were exactly as advertised with room to share for two. Ideal to be able to listen (or not) to river historian on ship radio broadcast ... Read More
Best experience anyone could imagine unless their are more hours in a day. Staterooms, bath, and balcony were exactly as advertised with room to share for two. Ideal to be able to listen (or not) to river historian on ship radio broadcast from lounge while lounging on balcony and watching the river sites. Locally sourced meals were prepared by top notch chefs and served to high standards. Excursions on time and high quality. Guides except for one who was ill were excellent and from the location; their knowledge was presented with humor and candor. All needs seemed to be provided for disabled folks routinely with gentle care. Crew was professional, well trained, and passenger service centered, always happy and friendly. High river level never interfered with our itenerary since Captain adjusted sailing times to fit without compromising any activities. Sailing was smooth and seemed effortless. We will sail with them again! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Sailed on the Dawn from NOLA on March 13, 2016 with my wife. Ports were Cozumel, Belize, Rotan Bay, Costa Maya. This was my first cruise and after sailing it won’t be my last good Lord willing. First let mention the staff on the Dawn ... Read More
Sailed on the Dawn from NOLA on March 13, 2016 with my wife. Ports were Cozumel, Belize, Rotan Bay, Costa Maya. This was my first cruise and after sailing it won’t be my last good Lord willing. First let mention the staff on the Dawn could not have been more helpful or courteous, they really made us feel like part of the family. A few honorable mentions were our Cabin Steward Winshor who made us feel very elite, he always met us with a smile and asked if we needed anything. Winshor’s towel creations were awesome and a welcome site on returning in the evening to our cabin. Hanno Meyer our Concierge who is from Germany was extremely informative and eager to always make sure we had what we needed. Meeting him each night at the Stardust Theater, where he had us reserved seating, was a joy. In fact we showed up early just to have a conversation with him. Our Butler Henry was always around to get anything we wanted or answer questions, his pizza delivery to us on the balcony was truly a treat, those finger sandwiches and fresh fruit each night were truly a treat. Richard the cruise director and staff always had something going on to entertain you. We saw seven shows that in my opinion were all along the quality of the shows you see in Branson, thoroughly enjoyed seeing them. We had the specialty dining package and were able to eat daily breakfast and lunch at Cagney’s. The food was all good, favorite was the Italian and my least favorite was the Brazilian Steak House. The ship was very clean and well maintained. I saw some signs of use but the Dawn is due for a dry dock overhaul in May 2016. Excursions included Dolphinaris Trainer Program (Cozumel), Starfish Island Beach Break (Belize), Maya Key (Roatan) and Beach Break Getaway (Costa Maya). All the excursions were great Dolphin Trainer program in Cozumel was a highlight, as well as Maya Key was great. I have read many negative comments about the Dawn but from my experience I saw none of the negatives, and have nothing but positives to say. The only negative was that the cruise wasn’t long enough Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was our first cruise for me (32) and my fiance (39). Im a scuba diver and we normally like to go to resorts and stay in country for a time but we thought we would try it with the deal they were offering. Overall we had a great ... Read More
This was our first cruise for me (32) and my fiance (39). Im a scuba diver and we normally like to go to resorts and stay in country for a time but we thought we would try it with the deal they were offering. Overall we had a great time, there would things here and there that we thought could easily be better but that happens most places. Cabins- We had a supposed restricted view oceanview, we would super surprised by how much room we had and the bathroom was way bigger than expected as we always tend to read the sour puss peoples post that complain about everything. Dining- We were a little bumbed with the food and the fact that so much of the supposed good food is specialty restaurant. The food reminded me of mainland European food when i traveled there but the deserts were great. Other than that the food reminded us of all inclusive RIU food, we had saw a post that said the food was like Chilis food and so we were looking for at least that. Still did not go hungry. Embarkation- Had no issues getting on that boat and right to our room. Only issue we had was with the parking situation at New Orleans Parking at Fulton Garage, that was such a mess and will be writing a bad review on them regardless of the good price. Enrichment and Entertainment - Man there were so many things going on we didn't even have time to do everything. From dance lessons to karaoke to shows. The only thing was it was spring break and all the college kids would pack the drinking parties. Fitness- Lots of machines and treadmill types.... no free weights and it was packed at all times of the day. Didn't even get to use it. The biggest downfall which we cant help cause we are teachers and coaches was the amount of spring break kids from college. Some of them were alright but other times we would hear 4 am fights breaking out with women screaming about who the guy was gonna sleep with that night. We had a good enough time to do the sail next deal so we will be back for 4 more cruises at least. Maybe we will try some of the bigger ones and bring the kids. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our first cruise and we were really looking forward to it. So lets start with day 1. Everything went pretty smooth getting on the boat, except for one rude lady that gave us our boarding pass telling my wife that she looked ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were really looking forward to it. So lets start with day 1. Everything went pretty smooth getting on the boat, except for one rude lady that gave us our boarding pass telling my wife that she looked old. I don't know what the point of that was except just being rude. We get to our suite only to find out that it looks nothing like the photos online. Not just a different layout, just completely different everywhere. You are able to go on Carnival's website and see a 360 degree photo of your stateroom, but this one was obviously from a different boat. Different desk, an additional wall, no end tables beside the beds couches and chairs different, smaller desk area, tiny tv, not the wall mounted larger flatscreen pictured, stained carpets, two twin beds pushed together and different heights. Just a total misrepresentation. Kind of disappointing when you purchase the nicest suite on the whole boat. So I walk out to the balcony to check it out only to get sprayed by a yellow hose going full blast handing from a rope from a higher deck. Yes, now I'm soaked and our luggage hasn't arrived yet to even change into something dry. Thanks Carnival! I'm not too tall (5'10") but I wasn't able to wash my hair in the shower without having to crouch down. And if you are over 6" I don't think you would even be able to stand up straight without hitting your head on the ceiling. So later we try to get into a better mood and go to the dining hall later only to get served cold food. Must just be a fluke since they serve hundreds of meals here for dinner a night. Spoiler: food was cold every night! I ended up purchasing unlimited sodas only to find out that means standing at one of the 2-3 open bars on the boat for 5-15 minutes to even order one of your unlimited sodas. And no, they won't hand you a can to put in your fridge for later and unlimited sodas actually means only one per 5 minute interval, so if you want two then you are stuck waiting 5-15 minutes again for another one. We tried burgers and the Mongolian wok for lunch the next day. I'm not sure the burger was made of beef as I've never tasted one like that. At least there were condiments to drown out the taste. And the amount of meat was minuscule per serving at the Mongolian wok. That night we tried the pizza after our food was cold in the dining hall again. It was probably the best non breakfast food available. We tried dinner in the dining hall every night except for one only to receive cold food every time (except for a single soup that was an appetizer). We ended up purchasing the internet package for a couple days only to find that it barely works in our room (took over 15 minutes to connect every time vs about 3 when outside our room). Not to mention that the speeds are ridiculously slow and the pages would time out often. I tried uploading a 15 second video to Instagram and it took 5 tries and over 45 minutes while doing nothing else. Also, internet is for one device at a time only. We were happy with our destinations and had a great time on the excursion that we purchased from Carnival. I don't think that our excursion would have been as good if we found a different one somewhere else. But that was only a few hours of a day compared to all the time we were on that boat. We spoke to several people working on the boat while we were there (most of them being quite nice) who mentioned that they would much rather be working on a different boat. I don't blame them. Overall, not a fun experience. We felt like it was a bait and switch on our room. We definitely did not receive what we paid for. And the food was just not what we were expecting (cold and tastes bad). I just got off the phone with carnival expressing my concerns and was offered a $25 credit on board another one of their cruises. I don't think they got the hint when I told them 3 times that we wouldn't be sailing Carnival in the future. P.S. The best part of the boat was the public restrooms on the 7th? floor. They were very nice, clean, and empty every time we were in them. Much better than what was in our suite! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Any mention of the Mississippi brings to mind Mark Twain and stories of life on the river. Things have changed since that era but we found a way to recapture the history and atmosphere of those times. We did it by taking a trip on the ... Read More
Any mention of the Mississippi brings to mind Mark Twain and stories of life on the river. Things have changed since that era but we found a way to recapture the history and atmosphere of those times. We did it by taking a trip on the American Queen the largest, most opulent paddlewheel steamboat in the world. This boat is luxurious, elegant, historical and unlike any other boat we have ever seen. It was re-launched in 2012 after a $6.5 million renovation and is the only authentic steamboat in America. The staterooms are large and beautiful as are the many public rooms filled with antiques. The Mark Twain Gallery contains one of the most expansive collections of Tiffany glass in existence. It feels more like a stylish boutique hotel than a boat. The nightly five course dinners are great and in keeping with the atmosphere of southern charm. We particularly enjoyed the southern cuisine, big band jazz and relaxing in rocking chairs while we glided along the second longest river in North America. We took a short four day trip that involved excursions into the antebellum past and visits to several plantations and a swamp tour where I was handed a live alligator. Nottoway is the south’s largest mansion and dates back to 1859. The setting is magnificent. It has three floors and 22 white columns which has given rise to its nickname as the White Castle of Louisiana. It boasts an amazing 64 bedrooms and has 365 openings. Not to be outdone, the Oak Alley plantation is known as the Grande Dame of the Great River Road. Set on 25 acres, this Greek revival mansion has a quarter mile of 300 year old oak trees and reminded us of scenes from Gone With The Wind. The traditional mint Juleps and guides in period costumes may have helped. The 1830 St. Joseph plantation was a highlight as we were shown through by three charming ladies who were direct descendants of the original family. We came away with a far better understanding of this period of history and the devastation that resulted from the civil war. New Orleans has its own incomparable charms, interesting architecture, traditional jazz bands and wonderful restaurants and southern cuisine. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This 5 day cruise from New Orleans to New Orleans was a perfect introduction to cruising on the American Queen. I could not have imagined anything better. The weather was beautiful and everything was nearly perfect. Accommodations ... Read More
This 5 day cruise from New Orleans to New Orleans was a perfect introduction to cruising on the American Queen. I could not have imagined anything better. The weather was beautiful and everything was nearly perfect. Accommodations at the Hilton Riverside were very nice. It seems the AQ people block rooms in an adjacent building and not the tower. The only problem with that was the train that runs alongside the rooms that blew its' whistle before 4:00AM. Breakfast was your usual hotel buffet with the exception of freshly fried beignets. The AQ had a conference room set up to check in, request dinner seating and give your credit card info. You were given a small card with all your info on it that was to serve as your credit card on board. It had your table number on the back of it. This process went quickly and you have the rest of the day to tour or sightsee. Promptly at 3:00 they began the embarkation process. We just went out the back of the hotel and could see where a line was forming. If you have mobility issues, transportation to the boat was arranged during the check in process. I was very pleased with our accommodations which were the bay window cabins. There was more than adequate space for your belongings and the bathroom was nicely sized. The air conditioning works extremely well, it might even be too cold for some people. The public rooms are amazing, such attention to period detail. I had read some reviews of problems in the dining room but there were none on this cruise. The food was delicious and with Troy and Jerry, our waiters, dinner was an event. Breakfast and lunch were open seating buffet or you could order from an abbreviated menu. You could take your meals on the Front Porch but I don't know why you would - the dining room is beautiful, the food is delicious and the service was spot on. This was a Big Band cruise and the orchestra was very good. The guest vocalist Lynn Roberts was so good we attended the early and late show when she was performing. In fact, all the musical performers were good. We were very pleased with every aspect of this cruise and will sail again in the future. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was my first cruise, and after this one it's definitely not going to be my last! This ship is so BIG and so NICE! Our room steward, Christine, was absolutely wonderful! The drinks did not lack alcohol. The service in the dining ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and after this one it's definitely not going to be my last! This ship is so BIG and so NICE! Our room steward, Christine, was absolutely wonderful! The drinks did not lack alcohol. The service in the dining room was impeccable. Definitely get the chocolate melting cake. The comedy shows were very funny and all of the carnival shows in encore were fabulous. The adult only Serenity area was one of my favorite parts on the trip. The people at the excursion desk were extremely knowledgeable and our 3 shore excursions were so organized booking through Carnival. I DID have a big problem with my spa experience and after speaking to the manager, she refunded me 100% which I didn't even ask of her to do! I felt like the people working on this boat actually cared about my husband and I having a great time. This was the best customer service I have ever seen! I am completely satisfied with my cruise and can't wait to book my next one!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Being 1st time cruisers we were very anxious and a little nervous about the entire experience. Those feelings left very quickly once we started the check-in process. Our hotel was in Gretna, across the river from New Orleans . Shuttle ... Read More
Being 1st time cruisers we were very anxious and a little nervous about the entire experience. Those feelings left very quickly once we started the check-in process. Our hotel was in Gretna, across the river from New Orleans . Shuttle to port was quick and simple. Check-in was a very organized and quick experience. We were on the ship a little after noon. We had mini suite #11658, which was ready about 20 min. after we boarded ship. There are maps and markers on walls so you can easily find your stateroom as well as any other location you are looking for. As far as our excursions, we were very pleased. In Honduras we took the glass bottom boat and cameo factory tour. The whole day was amazing. Our Belize city excursion was the calypso train. We found it quite interesting at how many schools and churches were in such a little area. Our last excursion was in Costa Maya. We took a tour of the Chacchoben Ruins. This was absolutely as "must see". All the items that other cruisers advise you to take , acutally should be taken,,,well most. A highlighter is a must. If there are several people in a group, I suggest several different colors. It's also a good idea to take a toiletry bag that can hang on bathroom door. And, of course, the ever so popular extension cord. These are the three top items we took that others had recommended. I do however suggest taking a couple of large padded envelopes, for these come in handy for any vacation to wrap fragile souvenir, ect.. They easily fit inside the pocket of your luggage. We won a bottle of wine in the casino, so we used one of the envelopes to pack it. Overall this trip was exactly what we had always imagined a cruise to be .NCL really made us feel like we were part of the Norwegian family. We have nothing negative to say. We are already thinking about our next cruise! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
I loved my time on the Dawn! This was my first ever cruise and I was a bit skeptical about it before I went because I was reading these reviews, so I went in with low expectations. We went with another couple, all of us in our late ... Read More
I loved my time on the Dawn! This was my first ever cruise and I was a bit skeptical about it before I went because I was reading these reviews, so I went in with low expectations. We went with another couple, all of us in our late 20's. The other couple had cruised with NCL before. Getting into the cruise terminal was pretty easy, the only thing that complicated it was all the Mardi Gras floats, no big deal for an extra 25 minute wait. There were many people directing traffic and telling us where to park our vehicle. The people at the parking lot were friendly and helpful, they even offered to help us carry our bags. We walked across the parking lot and there were porters right there to check our bags. It was so easy. We walked right into the cruise terminal, had to wait about 20 minutes to get through security. Everyone was guiding us to where we check in. We checked in quickly and started to board the ship. The entire thing from start to finish was about 35-40 minutes, which is amazing in my books. I couldn't believe how easy it was and I'm not sure what other people were complaining about in other reviews about it being such a disaster to board the ship. Aboard the ship - Overall I was really impressed with how clean it was all the time. It is an older ship but it looks pretty modern with the upgrades they did. Public bathrooms were all in great shape, there was the odd malfunctioning toilet but nothing is perfect. There were so many of them too. You never had to walk far to get to one. Our bags were delivered in good time, our friend was missing hers because the tag fell off. Due to their policy you cannot claim missing bags until 8pm. She got it back right at 8pm. Our steward was great too. I know that going on a cruise you're supposed to be served and waited on hand and foot. The problem with this is that it automatically creates 2000 people on board who really believe that they are entitled to everything and anything. Didn't get served at the bar in 2 minutes? Complain loudly. How about meeting the person beside you, introducing yourself and start a conversation. You're supposed to relax on the cruise. Take the few minutes you have to wait to be served and RELAX. You have to realize that they are people too and they really were trying their best. I met a few bartenders who were a bit standoffish but I probably would be too dealing with cruisers all day haha, but I didn't let it ruin my day. We personally met the best bartenders and servers simply because we were nice and treated them like human beings. Its not hard to ask them how they are and how their day is going. The only reason you had to wait at the bar at the pool is because you chose to get up and go to the bar instead of having them bring you the drinks. They remembered us and our orders all the time and in different bars on the ship. They had an amazing selection of drinks (DEFINITELY recommend the ultimate beverage package) and if there was a limit, we never met it. The entertainment was really great. I made sure we went to every one of the Second City show, went to the gameshows and etc. We went to Elements (The big production show) It was not my cup of tea but the performers were excellent. There was always something going on for somebody. Some nights there was so much stuff we wanted to do we ate dinner at 10pm. Onto dining - I have gained an amount of weight I won't disclose because of being on the ship. Always had the buffet for breakfast (really good options) and coffee was right there. We went there mostly because we couldn't get out of bed in time to eat at the dining room. Lunch was whatever snacks we found around the ship, Bimini Grill, Blue Lagoon, Buffet again or ate out at the ports of call. I didn't have anything I didn't like. For dinner it was usually Aqua just because of the casual dress code. We did Venetian one night and dressed up a bit but since its the same menu we spent most nights in Aqua. There was sometimes a wait if you went at 5 or 6, but you grab a buzzer and head to the bar, no big deal. My friend and I both loved the soups on the ship. I'm still thinking about them. There was a great selection on the menu and you can order as many as you want. Portions are small, yes, but that allows you to order more than 1 appetizer or etc and be able to taste everything. I was impressed that Bamboo was included in the complimentary dining. It was a nice change of pace but we still stuck with the MDR. Blue Lagoon was great for late night drunk snacks. Looking back, I didn't regret not having the extra dining package. As for everything else, I was pleasantly surprised at duty free that toiletries were not an arm and a leg. Pretty good shopping overall in the store. The rooms were pretty good, we had plenty of space for the 2 of us and had room under the bed to store the suitcases. I couldn't believe the size of the bathroom. I was really happy with the space in there. I saw that there was a bunk and a cot, I'm sure it was for a family but that definitely would have been really tight in the cabin. Ports of call - First recommendation is NEVER to buy through the ship. They want a crazy amount of money for the same excursions that are sold at the ports. We did snorkelling a beach club in cozumel, same thing in roatan, Butt's Up cave and ATV jungle tour (so so good!!) in belize, and then went to Mahahual in costa maya for some souvenirs. The only tender we had to do was in belize. One member of our group woke up early to get tickets and we were off the ship in no time, no complaints. Cruise director Richard Matic was great. I don't know how he managed to be everywhere doing everything but he was. His whole activities staff were all really friendly and likeable. The Bad - first of all, the bars close really early. We are a group of young people and anytime after 11:30 pm the only place you can go is the casino pretty much. It would have been nice to see a bar or night club on board that was more geared towards a younger crowd. Another issue is the music. They play the same 3 songs almost every day. Cha Cha Slide, Cupid Shuffle, YMCA. Even at the White Hot Party were I was expecting there to be a DJ it was just a playlist that played and then started over again. It was really disappointing for people who wanted to dance in Spinnaker Lounge but didn't want to dance to the same songs being played over and over. And like I said, there is a DJ on board....oh well. If you're planning to dry anything in your room - don't. We brought beach towels from home and used them in cozumel and they were wet until I washed them at home again. even with the fan on in the bathroom nothing dried on the handy little clothesline in the bathroom. I would definitely recommend using the ships beach towels for any excursions because you exchange them for clean and dry ones all the time. But that being said you can't really complain about your own wet towels when the ship hands you a clean dry towel at every turn. Another thing is the pictures that you can buy from the ship. They print them off and you can view them but to buy them they are $15 a picture, which I don't understand because if you are already printing it off and are going to throw it out when I don't buy it at the end of the trip, why not just give them out? They have already paid to have it printed out....I bought one just as a souvenir but it would be nice to get one complimentary one since they're throwing them away. Our room was nearest to mid-ship. That meant that the elevators we wanted to take were always busy. I think out of everything on the trip I spent the most time waiting for the elevator instead of drinks at the bar or anything else. oh well, more exercise on the stairs. Disembarkation was a breeze. I have no idea was other people were talking about. We participated in the walk off program. As long as you can carry your luggage you just literally walk off the boat. we hardly had to wait in the customs line, and there was no line to get off the ship. They seemed to have a good system if you wanted to check your luggage, but I cannot tell you how easy it was to just walk off. Directions to customs were clearly marked and the staff were helpful to find the parking again. OVERALL - I would definitely sail with NCL again. Maybe on a bigger ship next time but I really enjoyed this. I loved the freestyle options. People were saying there are cruises where you have a set dinner time and place every day. That would drive me crazy. It was a great cruise to get your feet wet. And its all about what you make it too - if you choose to nit pick over every detail and be negative the whole time, yes you'll have a bad time. If you go with the flow and have fun, you'll enjoy it. As long as you're a regular person like me who is not accustomed to having my bed made and turned down for me every night and a maid to wait on me hand and foot, you'll really enjoy the service NCL has to offer. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2016
This was my first cruise and I had a good time mostly. There were a few quirky details but mostly i had fun and I am looking into doing my next NCL cruise. I left out of New Orleans and stayed at a Marriott 2 blocks from the port. So ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I had a good time mostly. There were a few quirky details but mostly i had fun and I am looking into doing my next NCL cruise. I left out of New Orleans and stayed at a Marriott 2 blocks from the port. So i went down the night before to scope it out. Still got lost the next day because there aren't many signs pointing out where to go. When I found the right area I passed 2 guys in NCL shirts sitting on an empty loading dock that said theyd check my luggage. But I didnt trust 2 guys on the street so I kept them. Further up at the official bag check there is also no sign. So I took the bags inside with me and got in line. 3 security scanners for 200 people in line. So when someone came in to tell us about bag check I got out of line to go where they pointed to check the bags. That guy wrote out 2 bag tags but wouldnt put them on until I left. Naturally everyone but me got their bags. I eventually found 1 bag down the hall in front of someone elses room, altho it had my room number on it. The other bag never got a tag so I found it later that night at Customer Service. Next time I will either print the tags ahead of time online or just carry my own bags. I carried them off the ship at the end anyway. Pleasantly surprised with the room. Since I paid the cheapest fare, I thought I'd have a porthole. Got a nice big window. Room would be small for 4 people but I have had smaller hotel rooms so it was fine for me. Had to pay double but only single port charges. But if I had paid full price on the company website, or less since some of their cruises have lower single traveler rates, I could've gotten free stuff that I wasn't eligible for. I am looking at doing that the next time, Went to the CC meet/greet and went on the tour of other peoples cabins. That was informative. My room was in the very back, beneath the Venetian Dining Room and next to a crew area. I was worried about noise but it was actually very quiet. The room attendant was very nice. Got him to empty out the minibar and put a bag of ice in there every day. It would be nice if they checked the soap dispensers and put in new glasses every day rather than just wash the ones there and put the lids back on. Went up to the deck and wandered around. Ordered a drink at at the Atrium Cafe and Bar. Even with 3 bartenders its very slow. And the drink I had wasn't very good. Several days later I tried it again and just ordered 2 drinks instead of one since I knew the service was slow. Had a display of cakes/cupcakes but they were out of most of them. Poor planning. I walked the whole ship to get the layout and stopped in the Venetian for an early dinner. Very nice. I ate there 3 breakfasts and 4 dinners during the week. Food was usually very good altho the portions were very small. Like other diners I sometimes ordered 2 entrees. Didn't try the buffet until several days in but i was pleasantly surprised again. I thought the food was pretty good there. I tried most of the food venues at least once for the experience. Certainly lots to do. Couldn't do it all. Went to a few art auctions, tried bingo, went to the theater for several shows. Very big, very grand. Walked the decks every day. I bought the Thermal Suite package and used the sauna nearly every day. Got off at all the ports of call but didn't book any excursions on the ship. Too pricey for me. Went to a Martini tasting that ended up a very good deal for alcohol. Nearly did it a second time. Being a first time cruiser I didn't know what to expect. I had some bad experiences but mostly good. I didn't like the check in process. I didn't like them losing my bags. Next time I will probably take them on myself. I didn't like the smoke in the Casino. Tried going there 3 times but the smoke drove me out every time. Doors were inexplicably closed. Some were open to go out of but on the outside would be a sign saying not to go in. On Deck 12 or 13 I kept getting lost, as did others, trying to find the 1 door that would let us back inside. I didn't make reservations for food but that never seemed to matter. Service was a little inconsistent. Crew was mostly very friendly, I talked to many of them. but usually for shore excursions they would block off staircases and not be able to explain why. Getting back on the ship after a port seemed confusing. But I had a good time and talked to a lot of other cruisers that had been on multiple ships/cruises. I had a good time and intend to go on another NCL cruise, maybe in a month or 2. I would be happy Taking the Dawn another time. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
It took many years to convince my wife to take a cruise do to her fear of water. She finally gave in to give me my birthday wish. So we started our cruise to Cozumel on the 4:30 Jan. 14 2016 cruise. Once we entered our cabin we were ... Read More
It took many years to convince my wife to take a cruise do to her fear of water. She finally gave in to give me my birthday wish. So we started our cruise to Cozumel on the 4:30 Jan. 14 2016 cruise. Once we entered our cabin we were shocked about how out dated it was, but that was ok because we were not in the cruise to stay in the cabin. It was the first cruise we have taken. So we left the cabin and went straight to the Lido deck to meet with the other two couples we were vacationing with. We herd so much rage about all the food that you can get on a cruise. But ounce we looked, it was a long line just to get cold, bad tasting hamburgers and hot dogs. Herd I should try Mingoliain grill but the lines were to long. Wife and I decided to take a tour of the ship. We were always told that the ship was so big you could be on it with someone you know and never see them. That was wrong, we tour the whole ship in less than two hours. We then went back to the lido deck and had fun singing and dancing with the DJ I think he was called DJ DJ. Our friends set the dinner for 8pm. Which we find to late to eat, and be healthy and fit. We like to eat dinner by 6pm. So during dinner I just had a couple of beers. We then went to the comedy show, it was good and then to the club and it was small but ok. Then some of the same thing on Friday. Got to be a little boring, looking at the same thing and same cold same smelling food. I began to wonder why all the food smell the same. So we lost our appetite. We couldn't understand why all the food had the same smell, witch made us feel sick. So we went to the cabin and ordered wings and a tuna sandwich. Tuna was very good but the wings had that smell! Once we got to Cozumel it was very nice but very short. We cruised so long to just have a few hour to enjoy Cozumel. Once we got back on the ship and began our way back the captain announced that we will be going threw so bad weather. So starting at about 7:30pm Saturday it started raining. We did go to the captains' dinner and we really enjoyed that and our waiter but couldn't eat the food for that smell again! But wife love the pictures. So much that she bought $200 worth. That knight the weather got really bad. We found ourselves being thrown around the cabin like rag dolls for over 18 hours. We were going threw 25 foot seas. We were asked to stay in our cabins as the ship was just tossed around like a toy for hours. Keep in mind our cabin was on the 4th floor called the Riveara and we was in the second cabin from the front of the ship. It was so bad the crew said they were sick and never been threw anything like that. Then came a knock at our cabin door. The crew needed to close the port holes. That really made us very uncomfortable. I tried my best to keep my wife calm do to her really bad fear of water but feeling the ship being tossed around and hearing the loud banging from the rough seas, I began to wonder if our first cruise would be the last thing in life. But finally after 7pm Sunday we made it threw the storm. Just to tell you a little about me its my job to know about weather. I know that by taking the path we took back kept us in what you would call the training affect of the storm, had we went a little further west, it wound not have lasted so long, because we still was 4 hours and 15min. late. But we made it. Thank GOD! But by us arriving 4 hours late all the passengers had to go to the upper decks so the crew can start getting ready for the next crew of passengers. Now here is the grand finally. Just as we started to dock the captain had to turn the ship around to port. He must have forgot all the passengers that were wait to get off where up top and he turned to fast. That's when the ship began to capsize to one side, all the dishes, furniture, and passengers flew to the right side of the ship. Even people who said this was their 16th and some 30th cruise, said these things have never happen on any cruise they have ever been on. It was just our luck that our very first time would have to be like that. Hope they at least kept one of those pictures pictures that my wife didn't buy. Because that's the first and last time they will ever se us. By the way we eat out everyday at different places, so we know good food when we eat it. That was not it! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We sailed January 4, 2016 to January 9, 2016. Due to reading too many reviews and spending too much time on research (LOL), I was extremely nervous about whether we would enjoy this cruise. All my fears were put to rest within an hour ... Read More
We sailed January 4, 2016 to January 9, 2016. Due to reading too many reviews and spending too much time on research (LOL), I was extremely nervous about whether we would enjoy this cruise. All my fears were put to rest within an hour or so of being on the ship. Yes, the Elation is an older ship. However, it is kept extremely clean and is very well taken care of. I was very impressed with how it presented itself. The public areas were fun and visual interesting. It was fun to explore and to see the theme of the boat carried throughout each bar, lounge and restaurant. It is glitzy and gaudy and wonderful! We were offered an upgrade from a junior suite to a grand suite about a month before the cruise. We took the upgrade and were very pleased with the space that we had and the layout of the suite. We enjoyed the balcony but for such short amounts of time that it was probably unnecessary for us. We did not stay in our cabin for more time than it took to sleep, shower and take quick breaks during the day. We will do a cabin with a window in the future. There is so much to do! From exploring the ship to the nightly entertainment - you should not find yourself easily bored. The two comedians that were on our cruise were both very good. We also enjoyed the music productions that they provided. There were games and trivia in the different bar and public areas throughout the day. You could just walk by and get reeled in which was fun. Setting on deck and taking in the view (whether the sky and ocean or people watching) was wonderful entertainment. The service team were absolutely fantastic. Most learned your name early on the cruise (and what drink you preferred). However, there were two that stood out for us. Raymond was our steward and we could not have asked for a nicer or more attentive person. He was easy to talk with and he told us about his background and family which was interesting. Oliver worked the Drama Bar and was funny and entertaining every time we stopped by there. He also made a very good drink which most of the bartenders did. I regret having to mention this topic but feel I need to in order to give an honest review. The food - it was not terrible and I would say that most everyone should be able to find something they like with all of the different selections. However, many of the options looked so appealing and made you want to try them but once you did they were lacking in flavor and not worth eating. Due to this, we did the buffet areas for most of our meals. The salad bar, hamburgers, chicken tenders and sandwiches from the deli made up most of our cuisine while we were on the cruise. You will not go hungry. Overall, we had a wonderful time and will be cruising again with Carnival in the future! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2016
This was our first ever ocean cruise. We'd been talking about trying cruising for a few years but done nothing about it until a special birthday. We are normally independent travellers so we weren't sure that cruise life would ... Read More
This was our first ever ocean cruise. We'd been talking about trying cruising for a few years but done nothing about it until a special birthday. We are normally independent travellers so we weren't sure that cruise life would be for us. I did quite a lot of research beforehand. We were looking for somewhere warmer than the UK (not difficult!), not too expensive and with not too many rules. Western Caribbean seemed to have a good mixture of ports; we liked the idea of NCL's freestyle approach; and the Dawn was in our price range - we even upgraded at the last minute. The Dawn is not a "smart" ship but it was clean and comfortable. For those who might get the reference it was more 1980s Manchester hotel than 21st century luxury. But we are happy with more modest styling and it's the other things that count. We had none of the problems with staff or logistics that other people report. We found all the staff (except our room steward) to be friendly and very helpful. We are vegetarian which was one of the things we were a little anxious about. The buffet food in the Garden Cafe - where we had breakfasts and lunch on sea days - was varied and plentiful. We really enjoyed eating by the pool every day. The speciality restaurants were just too meat-focused for us and we were disappointed that the menu at the Aqua and Venetian restaurants were identical. We talked to the maitre d's on the first two evenings - and the executive chef as well - about how we could get more vegetarian variety into the offering so that we had a comparable experience to everyone else. Their response was that the only vegetarians they get on the ship are Indian and are happy with Indian food every night. We weren't very impressed by this and we felt we had to work very hard at explaining what a good vegetarian offering might look like. By the end we looked at the menus the day before and made suggestions regarding how they could adapt standard menu items for vegetarians. It worked well and, despite a couple of mis-communications (e.g. giving us double the starters we wanted), we were happy - but it was laborious. We loved the entertainment offerings. Not so much the big shows in the theatre - we only went to one. But the musical performers in each of the bars were all fantastic. We really enjoyed the showband's New Orleans evening, and several of the sets from the Into the Drift duo, but our favourite was Taylor on the piano ranging from light classics through pop and MOR stuff. They were all performing to a very high standard. We also really appreciated that none of the bar staff pressurised us to have drinks if we didn't want to. On sea days - when we were blessed with very warm weather, there was never any problem finding a chair where we wanted on deck. And for an alternative we could sit on our balcony if we wanted a bit of privacy. We enjoyed the first day Mayan lecture and the last day talk about the ship - we'd have been happy with a couple more of these kind of talks. We also went to one of the art talks. We enjoyed the library and the daily quiz sheets. Internet access was pretty important to me and the quality using my own laptop in the internet cafe was very poor - and very expensive. We did not book any excursions through the ship. They all looked too expensive and/or too little flexibility. We did a combination of taking taxis to places we wanted to go; one all day excursion we booked independently (Belize to Lamanai) and one private tour (on Roatan - still cheaper than the ship excursions). We loved the cabin - see separate review. We also loved the mixture of fellow passengers. We didn't realise quite how much this ship appeals to people from the southern USA but we enjoyed the relaxed approach to life that most had and enjoyed our chats. We were also lucky with the demographic - neither full of young families which the Christmas and New Year cruises had, nor an older crowd which the following week would have been. It seemed like a real mixture of ages which was great. Embarkation was quite slow - long queues - but once we got our keycard getting on board was quick and our bags arrived by early evening. We stayed in New Orleans for three days before the cruise and I would strongly recommend this to any out-of-towners. On embarkation day there was still plenty of time for a last beignet at Cafe du Monde. Disembarkation was even easier. We chose "Easy Walk Off" which meant we could keep our bags with us and pack them in the morning. We still needed to get out of the room by 9.00 but relaxed in the bar until we wanted to disembark. All in all we enjoyed every moment and have started looking for our cruise number 2. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
My wife and I worked for the airlines our whole life and thought that we had no reason to take a Cruise - at the prodding of my brother with the kids off somewhere else and the dog dead over Christmas we took this cruise. After reading ... Read More
My wife and I worked for the airlines our whole life and thought that we had no reason to take a Cruise - at the prodding of my brother with the kids off somewhere else and the dog dead over Christmas we took this cruise. After reading some of the reviews on this site about the Elation I was worried about my choice. We had the time of our lives - great entertainment - great food - Serenity deck was just FAB. Ports of call were great. The staff are just the hardest working travel professionals you could ask for. I did not have to cook - I did not need a designated driver - music everywhere you wanted or not. Taste bar was fun. Paul the Cruise director was a real pro who knew had to keep everyone smiling. The ship was full full full but never had to wait in line or wait for service for any time. No problem getting a deck chair - the spa was great. If you are reading bad reviews about this ship there are just alot of half glass empty people out there. Biggest complaint one day my french toast was cold. For the price I can live with that. Read Less

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