Sail Date: March 2019
The overall trip was pretty good. We've cruised before with NCL on the Escape and it was fantastic. The Ship is small and everything seemed to be well laid out. Spent most of our time mid-ship and forward. I think the reason we ... Read More
The overall trip was pretty good. We've cruised before with NCL on the Escape and it was fantastic. The Ship is small and everything seemed to be well laid out. Spent most of our time mid-ship and forward. I think the reason we didn't get to everything on the ship was simply due to the number of ports visited. This was a 5 port trip, so we were busy off the ship most of the time. The ports were great and the excursions were really cool. Food was really good in most of the areas, but I've never tasted a worse filet mignon than what I had in the Brazilian steakhouse. Cagney's steakhouse made up for it though. That was a fantastic supper! Our waiter Ray was on top of it and I'd cruise with that guy anytime. My only complaint is that I had a balcony room that I paid for and couldn't use. The smokers next door were in their room all the time and the only time we got some relief was late at night when we were moving and we could open the door and air out our cabin. The smoke was so bad that our clothing smelled like a used cigarette when we got home. The staff was told repeatedly and I know they were confronted at least twice, but it didn't do any good at all. NCL should have thrown them off the ship and charged them a lot of $$ for violating the no smoking policy in the rooms. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose to sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico in order to see the southern islands not normally available from the Florida ports. First off, the experience of boarding from San Juan was phenomenal. From the time we were dropped off, to the ... Read More
We chose to sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico in order to see the southern islands not normally available from the Florida ports. First off, the experience of boarding from San Juan was phenomenal. From the time we were dropped off, to the time we were on the ship took 25 minutes! Also, a small note that LYFT is not available in Puerto Rico so Uber or a taxi from Condado to the port was $22 for 4 people. We had sailed on the Dawn to Bermuda before so we were familiar with the ship. I prefer this size to the larger ships (getaway, breakaway) but there is not as many activities for kids on the Dawn and the pool is fairly small. Apart from that, we love the ship. The theater is easily big enough to accommodate the entire passenger size and you do not need to reserve a time to see any show. We particularly enjoyed the acrobats and the "Elements" show which featured the entire entertainment team. I will say that I was not that impressed with the singing and the Soul Rocking Nights was a broadway-stylized rock show and not very good. The islands we saw were St.Lucia- excellent, Barbados- good, Antigua- okay, St. Thomas- excellent, and Tortola-okay. The food is always good on the Dawn and I recommend the Venetian over Aqua for free dining. One thing I wish Norwegian would change is O'Shanihans which is dated and a limited menu. The cruise entertainment staff was very good including cruise director Richard and assistant Luz. I also enjoyed activities run by Mona and Samia. Overall, this was my fourth cruise on Norwegian and I am looking forward to the next one. Read Less
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Sail Date: March 2019
We had a Mini-Suite underneath the Garden Cafe. Fortunately the noise was not too intrusive. The food in the Garden Cafe was inedible. The coffee was gut renching. The concept of "Freestyle Dining" was misunderstood by me. ... Read More
We had a Mini-Suite underneath the Garden Cafe. Fortunately the noise was not too intrusive. The food in the Garden Cafe was inedible. The coffee was gut renching. The concept of "Freestyle Dining" was misunderstood by me. We did not realize that we had to "plan out our dining choices for the week". I was under the impression that "freestyle dining" meant that we could choose a specialty restaurant on the same day or on the fly. which we found out was totally not true. All of the specialty restaurants were Booked prior to the ship setting sail! What a huge disappointment! The food in the main dining rooms were average. Overall, the service was superb. The staff in the restaurants, cabin steward Jefferson Dulay, was exceptional. Our favorite shore excursion, Dancing Dolphin catamaran trip from St. Thomas to St. John was excellent. Val, Jason and Brandon were absolutely wonderful. The best shore excursion by far. We hired a taxi in St. Johns Antigua. Derrick was fantastic. The 2 hour tour was awesome. He took his time with each site and it did not feel as though you were sitting in a van looking out the windows. He made numerous stops and we got out to explore each stop. The taxi broke down on the way back and he made sure we were well taken care of in very little down time. Would hire him again for sure. Richard, the Cruise Director made each event we attended very enjoyable. He has a lot of energy! Ian, the dining manager made sure the dining room staff were efficient and kept things running smoothly. He was excellent! In spite of the things mentioned above, it was an overall enjoyable and relaxing trip. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Our recent southern Caribbean Cruise on the Norwegian Dawn was overall good thou some improvements are needed. The food and service was good in the Venetian Dining room with exceptional hostesses and staff. The food portions appear to be ... Read More
Our recent southern Caribbean Cruise on the Norwegian Dawn was overall good thou some improvements are needed. The food and service was good in the Venetian Dining room with exceptional hostesses and staff. The food portions appear to be smaller than on our previous three cruises. The registration process to get on the ship in San Juan was a massive confusing experience which made us feel less than the experienced cruisers we are. The facility needs updating and repairing from the previous hurricane. Viewing torn off roof segments and rusting super structure from the ship diminished our embarking. The two specialty restaurants are now ala carte for meals that were not worth the extra full price charge. Both restaurants had wait staff acting as sommeliers but the could not open a bottle or decant the wine except without our guidance. Cigarette smoke came out from the casino area in a nearby bar lounge which made it very unpleasant to seat there. The variety of the shows was very good.The entertainment volume of the shows was very high. NCL has lost of step of cruising quality and service that need some attention. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise largely because of the southern Caribbean itinerary, the ports (a couple of which we had not visited previously), only one sea day, and the fact that we have sailed on Norwegian four times prior and have thoroughly ... Read More
We chose this cruise largely because of the southern Caribbean itinerary, the ports (a couple of which we had not visited previously), only one sea day, and the fact that we have sailed on Norwegian four times prior and have thoroughly enjoyed it. The embarkation process in San Juan was really quick and easy and we were on board in less than 20 minutes. The lifeboat drill occurred literally as we walked on, which was somewhat annoying after a long travel day (we wanted a drink!), but in hindsight, it was nice to get that box checked right away and to get our vacation started. We booked late so balcony was unavailable, but our picture window cabin on Deck 5 was perfectly fine. It turned out to be a good location to get around the ship but also was really close to the gangway on port days which was great. We spend very little time in our cabin, so we dont spend a lot of time critiquing that part of the trip. Contrary to other reviews, we found the food and service to be very good. We ate at O'Sheehan's, The Venetian, the buffet, La Cucina, Moderno and Los Lobos and liked it all. Best meal of the week was La Cucina. Only real critique of the buffet (they are what they are) is food temperature was not great on everything and the desserts are lacking. Ports were awesome. ranked in order of favorites were 1) St Thomas (Water Island), ST. Kitts, St Maarten, Antigua, Barbados. Service throughout the ship was very good - we had wonderful experiences with bar service on the pool deck and the Atrium bar area. Only service complaint was bar service at Bimini Bar - bartenders seemed to ONLY focus on the crowd that spent the entire week up there and service to occasional visitors was second rate. REALLY enjoyed the music of Patty and Jose in the Atrium each night - great music and engagement with the crowd and we met some really fun people. We booked late and got a deal that included three choices of "extras" - we chose drink package, three nights of specialty dining and partial airfare. As a result, we felt the cruise was a great value and appreciated the freedom of the fact that almost everything was prepaid. To sum up our satisfaction with the cruise and Norwegian, we purchased Cruisenext credits and are already thinking about our next sailing! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Our good friends picked the Norwegian Dawn for a Caribbean cruise leaving from San Juan. I thought Norwegian was a good name and all their boats would be up to snuff, but stay away from this one! We may try another Norwegian cruise, but I ... Read More
Our good friends picked the Norwegian Dawn for a Caribbean cruise leaving from San Juan. I thought Norwegian was a good name and all their boats would be up to snuff, but stay away from this one! We may try another Norwegian cruise, but I would recommend a newer boat and hopefully the shows, food, spa services, and boat condition will be much better. One of the biggest disappointments was the expensive Midship Balcony Cabin. The bathroom flooded into the stateroom, the drapes had holes and slashes in them, worked on areas were left uncovered, and the balcony had so much rust everywhere you looked. In addition, my wife had aterriblw experience from the expensive Spa services and had to be treated in the Ship's Hospital twice. Whatever you decide to do in cruising I have learned my lesson about taking an older ship. I just hope if we ever take another Norwegian cruise the ship will be newer and everything else will be better as well. This was my sixth cruise and first on Norwegian and at least on the Norwegian Dawn I would rate it much lower than any of the other cruise lines we have taken for room, entertainment, food, and other services. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We have cruised with Carnival for many years and they don't have many perks for long time cruisers so we decided to try NCL. So glad we did. The trip was awesome. We had a mini suite with balcony which was pretty spacious for 2 ... Read More
We have cruised with Carnival for many years and they don't have many perks for long time cruisers so we decided to try NCL. So glad we did. The trip was awesome. We had a mini suite with balcony which was pretty spacious for 2 people. The bathroom was a little small with counter space but the tub/shower was great . No water on the floor. We left out of San Juan to Barbados, Antigua, st. Marten, st Kitts and St. Thomas. The staff was awesome . The food was great. The casino was a little cramped and would ha e liked a few more .25 machines. Embarkation and debarkation went smoothly. On and off within 1/2 hour. Even going ashore no lines leaving or returning to ship. Needless to say I will cruise NCL again.i am done with carnival. Our room steward was awesome we would leave and come back 1/2 later and room was done it was like he was hiding in the corner and knew we would be gone. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The pluses: staff were excellent except for a few who did their jobs but seemed reluctant. Cabin was good-like the location closer to aft on deck 10. The disappointments: no outside eating area especially for breakfast. Maybe it was ... Read More
The pluses: staff were excellent except for a few who did their jobs but seemed reluctant. Cabin was good-like the location closer to aft on deck 10. The disappointments: no outside eating area especially for breakfast. Maybe it was just our cruise and the crowd, but by 10:30 it seemed everyone was in bed. The piano player and duet were talented entertainers but were done by 10 although the daily said "8:45 to close". I guess close is 10. The service in the specialty restaurants seems to be "get them out quick". While this might suit some, we prefer to dine a bit more leisurely. Nothing frustrates me more than my second course arriving while my first course is only 1/2 done. Or my wine arriving when I'm almost finished my meal. We learned to eat a bit later and to tell the server how we wanted our meal paced. We felt much more rushed than on the Jade or Breakaway. The location of Bistro and La Cucina is right outside the cigar lounge which opens to the inside. You knew you were getting close when the cigar/cigarette smoke smell greeted you. As well, the piano lounge is there. Bistro at least has a door, but when it opens the restaurant music competes with the piano player - very distracting. La Cucina is open to the lounge, and one evening we were accompanied by several audience members singing along. Good for them, but not for us. The ports were excellent and we had a good time, but we won't be on the Dawn again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We really enjoyed the cruise. Normally we prefer the larger “fun” ships with NCL such as the Epic, Getaway and Escape but with five ports of call and only one day at sea it really didn’t matter not having the waterslides and other ... Read More
We really enjoyed the cruise. Normally we prefer the larger “fun” ships with NCL such as the Epic, Getaway and Escape but with five ports of call and only one day at sea it really didn’t matter not having the waterslides and other activities found only on these ships. Some (negative) general comments first. Although we still enjoy cruising with NCL, we have noticed increasing costs and certain cuts since we first started with them 6 years ago. Perhaps they are just following a trend in the industry but the changes have been noticeable. Some examples: - Adding a room service fee, first for overnight orders and now at all times. - Not allowing people to bring food to their room (thankfully that ended very quickly when it was announced!) - Not allowing people to bring non-alcoholic beverages on board. - Charging extra for certain dishes in the main dining rooms (looks like this was stopped) - Sharp increases in the cost of their drinks as compared to bars/restaurants on land. A couple of years ago they had these “premium” drinks such as a Dark and Stormy for $18 as compared to $12 for other drinks. These prices were not on the menu on this cruise. - Less interesting options at the buffet during theme nights. They had crab legs in the main buffet on our first cruise on the Epic. - Charging $2 more for the same volume of Heineken in a draft at O’Sheehan’s than what you get in the bottle. Both the glasses they use as well as the bottles are 12 oz. You can buy both! Maybe it is just me but I would have assumed a pint class would be used at a pub. I think it is important for passengers to provide their feedback, both positive and negative, directly to NCL for these and any other items you want to bring up. I normally do after each cruise! Now moving on! Itinerary - We started with one day at sea, followed by stops in Barbados, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. - We would have preferred having the sea day on our last day of cruising. Would have been a great way to relax after getting off the ship five days in a row. However, I think this would require reversing the order of the stops as Barbados is the furthest destination. The ship - As I mentioned earlier, the ship is smaller and doesn’t have the water slides, rope courses, climbing wall, large sports deck (though it does have a smaller one), etc that you will find on some of their bigger ships . - Some of the areas (such as the theater and main restaurants) were really cold, more so than I would normally expect on a cruise ship. It was mentioned by a number of other travellers we spoke with too. I would suggest bringing a shawl, light jacket, long sleeve shirts, etc. The theatre was probably the worst. Getting on and off the ship - Embarkation went smoothly. We boarded between 1:00 and 1:30, with our cabin being available within an hour or so. - Our cabin was on deck 5 which made if very convenient to get on and off the ship from deck 4 at each port of call. - Disembarkation was really easy and stress free. We used the self assist option so we were able to keep our bags with us overnight as opposed to leaving them out by 11 pm the night before. One major difference here with self assist is that we didn’t need to rush off the boat early as we have experienced on the Epic, Getaway and Escape when using this option. Transfers between the airport and the Pan American Pier - We spent the night in Isla Verde before the cruise and used an UberXL to get there for around $14. In general, Uber is an inexpensive and convenient way to travel around San Juan. - On the day you disembark, you have multiple options for the airport when you exit the terminal. - NCL’s is probably the most expensive of them all and I would not recommend it. - When you first leave the terminal, there will be a series of private shuttles charging $10 per person. They will also wait until they feel they have enough passengers. I would also suggest that you skip this option. - If you walk a little further, maybe 40 feet, you will find the regular taxi line. Fares are regulated and costs $21 plus $1 per piece of luggage to the airport. You will first speak to a dispatcher who will provide you with a paper confirming the cost. On our day, there was an exception where they were adding an extra $3.50 because the usual route to the airport was closed due to construction. - It does appear that Uber is an option but the fares at the time were similar and involved a bit of wait before a car could arrive. Cabin - We were on deck 5 with a window. Note, on deck 4 the windows are portholes. - We were three, 2 adults and a child. There is a bunk bed that folds out from the wall. I don’t see how a second child could be accommodated in this cabin as there is no convertible sofa or anything and little to no room for an extra cot. - There are plenty of drawers (6) as well as some shelves in the closet. However, we still found it useful having brought magnetic hooks as well as some extra hangers. Food - We find the food at the complimentary restaurants to be more than sufficient for us so we don’t typically eat at any of the speciality options. - Of the two main dining rooms, we preferred Aqua over the Venetian. This has nothing to do with the food since they have the same menu but rather we found the service to be faster. Not sure if this has anything to do with the fact it is smaller. - The food at O’Sheehan’s was excellent. - The food is also excellent at Bamboo but reservations are required if not at least recommended. - We had supper one night at the buffet. It was ok but it is not as good as we experienced six years ago when we first started cruising on NCL. The theme nights and associated options just seemed better back then to be honest. - There is room service but NCL charges a convenience fee of close to $8 per order. When we first started cruising with them, there was no fee. Then they added one for overnight orders which looks like they have extended to all hours. Bars – pay attention to the glass size used for drafts at O’Sheehan’s - Didn’t really hang out at any of the bars on this trip but we did have supper one night at O’Sheehan’s, where the food is very good and is complimentary. - They only had two beers on tap, one of them Heineken. I would have expected more at a pub to be honest. - Note, they are serving their draft beer in 12 oz glasses, not 16 oz (pints) that you would normally be accustomed to at a pub. You can also order Heineken in 12 oz bottles. - For some reason, the same size in a draft costs $2 more than the bottle. The reasoning provided was that the quality is better with the draft something that I don’t agree with when it comes to beers like Heineken. I wished I had noticed the size before ordering the draft. Activities - The fitness centre is more spacious on the Dawn as compared to the bigger ships. You don’t have that cramped feeling. - The jogging track is on deck 13 and also has less traffic than what I am accustomed to on the Getaway and Escape. - On deck 7, you can walk, not run, along the promenade all the way around the ship. - For the first time we played shuffleboard. Our child was really into it and became his new ping pong obsession/replacement while onboard. There are two on deck 7 and one on deck 13. - Speaking of ping pong, there are two tables on deck 13 near the sports deck. However, they are in a spot that receives a lot of wind when the ship is moving so it really affects the ball. Pool, hot tubs and chairs - There is one pool and four hot tubs on deck 12. There is an additional hot tub at the front of the ship on deck 13. - The kids’ area at the back of the ship has another hot tub as well. - We didn’t have any problems finding chairs either in the sun or in the shade during our one sea day. Entertainment - The production shows are not at the same level as the ones we’ve experienced on the Epic, Getaway and Escape. If you are expecting something similar then you will be disappointed. - The comedian on the other hand was fantastic. He had two nights of shows in the main theatre, one family friendly and one 18+ and both were great. There is no separate comedy club having nightly shows. Splash Academy – Kids club - There weren’t as many children on this cruise and consequently not many using Splash Academy, including ours. - The staff members were really friendly and trying to get children involved but I can see how with few other kids around at the kids club, your child may not want to spend much time there. - Luckily, ours was meeting people on the sports deck and playing with them after getting back on board at the end of the day. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Planned this cruise about a year out based on some friends that were going to be onboard with us. They didn't end up making it but we still decided to go based on the itinerary. We flew into San Juan 3 days before the cruise and we ... Read More
Planned this cruise about a year out based on some friends that were going to be onboard with us. They didn't end up making it but we still decided to go based on the itinerary. We flew into San Juan 3 days before the cruise and we were able to enjoy the island before getting to the ship. Glad we did, because this time of year is known for bad weather. We were also informed on the first and only sea day that some had missed the ship in PR because of the weather delays and were having to catch the ship in Barbados. One more reason why I would never recommend flying on the same day. On embarkation day, I will say this is the smoothest and quickest that I have ever boarded a cruise. We arrived at the port about 20 minutes before our scheduled 12:00 boarding. Waited just a few minutes to drop off our bags and then through security. Once inside, we were immediately waited on to get our room keys and then proceeded directly upstairs. Past cruises we have had to wait to be called in groups. Not so this time as we boarded the ship immediately. We were onboard before noon and even had to wait for the Venetian dinning room to open for lunch. They made several announcements that rooms would be ready between 2-2:30, however, I think they actually had them ready right at 2 which was great as we were able to get right in with little wait time. Now, for the ship itself and itinerary: - This is one of the smaller ships in the NCL fleet so it was not hard to get around. And crowds weren't as bad as they sometimes are on the bigger ships. - We had a balcony room on deck 10 and it was worth every bit of it. Small, but still plenty of room for what the two of us needed. Which was a place to sleep, shower, and relax for a little bit. - Richard Matic (cruise director) was everywhere. Him and his crew did an awesome job at bringing the entertainment. - With the exception of breakfast, NCL continues to impress me with the food. Either this ship didn't offer it, or NCL changed some recipes on breakfast. In the buffet, the omelets were too greasy, and the pancakes tasted like they had been sitting out way too long. Some other little things had also changed about the breakfast but overall, meals were fantastic. - Would have liked at least one more sea day on the back end or in the middle, as this was filled with 6 ports in the 7 days. - Antigua was probably one port that we could have done without. This was the one of two ports (St. Thomas) that we decided not to do an excursion on and I wish we would have. Not a whole lot to see or do on the island without an excursion. Also the poverty on the island was sad to see and that was just outside the port. Spoke with others that had done an island tour and they had said it only got worse the further away from St. Johns. - Other ports along the way were fantastic. Even while some were still recovering from the hurricanes, they still offered a lot. Overall, would go again on NCL. Would more than likely not go on the Dawn again unless it was the itinerary that I was looking for. I personally like the ships that are a little bigger and offer more to do. Read Less
Norwegian Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.5 0.0
Enrichment 2.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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