January 2015 - Norwegian Dawn to Caribbean - Western
After not taking a cruise in 15yrs boy have things changed. So having said that my experience on the Dawn was a good one. We had done some reading and research and waded through what reviews of this ship and crew we could find and most were hit and miss. so going in, since it had been so long since my last cruise I went in with an open mind and no expectations. First and foremost the ship was very clean, nowhere did we find anything out of place or left unattended. Our room was clean and big enough for us (MB mini suite) and we enjoyed the balcony. Our cabin steward Jerome was friendly enough but not as attentive as ones from prior cruises. They seem to be more maids than attendants. My only request of him was to keep my ice bucket full which happened about 50% of the time. But he did a good job on keeping the room clean but was a little slow with swapping used pool towels for new ones. I'd give him a B+. We mostly frequented the Pearly Kings pub where bartender Erickson(i think) and waiter Dejean were fabulous. They called me by name and they always knew what i wanted. We liked the lounge at Gatsby's as well. It was comfortable and a nice place to sit while waiting for dinner with some pretty good music. We went to the Star bar once and couldnt get out of there fast enough it was very stiff and boring. We also spent some time in the spinnaker lounge and found it to be very relaxing and a fun place. Loved the view from the Bimini Bar and Grill. Its a great place to sit and scope out the goings on around the pool and outer areas. As for entertainment we didnt see all the shows but we did catch BOTR and found that enjoyable with some decent singers and dancers. Now for the part everyone goes on a cruise for..The food..Let me put it to you this way. If you go hungry on the Dawn..Thats your fault..We ate at Teppenyaki the first night and if you are thinking of eating there do it early like first or second night because it fills up fast. The food was good and plentiful and the 2 chef/artists were enjoyable. I have eaten at a japanese style steakhouse before and this was very similar. it's not Benehana's but its enjoyable and not a disappointment. The 2nd night we ate at Cagney's it was my birthday so we splurged. Again the food was well prepared and flavorful the only hiccup was i ordered my steak rare plus and the poor filipina waitress looked at me like i was speaking chinese. After explaining to her what that was and wondering if she understood the rest of the meal was fabulous and yes the boys in the kitchen got it right. The rest of the cruise we either ate at the Garden buffet which is typical cafeteria style food and at least for breakfast the options dont change much. but its nice and at your leisure and again..I didnt go away hungry. We chose Aqua over Venetian because they have a little looser dress code. The food was good similar to what i remembered from prior cruises and we didnt have a bad meal. You want 2 or 3 appetizers no problem, 2 entrees by all means, all in all we never had a bad meal the entire cruise.Where the Dawn is lacking is in its service. Most of the waiters/waitresses are young and either filipino or indian and their grasp of the english language can be somewhat well interesting. My sense is that because the Dawn is older and smaller it is where most of the younger less experienced wait staff start. They are by no means lazy they just havent caught the gist of what service should be. I did see the Maitre' D or dining captain in the room all times we ate there but never once did he come and ask how are meal was. He seemed like he had his hands full keeping his staff organized. We also opted out of Norwegians service charge and elected to tip for services with cash and as we saw fit.Having said all I have and if you are still reading our experience was a good one..we had fun. we ate.we drank We met some cool people and even made some new friends. If you want a nice casual cruise then the Dawn to the western caribbean is a good place to start. would I sail Norwegian again?. NO!!!!! but that has more to do with corporate sales than with the Dawn.