March 2015 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (New Orleans Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Dawn
This was my second cruise with NCL during the past 6 months, and I loved it as much as I loved my first cruise on the NCL Sky. This was my boyfriend's first cruise ever, and he also had a blast. We are already hoping to take another NCL cruise soon. The ship is an older ship, but it is in very good shape. It is clean, well-kept, and there are lots of roomy public spaces to hang out. One of my personal favorite things--there are PLENTY of lounge chairs all over this ship! We never had to camp out to wait for one or deal with chair hogs. There were always plenty to go around, even on a full sailing. The cabin was kept clean and in great shape. Even though we were in an interior cabin, we had more than enough space to stowaway 3 suitcases and put away all of our things for the week. Nice shelving and closet built-in unit. The bath and shower area is roomy and clean, and the water gets really hot. I have heard some people on the reviews complain about the beds, so I was worried. However, I found the bed to be very comfortable--sometimes too comfortable as I easily slept until mid-morning on most days. I am not sure if maybe a foam pad was already placed on the bed or not... The carpets and public areas were cleaned with bleach frequently, which I really appreciate as a "germophobe." The food was great--not gourmet but a step above hotel banquet food. There was plenty of food to choose from, both at the complimentary restaurants and the speciality restaurants. We had great service, especially from Charles in The Venetian. The shows were fun and entertaining and The Second City was AWESOME! We went to all of their events, and I would book another cruise just to see them again. One downside related to the entertainment is that 3 of the biggest shows (Adult Second City Show, Broadway Show, and Aerial Show) were all scheduled for the final night of the cruise. It was pretty unrealistic to see all three, and I would have liked to see them all across the duration of the trip. Another downside was the the Adult Second City improv show was held in the Spinnaker Lounge, which is large but not large enough to accommodate the crowd. Lots of people had to stand in the back and, presumably because they were not close enough to be engaged with the show, were loud and a bit disruptive. I am not sure how to remedy this because I know cabaret seating like the Spinnaker is probably better for improv than the auditorium-style that is offered in the Stardust. Perhaps two adult shows (an early and a late) would help. The only other downside was that the staff members designated to sanitize people's hands before they entered the buffet were not always at their post. (They were ALWAYS there on the NCL Sky.) There were machines in their place, but many people do not use the spray machines on their own. Because germs spread so quickly on ships, I would like to see the staff working a bit harder to encourage people to sanitize. Other than that, everything was great! I can't wait to take another NCL cruise. We love the Freestyle concept. Our work is stressful, so we don't want to be worried about schedules and strict dress codes on vacation. There was plenty to do on the ship every day, and you also felt very free to relax. Perfect vacation. If you want more info. about our trip, feel free to visit www.whereversheroams.com for pictures and podcast episodes that we recorded on board. Please note that NCL had no clue we were doing this and we received no discounts or anything like that. We did it for fun, and it is totally our opinion.