January 2016 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (New Orleans Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Dawn
Having read many scathing reviews. we began with very very low expectations. Contrary to the reviews, our cabin Steward was excellent. We needed little and got whatever we wanted, quickly, with a smile. He greeted us by name when we passed in the hall and was always upbeat.
We consider ourselves "Foodies" and have no connection with Norwegian, Spirit or any travel agency. So consider this review unbiased. We had low expectations and were blown away by the awful reviews and actually had a great experience. We will sail with Norwegian again.
The buffet was better than Golden Corral with offerings to please anyone. The Tepanyakki was good, almost too much food. The Bistro was good, not great. and Brazillian steak house-a new experience for us- was good (not great) and,again, too much food.
Our favorite meal was in The Venitian, a papparadelli pasta with duck ragu. OUTSTANDING. We preferred the Venitian ( window views and larger room ) to the Aqua, but same menu. Several Daily Specials to choose from and a full menu of choices that should fill anyone's taste. Bamboo is also a "free choice" and we enjoyed it as well.
We took four bottles of wine, paid the corkage fee at the terminal check in and it was a breeze. Bring it to the first restaurant and they give you a tag (much like a Valet or Coat check) and it will be promptly delivered to you up after presenting the small "receipt card" to your waiter at your next restaurant choice.
As far as excursions, we did not take the ship's excursions ($$$$) At each port we did our own thing and hired a taxi to show us the sites. Cost effective and about half what it would have cost with Norwegian. We enloy stopping at a grocery the locals frequent at found vanilla for $1.50 vs $5.00 in tourist shops.Our favorite was at Costa Maya. We took the $3 ea trollu to town where it was less commercial. Local shops and vendors. HIGHLY recommend The Krazy Lobster. get a free mini margarita, We had massages on their beach. 30 min each for a total of $25- ( barter with them on the price!) and then a grilled lobster lunch and margaritas. Perfect low price indulgence.
The ship entertainment was FANTASTIC ! The Vegas style shows wer superb. The couple aerialists/ballet were phenominal. And Second City Comedy (several different shows) was side splitting. The entertainment was worth nearly the price of the cruise.
The staff was always friendly, helpful and encouraging. We found NONE of the negativity that we read prior to cruising. Our Norwegian experience was excellent. The ONLY drawback for us was our own fault (Casino, Bingo, Slot, Blackjack and Poker tournaments...) If you write those off to "the price of entertainment" you'll have a BLAST !
Oh... and we both wore patches and found them unnecessary and did not replace after 3rd day. I just took Dramamine ( as a precaution) before bedtime and was fine the rest of the cruise. Even with a HUGE storm the last night. NO PROB ! (
GO FOR IT ! The price is right and you WILL be pleased.
Beve and Chat (Johns Creek / Metro Atlanta)