July 2016 - Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda
I'll start by saying I know there are a lot of bad reviews out there about the Dawn - rude crew, running out of booze, entertainment so-so and lots of problems with the toilets. I have read a lot of reviews from folks who were on the cruise my husband and I were on - and I have to say I find myself wondering if we were actually on the same ship.
I will say the bathroom issues were real - I don't think as bad as the first cruise post dry-dock, but definitely a thing, specially the ladies room by the Casino. In fact most of the problems I encountered seemed to be in that section of the ship.
This was our 4th cruise on Norwegian. After our first cruise on The Majesty back in May of 2005, we have cruised Norwegian, in large part because of the crew. The crew on the Dawn did not disappoint us. Everyone we encountered was friendly, smiled in greeting, went out of their way to learn our names and use them whenever they saw us. I did not encounter one rude crew member be it our room steward, other room stewards, bar tenders, wait staff, etc. I will agree that there were not enough wait staff on the pool deck. We sailed on the Majesty twice and used to joke that we had to hide from the wait staff on the pool deck. There were lines to get drinks at the bars, but they seemed to move quickly.
We thought the food was a lot better this cruise than the cruise we took last year. We were underwhelmed when we went in May of 2015. They did roll out a new menu on the Dawn, and I think it really showed. We ate in Cagney's on Sunday night. My petite fillet mignon was cooked medium rare; my husband's 8 oz was cooked rare - both were perfectly cooked - just on the wrong steak. They were quickly whisked away, along with our side dishes and remedied quickly. We also ate at Le Bistro (our favorite), Moderno and La Cuccina. La Cuccina was a bit of a disappointment as there was a large family birthday party going on while we were there - it was hard to hold a normal conversation. I will note that the food was top notch as was the service. We also ate in Aqua and the Venetian.
We were very impressed by Soozy the Cruise Director, and her staff. We never wanted for something to do.
We really enjoyed the shows, and felt that the production company should have had more shows as they were really very good. We loved their Broadway Cabaret - sadly it was in the Bliss Lounge and that was not big enough to accommodate everyone who tried to see the show. One young man (I wish I had his name) sang "Make Them Hear You" from Ragtime. He did an amazing job with that. Gil and Laure were astounding and Second City were really funny. We did not go to see David DaVinci as we saw him last year, and while I was impressed with him, I was worried that his act probably had not changed much in one year, Our favorite thing to do for entertainment was to go to Gatsby's to hear Allen and Ariel perform -both are very talented performers (and Ariel really does sound like Frank Sinatra. Close your eyes when he is doing his tribute set and you won't be able to tell the difference).
We did two wine tastings at The Cellar with Ricardo. Very informative and fun. We connected with some great people. Well worth the $20/pp fee.
Our cabin was on the 8th deck - not too far from O'Sheehans. I have read quite a few unfavorable comments about the service. Again, we had only attentive wait staff. Anyway, our cabin was adequate - our beds were made into a queen bed (actually felt bigger) and that took up most of the space. Once we figured out how to navigate around it to actually get into the bed, it wasn't bad. :-)
The ship looked a lot nicer post dry-dock - more subtle, sophisticated colors.
This was the very first vacation we have ever taken just the two of us, and it was the best vacation ever. We love Norwegian and put down a deposit on a future cruise before we left the ship.