October 2016 - Norwegian Dawn to Caribbean
We sailed in late October on the newly refurbished Norwegian Dawn. The ship is very beautiful in all areas except for the absolutely hideous artwork in the Venetian main dining room. The paintings look like members of a rival cruise line snuck on board and defaced the original art the night before she was to be released out of dry dock and put back into service, before the artwork could be replaced.....Seriously, you would have to book a cruise on the Dawn to see that I am not exaggerating.
That aside, We had a wonderful time and the cruise itself was a great value and the ship had an above average itinerary. We got in Boston and had no problems. It went fast and smooth.
We were at sea for the first 4 days and had some rough seas in the North Atlantic for a couple of days, but that is to be expected for that time of year.
Our first stop was San Juan and we have been there before. The ships dock close to downtown in old San Juan and you can take a free trolley to see all of the sites near the ship. You can hop on and off anytime and it costs nothing. We went to the Fort and the Castle and then into Old San Juan for some shopping.
We then stopped at 3 of the best islands to see in the Southern Caribbean. They were Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire. They are all 3 owned by the Netherlands and they are all very clean safe ports to visit.
We then sailed to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, where we went for a day at the beach and had a great time, followed by Grand Cayman, where we took a city tour, and then we sailed to Cozumel, Mexico where we took a glass bottom boat to the reefs off the island. We saw an amazing amount of sea life at the reef. This was well worth the money.
We then sailed to New Orleans where we got off the ship.
We had cabin 5528 Port side (left)Ocean view. We had 4 of us in this cabin for two weeks and we made it just fine. Myself, my wife , our daughter and our 4yr. old granddaughter. The granddaughter slept in the pulldown bunk with her mother and we folded the bed against the wall during the day so we had the normal amount of room during the day. we put the suitcases under the bed by putting the largest one open with the next sizes inside that one etc. Works well if you have one very large one. We had an excellent room steward named Tommy. He was from Indonesia and out of 20 cruises he was as good as we have ever had.
Our only low breath grumble was the food, and I say low breath because we ate good every single day, but the main dining room menus were hit and miss for us. This may just be a matter of taste, but we ate many meals in the Garden Buffet at night and on many occasions I believe the food was a better choice than what we saw on the MDR menu. I would go down to the MDR and take a cell phone photo, bring it back to the room and we would study it and decide if we wanted to try it or head to the Buffet. 6 nights out of 14 we headed to the buffet and out of 19 previous cruises I have never eaten at the ships buffet at night. The combination of the two options for us, up on 12 buffet or down in the MDR on 7 we never had a bad meal. One of our dining attendants in the garden Buffet was Mr. Jose Alvarez. He took extra time to carry on with our 4 yr. old granddaughter and made her smile every night. He made buffet dining an enjoyable experience for her as well as the rest of us.
The Shows and music on the ship were tops. there was always something to do or go to see on the ship.
I have two more cruises booked with Norwegian and I have never had a bad experience sailing with this line. They are like any business, They do there best and most of their people will bend over backwards to resolve any issues that may arise. I am Platinum with Carnival and by the end May 2017 I will be Platinum with Norwegian. For us it boils down now to the price and the duration and where they sail to. All in all I give Norwegian a 4 1/2 star rating. Food and the bump in the Gratuity charges to $13.50 a day per person including for a 4 yr. old is what kept them out of 5 star territory.