Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas

Deck Hand

4-6 cruises


Helpful Vote

3 out of 5

Norwegian Dawn a Pleasant Surprise

Sail Date: July 08, 2006

Reviewed: 10 years ago

Traveled As: Singles/Friends

Room Type: Balcony

The ship is quite large, however, navigating the ship is difficult as it is very cut up-- in that you cannot walk through many areas to get to others. For instance the Aqua restaurant is accessed by level six-- if you're "fore" you have to walk outside and then in or up and over to access this restaurant. Many locations are difficult to get to and signage is not always clearly written for the average person to understand.

The ship's common areas are VERY WELL maintained. In fact they exceed that of Celebrity's Millenium and Holland America's Westerdam and Oosterdam ships which were refurbished in the last 2 years.

The ship's staterooms are very functional I purchased two different categories on this voyage and found that the veranda rooms had a larger bathroom than on other ships I've sailed, nice features-- The living areas are somewhat smaller as are the verandas than on comparable class ships.

The inside stateroom on the lower floor is like most inside rooms-- they are noisey--as they are surrounded by occupants on the back and two side walls. They also are very dark and their is not adequate lighting in these staterooms to read comfortably. I have found this to be the case on all lines not just NCL. The bathroom is quite large for an inside stateroom. Since many people place the kids in these rooms and stay across the hall there's varying degrees of evidence of children in these rooms-- i. e. crayon and pen marks, nail-polish or cosmetics stains on carpet etc. Since the rooms are dark-- they're not quite as noticeable.

The ship has an 80's Glitz to it however it is not offensively glitzy-- just a lot of brass and metal and bright tropical colors.

Pros: Friendly accommodating staff and PRICE!

Cons: layout of the ship

Ship Quality
The ship is large and spacious-- however, the layout is difficult to navigate fluidly and requires a little study before gaining your bearings. The overall cleanliness in the common areas is remarkable. The decor is tropical meets the 80's glitz but is not unattractive. It is well lit and comfortable.

The public areas including restrooms are continually cleaned and there is a clear emphasis on maintaining a level of cleanliness by all of the staff. It is not uncommon to see them shampooing carpets or vacuuming at any given hour of the day or night.

Public restrooms are well maintained we only encountered one that was of questionable cleanliness and it was near the children's area-- which leads me to believe that it had been recently "trashed." Unlike Holland America and Celebrity-- Paper towels are available in the public washrooms-- other cruise lines typically place linen or cloth hand towels in the bathrooms.
Food and Dining
NCL typically gets a bad mark for food. This is CLEARLY not the case. Having traveled Cunard, Celebrity, Holland America among others, NCL's food is certainly more than adequate for the average traveler. Specialty dining is available, however, up charges do apply to SOME restaurants. Don't be duped-- 80-% of the food comes from the same kitchens-- therefore preparation is nothing more or less than what you would find in the main dining room. Celebrity prides itself on their fine dining restaurant The Olympic and they provide white glove service with tableside preparation-- that's worth the up-charge. NCL's idea of a specialty restaurant is it focuses on a specialty food-- Sushi, Steakhouse, Italian or French-- The main dining room had wonderful selections and thus required no reason to spend money going to other restaurants. We did try the steak house and the bistro-- the food was well prepared like the other restaurants-- however-- it was not worth the up-charge.
Cabin / Stateroom
The decor is tropical-- almost disneyesque-- bright colors and lots of wood. The bathroooms are spacious and the rooms are a little on the small side. You cannot ask for better accommodations or room ammenities as they have more than adequate storage, Unlike Vista and Millenium class ships sailed on-- there was not the "odor" issues of waking to the smell of bacon at 3 a. m. and sauerkraut at 4pm--etc. The "dial" status indicator on the door lets the stateroom attendant your status-- Make up Room, Turn Down Bed, Welcome or Do Not Disturb-- With freestyle dining-- they don't know when you go to dinner. This is a great tool and I wish all ships had it. The corridors are quite narrow in some areas and with most American's being on the larger side-- traversing the halls can be difficult in some areas. The thermostats are great for keeping the right room temp-- and the condition of the stateroom was average for most ships this age and size.
The standard fare for the masses. Everything from the silly to the sublime. Conga-lines, Pub-Crawling, Art Auctions, seminars on health and beauty, Bingo etc. There's always something happening-- however beware of the OBR Mongers. On-board Revenue mongers-- Take a class for "free" and be prepared to be sold SOMETHING whether it be a 65 dollar bottle of massage oil or a $85 dollar set of wine.

The private Island is not so private in fact the natives have some great overpriced merchandise for you to purchase with cash or credit card-- no on-board cards are accepted. Also, you will find the Island crowded and not as well maintained as one might think.

The fittness center classes were a nominal charge and the instructors were very well informed and knowledgeable and didn't really push purchasing anything else-- which encouraged me to actually purchase more.
Service and Staff
The staff on NCL is one that looks like they're having fun even though many of them are working multiple positions throughout the day. Megaships like the Dawn can hold as many as 2500 passengers and for the staff to remember your name in the restaurants, (including the buffet), the photo gallery, lounges and excursion desk is quite remarkable. To be addressed by the staff by name is remarkable. This has not happened on any other cruise line in the past few years. Truly amazing. The staff is friendly and accommodating and will do nearly anything to make you a happy customer.
Great Stirrup Cay (Cruiseline Private Island), Bahamas
Do not waste your time-- they tout this as being the best private Island-- Private-- not so much and inconvenient-- as well as not well maintained. No shelter when it rains, no towels unless you bring them--- lots of broken beach chairs and a Native shopping area with lots of items made in China with Great Stirrup Cay on it. Stay on the ship and enjoy quiet time by the pool or relaxing in the spa. This is a "Wanna Miss" opportunity.
Don't Miss: Staying on the ship and enjoying quiet time while 1800 people are off the ship!
Nassau, Bahamas
If you like to shop and drink-- this is the port for you. Upon arrival you'll be bombarded with people wanting to sell you something, tours, braids etc. It's noisey and touristy. It is not unspoiled-- and paradise Island isn't all that. If you've been to Senor Frogs in any other port-- you've been to all of them.
Don't Miss: Bring cash and go see Atlantis.
King's Wharf, Bermuda
One of the best ports I've sailed to on a Carribean cruise. Clean, no one accosting you the minute you get off the ship for braids, taxi or anything else. Pleasant inviting and very clean and beautiful. However, you do come in right next to the correctional facility.
Don't Miss: The Segueway tour. The 1.5 hour segueway tour is great!

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