Great First Cruise

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Experience: 1 cruise (first)
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 11

Overall Rating:

4 out of 5
Verified Review
7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip)
Sail Date: March 23, 2008
Ship: Norwegian Dawn
Cabin Type: Suite
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 10 years ago

This was our first cruise experience and my wife and I agree that it turned out to be the best vacation we have ever had. In fact, I am afraid that I have been pretty much ruined for other types of vacations from now on. Is it possible to become a cruise addict in just one try?
The freestyle cruise format was one of the reasons why we chose Norwegian Cruise Line and we were not disappointed. The dining experience aboard ship was much better than we expected. There were enough restaurant choices so that dining was always an adventure and breakfast in the Venetian room was pleasant and consistently good. We liked the fact that portions were reasonably sized so that you cold enjoy a variety of items from the menu without feeling that you had overeaten. Dinner in the Venetian was excellent also. We thought that the food quality was great and the presentation was pleasing and artistic. The wait staff was helpful without being fawning, friendly without being intrusive; in short, very well trained and professional. We enjoyed getting to know them. Freestyle dining means that you dont have the same servers every meal but we enjoyed that too. Perhaps interacting with the servers is what made the dining experience so much fun. We avoided the buffet so cannot comment on its quality or variety. The specialty restaurants, though, are the real treat on NCL. Le Bistro was top notch and we enjoyed The Bamboo (asian), Impressions (Italian) as well as the sushi bar. In our opinion, they were all worth the extra cover charge. We are not big steak eaters so we didnt try Cagneys. The only negative dining experience was the Aqua room, which we felt was too noisy even though the food was still good. In truth, we had been prepared for the catered fund-raiser banquet type of food on a cruise ship and the reality far exceeded our expectations.
We were grateful for the readily available exercise options. We had been warned that we would gain weight because of too much food and too little exercise aboard ship. But we were able to get in our 2 to 3 mile walk every day. Didnt gain an ounce.
We booked a penthouse suite (Category AE) located at the stern and were really pleased with the room. Lots of closet and drawer space, convenient layout, great bathroom with a tub, separate vanity, king sized bed (pretty comfortable too), and a separate sitting area. The big plus was the balcony with room for two lounge chairs and a small table. Even in port, we did most of our relaxing and sunbathing there. Perhaps the location contributed to the room being very quiet as we seldom heard any noise from those around us, or, maybe the rooms are particularly well insulated. We loved the perks that came with the suite also; VIP boarding and debarkation, butler service, and the concierge service. One of the best perks was that we were able to make dinner reservations for the whole cruise when we boarded. We thought the penthouse was well worth the extra expense. Our room stewards were great in all respects and went the extra mile to take care of all our needs. NCL really treated us well.
This was a spring break cruise and the ship was packed (the rumor was that there were 900 kids on board) but we never felt crowded, overwhelmed, or bothered. I think its a tribute to NCL that they can provide so much for so many different folks. We did sort of avoid deck twelve (the pool) though. The selling pitches didnt bother us either. We just ignored them. We were able to do what we wanted when we wanted with no pressure.
We did book two shore excursions, one to the national park and mangrove forest on Semana, and the city tour/botanical garden on Tortola and were happy with both. We were glad that we booked ahead of time on line as there was quite a press at the excursion desk on the first day at sea.
All in all, we had a great time and are already planning our next cruise with NCL.

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Dining was the high point of the trip. Specialty restaurants were particularly pleasing.


3 out of 5
There were enough opportunities and different venues so that we could pick and choose what we liked. Some of the shows didnt appeal to us so we just skipped them and found other types of entertainment without feeling like we missed out

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
We were very well treated by all the staff we met and greeted with smiles everywhere we went. Room stewards were especially good and personable wish we could mention them by name. Wait staff was great.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
The ship seemed to be well maintained and cared for. Even the public restrooms were, for the most part, immaculate. Very impressive for a facility that gets this much use. At least equal to or better than most upscale hotels weve been in. The Dawn was impressive.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
We loved the penthouse at the stern, very quiet, private, and comfortable. The amenities were great.
3 out of 5
We enjoyed the mangrove exploration excursion. Good guides and pilots. We also did the beach but only stayed a short time since there was not much to do.
3 out of 5
Only spent a little time on the beach, had some barbecue and then sat on our balcony. We had a great view of the beach from there and privacy too,so, why fight the crowds.
3 out of 5
Spent an hour or two in town but were not really interested in buying diamonds so returned to the ship and sat on our balcony in the sun
3 out of 5
Interesting--took the city tour and enjoyed it

Pros: Great Service and friendly crew, Penthouse suite amenities, VIP treatment, Food and the whole dining experience. We felt like we lived in luxury for a week

Cons: Not much. Anything that was less than perfect we chose to ignore

Recommends Norwegian Dawn? Yes!

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