Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

4-6 cruises


Helpful Vote

4 out of 5

Good Time

Sail Date: January 25, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

We chose this cruise because it offered freestyle dining, and NCL does this well. We really enjoyed evening meals in the Venetian dining room, and were happy with the menu choices. If seating was not immediately available, we were given a beeper and vouchers for a glass of champagne. Most waits were no longer than 20 minutes. Breakfast visits were split between the Aqua dining area and the Garden Cafe buffet. Food was good, but it sometimes took a while to be served at Aqua, and seating was occasionally difficult to find at the buffet. Lunch time was spent at the Garden Cafe, where the food was good, but we wished the daily menu changed more often.

Evening entertainment was enjoyable, especially a dance and aerial show, comedy sketches by Second City and a pianist's tribute to Elton John and Billy Joel. Hubby enjoyed the casino, but left a few times due to smoke.

We cruised with another couple, and met every day at the Star Bar , a great spot that was often overlooked by other passengers. The staff was excellent, and helped us select a wine package. We were given the option of having the bottles delivered to our room, or taken to a central storage area where they'd be accessible throughout the ship when an order was placed. We kept both the wine and a bottle of whiskey purchased through the bar in our stateroom, and were allowed to carry glasses and/or bottles throughout the ship. With a little planning, this helped keep the bar bill a bit lower than usual.

The ship was very well maintained, and our cabin steward was sensitive to our needs if he happened to arrive when we were in the cabin.

We chose this route because it included places we hadn't visited previously, but didn't find many must-do activities. Vendors in all ports were annoying, constantly begging you to buy something, but we were still able to enjoy sunshine while strolling the main streets. Our only tour was the Chacchoben Mayan ruins in Costa Maya, which lasted 4 to 4 1/2 hrs. Not many of the ruins have been restored, but our guide helped us to envision the way the complex used to look by pointing out areas that looked like hills, but were actually building sites covered by earth, rocks and vegetation. We traveled by bus, about an hour each way, but there was adequate time to walk through the site. Here, too, we found aggressive vendors by the bus parking area. It was hard to avoid this area since the public restrooms were located by the shops.

Ship Quality
The ship was nicely maintained, and I would probably rate it between "great" and "ok", if that option was offered. I wish it had more indoor public seating areas with an ocean view that weren't within bars or cafes.
Food and Dining
We thought the food was very good, and the main dining room (Venetian) offered a nice variety of menu choices. We were pleasantly surprised since several reviews we read prior to cruising complained about the food, but we thought everything was well executed.
Cabin / Stateroom
We had a mini-suite on deck 11 aft, and there was plenty of room to store our luggage and clothing. It was nice to have a couch, but it wasn't very comfortable. We were also happy to find two chairs by the table. Our only complaint was the TV remote, which had no markings on it. We didn't watch often, but tried to catch the news a few times, and reception was good.
Service and Staff
Our favorite staff members, Ana and Cristina, were usually found working at the Star Bar. They remembered our names and drink preferences after the first day, and always took a second to visit when taking an order.
Entertainment was good and nicely varied. I would have enjoyed a musical act on the mainstage, because the bars were always overcrowded when the pianists were playing, and many guests left when they couldn't find a seat.
Onboard Activities This is an area that could use improvement. Other cruises I've taken have offered things like chef's demonstrations or talks on wildlife that might be encountered at the next port, but this ship did not offer much like that. I was very surprised to hear that they charged for a tour of the laundry.
Destinations and Excursions These were typical Caribbean ports with shops and hustlers everywhere once you got off the ship. If you are able to ignore that, it was enjoyable to get off the ship and walk a bit to take in different scenery.
New Orleans, Louisiana
We enjoyed a post-cruise day at the Hilton Riverside so my husband could watch the Super Bowl. I enjoyed checking out the adjacent Riverwalk outlet mall before joining him to watch the game.
Cozumel, Mexico
This was the nicest shopping port, and probably the one where I felt safest.
Belize City, Belize
Roatan (Isla Roatan), Bay Islands, Honduras
Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico
We enjoyed a trip to the Chacchoben ruins and still had time to check out the port area.

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