2nd Girls Week Cruise - meh

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review to Caribbean - Southern

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 23

Overall rating:

3.4 out of 5
Norwegian Dawn

7 Night Southern Caribbean (San Juan Roundtrip)

Sail date: March 17, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Dawn

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 11106

Traveled as: Singles/Friends

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

The drink package was easier than the other cruise line I have experienced...but that didn't make up for the blah food. Was really looking forward to a nice wine paired with dinner that would make me go WOW, but that never happened. Dinner was a bore most nights. No other complaints, but that alone would prevent me from going on Norwegian Dawn again. :(

Embarkation

4 out of 5
After arriving at the airport in San Juan, I was sent in opposite directions many times from baggage claim because the pre-paid transportation arranged through Norwegian was not signed well. Once the driver and I finally connected, however, it was an easy process. There was a lot of traffic, but my driver was very informative about the area and filled the time with local details. He also had a bottle of cold water ready for me as soon as we met up. The embarkation processes at the port was quick and easy. The cabins were not available for another 2 hours though...which was a bit of a drag.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
We were not impressed with the buffets or main dining rooms. Nothing like our previous year's experience on Carnival Magic. The Dawn had very bland meals and the buffet reminded us of school cafeteria food. The one night we ate at a specialty restaurant (Bamboo, I think) we experienced really amazing fried calamari (tender, crispy, just wonderful). Unfortunately that was the only "WOW" moment in dining.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
There was only 1 pool (unless you count the spa pool inside). While it was quite easy to find 3 deck chairs together, there didn't seem to be as much to do on this cruise. Plus there were a LOT of kids wandering around the deck during our day at sea. We were not expecting to see so many kids (5-15 yo).

Entertainment

4 out of 5
We saw one show which was very entertaining (magic, etc.). The musicians were pretty good, but some of the female singers left a bit to be desired...really butchered some classic songs. The DJ in the disco was very good and accommodating.

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
For the most part the staff was good. We really liked our room steward, he was quite accommodating. The 3rd bed in this "mini-suite" was very uncomfortable. He found an egg crate to try to help and when we found that we could keep the 3rd bed as a couch and still fit (only 5' tall ), it was much more comfortable.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
The layout required a LOT of walking back and forth to get to our destinations, but was ok. The only complaint about cleanliness is that someone got seasick in the hallway and all the staff did was put a sign near the mess and it seemed to take forever for someone to actually clean it up.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
This was a mini-suite, which I have learned means nothing more than a slightly larger balcony cabin. For 3 people it was a very tight fit. The bathroom left a LOT to be desired. ONE sink and no dressing area or vanity area separate from the rest of the bathroom. Frosted doors are not a great divider so we were always waiting on each other. The 3rd bed was not super comfortable and not recommended for anyone over 5' tall. We were able to move the coffee table to the balcony and our steward brought us an extra chair upon request.

Ship tip

Not an awesome ship, but I guess if the price is right, an "okay" cruise -- as long as you're going to lots of islands for excursions and spend less time on the ship.

Ports of call

San Juan, Puerto Rico

3 out of 5
Where Norwegian is docked there is not much more to do...very industrial at that dock.

Castries, St. Lucia

5 out of 5
We did a rum tasting excursion which included a tour and it was fabulous! Lots of great photo ops and super rum distillery tour, finished with some very yummy rum!

Bridgetown, Barbados

3 out of 5
Shopping was available immediately off the ship. We did not do an excursion and didn't feel comfortable walking anywhere further than the shopping area. Would recommend doing an actual excursion at this port.

Basseterre, St. Kitts

4 out of 5
First we did a Dolphin Encounter excursion which was amazing...though the line-up process was LONG. Shopping was great for one of us at this port...lots of great deals!

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

4 out of 5
Guava berry Liquor!!! Love it! First stop...frozen guava berry beverage, then off to shop and take the boat ferry over to downtown. Suggest bringing or wearing your bathing suit, you will WANT to get in the water to cool off.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

4 out of 5
The VI Cat is a must! We did the turtle snorkle catamaran excursion on the VI Cat and had a super time. Saw many turtles...be sure to take a waterproof camera. After the morning excursion we stopped at the tiki hut and had their Bushwacker...another must! Loved this stop!

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
No issues with disembarkation because we did the combined El Yunque Rain Forest Tour and Transfer to the airport excursion which ensured we would have an easy disembarkation.
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