Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for its amazing 9 port itinerary in the southern Caribbean. We loved San Juan as a embarkation port. It took us south a lot faster! It was an easy port to manage. We enjoyed the ship even though it was older but ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its amazing 9 port itinerary in the southern Caribbean. We loved San Juan as a embarkation port. It took us south a lot faster! It was an easy port to manage. We enjoyed the ship even though it was older but PLEASE read the cabin review! O'Shehan's Irish pub was near our room and we enjoyed the atmosphere and food there better than the lido deck. We ate most of our breakfasts there. Our favorite crew member was a server there, Ari. We had a small cooler with us that we took to the beach daily and the staff was willing to fill our water bottles with ice water and also fill a small baggie with ice for us. We had 8 nights of specialty dining. Totally recommend that you upgrade with food not alcohol! Our food was amazing! We ate in the main dining room one night and could not even hear ourselves think. TOO LOUD and took way too long to get through a meal that was mediocre. Bamboo was a great option that is also complimentary. Food in the pool area was the only option for swimmers but it was good burgers, hotdogs, chicken wings, etc. Unfortunately it was the same each day and closed early at 4;45 pm. I personally loved the itinerary for this cruise with 9 days of ports. It was a bit too much for our 24 year old and my husband. I could have spent more time snorkeling but they petered out for me. We noticed that the last port folks looked a lot like zombies coming off the ship that they did a t the first 3 ports. lol Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Itinerary. This was a 12 day cruise, sailing out of San Juan and going to Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, and Tortola. A terrific set of ports! We took advantage of 3 or 4 of the specialty ... Read More
Itinerary. This was a 12 day cruise, sailing out of San Juan and going to Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, and Tortola. A terrific set of ports! We took advantage of 3 or 4 of the specialty restaurants. All were good. We particularly liked Cagney's. The food was great! We weren't as fond of the Brazilian restaurant. The food wasn't to our liking and it took forever to get dessert (they apparently have to go to a different deck to get the desserts). This almost caused us to miss one of the theatre shows. Shows. The shows were good, however not as good as we've experienced on other ships. We were happy that there was a show every night - and all but one of the shows was help at both 7 pm and 9 pm. This provided great options. We had a different cruise where they skipped a couple of nights - and that was disappointing. The one show that we did not care for was the "Juggler". He didn't do much and seemed to want to be a comedian. It wasn't up to our expectations. Bartenders. For the first time cruising, we had a drink package. We certainly enjoyed this and found great refuge in the Bimini bar, one deck up, overlooking the pool area. We met lots of great people there - and it became our regular spot to assemble. One bartender in particular - Jeff, looked after us very well! I must say that all bartenders were good, and genuinely looked like the enjoyed their jobs and were interested in making our journey enjoyable. Excursions. We found the selection of ship sponsored excursions limited and expensive. While there were lots to choose from, we found that many were all the same, and could be done cheaper on your own. We were sailing to generally safe islands, so were ventured out on our own many times. Overall, a terrific trip! Congrats NCL for putting together a great itinerary. We loved it! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We sailed the Dawn 9 years ago and enjoyed the ship We also loved the southern Caribbean itinerary. Dawn was recently refurbished and looks great for a 17 year old ship. We heard before the trip about some plumbing problems and did meet ... Read More
We sailed the Dawn 9 years ago and enjoyed the ship We also loved the southern Caribbean itinerary. Dawn was recently refurbished and looks great for a 17 year old ship. We heard before the trip about some plumbing problems and did meet some people on board that experienced those issues. This is troubling that NCL sells these cabins and does not seem to do much for those affected. We saw a similar problem last year on Caribbean princess. Fortunately, we did not have any issues either sailing, but it does give you pause that both lines sell cabins with a history of plumbing problems and offer no recourse to passengers affected. We had beverage package and four meal dining package. So along with our platinum perk of two other restaurants we had six dinners in those restaurants. They were all excellent..we used Le Bistro, Cagneys and Moderno twice each and we can’t say enough about the food and service...fabulous!! The remaining dinners were all at Bamboo the free Asian restaurant. We were familiar with this restaurant from sailing the Star two years ago. It is an excellent venue with great food and service. It is very popular, so make all your reservations early. Breakfast was either on main dining room or buffet depending on how much time we had in the morning. Both we fine. One suggestion in the buffet is to have the muslelex available dry. It was soaked in milk. I use almond milk which they would get for me, but only twice was dry muslelex available to which I could add my fruit nuts etc..small point, but other lines do a better job with this. Staff was great entire voyage, happy helpful and courteous throughout the ship. Richard was the cruise director who we had previously on the Star. We had a midship balcony which was great. Entertainment was fine, Jose and Patti returned for second half of cruise,and while we enjoy them, they get stifled by the same requested songs over and over. Comedians were great. Three Knights...singers were good. Did not go to other shows. Itinerary was great along with the weather. Basically took cabs to beaches. Do your research and chose the ones you like. Will give a shout out to the Boatyard in Barbados. Great spot, best deal in Caribbean. It is a five dollar shuttle to Boatyard. Admission is 25 dollars which includes two loungers,and umbrella and two drinks. You also get free snorkeling too. They go to two spots close by, some underwater wrecks and a spot to see the turtles. Snorkeling was pretty good and I did see a large greenback close up. Register for the snorkeling when you pay the admission, it can get backed up if you wait. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
The itinerary was excellent. Embarkation was very smooth as was the disembarkation. The cabin was clean but used glasses and coffee cups were not always replaced with clean ones. Washroom and shower functioned well. Pool towels were ... Read More
The itinerary was excellent. Embarkation was very smooth as was the disembarkation. The cabin was clean but used glasses and coffee cups were not always replaced with clean ones. Washroom and shower functioned well. Pool towels were always available. Entertainment was varied and generally of a good quality. Spa services were excellent. The eating areas were all extremely loud either with the noise of passengers talking or music that was turned up so you couldn't hear anyone talking. Tables were not always wiped clean. Wait staff ranged from friendly and accommodating to surely and lethargic. Quality of food was inconsistent. Beef Kabobs so tough that they couldn't be eaten to prime rib that melted in your mouth. Both obtained in the Venetian dining room. Trying to get into the main dining rooms during the first 4 nights was near impossible with waits of up to an hour. When we requested reservations the staff was curt and said that we should just line up...eventually she gave us 7:30 reservations. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Great size ship. Not too big. Norwegian Ships always provides first class service, amenities, food and entertainment. The ports of call were varied and safe. The excursions were awesome. Couldn’t beat the weather. The registration ... Read More
Great size ship. Not too big. Norwegian Ships always provides first class service, amenities, food and entertainment. The ports of call were varied and safe. The excursions were awesome. Couldn’t beat the weather. The registration and de-barking process was swift and efficient. The speciality restaurants were as fine as the best in any City. The waiters are extremely well trained and attentive to one’s every need. Our cabin steward was new;; however, he went out of his way to perform his responsibilities very well. The hostesses, and bar personnel learned your favourites quickly and by the third day knew what you wanted before you placed an order. The ship was spotless and employees were present everywhere cleaning and putting final touches on the ships interior. The constant attention to the hygiene of everyone on board is remarkable. The washy washy, happy happy, theme made the process fun and effortless. We have cruised on other lines; however, we now patronize Norwegian due to the consistent delivery of all of the above. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for 3 main reasons: cost, ports of call and our time on a future cruise credit was expiring. If you like a casual atmosphere in dining times, options and dress, this is the cruise for you. They have 3 options for ... Read More
We chose this cruise for 3 main reasons: cost, ports of call and our time on a future cruise credit was expiring. If you like a casual atmosphere in dining times, options and dress, this is the cruise for you. They have 3 options for breakfast, lunch and dining that don’t require extra costs or making reservations. Shorts and t-shirts are acceptable in all venues, including dining, which surprised us. At other lines, pants are required at dinner. This was a little too casual for us since the condition of some of the shorts and t-shirts wouldn’t qualify for appropriate. Food was typical of a cruise, nothing really outstanding, if anything, several items were repeated during the 10 day cruise. They do ask if you are allergic to any items and will offer to personalize dishes. We happened to stay in an interior room, cabin 10167, which presented a noise problem. This room has a ‘Hotel Store’ on one side and one above it as well as an electrical room above. This created constant noise issues late at night and very early in the morning. We complained on the 2nd night after figuring out what was happening. They apologized and said they would investigate. It happened the 3rd night and I called immediately when I heard the banging and the thumping and the dragging of something across the floor. They sent someone out to investigate. It happened the 4 night, and suddenly, we received a tray of 4 chocolate covered strawberries. This did not solve the problem. It continued to happen throughout the cruise and nothing was resolved, nor were we offered a change in cabin nor a credit. The entertainment was excellent and the quality of the shows and variety of entertainers too. The ports of call were one of the highlights, absolutely beautiful! The ship offered excursions that were very expensive and one minus is that they are conducted by local people who happen to be the driver as well as the guide, and some were not very understandable. Many of us struggled to understand. Embarkation was very smooth but disembarkation was a little confusing since they had us going up and down and from the front of the ship to the middle, while carting our luggage. We really don’t think this line is the right one for our type of cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Our cruise started in San Juan. It was delightful town and the ocean was absolutely beautiful. They are still trying to recover from recent hurricane. The embarkation and disembarkation process was quick and flawless. The cruise ... Read More
Our cruise started in San Juan. It was delightful town and the ocean was absolutely beautiful. They are still trying to recover from recent hurricane. The embarkation and disembarkation process was quick and flawless. The cruise itinerary was incredible. (It was so nice to get out of the snow and experience 85 degree weather.) The major disappointment was the food. We went to each of the private dining rooms as well as the buffet. The only meal I really enjoyed on the ship was in the Asian dining room. During a cruise with NCL 15 years ago they had a midnight buffet that was full of seafood as well as seafood at the dress up dining rooms. We did not enjoy a single night of seafood on the entire cruise other than an appetizer of the smallest possible crab on a bed of lettuce for lunch one day. The next night I ordered a Lava Cake which was die for on another cruise line. It was terrible like most of the food. One of our guests decided to stick with steaks as this would be hard to mess up. DON'T YOU GO ON A CRUISE TO EXPERIENCE INCREDIBLE FOOD? Our room was booked by the ship on the 8th floor directly underneath the Bliss. The music started at 9 PM and usually went way past midnight. We complained each night but they offered no resolution other than to tell us the volume of the music would die down after midnight when the band quit and a DJ started. The entertainment was good, especially the ventriloquist and the magician. Recommendation: Don't book this ship if you are expecting a wonderful dining experience. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We decided to start looking at a cruise back in 2016. This was a 25th Anniversary celebration (no kids along:)) and we wanted to do this right as this was our 1st cruise. When we meet with the travel agent we were given quite a few ... Read More
We decided to start looking at a cruise back in 2016. This was a 25th Anniversary celebration (no kids along:)) and we wanted to do this right as this was our 1st cruise. When we meet with the travel agent we were given quite a few catalogs to look through - NCL, Celebrity and Royal seemed to fit our budget and demographics (50 and not into the bar crowd). We wanted somewhere sunny and warmer as we were traveling from Michigan in the winter. This cruise (sailed from San Juan P.R.) seemed to fit our budget and was sailing into the southern Caribbean so we felt the weather should be nice too. After some research, we decided to book room 5570. This was mid-ship and a lower floor so less chance of sea sickness. Our friends booked a room on the 9th floor with a balcony. Yes, that would be nice and maybe sometime but we had a nice window/view. We flew into San Juan a day early and were able to enjoy some of Old San Juan (the fort), festival and the Bacardi Rum tour (the $15 version). We stayed at the Embassy Suites which is being remodeled but still very nice. We had no issues with noise from work being done in the hotel. NCL Dawn is a little older ship but it was in good condition. We enjoyed the food. We dined at two specialty restaurants during the 10 day cruise. Los Lobos was a disappointment - slow service and we thought too much of a limited menu. La Cucina was a very good experience - good food and not very expensive. We ate in Aqua most nights; Venetian a couple nights, Bamboo one night and the buffet a few others. A bigger ship will have more options but we never went hungry! Part of our booking package included the Unlimited Beverage Package - up to $90/pp per day. That's a lot of booze! We would not buy that package as the most drinks we had in one day was 5 (3 Moscato wine and two foo-foo drinks). Free is good though. The ports were great although they had changed quite a bit from the original booking (hurricanes?). Aruba was the friendliest. We rented a 4-seater UTV and explored the island. We hiked the waterfalls in Granada; swam with the sea turtles in Barbados; swam with the stingray's in Antigua and ziplined in St Lucia. No excursions in Curasea or St Kitts. Hindsight - explore every island! The shows were fine. It's hard to juggle or do trapeze but it's got to be even more difficult on a moving (waves) ship. It was a nice break at the end of some busy days. Others have said the NCL shows are excellent and maybe compared to other cruise lines they are. We didn't book a cruise for the quality of shows. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise and would like to cruise again. Maybe we'll try a different cruise line? Maybe NCL again? Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our third January in a row on the dawn. We do like the ship, however, we booked it again more for the price, perks, and the itinerary. We had a wonderful Cruise, even though we had already visited all the ports previously. We did ... Read More
This was our third January in a row on the dawn. We do like the ship, however, we booked it again more for the price, perks, and the itinerary. We had a wonderful Cruise, even though we had already visited all the ports previously. We did do something different in some of the ports that we hadn't done in the past. The service was very good, the food Dash especially the specialty restaurants was outstanding. The weather was fabulous. This was the first time we tried the specialty dining. We went to for the restaurants in our favorite was Moderno. My wife has a food allergy, so mr. Q insured her food selections were taking care of each day prior to them being served. We also had the drink package, and was disappointed that to beverages we like were raised above the $15 limit. Most of the entertainment was pretty good, Cruise director was outstanding. I wish the cruise line would enforce their rules... Such as Cruisers wearing shorts to Cagney's, in the main dining room after 5 p.m., and cigarette smokers in the Cigar Lounge. I've been on this ship a total of 27 days, I'm a cigar smoker, and not one smoked a cigar in the lounge because of the numerous cigarette smokers in there Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
The Norwegian Dawn is a bare bones ship compared to some of the larger ships with all of their “extras” such as water slides, aqua parks etc. but for those who like a more relaxed cruising experience with an excellent assortment of ... Read More
The Norwegian Dawn is a bare bones ship compared to some of the larger ships with all of their “extras” such as water slides, aqua parks etc. but for those who like a more relaxed cruising experience with an excellent assortment of ports of call in the Southern Caribbean, this is an excellent ship to cruise on. For a ship it’s size, it has a nice assortment of dining venues, entertainment and venues. The ship was also beautifully refurbished in 2016 and has a very nice “feel” to it. Here are some additional observations: EMBARKATION: From San Juan, this was the smoothest embarkation of the seven cruises I’ve been on. It took less than 15 minutes to go through security and check in. After a short time in the waiting area, we were on ship in about a half an hour. Being on a smaller ship speeds up process compared to the Gem and Breakaway. CABINS: While nothing fancy, our balcony was more than adequate for the two of us. One important thing to note. There is only one outlet in the room and it was not near the bed. For those who need to use CPAP, this can be challenging. Also for those who have other electronic devices that need charging, having one plug is a hassle. I highly recommend being a surge protector or extension chord for your devices. My recommendation for Norwegian is to add USB plugs and outlets on their next refurbishment. FOOD: We did not eat at any specialty restaurants, but we found the two main dining rooms, the Aqua and Venetian were very good. I had prime rib one night that was delicious and the Cajun shrimp dish was very good. I also found the Garden Cafe buffet, while not fancy, was not bad and the food was well prepared. O Sheehan’s has excellent food as well with their delicious brownie cheese cake. My only minor criticism was that I felt that the service at O Sheehan’s was a bit slow. But this was only a minor issue. PORTS OF CALL: very good ports of call and a ten day venue through the Southern Caribbean is a good way to spend a winter’s day when our relatives are freezing back home. We did a combination of shore excursions and self guided discoveries while in port. Here are some of my observations. ARUBA: Webt to Eagle Beach. We took public transportation to Eagle Beach. The bus station is very near port and was an much less expensive than taxi. CARUCAO: Self guided walk across floating bridge into old city. Since we arrived on Dunday, a number of businesses were closed. GRENADA. We went to the chocolate museum and the old fort which was a vigorous walk up the hill. We also took a bus to Annandale Falls, a pretty spot. As in many ports however, plan on being accosted by genders trying to sell you stuff. ST LUCIA: We took the volcanoes shore excursion and wish we had taken the land and sea excursion. Riding a van over rough winding roads for five hours was a bit much. There is an excursion in which you drive out to the volcano area and sail back on water which would have been a better choice for us. BARBADOS: The best of Bsrbados excursion was a very nice ride through the countryside. We also had time to walk downtown. They have a nice beach in the downtown area at Carlisle Bay. ANTIGUA: We took the Scenic Antigua tour. Don’t waste your time on thus one. We were very disappointed in that they only stopped once with very few photo ops. We did take a taxi to Dickinson Bay beach which was a beautiful beach. ST KITTS: We took the train which was a relaxing wonderful ride and one of our favorite excursions. SAN JUAN: We took the rainforest to airport excursion on the day of Debarking. A nice way to close things off. Prior to the cruise, we spent two days touring old San Juan. One of my favorite places to visit. One other note: Be sure to arrive early for your excursion. We were one minute late and almost missed catching up to our group. DEBARKATION: While not as smooth as embarking, it was ok. I found picking up your baggage was very chaotic and confusing. Norwegian might want to find a more efficient system. ENTERTAINMENT: I found the entertainment quite good though I felt it was better on some of their other ships. The ventriloquist and the Elements were excellent. I was not overly impressed with the comedian. All in all, the entertainment was quite good and the cruise director did a fine job keeping us engaged. I was impressed how he seemed to be everywhere and was quite approachable. I thought the entertainment at pool side was quite good too. OVERALL IMPRESSION: We’ve been on seven cruises (four with Norwegian) and next to Norwegian’s Hawaii Cruise, I think this was one of my favorite cruises. The relaxed atmosphere with an excellent itinerary made this a memorable experience. I do think this is a cruise that is more designed for older couples and empty nesters as opposed to younger families with children since there are fewer venues to pick from that you might find on larger ships. Even in the Dawn, there is a kids area, but if you are looking for water slides or other venues, this isn’t the ship for you. But if you are looking for a relaxing, easy paced ship, then the Dawn is for you. Read Less
Norwegian Dawn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

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