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Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Dawn

Norwegian Dawn Review

First in the two-ship Dawn-class built for Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Dawn was christened in 2001. The ship introduced many of Norwegian’s groundbreaking elements, and even today, Norwegian Dawn still features some of the largest accommodations at sea.

In 2011, a refurbishment resulted in the addition of 50 cabins; the Spinnaker Lounge was relocated and reconstructed; and some other public spaces were also moved.

Purpose-built for Norwegian's Freestyle cruising concept, Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star each have more than a dozen dining options, a variety of entertainment selections, and expansive facilities for children and teens.

These ships introduced Norwegian's superdeluxe Garden Villa accommodations, English pubs, and 24-hour dining in the Blue Lagoon Restaurant. Interior spaces are bright and cheerful, especially the atrium area adjacent to the outdoor promenade, which is flooded with sunlight through expansive windows. A second smaller garden atrium with a prominent waterfall leads the way to the spa lobby. Near the children's splash pool is a hot tub for parents' enjoyment.

Norwegian Cruise Line (originally known as Norwegian Caribbean Line) set sail in 1966 with an entirely new concept: regularly scheduled Caribbean cruises from the then-obscure port of Miami. Good food and friendly service combined with value fares established Norwegian as a winner for active adults and families. With the introduction of the now-retired SS Norway in 1979, Norwegian ushered in the era of cruises on megasize ships. Innovative and forward-looking, Norwegian has been a cruise-industry leader for four decades, and is as much at home in Europe as it is in the Caribbean.

Noted for top-quality, high-energy entertainment and emphasis on fitness facilities and programs, Norwegian combines action, activities, and a variety of dining options in a casual, free-flowing atmosphere. Freestyle cruising signaled an end to rigid dining schedules and dress codes. Norwegian ships now offer a host of flexible dining options that allow passengers to eat in the main dining rooms or any of a number of à la carte and specialty restaurants at any time and with whom they please. Now co-owned by Genting Hong Kong Limited and Apollo Management, a private equity company, Norwegian continues to be an industry innovator.

From a distance, most cruise ships look so similar that it's often difficult to tell them apart, but Norwegian's largest, modern ships stand out with their distinctive use of hull art. Each new ship is distinguished by murals extending from bow to midship.

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What You Should Know

Pros

  • Show rooms have full proscenium stages for the lavish shows
  • You can look forward to performances by the improvisational company Second City
  • Three-bedroom Garden Villas are among the largest suites at sea, with private whirlpools and outdoor patios

Cons

  • Freestyle dining doesn't mean you get to eat precisely when you want
  • Overcrowding can be a problem when the ships are fully booked
  • There is a charge for the most popular restaurants
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,066
  • Entered Service 2001
  • Gross Tons 92,250
  • Length 965 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,122
  • Passenger Capacity 2,244
  • Width 105 feet

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