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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.

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
  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

Apr 18, 2017

Review of Norwegian Dawn

Age: 58 Occupation:Farmer Number of Cruises: 2 Cruise Line: Norwegian Ship: Norwegian Dawn Sailing Date: 2016-01-24 Itinerary: Caribbean We were well taken care of. Our cabin was always clean and made up. We had a plumbing concern and it was fixed when we returned, also had a call to confirm that everything was working. I had back and leg problems that started prior to boarding the cruise. I received excellent and effective help from Russell Silich

(Acupuncture) he put a lot of effort into improving my health so I could enjoy the cruise. I had never tried acupuncture before, but am thankful that it was available on the ship. THANKS RUSSELL! Excellent variety and quantity of food. I wish the restaurant food could have been served warmer. Clean and comfortable cabin. Plenty to do. The band by the pool was a little loud for this old man's ears. Excursion providers all went out of their way to insure we had a safe and enjoyable time. I felt appreciated.

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By Dave_CR

  • New

Feb 8, 2016

Caribbean

We were well taken care of. Our cabin was always clean and made up. We had a plumbing concern and it was fixed when we returned, also had a call to confirm that everything was working. I had back and leg problems that started prior to boarding the cruise. I received excellent and effective help from Russell Silich (Acupuncture) he put a lot of effort into improving my health so I could enjoy the cruise. I had never tried acupuncture before, but

am thankful that it was available on the ship. THANKS RUSSELL! Excellent variety and quantity of food. I wish the restaurant food could have been served warmer. Clean and comfortable cabin. Plenty to do. The band by the pool was a little loud for this old man's ears. Excursion providers all went out of their way to insure we had a safe and enjoyable time. I felt appreciated.

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By Tim_CR

  • New

Jan 6, 2016

Western Caribbean

Overall, just fair. Embarkation was worst I have ever experienced. Food quality and dining room service both somewhat below standard for modern cruises. One disastrous shore excursion experience. There are better values out there. Main dining room was somewhat below average. One desert we ordered was described as inedible by our server....she brought it anyway...but she was correct. I would describe wait staff as indifferent. No attempt

to be friendly or do anything other than get your food to you. One time I was brought the wrong dish, and the server started arguing with me about what I had ordered. Italian specialty restaurant (extra charge) was quite good. Breakfasts in the cafeteria were mostly alright...though often line ran out of certain foods. Fine. Nothing special, but adequate. First time I have ever cruised where my stateroom attendant never introduced himself to me. Again, just OK. Evening entertainment was below average compared to other cruises we have been on. One terrible experience in Belize at Crystal Cave Tubing (booked thru the ship). There were 4 cruise ships in port that day, and they could not handle the traffic. We waited in the terminal for an hour just to get a bus to take us out to the caves. I found one of the Norwegian cruise personnel to try to get him to help....but he just ignored me. Once at the caves, there were no guides available...and we sat around for almost 4 hours waiting for guides to show up (always promised in just 30 minutes). Total disaster. Although, once we got into the cave, it was beautiful.

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  • New

Jan 11, 2015

Western Carribean

The cruise was enjoyable, but we encountered 2 issues with NCL that could have been easily remedied that were not. It made me worry about if a larger issue arose. The first was that 2 of our personal bottles of water were thrown away in the dining room. The server brought one to us out of the trash! We went to guest services and were told that we would be alerted once a remedy was reached. The remedy was an apology phone call at the end of the

day instead of just comping us 2 bottles of water! Also, the pools and hot tubs on board were very cold. We asked 5 different people to raise the temperature on the last night with it never being done. One server even told us to get out of the hot tub and call guest services! The food was fantastic. There was a large selection at the two restaurants and one buffet that was complementary. However, for freestyle dining, I found it odd that one of the two complementary restaurants had a dress code for dinner The stateroom was spacious (obstructed port view). The two twin beds that were pushed together did come apart while sleeping on them, but that was fixed after our first night. Our stateroom steward, Alvin, was wonderful. The activities were plentiful, but the majority were odd get-togethers for specific groups. The magic and aerial shows were great. Playa Mia tequila tour, beach escape, and Discover Mexico in Cozumel was very fun (although the tequila tour is just of a man's shop) Ecological Tours snorkel adventure in Belize City was wonderful (island snorkeling and bbq chicken and lobster) Tours by Rony in Roatan (Arnold) was the best way to explore the island and feel safe while visiting a great local beach and having authentic food! Costa Maya-bring cash (all ATMS broken) and get ready to be hassled An Overall fun family trip

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  • New

Oct 27, 2014

Bermuda

After years of dreaming of going to Bermuda, my husband and I decided to take a cruise there. We chose Norwegian, because their sail date was over our anniversary and the time in port was to be 3 days. We scrimped and saved and planned for 10 months for this trip. I don’t know about most people, but a vacation like this is a sheer luxury for us and not something we take lightly. We had cruised on Royal Caribbean before and loved it, and foolishly

expected this cruise to be similar. Now, we understand that no one can control the weather “so we don’t blame the cruise line for the change in itinerary. BUT “considering we received AT LEAST one email “sometimes more - DAILY for a month before the cruise, we know they had our email address. We flew into Boston the day before (another expense on top of the cruise) and when we arrived at the terminal thought we were still going to Bermuda. The cruise line apparently decided that the hurricane had made it impossible to carry thru with this itinerary. Ok “we get that. BUT what we don’t get is not being informed of this change until it was too late to reschedule our trip. Had Norwegian been upfront with us, we would have gladly rescheduled the cruise, flown home and been back to take the cruise another time. To not tell us until we were boarding was just wrong “they knew how to reach us “but they didn’t want us “or any other cruisers “to reschedule. Well, let me tell you “they’d have been better off to cancel the cruise than to keep us captive on a trip to the Bahamas instead. That ship had no business being out in the rough seas “we were cold, it was rainy, the wind was howling, “sitting outside was plain miserable. They had to cancel the poolside barbecues, net the pools (you’d have been washed overboard had you tried to get in the pool), and cancel many shows. At one point we were all scared that we wouldn’t make it back to Boston. I don’t drink alcohol due to medical reasons, but my husband does. They wouldn’t let him buy an adult beverage package if I didn’t get one. WHAT? Other cruise lines “trust “their guests enough to let you do this “we’d already bought the “soda package ““oh but wait “if you buy this it DOES NOT include bottled waters, coffees, etc. like the other cruise line packages do. We felt nickeled and dimed throughout the entire cruise. Their “Freestyle Cruising” is for the birds too. You have to wait over an hour to get a table at the Venetian or Aqua (complimentary) dining rooms, and we know that they are just trying to get you to give up and go pay more at the specialty dining rooms. We had already reserved a night at Cagney’s for our anniversary when we booked the cruise (in February) “another $30 per person for that dinner “so when we showed up for that dinner we were seated next to the busser’s station “great ambiance, really? “and then charged for sparkling water ON TOP of the $60 “good grief. The servers in the complimentary dining rooms were not engaged, and almost made you feel guilty for making them work. The hostesses were even worse “trying very hard to be snooty and make you feel as if they were doing you a huge favor by getting you seated. Don’t even bother eating at the cafes “the food was exactly the same every single day and questionable. Nothing looked fresh and believe me “NOTHING was warm. The tables were disgusting “sticky and dirty. Our balcony stateroom was just ok “very dated “not really clean, the balcony was very dirty. Our steward was rarely around. This was not the cruise we had dreamed of and planned for. The cruise director “Dingo Dave “GAWD “so annoying and really loves the sound of his own voice. We cringed every time he made an announcement. When we got to the Bahamas, we were there a couple of hours and pretty much just wanted to get on a plane and go home. There was nothing redeeming about the locations they chose. We tried many times to speak to someone about our experiences “they made no secret of letting us know that they just plain did NOT care. Also “everything seemed to be a secret “especially our tab. On the Royal Caribbean you can access your tab on the interactive channel on the stateroom TV “not on Norwegian. Nope, you got to go stand in line and waste your time to find out where you stand. The internet package they sell is not worth the money either “I bought 100 minutes for $58 “problem was is that it took a good 5 of my minutes every time I logged on to get it up and running. My husband had also surprised me with an onboard credit for a massage, but because their rates are a “surprise “and not published, he had no idea that $100 was not even half the cost. Plus they made him choose a date. Well I went in on my date he chose, to schedule the massage to find out they “were all booked ““but then in the Freestyle Daily there were all sorts of “specials “advertised. I went ahead and booked a massage for another day “and found out AFTER THE MASSAGE that it was $245 “for a BASIC MASSAGE. Then they tried to upsell $60 lotions. So insulting. This was a basic massage you’d pay no more than $100 for in Denver! Basically “this cruise and cruise line was a waste of our hard earned money and a sheer disappointment.

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