Norwegian Dawn Reviews

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81 User Reviews of Norwegian Dawn Cruise Ship

Bermuda
Publication Date: June 17, 2006

Just returned from my cruise on the Norwegian Dawn (6/17 – 6/24 to Bermuda and Nassau) and had a great time! The ship was simply gorgeous and the Cruise Director Matt was phenomenal.

Well first things first, I found the food very good; there were a few exceptions but all in all good. One thing I really thought was a brilliant idea was to have hand sanitizers outside of every restaurant and also before entering the buffet line. I didn't get a chance to try the specialty restaurants, my group decided to stick to the main dining rooms. We favored the Venetian, but also tried Aqua and Impressions. Impressions, even though a lovely restaurant, was a little disappointing. My Mom ordered the chicken and it turned out to be quite dry. Aqua was pretty good, we ate there twice. All dining rooms had wonderful service. By Wednesday we were getting tired of eating 3 full meals a day (unbelievable I know) we discovered the "Blue Logoon which is a 24-hour diner. Because the eating area is quite small and always crowded we never tried it until we discovered they offered take-out!

We were able to take food out onto the promenade and also to our rooms. Try the fish and chips and the buffalo chicken wings both are very good! Some of our group tried the Buffet on deck 12 – I ate there twice – breakfast was alright but by the time you have everything something is cold and a late dinner, if you want something light find the area where you can have a Caesar salad, pasta and Asian noodle soup made to your specifications.

The Chocoholic Buffet was held in the Venetian dining room and I never saw so much chocolate. They offered champagne ($5) or coffee/tea (free). Word to the wise the time given was 11:45, but people must have started lining up by 11:00/11:15 because we got there @ 11:30 and the line reached the front lobby (right in front of the Shore Excursion desk!) The line moved quickly though, but the anticipation just about killed us (smiles.)

On the formal nights it was a mixture of outfits, some people went all out in tuxedos and gowns, others had on a simple suit and cocktail dress, and some were, well let's just say they were quite informal.

If you are a smoker (which I am) try the Gatsby Piano Bar for a quick smoke – the music is good and the people are very friendly. They also have a cigar bar, named Club Havana, which seemed very popular.

The private island, Great Stirrup Cay, was a great way to spend the day. Just two words of advice take the time to get your tender tickets the day before – you definitely want to be on one of the first tenders and also sit on the lower level – they get off first. I was on the 1st tender and sat on the upper level – because of that my group lost out on prime beach locations. If you don't want to visit the island – no problem – the pool will be practically empty!

I knew that I was finally relaxed when I completely forgot what day it was! Some of the other activities I did: visited the Cinema were I saw "Memoirs of a Geisha;" enjoyed listening to the singer in "Dazzles Lounge;" learned how to make "towel animals;" of course saw and enjoyed every show (especially Bollywood and the Fountains was hilarious); tried my hand at the slot machines, but decided I rather spend my $$ in the duty free shop.

The atmosphere on board is very festive – if you enjoy fun, laughter and letting your hair down you'll have a ball. All in all I give the Norwegian Dawn 10 stars!

P.S. I had such a good time I'm trying to arrange another for Thanksgiving week – wish me luck!

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Bermuda
Publication Date: May 20, 2006

To all cruisemates, You have read so many complaints about the services of cruise line, but none of them is similar to mine. Can you imagine an “international” cruise line would have no idea which customer does not need a visa to go boarding? I would like to share my unpleasant experience with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) so that you know how ignorant and irresponsible they are.

I was in New York to join the 7-night Bahamas trip (going to Bermuda and Bahamas) at Norwegian Dawn on May 20 but I was denied aboard because of the ignorance and incompetence of NCL. When I showed my Macao passport to the cruise staff, she expressed doubt whether I needed a visa to go to Bermuda. The cruise staff contacted another staff in white uniform who told me that Chinese passport holders needed a visa. I explained to her that my Macao passport was not the same thing as a regular Chinese passport and that I had investigated and ascertained that I did not need any visa to go to Bermuda. In fact, after booking the cruise, I received instructions from Expedia.com, to

which I booked the cruise, to inform myself from the CIBT web site about possible visa requirements. I received an e-mail from CIBT on May 15 that I, a Macao passport holder, did not need a visa to go to Bermuda. In addition, I checked the Bermuda immigration regulations provided by NCL web site and learnt that Macao is not one of the countries requiring Bermuda entry visas. No matter how I explained to the cruise staff, I was denied boarding the Norwegian Dawn.

On June 2, I wrote a letter and enclosed the CIBT visa information to the NCL to explain the incident and request for refund and appropriate compensation. On June 24, I received a letter from the NCL who put all the blame on me. I was told that it was my responsibility to check my documentation and guests denied boarding are not entitled to a refund. I wonder if the NCL did investigate the incident before they gave me such a disrespectful response. In fact, I wrote to the Governor to Bermuda about my visa status and got a response from the Deputy Governor’s Office on June 22 that I don’t need a visa to enter Bermuda. If NCL took customer’s letter seriously, they would have checked my visa status before putting the blame on their customers.

I suspect that it is a trick of NCL who are pissing me off so that I will give up. How many time and effort must a consumer take to get back their compensation because of the mistakes of a company? Why NCL does not take the responsibility to admit the mistakes they did? I will not give up my file because I believe there is consumer rights and justice in the United States! I’ve just sent a letter to the NCL on June 27 to express my dissatisfaction with their irresponsible response to my request. I hope they will take proper action to investigate their mistakes and give me a satisfied response.

Thanks so much for sharing my story with all those who are concern about consumer rights and justice in the United States!

Sau Hou Chang

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: March 26, 2006

Embarkation:The information we got before the cruise said that embarkation should begin at 2 pm. Since we had to check out from our hotel at noon, we came to the terminal early and that was very good. There were a lot of people in the terminal when we got there and they seemed to be waiting to be allowed to board the ship. We saw the Latitudes check-in line (Latitudes is NCLs program for those who has travelled with them before) and went there. Less than 30 minutes after we arrived to the terminal we were on the ship! That was very fast, especially since we are not American citizens.

The first impression of the Dawn was stunning. The entrance in New York is on deck 7 and the first you see is the Grand Atrium. Since the cabins aren't available before 2 pm we took our hand luggage and jackets and went straight to Garden Café for lunch. After lunch we went to Gatsby's Champagne Bar for a drink while we were waiting for our cabin. We took a glass of Gosset Grand Rosé Champagne. 18 $ each may be

a rip-off but as a start of a wonderful cruise it was worth it! Before we went to our cabin we look out through the windows and into the terminal, the lines then seemed to be VERY long so we were happy that we were there early! Then on to the cabin.The cabin:

We had a BB Oceanview Stateroom With Balcony, nr 9576, on deck 9. The interior was nice and the size of it was okay. We didn't used the balcony very much, we had breakfast there two mornings and one afternoon we ordered a bottle of sparkling wine and canapés which we ate/drank there, but it was great to have it and it was definitely worth the extra money (it was only about 200 $ extra compared to an Oceanview Stateroom on deck 8). Overall the cabin was good for the money we wanted to spend but there was one bad thing worth mention, the first two days it was very cold in the cabin. I think that the door to the balcony wasn't enough isolated so we got a cold draught from there.

A summary of the Dawn:

The ship is very luxurious. The first impression was that everything was top of the line and I really can't find much to complain about. Why shall I try to find bad things when the ship was so great!? The layout was great and there were no problems to find the way to the lounge or restaurant you wanted to go to even that the ship is enormously big. The sundecks were very good, but we didn't spent much time there. The Dawn has large sundecks for those who want action and company but it also has small calm places to sun for those who prefer that.

Restaurants, bars & lounges:

The Dawn has 10 restaurants and 13 bars & lounges.

The three main restaurants are Aqua, Venetian and Impressions. The menu is always the same on those three restaurants so where you want to eat is more a question about interior and service.

Our favourite among the main restaurants was absolutely the Venetian. In my opinion it has the nicest interior and the service was always good. Our best dinner during our cruise was our dinner at the Venetian the last evening. I had "Cajun Pop Corn" (fried crawfish), "Spaghetti a la Milano" and "New York Cheesecake" and everything tasted just great. The Venetian also served breakfast. The breakfast tasted very well and was served at the table but for breakfast I prefer buffé.

Garden Café is the Dawns buffé restaurant. That was the place to go for buffé breakfast. The breakfast there was okay but for me as a Swede the content of it was kind of strange. They had lots of things to choose from but it was hard to find bread that I consider to be decent bread for breakfast, most of the bread they had felt like dessert for me! I never found any sliced cheese to put on the bread either, I guess that Americans don't eat that. I have some things to complain about on the Dawns breakfast service but I'll come back to that later in the review when I list Good and bad things! We ate lunch in Garden Café sometimes and the food was okay but not more. The standard of the food was a little lower than on the average Swedish lunch restaurant but it was good to avoid all the attention from the staff in the main restaurants sometimes! The same with dinner there!

The Dawn also has five restaurants which requires reservations. Three with a cover charge, Le Bistro, Bamboo and Cagney's Steakhouse, and two which are included in the cruisefare, Salsa and La Trattoria. We ate at Le Bistro and Salsa so I can't say anything about the other but they looked nice.

Le Bistro is NCLs French restaurant, which they have on all of their ships. Le Bistro has a cover charge of 15 $. What you pay for is interior and atmosphere. Our dinner there was very nice and all the food was very good but the standard on the food was like in the main restaurants. We will probably go to Le Bistro again on our next cruise. One night on a cruise as long as ours it's worth to pay that extra money.

Salsa is a Mexican restaurant. The food there was very good and the staff that worked there on our cruise was very nice and gave an excellent service. Unfortunately we went there one of the last nights on our cruise so we only ate there once. If we had tried it earlier we would have gone there again. If we ever cruise with the Dawn again, they will enjoy (?) our company more than once!

The 10th restaurant is Blue Lagoon. Blue Lagoon is a 24-hour Snack Bar. We didn't liked the way it looked so we never ate there but I think that the fish & chips we ordered in the pub was the same that was served there and that tasted well, almost as well as on a real English pub!

The 13 bars & lounges are:

1. Stardust Theater. The place for the big shows and informations (like the boring disembarkation information!). I liked the interior and the layout of the theatre but it was to little space for the legs for someone as tall as me. I guess that the theatre had around 1000 seats.

2. Spinnaker Lounge. The place for smaller shows and a place to take a drink and listen to music. The bingo was there too for those who are interested in that. Maybe 500 seats.

3. Dawn Club Casino. We didn't spent many minutes there and even less money! I'm not a casino expert but it looked like they had a good choice of games and slot machines.

4. Dazzles Lounge & Nightclub. We were only there when they presented "Bonus Awards" and then they offered free sparkling wine so that was good! One thing I don't like is that they say that they give away Champagne when sparkling wine is what you get! For me Champagne is Champagne! I understand that they prefer to give people sparkling wine but I think that they shall be honest and say that!

5. The Pearly Kings Pub. THE DAWNS NUMBER ONE PLACE TO GO TO! Just what we want when we are on vacation, an English pub. The Pearly Kings was a very nice place and they had a good selection of beers from the whole world. They offered around 40 kinds of beer (the menu had 44 kinds but they didn't had everything in it) and the staff there was the best on the ship! I will mention them later but they deserves to be mentioned twice, Jeorge and Zalryn. Our barfriends on the Dawn! They deserve all credit they can get!

6. Star Bar. The Dawns Martini bar located on deck 13. That was a very nice place to take a Martini after, or before, dinner. They had live music, grant piano, in the evenings and that was nice but a little too loud if you sat on the wrong place!

7. Gatsby's Champagne Bar. Located outside Le Bistro so we had a glass of wine there before our dinner at Le Bistro. A nice and calm place to sit and relax on.

8. Java Café. Located in the main atrium so the location was good but for some reason we didn't liked it. The chairs were uncomfortable.

9. Havana Club. None of us smoke so we were never there.

10. Wine Cellar. Is mentioned as a lounge or bar in the brochure but I don't think it's either of that, we were not there.

11. Internet Café. It's good to have the opportunity to use the internet on the boat but the prices make it pretty worthless I think. It was a nice place thou but not for surfing the net!

12. Bimini Bar & Grill. We were never there.

13. Topsiders Bar. The bar in the pool area. We didn't spent much time there but it looked like a nice bar. The bad thing there was that when music was played on the scene by the pool, the volume was too high.

Entertainment

Of course you can't expect too much from the shows on a ship. We didn't saw any shows with many people dancing and singing, we are not interested in that, so I can't say how the standard was on that.

There were two comedians on the ship which had their shows in Stardust, Peter Sasso and Al Ducharme. Peter Sasso was very funny and we saw both his shows. Al Ducharme was good too but he talked too little and imitated sounds too much. He was good at imitating but it was too much, he should have talked more.

They also had a magician, Greg Gleason. He was good, even thou some of his magic wasn't too hard to see through. They said his show was "live from Las Vegas" but if I had paid to see his show in Las Vegas, I would have been disappointed if I got what I got on the ship! Of course I didn't expect something like "Siegfried & Roy" on the ship so it was okay!

The entertainment in Spinnaker Lounge was often game shows from TV, like Liars Club, Family Feud etc. That was okay entertainment to watch with a drink but not something I would have paid extra to see.

There were also lots of musical entertainment in the bars and lounges around the ship. The standard of that was high and nice to sit and listen to when taking a drink. The only bad thing to say about the musical entertainment is that they played to loud in the poolarea. I'm 35 years old, not especially sensitive to noice and love to play rockmusic as high as possible on my stereo at home but I still think they played to loud! It was no meaning to go up on deck when they served food there in the evenings or afternoons because the music was to loud!

The Norwegian Dawn Crew Show was good but they should have had it in Stardust instead of in Spinnaker Lounge. The best thing was that one of our barfriends, Jeorge, was participating.

The Dawns Cruise Director, Ricky Matthews, was very good so when he was involved in the entertainment, it was extra good!

Ports

The ship stopped at six places during the cruise: Ocho Rios, Georgetown, Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel and Great Stirrup Cay. In Ocho Rios and on Roatan the ship stopped by the dock and in the other ports we had to tender.

I have made another, much longer, review on another site where I described all ports and our excursions but I skip that here and hope that I can stay within the 2000 word limit! If you are really interested, I'm sure that you can find my longer review!

Good and bad things:

Good things: There were too many good things for mention them all. The food was great, the service was great, the ship was great, the itinerary was great.

What I want to mention is the staff which gave the best impression on us: As mentioned earlier, Jeorge and Zalryn on Pearly Kings. They are the two persons from the Dawn which we will be most happy to see again on our next cruise!

Victor and Tita who took care of our cabin. We have definitely nothing to complain on on how they did their job and they were always very friendly and seemed to be happy all the time!

Jennifer and Seepa who were our waitresses when we ate at Salsa. They gave us excellent service and they were very nice. The Cruise Director Ricky Matthews, very funny and very nice.

Bad things: The overall experience of the cruise was very good but there were a few things which we will remember as not so good: The Breakfast service some days. One restaurant where breakfast is served by the table and one restaurant with buffé breakfast is okay. When we cruised with the Wind around Hawaii they had two restaurants with buffé breakfast, one like Garden Café (Sports bar and grill) and one less casual (The Four seasons) where the service and atmosphere was better, and that was much better but that's not the bad thing I was thinking about on this cruise. The bad thing was that they opened too late some days. For example in Cozumel our meeting time for our shore excursion was 7.00 and Garden Café opened 6.30. I think that 30 minutes from the restaurant opens till we should be in Stardust Theater was too little, especially since we should be on shore the whole day. Garden Café should have opened earlier that day! To be honest, Blue Lagoon served breakfast from 6.00 but Danish & Coffee is not breakfast for me, not when I shall be on shore the whole day!

As I mentioned earlier, those who wants to sell drinks need a system to avoid asking the same people a lot of times in a short period of time. The worst places were in the pool area and on Aqua. I know that their instructions are to sell as much as they can and because of that I want to be nice to everyone who asked me "anything from the bar" but it's not always easy to say no in a nice way when I already have answered that question five times during the last ten minutes! If I say no I mean no, if I change my mind, I can go to the bar myself and order what I want! NCL really needs a system to avoid that.

The volume on the music in the pool area. They must have scared away more people than us with that!

That was all for this cruise! Hopefully I'll be back after next cruise! We really wants to go on an Alaska cruise next time and hopefully they extend some of them so that they are longer than a week when we shall go! By for now!

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: March 16, 2006

We are senior citizens with more than fifty cruises. As we live in South Jersey,it cost nearly as much to be driven to NY as to fly out of Atlantic City, to Fla. Also having had some experience with the Gulf stream, it was with some concern that we sailed out of NY.

We need not have worried the ship handled the seas very well.

Boarding the ship was a bit of a Zoo. The pier was crowded with people,children, etc, too many people in to small a space.

The Ship itself was Pretty, the personel were GREAT, Cabin stewarts,Waiters,the smiling,happy personel on this ship were exceptional. So much for the tipping policy. (we usually add tips for special service)

We ate a couple of times in the Cafeteria upstairs, but found it's noise oppressive. It also lacked the fresh fruits we like at breakfast and the salads at lunch. We found it better to eat early in the dinning rooms, before the majority, who like to eat a little later.

The menu selection in the dinning rooms left a lot to be desired, as well as the quality. For the first time cruiser,(

which was most of the passengers), they probably thought it was great. It was found that my wife could order "salt free, low fat" from a menu for the following day, which meant we ate in the same dinning room the most of the trip, which actually worked out well. "First cruises are always great".(but) "We do not like open seating", we like to sit long enough with folks to get to know them. For a few meals we sat with the same couple, which we all enjoyed, but not really enough to get to know them.

Seldom do we travel with anyone, and when we do, it becomes hard to meet others. Most of the entertainment was OK (but) The two "Shows" were exceptional. The last show was without a doubt, "The Best" we've ever seen on any cruise ship. (Worth the price of admission)

To sum up----Did we enjoy----Yes---- Would we do it again---NO---Been there ,done that, it was a cheap trip. Next trip----First sitting----better food. Wishing You a GOOD TRIP--------

Paul Kraeuter

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: February 2, 2006

This was my 10th cruise but my first experience of leaving from NY. Embarkation was excellent...we were on the ship an hour and 15 min. after arriving at the port so I thought we were in for a great cruise.

That was until dinner! We went to the steak restaurant and paid $20 extra for a dinner that was mediocre at best. The next day's breakfast and lunch were awful too. When I complained to the maitre'd, all he would do was give us a complimentary dinner at the same steak place. I think I had one "good" meal in the 10 days of the cruise. VERY disappointing.

On the good side, the entertainment was top notch and the service from the crew was good also. But, they didn't change bed linens the whole cruise and no top sheet so you were using a quilt that hundreds of people used before! Gross!

For sure, I will never choose NCL again!!

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: February 2, 2006

The Good: The Norwegian Dawn is a well-appointed, clean ship with helpful staff that are friendly, and go out of their way to accommodate the passenger's requests. The main, and largest, dining room, The Venetian, is at the stern of the ship with the entire back wall of glass. A breathtaking view. The other two traditional restaurants are a smaller and perhaps a little more intimate. The buffet restaurant on deck twelve always offered a good selection at both breakfast and lunch, (we did not eat dinner there). Of course, as with any buffet, ashore or afloat, keeping food hot is difficult. The second to last night, an ensemble cast of singers and dancers staged a production entitled "Bollywood". A show not to be missed.

The Bad: Our meals in the three traditional dining rooms, (the menu was the same in each), were adequate at best in both quality and available menu choice. We tired of the buffet, where serving meals hot is always a challenge, and ate breakfast in the "Venetian" several times. They were also challenged in getting all of the food that was supposed to be served hot to

the table in that state. One day when we ordered a light breakfast from room service, the small carton of milk was three days past it's "best before" date. Of the two free specialty restaurants, the Italian, â?oLa Trattoriaâ? was again lacking in menu choice or quality. The other free specialty restaurant serving Tex-Mex meals restaurant was o.k. but not outstanding. There are several specialty restaurants charging an additional fee of from $10.00 to $20.00 per person, which we did not try. Of the ten nights in which there was entertainment in the main theatre, six or seven nights consisted of a stand up comedian. Although these entertainers were talented, the acts usually lasted no more than 45 minutes, and even funny stand up comedy can become tiresome. Other cruise lines certainly offered a greater mix of acts, including singers, and at least three or more ensemble productions. Expect to pay premium prices for alcoholic beverages. Although all cruise line's prices are what I consider to be excessive, Norwegian's cost, for a domestic U.S. beer for example, is about $1.00 per bottle higher than other ships we have been on.

The Ugly: The Norwegian Dawn is based in New York City and sails from there year round. Of the more than two thousand passengers on this cruise over eighteen hundred were from the U.S., many of them from the New York City area. There were certainly a number of these people doing their best to live up to the caricature of the typical New Yorker; Rude, loud, and obnoxious. After saying "please" and "thank you" a number of times during dinner, one of the serving staff commented to us, "You're not from New York are you?"

Summary: During the cruise many of our fellow passengers expressed the same comments as written above. . In my opinion, the Norwegian Dawn is a "bargain basement" cruise operation. Charge me a few dollars more; upgrade your menus and entertainment, and I might come back.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: December 11, 2005
Strange to say, but "Freestyle Cruising" seems to mean that nothing is free. Everything from bottles of water to the food in some of the "premium" restaurants is for sale at prices that you might expect to pay at a New York hotel. This was my 4th cruise on my 4th different line. I will cruise again with Carnival, MSC, and Princess. I will not book another cruise on NCL. Basics We did not get the room we booked. It was to be a handicapped-access room with a couch and a balcony. There was no couch. There was not even a chair that my wife (who uses a walker) could use. Their "remedy" was to bring in a somewhat better chair, more like a waiting-room chair than the little kitchen chairs. We also had problems with a sink that wouldn't drain, a toilet that wouldn't flush, and a coffeepot that wouldn't open. These were all fixed, but it seems like a great deal of work for a fairly new ship. We had gotten a promotional package that was supposed to include a $300 onboard credit. It did not appear. The travel agent and NCL seem to be pointing fingers at each other over this, but I talked to (and stood in line with) at least four other couples who had the same tale of the disappearing $300 onboard credit. We did not all have the same travel agent. NCL announced that they would be selling transfer tickets and chartering additional busses to the airports due to the NYC transit strike. I asked about transport to the Bus Terminal. I was told, rather rudely, that there were no available taxis, that NCL was providing airport transfers only, and there was nothing additional they could do. We would have to see the port agent when we arrived. Luckily, the only effect was an unusually long wait for a taxi. That rude ticket agent was very much the exception among the staff. Except for him and one member of the cruise director's staff (who seemed to really want to be somewhere else) the staff was friendly and as helpful as they could be within the severe limits imposed on them by the NCL corporate environment. The general problem is that everything is promised as first class and delivered on the cheap with BIG extra fees. For example, the descriptions of the Internet access NCL provides make it sound like the kind of service you get in any good hotel these days. The reality is that they provide an Internet Cafe with very expensive rates. Entertainment I think NCL needs to understand that a solo comedian is not really a "show" at all. This is especially true when a significant portion of the passenger population does not speak English. To them, a solo comedian is just somebody on a stage making sounds. There was also a solo singer and a magician. The singer was very good, but it's very rare that one man can carry an entire show. The one big production called "Bollywood" was very good, but some passengers had seen it multiple times before. It apparently has not changed for two years or so. The stage band and some of the secondary acts were exceptionally talented people doing their best with inadequate support. The stage band consisted of piano, drums, bass, and one each of trumpet, saxophone, and trombone. I guess this is NCL's idea of a "big band." The musicians were quite talented and one of the best evening entertainments was a jazz jam in one of the pubs. In the small combo context, they performed outstandingly. It was only on the stage that the handicap of trying to make a small combo do the job of a big band became insurmountable. There was a couple from Australia doing a lounge act that was first rate. They performed a broad range of material with an individual style. They were especially good in vocal harmonies. Again, the problem was a lack of support. Where they should have been supported by a backing band, they had an MP3 player. Even the karaoke book was woefully inadequate, consisting mostly of Sinatra and bubble gum hits with little of the 50's through 90's songs that are staples in most places. It's really sad when one of the best shows of the cruise is the one that the passengers put on at the last evening. Food Dining is the area where "Freestyle Cruising" becomes really critical. There are lots of extra charges for the "upgrade" restaurants. The basic dining rooms are quite good. Aqua was our favorite and very well-run. The open cafe is convenient, but the food is about what you would expect to find at a hospital cafeteria, except that there are few "healthy" options. Other than fresh fruit, most of the main dishes are heavily loaded with fat, salt, and carbs. They don't even have margarine to substitute for butter. Our first day out, we had two emergency medical evacuations for people with heart attacks. Maybe they were eating at the cafe. Other Onboard Activities NCL seems to provide good stuff when they charge for it (at nearly double the rate you would pay ashore) and poor to mediocre stuff in all other cases. The spa, for example, offers good services, but a full massage was almost $200. The exercise room was usually fairly full with a short wait for equipment. The trivia sessions, crafts, bridge, and other such activities were not very well-attended. Perhaps this was because they were often run by that "would really rather be somewhere else" staffer and often didn't even offer the little prizes that usually go with these things. The running joke was "winners get to keep the pen." The casino was very well-run. Of course, it is probably the biggest moneymaker on the ship. They advertise slots with a 95% return, but the fine print tells you that this is only on a limited number of machines. My wife was able to find a few, all expensive. Perhaps this is really the reason for the mediocre entertainment and other activities. They don't want anything drawing you away from the casino. Destinations In most of the ports, I just got off the ship and walked a few miles (my daily exercise) with stops for some shopping. Jamaica was about as expected. The vendors were rather aggressive and the juxtaposition of poverty with wealth is always a bit jarring. Grand Caymen Island was a more affluent place, reminding me of Bermuda. There is a submarine tour that families would especially like. Roatan was a very poor place, with a policeman every twenty feet or so near the docks. The police keep the crowds of children from becoming too much of a problem for the tourists. The cameo shop has some very nice hand work done on the site. This was the only planned stop where the ship tied up to a dock. Belize was an unexpected pleasure. We took the tour of the Mayan ruins and got to see a great deal of the island. It is very clean and organized. The signs of poverty are kept away from the places where tourists usually go. This place is a diver's paradise, with a huge reef and the famous "blue hole." I'd like to go back again. Cozumel has more Mayan ruins than any other stop. Unfortunately, I did not get to go ashore because my wife was sick that day. Great Stirrup Cay got skipped because of high winds that would have made tender operations too hazardous. Instead, the ship docked at Nassau for half a day. This was my third time in Nassau, and we really weren't there for long enough to do anything interesting. Overall I like cruises from Boston and New York because they eliminate the need to fly to the ship (which is often the biggest problem). I dislike NCL because of the poor quality of the entertainment and activities, and the inflated extra charges. If you must take a "Freestyle" cruise, plan on spending 30-50% of the booking cost on concealed on-board charges and don't expect anything to be anywhere near as good as the brochure says (including your stateroom). Better yet, just book with another line.
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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: November 20, 2005

Booked a very special Anniversary Package Cruise for our 20th.wedding anniversary to the Carribean with NCL following a very successful NCL cruise(Star)from Honolulu in November 2003.

From start to finish it was a complete disaster, NCL spent the entire cruise denying I had paid in advance for the Anniversary Package despite receiving telephone confirmation from Barclaycard VISA that NCL had received full payment more than a month prior to sailing.Despite this NCL have now spent over three years denying responsibility for screwing up our anniversary despite writing and faxing to NCL Chief Executive in Florida.

As for the non existant Anniversary cruise from New York to the Tornado battered Carribean including Cozumel Mexico it was like visiting Berlin immediately following the end of World War Two.

The Dawn was packed full of brash loud mouthed uncouth New Yorkers whose table manners and dress sense were unspeakable, in short they should all have been forced to walk the plank or take their cruise on a ship depositing off shore effluent. NCL are no longer our cruise line of choice as they cannot be trusted to deliver the goods paid for in good faith. Their

Chief Executive hasn't the strength of character or ability to admit a mistake and hides behind similarely mindless idiots in their Customer Relations Department in Miami. God forbid I book another NCL cruise.
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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: November 20, 2005
We chose this cruise as Brits because it started in NYC and our son lives in NJ so we could combine the cruise with a stay with him.  The cruise went to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Roatan (Honduras), Belize City, Cozumel, Nassau and back to NYC.  Good itinerary, as we had not been to Belize or Roatan before. Positive aspects of the cruise:  Nice cabin.  We chose an outside cabin on deck 4 in the middle of the ship as it was more stable.  Porthole rather than window, but still a comfortable, spacious living space.  Very well-designed bathroom with lots of storage space and big shower stall.  Helpful, efficient cabin stewards who kept place spotless. Itinerary was varied - and despite storms on first day out ship was surprisingly smooth.  We liked the announcements and were happy that the staff knew what they were doing in all aspects. Entertainment - Ricky Matthews was Cruise Director and he did a very good job, motivating his staff.  Shows were interesting, although we could have done with more "show type" evenings, with dancing girls and singing. Negative aspects - the Freestyle.  We may have been unlucky in the timing, but we have never been on a cruise where the standard of passenger behaviour was so poor.  Unfortunately, when there is no dress code some people interpret that as meaning they can make no effort whatsoever in their personal hygiene. Perhaps because it was holiday time, there were simply too many kids who seemed to have carte blanche to wander around doing whatever they wanted, be it in the lifts, jacuzzis, cafes or theatre. We did not like to see people walking around in the lounges in the evening in shorts/grubby teeshirts with beer bottles in their hands, and kids with bare feet in the Garden Cafe.  Freestyle is fine as a concept but I think there should be a cutoff time in the evening (say, 8pm) when if people do not want to shower and change after the day they should be segregated into separate areas, rather like smokers are. We experienced many queues for the restaurants, and think that a tweaking of the system would help; perhaps by having blocks of dining, say all at 8pm, all at 9pm etc.  We did not use any of the pay-restaurants as we felt the included restaurants were excellent, particularly the Venetian. We would not use NCL again, unless the itinerary was exceptional - because of the Freestyle. 
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Bahamas
Publication Date: September 25, 2005

Preface It's been over a year since Diane and I returned from this cruise. I was going through my reviews and realized I never posted it. Some of the information may be irrelevant at this time but I hope readers will get something out of it and not think of me as an idiot.

Introduction Another September and another last minute cruise. Last year we cruised on the Carnival Legend. This year it was NCL Norwegian Dawn. I was feeling real disappointed that we had not cruised all year. We had planned a September cruise but had to cancel our plans in May. Events made it possible to cruise in September after all and being the 19th I couldn't get us on the ship we had planned for the 22nd but I was able to get us on the Norwegian Dawn for the 25th.

For those of you who have not read any of my reviews of previous cruisesâ?¦Diane absolutely hates to fly. After our November 2004 cruise she made me promise we would not fly for at least 2 years. We had taken the train from Boston to NYC last September

and she loved it. This made it possible to book the Dawn out of New York.

Booking We have always used a local travel agency to book our cruises. I, being a cruise consultant wanna be, find the cruise, hotel, car rental, etc. then take to the agent to book it. I found this cruise at Vacations To Go and decided to try on-line booking. With only 6 days to the cruise, I was taking a chance but Lori Ortiz at Vacations To Go handled everything went extremely smooth despite the hurricane which resulted in the closing of the office in Houston. I look forward to booking with Lori again.

Itinerary The itinerary was less than impressive. Port Canaveral, Miami, Great Stirup Cay (NCL's private island) and Nassau. Diane and I do few excursions and prefer to laze around on the ship while others are off enjoying the various ports. We do get off the ship and walk around the local shops for an hour or so than return to the ship. More about this under Excursions.

Embarkation What a difference from last year when embarkation was an absolute disaster. NCL definitely has its act together. We walked into the terminal at 11:12 A.M., checked in our luggage and proceeded to the check-in desk. We were sitting with our coffee all checked-in by 11:30. They had chairs set up and coffee, tea sandwiches and sweets available. Boarding started about 45 minutes later. We were on board and in our cabin at 12:30.

Ship The Norwegian Dawn is a wonderful ship, very clean and well organized. Lots of restaurants and lounges, a library with plenty of reading material, a movie theater, and more. The pool is great and plenty of hot tubs. The tiered area for sunbathing was great leaving the chairs around the pool for swimmers.

Cabin Of course the only thing left was Category N - Deck 4, inside, front of the ship. Being past cruisers with NCL may have helped because we got upgraded to Category J - Deck 8, inside, middle of the ship. This was our first experience with an inside cabin so we went to sleep with the T.V. set to Bridge Cam station (Dark) and woke to Sunshine. It was our porthole window.

The room was larger than I expected and plenty of storage areas. There was a coffee maker which we liked as we are big coffee drinkers.

There is a refrigerator but no mini bar. We picked up a few extra cans of soda at one of the bars and stocked the frig.

Our steward kept our room clean and the ice bucket filled with fresh ice.

Dining There is a huge choose for dining. This was our first experience with freestyle dining. Diane loves it while I prefer traditional cruise style dining. Rather than 1 large Main Dining room there are 3 smaller venues which have no surcharges and require no reservations (Aqua, Impressions and Venetian). Also the Garden Café for buffet style dining and the Blue Lagoon for snacks and open 24 hours.

The food was wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the Beef Wellington at Impressions.

Excursions Diane and I are not big on excursions as I mentioned earlier but on this cruise there really was little to do. One thing we like to do in Nassau is to visit a little bar named Iguana's. Unfortunately, for all intent and purposes EVERYTHING was closed. The exceptions were the shops in the terminal, a cheap souvenir shop and a bar. A native beer company was giving out free beer at the bar of which I took full advantage. This was after our traditional Bahama MaMa's which we couldn't have at Iquana's, of course.

The other port worth mentioning was Great Stirup Cay. This is NCL's private island and while it doesn't meet HAL's Half Moon Cay, it offers a nice day on the beach. There are two beaches. One of them is very rocky. I saw a couple of people with cuts on the feet from stubbed toes in the water. NCL puts on a nice spread of hamburgers, corn on the cob, fruit, etc.

Staff and crew Only good things to say about the staff and crew on the Dawn. The wait staff in each dining venue was wonderful. On ships with traditional sitting the wait staff gets to know the guests. They learn there likes and dislikes and close bonds are developed. Open sitting does not offer this opportunity but the wait staff compensates for this and I still felt I was being treated "special" by all of them.

There was one incident at the Chocolate Buffet which was held in the afternoon. An opportunity to take pictures prior to the eating was offered. As you probably know bathing suits and tank tops are not permitted in the dining room. I was wearing a sleeveless shirt and was told "tank tops are not permitted in the dining room". After explaining that it was not a tank top but rather a sleeveless shirt, the woman said it didn't matter, I was not permitted in the dining room. I had bought 3 from L.L. Bean at $29 each just before the cruise. That night was formal night. We were dressed appropriately, I in a tuxedo and Diane in a gown and seated next to us was a gentleman in dungarees and a t-shirt. When I mentioned this the head waiter simply shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Go figure.

Entertainment The various lounges have wonderful entertainment but the Bollywood performance in the Stardust Theater was horrible. We had never walked out of an act but after 10 minutes we did. The performers where fine but the music?

Pictures I have to talk about the onboard photographers in every review. Some day I will find a photographer who can take a picture of a tall person (I'm 6'2") without cutting off my feet or head, because it hasn't happened on any of our cruises.

The 6 photographers are out every night taking the "formal" pictures. With all the complaints I read from people complaining about the picture taking, it's amazing how long the lines are every night to have pictures taken. Just an observation.

Conclusion Diane and I are committed cruisers. The itinerary was disappointing and the Bollywood entertainment was the worst I've seen. But everything else was wonderful and we look forward to again cruising on the Norwegian Dawn again in April 2007.

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