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, ‚?oLa Trattoria‚?Ě 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.