CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Dawn by Gsridge Eastern Caribbean February 4, 2003

My wife and I booked this ship since we liked the itinerary, freestyle cruising, and the fact that the ship is new. We found the boat exquisite in virtually every way. It seems NCL listened to passengers comments and incorporated everything in the new ship. Some specifics:

1. Food - Freestyle dining provides 10 restaurants to choose from and the settings are beautiful. The main and largest dining room - The Venetian - is very tastefully appointed, and our favorite was "Impressions" - an intimate spot where we were surrounded by gorgeous reproductions of some of the masters. Felt like we were in a 5 star restauant here and in "Le Bistro" (extra charge). Food was excellent - not the best we've had on a cruise but very well done and presented. Service a little slow. We never had a problem eating when we wanted to - I notce some have complained about waiting but this didn't happen to us. 4 or 5 restaurants take reservations.

2 Accomodations - standard 170 sq ft room was efficiently designed and met all needs and expectations. Bathrooms very well designed.

3. Service - Excellent in all respects. Whole staff seemed to be excited about being on a new ship and it showed. With freestyle cruising we had a different waiter each night and all were excellent

4. Entertainment - Loved the main theater - done with banked true theater style and not a big lounge - so all seats are excellent and we weren't hustled for drinks. Dance group passable; but the highlight was a juggler / comedian - David Lewis - who was on 2 nights and was fabulous

5. Tours - the usual variety given the Eastern Caribbean stops. I snorkeled a lot and the 2 main guides from the ship were excellent. At their private island on Stirrup Cay, they've built an artificial reef, so the snorkeling is greatly improved from our last visit 2 years ago.

6 Other - even nickel slot machines!! My wife was thrilled!!. Good passenger mix - some kids, some honeymooners, and not overwhelminly seniors (though I fit that category) 4 elevators at each end and middle - unlike the 3 on most ships - were a small touch but we never waited for an elevator. Bars - not big drinkers so can't comment on the lounge scene. Ship store (Galleria) overpriced but what else is new? Pool - smart idea - shrink size of pool and add more jacuzzi's, and then also add a tiered sunning area in levels on top so more people can find a spot in the sun for days at sea.

Overall this was our best cruise experience from the perspective of the ship (Alaska was my favorite by far for setting). Would definitely take this boat again. Most passengers we talked to were equally impressed.

Suggestions for NCL: 1. Get rid of the Bamboo restaurant - nobody's eating there anyway - and upgrade the Italian restaurant. The Italian is just a walled off part of the main cafeteria/cafe and we skipped it as it had no ambiance

2. In the cafe - need to reposition the glasses / cups first then the ice machine and then the coffee / water / tea. People climbing over each other

3. Would love to take this boat in Carribean again but found that NCL plans to run this out of New York next winter to Florida. Are they crazy? (I could picture all those passengers huddled around the pool in their parkas this past week when the ship would have left NY in the Blizzard)

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