Embarkation Our cruise started in NYC on November 2, 2008. Embarkation was extremely fast even though we're just ordinary passengers without any permissions and special needs. It takes just half an hour and were on. Our baggage got in an hour later but our stateroom was already ready.
Stateroom We were on deck 10 in stateroom NR 1013.
The stateroom was generally really nice, clean and spacey with one thing: It smelled of cigarettes which was ugly. After a few days we got used to this smell but first impression was quite not nice. Our stateroom was inside, there was no window, but there was one really big bed for two. It had a TV with remote, quite big toilette with shower, small table with small chairs and nice and spacey wardrobe, with places for shoes. It was good enough for 2 people, but we didn't have too many clothes. Staterooms below 7 deck have a quite poor corridor but I suppose that those staterooms looked the same as ours.
We didn't want to get an outside stateroom and I was really glad that I didn't change my mind.
From NY we sailed roughly 2.5 days and the sea was really rough, with the ship rolling badly.
In the reception area they have really helpful medicines for sea-sickness.
Entertainment We are 27 and 29 years old. Entertainment was the weakest link of our trip. There was a lot of things to do for older than us, disco was poor and music was definitely not for us: swing and others of that kind. Swimming pool was too small for days on the sea but generally was ok. My fiancÚ was really glad that there was outside Jacuzzi (5 in all), though it smelled really strange but it was fine.
There was a really nice fitness centre (no fee) with a lot of equipment. They organized Yoga and Pilates but it was too expensive for me (15 USD per 1.5 hours if I remember correctly).
We really enjoyed the room with board games as in scrabble, monopoly, chess and puzzles and many more.
The library was technically nice but almost all interesting books in English. These were registered and we could read them inside of the small library. I could borrow books in Chinese for example.
Poolside deck was big and there was enough deck chairs for everyone.
Food First of all I must say that we didn't eat in the fancy paid restaurant. We've been to Aqua twice and almost all the times we ate in Garden on 12th deck.
I can say that the food was awesome. The Garden was great, and there were a lot of nice things to eat -- sometimes even really tasty sushi, great fruits, really nice pizza, pastas and fantastic vegetables. Buffet was a great experience but after 10 days we had an accident with salmonella or other strange disease and after that all service was really restricted. We couldn't just take what we wanted to. Everything we had to ask for and be served. This caused crowds all the time, and made for unbelievable queues. But generally everything about the food was nice and tasty.
Disembarkation We had disembarkation in Miami. It was even faster than the embarkation. We decided to takes our luggage with us and that's why we could go off the ship on our own. It was definitely faster than the more traditional way.
Ports of Call Dominicana: First impression: nothing special as everyone suggested. Second thought: let's have look around the quite nice but really small city named Samana. This was one of the greatest places to buy cheap gifts. Next after long bargain hunting, we decided to take a taxi tour. The trip takes 3.5 hours with an hour stop on a really nice beach in Las Galleras. The price was quite high (25 USD per person) but we bargained well because the first price was 90 USD.
The trip was really nice, the beach was great, secluded and exotic. The owner of the cab showed us something really beautiful named blue hole which was half the way to Las Galleras.
After this trip we spent some time on shopping and at around 3 PM we went back on the ship.
St. Thomas: We took a taxi again. Price was the same as in Dominicana which means 50 UD per 2. Taxis are everywhere and price is almost always the same. The trip was around the entire island and takes almost 4 hours which is enough. We saw a lot of beautiful places and finally went to the great Saphir Beach. I really enjoyed that tour. We saw iguanas on the beach, beautiful fish and other such things. In 2 hours we saw every part of the island (it's not too big). If you like shopping you can find great bargains in St. Thomas -- the prices are almost the same as on duty free ship and choice is bigger than in the ship's shops.
Antigua: Beautiful, secluded, exotic, hot. We decided to go to the beach on foot. It was quite far but on the way back we took a driver and for 2 USD he drove us directly back to the ship. This island is really beautiful, calm, and I think that this is a really exotic island.
Barbados: This is one of my favorite islands in the Caribbean. The weather was really bad, and it was raining. Even though, we've spent a lot of great times on Barbados. We took a bus from the bus station and for 2 USD per person roundtrip we went across the entire island twice. Because of the weather we tried to spend as much time as we could on the bus and we did. We went to Bathsheba on the other side of the island. This is really famous -- massive rocks jutting out of the Atlantic Ocean. It was difficult to find interesting gifts from Barbados and we bought only t-shirts in the duty free shop.
St. Lucia: We were there on a Sunday and probably that's why the capital of the island was a little bit empty. We deciced that we would take a bus again and that idea was perfect. We went to a really beautiful crowded beach named Reduction. Swimming was fun, and we hadn't seen the Pitons before, but did this time.
Curacao:One phrase: full of colors. Willemstad, which is the capital of Curacao, is situated on the canal and it is quite big. City is totally beautiful; houses are in pastel colors -- blue, yellow, red, pink and I suppose that in every other color of the rainbow as well. We just saw the beach, but we didn't have the time to stay longer, and even if we had, we felt that we had enough sun. Beach was sandy and quite long. We chose sightseeing and it was great. Small streets, paintings on the wall and a lot of small architectural signs of European colonization which is quite nice and looks great.
Curacao is a great place to buy gifts and the prices are reasonable.
Bahamas -- Great Stirrup Cay:There is a lot of things to do here, but finally we decided to look around on the island and see the light house. After 30 minutes of walking (the lighthouse is 2 miles from the beach, but it was 1 kilometer -- not more, I don't think). But the lighthouse is nothing spectacular, but as a walk destination it is fine.
For the rest of the day we spent it on the really beautiful beach, watching huge fishes and swimming in nice, cold water.
Summary In summary I have to say that this cruise on the Norwegian Dawn was one of the greatest holidays I've ever had.
The ship was comfortable and clean, the food was good and differential, the service was unconditionally good, and all of the ports of call were beautiful and full of attractions.
If you're looking for something longer than just a few days, this cruise on the Dawn is a great opportunity for you.