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Norwegian Dawn - The Good and Bad!
We recently sailed on the Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda. I think the Dawn is the perfect size for cruising. Large enough to have all the amenities that modern day cruisers are expecting, and yet small enough that you can skip the elevators and walk the ship without exhaustion.
The Dawn has a very wide wrap-around promenade deck. Walking along this deck felt very spacious and was a great place to watch the setting sun. The deck has very limited outdoor seating and Norwegian should consider adding in the same type of seating that is found on the Breakaway.
We ate at all the specialty restaurants on the ship. The overall food quality was not as good as it was on the some of the other ships, like the Breakaway, however, out of seven dinners we felt 3 of them were very good. For us, the best meal was the beef tenderloin in the LeBistro. We enjoyed this while sitting at a nice private table for two in the Wine Room. Coming in second was our experience in the Moderno. The salad bar was outstanding and all the meats were very well prepared. We enjoyed our Moderno experience while sitting at a table for two next to the large windows allowing us to watch our sail away from Bermuda while we ate. Overall, we found the fish dishes on this ship to be very poor. My wife ordered a sea bass one night and it had a rubbery feel and taste (probably because all the fish was previously frozen), and any lamb that we had tended to have a lot of fat. We avoid buffets on cruise ships because they tend to be overcrowded and noisy, and the Dawn’s buffet (the Garden Café) was no different. We did enjoy the cubes of cheese that they had on one portion of the buffet.
Breakfast was a challenge on this ship. We found the main dining room service to be very slow and the food came out on the cool side. The Blue Lagoon offered a buffet style breakfast, with lots of fresh fruit and with made to order omelets. The benefit of Blue Lagoon over the normal buffet is that we were seated first and offered juices and coffee. It was nice having a table and not having to worry about finding one after you get your food.
Forget the pool area on this ship! It was usually very crowded and the lounge chairs filled up very fast. It didn't help that our sailing also had a ton of teenagers and younger kids. Therefore, we saved our swimming desire for the waves at Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda. There is a good running track on the upper deck along with a good size sports court. The kiddy pool area in the aft is well designed and it offers a lot of water options for the kids and the adults watching them.
The seating in the theater was great. Almost every seat provided good views of the stage. However, bar service was limited and the seats did not offer any place to put our drinks. The entertainment was amazing. The two production shows were very energetic and nonstop action. The comedian was very funny and the magic show was also well done. Overall, the shows were timed pretty well to not conflict with dining times and Aarmen, the cruise director, was outstanding.
Our balcony stateroom on the tenth floor was on the small size. However, the balcony was very spacious compared to the Breakaway. It measured four feet wide and that worked very well for us as we enjoyed evenings sipping wine on the balcony. It was also a great place to watch a thunderstorm that we sailed through one day. The bathroom had a glass shower door and the shower seemed very roomy compared to other showers that we have been in. The cabin itself was very tight.
Drink prices not only were on the high side but NCL was serving most of their drinks in plastic cups. We found the drinks tended to be on the weak side and the portions were small. NCL was trying to sell up the drinks by offering to double it for three dollars more.
Crusing to Bermuda is great and overall we really enjoyed the NCL Dawn cruise.
Steve Millay, ACC
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