Pros: Everything is good from the food to the service to the excursions.
Cons: Embarking, disembarking, time limit in Nassau.
I have been on the Norwegian Dawn twice in my life and have already booked my third trip this coming May. My first experience on the Dawn was magnificent, however the ship was still new and they had a few kinks to get out of it. For starters the food wasn't anything to write home about, and the staff was still green. Otherwise my stay was fun, relaxing, and enjoyable. I was in the mini-suite with my boyfriend. Unfortunately there was a bit of a problem getting the Dawn in port at NYC because they had to make an emergency stop because a young boy got ill on the boat. When they finally got to NYC it was very late, at least 6pm. We were waiting for hours and others were waiting triple the amount of time we were there. Immediately the crew brought us out food while the check in process began extremely fast! It was amazing how quickly they did it all. They got the prior passengers off the boat and the new passengers on in record time! Also, to make up for the lateness they opened the bars up free for the rest of the night! That was the beginning of a very happy group of cruisers. We even got a complimentary bottle of wine. They did their very best to make up for it all and even rushed us to Florida to make sure we got a full day in at Port Canaveral. They tried so hard to accomodate us and they really did deliver.
It is also important to point out that this is free style cruising. I have been on other amazing cruises in the past where the schedules were very regimented and the dress was extremely formal. For some people that is what they are looking for in a cruise, especially the long time cruisers, but for the people newer to the experience and appeciate a more casual atmosphere with the ability to eat whenever you would like, it is a lot better.
That was my experience my very first time on the Norwegian Dawn, and like I said it was fabulous! My parents decided to go again in October. They were given the opportunity to tour the Garden Villas at the top of the boat at the end of their trip. They were offered a nice deal and they booked it for the Summer!
There are two Garden Villas on the Norwegian Dawn. They are both similar so I will describe mine here. The room accomodates six people. There is a large main living room area with a baby grand piano, large dining room table, couch, comfy chairs, a laptop computer on a desk, and a full service bar. As a guest in the Garden Villa you are allowed six bottles of any alcoholic beverages you want! And these aren't any inky dinky bottles, they were the BIG huge real deal bottles. 6 of them! We couldn't even finish what we had, and we drank more than our share. The view from the living room is amazing. You look out and can see the entire pool area. The windows are tinted so no one even knows there is a room up there. You can see all the going ons and rush down when you see them setting up the BBQ!
The villa then has a very long hallway with three seperate bedrooms. The first one is what I would call the master bedroom. There is a large king size bed, very comfortable for a bed on a cruise ship, with huge floor to ceiling windows that overlook the ocean. There is also a TV and enormous walk in closet. The bathroom is immense! There is a large whirlpool tub with jets and enough bubble bath to fill the room with bubbles, there are two sinks and a large walk in shower. There is also a television in the bathroom. The view looks over both the ocean and the swimming area. Again, the people can't see into the Garden Villa so you have total privacy. However, at night if you have lights on and it is dark outside it is best to put down the shades. I checked it out for myself.
The next bedroom is the smaller of the three. It is still huge and has a nice bathroom and closet area, but again is not as extravagant as the other 2 bedrooms. I did not spend much time in there because that was where my brother and his friend were staying. However I can describe the next bedroom perfectly because that is where my boyfriend and I stayed.
The third bedroom is amazing! There is another large bed with the floor to ceiling windows that looks over the ocean. There is a television and desk area, chairs, and a coffee table. There is a sliding glass door that leads out into the garden, but we will get back to that later.
There is a doorway that leads into the unbelieveable walk in closet. There is a floor to ceiling mirror and another doorway leading to the bathroom. The toilet is seperate from the rest of the bathroom, with its own door. Again there are 2 sinks, a TV, a whirlpool tub that I spent hours and hours in, a large shower with a digital readout of the temperature, and of course a beautiful view of the ocean. Have you EVER bathed while looking at the ocean? I have, and I intend to do it again at least 7 more times on my next trip this coming May.
Now continuing down the hallway there are 2 doors that enter the villa, I guess they are seperate so as not to disturb the others in the villa. Each of the bedrooms have their own doors and keys to enter as well as their own cell phones to keep in contact with the rest of your party! Very convenient and helpful when you want to arrange dinner plans!
At the end of the hallway is the garden. You walk out into this beautiful deck with a large dining table to your left, a hammock in front of that with a smaller dining table next to that. To the right is your own personal hot tub, and plenty of chairs to relax and get some sun on. There is also a personal sauna. There are beautiful statues and plants, a small waterfall, and much more. There is also a staircase that leads to the highest deck on the ship! A huge astro-turf deck with dozens of chairs and an amazing view of the entire ship. When you look down at the people you can hear them saying "I wonder how you get up there." But they can't hear you when you yell down that it is only for the Garden Villa! haha! The view from up there is amazing. It is a bit too windy up there when the boat is moving, but when you are in port it is the first place you have to go. It gets very warm up there when the ship is stopped, but when it is moving it is breezy, but still nice.
You can only get into the Garden Villa with your special key card. You can't even get to the 14th floor without your card! You need it in the elevator to make the button for the 14th floor to work, and you need it at the top of the stairwell. It truly is a private secluded and special place.
My parents had their own personal massage on the deck of the garden villa. We had our own personal butler named Juda that brought us dinner every night, brought us drinks from the bar whenever we wanted, brought us a birthday cake for our friend Milan because it was his birthday, brought us breakfast and little snacks throughout the day. Our stewards were also just as amazing. They always filled my bubble bath to the top because I would use the whole thing! They made the best towel animals and used our sunglasses for their eyes. They laid out beach chairs for us before we even had the chance to ask. It was just a wonderful experience with people who really liked serving you. We even got our butler to eat some cake with us, but he wouldn't sit down. He was cute.
Our shore excursions were excellent. Everyone's tastes are different. We decided to go to Universal Studios in Orlando, Splish Splash with Cookie in Miami, the private island, and then Rose Island in Nassau.
Univesal Studios was great. We were able to buy tickets on boad the ship and even had that express pass where we didn't have to stand in line for the rides. The got us down there by bus and it was a pleasant restful ride while we heard about the alligator invasions and the sinking of houses into the marsh lands. We also learned that the new Mummy ride opened up that day and we would be among the first to have the opportunity to ride it. Oh boy did we love that! There are no rides like the rides in Universal and Disney!
Splish Splash with Cookie is a popular excursion on the Dawn. You get to go to this resort in Miami where you get a private cabana to change, a beautiful beach with crystal clear water, a nice large swimming pool, bar, a kiddie pool with cookie the octopus, and the octopus waterslide that really isn't made for big kids like us. haha!
The private island is always nice, however you need to get on it early if you want an umbrella. There are usually plenty of chairs, but the umbrellas go quickly and that island is HOT with hardly any shade. It is so nice, and the water is beautiful, and you will probably see the resident sting rays named Bert and Ernie. The BBQ on the beach is of course included with the cruise, the only thing that costs is your alcoholic beverages and your rafts and snorkel equipment. The fishes in the water are so beautiful so you must make sure to bring an underwater disposable camera!
Nassau bahamas is just beautiful. Rose island is the nicest beach in the world. The worst part about this is that you don't spend enough time there. The ship has to depart by 1 so it really limits your beach and shopping time. That is a major bummer, but there is nothing but good things to say about the island. I love it there!
The days at sea are packed with fun and excitement. Dance lessons, shows, food, comedy, other forms of entertainment, karioke. The food this time around was simply WONDERFUL! I feel they have perfected it! And if you're hankering for a late night snack...the FISH AND CHIPS are amazing! I have no idea what kind of batter they use, but it is unbelieveable. All the restaurants are good, the service is a tad bit slow, but if you are in the Garden Villa or in a Suite you can have your meals in your room. I love that part.
Anyways, a wonderful cruise! Like i said i am going again this coming May, 2005. Last May was the best vacation I ever had. The June before that was my second best vacation, and let me tell you I have been to a lot of places. The Dawn has it all. Try it out!