Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 367 out of 500
Accommodation: 145 out of 200
Food: 240 out of 400
Service: 273 out of 400
Entertainment: 67 out of 100
Cruise: 275 out of 400
Overall Score: 1367 out of 2000
Norwegian Dawn Statistics
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9195169
Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)
Original Cost: $400 million
Entered Service: Oct 2002
Registry: The Bahamas
Length (ft/m): 964.9/294.1
Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2
Draft (ft/m): 26.9/8.2
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric/2 azimuthing pods
Passenger Decks: 11
Total Crew: 1,069
Passengers (lower beds): 2,476
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 36.7
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.3
Cabins (total): 1,238
Size Range (sq ft/m): 142.0-5,350.0/13.2-497.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 511
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 20
Wheelchair accessibility: Best
Cabin Current: 110 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 3
Hot Tubs (on deck): 2
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
This large casual ship is for lively, family-friendly cruising
Overview. Plenty of choices, including many dining options, add up to a very attractive holiday package, particularly suitable for families with children, in a contemporary floating leisure center that provides ample facilities for you to have an enjoyable time. Despite the company’s name, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), there’s almost nothing Norwegian about this product, except for some senior officers.
The Ship. Norwegian Dawn, sister to Norwegian Star, was built in 64 sections and has a pod propulsion system - so there’s no vibration. In 2011, some 58 additional suites/cabins were added, making the ship more crowded.
Facilities include a large Dawn Club Casino gaming area, an Internet café with 24 computers, a 1,150-seat showlounge, a 3,000-book library, a card room, a writing and study room, a business center, conference and meeting rooms, and a large retail shopping complex.
A non-changeable per person service charge is automatically added to your account daily for staff gratuities; 15 percent is also added for bar charges, and a whopping 18 percent for spa treatments.
Families. A good deal of space is devoted to children’s facilities such as the T-Rex Kids’ Center and Teen Club. All are tucked well away from adult recreation areas, at the aft end. Children of all ages will get to play in a superb wet ’n’ wild space-themed water park, complete with large pool, water slide, and paddle pool. There’s a room full of cots for toddlers to use for sleepovers, and even the toilets are at a special low height. Teens, too, are well catered for, and get their own cinema (with DVD movies), discotheque with dance floor, and their own hot tub. Some cabins have interconnecting doors - good for families with children.
Accommodation. Although the suites and junior suites are quite spacious, the standard interior and outside-view cabins are very small when compared to those of other major cruise lines such as Carnival or Celebrity, particularly when occupied by three or four persons; the bathrooms, however, are decently sized and have large shower enclosures. There are many different price grades.
Garden Villas. The largest living spaces, Vista and Horizon, sit high atop the ship in a pod located forward of the funnel, and overlook the main swimming pool and recreation deck. These villas are stunning and have huge glass walls and landscaped private roof gardens for outdoor dining - with whirlpool tubs and huge private sunbathing areas. Each has three bedrooms and bathrooms, and a large living room overlooking the Lido/Pool Deck. These units have their own private elevator access and private stairway. Each measures 5,350 sq ft (497 sq m) and can be combined to create a huge, double-size ‘house’ measuring 10,700 sq ft (994 sq m), including a private outdoor Italian garden. Butler service is provided.
Owner’s Suites. Located in the very front of the ship, each measures 750 sq ft (70 sq m). Two are nestled under the enclosed navigation bridge wings on Deck 11, and the other two are in the equivalent space on the deck below. If you don’t need the entertaining space of the Garden Villas, these suites are delightful living spaces. However, they can suffer occasionally from noise generated in Spinnaker’s nightclub/disco on the deck above. Each Owner’s Suite can also be interconnected to a Penthouse Suite and balcony cabin - useful for large families when parents value privacy.
Penthouse Suites. Each measures 366 sq ft/34 sq m. Penthouse Suites on Deck 11 can be interconnected to a children’s cabin with double sofa bed and a pull-down Pullman-style bed, separate bathroom, and shower enclosure.
Romance Suites. Each measures 288 sq ft (27 sq m).
Mini-Suites. These measure 229 sq ft (21 sq m).
All suites are well furnished, most in rich cherry wood, although closet space in some of the smaller units is tight. Some suites have extras like a trouser press, and a full range of personal toiletries. Suites also get butlers, who can serve all meals en suite from the menus of several dining venues.
Many cabins have third- and fourth-person pull-down berths or trundle beds.
A small room service menu is available; non-food items cost extra, and a 15 percent service charge and a gratuity are added to your account. Bottled water is placed in each cabin, but you are charged if you open the bottle.
Dining. With Freestyle Dining, you can choose which restaurant to eat in, at what time, and with whom (no assigned dining rooms, tables, or seats). While this is fine in theory, in practice it means that you have to make reservations for a specific time, so ‘freestyle dining’ actually turns out to be programmed dining.
Other dining options. There are three principal dining rooms, plus a number of other themed eateries, giving a wide choice (some cost extra and require advance reservations). Two entire decks are filled with 10 restaurants and eateries. NCL’s dress code states that ‘jeans, T-shirts, tank tops, and bare feet are not permitted in restaurants.’
Venetian: the first main dining room (seats 472) offers traditional dining (open 5.30pm-midnight). It is located aft, with good views over the stern (at least in the daytime) although 14 pillars obstruct the sight lines from some seats. The room has a baby grand piano. For a quieter table, choose one of two wings in the forward section near the entrance/steps.
Aqua: the second main dining room seats 344 and offers traditional six-courses from 5.30pm to midnight.
Impressions: the third main dining room, seating 236, offers lighter cuisine from 5.30pm to midnight. The waiter stations are too close to the tables and are very noisy.
Bamboo (a Taste of Asia): a Japanese/Thai/Chinese restaurant, with 140 seats, has a sit-up conveyor-belt style sushi/sashimi bar, sake bar, show galley, and separate room with a teppanyaki grill.
Le Bistro: a French restaurant with 72 seats, serving nouvelle cuisine. The decor includes four Impressionist paintings on loan from the private collection of the chairman of Star Cruises, NCL’s parent company, although they don’t really match the room’s decor. There’s a cover charge and also a line for you to add an extra gratuity - cheeky. But it’s the best food on board and worth the extra cost.
Blue Lagoon: a food court-style eatery with 68 seats serves hamburgers, fish and chips, pot pies, and wok fast dishes.
Garden Café: an indoor/outdoor self-serve buffet (seats 490). It includes ‘action stations’ with made-to-order omelets, waffles, fruit, soups, ethnic specialties, and pasta.
Salsa: a Spanish tapas eatery and bar (seats 112) with a selection of hot and cold tapas dishes and authentic entertainment, located on the second level of the atrium lobby.
La Trattoria: located inside the indoor/outdoor buffet (seats 162); serves pasta, pizza, and other Italian fare.
Cagney’s Steak House: arranged atop the ship seats 112, incorporates a show kitchen, and serves excellent US prime steaks and seafood. Be prepared for large portions. Reservations are required and a cover charge applies.
Other eating/drinking spots include the Pearly Kings, an English pub for draft beer and perhaps a game of darts; Havanas, a cigar and cognac lounge; Java, an atrium lobby café and bar (hot and frozen coffees, teas, and pastries); a Beer Garden (grilled foods); a Gelato Bar (ice cream); and a Gym and Spa Bar (health food snacks and drinks).
Entertainment. The 1,037-seat Stardust Theater is the venue for colorful Las Vegas-style production shows and major cabaret acts. It is designed in the style of an opera house, spans three decks, and has a steeply tiered main floor and port and starboard balconies. The production shows are very colorful, high-energy, razzle-dazzle shows with much use of pyrotechnics, lasers, and color-mover lighting. They’re not particularly memorable but they are very entertaining.
Spa/Fitness. Wellness devotees should enjoy the two-deck-high El Dorado health spa complex, operated by the Steiner-owned and Hawaii-based Mandara Spa. Located at the stern, it has large ocean-view windows on three sides. There are many facilities and services, almost all at extra cost, including Thai massage in the spa, outdoors on deck, in your cabin, or on your private balcony.