Back from the Dawn 05/25/03 Cruise



We arrived back from the 05/25/03 Dawn Cruise from NYC to Florida and Bahamas. I was left with mixed impressions of the cruise and ship itself. I will say that the ship is quite lovely inside, with some spacious public rooms. The atrium area where the Java Cafe, Shore Excursions and Reception is very nice. The glass elevators that rise to the upper floors are nice and afford a great overall view of the Atrium. The Impressions Restaurant was one of the nicer eating areas and the staff was excellent. In fact our party decided to go back each evening because we enjoyed Delfin and Hilaria's service at Table 28. The hostess, Angelica from Romania, was fantastic.

The cabin was basic with the exception of the bathroom. I really liked the layout with a glass door separating the shower from the sink area and a glass door that separated the toilet from the sink. I would say that for an oceanview cabin, the bathroom was one of the best I've seen on the cruises I've taken and will probably wish to have it back in September on board the Galaxy. The use of simulated wood throughout the cabin and continuing on into the ship was great. This use gave the Dawn a bit of elegance and refinement.

Now for anyone going on future trips, be prepared to wait and queue up for everything. I found this to be an annoyance. There doesn't seem to be much organization when it comes to functions, dinners or even shore excursions. In fact the embarkation was a nightmare. I was surprised that lines didn't move more quickly and many times, the employees blames extra security, but rarely throughout this cruise, were any of my party ever requested passport or photo ID and in fact, we boarded and was ushered on by security within them even opening our passports. We were in line for about 30 minutes just to get through the first metal detector and had it not been for pass passengers privaleges, we would have been in line longer to check in.

The areas that need to be improved are:
1. The service in the main dining room, The Venetian is horrible. I am not sure whether it is the kitchen or the staff, but there were many people who left with a bad impression, especially when one waited for over 35 minutes for breakfast and it came out cold. I would recommend the Impressions Restaurant. Excellent service and cozy atmosphere. Food was abundant and overall well received.
2. The pay restaurants. The selections were many and one could eat at many venues, but from speaking with other passengers, the fee didn't justify the type of service and food received. The biggest complaint was at Cagney's Steak at $17.50 per person.
No deviation from the set menu and no additional servings allowed. The food at Le Bistro was basically the same as the free dining rooms, Bamboos was a large restaurant, but few guests. Aqua was very modern, but noisy. The Garden Cafe was the basic buffet cafetaria, but one addition with a children's eating area.
3. The theater was very nice, but the seats were uncomfortable, and very little leg room. It seems that the line increased seating-capacity for the sake of comfort. The theater was also the stage for shore excursions and the fiasco that follows disorganization.

Overall the cruise was nice. I could have lived without having to be in Cape Canaveral for so long and maybe skipped Miami altogether, but that's my personal opinion. I am not sure whether I would recommend this cruise to anyone. I would say that it was a great price, but if you are looking for RCCL or even HAL, then this isn't for you. Based on the hundreds of children on board, this ship is great for families with children. AND unfortunately, rightly or wrongly, too many children for me.

I will say that NCL has improved since my last cruise with them.


thanks for the review! i have a question about embarkation. how are the lines divided up? can ab suite pass gp into the lat itude line? can suite board in their own line. we have ab suite. thanks michele

Post Edited (06-02-03 13:36)


When you first arrive at the pier, everyone has to go through the metal detectors and unfortunately only 2 were used for my cruise. So the lines are long as soon as you enter. Between the metal detectors and the lines for check in, the photographers are taking welcome aboard photos...Unfortunately, this also adds to the slowness. Once you pass this area, you encounter the line for check out. As far as I know, you have two lines, one for regular boarding and one for latitude members. And I wouldn't have known about the latitude line if it were not for a security check in person asking along the regular line. It certainly cut down the wait. I'm hoping that as time goes, the embarkation will be easier. In all the confusion, I don't remember seeing any signs pointing the purpose of lines in the check-in.

Like I said, mixed reviews for me. And hopefully as times passes NCL will fine-tune the areas of problems.