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Norwegian Dawn Berlitz Review

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Berlitz Rating:

Families With Children
Ship Beam (ft/m):
Ship Builder:
Meyer Werft (Germany)
Ship Cabins (for one person):
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Ship Cabins (wheelchair accessible):
Ship Cabins (with private balcony):
Ship Casino (gaming tables):
Ship Crew/Passenger Ratio:
Ship Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
Ship Elevators:
Ship Entered Service:
Oct 2002
Ship Former Names:
Ship Hot Tubs (on deck):
Ship IMO Number:
Ship Length (ft/m):
Ship Library:
Ship Onboard currency:
Ship Passenger Decks:
Ship Passenger Space Ratio:
Ship Passengers (lower beds):
Ship Propulsion:
diesel-electric/2 azimuthing pods
Ship Self-Service Launderette:
Ship Size:
Mid-size Ship
Ship Size Range (sq ft/m):
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Ship Swimming Pools (outdoors):
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Ship Wheelchair accessibility:
This casual mid-size ship is for lively, family-friendly cruising

NCL Cruises - Norwegian Dawn

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, 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.Plenty of choices, including many dining options, add up to an attractive vacation package – one that is 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.A non-changeable per-person service charge is automatically added to your account daily for staff gratuities; a service charge also applies to bar and spa charges.

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), a disco 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 small 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, with large shower enclosures. There are many different price grades.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 per-order service charge is added to your account. Bottled water is placed in each cabin, but it’s chargeable if opened.Mini-Suites are just larger cabins than the standards and each measure 229 sq ft (21 sq m).Romance Suites each measure 288 sq ft (27 sq m).Penthouse Suites each measure 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.Owner’s Suites are located in the front of the ship, and 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, which is useful for large families, when parents value privacy.Garden Villas (Horizon and Vista) provide the largest living spaces. They are atop the ship in a pod located forward of the funnel, overlooking the main pool and recreation deck. They 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, a large living room, private elevator and private stairway access. 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 an Italian garden, and butler service.All suites are well furnished, mostly in rich cherry wood, although closet space in some of the smaller units is tight. Some suites have extras including a trouser press, and a full range of personal toiletries. Suites can also have meals served en suite from the menus of several dining venues.

Cuisine/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 need to make reservations for a specific time, so ‘freestyle dining’ actually turns out to be programmed dining.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. It is 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.Impressions: the third main dining room, seats 236 and offers lighter cuisine, but the waiter stations are too close to the tables and are very noisy.Bamboo (a Taste of Asia) is a Japanese/Thai/Chinese restaurant, with 140 seats, a sit-up conveyor-belt style sushi/sashimi bar, sake bar, show galley, and a separate room with a Teppanyaki grill.Le Bistro is 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. 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 is 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 is a Spanish tapas eatery and bar (seats 112) with a selection of hot and cold tapas and authentic entertainment, located on the second level of the atrium lobby.La Trattoria: located inside the indoor/outdoor buffet, it seats 162 and serves pasta, pizza, and other Italian fare.Cagney’s Steak House is atop the ship and seats 112. It 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 extensive use of pyrotechnics, lasers, and other fancy 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 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.

Berlitz Guide © Apa Publishing 2017

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