- Basic information about Norwegian Dawn
- Cabins and suites
- Food & Drink on board Norwegian Dawn
- Restaurants included in the price
- Specialty restaurants subject to surcharge
- Cafes, bars and lounges
- Sport, relaxation & wellness
- General information about Norwegian Dawn
- Current position Norwegian Dawn
- Conclusion and evaluation of the ship
Miami, Florida-based Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) promises Norwegian Dawn guests “ultimate freedom and flexibility” on board the ship. The promise includes diverse restaurant and bar options, fitness and spa experiences, and varied entertainment programs. We test the validity of the statement on one of Dubai Cruise leading to Doha/Qatar.
Basic information about Norwegian Dawn
The Norwegian Dawn is one of two Dawn-class cruise ships. The MEYER shipyard in Papenburg originally developed and built the ships for Star Cruises, a cruise brand owned by the Malaysian-Chinese tourism group Genting Hong Kong. Before their completion, the two ships were transferred to the NCL. – The 294 meter long ship was completed in December 2002. It offers space for 2.340 passengers with double occupancy.
The jewel of the Norwegian Dawn is the atrium located in the rear segment of the ship. The open space extends from the 7th to the 13th deck. Four glass elevators shuttle in the atrium.
Norwegian Dawn - Atrium
Cabins and suites
The ship's deck plans show eleven passenger decks. According to the shipyard, the Norwegian Dawn has 1.112 cabins. The ship's guests live on decks 4 and 5 as well as 8 to 12 and 14.
We used balcony cabin 10022 on the 10th deck to starboard. Due to the advanced age of the ship, the cabin is not very spacious. There is still enough space and storage space for two travelers. The bathroom is very small; We are amazed at how little space the shower, sink and toilet can fit into. The lower beds in the cabins can be converted into a double bed. A number of the cabins have additional beds. The total bed capacity is given as a maximum of 2.340 based on double occupancy. The basic equipment of the standard cabins consists of a TV flat screen, telephone, safe, refrigerator and hairdryer. The decor of the cabin looks pleasing.
The choice of cabins on board Norwegian Dawn is extensive. From the inside cabin on deck 4 to two garden villas on the 14th deck, there is everything your heart desires and your wallet allows.
Inside cabins, divided into three types, offer space for up to four people. The size is between 13 and 25 square meters. Outside cabins are divided into five categories. They have panoramic windows and are on average 14 square meters in size. They offer a little more space Balcony cabins, the size of which – including the balcony – is between 18 and 28 square meters.
Suites are differentiated according to eleven classes. The smallest residential units are those measuring 25 to 27 square meters Club Balcony Suites. Both of them are against it Garden Villas with three bedrooms each, the largest luxury apartments on Norwegian Dawn. They are located on deck 14 and are 621 square meters in size. The terrace area with whirlpool alone takes up 413 square meters of deck space.
Food & Drink on board Norwegian Dawn
Norwegian Cruise Line has been practicing the “Freestyle Cruising” concept since 2000. Freestyle cruising means: The flexibility of the guests is at the center of life on board. There are no fixed meal times and fixed seating arrangements in the restaurants. Two elegant-looking main restaurants, a buffet restaurant and several specialty restaurants - of which Bamboo is included in the price - offer guests a variety of dining options.
Restaurants included in the price
Two excellent full-service restaurants
Passengers enjoy the traditional dinner on decks 6 and 7 in the two elegantly designed main restaurants “Aqua” (open only in the evenings) and “Venetians”. Both restaurants together offer around 1.000 seats. In addition to dinner, the Venetians regularly serves breakfast and lunch.
Our impression of the dinner:
- Both restaurants have different offerings. The menus contain constantly available “classics” as well as daily changing offers. Vegetarian dishes are also on offer.
- Both restaurants work with a high level of professionalism. The guests are seated quickly. There are neither set dining times nor assigned seating. There are hardly any waiting times, but if there are, beepers are used. If you don't want to wait, reserve in advance.
- The dishes come beautifully decorated on the plates and are very tasty. The individual courses are served in quick succession in both restaurants. This practice is apparently based on the needs of US guests. The drinks service also works smoothly. We find the table spacing and the general noise level to be pleasant. The waiters' work areas have been well integrated into both restaurants.
O’Sheehan’s – an additional full-service restaurant
The Irish O’Sheehan’s Pub serves breakfast from 6:00am to 11:00am, followed by rustic specialties such as fish and chips until 3:30am the following day. There are also many delicious types of beer including Guinness, which we love.
Garden Café buffet restaurant
Guests who appreciate self-service dine morning, lunch and evening in the Garden Café (Deck 12 – Stern area). The buffet restaurant also has plenty of outdoor seating on the pool deck. The quality of the food in the Garden Café is also good, although the breakfast, which is tailored to the needs of American and Asian guests, should offer a little more variety.
Bamboo – A Taste of Asia
The specialty restaurant included in the tour price offers fresh noodle dishes, wok dishes, soups and other Asian dishes.
Norwegian Dawn - Bamboo Bar
Specialty restaurants subject to surcharge
It is undisputed that the dining options included in the travel price meet high standards. There would be no need for additional specialty restaurants that charge a surcharge. But they exist and are used well. Guests who want to experience and take advantage of the variety of specialty restaurants can purchase dining packages for 3, 5 or 10 meals, depending on the route. Guests on the Norwegian Dawn can use the following specialty restaurants for an additional fee:
Cagney’s Steakhouse is located on deck 13 amidships. Guests enjoy premium Angus steaks and other specialties.
The Italian restaurant La Cucina
The “Italian” located on deck 6 amidships offers its guests fine southern specialties. We tested the restaurant and were very satisfied.
Norwegian Dawn - La Cucina
The French specialty restaurant Le Bistro
The inviting, elegant restaurant offers modern Mediterranean and classic French cuisine at upscale à la carte prices. We also dined at this restaurant. We were thrilled with the quality offered. Unfortunately – unlike in the Aqua and the Venetian – too much time passed between the individual courses.
At Los Lobos, the Wolf, on deck 12, guests experience Mexican cuisine at its best. Lovers of carne asada and other specialties will get their money's worth in this restaurant. The restaurant offers traditional Mexican cuisine with modern accents.
Norwegian Dawn - Los Lobos
On deck 13 amidships is another steakhouse, the Moderno. Guests experience Brazilian cuisine at Moderno: a sumptuous salad buffet and slow-grilled meat dishes are offered, which are cut at the table by the “passadores”.
Norwegian Dawn - Modern Churrascaria
The sushi bar on deck 7 serves traditional Japanese sushi and sashimi specialties.
The Japanese Teppanyaki is adjacent to the sushi bar. The chefs “work magic” on a large steel grill, and the guests sit together around a large table and watch the action. The skilled artists conjure up their dishes and charge $59 to the on-board account. The restaurant is open for three evening sessions.
Norwegian Dawn Teppanyaki Restaurant
24-hour cabin service
The ship's guests also have access to 24-hour cabin service for an additional fee. Suite guests are exempt from the surcharge. – And one more thing: No matter when and where you eat: cloth napkins are indispensable. Paper napkins are unthinkable on board the NCL ships.
Cafes, bars and lounges
Norwegian Dawn's daily programs list a total of twelve bar establishments. We list the most important facilities by deck:
Starbucks Coffee Bar
At Starbucks Coffee, guests consume coffee, espresso and similar drinks. Coffee specialties are generally chargeable. This also applies to guests who book a Premium All Inclusive package. Coffee is only served with meals without a surcharge.
Norwegian Dawn -Starbucks Coffee Bar in the atrium
Bliss Bar – Bliss Ultra Lounge
Aft on Deck 7 is the Bliss Ultra Lounge. It is one of the ship's established venues. The stage and bar are open until the early hours of the morning. Bingo tournaments, lectures, excursion presentations and other events take place there regularly during the day. In the late evening, entertainers and passengers of all ages crowd the dance floor.
The Cellars by Mondavi
The Mondavi wine bar is close to the Bliss Bar. For four generations, the Mondavi family has been making exquisite wines in Napa Valley, the Californian destination of choice for wine tourists. Wine tastings also take place regularly at The Cellars.
Norwegian Dawn - The Cellars by Mondavi
The already mentioned O'Sheehan's has an impressive bar. It is the only place on the ship where you can get Guinness alongside what feels like countless types of beer.
Norwegian Dawn - O'Sheehan's Bar
Topsiders and Bimini Bar
The Topsiders Bar, located on the pool deck (Deck 12), is an outdoor bar, as is the Bimini Bar on Deck 14. In warm regions – such as the Gulf region – it is a special treat to have one or more “nightcaps” on the highest deck of the ship before going to bed.
Sport, relaxation & wellness
Compared to the “Norwegian Getaway”, which we are also familiar with, the “Dawn” lacks spectacular attractions such as a climbing garden or large water slides. But even without this, the passengers on board enjoy sporty things.
Only a few ships today offer a promenade that runs around the ship. A 7 meter long circular path is available to walkers on the wide boat deck (560th deck). A significantly shorter jogging track is on the 13th deck.
In the center of the pool deck (12th deck) are the Oasis Pool and four hot tubs, which are always well-used. The Norwegian Dawn has a total of six public whirlpools. One drawback: shaded areas are rare.
Two golf cages were set up on deck 13 on either side of the ship. The area for ball games is located on deck 14 amidships.
Ship guests will find the Mandara Spa at the stern on the 11th deck. In addition to various saunas and steam rooms, it offers everything spa fans could want.
The Norwegian Dawn's entertainment program is as varied as the day is long. Nobody has to be bored on days at sea. When we think of entertainment, we first think of the two-story Stardust Theater in the bow area on decks 6 and 7. Passengers are offered a varied show program every day. The on-board theater has around 1.000 seats. Unlike other cruise lines, NCL only puts on well-staged stage shows once a day. In our case, the show program clashed with our evening eating habits. With difficulty we at least see “Elements”, the best-rated show of the NCL ships.
The Bliss Ultra Lounge is used for a variety of events during the day. At night it turns into a dance hall. Other venues include Gatsby’s or the Atrium.
Norwegian Dawn - Bliss Ultra Lounge
For many ship guests, a visit to the on-board casino is also part of their entertainment. In the Dawn Casino on deck 6, roulette, black jack, poker and dice tables await players; There are also many slot machines.
Art lovers attend the regular art auctions, while bookworms frequent the well-stocked library.
It is now impossible to imagine ships without the Internet café located on deck 7. In the video arcade on the 13th deck, would-be racers, pilots or whoever compete with electronics. We find visiting the Tradewinds stores quite entertaining. The shops are located in the bow area on the 7th deck.
Cigar smokers use the Havana Night cigar bar on the 6th deck.
Norwegian Dawn - Havana Night Cigar Lounge
Children and young people also don't miss out on board the Norwegian Dawn. The counselors on deck 13 in the Splash Academy and the Entourage Teen Club look after the young cruisers. Aft, on the 12th deck, is the T-Rex children's pool.
General information about Norwegian Dawn
Actress Kim Cattrall – known as Samantha in the film series “Sex and the City”
Length 294 meters, width 38 meters
2.340 with double occupancy
1.112 according to shipyard information
MEYER shipyard / Papenburg
English; German-speaking contacts are available.
Currency on board
Current position Norwegian Dawn
Conclusion and evaluation of the ship
Norwegian Dawn has been in service for more than 20 years and is in excellent condition. The ship received its last make-up in 2021. We rarely see signs of aging. Passengers are offered high quality in all departments of the ship. The facilities, the dining options, the service and the entertainment meet our expectations.
The Norwegian Dawn is not a “fun ship”: water slides, climbing walls and similar facilities are missing. Although there is a children's area, in our opinion it is not a family ship. Norwegian Dawn is made for people who want to see a bit of the world.
We recommend the Norwegian Dawn to interested German cruise guests who would like to get to know and enjoy international, high-quality cruise offers instead of the usual German cult brands AIDA Cruises and TUI Cruises. And at the same time, they maintain contact with fellow travelers, especially English-speaking people.