After a refurbishment in 2016, the 2,340-passenger Norwegian Dawn emerged looking fresh and contemporary. Look for exciting new spaces, like the upscale Los Lobos Cantina, and décor enhancements to over 40 venues. The ship continues to provide lots of options, including everything from a Brazilian steakhouse to 24-hour pizza delivery — and 12 bars and lounges. In addition to choices, you'll get Norwegian's popular Freestyle Cruising concept, which allows you to dine whenever you like rather than at fixed early and late seatings.
What We Love
Giant Suites: Norwegian Dawn's three-bedroom Garden Villa suites are — at a whopping 6,693 square feet — the largest at sea. They come with a private garden, outdoor dining area, and a hot tub. Not a big spender? There are comfortable, if not huge, cabins for the rest of us.
Indoor and Outdoor Pools: Indoor pools are rare on ships, and Norwegian Dawn's indoor lap pool is the longest at sea. The outdoor Oasis Pool, with its four hot tubs, is also larger than you'll find on many vessels. The separate dinosaur-themed T-Rex kids pool — with its slides, splash pool, and two hot tubs — is a draw for families with children of all ages.
Best Known For
Improv Comedy: Prepare to laugh at the sketch comedy and improvisational antics of a troupe from Chicago's The Second City. The raunchy late night show is particularly hilarious.
Casino Action: Norwegian's casinos are highly rated by players, and this ship's over-the-top casino has your standard table games, slot machines, and such temptations as mini-baccarat and Let It Ride. There's even a VIP room for high rollers.
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Who It's Best For
The Casual Crowd: You don't have to dress up at night — ever — because there aren't any formal nights.
Families With Kids: Norwegian Dawn works particularly well for multigenerational family groups. Kids can hang out at the Splash Academy (where teens get their own hip club), while grown-ups luxuriate — or work out, if they're feeling virtuous — at the expansive El Dorado Spa and fitness center.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Don't Improvise Dinner: The idea of Freestyle Cruising is that you can choose where you want to eat, when, and with whom ... but that doesn't mean you don’t need a reservation. Show up without one, and you may have to wait in line.
Plan to Spend Extra on Dining: The better restaurants, such as the Japanese Teppanyaki grill and Le Bistro, have either a fee or a la carte pricing. Any room service beyond continental breakfast also carries a fee.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.
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Norwegian Dawn at a Glance
- Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
- Class: Dawn
- Number of Passengers: 2340
- Ship Size: Large
- Launch Date: 2002
- Refurbish Date: 2011