The following is a quick review of my recent cruise. We sailed on the NCL Dawn for a two night weekend cruise from New York City on April 18-20, 2008. We have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity Cruises before, all with the traditional dining format. We quickly became big fans of NCL’s Freestyle Cruising. It was very easy-going as well as relaxing. We arrived by 11:30 a.m. and were checked in and dining by 12 noon. Our cabin was very spacious and was ready by 1:00 p.m.
· Restaurants and Reservations – Reservations are necessary for the specialty restaurants so either stop by the reservation desk the day before dining or early in the morning for same day reservations.
· Blue Lagoon Café – Great potato skins, chicken strips with fries and chicken wings (spicy). Tea, coffee and dessert are served all day.
· Cagney’s Steakhouse – Cover charge $20. This service was wonderful with great food and atmosphere.
· Salsa – Tex-Mex cuisine with great appetizers. There is no cover charge but you must make reservations. You could also hear the music from the piano bar while dining here. A real treat was the folk music.
· Garden Café – This was the buffet area for breakfast, lunch and dinner with plenty of room and many tables and booths. There was an omelet and waffle chef in the morning. The deli area for sandwiches with fresh rolls and many types of bread was located behind the buffet. The kids café area had hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, mini burgers, chicken nuggets, fruit and chocolate chip cookies and was a big hit with the young ones.
· Aqua – This was one of two main dining rooms with great food and very fast service.
· Entertainment – The comedy show cannot be missed and the production show featured incredible vocals combined with high-energy dancing. In one late night pub, the crowd was singing along to show tunes from South Pacific and Oklahoma. In another pub, Billy Joel and the Beatles were played on the piano.
This ship was beautiful and easy to navigate. The main pool is large and surrounded by four hot tubs. The pool area was comfortable with plenty of lounge chairs. A poolside barbeque was set up each afternoon with burgers, hot dogs, pasta, fruit and desserts. The fitness center was open 24 hours. Upon arriving back in New York City, our only wish was to cruise to Bermuda for seven nights on the Dawn. Freestyle Cruising is a winning concept.