Norwegian Dawn in New York
Norwegian Dawn in New York / Norwegian Cruise Line / Michel Verdure
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Atrium / NCL
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Garden Café
Garden Café / NCL
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La Cucina
La Cucina / NCL
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Los Lobos Cantina
Los Lobos Cantina / NCL
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Garden Villa Terrace
Garden Villa Terrace / NCL
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Norwegian Dawn Review

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

After a refurbishment in 2016, the 2,340-passenger Norwegian Dawn emerged looking contemporary — and a 2021 refresh spruced things up even more. Look for exciting spaces, like the upscale Los Lobos Cantina and Sugarcane Mojito Bar. While the ship doesn't have Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest amusement-park-like offerings (no ropes course, no aqua park), Norwegian Dawn does continue to provide lots of options, including restaurants that range from a Brazilian steakhouse to a contemporary sushi bar — and nine bars and lounges. In addition to choices, you'll get Norwegian's popular "Freestyle Cruising," 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 6,694 square feet — among the largest accommodations 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 ones you'll find on many vessels. The separate dinosaur-themed kids pool — with its slides, splash pool, and two whirlpools — is a draw for families with children of all ages.

Best Known For

Casino Action: Norwegian's casinos are highly rated by players, and this ship's over-the-top Dawn Casino has everything from table games to slot machines, mini-baccarat, and Let It Ride. There's even a VIP room for high rollers.

Choices, Choices: You'll find more than enough dining options to fill your entire cruise, including six complimentary options and specialty dining (at an added cost), such as hibachi at Teppanyaki, steak at Cagney's, and Mexican fare at Los Lobos. There's no shortage of bars or lounges either, with options including Gatsby’s Champagne bar, Sugarcane Mojito Bar, The Cellars wine bar, and 24-hour O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill.

Who It's Best For

The Casual Crowd: You don't have to dress up in the evening — ever — because there aren't any formal nights.

Globetrotters: Through at least late 2025, Norwegian Dawn will be offering itineraries around the globe, including a number of 15-to-21-night Extraordinary Journeys to places like Africa and the Gulf of Arabia and destinations throughout Europe. That means the ship is likely to attract couples looking for a cultural adventure.

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 for a table.

Plan to Spend Extra on Dining: The better restaurants, such as the Japanese-style Teppanyaki grill and French Le Bistro, have set fees or à la carte pricing. Any room service beyond continental breakfast also carries a fee.

Fran Golden
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger