NCL Norwegian Dawn Family Suite 12016 Forward Starboard Side Review 2019

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Hello Dawn! I missed you.

The first ship I ever set foot on was the Dawn. Way back then I had an assigned NCL rep and he called me days before the cruise and offered a very cheap upgrade to a rear balcony suite. Let me tell you: that cabin and experience spoiled me and I have just about always booked suites since then.

Click any photo for full screen slideshow

The “family suites” are new to the Dawn since that first cruise. These rooms are where the old Spinnaker Lounge was. This is good and bad. Good because they did build some remarkable suites but bad because the Spinnaker is now gone to enjoy a lounge with stunning views.

You enter the suite via a narrow corridor with a door on your right into the closet area and then the bathroom (more on that in a bit).

If you have ever been on a cruise ship you can see how grand and huge this suite is. It really is remarkable and “feels” just massive and open.

The bed is a standard-ish king size bed and I have found most NCL beds to be on the soft side and I like that. My wife and I bring our own 3″ foam topper to make it even softer (yes, it takes most of a bag and we have to put it into a space bag to make it fit). Also, notice there is a pull-out divider if you want to use the sofa as a pull out bed. We did not and found the only real irritation in the room was stepping on the hard track in the floor.

I love having a room large enough that you can properly sit around the table for a meal. All suites include butler service at no extra charge (but you need to tip him or her after the cruise as not included with daily tip fee for the rest of the crew). You can have your butler bring you anything on the menu from any restaurant onboard (there is an upcharge for specialty restaurant meals fyi).

One of the single most impressive features of this grand suite is the “wall of windows” as my wife and I called it. There was an issue with the windows and I will touch on this later in the review.

One of my wife’s biggest gripes over many suites is the vanity area is just outside the bathroom and it is often cramped, dark and impacted by the heat and moisture from the shower (when someone is using it or just out, that is). Also at the far right in the photo is a pull-down Murphy type bed. With that bed and the sofa bed you can sleep a lot of people in here if you want to.

But this area is none of those negatives. It is out in the open and bright and with all the bits you see in the photo removed you have plenty of space! Also, the TV is large without being too large for the room. I had no issues watching from the sofa or the bed.

Another sweet feature of suites on NCL ships is you get a cordless phone you can take with you anywhere on the ship. Need to call your butler or the concierge from a deck chair to book dinner? Yep, works just fine. A neat perk.

As mentioned, just as you enter you have a narrow closet area. Both sides are lined with shelves and space. We were on a 10 day cruise and had no issues fitting all our stuff in. The safe is also located inside one of the closets.

Since this suite was all floor level when it was part of the Spinnaker Lounge they had to build up to accommodate the plumbing. Do notice it is a large step up to get into the bathroom itself.

Like the suite itself this bathroom is HUGE! Stunning and impressive. Bright and two sinks plus plenty of space. I hate cramped cruise ship bathrooms and this one felt as large as mine at home. Love it.

I also loved the large shower with both rain-head and handheld sprayer.

I am not a fan of jetted tubs or “hot tubs” in a room (or a hotel room for that matter) but this large standard tub was great.

Overall I simply loved this suite and without hesitation would book it again. I did miss having a balcony and if you miss that you can get the same room without the sofa and they have a small balcony in its place.

There was one major disappointment in the room, that is, the fact that two of the four grand windows had seal failures. Considering it is one of the major reasons to book this room it stung. I mentioned this to the concierge and he passed it directly to NCL while we were onboard and the result was a 20% credit back for the full price of the cruise paid (to be used on a future sailing that could also be combined with cruise next credits as well). I was impressed both with the offer and how quickly NCL responded.

Overall this is a great suite. Plus you get so many other perks like access to Moderno for breakfast and Cagney’s Steakhouse for lunch for no additional cost. Want to see a video review of the room and the above? You can check it out on YouTube here! – René



  1. Is it rude to ask how much this cruise cost, including port charges? Also, what cc did you use? I cruise mainly Crystal, and use my Amex Plat for $500 OBC.

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