I'm booked in an AE cabin for a cruise on the Dawn in October. I've done a lot of research on the difference between the regular balcony cabins and the mini-suites and the penthouses. There are differences in the services you get and its up to you to decide if its in your budget or worth it.
Here's a quick summary of the cabin differences (most of this is taken from other people's posts on other forums that I've found useful):
All suites (at least penthouse & above) get priority embarkation and debarkation privileges, including shore excursions. If you’ve booked a suite you will be met and escorted through the check in process. Although it may vary with the port so you might want to confirm that in advance. Some ports have VIP rooms where you can wait until it's your turn to board.
Category AA through AE have both butler and concierge service. Category AF and AG have only the concierge service.
With concierge service, that person will make all reservations for you, from restaurants to shore excursions, to whatever you need to have done. Those in suites will also get priority booking in the restaurants requiring reservations.
The butler service will serve any meal from any of the restaurants (not just the normal room service menu) in your room. Most posters who used the butler services felt that the butler was only there for them. It appears their job, along with the concierge, is to make your cruise perfect in every way.
Category AA through AD get a few extra perks, like a welcome bottle of champagne that the lower suites don’t get, but AE does get the afternoon canapés and maybe the upgraded toiletries.
AE 9732, AFT has a wrap around balcony on the port side. Although the NCL implies the AE has a separate bedroom, that’s not the case. Once you get to the specific information regarding the stateroom it describes it as a “studio bedroom with a curtain”. There is a curtain that can be pulled around the bed which blocks the light and allows one person in the stateroom to use the rest of the space while the other sleeps, but it’s not a truly closed off bedroom. Here’s how many people can book into in each of the suites:
->BA = 1-3; 166 sq ft, balcony 37 sq ft (standard balcony room)
-> AF = 1-4; 283 sq ft including balcony (Mini Suite – 2 convertible lower beds and a double sofa bed)
-> AE = 1-2; 291 sq ft, balcony 70 sq ft; (AFT Penthouse Suite, queen bed, studio bedroom with a curtain)
-> AD = 1-2 (AFT Romance Suite, queen bed, studio bedroom with a curtain)
-> AC = 1-2; 314 sq ft, balcony 134 to 254 sq ft(Forward Penthouse Suite, queen bed, studio bedroom with a curtain)
-> AB = 1-5; 533 sq ft, balcony 54 sq ft(2 separate bedrooms in this one, plus a living room/dining area)
-> AA = 1-2 (owners Suite, king bed, separate bedroom, adjoining cabins available)
-> A1 = 1-6 (Garden Villa, 3 Separate bedrooms, large living room/dining room area, ~5700 sq.)
Virtual tours can be found here: http://www.virtualtoursusa.com/norwegiandawn.htm
The penthouses seem to have bigger TVs from the various pictures i've seen. They have actual tables and chairs and in general more space. The penthouses also have a cd/dvd player in the room and access to a cd/dvd library.
Post Edited (07-28-05 14:17)