I would like to start by stating the fact that I have done extensive world travel, but have only been on 12 cruises. Just wanted to get that out there to inform you I'm very familiar with world travel and services of all walks of travel in other countries be it business or pleasure.
The last time I took a NCL cruise was in May 1993 on the NCL Majesty to Bermuda and once I got off that ship I stated "NEVER AGAIN"! The service,shows,staff moral,and the food was dismal at best! We also had a person med flighted of the ship by the US Coast Guard who died from a diabetic medical aliment. No fault of theirs just saying.
20 years later....I tried them again. Here goes, my father pasted away not to long ago and I figured I'd take my 75 year old mother on a cruise trying to get her interested in traveling and getting her out of the house, maybe start traveling with her friends etc? I told her expect the worse and HOPE for the best from NCL! It was her first cruise and she loved it!
I can not say enough about the friendly staff on the NCL Dawn! They were great! Whether you were walking on the deck in the hallways or our room steward Carl they were VERY helpful and very accommodating. The ship was immaculate! Oh I should mention I'm a clean freak! Not Monk.......but a close second.
Food: We made restaurant reservations 30 days before we left because we read the pay restaurants we all booked up by the time you got on board to make them. We ate at Cagney's and the Le Bistro. The Fillet Mignon was the best piece of meat I have ever had in my entire life and that is no exaggeration and the Le Bistro was very, very good as well!
Now that being said the food in the Venetian and the buffet were also very, very good! If you are on a restricted budget and money is tight the on board inclusive restaurants are perfectly fine! You aren't missing out, the food was great and the service was excellent the smallest of details were met. The second our water glass depleted they were right there to top it off. The service was excellent and I can't say that enough!! My mother spilled her water at our first sit down dinner, I felt like a parent for a week.... man that was painful! anyway I digress........the staff was very attentive and gracious and went overboard:) to clean it up and made her feel comfortable joking etc! no big deal! I usually sample all the food at the buffet to get a good feel of what they are good at and not good at. EVERYTHING was great!!!!
The logistics of feeding 2,200 people in a short window of time keeping everything fresh and warm whether reheated or not and timely and good is a feat in it's self!!!! I do wish they had the menu on the TV like they do on the other cruise lines. They do have the menus in the buffet entrance for viewing.
Shows: OK to be honest with you I've been to Vegas over 55 times in the past 42 years. I do have family out there and have seen my fare share of shows and been back stage etc. So that being said it's hard to compare, but I'm not really interested in them I go mainly for the significant other. The shows were as good as they get and the best I've seen on any cruise ship. They were very good and you will not be disappointed. We saw BOllywood, Tim Kiminsky the comedian twice and he was clean and very funny! Deal or no Deal was funny and so was the newlywed game show. The band by the pool was just OK.......a little loud but maybe my age is showing here? I didn't go to the other shows but did hear they were very, very good from other people we met aboard.
Disembarking and embarking: Getting on and off the ship was effortless they have it down to a science! There have plenty of NCL greeters as you walk into the terminal and very helpful if you have any concerns or questions. It took no longer then 10 minutes for the both of us to get our pictures taken, ship cards issued, and paper work completed. We sat down in a designated area and were told we would be boarding in 1 hour and in exactly 1 hour we were on board.
Getting off I always take the latest time luggage tags which in our case was GREEN 10:00AM, this way by the time we get off there is no waiting, no traffic and we just get in the car and drive off. We were the last 50 people or so off......out of the 2200, this seems to work great when cruising for me anyway. We were off the ship and on 93 south in under 30 minutes and I had to walk 2 blocks to get the car in the parking garage. If I used a credit card I could have saved 10 minutes but I paid cash and you have to park out side their office and walk in, it is mainly automated, little note: go to the machine just like they have at the airports and pay there with your credit card you will save a little time. Nothing to do with the cruise line of coarse. It was very reasonable $115.00 for a week:) That is a deal! NY, they charge $350.00 for the week at their cruise terminal.ooocch!
One other thing the drop off is also very easy they have dozens of porters at the drop off area to help take your luggage. I suggest you wear your dress closes getting on the ship the luggage will not get to your room before the first sitting in the main dining restaurants at 5:30 and the first night is lobster and filet Mignon. They require you dress smart casual, slacks, shoes, shirts with collars. not tongs, flip flops, tee shirts etc in the main dining areas. But you will see this throughout the cruise they don't really enforce it. Our luggage arrived around 8:30.
OK, here's the only thing I can say and that's it. I noticed in the buffet line they put 1 cook with 2 burners in each station in the center of the food line. He makes the eggs anyway you want them, the omelets etc. I noticed people backing up in the line and I asked them if they were all waiting for omelets..... the vast majority of people left the line and went around us. They should have the nylon dividers like at the airports that direct them omelet and egg line only. Every day this happened. Now, the other cruise lines I've been on actually have several separate cooking stations specifically for omelets, eggs,scrambled eggs,pancakes,french toast,crepes,waffles etc. separate from the buffet. They also have 4-5 cooks with burners in each station always going and the lines move very, very quick. Also watch the bills, the gratuity is already automatically added on every charge, they fold the invoice in half obstructing the view of that. I saw the total and added a 20% tip and then unfolded the invoice to see they already took it. They got me once and only once.:) These are the only things I found that could be address and suggest and I would make. I had to really think about finding any negatives.
In closing it is very convenient leaving from Boston if you live in the area. Flying to connect to get on a cruise ship is added stress and expense for hotels,cab fare,limo fare,food etc. They make it very, very easy getting in and out and the parking garage is very close. There are police everywhere no need to worry about any crime problems. I would suggest bringing several credit cards to Bermuda they do not take discover, Amex and a few other cards and some stores are on the Euro chip which is different from our mag strip. Bring travelers checks when possible for safety. The gang problem has been brought under control there from what I hear and what I've read. We did not experience any problems at all! I've been there 4 times and never had any problems day or night. I suggest getting the day passes for the buses and the ferry's for $15.00 a day it's well worth it. If you buy more than 2 day passes you get a better discount. Also contact your credit card company and let them know you will be leaving the country and going to Bermuda so they do not shut the card off thinking it's fraud. Also buy the extra med flight insurance some cards offer it free of charge,Some card companies (auto enroll) automatically charge $17.00 or so when you purchase jet tickets, train tickets, cruises etc. We also purchased the cruise insurance for $85.00 each which also covers med flight,lost luggage, cancellation in case of illness etc. These med flights can cost upwards of $75,000 dollars or more and yes they have a doctor on board every flight. Because we are use to getting great health care here, you can not expect to get that in other countries and your health insurance is nor recognized in those countries generally speaking.
Also fill out a (on vacation documents) with your local police department and they will keep an added watch on your home if no one is there while your gone.
I never have the time, or take the time to write reviews, however, I learned a lot from this web site prior to leaving and figured I would return the favor. I hope this helps!!!! enjoy your trip safe travels! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND NCL BOSTON TO BERMUDA AND THE CEO DESERVES A HIGH FIVE!!!!! He was on the undercover boss
and they run it on the ship. He has done a great job! Hopefully you'll see for yourself!
PS: They accommodate the handi capped, so bring your scooter! You can drive it all over the ship.:) The 4 elevator banks were always available and a bit faster than I remember no waiting lines.