Cruise Review NCL Dawn 2/8-18 February Eastern Caribbean.
We live in downtown Brooklyn. We left our house a little after 11 am and had to go back to get our pillows (feather pillows we don't leave home without them). We made it to the pier shortly after 11:30 am. Very little traffic at the pier. So little traffic that instead of going up to 12th Avenue to 59th street, I turn on 55th street and go right onto the pier. I drop off our luggage and my wife and go up and park. I ask if the Parking lot attendant if it is even been full and he said no never full. I pay by credit card and go back and meet my wife. We go up to the latitudes area and they have nice little snacks, cover, tea, OJ etc. It is now about 11:45. We are told that people are still getting off and it will be about 1 before they start boarding-I tell my wife not to believe that. By 12:15 we are escorted down to the front of the line and by 12:30 we are aboard the ship. I immediately go to make reservations for the reservation restaurants. By 1 we have our reservations and we go to sit at the Pub, have a drink and let my wife have her last cigarette...she promises to stop smoking on the ship. The signs say the rooms won't be available until 3. So we decide to go eat at the Venetian dining room. No wait, good menu we finish about 1:50 and I say lets see if we can drop off our stuff and they announce that the rooms are now available---good timing on their part. We go to the room there is a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and then the food deliveries start (3 more)...we are on deck 4! I must say that I was originally disappointed that we didn't get a chance to upgrade but it really works out to be the best (more later). A basket of fruit with a bottle of wine more finger food...I feel like a stuffed derma. The luggage comes at 4, we unpack, go for a drink and then rest for a while...Dinner tonight will be around 8 at Impressions. There is also a meet and greet I try to find but don't- my fault. We go to dinner around 8 no wait. We are sat next to the Captain and Staff Captain who are eating together (I say hello). We are told that they eat the first night every trip at Impressions—good choice. After dinner we sit at Gatsby's and listen to the pianist---until he closes. Bad jokes ok but no Ms. Stanley. But it gets worse. We like this venue for after dinner and a cup of cappuccino and my wife can smoke. Unfortunately his repertoire rarely changes and his jokes never change.
We close this down go for a short walk around the ship and back to the room.
First full sea day. Latitudes party at 1 something else in the evening and its lobster night we eat at impressions. Food much better than I expected- food was better than the Cunard QM 2 that we took in September. Second full sea day Dinner at Salsa we go to the show. The room stewards are great, unobtrusive and there when you need them. Third day St Thomas. Sunny and 80 This is where being on deck 4 has its advantages. We are among the first off. In fact the other people we share the open cab with are from the Garden Villa...We decide to go to St Johns. We take a cab to Red Hook the Ferry and a cab to Trunk Bay. The ship docked at 10:00 we were on the Beach by 11:45. Nice beach warm water, I go snorkeling- see fish. Back to the ship we leave the beach at 4 and are back on the ship by 6.00 Dinner at Impressions. Show after. Some Casino (I wind up even) Fourth Day Tortola: Sunny and 80 We take the Virgin Gorda Highlights---really the only NCL tour we took this trip as it is almost impossible to get there on your own unless you charter your own boat. Virgin Gorda and the baths are interesting. We were back to the ship around 1 and were going to go to another beach by taxi but my wife has swallowed a lot of water at the beach in VG as the water was on the rough side. Me I was fine. She slept I walked around and slept too. I got her food from Blue Lagoon (good Chili). She didn't feel like dinner tonight. I went to Impressions alone. Both Maitre D's asked where she was and I said she was a little water logged from swimming. They asked if they could send her anything and I say yes the Onion soup is something she would like. So they sent her the onion soup. I learned later that they almost sent two. I said that would have been ok it was good soup. I go the show and then back to the room. She liked the soup (it was a nice thing to do for her too)... Fifth Day. Sunny and 80 St Martin... we had reserved an Avis car to drive around the Island but there are rental car places right to the right of the pier two Majors Budget and Hertz and 4 locals. Budget wants $80.00. The one next to it starts off at $50 and I get him down to $30.00. Total cost tax insurance etc was $50.00. Its rent a wreck. The car runs fine but I know I am not going to mistaken for the guy in the Garden Suite. My wife meanwhile is asking what the best beach to go to is. Gets a map that is an aerial photograph and says we are going to Friars beach (circled for us on the map)....I drive and I happy to. Get to Friars just about 10:30. Really nice beach. Chaise lounge chairs are only $5.00 and you get a free fruit juice. Nice topless beach- full nudity is prohibited. Around the corner from this beach is Happy beach were there is good snorkeling. I do some snorkeling and we eat lunch on the beach. The best chicken and plantains I have ever had moist and really really good with a Heineken cheaper than the ship. Dinner at impressions we get back 5 minutes before the ship is to leave. Some traffic driving back caused by a back hoe. Get gas get back on board ($12.00 on the Dutch side)...there is no border between the two parts of the Island. In three days we have been to six countries/Islands. The Ferry from St Thomas to St Johns, the trip from Tortola to Virgin Gordon and the Dutch and French sides of St Marten. Sixth day San Juan...up early take pictures coming in. Also we have rented a car here from Avis. We have to get our ids checked this am. It wasn't too bad finished by close to 9 am. Getting off we call Avis- they say they will be there in 10 minutes-less than a minute after we reach the street Avis is there. Get the car and we are going to Loquillo beach- I have been to San Juan three times before. My wife who has not asks me about San Juan- interesting area in Old San Juan and forts - she asks if it is any different that the other places we have seen on other islands and I must admit is isn't. Off to the beach beautiful beach about 45 minutes outside San Juan- we have only two things we must do in San Juan- find a flat repair kit for the car(the guy who had the dog sniff the car in Y said my back right tire was low—it was a slow leak) and my wife has to restock the diet peach Snapple that we brought on the ship(two 12 pack cases)....two stops and we have a flat repair aerosol can and 10 more diet peach Snapple....back to ship. After buying t-shirts and souvenirs on the beach we get back 6 minutes after we need to be on board—we weren't the last. Avis drove us back to the ship..$53.00 including the gas(if you drive less than 75 miles they include the gas for a flat $10.00-one thing less than I had to do) Dinner at Impressions. A show more pianist- same jokes. Seventh Day an additional full sea Day. Sunny and 78 Dinner at Cagneys. We spend most of the day sitting out on deck 7(I had the chairs by 9). Reading and sunning. Much quieter than the pool area. Food at Cagneys was very good, service was not as good as Impressions. I am use to being greeted and having the Maitre D come over and smooze. Cagneys we can't find the Maitre D...he is off listening to the Music in the atrium I have the T bone and almost all the appetizers. We go to find someplace else for music but wind up back at Gatsby's' Eight Day- Great Stirrup Cay cloudy boo but I have always wanted to walk to the lighthouse and "airport". I use my VIP tender ticket to get on then first boat. Meet people tell them what to do and ask them to watch my staff while I walk. We get lounge chairs at the very left and I walk to the lighthouse and airport. Nice walk about twenty minutes each way. I am one of the first walking (this am). When I get back I realize I left my swimming trucks on the ship. I get on the Ferry and go back to the room my wife is up and dressed and she comes back with me to the Island- I change into to trucks. By 10:00 we are back on the beach and as soon as we hit the chairs you know it the sun comes out (good living). We don't eat on the island- I go swimming lot of fish...back on the ship it leaves at 2 on the dot(more or less and headed back to NY) The CD is making jokes about cold it is in NY he is very funny. Friday night dinner at Impressions- I write a note and tip the Maitre'D at Impressions. Nice dinner but the others were better. Saturday last day boo Dinner at Le Bistro Very nice dinner great chocolate Fondue. Maitre D a little slows again. Lose at the Casino. Show etc. Saturday night tip the stewards extra. Tip one of the waitresses at the bar. Make up envelop for the concierge-with some money.
Overall best trip on NCL great food much better than I expected. Pianist got on my nerves. They don't butter the buttered toast for room service or anywhere as far as I can tell. I'll live with it.
We had a great time...everything worked out perfectly. The complaints we had were minor...
PS I didn't have a flat when we got back to the Cruise terminal. We were back in the Car and leaving for home at 10:47 and arrived back in the house by 11:10.
The shop was rock steady normally when we get off a ship we rock for a couple of days no so this trip. This was the Valentines Day trip and they really decorated the ship and put a rose at every woman's pillow. Shopping on the ship was OK. We brought back 7 bottles of Booze(St Thomas allows and increased limit).
I would do this itinerary again.