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NCL Dawn Thanksgiving Cruise 2010
Well to start this review off, it is not going to be a bad review,but a critical one. We knew before we left that the ship was down 1 engine and that we would be arriving in the different ports a few minutes late each day. We did not have a problem with that at all and the excursion companies we worked with were very understanding.But what my wife and I found out later was that,I had been talking with a crew member on the first day and he informed me that the ship was down an engine. I told him I was aware of that and he informed me that we were sailing without the stabilizers out. I didn't realize this could be done. He told me that the Officers get a bonus on fuel conservation and that running with the stabilizers out saves on fuel. This would explain the excessive swaying of the ship. Excessive swaying is an understatement...the ship store sold out of Bonine the first day. I have been on several cruises and this by FAR was the roughest one yet. The captain told us that it was due More
to a weather front in the area,possibly so-I'm not a weather man. But the captains log on the cabin TV stated that the highest seas we had were 4-7.5 ft. swells and a moderate wind. I can say this much that I have been in rougher water before, and the ship never moved as much as this one. It was terrible !!! Now, on the other hand, my wife was talking to someone and she was informed that the reason was basically the same except that the reason for them running without the stabilizers out was that it put less strain on the remaining 3 engines...either way..a LOT of people were very sick. This did not leave a good impression on a lot of first time cruisers that we talked with. If this would of been my first cruise, I would never do another one. It's a good thing that My wife,daughter & I know, that it is usually not like this.
As far as the free style cruising, I can take it or leave it. It depends on the person. If you prefer the personal touch, then free style might not be for you. If you are really into the excursions and not picky about what time you have dinner, then you will probably like free style. But to sum it all up we had a wonderful time met a whole lot of new friends and have already put a deposit down on another cruise with NCL. The food on this ship was not the best we have had but it wasn't the worst either. I did have a problem paying extra for the various speciality restaurants,French,Tex-Mex,Asian,Steak etc. They ranged in price from $10.00 to $25.00 pp extra. We payed extra for the Tex-Mex which was pretty good, and also payed extra for the Sushi/Asian, which was $15.00. The Sushi was AWESOME.The food on the buffet was tolerable and the Blue lagoon was pretty good. Especially the cheese cake late at night after the shows. Less
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Cabin review: BA9576 Mid-Ship Balcony
We were in Cabin 9576 port side forward. The cabin was OK at its best. It is fine for 2 adults and 1 average size child. Once the couch is folded out to a bed, you cannot get out on the balcony. We had the steward to not pull the bed out all the way and it was OK after that, if you squeezed through. The sliding door was VERY noisy and the glass very dirty(salt spray). It wasn't cleaned the entire trip. The drawers on the dressed under the table would not stay in during rough weather, which was a lot of the nights. We had to wedge a piece of paper in them to keep them closed. We found the cabin noise inside very annoying(creaking,popping,etc.)What we did like a lot about the room was the bathroom. Separate Potty,Vanity & Shower w/ sliding doors. A lot better then the curtains on other cruise lines.
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Port and Shore Excursions
Antigua was a very nice port also. Our excursion was canceled once again due to high winds. We had booked the Eco Paddle and snorkel tour through Antigua Paddles. We met the representative on the pier and she informed us that it had been cancelled and that out money would be refunded back to us. We were disappointed, but Safety First !!!!We sat down and decided that if we couldn't do the excursion we had planned that we would rent a taxi and see the island on out own...excellent decision !! One of the local lady taxi drivers took us all lover the island for a fraction of the cost that the sightseeing tours on the ship would of cost. It was only $100.00 for a 2 hour tour for the 3 of us, but we ended up staying out for a little over 3 hours. She took us on a complete loop of the island and made numerous stops to tell us about different things and show us different buildings,plants,trees,fruits, etc. We went to Falmouth Harbor and seen how pristine the water was there and up on a hill that over looked the Harbor...WOW. Out next stop was in the rain forest to see some of the different sights and then to a beach that a friend of hers was opening up a new restaurant the following week. Very nice people. One we finished walking on the beach for a while we headed back to town for some shopping and a few adult beverages (Official beer of Antigua is Wadadli Lager)After that we bought a few souvenirs and headed back to the ship.
Barbados was our fourth stop. We really enjoyed our stop here. I had pre booked an excursion through Glory Tours. Sarah was a very nice person and met us at the pier and explained to us that our driver would be there shortly. We were the only ones that had booked the Touch of Splendor tour for that day, so it was only Colin our driver and the 3 of us once again. Colin was one of the best guides we have ever had. very knowledgeable of the island. After a brief tour of downtown Bridgetown, Colin headed to the Harrison's Cave. Our stop there was longer than it should of been because they were running behind on tours, but it was a neat place to see. After we left Harrison's I asked Colin about their local dish, the flying fish sandwich and what kind of beer was best. He said he would arrange for us to partake in both. He called up a buddy of his along our tour and when we got there, his friend had 3 flying fish sandwiches ready and popped a top on a bottle of Banks Beer for me..not to bad !!! After out lunch we headed the the Barbados wildlife Reserve.They have Green Monkeys,Deer,iguanas,parrots,snakes,turtles, and various other animals. Our daughter really enjoyed this stop. Once we finished out tour of the reserve, we had complementary Rum Punch,soda or water. We then headed back to Bridgetown the long way around. Colin wanted us to see more of the island and he did a great job showing it to us. I explained to him that I wanted to stop at the Harley Davidson shop in Bridgetown, and he took us right up to the door,dropped us off and waited for us. We then headed back to the port where he dropped us off and wished us well. All of this for $70.00pp. We then did a little shopping at a few of the port stores before heading back to the ship
we'll start off by saying WOW !!!!!!! This was one of the most beautiful islands we have ever been to. We were a little skeptical at first due to the robbery that had taken place the week before we arrived,but was put at ease by our Tour guide Roosevelt of Paradise Island Tours and our taxi driver Gene. That the island was completely safe and the the criminals had been caught and put in jail. St. Kitts takes the tourism industry very serious. The jail where the robbers were being held was guarded by guys with machine guns and the road up the Brimstone Fortress where the robbery took place was guarded by heavily armed guards. They want to try and assure that this will not happen again. Well after a quick tour of the town of Basseterre ,St. Kitts he headed out and around town to see a few sights. we stopped at Fertile Rock(legend says if you rub the rock it will make you more fertile)and kids got to hold a Green Monkey. We then headed to the Caribbean Batik Factory and some old ruins from the Columbus days. After a few minutes there, wee headed to Brimstone Fortress. This was a VERY winding road up a steep hill to a fort that the French used yrs . ago There were some real good opportunities for scenic shots from up there. We then headed down the mountain and over to the rich side of the island to Cockleshell Beach. We passes Frigate bay which is a very nice area also. They showed us a few places that were being developed by the same company that developed Kiawah Island down near Charleston ,S.C. our home state. We then headed over to Cockleshell beach for a while to sit and chill and have a bite to eat or a few drinks, some R&R time and a few Carib beers or a few Stingers, which is the St. Kitts local liquor drink. Once we were ready we headed back to the ship with about 30 minutes to spare before leaving.
Our second port of call was Tortola. We got off the ship and headed directly to the red roof ferry terminal located a short distance from from where the ship docked. The ferry leaves at 10:30 am for Virgin Gorda, we barely made it in time so if you decide to do this don't waste time getting to the ferry because they won't wait on you. The ferry ride over to Virgin Gorda and back and the taxi ride to and from the Baths was $48.00 per person which was very reasonable. The Baths at Virgin Gorda were something to see...Another wonderful creation of GODS awesome works !!!The view from the top of the Baths is excellent. The hike down the hill to the Baths is not to bad but making your way through the baths was tricky for the not so sure footed people. We decided to take the path back to the top rather then go back the same way we came down. We ate lunch at the Top of The Baths restaurant and it was great. Wife & daughter had soda and water to drink, but I tried one of the Pain Killer drinks that Tortola is famous for....WOW !!! Great Drink Made with Pusser's Rum.Our time was about up so we headed back to the ferry and back to Tortola. Once we got off the ferry we headed to the Pusser's Road town Pub for another Pain Killer. You can't miss it when you get off the ferry, it's on your left heading back to the ship. A few Pain Killers and all your pain diminishes.... After a couple of drinks the wife wanted to do a little shopping at the tent/stores along the road back.