We had a fantastic time. We'll except for the cold cloudy days at sea to begin and end the trip. Oh, and the 7 hour delay at the FLL airport. What a horrible airport to have to spend any time at.
Sorry to have missed the meet and greet but we lost track of time wandering around the ship.
I never understood why some cruisers had such strong loyalty to a cruise director but after meeting Matt Baker and having such a GREAT time at all the shows he and his staff were responsible for, I can see why.
The production shows were just ok but there is some incredible talent in those casts. We were at the late night jam session in Dazzles with the show band, some of the Second City folks and one of the lead singers from the production cast and they had that place rockin! It was certainly the highlight of the cruise entertainment for me.
Dave Heenan, stand up comedian, was great.
The juggler was excellent but I can't recall his name.
Bollywood was a big disappointment.
Fountains is not to be missed!
Matt Baker can rock it with his harp.
Gorgeous Georges needs a less pretentious name.
The Captain Smashing skit by Second City will never be fogotten. "Can someone tell me how to get to Tortilla?"
If you spent any time at Dazzles you probably saw us. I'm the fat guy who just had to sing "You've Lost the Lovin Feeling" every night at Karaoke and did Tom Jones once or twice.
We met a Jets fan from Canada and had to eat crow for a week after they kicked the Patriots butt in the playoffs.
Jeffery and N were the best waiters ever.
Drinks are too expensive.
Sodas were too small and too hard to get when you bought the soda card.
Our cabin attendants were eager to please and did a great job for us.
Why do they bother with games at the pool. No one wanted to play.
Just a little rant now.....DO NOT BOOK A CABIN ON DECK 11 UNDER THE POOL DECK! The deck cleaning and chair organizing took place like clockwork at 6am every day and we could hear every chair as is was dragged across the deck above us.
The cabins were cool and quiet enough to allow for great naps.
I think we are going to cruise on the Dawn again this summer out of Boston. Dee and I are going to take her mom and dad on a trip.
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Addendum: Samana is not listed as a port so I'll add comments here. We did the ships tour to Cayo Levantado, a private island. The beach was beautiful and the sea was warm and calm. There were limited number of local hawkers who didn't pester you too much once you said no a dozen times.
Others who went to the mainland said the conditions were deplorable. Open sewers and the stench that goes along with them were everywhere. Once you got to your excursion destinations things changed for the better. If you have a sense of adventure and want like your travel with a bit of an edge than the Samana Peninsula is for you.
We made the mistake of booking a tour with Elmo of Luxury Safari Tours. We waited for an hour at the security gate, where his confirming e-mail had told us to wait, but he never showed up. Upon returning home I found an e-mail from him telling us that the meeting spot had changed. I had a local contact phone number for him that we tried but there was no answer. Lesson learned, the ship tours are more expensive but I've never been stiffed on one of them.
The cab a tour hawkers at the end of the pier were obnoxious. You couldn't turn around without being hit on to book a tour or take a cab to the beach.
Making the best of it we wandered around the port and found a great little art gallery where we bought an original painting by a local artist, Steven Murphy, who just happened to be in the gallery that morning. We had a nice chat with him about his art and his travels to Cuba where much of inspiration comes from.
We took one of the Catamaran / snorkeling / beach break tours and had a wonderful time. The crew of the boat were helpful, attentive and funny. The captain gave us some history as we cruised to the first spot.
I always chuckle when they haul the sails up but keep the engines running. Have to keep on schedule and wind is just not reliable enough. I'm not sure I've ever seen one of the big catamarans actually sail.
The snorkeling stop was amazing. The crew was in the water with food for the green turtles that live in the area. The turtles know where the food is and we didn't have to wait long before they were swimming in, out, up, down and all around us. They are so graceful and gentle.
As we approached the dock the clouds were rolling in and by the time we reached the buses the heavens had opened and one of those can't see ten feet tropical "showers".
That pretty much ended the day and we headed back to the ship without seeing much of the town.
Easily the most scenic of the islands we visited. The cruise in past Nevis at sunrise was spectacular.
We rode the St Kitts Railroad and it was a great way to see a large portion of the island. The train is a little wobbly and the screeching of the wheels, in the tight corners, was worse than fingernails across a blackboard.
Friends who had gone to beach said it was the best beach of all the ones we had seen on our cruise.
Dee has always wanted to swim with dolphins so we took the opportunity to do it in Tortola. The facility was still under construction but the staff was very helpful and there were changing rooms but no showers.
The pools / pens were at the edge of a mangrove swamp and that made some of the guests a bit nervous. The water was not clear but was moving and looked to be clean.
The interactions with the dolphins was wonderful. I had a ho hum attitude going in but after we were finished I have to say I am glad we did it.
On our way out I saw a school of small (2'-3') barracuda in one of the back pens near the edge of the mangroves. I though it was cool, Dee was happy she didn't see it when we were walking in.
Not much to see in the port itself so we went back to the ship via tender once the excursion was finished.