23 Boston Fitness Cruise Reviews

We went on this cruise to get a good sampling of the Southern Caribbean. The service was excellent and all of the staff were truly happy to part of your vacation. I have mixed feeling about the freestyle cruise.On one hand I enjoyed the ... Read More
We went on this cruise to get a good sampling of the Southern Caribbean. The service was excellent and all of the staff were truly happy to part of your vacation. I have mixed feeling about the freestyle cruise.On one hand I enjoyed the freedom and flexibility, it also I believe lead to some fast food attempts for some at the restaurants. Although we did not travel with kids, there were a lot of onboard activities and areas for kids. These areas were somewhat out of the way so those that did not have kids wouldn't necessarily know there were any onboard, a very good design. The activities on at see days were great for learning culture history and being entertained, the staff were excellent and really made the trip worth while. Overall I would definitely consider using Norwegian again over the 3 others cruise lines I have traveled with. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
First time cruising in many years. Very impressed with friendliness of staff on board. Food was excellent t (I only ate in the dining room). No real concerns with waiting around in line. Generally short lines everywhere other than boarding ... Read More
First time cruising in many years. Very impressed with friendliness of staff on board. Food was excellent t (I only ate in the dining room). No real concerns with waiting around in line. Generally short lines everywhere other than boarding in Quebec City. Quebec I chose this itinerary as it features some excellent ports for bike riding. Connected with local bike shops in Charlottetown and Sydney to rent a road bike. Did a 70km route along the Confederation Trail in Charlottetown and 50km route Along the coastline in Sydney. E-bike tour in Halifax and mountain biking in Bar Harbour. On board environment is what you make of it. Want laid back, head to thermal suite or join a trivia session. Want late night activities head to Spinnaker lounge. Production shows very good. Others perfectly fine. The Gem is not the newest ship with loads to do for young families, but recent updates give it a new modern look. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We picked Norwegian cruise to Bermuda, because the Boston port and Bermuda schedule (2 overnights stay in Bermuda), so we can spend more time in Bermuda and beautifully beaches. Dawn is a middle size ship and kind old. The breakfast was ... Read More
We picked Norwegian cruise to Bermuda, because the Boston port and Bermuda schedule (2 overnights stay in Bermuda), so we can spend more time in Bermuda and beautifully beaches. Dawn is a middle size ship and kind old. The breakfast was great and late night shows were very good. Not too much activities we were interested, one small swim pool with too many people (hot pools too). Most disappointment was the food in dining room, we did not enjoyed. Didn’t heard any good feedback about the Chinese restaurant too (actually really bad). I don’t understand why can they pick a better chef? Food is very important to us for the trip. So we end up eating at a 24 hours bar restaurant for dinner. The room service was outstanding. Staff was very nice on the ship, they worked very hard with long hours and still smile. A lot of bingo games on the ship, they sell a lot of tickets but with small amount of winners in my opinions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We live in RI & had not yet visited Bermuda. I had been watching HLAV “deals” out of Boston, published by HLA, in the past and then heard the ship would be changing their IT BOS-Bermuda out of Hamilton. We grabbed the last sail ... Read More
We live in RI & had not yet visited Bermuda. I had been watching HLAV “deals” out of Boston, published by HLA, in the past and then heard the ship would be changing their IT BOS-Bermuda out of Hamilton. We grabbed the last sail & spent a wonderful 3 full days, 3 nights on this lovely island. The Bermudians are kind & friendly, Hamilton is near center of either end for convenience & the Veendam has wonderful staff, clean & well maintained, nice variety of entertainment throughout the evening (DJ in Crowsnest late night, classical in Explorer lounge day & evening, jazz in the Ocean lounge and popular/sing along in another. The shows in the comfortable, soft seating theater were very well done & included fantastic magician, comedian, singing & dance broadway caliber which I did not expect for a smaller ship. We dined on the main dining room every night and always had a very good dinner with extensive variety to choose from. Everyone at the table seemed pleased with their order. The Lido Market buffet is served by servers and there was very little wait to get anything in any amount you desired. I feel strongly that the buffet servering keeps ships illness down. The buffet has plexiglass in front of the food choices so that passengers do not handle or breath on the food. Great way to do it. Hand sanitizing dispensers all around the ship! Our inside cabin was quiet & plenty of room for 2. We did not have food down beds on the walls so that opens it up. Shower was fine with shampoo, conditioner & body wash on the wall. Upon arrival the phone in the cabin was on the blink & was changed out. There was plenty of lighting, a TV with a few news channels, ship’s related channels, movie channels, etc.. A book in the room listed 200+ Popular movies you could plug into the DVD player. You got your next days ship’s IT nightly (with a little chocolate & animal towel design). Wonderful robes ready to use, plenty of closet space and I brought a combo of at least 25 outfits! Not that you need it but was not sure about the weather & wanted to be comfortable on ship’s promenade deck where we lounged on the traditional teak chairs (which could use thicker cushions). We did 1 excursion & toured Bermuda & beaches by bus. Embark & disembark well organized. Captain very personable. Fitness room state of the art, programs free & interesting. Veendam has a dedicated card table room for bridge & other table games which I have not seen on larger ships. I was very happy my husband could find a few bridge games. There is also a large open room dedicated to games, puzzles & CHESS already set up 4 chess tables not to mention a GIANT CHESS game set up in the large pool area! An adult hot tub area is on ship’s AFT as well with a bar, seating & handmade NY style thin crust pizza! Delicious! Given it’s an older ship, it is well maintained, great size to navigate around and stylish. Ready to go with you to Venice Italy when you get there! Veendam has all the small ship personality you could hope for plus big ship activities & entertainment. It’s a classy operation & the passengers love Holland. No, We so not work for or with them, yes We paid for my trip and absolutely gave our fabulous stewards a healthy tip (on top of the mandated ship’s tips) because they were in that cabin 2-3 times a day making the cruise a very special experience! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We have never seen the new england, eastern canadian coasts and thought this cruise would be a good starting point, and it was. We enjoyed the ports so much we would like to eventually plan a land trip to this area so we had more time to ... Read More
We have never seen the new england, eastern canadian coasts and thought this cruise would be a good starting point, and it was. We enjoyed the ports so much we would like to eventually plan a land trip to this area so we had more time to explore. The Maasdam does show some signs of its age, but for us the small size and outstanding service trumped the age. We had no plumbing or other mechanical issues during our one week stay. This was our 8th cruise, our first with Holland, and this was the smallest ship we have traveled on. We did love the convenience of being close to everything - decks, library, dining room, casino, gym, spa, etc. We also enjoyed the other passengers, and felt like we belonged (ages 60 & 65). The entertainment was as good as any we have had, we especially love the trio who performed nightly in the island bar, and the nightly shows in the auditorium were outstanding because of the talented performers. We had a significant snafu with our booking, we booked with another couple through a local travel agent. On the day we booked the travel agent confirmed that the 2 rooms we selected, 124 & 126 had a balcony "wall" that could be removed so that the 4 of us could be together on one shared balcony. Unfortunately the petitions separating our 2 balconies was permanent, and we were sorely disappointed. We were offered a "free" dinner at the italian restaurant which we declined as we felt we had paid for eating in the dining room, and were pleased with our table, wait staff, food selection, etc. If some type of room credit had been offered we would be booking another Holland America cruise for the fall, but it is hard to wrap our head around the company's unwillingness to compensate us for their mistake. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The ship is beautiful, and the staff is so friendly and helpful. There were plenty of on board activities throughout the week. The entertainment staff keeps you on your toes and laughing through the entire week, the shows and performers ... Read More
The ship is beautiful, and the staff is so friendly and helpful. There were plenty of on board activities throughout the week. The entertainment staff keeps you on your toes and laughing through the entire week, the shows and performers were all amazing. We dined at the Venetian, Aqua, and Bamboo The food was delicious, sometimes it took a bit for us to get our food after ordering however we also went at busy times .Restaurant staff was friendly and attentive. We ended our nights at Bliss Lounge and enjoyed the fun there. The DJ played some of the same songs night after night, but we still had a ton of fun. The only thing we didn't like was the pool deck area was taken over by children a lot of the time, and the hot tubs would have been much more enjoyable if there wasn't many children in them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I am very loyal to Carnival Cruise Lines because their service, food, entertainment, and itineraries are consistently outstanding. The last time (before this cruise) I cruised Norwegian was back in 2003. I was thoroughly disappointed ... Read More
I am very loyal to Carnival Cruise Lines because their service, food, entertainment, and itineraries are consistently outstanding. The last time (before this cruise) I cruised Norwegian was back in 2003. I was thoroughly disappointed with the service, the plasticware on the top deck cafeteria, and the stateroom not being made up until 2:30 in the afternoon, if made up at all during the day. I WON this cruise at a local Casino and decided to see if the cruise line had made any improvement over the past decade and a half. So, I booked the room and even though Hurricane Irma was going strong, they notified us that we were definitely heading to Bermuda. I was pleasantly surprised. The Embarkation went smoothly and quickly. The staff was friendly on land as well as on the ship. Overall, we ended up having a blast and the Service in the stateroom and dining rooms was superb. We had smooth seas and 85+ degree temperatures. Smooth sailing upon our return as well. No longer is plasticware the norm in the Garden Cafe, but silverware IS. The keep it on each individual table. The Entertainment was excellent. Musicians in all ensembles were professional and sounded great! They have LIVE MUSICIANS in most of their Stage Productions as well. We truly enjoyed all shows. The Fitness Center had decent equipment, though it was difficult to locate on the first day. The Elliptical machines were challenging, and there were only 3 exercise bikes available. The Casino was very good to us Blackjack players, though expect a smoky atmosphere if you're planning on staying for a while. The food was average at best. Everything we ate was either "just ok" or dry. The ONLY entree that was palatable was the the Prime Rib. THAT was done to perfection. Most offerings were quite salty, from soups to entrees. Our Servers was consistently professional The BATHROOMS in the stateroom are luxurious and large. There are sliding door to separate the sink from the toilet and shower. Smart design. The remainder of the room is tiny. TV selections are poor. There are 2 movie channels, a news channel, and one "TV Station" that showed mostly cartoons. Overall, we had a blast! SERVICE was EXCELLENT. Will definitely consider cruising with Norwegian again..... and maybe not even wait 15 years to do so! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We took this cruise as a last minute deal to get away from Hurricane Irma. Had a wonderful time on board. Shows were great, food way to good, and staff was friendly and hospitable. What a way to ride out the storm. The fine dining ... Read More
We took this cruise as a last minute deal to get away from Hurricane Irma. Had a wonderful time on board. Shows were great, food way to good, and staff was friendly and hospitable. What a way to ride out the storm. The fine dining was great except for the way you now get a certificate and can only choose one salad-or- soup. In the main dining room, you can order whatever you want, as much, or little, as you like. Fine dining is limited and sometimes I'd love to have a soup and salad. You have to pay extra. Not quite worthwhile when the main dining and buffet areas have such fabulous items too. The port is so easy to get around - just walk off and you're already in a fort. Jump on the free water shuttle to go to St. George's. Overall a fabulous cruise. Love NCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I traveled with my husband and daughters. My husband and I had a Penthouse suite aft, and our daughters had a balcony room. Our suite was fantastic! Our butler, Ray, was the best!! If we needed anything at all he was at our room in ... Read More
I traveled with my husband and daughters. My husband and I had a Penthouse suite aft, and our daughters had a balcony room. Our suite was fantastic! Our butler, Ray, was the best!! If we needed anything at all he was at our room in minutes. Alex took care of our daughters' room and he was awesome! The food on the ship was very good. Our favorite meal was enjoyed at La Cucina - highly recommended. We enjoyed Clara on most evenings in the Gatsby Bar, or tried our luck at the Casino. Our daughters, 18 & 20, had a great time at the Bliss Lounge at night and met others their age that they could hang out with. We also enjoyed the company of Jerry and Maria at the Wine Bar - we would stop in and have a glass of wine before dinner - great people and very knowledgeable. We participated in a wine tasting one afternoon and had a lot of fun. The reasons I have for not giving my review 5 stars is this: 1) The pool area is far too crowded and passengers are ALLOWED to place towels and belongings on the lounge chairs in order to hold them. This is very frustrating when you are looking to sit for a while and there are plenty of chairs empty of people, but occupied by towels! NCL needs to enforce some sort of policy to make it fair for all passengers to be able to lounge by the pool. 2) The lack of bottled water, or the limited access to it, is very problematic. I felt as though I was thirsty the entire time. 3) And lastly, I feel as though I would want to enjoy at least one more day on Bermuda. I took the cruise way back in the day when the Norwegian Majesty was still around, and we spent 3 1/2 days on Bermuda, not just 2 1/2. The trip back to Boston felt really long, even though we had fun onboard, we would have appreciated a little more time on the island. Overall, this was a very fun cruise for all of us. We all had a blast and can't wait to take this cruise again. I would recommend this cruise to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The trip was intended as a simple family getaway with minimal additional travel beyond the cruise itself since we live within an hour of the Boston port. Overall, the trip was good. Food was very acceptable in quality and of course ... Read More
The trip was intended as a simple family getaway with minimal additional travel beyond the cruise itself since we live within an hour of the Boston port. Overall, the trip was good. Food was very acceptable in quality and of course quantity. As with most, if not all cruises, getting a chair on deck when it's sunny is a hassle because people go out at 6am and block off chairs with towels only to come back out hours later. The size of the ship is good. We docked in Bermuda in front of "Anthem of The Seas" and I asked some of those passengers how it was with thousands of additional people. Several said that it was a bit more crowded than the smaller ships. We traveled with two teenagers. As might be expected, teenagers are a fickle bunch so, I wouldn't measure quality based on any handful of them. It appeared that there was no shortage of activities to keep them occupied and entertained. The entertainment was very good. From the on deck DJ & band to the actual shows in the theater... all were top notch. I used the fitness center and it was well appointed to make use of for a trip this length. I had problems finding pictures of the renovated center prior to departure so I took some and am posting with this review for others. All-in-all, it was good trip especially for locals who can get a good deal since there is no air travel. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This is my third time on this exact same boat, and my grand kinds seem to enjoy it tremendously. This year one of my granddaughters is thirteen, and was in the teen program, The loft. She had the absolute time of her life and has made ... Read More
This is my third time on this exact same boat, and my grand kinds seem to enjoy it tremendously. This year one of my granddaughters is thirteen, and was in the teen program, The loft. She had the absolute time of her life and has made friends she's still super close with months later. The crew is polite and excellent, and food is delicious. The shows were enjoyable, especially the comedians. The pots were fun, and I truly got to see part of Canada. the ship however is a little older than the others, but still works perfectly fine. The ship is a perfect size, not to small, and not to big. I rarely got lost, and when I did there was always crew members nearby willing to point me in the right direction. getting off the ship and disembarking was an easy and smooth journey, and made getting back home easier then expected. Best cruise I've ever been on! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We did a Bermuda cruise out of Boston on June 9-16. We liked the Friday departure and the price was much better out of Boston. This cruise spent almost 3 days in Bermuda. We arrived in the afternoon on Sunday and stayed through 5:00 PM ... Read More
We did a Bermuda cruise out of Boston on June 9-16. We liked the Friday departure and the price was much better out of Boston. This cruise spent almost 3 days in Bermuda. We arrived in the afternoon on Sunday and stayed through 5:00 PM Tuesday. Given how much it costs to stay in Bermuda, this is a GREAT value. We docked in the Royal Boatyard, which is pretty remote. Royal Caribbean docked there. Holland America docks right in the heart of Hamilton, which is a much better location because it's central. Norweigan provides free ferry service from the boatyard to St.George, but it's infrequent (every 2 hours) and St. George is still not near Hamilton. So you will have to pay some transportation fees if you want to get to Hamilton, Horseshoe Beach and other attractions in the center of the island. The Norweigian Dawn was just refurbished within the last year and they did a great job. This is my 3rd cruise on Norweigan, so I feel like I've seen a wide array of ships in the fleet. The ship looks new and clean. It's got a decent sized casino, decent sized gym (better gym than the Getaway), great kids pool area, modern buffet, wine bar and several specialty restaurants. It's not as large as the Getaway, or the Breakaway but it has just about everything. My only complaint about our cabin is that it had only 1 electrical outlet for the entire room! We were constantly toggling between charging iPads, hairdryer, electric razor, etc. Otherwise, the cabins seem really new with new carpet, modern artwork on the walls, new soft duvet bedding, etc. Important if you have kids and are considering several Norweigan ships: 1. The Dawn is a MUCH better ship if your kids are younger (2-6 years old). The larger ships like the Getaway and Breakaway have massive water slides, ropes courses, rock climbing walls, and other great activities BUT you have to be AT LEAST 48" tall for them. The Dawn has a GREAT kids pool with little waterslides and a little pool that's 2 feet deep. It's much better if you have small kids. 2. The kids club seems to be the EXACT same thing on all the ships for the 1-week cruise. Everything down to the Princess Parade on Night #2 to the Pirate Parade on Night #4 and the talent show on the last day. It's the EXACT same. My 4-year-old was totally fine with it, but it will feel really old to sit through the EXACT same talent show more than once. The jokes are the same, the comedy schtik is the same, my kid's face paint was EXACTLY the same from the talent show on the Getaway to the Dawn. I wished they had mixed it up a little bit, but the entire Splash Academy experience was every bit as good as the Getaway, which we paid ALOT more for. 3. They don't provide a movie schedule in the room so my husband went to the front desk and asked them to print out the in-room movie schedule. We saw La-La Land, Moana, Patriots Day and several other great brand-new movies. I'm not sure why they don't automatically print this schedule for the rooms, but you should definitely get it because this ship does not have a "under the stars" movie experience, but the movie channel offerings are still really good! They seemed to schedule Moana, Finding Dory and other great kid's movies for 7:30 AM and 3:30 PM when kids club is closed but your kid is usually looking for something to do, especially if there's bad weather. In general, I was really impressed with the Dawn. I had low expectations because it was an older ship, but I liked it as much (if not more) than the Getaway. I would definitely do the Dawn again. It was a great value because the ship is slightly older and, the cruise left out of Boston in early June and we got almost 3 full days in Bermuda. A hotel for 2-3 nights in Bermuda would have cost as much as the 7 day cruise did. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Spent 4 nights in Boston prior to our cruise followed by 4 nights in Montreal upon disembarking. We booked our own tours and hotel in both cities and the hotel took us directly to the Black Falcon terminal in Boston. This is our first ... Read More
Spent 4 nights in Boston prior to our cruise followed by 4 nights in Montreal upon disembarking. We booked our own tours and hotel in both cities and the hotel took us directly to the Black Falcon terminal in Boston. This is our first sailing on HAL and we were looking forward to the cruise to relax and decompress after busy days in Boston and Montreal. Very smooth and quick embarkation/disembarkation, we showed up to embark at our recommended time (though tempted to embark early), and the process went very well. Our only piece of checked luggage arrived within the hour. Being an older mid-sized ship, the ship was very easy to navigate and the public areas were very clean and spacious. Though no fault with the staff or ship, I couldn't help but notice a few irate passengers on the ship, a vacation and especially a cruise is supposed to help with that... We cruised with older children and they had their own cabin which limited us to cabin choices since we preferred to be close together. We were located aft on Deck A which was reasonably quiet without too much foot traffic but the room is noisy when the ship is docking in the mornings. I'm an early riser so that didn't bother me since I'm up at the gym first thing in the morning. Cabin is a little worn and dated, but otherwise very comfortable. The fitness facility was adequate, the equipment was worn and dated but they do have a good variety of equipment for use. Lido market was excellent. Food choices and quality were excellent but they do run out of the Greek Yogurt parfait too soon. We had all our breakfast, lunches and occasional snacks there. Great service, locating a table can be tough during peak times but there's always room by the Lido pool. We had dinners at the Rotterdam. We were assigned open seating and waited 30 minutes for a table on the first sailing day. We made reservations for an early seating for the rest of the cruise and that worked out very well. Great table location and service. Food preparation can be hit and miss ranging from exceptional to ok. Entertainment was limited and average at best, the sight lines for the showroom were limited if you showed up late. The family showed up for a number of activities ie. napkin, towel folding, but they really enjoyed the back stage tour. Our children are in their late teens and they enjoyed the entertainment and activities. Highlight of the trip was the exceptional service from the servers to the cabin steward. Even staff that were not assigned to us were very friendly and attentive. Jeremy was excellent with his take and recommendation of each Port. We only did one shore excursion with HAL to Peggy's Cove and Fairview Cemetery in Halifax and that was very good. Took a cab to explore Quebec City and arranged for a few food walking tours on our own in Montreal. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
I enjoy the Norwegian Dawn cruise I had a great time in the cruise. There was a lot great things on the cruise like seeing shows, playing casinos, great restaurants for dinners, buffets for breakfast and lunch and ice cream bar. The ... Read More
I enjoy the Norwegian Dawn cruise I had a great time in the cruise. There was a lot great things on the cruise like seeing shows, playing casinos, great restaurants for dinners, buffets for breakfast and lunch and ice cream bar. The cabins is very beautiful and comfortable beds to sleep in. There is a lot of ports and shore excursion for shopping. Sight seeing, etc. I loved all the activities on the cruise ship of Norwegian Dawn Ship. There was Fitness Center I loved doing the gym to workout. The pools and hot tube is a lot fun to be in to swim and relax. The overall of the ship was so beautiful and great weather there. It was great time to relax and enjoy the Norwegian Dawn Cruise Ship it was very fun. I loved the crew members on the ship and dancing with crew members like Evan, Bobby, and Scott cruise director. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Prior to the cruise, there weren't any email communications/updates from the cruise line. It felt as though I wasn't sure the reservation existed until I did the online check-in. I guess I expected some email reminders or ... Read More
Prior to the cruise, there weren't any email communications/updates from the cruise line. It felt as though I wasn't sure the reservation existed until I did the online check-in. I guess I expected some email reminders or countdowns, etc. The cruise was certainly for the retired crowd. There were very, very few people under 60 on the cruise. Because of this (I’m guessing), everything closes early, about 12-1am. FIRST DAY On first day, you’ll probably have to wait for your stateroom if you board early. If so, go get lunch in Windjammer while you’re waiting. Windjammer will be very busy around this time, but you can eat out by Rita’s Cantina if it’s nice weather. It’s actually a much better option if the weather is nice! The mandatory drill is at 4pm, so plan things around that. In between lunch and the drill, try to find out when the formal nights are, and when the specialty plates are being served in the main dining room. It’s good to know when the formal nights are so you can book spa treatments (hair styling or shave) on formal nights. Similarly, you’ll want to know when the special plates are being served in the main dining room because you don’t want to have a reservation for a specialty restaurant when they’re doing something special in the main dining room (lobster night). The Guest Services desk should be able to give you all this info, but don’t take “We’re not sure yet” as the answer. Tell them you need to know to plan your spa and specialty restaurant reservations. You might have to push a little because they’re quick to give the easy reply that doesn’t really answer your question. But why wouldn’t they know this well in advance? You could also find out when they’re doing tours of the ship (if any – I didn’t see any on my cruise), and what type of entertainment is playing, and where it’s playing. It’s fun to be on deck for the “Sail Away Social” with a drink for the departure. However, get your drink at one of the inside bars, because they’re less busy than on the deck bars and may have quicker service. If you find out what other entertainment options are playing during departure, you may prefer the classical violin music (Schooner Bar), or Rock music (on the deck), or dance music (in the Centrum). You can also make your reservations for the spa based on what you’ve planned for the week (i.e. if the men want to get a shave, or if the ladies want to get their hair done, before the formal nights). However, do your mani/pedis on land before the cruise because I’m sure it’ll be way less expensive on land. This would also be a good time to make reservations for the specialty restaurants, assuming you’ve already found out when the specialty plates are being served in the main dining room as mentioned above. More advice below on that… There were rough seas on my cruise, which meant for a lot of rocking. Not much you could do about that. The ship had to stop for a few hours for the storm pick up ahead of us. It was OK after that. DINING Dining is the biggest reason I’m drawn to cursing as my vacation choice. In my opinion, the purpose of the cruise is to treat yourself, and indulge in great food. I book cruises because I love the excellent food, but I was seriously annoyed, if not disgusted, that Izumi and Rita’s had a la carte pricing and NOT a cover charge (as advertized online when I booked). Chef’s Table, Chops Grille, and Giovanni’s were still cover charges, gladly. This meant that Izumi and Rita’s had prices on the menu, which basically meant you would pay for each item you order from the menu. The prices were quite expensive too, even for a NYC resident like myself. I was looking forward to trying out Izumi and Rita’s, but not when I can get the same food for the same price on land! Because of this, 50% of my specialty restaurant options were effectively no longer of value to me. Sorry to say it folks, but this change in pricing put a HUGE damper on my trip. And now for the rest of the dining experience… We ate in the Windjammer every day, and the main dining room several times. We also ate at the Chef’s Table, Giovanni’s, and Chops Grille, but as I mentioned above, not at Izumi or Rita’s, even though I would have liked to. The first two nights of “My Time” dining had very long lines and waits, even with reservations. To avoid this, you could take advantage of the discounts they offer (20% off) if you eat in one of the specialty restaurants on the first night. You could also avoid the lines if you eat during the last sitting, which is 8pm I think. Specialty restaurants were fast to book up, but when we were there, there were lots of tables open, which was confusing. Make your specialty dinner reservations early, but make your reservations for nights towards the end of the cruise. I recommend this because eating in the specialty restaurants during the early part of your trip makes the food in the main dining room look poor in comparison to the amazing food in the specialty restaurants. Save the best for last, if you can. As I mention above, try to find out when there are special plates being served in the main dining room (you don’t want to be in a specialty restaurant on lobster night). Don’t forget; you can order multiple items on the menu, so don’t be afraid to try several things. I suggest making your dinner reservations earlier in the evenings, unless you don’t mind eating (a lot of food) at a later sitting. I prefer to not sleep on a full stomach. Give your poor body some time to digest all the food you’re about to eat. The chefs table was very well done. When you arrive, you’re greeted by a crew member (they'll recognize you by face and address you formally by last name the entire dinner). You wait in a small private room with the other guests, and are given a glass of champagne. You're seated at your assigned spot, and you chat with the other guests. Formal dress is requested, so if it's not a formal night, it will be a third formal night you'll need to pack for. You get a five-course meal with excellent wine pairings with each course. The chef will explain (very quickly, unfortunately) how the dishes are prepared. Be ready to listen carefully, because the chef’s accent can be difficult to understand because he speaks so quickly. The first course was a jumbo shrimp and salmon, followed by scallops, followed by soups, followed by Kobe beef, and ended with peach desert and side of wonderful chocolates. We ate at Giovanni’s on another night, and didn’t think anything could beat it, until we ate at Chops Grille on another night. They were both absolutely amazing. I have 4-5 bakeries within a few blocks of my apartment in NYC, and Chops Grille had the best Red Velvet cake I ever tasted, and I’ve tasted some great Red Velvet cake. Windjammer was buffet, and it was good on first and last day. The other days were good also, but not as good as first and last. I suppose you have good and bad days everywhere. FYI; the orange juice in the Windjammer is not orange juice; it’s concentrate. Gross. Because seating can be sparse at times in Windjammer, eat out by Rita’s Cantina because the view is great on nice weather days, and there is usually seating readily available. The Windjammer crew was pretty attentive to the guests, but the drink bar attendants weren’t friendly, and sometimes rude. For instance, I was getting wine with lunch one day, and I accidentally knocked over a wine glass (this happened primarily because there are no trays, so you need to carry your plate, drink, flatware, and personal belongings, etc. to your table). When I knocked over and broke the glass, the attendant just looked at me and didn't do anything, almost as if he expected me to start cleaning it up. I would have, but he didn't even offer me a paper towel. I’m in the service industry, and that response was completely unacceptable. If a guest accidentally knocks something over, you do whatever you can to make sure they don’t feel bad about it. I was also unpleasantly surprised that the fresh juice bar was only open for a limited amount of time in the mornings, and on one day, they ran out and closed early. Not sure how this can happen on a cruise. It was annoying because I paid for the drink package. BTW; the Park Café (in the Solarium) has salmon, bagels, and cream cheese each morning. This is not available in Windjammer. ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT The classical guitar was absolutely fantastic. The guitarist was in Schooner Bar when I checked it out, and the ambiance there made the music even better. On another night, big band entertainment looked like it would have been nice to dance to, but I got there too late. Temperature (a singer and 3-person band) was excellent. The main singer was an entertainer at heart and I could have listened to him all night. I saw the aerial acrobatics in Centrum. It was cool, and different, but still not my cup of tea. The piano player/singer was not good I’m sorry to say… The string quartet was also nice if you like classical music, which I do. It was very relaxing. The late nice dance option was totally empty every night, which was depressing, and meant we stopped trying after 2nd night. However, the bartenders and DJ were always a blast to hang out with in the empty bar! One-on-one entertainment! We went to the later seating of the shows in the theater, and it was hard to get seating. I think that’s because all the older guests went for earlier dining, and went to the later show after dinner. Therefore, the later shows were packed, unlike what the daily program suggested. EXCURSIONS We thought we heard announcements that excursions were all booked up, but I later found out that they weren't. It made me wonder if they made those announcements to spur bookings. Excursions were expensive for what you were getting. We went on the Halifax Titanic tour, and the tour guide was great. However, there absolutely wasn’t enough time in the museum. I only saw about 50-60% of what was available to be seen, and had to rush out without even seeing the gift shop. The guide explained everything we were seeing while on the bus, and did a very good jog explaining the Titanic graves. BTW, the tipping etiquette for tour guides is 10-15% of the tour price, if you’re happy with the guide. I’m sorry to say the St John was disappointing, even though the tour guides were fun. We did the Scenic St. John tour. We could have saved the $50 each and just walked around town. They brought us to the Reversing Falls Rapids. It was nice, and somewhat interesting, but the backdrop was a HUGE power plant, which killed the scenery. I would have rather taken a cab to the museum, and then go to the Old City Market to walk around. The Old City Market had some really cool stuff, and GREAT food. Definitely check it out. We had great weather in Bar Harbor, and it was beautiful town. We didn’t do an excursion, and I’m glad we didn’t. We walked around, browsed the shops, and ate at an AMAZING restaurant named Paddy's Irish Pub & Restaurant. Best clam chowder! We didn't even get off the ship in Portland due to lack of interest. Weather was great, so a sailboat trip may have been nice, but it’s hard to guess the weather. Nonetheless, it’s a depressing day since it’s the last day, so maybe an excursion would have been nice, but they were expensive, so I guess it depends on your energy levels. CABIN Our cabin was smaller than other rooms in same class (class “H”) by 20 sq ft. Not sure why our cabin was so much smaller, and there was no notice about it. I only found it out because our travel partners were in adjacent room. The bathroom smelt mildew; not terrible, but noticeable. The shower was tight. I'm 5'11", 170lb male, and if the shower was any smaller, it would have been too small for me. It makes me feel claustrophobic just thinking about it. The shower curtain didn't reach ground, so a lot of water sprays all over the bathroom floor. Also, the rim at the bottom of the shower was very low, which made it even easier for water to spray on the floor. Make sure you put down a floor towel. The showerhead was a misty spray, as opposed to a stream, which was a little annoying. There was good closet and drawer space. We couldn’t find channel guide, and there was no iron. The cabin steward was good. And BTW, the tipping etiquette is $3 per day per person. I wish I found that out before I went on the cruise, because I under-tipped the steward. Oops… Sorry Mark… OTHER I got the Premium liquor package ($55/day), but it doesn't include items in mini bar or room service. The bars make measured drinks, which means the drinks aren’t strong at all. I would've been annoyed if I had to pay for each drink. Most, if not all, of the drinks were under $10, which is what the package covers. The Ultimate drink package (one step up, for an additional $10) would have also allowed you to get premium coffee, premium tea, sparkling bottled water, and fresh squeezed orange juice. It would have been worth the price with 1-2 lattes a day, and a fresh squeezed orange juice at breakfast (because as I mentioned, the OJ is concentrate otherwise). When you start the cruise, pick a bartender, and tip that one so you can get speedy service from him/her during the rest of your trip. They’re pretty responsive to tipping passengers. They'll also provide a heavier pour sometimes. Although you prepaid tips, an extra $1-2 a drink will go a long way when you need speed things up during busier days. Cash tips are even better. For the shopping on board: the brands on the ship are ok, but not spectacular. The only benefit is not paying duties/taxes, so don’t plan on any great deals other than saving on duties and taxes. The shops on the ship sell pretty cheap (as in quality, not price) goods. The prices are incredibly inflated, so they offer big discounts throughout the cruise to spur buying. There were raffles that felt like a racket because the prize was a free fifth item if you buy four other items. THAT was the raffle prize; a free 5th item after buying 4 others. The same thing happened with the artwork. They gave a seminar that imparts value for the artwork, then offers a discount if you “buy today.” For instance, they were selling paintings that “would normally go for $750-$1250 each”, but they’ll sell them to you for $350 each, or $950 if you buy five. Are you serious? Maybe I just wasn’t a fan of the art? I got really annoyed by a towel attendant (male, Eastern European) at the pool one day. When I was done with my towel, I wanted to return it to them instead of leaving it on the deck for them to pick up. When I asked the attendant if this is where I can drop it off, he didn’t even reply, and just rudely pointed to a basket. Again, I’m in the service industry, and he could have just said “Oh thank you sir. You can just place in that basket.” Instead, I felt treated as if I was an annoyance. I just wanted to help… The photographer on board was good and took great pictures, and had great energy. The down side is that the prints were $24 a print for 8x10 and $14 (I think) for 5x7. I had tons of my own digital pics (as does everyone else), so I’m surprised they cost so much. They should lower these prices to make the option more appealing, especially since they throw out the prints if they're not purchased. There's no laundry avail to guests. You can have wash and fold laundry done on board for $30 a bag, and it’s a pretty small bag. The bag should take 24-48 hrs. They’ll allow pajamas, pairs of socks, shorts, swimwear, t-shirts, and underwear only. The bag would probably fit a pair of shorts, a few pairs of underwear and socks and 2 t-shirts. You can also do the laundry per item cost (not cheap). You can also get items dry-cleaned. That should take 24hrs, or you can do express service for 50% extra. PUBLIC SPACES Seating in Centrum was sparse at times, especially when the entertainment was good (Temperature). The gym is very good, which is important when you’re eating and drinking whenever you’re NOT in the gym! I wish they had heavier free weights, but the machines were pretty good, and covered the basics. It wasn't crowded whenever I went, but I think that’s because of the demographic on board. Their "library" was two bookcases. They call it a "nook". It is not a “library.” Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We booked this cruise looking for an easy and relaxing getaway; the itinerary was perfect. But there is no way I would ever sail on the Norwegian Dawn again. The food was mediocre at best, the only exception was Teppanyaki. We tried Aqua, ... Read More
We booked this cruise looking for an easy and relaxing getaway; the itinerary was perfect. But there is no way I would ever sail on the Norwegian Dawn again. The food was mediocre at best, the only exception was Teppanyaki. We tried Aqua, Venetian, Cucina, and Moderno and I wouldn't even rate them as average. Service in the restaurants was slow and the wait staff seemed completely uninterested (again Tepppanyaki was the exception and they put on a great show). The entertainment was nothing to write home about either. Our Steward and Butler were outstanding and made the trip bearable. The thermal suite in the Spa was also very nice and we spent a lot of time there to get away from the smokers. Smokers were over represented in this crowd; so much so that the Promenade Deck was unpleasant for walking and the Casino was simply intolerable after about 7 PM. And, unfortunately our room was on Deck 8, just above the Promenade Deck (and all the smokers), so using the balcony while we were in port was next to impossible, which was unfortunate because the weather in Bermuda was spectacular. The room was also very noisy with the beat of drums & base coming up through the floor, and the TV in the next room coming through the wall. The price was right (so we thought), but now we know why. Very nice size room with a good layout. The balcony wraps around the corner of the ship, but it's only about 3 feet wide. Carpet was starting to show some wear and was coming apart at the seams (not bad though). Curtains were missing some hooks but again nothing terrible. Loved the Espresso machine in the room! The Butler and Steward were very attentive. The room was very noisy, both from the lounge below and also the TV in the room next door. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The Brilliance of the Seas is an older ship, and so, we did not know what to expect; but we were pleasantly surprised. It has been well-kept, and in fact, was recently given a "face lift." The Canada/New England itinerary was one ... Read More
The Brilliance of the Seas is an older ship, and so, we did not know what to expect; but we were pleasantly surprised. It has been well-kept, and in fact, was recently given a "face lift." The Canada/New England itinerary was one that we had not done before, and although we have to admit that we prefer warm weather and warmer waters, this was itinerary presented beautiful scenery and interesting ports. Halifax with all of its history, St. John, New Brunswick with its majestic Bay of Fundy, and the magnificence of Bar Harbor presented fabulous ports. One disappointment for us and the other party traveling with us was the food. We all felt that the selections were limited and that the taste could have been improved in the main dining room and the buffet. The specialty restaurants and staff, nonetheless, were wonderful. The nightly entertainment was somewhat of a disappointment. Finally, we should mention that although our traveling companions did not encounter this problem, we were taken aback when our cabin steward painstakingly explained to us how his assistant had fallen victim to company cutbacks, and so, we should not expect that he'd be able to answer any of our requests right away. All in all, however, we certainly recommend RCCL, the BOS, and this Canada/New England itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
NCL markets their ships as having “adult-only” clubs were you can dance until dawn.” Although not mentioned by NCL, which promotes the Norwegian Dawn as having “12 fun bars and lounges”, the real target groups for this cruise are ... Read More
NCL markets their ships as having “adult-only” clubs were you can dance until dawn.” Although not mentioned by NCL, which promotes the Norwegian Dawn as having “12 fun bars and lounges”, the real target groups for this cruise are (1) parents that want to allow their 18 yr. old children to drink and gamble (although clearly no effort was made to ensure that those that only perhaps looked 18 were not drinking and gambling), and (2) families with small children. Children are allowed everywhere and at all times. The only exception is the disco where children under 18 are apparently not allowed after 11:00 pm., which makes little sense as there is a separate disco for children. Therefore, unless you want to dance or sing along with children, there is no place to do so until 11:00 pm., and then you are likely to be surrounded by intoxicated 18 year olds (or those that looked close enough). While there may have been recent problems, we have never experienced any similar issues with either Carnival or Royal Caribbean, which do not appear to encourage or support under age drinking. There is no real adult-oriented entertainment, which is fine provided NCL makes that disclaimer in its advertising. There were two comedy shows the entire trip, and only on the last night was there an attempted “adult” show. This one adult show was held in a smaller venue, the disco, and after the teenagers had already been allowed into the disco. Therefore many of the teenagers simply stayed, and therefore there were no place for adults to sit, except on the floor. The venue was extremely over-packed with people standing or sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on the floor and was certainly a dangerous fire hazard, which did not appear to be a concern for NCL or the Cruise Director that introduced the show. The freestyle dining is also not handled particularly well. First, there is a lot of misinformation. We saw people passing through the long lines and wait to get into the main dining rooms that had made reservations. Therefore, we made reservations ourselves. The next night, however, the reservations desk told us that they did not take reservations for the main dining rooms, which was clearly wrong. A majority of the time the food was not delivered timely, but this was not the fault of the waiters but was a problem with the kitchen and management. It was not unusual to wait 20 to 25 minutes after ordering before the salad or first course was served. Therefore, unless you prefer the buffets or do not mind the wait, freestyle dining did not work particularly well on Norwegian Dawn. The food, although prepared well, was also blander than other cruises, which may be because they are attempting to appeal to a wide variety of individuals. Another comment, directed more toward the passengers, is that there seemed to be a greater amount of trash and discarded eating material left behind on the pool deck. Although it is not much of an excuse, there were not a lot of trash receptacles nearby, but passengers did not appear to be as concerned about leaving their trash behind after laying in the sun (perhaps this relates back to the amount of underage drinking). The only bright spot of the cruise is the stateroom and bathroom, and our room steward, Gilbert. He was attentive and responsive. The bedroom was not bad, and bathroom was nicer than most cruises. NCL’s wine corkage fee is also unreasonable. Unlike other cruise lines, NCL charges an excessive corking fee even if you only consume wine in your stateroom. Further, other cruses will return your shore-purchased wine the last day of sailing as opposed to NCL that returns any wine the morning before you debark. Therefore, the NCL policy appears to encourage under-age consumption so long as it is paid for while on board – Nice. Regardless, based on the above, Norwegian Dawn, will be our only NCL cruise as we believe the cruise was misrepresented, does not offer much for adults without children, and is not managed particularly well. Hopefully other cruise lines will resist any similar policies.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Background This was my tenth cruise, third on Norwegian (second time on the Dawn, once on the Gem). We will be going on Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas next February (we booked that before this.) We have been on 3 Royal ... Read More
Background This was my tenth cruise, third on Norwegian (second time on the Dawn, once on the Gem). We will be going on Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas next February (we booked that before this.) We have been on 3 Royal Caribbean cruises (with another booked for February, a 10-night E. Caribbean cruise on the Legend of the Seas), 2 Holland America cruises, one Carnival, and one on MSC. Embarkation / First Day If you have read my previous reviews, including mine from the Dawn this week last year, we have had some extremely easy check-in/embarkation processes (Baltimore, Boston, Cape Liberty, etc.), as well as some more difficult ones (Manhattan). Last year, embarkation was very easy in Boston. Last year, we waited on a 20-minute line for a porter and then we were on the ship within 5-6 minutes. This year, we had no line for a porter and we were on the ship about 10 minutes after arriving at the pier. Getting off the gangway gave that same party-esque feeling that felt like a corny gimmick they picked up from Carnival. They did a bit too much to entice guests to buy soda and spa packages, and it started to get annoying quickly. The ship left the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal at around 4 p.m, and we were off. Service Service on the Norwegian Dawn is 1000% better than on the Gem, but then again, that's the difference between New York and Boston (I'm a New Yorker and I'm saying this.) Staff in the restaurants were great as well, though sometimes unresponsive and forgetful. The cruise director, Gio (or Antonio Banderas, I couldn't tell), was a bit mediocre. I didn't even see him until the day we left Bermuda (the fifth day). But after that, he was everywhere I was. The worst part of the cruise was that we NEVER (not once) met our Cabin Steward. Actually, he didn't even clean our room half the time. We had to make our beds by ourselves. Guest Services tried to fix this, but to no avail. Other than that, however, we had no real problems with service like we did on the Gem.. Service in the dining rooms was mostly fine. Guest Services was fine. No problems, other than the cabin steward. Cabin Other than having no cabin steward, our room was pretty poor as well. First off, it was isolated in an area of four rooms, RIGHT next to the Stardust Theater and across the hall from the Casino. The other bad thing about our cabin was that it showed many signs of wear & tear, and it looked as if it were on its last legs. Our window was so dirty that it was 75% covered in dirt and dried streams of water, making it very hard to look out. There were also paint chips, missing pieces in the shower, a toilet that only flushed half of the time, and many more problems. Our other family cabin, 5132, was the complete opposite, and was operated much better than ours. It was amazing how much nicer and friendlier the crew were on this ship were compared to that of the Gem. Everyone would say 'hello', 'how are you?', etc. and it even got to the point where some of them would randomly run down a line of people high-fiving them. Crew was much better than on the Gem. On the first night, one of the cabins complained about noise and required that the HEAVY fire door to be closed. Sure enough, it kept closed and we had to open and close it ourselves, or else the guy would complain to Guest Services. There was one time, on night 5, that we opened the door for the pizza delivery guy for thirty seconds. The guy complained and demanded that I be kicked out of my own cabin. Sure enough, because he was a Gold Latitudes member, security responded quickly and asked that I stay out of my room. The other bad thing about our cabin was that it showed many signs of wear & tear, and it looked as if it were on its last legs. Our window was so dirty that it was 75% covered in dirt and dried streams of water, making it very hard to look out. There were also paint chips, missing pieces in the shower, a toilet that only flushed half of the time, and many more problems. Our other family cabin, 5132, was the complete opposite, and was operated much better than ours. Entertainment Entertainment, in my opinion, took a step down in comparison to last year (but not compared to February on the Gem). The one thing that was better entertainment-wise was the comedian, Tim Kaminski. Tim, a 2001 Comedy Hall of Fame inductee, had 3 shows, hosted the Quest, and made more of an appearance than Gio, the cruise director. It was actually Tim's final cruise on the Dawn after a span of 12 straight weeks, but he will be back early August. He was great, while the other guest headliner, wasn't. Allexy and Sally are a duo telling a love story supposedly through opera, but nothing was made clear during the show and it was one of (if not the worst) show on the cruise. The Second City was bland, as it was on the Gem and last year on the Dawn. The Three Production Cast Shows: Pure Variety (night 3, or 4? I don.t remember): Didn't see this show, but I heard it was just OK. Band On The Run (night 5): As it was last year, this was my favorite show. Featuring the songs and life of the '70s, the grand opening of Club BOTR (Band On The Run) has arrived and everyone is celebrating, through music that it.) Bollywood (night 7): This was the weirdest show of them all. A Hindu-Indian themed Acrobatics show that made no sense. The only reason that I saw this show was to see the Crew finale song afterward, something I always enjoy seeing, though often a depressing sign. Activities Activities once again lacking on Norwegian ships. Not much to do last year, not much to do on the Gem, not that much to do now. Although there were more scheduled OSA (Organized Ship-wide Activities) than last year, there was still a lack of things to do. The Freestyle Daily (the ship's program and scheduling paper) was not as packed with activities as, let's say, Royal Caribbean's Daily Compass, but it had ENOUGH things to do to keep everyone busy. Things were especially slow on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, the three days that we were in Bermuda. Splash Academy Kid's Club / Entourage Teen Club The Splash Academy was great as always, and the Entourage Teen Club have both taken a big step up compared to how they were on the Gem and on the Dawn. These little things are what matter, and NCL has definitely addressed SOME, not all, but some of these issues. The Teen Club was still hardly ever open, only opening from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. on port days and 2 intervals of 3-4 hours throughout the day on Sea Days. Also, unlike Royal Caribbean and Carnival who divide their Teen Programs into two age groups (12-14 and 15-17), NCL keeps their teens all in one age group, 13-17 year olds. They also make no exceptions to let 12 year olds in, which other lines have 12 as the starting age for the program. Splash Academy was divided into three age groups, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. But still, both programs took a step up from last year. Dining The food was about the same as it was on my previous two NCL cruises. The food was just OK. Nothing special, but it wasn't bad either. Here's a rundown of all the restaurants that we went to: Garden Cafe: This was the Lido Deck buffet on the ship. It was nothing special, but it wasn't great either. Choices were very limited, and it had the same foods every day/night. I have to say, the Garden was better on the Gem, which at least had rotating menu choices nightly and a better layout. Aqua Main Dining Room: The Aqua was one of two MDRs on the Dawn, the other being the Venetian. These restaurants have the same menu which rotates nightly. We ate at Aqua on the first night, but we did not get to go to the Venetian (although we did last year.) The food was pretty good, but it still can't compare to the food on Royal Caribbean. One thing that I still don't understand that NCL does is that they have Lobster night on the first night. Moderno Churrascaria: Moderno is the Brazillian Steakhouse on the ship. This was one of our favorite meals on the ship (although it was our least favorite on the Gem.) Conquistadors (as NCL calls them), come around slicing meats off of huge "kabobs". That was in the top three meals on this ship, in my opinion. Cagney's Steakhouse: A New York-style steakhouse that had several kinds of steaks and other meats. It was pretty good, but no Peter Luger. Bamboo Asian Fusion: As was the case last year, Bamboo was not very good. This happened to be one of our favorite meals on the Gem, but our least favorite on the Dawn. For what seemed to be an extensive menu, the menu was still very limited. teppanyaki: Our favorite meal on the ship. teppanyaki is the Japanese Hibachi-style restaurant on the ship. With seating for just 24 people, we weren't even able to get a reservation here until the last seating on the last night. There were several different menu choices that chefs would then cook right in front of your eyes. It's dinner and a show. Blue Lagoon: The ship's 24/7 diner-style restaurant. This was my go-to place at 1 a.m. every night for pretty much all-American food. I loved the Blue Lagoon.One night, I was there at 3 a.m. The guy at the table was ordering an he wanted a grilled cheese. He was angry to find out that they couldn't make him a grilled cheese, so he said "Do you have bread (yes). Do you have cheese (yes). Just take them both, slap them together, and put them on a grill and there you go, a grilled cheese." The guy said they couldn't do it. Then the guy said "I see you have a cheeseburger. Let m have a cheeseburger without the burger." The waiter walked away, murmuring to himself. That may not sound funny, but it may have been the funniest moment of the trip for me. NCL's Pizza 24/7 service: NCL's $5 pizza happened to not be that bad. Not that good, but not that bad. I wouldn't compare it to Pizza Hut, but I wouldn't say that it's as good as a fresh pie from the best NYC pizzeria. Let's not get carried away here. The Shops Onboard (Dufry Shops): The shops were good, IF you weren't looking for Norwegian Dawn merchandise. There was no apparel that said "Norwegian Dawn"on it. Things that said "Bermuda" and "NCL" were the norm. Jewelry, Bijoux Terner merchandise, liquor, and tobacco were all up to par, and everything was duty free. Disembarkation Disembarkation on the Dawn was set up in a very odd way. Once our tag color was called (we happened to have the latest one), we would be called to the exterior promenade, Deck 7 mid. From there, the line to get off the ship went all the way around the promenade, to the gangway on the Port side of the ship (we were starboard). We were on line, with at least 25-30 other people behind us. Those people all found a way to cut in front of everyone and we ended up being the LAST (literally, the last) people off the ship. It was a bit creepy, actually. From there, a Customs officer was waiting at the tail-end of the gangway to just take our Customs form. No questioning, no searching, no passports needed. From there, we took the escalator down to the luggage area. We found our luggage as soon as we got down (we were the last ones off, so we had the last luggage), and we left the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal about 6 minutes after getting off the ship. Bermuda Bermuda, as it was last year, was beautiful. We docked around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, 4 1/2 hours ahead of the scheduled 11 a.m., due to a medical emergency. On Sunday, we did a Glass-bottomed Boat Tour of the island. That was pretty fun, getting to see to island's coral system and fish. Monday, we went to Horseshoe Beach, the most acclaimed beach in Bermuda. We got there via a taxi, Psalm's Mini Bus Service. We tipped him extra to then come back and take us to Hamilton, where we wanted to spend the night. He completely stuck us up, and ditched us. DO NOT TAKE THIS TAXI SERVICE!!!!!! Use anyone else, there were boatloads of them by the ship (Pun intended.) On Monday night, we went into Hamilton to have dinner. We ate at the Pickled Onion,which happened to be very good. On Tuesday, we stayed local and did a very challenging mini golf course right in the Dockyard. Also, we had the Dockyard to ourselves, as there were no other ships in port over that three day span (the Grandeur of the Seas was supposed to dock adjacent to us at King's Wharf, but the ship was still under repair from it's fire back in May.) Heritage Wharf, where we docked, was still under renovation as officials continued to extend the wharf to comfortably berth the brand new Norwegian Breakaway Overall / Final Thoughts Overall, the ship happened to already show some signs of wear and tear, as well as some aging. For a ship that was just refurbished in 2011, that wasn't the best sign for NCL. But still, this time around on the Gem happened to be better than the first. We all had a great time. The second day (a sea day), happened to be EXTREMELY rough as we caught wind and rough waves from a storm off the coast of Washington, D.C. Nearly half of the ship was bedridden, an that was the cause of the medical emergency that forced a passenger off the ship early the next morning. The ship was nice, despite it's aging interior. Boston to Bermuda on the Dawn is actually the only itinerary of its kind from Boston, and it was definitely unique. We also had the Dockyard to ourselves, as there were no other ships in port over that three day span (the Grandeur of the Seas was supposed to dock adjacent to us at King's Wharf, but the ship was still under repair from it's fire back in May.) Heritage Wharf, where we docked, was still under renovation as officials continued to extend the wharf to comfortably berth the brand new Norwegian Breakaway. But still, we all had a great time and remember to Cruise Like a Norwegian on the Norwegian Dawn.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Carnival Glory 5 days from Boston to Canada. Cabin 1110This was our first cruise and it was an anniversary present from our adult daughters who also went with us. The cruise was in July for five days from Boston to Halifax, NS and ... Read More
Carnival Glory 5 days from Boston to Canada. Cabin 1110This was our first cruise and it was an anniversary present from our adult daughters who also went with us. The cruise was in July for five days from Boston to Halifax, NS and stopped at St. Johns, NB both in Canada.The port in Boston was clean and very nice and the embarkation process was pretty smooth and a lot easier than any airline boarding I've had. When we arrived at our room 2.5hrs early it was cleaned and ready and our cabin steward greeted us with a smile, introduced himself asked if there was anything he could get for us. His service from that point on was just excellent and we were very pleased with him.We stayed in cabin 1110 which was the Spa deck and very quiet. The room wasn't large, but roomy enough with a fairly large shower and bathroom. The balcony could fit two people comfortably and did not have an overhead which I liked because you got the sunshine during the day. The beds were very comfortable and the cooling worked great.My wife and daughter used the spa and said it was very good with the exception of my daughter's teeth whitening which was very painful. I had been bitten by a spider before I left and my leg swelled up do I got to use the "sick bay" and found the doctors and service pretty good.The weather was hot until we got passed Bar Harbor Maine and then the temperature dropped about 25 degrees and was foggy, overcast and in the 60's in St. Johns, and Halifax. Our excursions used the ON-Off buses in both Ports which allowed us to see most of both cities and also get off at sites we wanted to see. We missed the reverse on the reversing falls but it was nice anyway, but nothing special. St. Johns itself is a nice city but nothing you dream of going back to. Halifax however is beautiful and we enjoyed Fort Citadel, especially the bagpipers. We ate at a restaurant recommended to us by some locals called the Bluenose. This was a reasonably priced place near the museums and found there lobster and oysters even tastier than the ones back in New Hampshire and Maine. We also visited the maritime museum which was also very nice. Time did not allow us to see several other places there and this is a city I would love to go back to again.The ship itself was beautiful and because it was the 4th of July they had a huge American flag in the Colors lobby and had a celebration in the dining hall as well as other places on the boat. The lobby itself is fairly large and beautiful with plenty of room to sit and relax to live music. We taught all of the areas for relaxation, eating, drinking or entertainment were all comfortable and well laid out. The shopping areas are all very nice and prices were either better or very competitive to shopping at home. Although NH is known for its cheap liquor prices the duty free on the boat was even better. Beware though they do add a 15% gratuity to the price you pay.We got to most of the clubs and enjoyed most of them including the music and dancing. The drinks were good and prices were not out of line with night life around home. If there was any area of disappointment it was the entertainment. The dating game was fun but the comedians were nothing more than the same vulgar acts revolving around pretty much the same old themes. Nothing new or creative here just the HBO comedy copy cats.The casino was great and had something for everyone. We all had fun playing slots, blackjack, craps and even the electronic poker. Dining on the ship was very good. We chose the 8:15pm set schedule and therefore got the same crew of waiters each night. Their service was excellent and the main dishes were very good with a few exceptions. The Italian dishes, fish, lobster, soups, salads and most appetizers were well prepared and equal to anything you would get at a good stateside restaurant. The "fun foods" were on par with fast food and we would pass on the chicken and pork dishes. I ended every meal with either an espesso or cored ffe and both were good. The Red Sails buffet was good for some things and fair to poor for others. The pizza wasn't bad if you like Pizza Hut, and the hamburgers and hot dogs were pretty good. The eggs and omelets tasted like they were made from powdered eggs and the bacon had that broiled taste. Couple that with a very mediocre coffee and you got a poor breakfast. The fruit was good and some of the pastries. Most of the days we went to the platinum restaurant in the aft where you could get fried eggs , good sausage and bacon and the breakfast was exceptional.We all ate at the steak house which was both elegant and five star. The fillet mignon was big and on par with a Ruth Chris or Morton's. The wine list was extensive and more than adequate and the desserts were decadent. The cheesecake was my favorite. During our dinner people were drawn to the window as a school of dolphin put on a show. We enjoyed dinning here so much we booked a second night. The second night I had the steak and lobster combo which was good but i would advise sticking to the fillet mignon. Although the dolphins didnt show a full moon did making this a great anniversary dinner for us. This was the best $35 we spent on the trip and I would advise anyone that enjoys a good steak to book it.Overall we enjoyed our stay on the Glory and would both book it again and recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We were on the repositioning cruise on the Jewel of the Seas, which took us from Boston to Tampa, with stops in St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Curacao and Aruba. While we had some nasty weather at the beginning, it calmed down ... Read More
We were on the repositioning cruise on the Jewel of the Seas, which took us from Boston to Tampa, with stops in St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Curacao and Aruba. While we had some nasty weather at the beginning, it calmed down by the third day, and overall our cruise was lovely. This was our second Royal Caribbean cruise, and we really enjoyed the energy on board. The service was spectacular everywhere -â€" poolside, in the lounges, at dinner and in our stateroom. We loved our waiter and assistant waiter (Jerome and Jose), who took great care of us and made us feel like we were the most important people on board. We also spend a lot of time in the Schooner Bar, where waiter Roy became our new best friend. Cruise director Carly B was a riot, and her staff was funny, fun and always pleasant. Overall, the ship was beautiful. Lots of room for lounging, and some great spots for a little privacy as well. The rooms were small, but that's pretty standard for cruising. There was plenty of room for storage (we had an exterior room, no balcony, that was slightly oversized). The Schooner Bar was great for a predinner cocktail, as it was far away from the smoky Pit Stop and casino. While RCL limits the places where people can smoke, we found the ship still too smoky overall. Any time you got near the Centrum in the middle of the ship, you could smell smoke no matter which floor you were on. Also, the jogging track runs right through a smoking section, which made that section for a morning jog particularly unpleasant. The food was average, and occasionally poor (stay away from the calzone in the dining room!). The Windjammer was OK for breakfast, but lunch was awful -â€" limited, bland selection with a lot of redundancy from day to day. They also seemed to run out of a number of items as the cruise went on. We ended up in the Sea View Cafe most days for lunch, which was a decent alternative. We ate at both Chops and Portofino and found both to be just decent but not worth the upcharge. We preferred Chops, though both had amazing desserts. We visited Chops on a busy night and were "forgotten" for a while by our waiter, and our dinner ended up being almost three hours. The food on board was our biggest disappointment. Activities were wonderful. This was a Halloween cruise, and we were amazed by the number and intricacy of the costumes. RCL held a costume contest and decorated the ship. Myriad activities were scheduled for each day during the cruise, including several trivia contests throughout the day. Other activities included the Love and Marriage Show, Battle of the Sexes, table tennis tournament, bellyflop contest, Quest and World's Sexiest Man contest. We participated in a number of events and were spectators at others and really had fun. We also took advantage of the climbing wall and mini golf course. We went to several shows and were impressed with the variety. One other minor complaint: The stateroom amenities were terrible. Women, pack your own shampoo, conditioner and bath gel or soap. RCL provides only low-quality items, including a shampoo/conditioner combo that neither cleans the hair nor conditions it. The hair dryer is awful; it's old and the handle gets hot while using it, so drying the hair took a while. While Celebrity remains our favorite line, we really enjoyed our cruise on RCL. We absolutely adored the itinerary and crew and had an incredible vacation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We picked this cruise because we liked the ports and the "one-way" nature of the cruise. My wife had always wanted to see the colors of New England. The cruise left from Boston and ended in Quebec City. My wife and I had never ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we liked the ports and the "one-way" nature of the cruise. My wife had always wanted to see the colors of New England. The cruise left from Boston and ended in Quebec City. My wife and I had never visited Boston so we spent an entire day there before departure. We walked the Freedom Trail and enjoyed the city. The morning before the cruise we walked the walkways along the water and got some good exercise. Our hotel was the Boston Seaport Hotel. It is located away from the downtown area near the World Trade Center area. The hotel is right on the "Silver Line" which means it is on the subway/bus system. We took the Silver Line directly from the airport. The Silver Line connects with downtown very nicely. In addition, the Silver Line also goes directly to the port and drops you right next to the NCL dock. The Seaport Hotel was right near the water and we had great views out of our windows. It was a great hotel for a pre-cruise stay. We arrived at the dock between 1:00 and 2:00. Since we were staying in a suite, we were lead to an open check-in station. However, the other check-in lines seemed short. After meeting our butler and concierge, we were lead directly to our cabin. Our cabin was 10000 and was right in the front of the ship, directly below the bridge. The cabin was large with a sitting area, breakfast table and a separate bedroom. Bathroom was large with tub and large shower. The suite even had a second small bathroom. The balcony was on the small side but gave us great views out both sides of the ship as we left ports. When cruising, it was windy and rather cold because of the wind coming straight in. Our cruise was the second week of October. Because of the long summer, many of the trees were still green in some areas. However, since you are cruising north, the trees were very beautiful in many ports. I think early October is the time to go. The Spirit is an older ship and you can tell from the decor. However, we enjoyed the ship and the amenities. Deck 7 is a walking deck where you can walk around the entire outside of the ship. 3 laps are 1 mile with great views. The fitness center is small but has nice large windows in front of the exercise machines. We were some of the younger passengers on this particular cruise (in our early 50's) so getting on the equipment was not a problem. There is a running track on the top level of the ship but many passengers use it to walk across the deck. So, you needed to dodge slow walkers on the track. The "free" restaurants are the Buffet, Windows and the Garden Room. The buffet was typical cruise ship fare and normally very chaotic. As a suite holder, we could eat breakfast and lunch in Cagney's (one of the specialty restaurants). We ate breakfast in Cagney's every day except one. In the evening, Windows and the Garden Room have the exact same menu so it really doesn't matter which one you eat at. Both were good but we ate more often in the Garden Room because they had more tables for parties of two. Food was very good. We did not feel the need to pay-up and eat in the specialty restaurants. Many folks we met did pay to eat in the specialty restaurants and were very pleased. Once again, as suite holders we had reserved seating in the balcony for all shows. I would rate the shows 3 of a possible 5. We saw them all. I believe the older folks enjoyed them the most. Most were packed. There were two identical shows each night and the early one was the more popular. The crew on the ship was great. Dinner served quickly and efficiently. Housekeeping services were very quick to make-up your cabin when you were gone. Towel animals were creative. Butler and concierge were great! Once we arrived in Quebec City, we were given priority disembarkment. Our luggage was waiting for us and easily found. We walked the old city section of Quebec City. It was a great walking town. No reason to pay for an excursion unless you cannot walk. We then rented a car and drove to Montreal. We stayed at the Montreal Airport Marriott which is located inside the terminal. It was very convenient and a great choice if you have an early morning flight. Overall, we had a great trip. See my port reviews for further information. Sydney - Canada At Sydney, we thought we wanted to go to the fortress at Louisbourg. We went to the taxis and asked the price. All the taxi drivers had a pre-printed pricing form for the various attractions - none of which are close to the ship. This is one location where you need to get into a vehicle to see the best sights and scenery. The "fixed fee" trip to Louisbourg was $160. For two people, we thought this was way too high, but then we found two Fighting Illini who joined us. The taxi was a van, so the 4 of us were very comfortable. Louisbourg is a fortress that has been restored/re-built as a tourist attraction. There are demonstrations and workers are dressed in "period" costumes, etc. The location is right on the water and there was a lot to see. The drive to the fortress was pleasant but not anything special. We got back early and took a walking tour of the town. Unless you just like to walk (which we do), this town didn't have a lot to offer. Corner Brook (I've added this since Corner Brook is not a port on Cruise Critic) From what we could tell, Corner Brook had one redeeming factor, the Stream Trail. We took a cab to the beginning of the trail (or the end of the trail depending upon your direction). Let's just say, we started high in the hills and the Trail was mainly downhill for us. From the top, the trail is carved out of the woods and crosses a deep gorge. People starting from the dock do not make it this far as we saw no one for the first ½ hour (except a few locals). Once you've dropped back to sea level, the trails wind around ponds and up and down hills. We walked all the various side trails and it was a great hike. Once we got to the bottom, we asked about shopping and were pointed to a small shopping center. Let's just say, some of the passengers on the ship thought the Wal-Mart was their shopping highlight. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Overall this cruise met our expectations. My wife and I are experienced cruisers. This was our eighth cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines and our fifteenth cruise in total. We live in the Boston area so we did not do any Boston sightseeing ... Read More
Overall this cruise met our expectations. My wife and I are experienced cruisers. This was our eighth cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines and our fifteenth cruise in total. We live in the Boston area so we did not do any Boston sightseeing before the cruise and we didn't have to deal with airline connections. Our son drove us to the Boston cruise port and we began the embarkation process at about 12:30 PM. The embarkation process took about an hour and it clearly could have run smoother. I was a little irked that the Lattitudes line moved slower than the non-Lattitudes line. The non-Lattitudes couple directly in front of us when the lines were separated were on the ship ten minutes before us. The ship is fairly elegant, not as tacky as a lot of the new ships. The ship never seemed crowded. There were no problems getting elevators or getting good seats at the shows. There were no waiting lines to get off the ship while in port even when we were tendering. There were no waiting lines at the main restaurants (we ate at 5:30 PM each night and were always seated immediately)and everything worked fairly smoothly at the buffet(there was never more than two people ahead of me when I stood in line for my daily made-to-order omelet). This was the first cruise we were on where trays were not used, so navigating the buffet was a bit cumbersome. Our inside cabin on deck nine was large enough for two people with more than enough space for our clothes and other belongings. We never saw our room steward but the room was always clean and well stocked, and we were never interrupted for service. The food at the buffet and in the two main dining rooms was varied and more than acceptable. We did not eat at any of the specialized restaurants with the cover charges. The service at the dining rooms was excellent. All the shows were entertaining. The two song and dance shows had good music and energetic dancers.The comedian/mentalist was especially good and I spent the whole show saying to myself "How did he do that?". The Second City troupe's skits were funny but I didn't think their improv work was that good.The juggler's act was pretty standard but still worth watching nonetheless. Since we carried our own bags off the ship, disembarkation was a breeze. The only real disappointment we had with this cruise was that we pulled into each port during the early morning before it was light so we really couldn't appreciate what we consider a highlight of every cruise. In La Baie, Quebec we took the ship's excursion to the Saguenay National Park where we took a Zodiac tour of the only fjord in North America. Despite the rainy weather we had an enjoyable day on the river. They gave us heavy water-proof jackets to wear but we still got pretty wet. The Zodiac boats were a good way to see the fjord and the national park. The cost was $105 per person and included a one hour bus ride (in a real yellow school bus) each way. In Sydney, Nova Scotia we spent the morning walking through the old section of the town which was right in front of the area where the ship was docked. We were provided with a free map right at the dock. In the afternoon we took the ship's excursion to the Fortress at Louisbourg. We had a great guide who not only explained the history of the Fortress but also gave us a rich perspective of the history and culture of Cape Breton Island. Because of a mix-up the excursion only cost us $70 per person instead of the publicized price of $86. Taking a cab to the Fortress or renting a car for the trip would have been just as expensive and you wouldn't have had the benefit of the guide. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click