6 Boston Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise for convenience being from the Greater Boston area. We are a retired couple in our mid 60's enjoying retirement while we can. This was our 6th trip to Bermuda via cruise ship - 2nd time on the Dawn and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for convenience being from the Greater Boston area. We are a retired couple in our mid 60's enjoying retirement while we can. This was our 6th trip to Bermuda via cruise ship - 2nd time on the Dawn and previously on the Spirit and Majesty. We were traveling with a local band who would be playing on board as well. Embarkation went well - we had an assisgned arrival time of 10:00 - 10:30 and we arrived at 10:00 am and we were in the VIP lounge by 10:30. Boarding from the lounge started just after 11:00 am and we were in the Moderno dining room eating lunch at Noon. Cabins were not ready until after 1:30 so we just enjoyed sitting near the pool and people watching. The Dawn has been around a long time and starting to show her age. She is well kept and looks good, but it will be nice to have a newer ship sailing from Boston next year. She is easy to navigate - the public decks are laid out well and one can get from bow to stern easily. Around 1:30 we went to our cabin, met our steward and left our carry-on things. We then set out to re-familiarize ourselves with the ship. Luggage came up around 3:00 pm and we were able to unpack and get ready for dinner. Our steward was nice, but we had to keep asking for things like our water (latitudes perk), a bath mat, soap - things that should have been in our cabin but weren't until we asked. This is a very casual cruise - you won't find a lot of "dressy" attire. Formal nite has been replaced with "Dress up or Not" - and we saw very few (if any) suits on the gents or formal cocktail dresses on the ladies. Mostly dressy tops with capris or long skirts, Maxie and short dresses on the women and dockers or nice slacks on the men with golf shirts. We even saw shorts in the main dining rooms so clearly the dress code has relaxed and gone is the "glitz and glamour" that is still seen on other cruise lines. ( and we miss that!) The entertainment was good - PJ a magician from Korea, and Chris Burke a singer from Nashville (soul music not country!) were both great. We had a good comedian, Sam Fedele, but he was only on the ship for one week with us. We have seen the "Elements" show before but enjoyed it again. The International Crew Show is always a favorite, and we enjoyed seeing cultural dances from around the word, and singers using their native language. Such talent! There are plenty of activities every day - trivia, game shows, bingo, etc and you can find something to do if you are looking for that. The pool is small, and as always you have to get up at the crack of dawn to get a chair near the pool or in the small shaded areas. There are rules about saving chairs but no one pays attention. The hot tubs were consistently full with a lot of small children (even babies in diapers - yuck!) and no personal or pool staff to tell them that's a NO-NO - what a germ breeding environment - and the kids were "snorkeling" in the hot tub - YIKES! We are not against seeing children on a cruise ship, but we were genuinely concerned for the health and well being of these kids with no adult supervision... it's the lack of parenting that gets me going.... NOTE: There are NO STRAWS currently on the ship due to environmental policy changes. They are working on getting paper straws but for now, bring your own! We always bring refillable water bottles so had a straw when needed for those frozen drinks! Dining - was disappointing! We had VIP access to Moderno for breakfast and lunch which was very good. The buffet was okay for breakfast and we were glad to see the "made to order" omelet and egg station. Bacon was greasy and limp - we only ate there 2 times. Lunch in the buffet had the same offerings the few times we checked - if we weren't in Moderno's we had lunch from the grill - hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage, chicken and fixings to go with them - French Fries were great here! For dinner we ate in Venetian a few nights - the menu's were "blah" - the nights we did eat there were disappointing. The Prime Rib was mostly fat, steak was served with French Fries not baked potato and the Pork Loin was a large pork chop with bone in that was very dry and tough. We ate in Teppanyaki and Cagney's and those meals were fabulous - but we shouldn't have to pay extra to get good food! We ate at O'Sheehans several times and the food there was good - fast too! We found service overall to be good, but you no longer see bar staff "hustling" beverages, We felt there were far less bar service people around the pool and theater and in the lounges than in the past and I believe it's because most people have the package and there is no incentive for them to "sell". Drinks were good but as mentioned before - hard to drink frozen concoctions without a straw! Having been to Bermuda several times we "do our own thing". We docked around 1:00 pm and we waited till the crowds left and then went for a walk around the Dockyard. There are several stores and museums to look around in but we were happy to have less people on the ship around the pool! NCL has a complimentary ferry running from the Dockyard to St. George which is a beautiful little village to walk around. We like Tobacco Bay on that end of the island for snorkeling so we went there the second day. The third day we went to Snorkel Park which is a very short walk from the ship ( less than 10 minutes). It's a nice clean beach with facilities, and food services and good place to snorkel when the weather cooperates. It was very windy on our day there so the water was rough and cloudy. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We just came off the Dawn, Boston to Bermuda. embarkation was not too bad at all and we made it onto the ship in about 45 mins. Once on the ship we walked around to get the layout...being lunch time we headed to the buffet in the back of ... Read More
We just came off the Dawn, Boston to Bermuda. embarkation was not too bad at all and we made it onto the ship in about 45 mins. Once on the ship we walked around to get the layout...being lunch time we headed to the buffet in the back of the ship....total mayhem, we opted to head to the pool deck for a burger ...which was good. They announced rooms open and we went to our balcony cabin 10206, starboard side aft. It was clean but on the small side but enough room for two. The bathrooms were on the small side but ok. The cabin and the ship were always kept clean and neat. We never did the freestyle cruising before but go the hang of it. NCL has a rather relaxed dress code, there were no Formal nights....long pants and collared shirt for men seemed to meet the codes. Shorts were allowed in the dining room on almost every night. We chose to eat in the dining room or a specialty restaurant every night. The Buffett was just crazy, ie morning breakfast lines on two sides ended with the Omelet station ...which backed up the line as people waiting for their egg ordered stayed in line and kept the rest of the line from moving forward. ...Dining room food was good. Specialty dining was great..go for the packages. We had the free drink package, a first for us...what I did not like was you did not get a receipt after you get your drink...so there was no way of telling how much they charged for the gratuity or service charge...strange... Some bars carried certain liquors some did not...so you have to search out which bar has your brand . Staff was very friendly and helpful. Entertainment was ok. Cruise director does a Tina Turner set and is great. Shopping on board is really not worth the bother, no great prices at all...even when they put things on sale. Our cabin was under the Spa...noise in the middle of the night when they do the floors, but it does not last that long. One big gripe was on several occasions we stopped at Osheehans for a cocktail, the first time, I had to go to the bar after waiting 20 minutes to ask if we could have someone come take our drink orders, ...10 mins later someone came...and we got a drink....we were there over an hour and a half and that was the only time we got served a drink...we tried to give it another chance but it was bad...we moved on to another bar for our cocktails...I am sure there is more but my mind is whirling around after just getting off. Not sure if we would do the Dawn again but it is not a bad ship by any means... Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We choose Royal Caribbean because this was the destination we wanted. Also we have been on Royal Caribbean cruises before and have been pleased. I gave this boat a average rating . First of all maybe this is the trend all lines are ... Read More
We choose Royal Caribbean because this was the destination we wanted. Also we have been on Royal Caribbean cruises before and have been pleased. I gave this boat a average rating . First of all maybe this is the trend all lines are taking to keep over all costs down. I see a lower standard in food and entertainment. The food in the reflections restaurant was average quality and much smaller portions than I remembered from past cruises. I am a small person and had to order 2 servings of courses to get enough food. The food in the wind jammer was good. Also there were only 3 resaturants on ship that were included in cost of cruise and 4 that were extra. I guess that is the trend to get people to go the the pay resturants instead of eating the food from the ones included in prices. Also we requested early 6:00 dining with our group of 12 and it showed on our paper work we had recieved that request. Well they had no record of that and that took quite a bit of talking with staff and waiting in long lines to get this corrected . I also think the my time dining is not a good thing. I seen long lines of people waiting in lines for tables that did not have a specific time. Also that caused a problem with show times. We had to hurry over to show to even get a seat and lots of people standing in back did not get seats. when there were shows in the centurium area we never once got a seat because there was not very many. Another problem in the high traffic areas like deck 5 where entertainment was only 2 stalls in baths so long lines. Long lines at guest services , not enough staff working behind counters. Cabins could use a clock and a outlet in bath and tablet and pen. Boat was very clean and staff , our room attendant and table waiters were excellant. The ship needs updating, remodeling or maybe time to retire it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
As stated on other reviews, if you have cruised enough to compare to past trips you will know the things that have changed or are missing. A lot below will be direct comparison to last year's cruise.Lido - The new Guy burgers and ... Read More
As stated on other reviews, if you have cruised enough to compare to past trips you will know the things that have changed or are missing. A lot below will be direct comparison to last year's cruise.Lido - The new Guy burgers and burrito were good. They took away the asian wok which was a disappointment as it had the longest lines on most ships as it was popular. In reflection, the regular daily theme offerings were worse. This trip we did not touch it. And in reflection.. I seems to be eating too many burgers and burritos as it seemed the only thing worth getting.Dining - moved to GROUP Dining - I was among those in the long lines of very unhappy people on the first day trying to change out from being placed into a late Group dining. Confirmed or on waitlisted people anytime dining we all got a surprise - that line stayed open the entire time. Everyone was trying to get out of the large group tables. One person was so angry he was calling customer service on his phone while waiting in line having had a confirmed anytime dining for over a month.Dining problem:The dining room each have 2 sections. What has changed to create this problem is that only 1 section out of the total of four dining sections was set for Anytime dining for the entire cruise. So the most popular option you had 1/4 a chance to get it. So you ended up missing most of the entertainment if you did late dining. CLOSE tables - Past trip on Fascination, you could walk between the tables of 2. On Glory, we were lucky to be placed on a side by side table of 2. The space to the next table was almost impossible to walk between as they were so close. It was almost a group long table. Entertainment - If you remember the many dancers and big shows - Carnival has cut it down that it seems to be 4 male and 4 female entertainers. It reflects in how 'big' the production is. Everyone has to sing inclusive of the 2 leads. Not everyone can teach so not everyone can sing. Just listen if you go.Do you like to breathe second hand smoke? Because while a lot of the entertainment use to be in the main theater, most seem to take place in the casino stage. The casino ventilation was really bad this trip. We really did not want to walk through the area.Ship layout and changes - Bars were added basically. But in the same amount of space before. The tables added or moved are much closer now. It feels really crowded. And yes... the camels are gone to make space to squeeze more space out of the casino. Shocking seriously. So what's gone? As mentioned by others... the free specialty coffees from dining as expected. There was the late night special buffet but that seems to be gone.Ports - St John - as always a nice place to explore. The path to the reversing falls is partially closed currently. But the town is nice to explore.Halifax - much more to explore on foot. Lots of exploration. This is my forth trip but frankly the worst trip in 2 years. Its a steady decline in past services and offerings. Its unfortunate. It bothered me enough that it made me post this. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Excursions were too expensive, one could go on shore and find the same type for less than half. Food in dining room Rotterdam was bland, slow, and showed little imagination for culinary tastes. My wife and I ate three times in the ... Read More
Excursions were too expensive, one could go on shore and find the same type for less than half. Food in dining room Rotterdam was bland, slow, and showed little imagination for culinary tastes. My wife and I ate three times in the Pinnacle Grill, found the food to be outstanding, service excellent, and well worth the $25 add on. Medical facilities were great as I had to use twice. Our new Lanai Room 356 seems a bit small, the couch was mini, the desk very small. storage good, beds excellent, bath Ok, but water closet is set very close to tub. Used shower 100%, had to be very careful when exiting tub. The most concerning isue, your outside Lanai chair pads are put in your room each night, and one must remember when the sun goes down, the UV light enables passengers walking the deck to look into your room. One quickly, unfortunately, learns to pull the drapes. Next time, we'll pay for a Veranda. Lastly, their was a 110 plug but at the desk, so my wife had to leave the bath area and sit at the desk to dry her hair. What will be,will be! Evening shows left a lot to improve upon. Four shows were repeated during the cruise. Wifi was a disaster. Paid $250 for 1000 minutes of air time. The poor internet manager probable lost ten years of his life with all the Seniors and their I Pods and the difficulties in loosing or trying to send or retreive E-Mails. The public rooms were well used, very clean, and would rate a high score. Of the 1248 quests, less than 50 were children due to lenght of time and thus had no issue. Casinoes continue to be a money maker for the shipping lines. The tipping issue continues to rear its ugly head, we paid $11.50 each per day for 35 days and then were smoozed into leaving another tip for room stewards, and dining room staffs. Fortunately they deserve it, since in London it was printed in the news that P&O Cruise line was only paying their employees less than $1.00 per hour, yet they work ten-twelve hours per day, seven days per week and must sign a ten month contract. Oh the life of a Seafarer!! The two most interesting aspects of the cruise were Stonehenge in England, and Iceburgs bigger than the ship in Greenland. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We have cruised on a number of lines, and my parents took many cruises on HAL prior to it being taken over by Carnival. While first time cruisers would be very happy with it, we were somewhat disappointed. The little touches are not there ... Read More
We have cruised on a number of lines, and my parents took many cruises on HAL prior to it being taken over by Carnival. While first time cruisers would be very happy with it, we were somewhat disappointed. The little touches are not there anymore. Service is inconsistent; food is not up to the standard we expect of a luxury line; things that were previously complimentary (e.g. soft drinks) are now charged to your account. Something as simple as a hot dog from the grill on the pool deck - the buns were stale, there was no relish available. The cook appeared to have no familiarity with an American hot dog, being Indonesian as many HAL crew are, not his fault - but this indicated a lack of training on the part of the food service department. The breakfast buffet was very disorganized - poor traffic flow. On other lines, there are stewards available to help you, but it was very difficult to get the attention of staff if something was needed. Probably a symptom of personnel reduction. Also, not enough seating for the volume of people at peak times. In summary, it is obvious that Carnival has taken over what used to be one of the world's top luxury lines. Unfortunately that is no longer true. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012

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