Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by DaisyL
- Sail Date: May 2006
- Destination: Bermuda
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside
Since theres numerous reviews of the Dawn, I will try to discuss the differences between this cruise and our previous trips on the Dawn 2004 and 2005.
Embarkation: With 3 large ships in NYC the pier was overflowing with people. We arrived at 11:00 AM with slight delay up the ramp. DH dropped me off with the luggage at the curb and parked the car. The porters were only helping disembarking passengers so we rolled our luggage to the entrance and porters loaded them on large carts. We waited upstairs in the latitudes/suite waiting area and boarding began by 12:30 and on board by 1 PM. Very smooth process with many NCL employees to direct passengers and answer questions.
The ship was a little late departing, 5 PM, and they took attendance at the muster drill. Since it was windy outside, we watched sailaway from the Garden Cafe windows and decided to view the NJ/Staten Island/Statue of Liberty side &.
Ship and Cabin: The fire doors to the cabins were closed with notices that they will be available at 2 PM. Since we booked a few weeks before, we chose an Inside GTY and was given an inside cabin midship deck 10. Very convenient for using the stairs, 2 decks up to the pool, several decks down to restaurants. Having balcony BB in the past we were very surprised how small this inside cabin was, but we managed just fine and enough room to store our clothes and toiletries, and put the luggage under the bed. We actually liked the bathroom better, same sliding glass door for the shower but the toilet was not in a closet& seemed more spacious.
The cabin was not serviced the first evening, bed not turned down, no fresh towels, ice and glasses, just the next days newsletter shoved under the door. We thought we were in for a fun week and neglected since we had an inside, as opposed to the great service for balcony cabins on the previous 2 Dawn cruises. (we really hate to complain, but will if necessary). Well, no need to worry, the cabin service was good all week beginning the next morning.
Food/Meals/Drinks: (see 10 day menus posted by nj_cruisers, the days are different for this cruise but the menus are identical): Thanks nj_cruisers, for posting.
We enjoyed each meal except where noted.
Sat- Bon Voyage dinner (Day 1 menu) we ate in Le Bistro this night Sun- French dinner (Day 7 menu), optional formal, grilled strip loin and monkfish; steak was cooked medium as ordered Mon- Chef's dinner (Day 3 menu), beef stroganoff and salmon in honey glaze Tues- Italian dinner (Day 4 menu), grilled swordfish, and risotto with baby shrimp; could they spare the shrimp? about a teaspoon of 1/8" shrimp on top- couldn't even taste them Wed- Caribbean dinner (Day 5 menu) both of us had tortellini with chardonnay sauce; was actually alfredo sauce but very good, ordered steamed vegetables on the side Thurs- Captains dinner (Day 2 menu) both of us had lobster tail, a funky brownish sauce on top but the lobster was good, regular single lobster tail not the smaller half tails served on the last 2 Dawn cruises Fri- Freestyle (Day 6 menu) grilled leg of lamb and tandoori chicken; was a boneless chicken breast, a little wet on the outside and slightly spicy, no vegetables served with the chicken.
While we are not picky eaters, we sometimes were not thrilled with the menu choices. On the past Dawn cruises, there were several entrEe choices each night which appealed to us but on this cruise it was often difficult to get excited about one.
We were fortunate to be seated near the windows on most evenings and ate in Aqua once, Impressions twice, and Venetian 3 times. The service was wonderful in all restaurants except for the 1 dinner in Aqua.
Le Bistro was wonderful but the only problem was when requesting a 7 PM reservation on the first night, they were filled, so we chose 6:30 PM but the restaurant was only half full the whole evening. My husband ordered the Fire Star and he was in heaven.. what a presentation. My filet mignon was excellent and cooked as ordered, medium. We passed on the chocolate fondue this time but the crème brulee was to die for and DH enjoyed the vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberry sauce. The service, as usual, was wonderful. No discounts for any specialty restaurants this cruise.
We thought the quality of the food in the buffet for lunch, was better than in the past. The desserts were mainly tasteless and DH kept asking me if we took the sugar-free by mistake. By contrast, the desserts in the main restaurants were very good. Dont miss the made to order pasta& didnt find it till Wed. since it was in the middle of the vegetarian counter. DH asked for pesto sauce, one day, and since it was not offered that day the server insisted to go downstairs and get it, but DH told him it was not necessary. Now, thats service!
Breakfast in the buffet was not great, with the same offerings daily, food cold, soggy pre-made eggs, smoked salmon not offered daily, and long lines for the made-to-order omelets/ fresh eggs. We managed to eat breakfast in the Venetian 3 times and the service and food quality were excellent, with several different offerings daily.
The Bimini bar offered hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries daily. The poolside BBQ was offered 3 times, with different offerings each time in addition to hamburgers and hot dogs; ribs, sausage, chicken, pasta stir fry, rice stir fry &
The chocolate buffet was offered one night at 11:15 PM as opposed to mid afternoon on our previous cruises. We preferred it at this time but others complained of the change.. Maybe Ill start a poll? We enjoyed the choices we made and managed to get a variety.
We attended the Margarita tasting $15/person but you can share.. a variety of 4 full size drinks & woohoo, lotsa fun was had by all &
We love the pina coladas on this ship and manage to have several a day. We would order the regular size for $5.50 (plus 15% tip) as opposed to the $8 (+ tip). Never measured the difference.. is it a bargain? The last sea day they offered us the $8 drink for $7& They brought back the beer buckets (actually champagne buckets)& buy 5 beers get the 6th free. DH liked the standard gin martini, up w olives .. $7.75 for Beefeaters, large size. Good prices for drinks and beers compared to our usual NY prices at home. DH ordered a bottle of wine in Le Bistro, drank half, and had the rest 2 nights later in Impressions. The waiter made a face when we said it was from 2 nights ago, but we joked and got him to laugh & no problem &
Entertainment: We really enjoyed Dan Hodge in Gatsbys &, Modal Magic in Spinnaker. Fire & Ice, Caribbean Wave, and Best of Friends were OK. We found the Star Bar for the first time this cruise and Steve Garey is very good; this bar is smoke-free.
We love production shows and NCL probably has the most talented musicians, singers, and performers of any cruise weve been on. Having seen South Beach Rave and Bollywood in the past we chose to skip them. We enjoyed the magic/comedy of Ed Alonzo.. laugh out loud for us. The hypnotist, Dr. Trance, was entertaining and amusing but did not embarrass or humiliate the volunteers.
We caught one game show The Weakest Link (between dinner and main show) and thought it was pretty lame and only about 10 people in the audience. We thought the Liars Club was hilarious, but not for everyones taste, and definitely risquE and the Spinnaker was standing-room-only. We missed the the crew show (always a highlight, but afternoon this cruise) but caught the Fountains segment on TV & silly but very funny.
The cruise director was Mike Szwajkowski and he was young, pleasant, funny, witty, and entertaining& what a pleasure.
Ports: We have been to Bermuda many times before, most recently last Oct. so we planned on winging it. Our favorites from the Dockyards would be a bus or taxi to Horseshoe Bay Beach or the ferry to Hamilton. It was very windy this day but clear skies mid 70s. We walked off the ship at 9 AM and went to the shopping area which opened at 9:30 AM. Stopped at the Snorkel Park, no admission charge, and heard its very good snorkeling here. Although small, the beach is pristine, the water clear and brilliant blue, and they had chairs and umbrellas for rent (although none were up; maybe the high winds). Theres a snack bar with outdoor, bar pavilion upstairs. We had our favorite Bermuda drink, Rum Swizzle, and sat on high deck chairs with beautiful views of the beach and water& pure heaven & There was a group of NCL officers (~8) meeting with Snorkel Park management & wonder what they were planning?
Back on board, by 2 PM and had the forward hot tub to ourselves and great lounge chairs with wonderful views for sailaway. BTW, the ship left about a half hour late due to passengers who arrived late, after the ship pulled away from the dock and were imposed a hefty fine (didnt see them, but surmised from the captains announcement and chatter on board).
We had been to GSC before so we chose to remain on board and get prime lounge chairs on the stadium seating. We had breakfast in the Venetian with a window view of NCLs island and RCLs private island, with a ship anchored there.. who knew the islands were right next to each other. It rained early morning and was cloudy most of the day but the sun came out mid afternoon and with no wind, we decided to move to the shade. We have never seen the ocean so smooth; not a wave or ripple.
The ship departed at 4 PM and we were lucky to get a rear window table in the Venetian for dinner, as the ship pulled into Nassau; .. what a wonderful view. We had planned on taking a taxi to Atlantis (been there before) for some gambling and to view The Digs but stayed on-board instead. A few NCL sponsored shops in town were open till 10 PM. We ventured into Nassau for some shopping the next morning at 9 AM and was back on board by 10:30 AM and again got our prime lounge chairs, in the shade, for sailaway.
Sea Days: Since were early risers, and prefer to be away from the pool crowds, we never had a problem getting lounge chairs before 11 AM. Although we had many cloudy days the weather was good for relaxing, reading, swimming, hot tubs &. This was probably one of the smoothest seas weve had. Weve cruised out of NY many times and have experienced the sea condition gamut and got lucky on this one.
The chair hogs were in full force and people were upset when they left their towels on the chairs, to return and find them taken. Signs were posted that your belongings would be removed after 30 min of non-use. DH and I would take turns to get a plate of food for lunch or drinks, and bring it back to the chair & no problem.
Disembarkation: We signed up for self disembarkation on Thurs. and upon bringing the form to the reception desk, they verified we were US citizens and we must be able to carry off all luggage unassisted. We docked early, 7AM (docs said 10 AM) and announcement for self assist was made at 8 AM. We were on deck 10 and tried to get an elevator for 10 min -impossible, carried our luggage down to deck 7, and followed a very organized line off the ship. Took the pier elevator to the parking level, walked over to the next pier where our car was parked and was on the Henry Hudson parkway by 8:30 AM& excellent!
We had a wonderful cruise on the Dawn and it was very relaxing. The service was great in all venues and every crew member pleasant, friendly, and seemed happy to be there (except once in Aqua mustve been a bad day for him). The ship was very clean and crew members constantly working.
We really enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising which works very well on the Dawn and will keep us coming back. Were pleased with the changing itinerary from year to year out of NY, and would not hesitate to cruise on the Dawn and with NCL again.
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