Amazing Vacation: Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review by lvparrothead

Norwegian Dawn 5
Member Since 2013

Overall Member Rating

Amazing Vacation

Sail Date: April 2013
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Tampa
My mom (71) and I (49) sailed from Tampa, FL on Norwegian Dawn on April 14-21, 2013. She lives near Tampa and drove to the port. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Rocky Point and I highly recommend it. I got a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel and a shuttle to the port the next day for $10.00. I had dinner on Saturday night at the Bahama Breeze which is right next door. It was crazy busy and crowded and a very long wait for tables. The food is great and it is on an inlet with a boat dock and nice view. They have fun tropical drinks too and it seemed many cruisers were there the night before.

Embarkation was easy for us. We got in line at the terminal around 12:00 and we were on the ship and had checked out our stateroom (9610) by 1:00. I was very impressed with the size of the cabin, bathroom, closet storage, hooks in bathroom, everything was just right. Plenty of room. Room service arrived right away with for some reason, three of the bottles of wine I More had ordered. Luckily I had a copy of my order and showed it to him and he went off to find the rest. We headed up to the Bimini Bar and got cheeseburgers and a bucket of beer. Took the bucket back to the room and our luggage was ready. We relaxed and unpacked and the rest of the wine arrived. Around 4:00 we left a note for the room steward to please empty the fridge and leave some ice for us. We changed and went to the pool. There was a fun sail away party with bbq steaks, chicken and hot dogs and we had a snack. Took a bunch of pictures and explored the ship. Went to Pearly King's pub and met our friends Fran and Michelle who took care of us all week. Changed and showered and had dinner in the Venetian dining room. They told us we'd wait 20 minutes but it was only 10. We had great service and both had the steak and lobster which was excellent. I also had a Caesar salad, mushroom soup and caramel bread pudding. Great table by the window and excellent service.

Monday at sea we hung by the pool. Had breakfast at the buffet and this was not impressive. The margarita at the pool didn't taste like it had any alcohol. We planned on having lunch at the pool - they cooked sausages and chicken which smelled wonderful. Went to change our clothes and shower and returned back at 2:00 and they closed the whole thing down. This was disappointing as we could see them taking lots of food off the grill ???. We ordered a pizza instead which was $5.00 and pretty much what you'd expect for that price. Dinner was wonderful at the Teppanyaki restaurant.

Tuesday morning I walked 3 miles on Deck 7 - beautiful. The breakfast buffet was utterly ridiculous and we circled about 4 times like vultures to find seats. They were disorganized and you couldn't tell which line to get in for various foods (omelettes, waffles, biscuits and gravy) etc. 4 lines but not all the same. This was enough of the breakfast buffet for me so I had room service the rest of the time or waited until lunch was served. The excursion in Roatan was amazing - we went to Maya Key and had a wonderful day. I snorkeled, and then we both laid on the beach, toured the ruins replica and the animal habitats with a private guide and enjoyed the local lunch buffet. Great service at the bar and I had some local beer that was great. We had the place to ourselves about 40 people total on the island. The best excursion and port in my opinion. We had dinner in the Venetian I had the quiche appetizer, mushroom ravioli and cheesecake and enjoyed it all. We had no wait for a table for 2 and great service. Stopped at Pearly Kings for a drink and then to bed.

Wednesday I walked 4 miles on Deck 7 and watched all the ships lining up to tender which was a great view and for breakfast had room service - yogurt, cereal fruit. On time and OK. Wish they had maybe a breakfast sandwich option. We did the cave tubing excursion on Belize through the ship. It was ok - the cave is not that pretty compared to Luray or Carlsbad but the water is refreshing after the walking through the forest and over the rocks, etc. I was glad I had water shoes. My group was a whiney bunch so this took some of the fun out of it. The mayan tacos afterward and freshly made chips were great. I did not care for the Belikin beer - much better beer in Honduras IMO. We had dinner at Le Bistro and the service was awful - redefined the word SLOW. I did enjoy the four mushroom soup and the four cones appetizer. My mom said she was getting the pork or the beef so I ordered the coq au vin (chicken stew) and then she ordered it too (grrrr I wanted to share and try a couple things). The dish was good but very rich and enough for two people.

Thursday I walked 4 miles on Deck 4 - beautiful as always. The pier in Costa Maya is super long. We walked off and had a ridiculously overpriced brunch at Carlos and Charlies. I asked for hot sauce ...this is a Mexican restaurant mind you and they ended up putting $2 on my bill for it. I took my mom to get in line for her excursion to the mayan ruins which she enjoyed. She was glad to have taken insect repellant and said it was very hot at the ruin site. My snorkel/catamaran excursion was cancelled due to high winds. The ship left me a voice mail at 10:45 and I wished they'd told us sooner as all the other excursions were gone. I had a nice uncrowded afternoon by the pool though and a cheeseburger there for lunch. We had dinner in the Venetian and again no wait for a table for 2. The prime rib was very good. Stopped by Pearly's for a drink and off to bed.

Friday I went on the snorkeling/beach excursion in Cozumel at Palancar Reef and Playa Mia. The crew was excellent and gave great instruction and attention to safety. The ride out maybe 45 minutes was beautiful. The snorkel was kinda boring ... the reef was not very colorful and I've seen much better in the Bahamas, dry tortugas and even key west. Plus it was too crowded and I got kicked with fins many times. Drinks were free on the boat afterward, and we were served lunch and more free drinks on the beach where we stayed for 1 1/2 hours. The beach had nice facilities lockers, clean restroom, good service. On the boat ride back there was dancing and more drinks flowed. Great time on this one despite not seeing much underwater. Went to sail away party at the pool and they had fajitas, tacos, etc. We had dinner at Moderno, the Brazilian restaurant that night which was my favorite. Amazing from start at the salad bar - grilled asparagus, marinated artichokes, lots of cold sausages and cheeses to try. The meats were excellent too - I tried lamb and it was great along with two kinds of sausages, garlic beef, and chicken wrapped in bacon. We skipped dessert for the chocolate buffet at Garden café. It looked way better than it tasted sadly.

Saturday was our last day and it was bad weather. I hung at the pool for a while and mom went to the casino and we shopped a bit - best sales on this day. We had lunch at the Blue Lagoon. Fish and Chips were excellent, but they kept having to go to Pearly Kings to get my Amstel Light and the second time it took forever. The chicken wings were not "hot" at all and there were no hand wipes. Mom had noodle soup and enjoyed it. We had dinner at the Steakhouse which was great food and service. I had bison for the first time. I was disappointed they had changed the menu though I had been looking forward to a couple appetizers that were no longer available. We had the truffle fries, baked potato soup, sautéed mushrooms and potato augratin sides, along with some broccoli and it was all good. Shopped some more and made our last stop at Pearly Kings for photos with the girls and then to bed.

Disembarking was delayed I don't know why. I was not in a hurry and didn't mind. I was in the 2nd to last group and was off the ship around 10:45. I found a shuttle to the airport easily.

Hope this extensive review is helpful. Less

Published 05/03/13

Cabin review: BA9610 Mid-Ship Balcony

Very roomy. Plenty of storage in bathroom, closet and in the stateroom. Excellent view being on port side we could see each port we docked in. Enjoyed having the coffee maker so we could have coffee on the balcony in the morning.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Cave-Tubing Adventure

We tendered in and then took about an hour and 20 minute bus ride. The guide was informative but the scenery rather bleak and sad due to the poverty but it is what it is. I didn't enjoy the cave tubing but that is mainly because my fairly elderly mom insisted on coming along and the rest of our group were also hindered by weight and lack of mobility. They complained a lot and couldn't manage on their own thus the guide and myself (I am a 49 y/o very fit woman!) had to help everyone the whole time. Plus the cave itself is not that pretty compared to say Luray or Carlsbad. The food for purchase upon return was great - particularly what they called mayan tacos and the homemade fresh chips. If I went to Belize again I'd do something else though. There also wasn't enough time when we returned to eat and look at photos or get another drink before we had to get back on the bus - maybe 30 minutes total so we were very rushed as we had to also change out of our wet clothes and return locker keys, go to restrooms, etc. Way too short on the back end.

I only saw the "touristy" part of this port because I took my mom out to eat before her excursion left for the ruins so we were at the area right at the end of the pier. There is a Senor Frogs which is pretty rowdy everyone was drinking and dancing and seemed to be having a good time just a little loud for my 71 y/o mother. There is a huge pool with swim up bar and a beach that was pretty unattractive and rocky in my opinion. This area is pretty rowdy but I believe a great time if you just want to party at the pool and be off the ship. On the other side of the pool is Carlos and Charlies which was a bit quieter and the food was OK. I had heard that you can take a taxi to Malahual which is very nice - I didn't do this because I had booked an excursion and it was kind of late when the ship cancelled it. Wish I could have seen more here in Costa Maya and done my snorkel...maybe next time.
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I did the snorkel and beach excursion to Palancar Reef and Playa Mia beach. The snorkel crew was very informative and safety oriented. The ride out was beautiful and we had a pretty long snorkel although the reef was a bit boring. Not much life moving around as a storm was coming. Also it is not colorful like some I have seen. The group was big too and I got kicked a lot with other people's fins. I didn't like that part - wish they would have let us spread out a bit more. Then we rode out to the beach and were given free drinks - beer, soda, margaritas on the way. We got lunch which was included at the beach, along with open bar. We stayed there an hour and a half and then back on the boat. It was more drinks and a dance party on the way back and everyone had a great time. Beautiful day and great crew.

Island Tour

Took a boat to Maya Key for a wonderful day. Beautiful and uncrowded. Laid on the beach, went snorkeling, toured the animal habitat and the replica of the ruins. Amazing service throughout. I had a private snorkel with a guide. Lunch was a wonderful buffet - sea bass, rice and beans, chicken, plantains and drinks. I tried salva vida and another local beer and both were excellent and way cheaper than the ship. This was my favorite excursion of the whole cruise.

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